Letter from the Headteacher - 6 down, 1 to go!
Dear Parents and Carers
Only a week to go until we all enjoy a well-earned October half term break. This week we have seen a small increase in Covid figures, and I have contacted Public Health England who are happy with our current measures. Things are challenging but thankfully we are still not having to make any dramatic changes like some other local schools who have seen huge increases in the infection rate in their community. Further details about the Covid 19 can be seen later in the letter. Please be aware that the consent time window closes at 12.00pm on Sunday 17th of October. Please see the heading in bold red below for the link.
Below are a few points that I would like to make Parents/Carers aware of in readiness for our return on Monday 11th October.
Black History Month
As we all know, October is Black History Month and the academy has been focusing on the contribution made by the BAME community nationally and globally. All year groups will receive a tutor reflection on the topic next week. This is part of our wider aim to introduce more diversity into our curriculum and to educate our students about the experiences of different cultures. Some examples of these include: in History, Y9 have been studying the campaign for justice led by Baroness Doreen Lawrence. In English, as part of the ‘Rights and Responsibilities’ anthology, Y10 will be studying ‘Still I Rise’ by Maya Angelou; an extract from ’12 Years a Slave’ as well as media articles focusing on the Black Lives Matter movement including the reasons behind the removal of the Colston statue in Bristol. Drama is exploring topics that stimulate discussion and practical work linked to themes such as discrimination, segregation and conflict resolution. Much of these discussions facilitate an intellectual curiosity and develop an awareness and celebration of different ethnicities and beliefs. In music, students are enjoying Reggae in Y8 and Jazz in Y9: both celebrate the contribution of black musicians to the world’s cultural heritage.
The school library has a display of inspirational BAME politicians, sports people, writers and actors. There is also a promotion of books written by BAME authors such as the poet Jason Reynolds – nominated for the Carnegie Award for his novel ‘Long Way Down’.
We are also looking forward to welcoming key speakers from our community. Pam Cox, one of our school governors, will be speaking to students about her life experiences as a Black Woman in British society and her successful career in the NHS.
Spark UK Update
We are delighted to see Spark UK – a mental health charity set up by some of our own students – continue to go from strength to strength. Led by Conor Warren, Y11, they have produced lessons, newsletters and posters on topics such as confidence, self-worth, social anxiety and stress. They work in conjunction with other mental health charities to produce free resources that are being used in dozens of schools, not just across Devon but as far away as Bristol, London and Lincolnshire. Last weekend saw the Spark UK team featured in The Guardian newspaper. This week they have been featured by BBC. Please see the links below for the full article. It is inspiring to see our students embodying our school values in such a positive way.
Inset Day Reminder
A reminder that we have a Non-Pupil day on Friday 22nd October that will be used for staff training.
Once again, we’ve seen some excellent football results against South Molton with the Year 7, 9, 10 Boys teams recording victories with the year 8’s losing a close game. We’re also delighted to hear that the Yr11 boys have qualified for the North Devon final. We’re also hoping that the Girls will have some successful netball results at their forthcoming festivals.
Please can parents and students be aware that a suspicious male has been approaching staff and students outside school handing out business cards. His name is possibly Alex, and he is a foreign national about 5ft 9 with dark hair. I have spoken to him this afternoon explaining that this is not acceptable and that I will be passing on his details to Jo Carter our PCSO. We ask that our students do not engage or interact with this person and pass on any information to their parents or school staff if they are approached. Parents should contact their year pastoral team if they are concerned.
Please see a screenshot of his business card
The Period 6 Mock Revision Sessions
As ever, the school will continue to monitor and make any adjusts in our way of working in line with any further guidance. This guidance will always be clearly communicated to our students and their parents/carers. Reminder Year 11 Period 6 Mock Exam Support
We are pleased to announce that we will be offering a number of Period 6 revision sessions in the lead up to and throughout Year 11 Mock examinations. We encourage all students to attend these sessions to receive extra support. These sessions will be carefully planned to maximise our students’ preparations for these important preparatory examinations. As a large coastally and rurally isolated school we will endeavour to offer free transport home to as many students as possible. This means that students are able to get home without having a negative impact on their parents’ working arrangements.
The period 6 bus routes will be as follows:
· Bus 1 – Berrynarbor, Combe Martin & Lynton
· Bus 2 – Woolacombe and Mortehoe
· Three taxis will also take students home that would normally go home on smaller buses.
Please see below for details of the sessions available.
Covid 19 Update
As mentioned at the start of the letter we have seen a small increase in Covid figures, and I have contacted Public Health England who are happy with our current measures. Things are challenging but thankfully we are still not having to make any dramatic changes like some other local schools who have seen huge increases in the infection rate in their community. The current figures are as follows:
· Year 7 = 3 Cases
· Year 8 = 5 Cases
· Year 9 = 5 Cases
· Year 10 = 4 Cases
· Year 11 = 5 Cases
· Year 12 = 0 Cases
· Year 13 = 0 Cases
Once again, we ask that all students continue to wear their mask unless they are exempt and that they continue to follow good hand hygiene. We are lucky with the amount of natural and mechanical ventilation we have on offer in our modern building and we will continue to monitor the situation and take advice from PHE as time and the situation progresses.
COVID-19 Vaccine for 12 to 15 Year Olds – Tuesday 19th October 2021
As mentioned last week Covid vaccinations are being offered to 12 to 15 year olds this autumn. This is a contentious issue for some. We will try to offer parents and carers as much information as we can so that you can make the right decision for your child. The authorities are suggesting that vaccinating young people should help to reduce the need for young people to have time off school and should reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 within schools.
The main purpose of the COVID-19 childhood vaccination programme is therefore to provide protection to the young people who receive the vaccine and to reduce the disruption to face-to-face education this winter. We have been made aware that the School Age Immunisation Service (SAIS) team will be visiting The Ilfracombe Academy on Tuesday 19th October 2021 to administer the Covid 19 (Pfizer) vaccinations. This team will be the primary provider of the vaccination programme and will be legally responsible for the delivery of the vaccine. Parents and carers should expect to hear how consent is going to be gained in the next week.
Covid 19 Vaccination Consent
The consent time period will close at 12.00pm on Sunday 17th of October. Parents can complete the consent form at:
Measures that help to stop COVID-19 spreading
There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with COVID-19; please
speak with your child to support these measures at school.
· Ensure LFD tests are taken twice weekly; we advise Sunday and Wednesday evenings, please report results to school
· Please also make sure that a phone call is made to the school reception (01271 863427) for any positive cases.
· Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
· Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available. Clean surfaces often, paying particular attention to surfaces touched often (e.g. light switches or electronic devices)
· Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of tissues into a rubbish bag immediately and wash your hands
· Wear a face covering in indoor, out of classroom, communal spaces at school and on public transport
· Keep indoor spaces as well ventilated as possible – let the fresh air in, even if for a short period a day
Link to Covid 19 guidance is available here - What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Public Health England has updated its parental guidance. Please see this link: COVID-19 vaccination programme for young people: guidance for parents - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
The guidance offers with answers to some frequently asked questions and includes NHS leaflets which explain the vaccine, including how it works and what to expect after having the vaccine. Accessible versions and translations are also available.
I hope all our students and parents/carers enjoy what is promising to be a warm and pleasant weekend.