Letter from the Headteacher - School's Out For Summer!
Dear Parents and Carers
Well, after an extremely busy and challenging year we can look back and reflect on the many things that we have all achieved.
I am so incredibly proud of all the hard work and dedication our students and staff have completed this year under incredibly challenging circumstances. After lockdown one we successfully reopened our school following a Covid safe plan that was endorsed by the Health and Safety Executive. This plan allowed us to deliver a high quality education to all of our students which enabled us to close the knowledge and attainment gap created by the two lockdowns.
Where necessary we engaged with the PHE to run an effective track and trace system, asking certain close proximity contacts to go home and self-isolate. We distributed laptops and Wifi dongles to ensure our remote education package offered a high quality education. The pre-recorded video system also ensured that all students had the chance to access lesson content even with a week internet connection.
Throughout this process we have asked all of our students to reconnect with their peers, staff and wider community through our school values. We further supported vulnerable students whose mental health had been most affected by the two lockdowns through effective pastoral support, mentoring and counselling.
We have supported and prepared our Year 11 and 13 students for the Teacher Assessed Grades process.
Amongst all of this, we have even completed our consultation on the restructure of the school week in order to tackle the issues that have historically been areas of underperformance in our school. Following a second consultation on the introduction of an 8th value, the community decided upon ‘resilience’. I think that our school and wider community have shown a huge amount of resilience over the last year and I feel optimistic and the great work we have all collectively completed will stand us in good stead next year.
I would like to thank all of our staff for their hard work across the year and for the many messages of support that we have received from parents and carers: it is very much appreciated.
Here are some highlights and reminders for this final week of the academic term.
Remote End of Year Rewards Assemblies
The Head of Year delivered end of year assemblies during an extended tutor this morning. These assemblies celebrated the students’ many successes across the year. I also presented some Headteacher awards during the assemblies to those students that were in school.
Race for Life
On Friday 9 July, Student leadership groups in Years 7, 8 and 9, took part in the annual 'Race for Life'. They raised an incredible £1,590 in sponsorship for Cancer Research UK, just one of many charities that have struggled to find the finances during the COVID pandemic. This the largest total ever, without a non-uniform day attached. Running, walking, skipping, cartwheeling and even wheelbarrow races were involved in getting the students around the track at Killacleave. It was great to see so many smiling faces and a reminder to us all, of the importance of the wider educational experience at The Ilfracombe Academy. Thank you to everyone who donated to this very worthy cause. We should feel very proud as an Academy.
Parents Childcare Survey – Summer 2021 Devon County Council’s Summer Term
Parents Childcare Survey is now live and we would like your help in sharing it with staff (who are parents!) encouraging them to complete it, unless you will be contacting parents further through your newsletters or social media and are able to encourage them to complete.
This short survey will help the early years and childcare team in Devon County Council to plan and make sure there is enough childcare for parents, including your staff, to work or train. The survey is suitable for parents who do not currently use childcare.
We are making plans for our September return. We have become accustomed to the guidance changing at very short notice. To coin a phrase we have learnt that if you plan early you’ll need to plan twice. The plan is to see how the guidance develops through the summer and firm up our plans after the GCSE and A-Level results which is the W/B 9th August. It is likely that the guidance will be firmed up around 2 weeks before our September return and I will then produce a return to school video just like the one I shared with parents and carers last year. Until then, please see a reminder of the points we shared last week. However, we can confirm that we will be following a staggered return as follows:
· Tuesday 7th September - Year 7 Only
· Wednesday 8th September – Year 11& 13 start
· Thursday 9th September– Year 10 &12 start
· Friday 10th September – Year 8 & 9 start
School Roadmap Relaxation
As we know the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday set out plan for the final stage of the roadmap in England. Main points of the new guidance are as follows:
At Step 4 and after the end of the summer term, it will no longer be necessary to keep children in consistent groups (‘bubbles’). This means bubbles will not need to be used for any summer provision (for example, summer schools) or in schools from the autumn term. If your school is still open at Step 4, you may wish to continue with these measures until the end of your summer term.
Schools and settings will only need to do contact tracing up to 18th July 2021. From 19th July 2021 (Step 4), close contacts will be identified via NHS Test and Trace.
From 16 August 2021, children under the age of 18 years old will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case.
From step 4, face coverings will no longer be advised for pupils, students, staff and visitors either in classrooms or in communal areas. From Step 4, face coverings are also no longer recommended to be worn on dedicated transport to school or college.
The Control measures that are likely to continue in September
1. Ensure good hygiene for everyone (hand washing or hand sanitising).
2. Maintain appropriate cleaning regimes.
3. Keep occupied spaces well ventilated.
4. Follow public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19.
As ever, the school will continue to monitor the developments over the summer and make any adjustments 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.
I hope all our students and their families enjoy the summer break and we look forward to welcoming you back in September.