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Letter from the Headteacher - Summer Weather in Autumn

Dear Parents and Carers


We are pleased and relieved that our Covid case figures seem to be stabilising. Whilst we hope that this continues to be the case, we will continue to keep our current measures in place. This is because we are aware that there are a few schools in North Devon that are seeing rapidly increasing figures and subsequently they are having to implement more safety measures. We feel that we are as close to normality as we can be but a cautious approach is still needed this time.

Below are a few points that I would like to make Parents/Carers aware of in readiness for our return on Monday 11th October.


Inset Day Reminder

A reminder that we have a Non-Pupil day on Friday 22nd October that will be used for staff training.


Extra-Curricular Clubs

It has been great to see so many students involved in extra-curricular activity. All clubs have welcomed large numbers of participants. We encourage all students to engage in a club after school as it is a great way of trying out new activities and developing friendships. Drama, Music and PE all offer a range of lunchtime and after school activities and there are still further opportunities to be announced. Details of clubs on offer can be found around the school and on the scrolling information board in St Christpher’s Hall every break and lunchtime.


National Poetry Day

National Poetry Day this year was on 7th October and students at The Ilfracombe Academy took part in creating their own poems with the theme of ‘Empowerment and Choice’. Our ideas were linked to the English department’s values of hope, kindness and courage in order for our students to create inspirational poems in their English lessons this week. Each student will be able to submit their poem into a national competition to win a cash prize. There is also a further opportunity to win points for students’ houses by submitting an entry to the House Poetry competition. Please see Miss Davies or Mr Nias for more details.


Visiting Author: Andy Mulligan

It was fantastic to be able to invite an external speak to the school this week. Selected students from Years 7 and 8 were able to take part in a Q&A workshop with CILIP Carnegie Medal shortlisted author, Andy Mulligan. Our students received amazing tips and tricks to help them to create stories of their own and encourage them to find ideas for writing anywhere and everywhere - including your next door neighbour's children! A huge thank you to Andy for his time; incredible storytelling and the inspiration to live’ life in all its fullness’.


Marathon Success

A huge congratulations to Mr Baker and Mr Law for running the London Marathon last Sunday. I think a special mention needs to be given to Mr Law who also completed another Marathon in Berlin the weekend before. An amazing achievement where he certainly displayed two of our key values of courage and resilience.


Football Manchester City Draw

A huge thank you to Richard Annear our chair of Governors for doing the ticket draw on Wednesday evening. We have had lots of positive feedback about the event and we feel that it is certainly the way forward to allocate tickets in a fair way. We would like to thank our parents and students for their patience and understanding and we are pleased to see that we are well on the way to developing a much better system in future.


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.


The Period 6 Mock Revision Sessions





Reminder - No Parental Spectators at School Sports Fixtures

The North Devon Headteachers have made a joint agreement that, at this time, parents and carers will not be able to spectate at school fixtures. This will be reviewed as and when the case rate in North Devon comes down. We realise that this will be a disappointment for parents and carers but we feel it is a necessary measure at this time.




False Fire Alarm

As parents may be aware, we had a false fire alarm yesterday. Coomber Security Systems were working in the Academy testing the fire alarms. To do this they place the system on test (to avoid a response from the Fire and Rescue Service). In placing the system on test, they made an error with the programming which resulted in a fire alarm activation and the subsequent building evacuation. Therefore, even though the alarms were activated other fire emergency measures were not. These systems included auto exit/entry doors and fire doors not activating. At no time were any student or member of staff at risk but it was an unfortunate error from the contractor.


As an Academy the site team fully test the fire alarms weekly. These tests are recorded and if there are any issues then they are rectified promptly.


ClassCharts

We encourage all parents/carers to download the ClassCharts App so they can track their child’s performance in lessons each day. Parents/carers can access not only when students may have received negative points but also how your child is being rewarded for all aspects of school life: effort in class; upholding school values; excellent quality work to name but a few. This is useful so that you can offer supportive conversations at home when needed and possibly reward your child for a great day’s work.


Remote Learning Update

We apologise that there was a further issue with remote learning for some departments. We believe that this issue has now been resolved and that full access is in place for all students that need to self-isolate at home.


Covid 19 Update

We’re delighted to see that the number of cases has reduced this week and we hope that this continues to be the case as we move towards the October half term break. We will continue to follow the measures we have in place and will review them next week if things continue to improve.

The current case numbers are as follows:

· Year 7 0

· Year 8 4

· Year 9 5

· Year 10 3

· Year 11 1

· Year 12 0

· Year 13 0

We also have 1 member of support staff that has returned a positive PCR.

Please see below for advice on how to stop the spread of Covid-19.

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.


Vaccination Consent

The vaccination team will be sending the parental link to us 3 to 4 days before they come into school and we will forward that link to you via Weduc. We agree that this does not give parents and carers much time: this is a decision that has been taken by the local authority not the academy.

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.


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.

Do:

· 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.


Yours sincerely




Steve Rogers

Headteacher

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