Testing Times - Update from Headteacher
Dear Parents and Carers
We have had another really productive week at The Ilfracombe Academy. We are delighted by the positive feedback that we have received from our students and their parents/carers with regards to our remote learning. We recognise that some students and their parents have found completing the amount of work challenging and we will explain how we can help alleviate this pressure later in the letter. Once again, I will look to pick out a few highlights from the week and offer some reminders to ensure that everything runs really well again next week.
Amazing Results from Year 12 English GCSE
Well done to all our Year 12 students that passed their English GCSE this Autumn. They achieved an amazing pass rate of 60%. This is far in excess of the usual national pass rate for November exams. A fantastic achievement and good luck with your other qualifications over the next 18 months.
Year 11 & 13 Mock/Formal Assessments
It is a frustrating time for everyone at the moment but none more so than our Year 11 and Year 13 students. We all feel desperately sorry for you all as you’ve already had to deal with so much. The one thing that you do know, and need to remember, is that there will be some form of assessment this summer. Your grade will likely be created by the school but some reports in the media have suggested they are considering some form of mini-assessments to help inform your grade. Ofqual, the people that plan and run the examinations, are currently consulting on the final assessment model for 2021 and we will be able to let you know their thoughts as soon as we are informed. Your grades are nowhere near finalised so the clear message from your teachers is, ‘Keep going, engage in the work and show us what you can do!’ A large number of you are already doing this which is really encouraging but we’re aware of some that aren’t. This is concerning as you will be disadvantaging yourself. We know that, at the moment, you may feel that there is a lot of work that we are asking you to complete. To help you approach your work, we have sent out a video to all students that describes how much work should completed across the day. Follow your school day and try to complete the work that has been set each lesson but you shouldn’t be going beyond that period. You need to look after yourselves and your mental health. If you have a problem, make sure you share it with us as we’re here, ready and willing to help you.
English and Maths Tuition
Using the Government’s Covid Catch Up Funding, we have recently appointed tutors to support students with their English and maths. This week, identified students in Year 11 have received their first lesson of online tuition. They will receive 15 hours in total across the next fifteen weeks.
The Spring term Knowledge Organisers have been put onto ClassCharts and Weduc. Year 11 Knowledge Organisers have been sent home and those for Years 7 to 10 will be sent out in the next week. The information in the User Guide of the Knowledge Organiser provides guidance on how your child can use this information. Parents and Carers are very much encouraged to get involved in supporting their child with this valuable resource. We will also be sending a ‘How To. . .’ video to help students and parents/carers make the most of this resource.
ICT access for pupils – Thank you
A huge thank you to our community. This week we have had laptops donated from individuals who do not need them anymore; a £2000 donation from the Ilfracombe and District Lions Club and £8000 from the Fullabrook Windfarm CIC. All of these kind donations will go on to really support our pupils who need adequate ICT for remote home learning. We are continuing to improve our ICT provision for pupils. If you have an old laptop not in use anymore and would like to donate it to the school, we would really appreciate it. Laptops are in particular demand so that pupils have access to word processing facilities. If you are worried about your data, our ICT team will completely wipe the device first before setting it up for students. If you would like to donate an old laptop, please bring it in to main reception at any time. We just ask that you wear a mask and sanitise your hands. If you have any questions, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rapid Lateral Flow Device Testing Centre
As you know we have been performing the Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests with both our staff and students that have been given parental consent this week. All of our staff have tested negative over this last week and out of the 36 students tested today we can report that we have only had one positive LFD result.
On receiving this result, we removed that student from the class and asked their parents to collect them and book a full NHS PCR test. PHE were contacted and they informed us that the ‘Track and Trace’ will not start until we have a positive PCR result.
I spoke to the rest of the class and they were moved immediately to a different classroom and a deep clean performed. We have also notified the parents and carers that any children in close proximity to a positive case will be offered LFD tests in school for 7 days. The students will be asked to wait for 30 minutes until they have a confirmed negative result. At that point they can return to their class.
We realise that this is concerning for you but please be reassured that we are trying to do everything to keep our community safe as well as delivering the best education possible.
Consent Form Update.
As the pandemic is ever-changing and rapidly doing so, so is the guidance set by the Government. Since we sent out our original consent form to you, updated guidance has come to us and we must, regrettably, ask you complete the new form. We apologise for any inconvenience caused but we have been informed that we require further information from you.
Please follow the link below to complete the revised consent form.
We would encourage parents and students to give consent as we feel this is a way of keeping everyone in school as safe as we possibly can.
We appreciate there is some concern surrounding testing and we have worked hard to convey the process this will involve. Please see the attached video link to see how we conduct the process her at The Ilfracombe Academy. https://youtu.be/gv5ySYexJ94
What should I do if my child tests positive for Covid 19 at home?
If your child tests positive for C19 whilst at home and is currently not attending school, please can you still report this to the school as we need to submit this information in our daily Government reporting numbers.
Things have started to settle down in the second week of our remote learning provision after a few teething problems last week. However, once again we have been thrilled by the positive feedback we have received from Parents/Carers about the overall quality of our remote learning package. We also recognise that remote learning is challenging for families and that some students have found completing work difficult. To make things easier we have made the following adjustments:
The issue/due date should be set for the same day. This means that you child should only see what they have to complete on a particular day. We want to protect students from being overwhelmed so please ensure that your child only completes the work set on that day. Don’t worry about going back over work from previous days or trying to fast forward to the next day.
Pace yourself over the day; build in some breaks and your normal social time of the day including, where possible, some fresh air.
Please see this video created by our social media team that explains how to access, complete and your work, upload your work and manage both workload and mental health when engaging in remote learning.
Some students and their parents have been contacting the school to get their ClassCharts login but if anyone still needs some help then please email:
Year 9 & Year 10 Immunisations Tetanus, diphtheria, polio and Meningitis ACWY
Even though we are all in lockdown, the immunisation team will be coming to school as planned on 25th and 26th January 2021 to perform immunisations for years 9 and 10. The immunisation Team will be in contact with parents to let them know what their child allocated time slot and will confirm the arrangements. However, here are some basic points they would like parents/students to follow:
No parent is allowed onto the site and must wait in the carpark
The Students will need to walk past Student Services, around the back of the school and into to the Sports Hall where they will receive their immunisation.
They will then need to walk back around the front of school and go back to their parent’s car
The student must wait for 15 minutes in their parent’s car in case they have an adverse reaction before they go home.
If you have already completed a consent form for the adolescent booster (Tetanus, diphtheria, polio and Meningitis ACWY) you will be contacted by the immunisation team via email 1-2 days before with an appointment time and instructions. If parents or carers have any queries, changes in circumstances or have had any of these vaccinations in the last 12 months please call the SPA on 0300 247 0082. For those parents and carers who have not completed a consent form there will be a further opportunity later in the academic year to consent and receive the vaccine.
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.
I hope all our students and their families enjoy the weekend.