Dear Parents and Carers,
Last half term I started my update letter by saying that it was one of the most challenging half terms that education had faced. I was wrong! This half term just gone has been THE most challenging half term that I have faced in 20 years as an educational professional, but despite the difficulties of Covid-19 it has been as enjoyable as ever.
I can’t update you on the past half term without mentioning it. We have suffered due to the biting impact of Covid this half term and on a number of occasions I did have to make the difficult decision that no head teacher ever wants to make and close the academy to some year groups overt the past 8 weeks and direct lessons from home. This is and throughout the course of the rest of the pandemic will be the last report, but with health and safety my top priority, sometimes this will be the only decision I can make.
As an academy we have had to close to a very small number of students for a very small number of days compared to other academies in the city and the surrounding area which is a positive and I would like to thank you all for being vigilant in looking out for and reporting issues. Can I ask all parents to continue to report any positive cases via our dedicated email address firstname.lastname@example.org during the Christmas Break.
The Farnborough Academy App
In my last update I shared with parents the exciting news that our app was in the final stages of development. We have now launched the app and it is available for you to download from the app store and the Google Play store. If you have forgotten/lost your log in details or need your enrolment codes resending out to you please contact us and let us know. It is vital that parents download the app as it is the best way to stay in touch with the latest information from the academy, the easiest way for you to contact us and you can track your child’s attendance, behaviour and progress information all in one place.
This half term is always so enjoyable because of all of the festive activities we can have around the academy. This year we were unable to hold a Christmas concert, but, we were able to provide every child with a free Christmas lunch, have a reverse advent collection, run a Christmas card competition and our annual attendance advent prize draws. Hopefully by next Christmas we will be able to have the other events such as concerts and mixed dining back on the agenda.
This half term isn’t just about Christmas and there have been a number of hugely successful additional activities that have taken place over the past two months. This includes remembrance events, the odd socks days, the launch of our scholastic book club, year 7 French breakfasts, the appointment of a new prefect team and head boy and head girl, talk the talk for years 9 and 10 and writing to and receiving letters back from heroes to name just a few. This is on top of all of the high quality learning that is taking place every day. The academy is a hive of activity and the children respond to the fast pace and the expectation to get involved really positively.
Year 11 students sat their mock exams at the start of this half term and the performance of the children in them has been exceptional. As a year group they produced results which are far in excess of the results produced by any other year 11 cohort at this stage in the history of the academy and this is in the context of them having the most challenging of experiences in terms of lost learning due to lockdown and self-isolation. Whilst they have responded admirably to the remote learning work nothing is quite the same as being in a classroom with your peers and an expert teacher supporting and leading the learning. As a community we should all be proud of them as the resilience they have shown is truly inspirational and I am confident that the quality of their examination performance will continue to grow and we will be celebrating another record set of results with these young people come August.
When we return in January we will be expecting all children to be wearing appropriate uniform to the academy. The uniform expectations are on the academy website here.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the need for greater ventilation in classrooms we are recommending that children wear additional layers underneath their normal uniform and we are allowing children to wear a jumper UNDER their blazers but NOT instead of. The only jumpers that are acceptable are, academy uniform jumpers, academy PE kit hoodies or plain black jumpers with no logo.
We have noticed recently that a number of children are not arriving to school with the equipment required for learning. Please can you ensure that you child attends school every day with a bag to carry books and equipment in and that as a minimum they have a pen, pencil, ruler, rubber and calculator. We do not allow children to use the calculators on their mobile phones as the academy has a no mobile phone policy for children.
I would like to end by wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happier and healthier 2021 than we have had in 2020. I have written to parents separately regarding our end of term arrangements but just to clarify the final day of term is Thursday December 17th 2020 and students will be leaving in a staggered manner slightly earlier than normal. Years 11 and 10 at 2.25pm, years 8 and 9 at 2.35pm and year 7 at 2.45pm. The first day back at school for students is on Tuesday January 5th 2021 at their usual start times.
In November the academy received notification of the number of applications from current year 6 students for September 2021. We were really pleased with the number of applications received as they indicate that we are likely to have another record year with 180 year 7 students expected to join us in 2021. This is a wonderful show of faith from the community in the many improvements we have made over the past 3 years and testament to the hard work and dedication of the whole team to ensure the young people of Clifton receive a high quality of education.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year.
Head of School