At the start of this new half term, I am very pleased to be able to share the welcome information that all students will be allowed to return to school during the week commencing Monday 8th March. As per the recent MCAS message and letter the various year groups will return as follows:
Year Group Return to school Date
I know that this news is welcomed by parents, students, and staff alike. Once again I would like to thank you for your support since January whilst students have been learning from home.
We should all be reassured and encouraged that the scientific and medical experts have concluded that it is now safe for children to return to school. It is so important to get students back into school before the Easter holidays so that we can continue to build the momentum of the school year and return to some normality after so long away.
With numbers of infections falling and the vaccination programme making good progress and reaching those most vulnerable to Covid-19, we can be hopeful that this stage of the pandemic is coming to an end. We must, of course, however, remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidelines that have become so routine across the school this academic year. Thus, social distancing will remain in place and students will continue to learn in their bubbles and self-isolate should they be in close contact with someone who tests positive for the virus.
From Monday 8th March face coverings must be worn indoors where social distancing cannot be maintained (including in classrooms). Can I please ask that you ensure that you have a supply of plain face masks in either black or blue for your child to wear and that these are brought to school every day. It is recommended that each child has two in case one becomes damp, at which point it should be removed and placed in the sealable bag in the student’s school rucksack.
Lateral Flow Testing
As you will know, we now have the additional benefit of being able to test students for Covid-19 in school. In doing so, we will be able to identify any students who are positive but asymptomatic and who need to self-isolate. The current guidance is that we test all students with consent on three occasions from the week beginning the 8th March.
Parents who have yet to provide consent* for Lateral Flow Testing should do so immediately through responding to the MCAS message from the admin team. (*Further information regarding consent can be found further down in the newsletter.)
Following our on-site testing we will be able to offer all students home-test kits and will provide more information about this in due course.
It is important, as ever, that we all remain vigilant to the symptoms of Covid-19 even though the risk to young people is very small. There are things we can all do to help reduce the risk of getting ill with Covid-19:
- wash our hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds;
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available;
- wash our hands as soon as we get home;
- cover our mouth and nose with a tissue or our sleeve (not our hands) when we cough or sneeze;
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash our hands afterwards.
If your child shows any symptoms of Covid-19 (a new, continuous cough and/or a high temperature and/or a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste and smell) please do not send them to school or for their asymptomatic testing but go to the dedicated NHS 111 Covid site, for details of what you need to do.
Over the next two weeks, our remote learning programme will continue in full. Each day is vital in your child’s education, so it is very important that all students continue to work hard from home and keep up with their lessons and learning.
We look forward to welcoming students back to school and thank you again for everything you have been doing to encourage and support their learning from home.
Another recent announcement has been made regarding the details surrounding GCSE examinations and how schools will arrive at Centre Assessed Grades. Now we have some certainty about the way forward I am hoping that year 11 can forge ahead with a clear plan of how to secure the best qualification they can. The Senior Leadership Team (SLT), all Heads of Department and subject leads will be supporting the students by scaffolding what they have to learn and chunking information and skills into manageable segments. It is important that students don’t worry about this and that they know the CRA staff will support them.
As we know as a result of the disruption to the education of students caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the government considers that exams cannot be held in summer 2021 in a way which is, and which is perceived to be fair. In reaching this decision the government acknowledged that many schools are providing high-quality remote learning but there will be an impact on the coverage of the curriculum and students’ exam preparation. This impact will vary between regions, schools within a region and students.
Assessment and evidence
- Teachers will assess students’ performance, only on what content has been delivered to them by to determine the grade each student should receive.
- Teachers can use evidence of a student’s performance from throughout the course to inform their judgement.
- Teachers will determine the grades as late in the academic year as is practicable, and not be confined to a defined window, to enable teaching to continue for as long as possible. It is so important that students understand the knowledge and skills we are imparting are important, NOT just the end result of the qualification. It is vital that students going onto study A Level and Level 3 qualifications have the required knowledge and academic skills to make the transition to the harder, much more demanding courses. Equally students going on to L2 courses at college will need to have developed skills in relation to remembering information and applying knowledge appropriately.
- The academy will use a broad range of evidence across the taught content to determine the grades before submitting the grades to the exam boards. This will include past mock exams, knowledge checks, assessments, coursework, and potentially, assessments shared by the exam boards which will be completed in classrooms.
- As Head of the Exam Centre I will have to confirm that students have been taught sufficient content to allow progression to the next stage of their education.
- Students should continue to work on their non-exam assessment (NEA). The NEA, (coursework) will be marked by teachers and will contribute to the overall grade, whether or not is has been completed. However, if it has not been completed this may affect the final grade.
- In GCSE art and design, the student’s grade will be based on the portfolio1 only, whether or not it has been completed. But if it has not been completed this may affect the final grade.
Ofqual are clear that they believe that overall, it will be no easier or harder for a student to achieve a particular grade this year compared to previous years.
The important message is that year 11 students must continue working hard if they are to secure the grades they are capable of.
We are conscious of the impact the pandemic has had on our students and have been delivering assemblies and PSHCE sessions on topics such as mental health, resilience, coping mechanisms and self-esteem. We have a ‘Return to School Plan’ which includes 1:1 sessions with students who we think will find the transition back into school particularly challenging and will be using our ELSA counsellors and our strong pastoral team, in addition to the Tutors and Heads of House to ensure all students feel supported.
Please remember when students return they must be in full uniform. Students will be outside at break and lunchtimes so please ensure they have a coat to wear over their blazer when outside or the school jumper and a blazer. On their return each year group will have an assembly to remind them of our one way system and the standard operating procedures across the school. We will revisit our rules, our values, our behaviour policy and our learning traits with all students. Please ensure your child is properly equipped with the CRA6 and their masks as detailed above. Students can purchase a CRA6 from the reception for the price of £1.50. Also ask them to bring any work with them that they have completed at home.
I hope you have found the news of a gradual return to ‘normality’ to be positive and be rest assured that we will be following government guidance in order to do our part to keep your children safe and well.
I hope you have a good weekend,
Kind regards, Mrs Jones
Lateral Flow Testing
When all pupils return to school from the 8th March 2021, the Government & Department for Education has requested we conduct Lateral Flow tests (for Covid) all pupils. This will take place on 3 occasions at least 3 days apart during the first 2 weeks. After this studnets will be expected to self test at home twice per week.
To see what's entailed in a lateral flow test please watch this the clip below.
We require parental consent to conduct the testing on pupils (children over 16 can complete this form themselves). Please com,plete the form below if you havent done so already.
Our values of CONFIDENCE, RESPECT, ASPIRATION, COURAGE, RESILIENCE and AMBITION, are not just values we want our students to show whilst at CRA. We believe these are life-long values that if demonstrated, will develop good character in our students and allow them to be good citizens, employees, employers, friends and family in their futures. School is not just about academic success. A massive part of what we strive to achieve, is that our students will leave CRA with these values instilled in them to lead rich and fruitful lives. Every two weeks our tutors nominate a tutee who has gone above and beyond to demonstrate one of the CRA values. The students from each house who are nominated from each cycle are displayed in our House display boards in the canteen and celebrated in our House assemblies.
On the return to school on March 8th, we will be ensuring that all pupils are adhering to the Academy Uniform Policy - details of which can be found here.
Please use this next week to ensure that uniform is correct for return to school - in particular to sort out hair styles and colours, nails and uniform, particularly school shoes. Students without a medical note will go into IE for incorrect uniform.
SEND Department Update
Mrs Kate Warren, who was previously our SENCO and a maths teacher will not be returning to Charles Read Academy. She has moved on to pastures new but immensely enjoyed working with our students with SEN needs, as well as delivering her maths lessons. She was a very passionate supporter of the House system and served as a governor for a number of years.
Mrs Miller-Brown will be leading the SEND department in the interim whilst we advertise for a new SENCO. We have a very strong team of Teaching Assistants who will be working closely with Mrs Miller-Brown to support our students with SEN needs.
We have also welcomed a new Learning Support Assistant, Mr Marshall-Andrews this week who will be working closely with the Science department and in the area of careers. There will be more details about Mr Marshall-Andrews in one of our staff slots in the newsletter in the coming weeks.
Please be rest assured that we will manage this period of change carefully making sure our students with SEN needs feel fully supported.
Mrs Jones - Academy Principal
All schools across the Trust have Academy Scrutiny Committees which are made up of community, staff and parental representatives. Presently Charles Read has vacancies for parent governors. The role and expectations of a Governor can be found here.
The primary role of the Academy Scrutiny Committee is to provide support and challenge to the Principal in ensuring every child makes good or better progress and that the Academy is achieving targets and continually improving. To maximise the ability of the local governors to focus on this key area, the Academy Scrutiny Committee is not required to set strategy or policy, manage financial resources, staff performance and pay, Health and Safety or many of the other areas traditionally associated with a maintained school governing body as these issues are dealt with at Trust level.
If you are interested in one of the roles please review and apply using the procedure document below.
LCC Transport Applications for current year 6 students
If you have current year 6 children moving to secondary school in September, then please review this letter from LCC regarding application for school transport.
If your child is starting primary school or transferring to secondary school in September 2021 they may be eligible for school transport. If you think your child is eligible please apply for transport as soon as you have your offer of a school place.
Applications can be made online at the website below or a telephone application can be made by contacting the Customer Service Centre on 01522 782020. For more information about the home to school transport policy and online applications please go to the LCC website. Queries can be emailed to email@example.com.
National Careers Week
Next week is national careers week – please use this link to explore the resources available to you.
Armed Forces webinar
On Tuesday March 2nd 2021, the year 11s will be joining a webinar during period 2, being conducted by Staff Sergeant Michael Boyle of the Royal Signals.
National Citizen Service
Designed specially for 16 and 17 year olds, the NCS experience will give you a clearer idea of what you want from your future.
NCS is a program designed to run through the summer holidays which links an action packed adventure week, with a week at a University learning how to adapt to new surroundings and live the student life, with a charity fund raising project at the end. As part of NCS, you will mix with a new crowd, and take on fresh challenges together. Before you know it, you’ll be rooting for each other, as you all tackle your own little hurdles.
Along the way, you’ll also get a taste for independence and pick up skills that will help you to achieve your future goals. And if that’s not enough for you, you’ll also be given a platform to have your voice heard and pursue a passion project.
The NCS experience might last just a few weeks, but the impact? That lasts a LOT longer.
Over 500,000 people have already done NCS – if you would like to be one of them then you will have the opportunity – we will be bringing this exciting project to Charles Read this half term. In the meanwhile, if you would like to know more then take a look at this link.
Click on BBC bitesize for some useful and practical information about post 16 choices.
Watch this space for future updates concerning careers or visit the CRA website Careers Support pages.
Mrs Rees - Careers' Lead
Thinking Ahead – My Future, My Choice
Attention Year 8 & Year 9!
- What are your future plans & career possibilities?
- What plans to do you have after you have completed your GCSEs?
- Do you plan to go on to further/higher education? If so what courses might you study?
- What career ideas do you have for the future at the moment?
In year 7, 8 and 9 you will be learning new skills and knowledge that will give you the confidence to help you plan your next steps. This process starts with your careers education in school which will encourage you to think about your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. You will also start to make some important decisions that could influence your future career path as you will be choosing your subjects to study for GCSE. This process will begin for all Year 9 students early next year.
Each week we will show you examples of the various careers linked to the subject you are studying. This week’s career idea is ‘Jobs related to ICT’.
Mr Drumm - Assistant Principal
Return to school
As you know, schools will reopen to all students week beginning 8th March 2021 and the DfE’s guidance states that school attendance will be “mandatory for all pupils from March 8”.
The usual rules on attendance will apply, including parents’ legal duty to secure their child’s attendance at school.
School is very happy to discuss any concerns with parents and provide reassurance on the measures we are putting in place to reduce any risks. School will continue to adopt high standards of cleaning, year group bubbles and a one way system to keep everyone safe
Pupils may be experiencing a variety of emotions in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, such as anxiety, stress or low mood.
This may particularly be the case for vulnerable children, including those with a social worker and young carers. It is important to contextualise these feelings as normal responses to an abnormal situation. Some may need support to re-adjust to school; others may have enjoyed being at home and be reluctant to return; a few may be showing signs of more severe anxiety or depression. Others will not be experiencing any challenges and will be keen and ready to return to school.
Attending school allows social interaction with peers and teachers, which benefits wellbeing.
Please do not hesitate to contact school if your child if you feel your child needs any support on returning to school. Your form tutor will be continuing with their tutor calls next week and will remind parents that pupils of compulsory school age must be in school unless a statutory reason applies.
Critical Workers during National Lockdown
If you are a Critical Worker, you MUST inform school if you have changed your working patterns/days/shifts or are now working from home as this may allow another Critical Worker child to attend school.
As a Critical Worker, Please can you contact school to let us know if you still require a Critical Worker place at school so that we know which students to expect in school.
If your child has a medical appointment, they are attending during the school day, please let school know so we can authorise this as Medical on the register.
If your child is poorly and cannot attend school, please let us know so we can code this as Illness on the register.
You must inform school immediately if anyone in the household has any Covid-19 symptoms.
Year 11 Intervention lessons
Intervention lessons for Year 11 are still running every Monday and Tuesday 3:15pm-4:15pm via TEAMS. It is essential that all year 11 students attend their intervention lessons. Every year 11 student has been assigned to an intervention group on Mondays and Tuesdays and these will show in their TEAMS calendar. If you are unsure what intervention group you should be in then please contact your teachers to discuss.
100% attendance of Live Lessons
The following students have had 100% attendance in their live lessons this week which are showing CRA values of Resilience and Ambition and will receive Resilience reward behaviour points.
Miss Butcher - Attendance Manager
We are excited to announce that we will be having a Tassomai house competition running next week. This will see each form group go head-to-head representing their house, competing for the most daily goals completed that week. We are so excited to see you playing your part and contributing to your form's total daily goals.
Geography Department Update
We are really excited for the return to school and can’t wait to see all of our students again from yr7-11. We know that you have been working hard in your live lessons and we have been super proud of the work we have been sent from our students.
Miss Haycock and I have been working behind the scenes on some exciting new ideas for KS3 Geography including a ‘suggested’ reading competition and club. This will hopefully launch before Easter but if you would like to know more please discuss with myself, Miss Haycock or Mrs Spilberg in the Library.
We have also been developing our ‘Stop the Clocks’ curriculum. Stop the Clocks is an exciting opportunity to pause our current learning and study an exciting real life event. Our first project for yr7-9 will be to study the Census 2021. Census 2021 will be launched on Sunday 21st March 2021. Not only is this a ‘one in a 10yr event’ but it’s also a perfect opportunity for our students to draw together all of their knowledge and understanding of our Population and Development topics. We look forward to starting this with you when you return!
See you soon and take care.
Mrs Cooper- Head of Humanities
House Lockdown Cup
There is only 9 days remaining of the Lockdown Cup competition, which ends on Sunday 7th March. It has been an incredible effort so far and with just over a week left, one final big effort may just see CRA sneak into the top 3 across the whole trust.
Aqua were January House Lockdown Cup champions, however it is Caeli who are currently in the lead for February. There is potential for this all to change this weekend, with two days remaining to add to the house February Totals. Current scores for this month can be seen from the image above.
Over half term we made fantastic progress on our Virtual Tour of Europe and have just this week reached Barcelona and are on route to Madrid. Reaching Madrid will take CRA’s overall Lockdown Cup total past 6,000km. So far we have visited 11 destinations (and counting) and have provided short video to showcase some of the destinations sightseeing sports with some interesting facts on our social media platforms. Our tour so far has taken us from CRA to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, Warsaw, Budapest, Vienna, Venice, Rome, Monaco, Barcelona and we now have Madrid in our sights.
To reach Madrid we have to travel a further 600km, which is more than achievable as an academy, this weekend.
JOIN US AND TAKE PART BY SIMPLY GOING FOR A WALK, JOG, CYCLE OR ROW (NEW!) AND EMAIL A SCREENSHOT OF YOUR DISTANCE to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
You can keep track with the progress on our Lockdown Cup ‘Tour of Europe’ via our Twitter and Instagram accounts (@CRA_HouseChamp).
Photography House Competition
The first house competition of this term requires students to showcase their creativity through photography. Provided with a ‘Town and Country’ theme students, staff and wider families have till Sunday 28th February to submit their best photo which they feel captures ‘Town and/or Country’ the best. Details of how to enter are shown below
Mr Webb - Games Master
On Monday, our whole school assembly will focus on Cultural Diversity. As part of the House competitions we will be asking you to get involved and support your child with an entry. We would love to see a picture of your family at the dinner table, (it can be backs of heads if you prefer!) taking the time to talk through this quote by Stephen Covey.
We would also love to then listen to a snippet of that conversation, either in the form of a paragraph/summarising sentence or even a voice clip of you talking. We really want you to get involved in our table talk each week as the topics always align with our focus in school and will therefore support your child and help you feel involved in that process.
We really hope you will get involved in this competition. More information to follow from the Games Master.
Word of the Week
Bi: two (Latin word root)
- Binary relating to, composed of, or involving two things.
- An explanation of what it means to be non-binary
- Binoculars an optical instrument with a lens for each eye, used for viewing distant objects.
- Bisexual sexually attracted not exclusively to people of one particular gender; attracted to both men and women.
At the end of all lessons students stand behind their chairs in silence to prepare for themselves for the next lesson. From September, on a weekly rota, Years 7 and 8 will be reciting their timetables to help embed them in their long term memory.
Week commencing 1st March - 13 times table
Week commencing 1st March during period 2
Year 11 Focus
It is great to see that the year 11 have a clear direction forward after this week’s announcement. It is pleasing to know that we will all be back in school in a week's time with real clarity on what will happen academically for the rest of the year and be able to share that with you. The first thing that I would like to say is how proud we are of you all with your dedication and hard work over this period, working tirelessly to make sure that you have the vital knowledge to prove you deserve the best possible grade and to prepare yourselves for future study. You have all been paragons of the CRA values of Resilience, Ambition and Courage.
The second thing I would like to say is to try to stay calm, the news and social media will be full of comments and speculations about GCSE and BTEC results and how these will be awarded. Once you are in school, we will have an assembly where we will explain fully what is happening and how we plan on proceeding. These conversations will happen across the Trust to make sure that we have clear plan that we can share with you all.
We will all need to adjust to the ‘new normal’ and we will need to make sure we balance much-needed social interaction with a focus on study for the remaining few months. The best use of this time will be for teachers to be aware of any gaps in your skills and learning and allow them to inform you of what they are and help you close them.
We are all really looking forward to having you in school, and able to help you reach your potential. Please stay focused and keep up the hard work with the online learning and the ‘My tutor sessions’.
Mr Young - Raising Standards Lead
Here is a link to a really useful article for parents about how to manage all the additional responsibilities you might find yourself with whilst in lockdown.
We hope you find this useful.
The Sporting Post
We are extremely excited to share with you the details for our upcoming event, “An Evening with Ben Pritchard”, which will take place on 6th March, 5:00pm and will be held live on YouTube (private link).
A former cyclist and triathlete, Ben Pritchard became paralysed from the waist down after a cycling crash in September 2016. He first took up indoor rowing during his rehab at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and was quickly spotted by British Rowing staff, joining the para development squad in 2017 and hopes to compete at the Paralympics later this year.
His incredible story will be shared in a live talk and workshop, followed by a Q&A where we will be asking each participant to prepare a question for Ben.
If you'd like to get involved please follow this link to sign onto the session:
This session is by invite only so if you'd like to participate make sure to sign on!
Miss Dickson - Sports Enrichment Officer
Created with images by Wokandapix - "classroom school education" • PublicDomainPictures - "biology research laboratory" • Peggy_Marco - "financial equalization help stock exchange" • aitoff - "loving memory memorial" • geralt - "volunteers hands voluntary" • cocoparisienne - "texture background compass" • ArtisticOperations - "school bus houston texas street" • geralt - "road sign town sign success" • geralt - "dream job application location" • m_ming - "chalk colorful dust" • geralt - "technology developer continents" • maciej326 - "globus earth world" • sasint - "grandmother kids laptop" • Wild0ne - "typewriter vintage write" • geralt - "learn mathematics child" • Alexas_Fotos - "stickies post-it list" • truthseeker08 - "hand united together" • Yusuke64 - "rowing boat sports" • Sarajulhaq786 - "end new year calendar celebrate celebration"