Our Ref: 2022/070/AND/SAF
15th February 2022
Firstly, I would like to once again thank you for your support over the past half-term. As has been the case with many schools across the country, we have yet again had to overcome significant challenges with regards to Covid19. We have seen significant numbers of staff isolating alongside a high volume of students testing positive, but I am pleased to say that this wave appears to have receded and we have been able to end the term with a sense of normality.
As we near the end of the two year pandemic, I am increasingly aware and concerned about the number of students and families in our community who continue to suffer from their experiences and the continued challenges that they are presented with. To this end, and as services in the community have been drastically reduced, I wanted to remind you all that we have invested in an Academy Counsellor to support the mental health and wellbeing of our students. We also have a dedicated Family Support Worker whose role is to engage with families who require support with accessing free school meals, school uniform, and accessing any additional support. In addition to this, given the challenges faced nationwide caused by anti-social behaviour, we have been and will continue to work closely with the local police to support the whole community as much as possible.
Throughout this term I have been very proud of the achievements of our students. Our Student Leadership Team are working hard to represent the views of our student body and they have also launched an environmental project to reduce the prevalence of single use plastics in the academy. Our student leaders are the voice of our students, gathering student feedback through tutor time, and I would encourage all students to be involved in shaping the direction of the academy. To enable us to understand the experiences of our students, we conduct termly student surveys. The highlights from the most recent student survey tell us that:
- 93% of respondents agreed that they enjoyed school with 98% feeling safe in the academy.
- 86% of students knew who they could talk to if they had an issue or problem.
- Specifically on student behaviour, 95% felt behaviour around the academy was mostly good and 92% believe that behaviour in lessons was good most of the time.
- 92% of students felt they were rewarded within the academy, however, comments showed that this wasn’t consistent and they didn’t understand the value of these rewards.
This information is crucial for academy leaders to direct the work of academy improvement and to ensure that our students are able to tell us how they feel about their academy.
As a parent and Principal, I am acutely aware of the extent to which incidents of bullying and the inappropriate use of social media have been impacting the wellbeing of young people across the country and wanted to urge you all to ensure that all incidents are reported to the academy. Incidents can be reported to any adult including Personal Tutors, Heads of Year, and even through our dedicated anti-bullying lead Ms Frost [email protected]. When an incident occurs on social media or in the community, we will work with the police and relevant authorities to support our young people.
All of our academy staff are focussed on creating a safe space for our students to learn and we will not tolerate any incidents around the inappropriate use of social media, and in particular, where these incidents lead to bullying. I must ask for the support of all parents to ensure that together we can educate our students and children to be kind to one another.
As you will know, we have recently devoted curriculum time to the current national challenges of peer-on-peer abusive and sexual harassment; we will continue to deliver important messages regarding healthy relationships through our PSHE provision. This is an issue that no academy can overcome alone and I ask for the support of our parents and carers to work together for the good of the community. It is crucially important that you support us by reiterating to your children that such behaviour is not acceptable. Further resources on these topics can be found at:
- Young Minds
- Safeguarding Network
- Barnardos Support Hub
- NSPCC, Healthy Relationships
Please can I share some dates for your diary. This half-term ends on Friday 18th February. Our dedicated staff are delivering sessions to selected Year 11 students during the break and you will have been contacted directly regarding these sessions. We have a staff development day on Monday 28th February and the new term begins for students on Tuesday 1st March. Looking further ahead, our final staff development day of the year is planned for Friday 25th March.
As we enter the spring term we would like to remind students and families about our uniform expectations. As previously communicated, all students should attend every day in full academy uniform, a list of which can be found on our website. When students have PE or Dance they should bring their full academy kit and change at school.
You will be aware that to provide additional ventilation we have asked that windows be open in classrooms and we have allowed students to wear extra items of clothing to remain warm. Following the half-term break, as the weather begins to improve, it will no longer be necessary for students to wear coats or additional layers on top of their uniform in classrooms. In addition, hoodies are not part of our academy uniform and any student wearing a hoodie in school will be asked to remove the item of clothing and hand in for safe keeping until the end of the day.
It has been a pleasure to continue to meet directly with members of the community through the parent drop-in sessions. The open forum nature of the sessions has proved valuable to not only get to know our parents and carers but also as a source of academy improvement. If there is an issue you wish to raise with me directly or you want to be part of the academy community, you are most welcome. The next parent drop-in session takes place on Wednesday 16th February at 16.30.
All of us at Amington are extremely proud of our wonderful students and once again, thank you for your support.
Mr A Deen