Friday, May 7, 2021

Academy Update : Friday 7th May

I want to start this week's update by expressing how incredibly proud I am of the vast majority of our students and the way they have continued to cope with the COVID-19 restrictions we have in place. It has not been easy to work in bubbles for such a long time but this has been a necessary safety precaution to mitigate against Covid-19. Our students have shown just how resilient they are from wearing face coverings and constantly using hand sanitizer to maintaining social distancing between year groups. Thank you to all of them.

Since reopening fully in March, we have avoided any partial or whole-school closures, but we have seen a number of positive Covid-19 cases impact other local schools. Many students have been sent home to self-isolate as a result.

Please can I reinforce just how important it is to continue to self-test (Sunday Wednesday evenings) and report your results in the usual way.

Remember: Do not send your child to school if they are showing any symptoms of Covid-19.

Year 7 Transition : September Intake 2021

We are very much looking forward to our new Year 7 intake beginning their KBA journey in September 2021 and lots of work is already going on behind the scenes in order to make your transition as smooth as possible.

If you have a child who will be joining us please visit the relevant page of our website which can be found here for information, advice and guidance relating to the move from Year 6 into Year 7.

Praise Postcards

Our pastoral leaders are sending out 3 Congratulations postcards each week to students who they feel have embodied our core values of respect, determination and ambition.

Please look out for these in the post and check our main Twitter account @kbuccleucha every Friday as we tweet names out via this each week.

Safety First

Could I politely ask students and parents not to use the path that runs up to the allotments from Scott Road to Brambleside. 

Jeakins Weir, who are responsible for the new housing development near this location, have raised significant concerns about the numbers of students using the road which runs through the development. 

This is of particular concern at the end of the school day when students are leaving in large numbers at the same time. Whilst Jeakins Weir are managing traffic movements on the site and  avoiding deliveries at school times, there is still a significant amount of activity on site and we feel it would be safer for pupils and parents to avoid using the path for the length of the development site. We recommend you use an alternative route for your safety.

Online Safety : Omegle

We are aware that growing number of students, particularly, in younger year groups, are using a social media site called Omegle.

There are safeguarding concerns surrounding this site and it is important that parents are aware of the potential risks so that they can discuss these with their children.

The image below provides some information and you can become better informed by reading the more detailed guidance surrounding Omegle which is provided by Think U Know and can be found here.

Reporting Student Absence

If your child is unable to attend school due to illness or other unforeseen circumstances, can I please remind parents and carers to use one of the following methods to notify us:

1.    Email :

  • If notifying us by email please provide the student's name, your relationship to the student, the student's year group and tutor group and a detailed reason for absence.

2.    Telephone :  01536 515644 

  • If notifying us by telephone please select option 2 to report student absence.  
  • For students in Years R – 11 please then select option 1.  For Sixth Form students, please ensure you then select option 2. 
  • If notifying us by telephone please provide the student's name, your relationship to the student, the student's year group and tutor group and a detailed reason for absence.

3.    Send a message through the Parent Arbor App.

Please remember to inform school as early as possible and before 8.30am at the very latest if your child is not going to be in that day.

If your child's absence continues beyond one day it is important that you contact us to provide absence information on every subsequent day.


On the whole, our students, with great parental support, have shown a fantastic attitude towards punctuality.

Can I please ask that, if you know your child will be late due to unforeseen circumstances such as traffic congestion a call is made to the academy's main reception in order to inform them of this fact.

Mental Health Awareness Week

Kettering Buccleuch Academy is celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week which begins on Monday 10 May 2021.

This year the theme is Nature and how connecting with the natural world can support good mental health.

The week, which is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, is in its 21st year and runs up to Sunday 16th May.

This year, the theme for the week is ‘Nature’. Across the country, people will be celebrating the mental health benefits of being around nature in their local community in a range of digital and creative ways. 

Mark Rowland Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation said: “Mental Health Awareness Week has grown to be one of the biggest awareness weeks in the UK. This year the theme is on nature and its central role for our mental health.  

Some of the ways people can participate in Mental Health Awareness Week:

  • During Mental Health Awareness Week, why not try to make a habit each day of connecting to the nature in your local area? Stop to listen to the birdsong, smell the freshly cut grass, take care of a house plant, notice any trees, flowers or animals nearby. Take a moment to appreciate these connections.  
  • Share images/videos/or just sound recordings of the nature on your doorstep (and how this made you feel) on social media using #ConnectWithNature and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek
  • Use Mental Health Foundation resources in your family, workplace and community to join with thousands of people who will be finding new ways to connect with nature in their local environment. 

For more information about this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week click here or join the conversation on social media using #ConnectWithNature and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

Personally, I will be trying to find time this weekend to enjoy some fresh air and make connections with the natural world around me.

Best wishes


Thursday, April 29, 2021

Academy Update : Friday 30th April

It seems amazing that we have already reached the end of April - the academic year really does seem to accelerate as we move towards summer. I hope that you are all looking forward to the Bank Holiday weekend (let's hope we have some sunshine) and, of course, remind you that the academy is closed on Monday 3rd May.

As ever, there is lots of information in this week's update and I hope that you find this useful.

Town Hall Meeting : Tuesday 25th May 

Our next Town Hall Meeting will take place on Tuesday 25th May. We have listened to feedback from parents regarding the structure of these meetings and, moving forwards, information relevant to all parents will be shared at the start of the meeting with information relating to older students being shared towards the end. 

Parents' Evenings

We held our first Virtual Parents Evening since our return to school yesterday evening and I wanted to thank all parents of Year 8 students who made their attendance at this event a priority. Our next Virtual Parents Evening, for parents and carers of Year 7 students takes place on Thursday 6th May.

The feedback we have had from both parents and teachers in relation to virtual parents evenings has been almost entirely positive, with a strong sense that this is one of the changes brought on by Covid-19 that has brought about a more efficient way of working. Parents have appreciated the convenience of being able to talk to teachers from home, the fact that appointments tend to be grouped together better and that they run to time. 

We are aware that some parents may want a longer appointment time bute cannot do this as the current timings, for a typically sized class, just fit within a reasonable length of evening for teachers and allow the majority of appointments to be within a time frame that is not too onerous for parents. Typically, our feedback indicates that the 5 minute appointments are sufficient for most subjects. Where a parent feels that they need more time to talk about a particular subject, or issue in school, we would encourage the parent to contact the Head of Year or Form tutor so that we can look at the best way to arrange that conversation in addition to the parents’ evening.


As we have now been back in school for a period of several weeks it is important that we ensure that students are re-introduced to the routines that help them to become more successful. One of these routines is homework.

Years to 10 have begun to have homework set again on a regular basis. Initially, teachers will be setting 50% of the amount that would normally set. We do not want to overload students and feel that this gradual reintroduction is both appropriate and sensitive. Miss Omelasz spoke with all students in these year groups in their assembly last Monday to clarify the approach to homework moving forwards. During the assembly, students were also reminded of the need to check Satchel:One (Show My Homework) to ensure that they do not miss any work that has been set for completion at home.

We will be monitoring students' completion of homework with the reintroduction of homework detentions for those who do not meet our expectations being introduced in due course.

Lateral Flow Tests – May Update

Thank you to all parents, carers and students for your continued support in administrating the twice weekly lateral flow tests and recording the results with both KBA and the NHS.

We would like to encourage you to read an article titled ‘Why reporting your test is as important as taking a test’ which has been published by the Department for Education and can be found HERE.

As we enter the month of May we will be making some changes to the way we communicate our links every Wednesday and Sunday in order to reduce the number of texts that the school is sending.

We will now be sharing the links:

  •    By email on the day of each test
  •    On the website in the ‘Lateral Flow Testing Information’ banner
  •    In this weekly Academy Update

Students will receive a further supply of 7 Lateral Flow tests on Tuesday 4th May during their registration period.

Web links to inform KBA of results throughout May

Date of Test

Web Link to inform KBA of results

Sunday 2nd May

Wednesday 5th May

Sunday 9th May

Wednesday 12th May

Sunday 16th May

Wednesday 19th May

Sunday 23rd May

Wednesday 26th May

Sunday 30th May

What happens if a student tests positive from a home Lateral Flow Test?

Email with the name of the student, tutor group and the date/time that the test was taken so that we can identify students that have had close contact and support with any next steps.

Order or arrange for a confirmatory PCR test. Get a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus - GOV.UK (

Students that have tested positive from a home Lateral Flow Test should self-isolate for 10 days and await the result of the confirmatory PCR test.

Other household members should also self-isolate for 10 days and follow the NHS guidance. Your coronavirus (COVID-19) test result - NHS (

The school will identify ‘close contacts’ of the student who tested positive and they will need to self-isolate for 10 days.

If the confirmatory PCR test is NEGATIVE then students and the ‘close contacts’ will be permitted to attend school on the following day. 

Students that test positive from a home lateral flow test cannot return to school until either the 10 days has elapsed OR the tested negative from the confirmatory PCR test.

Students identified as ‘close contacts’ cannot return to school until either the 10 days has elapsed OR the student who originally tested posted subsequently tested negative from the confirmatory PCR test.

Frequently asked questions

If my child does not take the test, can they still come into school?

Whilst of course we are strongly encouraging our whole school community to engage with the home testing process, taking part is voluntary and all students will be able to attend school whether they take part in testing or not.

Can other family members use the tests that KBA have provided?

Schools have only been allocated Lateral Flow tests for students and staff of the academy, should parents/carers wish to get Lateral Flow Tests for family members then please use the link here.

We have lost the tests but still wish to be tested, can we get any replacements?

Should you lose the tests or run out due to void results then please contact and we will arrange further ts to be made available.

When will we receive new tests?

Students will receive a further supply of 7 Lateral Flow tests on Tuesday 4th May during their registration period.

Are we carrying on with Lateral Flow Tests throughout the Summer Term?

The most recent guidance provided by the DFE indicates that Lateral Flow Tests are to continue for the foreseeable future and we expect that they will continue for the remainder of this academic year.


In discussions with students, and through feedback from surveys and questionnaires, it has become clear that the overwhelming majority of students would like further opportunities to support the environment and reduce the carbon footprint at KBA. As a result of this, the Student Council have identified this as a key priority for development at KBA.

We are committed to the "Three Rs" (Reduce, Re-use and Recycle) and have already purchased 50 new recycling bins which we hope to help us achieve recycle a much higher percentage of our waste.

Every member of the KBA community has a responsibility to play their part in reducing the waste that cannot be recycled and Mr Thres shared this with students in a recent assembly. Students were made aware that, when disposing of litter, they should check if it can be recycled and, if this is the case, place it in one of our new orange bins which can be seen below between Mr Ball and Mr Phillips. 

Big Ask Survey

You may have heard on the news about the Children’s commissioner who is launching ‘The Big Ask’ survey. It is designed to help get a picture of the experiences, hopes and fears of young people to inform plans made in government and more widely for the future.

Students can complete the survey using this link.

The Children’s Commissioner is also asking parents to contribute their views to the survey. You can do this by clicking here.

Thinking Ahead

We always encourage our students to think ahead in relation to the possibilities that are available to them and we would like to congratulate Flora, Emily, Jessica, Rhianne and Emma in Year 10 for attending the London Girls Maths Outreach Event at Imperial College London on Tuesday of this week. 

The session was run by some of Imperial College’s PHD students and our 5 students, amongst others from around the country, were asked to participate and attempt a range of maths problems. We are proud that our students attended this event and managed to secure a place on the leader board. The girls found this a valuable insight into the life of a Maths academic and where this path could lead to. 

Best wishes


Useful Information, Advice and Guidance

Invitation For Parents: Success Beyond School

The seminars below are free of charge and aimed at parents of students aged 12-18. Please take a look if this is of interest to you.
Tuesday 11th May: Own The Room
Power up your child's public speaking skills; vital for any career

Wednesday 9th June: Success in the City
How to land a top job in the City: law, finance, consultancy and more

NSPCC Helpline

The Department for Education has commissioned the NSPCC to establish  a dedicated independent helpline for people who have experienced abuse in education. The Report Abuse in Education helpline comes after a high number of anonymous testimonials were submitted to the Everyone’s Invited website, documenting abuse in all types of schools, colleges, and universities.

The helpline went live on 1 April, and will provide both children and adults who have experienced sexual abuse in schools with support and advice, including onward action such as contacting the police if they wish to. The helpline will also provide support to parents and professionals. Anyone who gets in touch through this dedicated helpline will also be signposted to other relevant support services available, including Childline, which provides ongoing support and counselling to children and young people.

The dedicated and confidential NSPCC helpline – Report Abuse in Education can be reached on 0800 136 663 or by email at

Time Out For Parents Parenting Workshops

Friday, April 23, 2021

Academy Update : Friday 23rd April

We have reached the end of the second week of this term and time seems to really be flying by now. We have enjoyed some find dry weather and I hope that this continues over the weekend so that you are able to enjoy time outdoors with your family and friends.

Can I please ask that all parents take the time to check that their children are bringing all necessary equipment to school each day. It is vitally important that time is not wasted at the start of lessons with staff having to hand out pens, pencils, etc.

It would also be appreciated if parents could ensure that students are wearing the correct uniform, including correct PE kit of PE days. We have a smart, practical uniform and appreciate your support in maintaining high standards.

Curriculum Changes 2021-22

 At the Town Hall meeting on Monday 19th April Mr Holmes spoke about the changes to our curriculum model for the next academic year. In summary they are:

  • All Key Stage 3 students to have 3 lessons of PE each week
  • All Key Stage 3 students to study Food on a 6 week rotation during the year
  • All Key Stage 3 students to study Design Technology for one lesson each week
  • All Year 10 students to study RE for one lesson each week leading to a GCSE RE short course qualification


I am really pleased to be able to offer our students more time for sport and physical education. Lock down has meant large number of students have not been as active as they usually would have been and we want to ensure all our students have access to this. This extra provision, alongside the work on nutrition they will do in their Food lessons, will help us to ensure our students are healthy and happy.


During the meeting Mr Holmes also published the finish times for students next year. He has also emailed a letter to all parents with this information so please read this carefully. The following later finish times will apply to students from September 2021:


Full start and finish times will be published as soon as we receive Government guidance on COVID restrictions in school from September.

Year 11 Period 7 (Voluntary)

Any Year 11 students choosing to stay for period 7 on Tuesday and Thursday should go to S201 and S202.  This includes students who have arranged a session with a member of staff.  We will move students to a computer room, if they need one.

Year 11 Period 7 (Compulsory)

If you are completing coursework, you must remain as you would normally.  Contact will be made with parents prior to this.

Year 11 Students with Access Arrangements

If you have been told that you have extra time, please go to S207 and you will have an opportunity to complete the task/s set in lessons. You will need to stay until 4pm so bring extra work if needed. If you have more than one task to complete, it will probably be possible to complete more. Please note extra time students, can complete tasks on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Observation Of Teachers

Earlier in the academic year we notified parents of a change to procedures relating to the observation of teachers within the academy, largely prompted by Covid-19 restrictions.


To avoid having unnecessary members of staff in classrooms we have been using a device called Swivl to monitor some of our trainee teachers and enable us to give them feedback. This is already common practice across many schools and is purely for the purpose of improving our trainees.


Swivl works by filming the teacher from the back of the classroom. The member of staff has a remote control, which they keep in their pocket, so the camera tracks them at the front of the room. The device is set up to try, wherever possible, to only capture the teacher and limit, as best they can capturing student faces.

The video of the lesson is only shared between the trainee teacher and their mentor and will not be used for any other purpose.


I am sure you will understand the need for this under current circumstances in order to help us maintain social distancing between staff and students.

Have a great weekend


Friday, April 16, 2021

Academy Update : Friday 16th April

I hope that this week’s update finds you and your loved ones well and that you were able to enjoy the recent Easter break, especially considering the lifting of some of the Covid-19 restrictions around being able to see more of your family and friends: these are welcome changes but as we are told by the Government and SAGE repeatedly, we must be cautious and adhere to the rules still in place stringently.

Virtual Town Hall Meeting

Our next Virtual Town Hall Meeting takes place next Monday (19th April) at 7:00pm. Please try to join us if you can as this is the best way to keep up to date with everything that is happening here at the academy. 

I will be providing information about a range of things that are happening including   an overview of how we will be working with an online tuition company called MyTutor. This involves online tuition being delivered to 60 of our Year 10 students. The tuition is weekly, starts on Wednesday 21st May and will cover Maths, English or Science. If you have any questions about this tuition following the meeting you can email Miss Omelasz (

You can access the meeting via this link.

Face Coverings

On 6th April, the Government updated their guidance on the wearing of face coverings in educational settings and students, staff and other adults are still expected to wear them in classrooms, in communal areas such as corridors and stair wells. This will be reviewed on the 17th May by the Department for Education. Until that point, we must request that your child, unless exempt for medical reasons or other conditions outlined in the Government’s guidance, continue to wear a face covering at all times inside the academy building.

Face coverings, however, do not need to be worn outside of buildings on the premises due to indoors being deemed as a greater risk. They must though be replaced as students re-enter corridors and other communal areas including classrooms. I need everyone to pull together and support the academy in enforcing this Government requirement at this precarious time.

As nation, we are following a ‘roadmap’ to the easing of restrictions on the 21st June and we cannot be complacent and must do all do our bit as no individual can see themselves as being more important than the wider community and society as a whole. I am immensely proud of the way our students have responded to this health crisis, but a very small minority of students have still needed to be reminded that wearing face coverings in classrooms and communal areas is not just a school rule for the sake of it but is part of Government guidance. Whilst uncomfortable and an irritation for all of us, both UK Government and its scientific advisers - as well as the World Health Organisation - stipulate that face coverings should be worn as a preventative measure.

Active Travel

The roads in the immediate proximity of the academy can be very busy in the morning and at the end of the school day. This is particularly evident on Weekley Glebe Road, Almond Road and Scott Road.

Unfortunately, we have to recognise the fact that some drivers park irresponsibly, potentially placing children in danger and causing an inconvenience to other road users and residents.

In order to try to address this situation we have been working closely with Modeshift and Brightkidz in order to create a 5-minute protective Walking Bubble around our school so that everyone can travel safely and actively to school. This area can be identified by pavement markers such as the one below.

We would like to ask all parents who bring their children to school by car to park responsibly at least five minutes walk away from the school entrance used by their child. The map below shows this area.

There is also a ‘Park and Stride’ car park area at the end of Weekley Glebe Road/Stamford Road where parents and carers who have to drive can easily park so their children can walk some of the way to school.


Please encourage and help your child to walk or cycle to school if they are able to do so. If your child does cycle to school we also actively encourage you to ensure that they wear appropriate high visibility clothing and a cycle helmet. 


Thank you for helping to protect the lives of all the children and families who attend our school. Your example will encourage other parents to also #StayStayGetActive on their journey to school.

Parents’ Evenings

Please be aware that we have made some changes to the dates of Parents’ Evenings scheduled for Years 7 and 8 this term. The new dates for these events are as follows:

  • Year 8 – Thursday 29th April between 5:00pm and 8:20pm – this went live to parents on Thursday 15th April at 4:00pm
  • Year 7 – Thursday 6th May between 5:00pm and 8:20pm – this will go live to parents on Thursday of next week at 4:00pm

Appointments can be booked online via the link on the homepage of our website.

Wednesday Webinars (For parents of students in Years 9-13)

Following the success of last term's Wednesday Webinars, Aspire Higher are pleased to confirm that these informal webinars designed for parents/carers will be continuing until July 2021. 

The schedule for forthcoming Wednesday Webinars is below

28th April 2021

Student Finance – Questions concerning the application process 10.30am only 

12th May 2021

NSPCC – Online safety

26th May 2021

Virtual tours – How to support your young person

9th June 2021


23rd June 2021

Year 11: What’s next? Supporting your young person after GCSEs

7th July 2021

Parents Year 13: Clearing and Adjustment. 

To sign up please register on event bright using the link below:

Should you have any questions or would like to be added to the UniConnect mailing list to ensure you do not miss out on any future parent sessions, please contact

Combined Cadet Force

45 students from Year 9 have recently joined the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme which we run through our Combined Cadet Force.

These students will be training during Wednesday lunchtimes in the Year 9 bubble and will have the chance to learn new expedition skills and start their volunteering, physical and skills sections. 

The cadets have enjoyed their return to physical training and have spent the last few weeks revising the essential navigation and survival skills they learnt last year but have not had time to practice. The 'cooking in the field' lesson was a highlight but it seems the chocolate in the rations rather than the cooked items were the favourite. 

Over the next few months we hope to take advantage of the better weather and continue to develop the cadets’ teamwork and leadership skills. 

Year 11 have worked very hard to complete the coursework element of the course and they have learnt lots about designing and implementing a fitness training programme; one that they can now complete for their own physical training now lockdown is easing. 

I would also like to congratulate all the cadets and DofE participants who took part in recent charity fund raising, especially Justin Perkins and Chloe Constable who received prizes for the distances completed and funds raised.

Finally, I hope you have a good weekend and are able to gain a sense of greater freedom now that lockdown restrictions have started to ease.

Take care.


Thursday, March 25, 2021

Academy Update : Friday 26th March

It's nearly the end of a very strange term where we started with students accessing live lessons online before, thankfully, being able to welcome our wonderful students back into the building.

We have been pleased to be able to provide updates regarding a range of topics from the awarding of GCSE and Advanced Level grades to the administration of lateral flow testing at home. Thank you to all those who have joined our regular Town Hall Meetings. We hope you have found these useful. 

If you missed the meeting on Monday 22nd March you can watch a recording of it here.

The dates for our next Virtual Town Hall Meetings for secondary parents are below:

  • Monday 19th April at 7:00pm
  • Monday 24th May at 7:00pm

The impending holidays are, of course, a great chance to relax, play and recharge batteries for what is bound to be both a rewarding and tiring summer term. I would like to encourage everyone (students, parents and staff) to take a break from their screens for at least part of the holiday period.F

Lateral Flow Testing At Home

As you will already be aware, on Wednesday 17th March the Department for Education confirmed that they would like students to conduct lateral flow tests at home throughout the Easter Holidays so as to maintain a regular twice weekly routine of testing to help combat the spread of Covid-19.

The schedule for home testing that must be followed is below.

Home Test

Evening of…

Home Test #1 – Transition to home testing

Evening of Thursday 18th March

Home Test #2

Evening of Sunday 21st March

Home Test #3

Evening of Wednesday 24th March

Home Test #4

Evening of Sunday 28th March

Home Test #5

Evening of Wednesday 31st March

Home Test #6

Evening of Sunday 4th April

Home Test #7

Evening of Wednesday 7th April

Home Test #8

Evening of Sunday 11th April

Home Test #9

Evening of Wednesday 14th April

Once the result has been confirmed please ensure that the following steps are taken:

  1. Report the result* to the NHS by following the process as outlined on page 15 of the UPDATED 'Your step-by-step guide for Covid-19 self-testing' (15 January 2021 Version 1.3.2) issued with the test kits.  
  2. Report the result* to KBA by using the link that we will provide.  This link will be sent at approximately 6pm on the evening of Thursday 18th March and will be sent to all legal and primary guardians by SMS and email.
*All Negative, Positive and Void results should be reported to both the NHS and KBA.

Positive results from rapid tests undertaken at home must be confirmed with a standard PCR test. This is because these tests are not conducted in a controlled environment and will not have trained staff on hand. Following a positive test at home, a confirmatory PCR test should be booked online or by calling 119. Whilst awaiting the PCR result, the pupil or student and their close contacts should self-isolate. If the PCR test is negative, it overrides the self-test LFD test (at home only) and a child (+ close contacts) can return to school.

Frequently asked questions

I am still not sure what Lateral Flow Testing is. Can you explain it?

The best place to go for clarification of the lateral flow testing process is the webpage found here.

Can other family members use the tests that KBA have provided?

Schools have only been allocated lateral flow tests for students and staff of the academy. Should parents/carers wish to get lateral flow tests for family members then please do so via the Government's website.

When will we receive new tests?

Once students return to school after the Easter holiday we will provide all students with more packs of 3 tests and also provide a schedule of testing to all parents and carers.  This will reflect any new guidance that we receive from the DfE.

Online Safety

I would like to take this opportunity to promote Parent Zone who have lots of ideas to make make the Easter break enjoyable. Their lockdown hub includes loads of inspiration, from ideas to entertain children when you’re stuck at home to screen-time advice and you can access these by clicking here.

All these changes to routine, not to mention being separated from friends again, can make children feel anxious. Th Parent Zone Ollee app has been developed with Children in Need to stop small worries turning into bigger ones. It's a great tool for parents and children to use over the holidays, together or – completely safely – separately, with masses of friendly advice and ideas. Again, you can access this by clicking here.

One thing that the most recent lockdown has proved beyond doubt is how dependent we all are on the internet. As we also know to our cost, though, not everything online is true or even well-intentioned. In the latest episode of the Parent Zone podcast, Tech Shock, Vicki and Geraldine talk about fighting misinformation with Nicola Aitken of Full Fact. Questions answered include 'Why does misinformation sometimes make us feel good?', 'What kind of person believes conspiracy theories?' and 'What do you need to know to identify online lies?' You can read this article for a taster, or listen to the podcast here

Over the Easter break Parent Zone are inviting parents to a very special Google Be Internet Legends online live session about sharing carefully.  

Parents can tune in here on Tuesday 30th March at 3:30pm for tips on protecting private and personal information. 

What Is PSHE / RSE / SMSC?

Your first thoughts on reading the sub-heading above may well be ‘What do these acronyms mean?’ Here is the answer:

  • PSHE is Personal, Social and health Education
  • RSHE is Relationships and Sex Education
  • SMSC is Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural Education

Some aspects of our PSHE/RSE/SMSC programme of study incorporate challenging topics, and we make no apologies in ensuring that these are delivered to all our students in a safe learning environment. This is so our students can ask questions, learn about common misconceptions and prejudices, and be able to make their own informed decisions and choices, after being presented with the full facts.

All curriculum areas have a contribution to a child's development in these areas and opportunities for this will be planned in each area of the curriculum. Belief values, principles and spirituality will be explored across the curriculum. The integrity and spirituality of faith backgrounds will be respected and explored. The diversity of spiritual traditions will be recognised, and students will be given access to alternative views.

The Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education (England) Regulations 2019, made under sections 34 and 35 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017, make Relationships and Sex Education compulsory for all pupils receiving secondary education

All students in Years 7 to 11 have a weekly 'Jigsaw' session delivered by their form tutor. This programme is the foundation of our PSHE work with students and is supported by discrete activities  which take place in other areas of the curriculum.

The information below provides an overview of what will be covered in these sessions in Term 5.

Year 7 Focus 

Characteristics of healthy relationships, healthy romantic relationships, consent, relationships and change, emotions within friendships, being discerning, assertiveness, sexting.

Year 8 Focus 

Positive relationship with self, social media and relationship with self, negative self-talk, managing a range of relationships, personal space, online etiquette, online privacy and personal safety, coercion, unhealthy balance of power in relationships, sources of support.

Year 9 Focus 

Power and control in intimate relationships, risk in intimate relationships, importance of sexual consent, assertiveness skills, sex and the law, pornography and stereotypes, contraception choices, family planning, STIs, support and advice services.

Year 10 Focus 

Sustaining long-term relationships, relationship choices, ending relationships safely, consequence of relationships ending e.g.bullying, revenge porn, grief-cycle. Divorce and separation, impact of family breakup on children, understanding love, fake news and rumour-mongering, abuse in teenage relationships. Legislation, support and advice.

Year 11 Focus 

Stages of intimate relationships, positive and negative connotations of sex, protecting sexual and reproductive health, safely ending relationships, spectrum of gender and sexuality, LGBT+ rights and protection under the Equality Act, “coming out” challenges, LGBT+ media stereotypes, power, control and sexual experimentation, forced marriage, honour-based violence, FGM and other abuses, hate crime, sources of support.

Our PSHE/RSE/SMSC policy is available to all parents on our website and can be found Here.

Should you have any questions relating to this aspect of the curriculum please contact Mr Thres, Assistant Principal, via

Careers and employability

At three points in the academic year we ask students in years 7-13 to update their post-16 and post-18 intentions through the Unifrog platform. These intentions give us an indication of their current aspirations when they leave the academy at the end of year 11 or year 13. This information also allows us to plan appropriate careers activities for each student throughout the year, in line with Gatsby Benchmark 3.

“What are Gatsby benchmarks?” I hear you ask.

The fast-changing world of work puts an ever-greater demand on all of us to support young people in making a successful transition from education to employment, helping them to identify and choose career opportunities that are right for them.

The government’s Careers Strategy, published in 2017, and statutory guidance for school leaders and school staff, published in 2018, set out the plan for building a high- quality careers system that will help young people to achieve.

Thanks to Sir John Holman and The Gatsby Charitable Foundation, we have a clear blueprint of what good careers provision looks like. The eight Gatsby Benchmarks are based on best national and international research and define all the elements of an excellent careers programme.

The Gatsby Benchmarks are at the heart of our work relating to careers and employability. Here they are:

We are now at our Easter update of intentions and information has been shared with students through Show My Homework.

Please take the time to discuss your child's intentions with them and, where possible, support them to record this through their Unifrog careers platform.

If you have any issues accessing the platform or require any additional support please email Mr Fraher 

Combined Cadet Force (CCF)

Covid-19 has presented some problems in relation tot he work carried out by our Combined Cadet Force. It is, however, fortunate that the British Armed Forces have lots of experience of overcoming challenges such as this and I am pleased to be able to provide an update regarding the way in which our CCF has been going from strength to strength.

Our dedicated CCF staff continue to strive to deliver as close to a full offering to our students as we have done in previous years. This includes the curriculum offering provided by the CCF as well as participation of cadets in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and our cadets have continued to work towards their cadet syllabus and Duke of Edinburgh Awards throughout the recent period of lockdown.

A notable achievement has been the raising of over £500 for the Army Benevolent Fund as part of the cadets 'volunteering' section. 

Due to the continued uncertainty as a result of the pandemic, we will unfortunately not be running any external trips for cadets until September. However, we will continue to deliver rewarding training and further opportunities in relation to the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme. 

Return To School after Easter

Before I end this week's update I would like to draw your attention to several reminders in advance of our return to school on Monday 12th April.

Period 7 Lessons

Please find below the arrangements for Period 7 lessons next term.


Year 9 Timetabled Period 7 lessons will continue as normal.

Year 12/13 Timetabled Period 7 lessons will continue as normal.

Year 10 will begin Wednesday Period 7 (3:00pm-4:00pm) from the second         week back (wb 19th April).

Year 10 students will NOT have Period 7 during the first week back (wc 12th         April).


Arrangements for Year 11 students:


Period 7 for Year 11 will only take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays of each         week beginning on Thursday 15th April.

Students who are needed to complete coursework will participate in Period 7         sessions in order for them to provide sufficient evidence to support the                awarding of grades.

Other students can choose to study across a number of rooms between                3:00pm and 4:00pm should they wish to prepare for any Further Modular            Task they still have. 

Should a student NOT have coursework to complete and NOT want to stay in         school to revise/prepare then they may leave at 3:00pm.

Bus Arrangements For Term 5

Geddington Bus

Monday to Friday : students leave at 3pm, bus leaves at 3:10pm 

Hamiltons Bus

Monday and Friday : students leave at 3pm, bus leaves at 3:10pm 

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday : students leave at end of lesson, bus leaves at approximately 4:00pm


Please ensure that your child is ready to return to school with full school uniform. Details regarding our uniform expectations can be found here on our website.

Whilst students will continue to be allowed to wear their academy PE kit on days when they have PE timetabled, it is important that students are wearing the correct PE kit which forms part of our uniform expectations.


Again, the Easter holiday provides an opportunity to restock essential equipment for school. Please can I ask for your support in ensuring that your child comes to school each day with all of the necessary equipment to enable them to make the most of the learning opportunities afforded to them in school.


We have been very impressed by the adaptability of the vast majority of our students to the rescheduled start times for the school day. We know, of course, that there will be occasional times when a student cannot arrive on time due to unforeseen circumstances. However, we do have a small minority of students who walk rather slowly or wait for friends on their way to school and this is not an acceptable excuse for lateness. Punctuality is a life skill and, as such, we ask for your support in ensuring that all students are aware of the need to be on site in advance of the closure of their entrance points.

Visitors On Site

We continue to enforce our policy of not allowing any visitors on site other than those who are essential for the safeguarding of our students. Please do not be offended by this measure; it is designed to ensure the highest levels of safety for our students.

All that I am left to do now is to wish you a Happy Easter. I do hope we enjoy some good weather and that you are able to enjoy this. We are all looking forward to the relaxing of lockdown restrictions but must all still play our part in reducing the transmission of a virus which has affected all of our lives in a way that we could not have imagined 12 months ago.

P.S. don't forget to move your clocks forward one hour on the night of Saturday 27th March!

Best wishes