I hope you are all keeping well.
Firstly I'd like to metaphorically high five all of my primary school friends and colleagues in Littleport, The Active Learning Trust and beyond who opened their schools last week and gave their pupils a fantastic experience. I have heard so many positive stories this week and once again hundreds of teachers have stood up and shown what they are about: resilient, determined, well organised and, above all, passionate about their schools and their pupils. You have all set the bar high and the secondary schools around you are all learning from your fine examples. Some people may not agree with the opening of schools but whatever your feelings are on the topic, primary schools have taken the gauntlet thrown down at them and calmly got on with the job at hand.
This week saw the largest number of students at LECA since we 'closed'. The number of key workers who need our support has now increased and this has meant more students have been in school. We have kept the routine the same throughout the lockdown meaning that students have their own workstations and complete online work for three lessons, then do something creative like cooking, artwork or sewing, and then finish the day with PE. It's a good formula and means that the students have a variety of different tasks to do throughout the day. Likewise at home we continue to hear great stories about our students are learning at home. The reading selfie was a particularly nice idea from Mrs Radcliffe and it was lovely to see students holding up the books that had gripped them during lockdown. We've always talked about the importance of reading at LECA so if nothing else, pick a up a book and lose yourself for an hour; the benefits are too many to list.
For Year 9, they are now effectively in Year 10. Work has now been set by their Year 10 teachers in most subjects and certainly for the core subjects of English, Maths and Science there is plenty to read and lots of revision and tasks they can do. We took this model from sixth form teachers who set pre-course tasks and reading for their Year 11s rising into Year 12s. For us, it's vital that students get a head start on the GCSE and BTEC courses they will begin in September and we hope that completing these tasks and reading will rekindle some of the motivation that understandably declined after Easter. Teachers will also be Zooming classes over the coming weeks and introducing the courses and the materials. As always we urge students to regularly check their emails for Zoom links to these meetings so they don't miss important pieces of information and face-to-face help from their teachers.
This week is another exciting week behind the scenes as we interview for a number of support staff roles including TAs, a pastoral support assistant, an exam officer and an youth worker. If you applied for one of these posts and were not successful this time, please don't give up. Competition was fierce and shortlisting was incredibly difficult meaning that we had a number of people who didn't quite make it to interview. It was close though, so when more roles come up which suit you, do apply again. We will consider all applications no matter whether you have applied before or not.
As Secondary schools prepare to open next week, we will watch them (and the news) carefully and adapt our re-opening risk assessment accordingly. It is a meaty document as you can imagine but the process of completing it will mean we will have considered as many of the safety issues as possible before allowing students to return. Of course, by September the picture may have changed and the rules relaxed even further but we like to be prepared for every eventuality.
Finally, following guidance from the Trust and the Department for Education, we have taken the difficult not to do a 'live' Transition. Increasing the risk of infection at this early stage of schools opening is not a risk we need to take and I hope that all our new students and parents understand the rationale behind this decision. We are however working together with our primaries to ensure our new students and parents have all the information they need before they start their journey at LECA. Mrs Emmess and Mr Richardson are producing a number of resources including a video walk-through, some summer tasks and Zoom calls to 'meet' all of our students before they arrive. Added to this, our brilliant uniform suppliers, Total Clothing, have also released their latest catalogue and are now taking online orders for deliver over the summer. This year they have also added a sizing video to help parents to buy the right sizes for their children, in the absence of a Pop Up Shop. As always, if new parents need any help with anything regarding Transition, please call or email the Office and we will get straight back to you. In he meantime, please do spend some time exploring the website as all the information you need is there. More information will of course follow in due course.
Head of School, LECA