This week at LECA was all about embedding our routines while also introducing new ones. Following the government announcement of new social restrictions after an increase in the R-rate, we took the decision to introduce face coverings throughout the school in communal areas. Again, we thank our parents for their support with this as the vast majority of students arrived on Tuesday fully equipped with a mask or a covering. Of course, this is not the way we want to operate but we have a responsibility to ensure our students and staff are well protected, especially during a national spike in infections. 

In the classrooms, our teachers are also adapting to a new way of working. It's not easy teaching from the front for the entire lesson and it's strange not allowing students to face each other and work in groups. Group work and collaboration is a key tool we use to spark creativity and debate but under current guidance all students must face the same way, in rows. The exceptions to this are the practical subjects and for these the students must wear their face coverings. This does mean, however, that the essential practical tasks can go ahead and our students still experience a relatively normal practical lesson. 

This term is also all about identifying knowledge gaps and formulating plans to address them. In class this takes the form of short, low-stakes tests but we have also invested in tests from GL Assessments - a leading assessment provider which can benchmark our students against thousands of others nationally. These assessments also clearly identify gaps and we will use this data to deliver the curriculum in a way that supports filling these gaps. In addition to the daily diet of of gap-filling in lessons, we have also invested in SAM Learning for a third year running and GCSE Pod to support our Year 10s in their first year of GCSE studies.

Next week we start an exciting new initiative for our Year 10s - The Lunchtime Lectures. With an hour for lunch we quickly recognised that this was an opportunity to deliver high quality lectures to Year 10 on a range of topics  - some curriculum based, others focussed on mental health, some focussed on careers. This week Mrs Eastham will be delivering a history lecture on Pandemics, I will be delivering one on Macbeth and one on Catering (my life before teaching), Mr Tatham will be delivering on Prep and Marginal Gains and we have a guest speaker, Clare Williams, who will talking about her career in law. The following week, we have an ex-student of mine, Kate Griffiths, who will be delivering a lecture on Engineering. Kate was a superb English student of mine at Neale Wade and has gone on to excel in what is still a male-dominated career path. We're really looking forward to seeing her at LECA and hearing about her journey. If you're reading this and thinking: I'd like to deliver something  too - please do get in touch and we will book you in. We don't mind what your topic is as long as it will engage and enlighten our students in some aspect of life beyond LECA.

Just a reminder that we will be running a fantastic Virtual Open Evening event for our prospective Year 6 students and their parents from 4pm on Tuesday October 6th. The line-up will include: a virtual tour, a podcast with new Year 7 students, a live presentation and the opportunity to email questions to us and have them answered. We're really looking forward to it and hope to see as many of you as possible on the night. Links to the presentation will emailed out nearer the time.

Have a great week.

Scott Gaskins

Principal, LECA