Welcome to the first blog of 2021 and what a week it has been.
I always take great pleasure in welcoming all students and staff back to Hollinwood Academy after any holiday. Unfortunately, I have not been able to do this. We have certainly faced some challenges this week and I am sure as the weeks go by many more challenges will arise.
As we communicated earlier this week, the government announced that from 5th January, England is under national lockdown with tougher restrictions. It also states that ‘schools act as vectors for transmission, causing the virus to spread between households’ and that we should once again stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. With this in mind, we have reviewed and updated our risk assessment again to ensure all measures are in place to protect students, staff and families. It has been a rollercoaster week for everyone. Miss Gordon and myself started working last Thursday New Year’s Eve in preparation for our return to school this week and I am really pleased that we were able to reopen Hollinwood Academy on Tuesday 5th January, even with the late announcements on Monday evening. We were able to use our knowledge and experience that we have gained since March last year to make sure that our offer for all of our students is ready and the best that it can be.
We realise that these are extremely difficult times for everyone and appreciate your continued support as we move forward. We may not get everything right all of the time but will work extremely hard with you to adjust and make the necessary changes to ensure we continue to provide the best educational experience for our students. All communications will be sent via the Parent App but also shared on our website and social media pages. Parent App is actually conducting upgrades over the weekend as the system crashed on Monday afternoon with the sheer volume of messages that schools across England were trying to push out to parents, so hopefully the delay in the messages reaching families on Monday evening will not happen again. The staffing teams will be conducting weekly welfare calls but please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any concerns or questions.
My weekly blogs normally consist of wonderful work from our students and certificates but this week the staff have worked tirelessly so that we can reopen Hollinwood Academy. We have had some fantastic work completed by our students learning at home as well as those students that have had to attend Hollinwood Academy. Well done everyone and I can’t wait to share this with you next week.
This week, the government cancelled all KS1 and KS2 SATs, Year 1 phonics screening and GCSE examinations that were due to take place in Summer 2021. We have not yet been told how students will be assessed but it is likely that it will involve some form of teacher assessment that is based on a range of evidence.
Next week, our KS4 students will continue with their mock examinations as we had to rearrange these just before the Christmas holidays as the KS4 bubble unfortunately had to self-isolate during the weeks we had arranged the original mocks and the students and families are fully on board with this. This decision has been made based on the experiences of last year’s examinations fiasco. The mock exams will form part of all teacher assessments that take place in school and will help to identify any gaps in knowledge that students may have. Appropriate support will then be given to students based on these mocks.
The mock exams will take place in the sports hall and the conference room, both rooms are very well ventilated. All exams desks are arranged using two plus metre distancing, with plenty of space around all students and staff. Some of Mrs Potts’ form have already completed their Spanish speaking test this week. Mrs Cowling told me that she…
‘…listened to their mini speaking tests and they sound so confident and calm. I will be contacting Mr Fancos to let him know what a great job he has done with them, (super accents!!) but just really wanted to share that with you as I know what a big deal it was for all of them.’
We are so proud of all our KS4 students as they sit their mocks over the next three weeks. Good luck, this is your time to shine.
All there is left for me to say now is ‘Thank you!’
Thank you to our wonderful students for being resilient, dedicated and flexible during yet another national lockdown. You amaze me every day!
Thank you to my wonderful staff: premises, cleaners, admin, pastoral, teachers, TAs, PCA, kitchen staff, senior management team, Governors, ICT and central team who despite their own anxieties and responsibilities to their own families have returned to work after the Christmas holiday to ensure that our school can continue to provide education and support to all our students.
Thank you to all parents and carers for your continued support with the changes we have had to make due to the lateness of Government announcements and for continuing to trust that we will do all we can to maintain the students’ education during this difficult time for us all.
Happy New Year to you all and things can only get better. Have a lovely weekend and stay safe.
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