Year 10 - Limited Return to school

posted 11 Jun 2020, 03:31 by Robin Oxborrow   [ updated 11 Jun 2020, 03:41 ]

Following my letter on 30 May 2020 I would like to confirm that I have decided that the ‘face to face’ provision for small groups of Year 10 students will start on 15 June as planned. We have been able to ensure the safety measures required are in place. I would like to take this opportunity to be clear on the fact that although we have taken all practical measure to ensure risks are minimised, I am not in a position
to give you a 100% guarantee that your child is safe from catching Covid-19 whilst attending school. We await further information on when the school might be open to all students within a year group (on a daily basis) but there is currently no clear government guidance on this matter.

Please find below relevant information regarding this limited return to school, including a risk assessment and year 10 timetable.

Letter from Headteacher to Parents

posted 20 Apr 2020, 07:29 by Robin Oxborrow

20th April 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

I hope this letter finds you well and coping as well as could be expected with this completely unprecedented period of our lives. We have one eye on the future and one eye on the present. Today, things are tough. Some of the impact of this situation is visible, much is invisible. We know there is more yet to face and each and every one of our 'challenges' are unique. It will take all of our courage and wit to navigate through this into 'better times', but our collective resilience makes this possible.

I would like to take the opportunity to update you on developments relating to education.

Home Learning
The systems which were established for Home Learning will now swing back into action. Prior to the Easter holidays Alde Valley Academy staff were extremely proactive in setting, assessing and marking work in all areas. The timetable provided at this time is still to be used as a guide as to when the lessons are to be studied but is not meant to be any more than a ‘guide’. Again, please feel free to use your own judgement about when your son/daughter completes work in a particular subject but I would stress the importance of ‘routine’. It may be, as we move through this period of isolation, that a member of staff becomes unwell and therefore is not able to set any work for a period of time. The same applies if a student or family member becomes ill.

Please remember that we have a team of staff ready to help students with any problem that they may have. The primary method of communication is through the school’s email system or directly through the online package.

Access to School site
It remains the case, at least for the next 3 weeks, that school is closed to all students with the exception of those whose parents are critical workers or who are defined as vulnerable. The Government’s advice remains clear that all children are to be kept at home unless it is unsafe to do so and are in one of these categories.

If you believe that you are a keyworker or your child is vulnerable and needs to attend school next week please contact me on the school’s main phoneline or on the following email address:

Free School Meals
Over the Easter holidays we have activated the Government’s system to provide all of our families who are eligible for Free School Meals with vouchers which are redeemable at various supermarkets. This entitles these families to £15 per pupil, per week to cover meals that they would normally receive at school.

I would like to thank all affected parents for their patience as this system is established. There have been a few ‘teething problems’ that you may have seen in the press. My thanks also goes to Mrs Burrows (Finance Manager) who has worked tirelessly to ensure our families get the support that they deserve.

I would like to draw parents’ attention again to the conversation that I had with Leiston Citizens Advice who have reported an increased number of families who are experiencing financial hardship as a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak. If you are in this category and would like advice about what to do next or the availability of local Food Banks please contact them directly on 01728 832193.

GCSE Exam Results
Over the past 2 weeks we have received further information about how the GCSE and A Level exam results will be allocated this year. Details of the system can be found using the following link:

The main points are summarised by Chief regulator Sally Collier, who said: “All those students, parents, teachers and others affected by these unprecedented circumstances can be assured that we will continue to work urgently, with stakeholders and representative bodies across the sector and officials in the Department for Education, to put in place the best possible arrangements on their behalf.”

  • Schools will have to award each student the grade they “would most likely have received had the exams taken place”. Plus they must also rank each pupil within each grade and for each subject.
  • Ofqual is proposing to standardise grades by looking at the historical outcomes for each centre, the prior attainment (key stage 2 or GCSE) of this year’s pupils and those in previous years within each school, and the expected national grade distribution for the subject. 
  • Pupils who believe they would have got a better grade had they taken their exams can resit in the additional autumn exams. Details on arrangements for the latter are yet to be published. 

The Senior Management Team have already spent time clarifying and ranking GCSE results in all subjects in order to provide the regulators with the information that they require. For this reason, there is no need for Year 11 students to complete any GCSE work as it will not be taken into consideration for their overall GCSE grade. However, I would urge students who are potentially looking to take the GCSE exams in the Autumn or to take Level 3 qualifications next year, to continue to study and revise in those subjects.

We are here to support you through these extraordinary times so please do not hesitate to contact your son/daughter’s subject teacher via their email address or contact me direct on the school’s main phoneline or on the email address given above.

Yours faithfully,
Mr. D. Mayhew

Child Protection and Safeguarding: COVID-19 Addendum

posted 8 Apr 2020, 02:27 by Robin Oxborrow   [ updated 29 Apr 2020, 06:23 ]

This addendum applies during the period of school closure due to COVID-19 and reflects updated advice from our safeguarding partners. It sets out changes to our normal child protection policy in light of the Department for Education’s guidance regarding Coronavirus: safeguarding in schools, colleges and other providers, and should be read in conjunction with that policy.

Unless covered here, our normal child protection policy continues to apply.

Suffolk Safeguarding Partnership Update

posted 8 Apr 2020, 02:18 by Robin Oxborrow   [ updated 8 Apr 2020, 02:21 ]
COVID-19 Suffolk Response

Published on 1 April 2020 by Anthony Douglas

The stress of the lockdown is affecting many individuals and families across Suffolk.

Equally powerfully, the response by the people of Suffolk to the danger of Covid-19 has been brilliant – from individuals, families, professionals and from the voluntary sector including new volunteers, still to be deployed, who have come forward in unprecedented numbers from all walks of life. Whilst NHS staff have worked themselves into the ground to help people falling sick, so too have others like care workers, social workers, teachers and police officers. This is a response by everyone providing public services and also by those in the private sector who have acted incredibly responsibly despite the costs and threats to their businesses.

I want to draw equal attention to the continuing risks faced by vulnerable children, families and adults throughout Suffolk. The danger from Covid-19 should not distract us from the plight of those who face other dangers, usually in their own homes. These dangers include physical abuse, sexual abuse and exploitation, financial abuse, emotional abuse and neglect, including self-neglect. Prior to the pandemic, vast numbers of professional staff, relatives and friends were protecting the most vulnerable people in Suffolk by frequent visiting and through many programmes of care and support being provided via a co-ordinated care plan. Many of those programmes have suddenly though quite properly been stopped because of the curb on movement and the ever-tougher social distancing requirement. This means less care and support going in and fewer checks and balances against abuse and neglect.

Part of my role is to hold to account the statutory agencies in Suffolk about child protection and adult protection. I am satisfied that the needs of the most vulnerable in Suffolk are still being met as far as possible, with home visits still being made: with multi-agency joint working still taking place; and with good systems for classifying priorities as not all can be met.

For example, our special schools have developed a methodology to continue to support vulnerable children in their own homes. All schools continue to support and watch out for their vulnerable students despite schools being closed. Child protection visits are being made and new investigations are being carried out.

Adult care and safeguarding services have maintained business as usual, despite the Government granting a relaxation of some requirements on them in the current crisis. Care homes are under particular pressure. They cannot send some of their residents to hospital for obvious reason as they would have done until a few weeks ago. They will also have to accept people from hospital for end of life care who would before have remained in hospital. They need to use isolation protocols for symptomatic residents. Care homes in Suffolk have been incentivised to keep their doors open for the next 3 months. This is also important for adults at risk, so that they are not hidden behind closed doors where no one can see them and where checks and balances on their safety are impossible to guarantee.

The police and Trading Standards are aware of the well-publicised risks from criminals exploiting vulnerable people living on their own with less scrutiny. This is one of many ways in which community vigilance can help to protect lives and livelihoods.

A major concern I have is the length of time the current restrictions will last for. A long haul of several months is likely, so we need to be developing a set of working practices which can be sustained over this length of time. In this respect, the protection of the most vulnerable is no different from what is being done in other sectors. We have to drop non-essential work, do as much as we can from home and work online or use audio and video technology for all meetings, reviews and planning sessions. However, most support for vulnerable people and front-line work by the NHS and the police has to carry on face to face. If you are being abused or neglected, you have to feel you can trust a social worker or a police officer, before you can safely disclose what has been going on for you. Vulnerable people usually worry about the consequences and repercussions of talking openly. Trust and confidence have to be built up face to face through instant rapport if possible.

Vulnerable people can never be completely protected. Only the elimination of cruelty and hate could do that. One crucial protection vulnerable people do have is an army of people whose sole mission is to help them being out and about in the community every day. The public space is becoming deserted. The risk of emptying the public space is that more vulnerable people are hidden in plain sight as well as now being trapped behind closed doors, possibly with someone or with a group who puts them at risk. I hope the public space can be re-opened as soon as possible, so that channels of escape from violence and exploitation become easier to find. However, a medium-term lockdown is more likely so we have to listen out that much more carefully to the voices of children and adults at risk behind those closed doors.

We must also take care not to unintentionally create a pandemic of fear. The risk of a different epidemic, this time of low-level anxiety in the general population, is significant. Vulnerable people live or die in the margins. Just enough money. Just enough resolve. Just enough energy. The current situation is a war on those margins and the current anxiety level may well trigger a raft of mental health difficulties that will put an even greater strain on already overstretched services. So, in doing everything possible to ensure one part of the NHS can cope, we may be causing the same problem for another part of the NHS in a year or two. Mental health difficulties can never attract public and political support in the way the risk of not being able to breathe does.  I worry that social distancing is making people suspicious about whoever they are next to. We will all have to work hard to make the public space feel safe when it is populated again.

The scale of the national effort to mobilise support for health and social care has been phenomenal. The majority of altruists are showing up the minority of apathetic bystanders. So yes, there is more bed blocking as care homes can’t admit new patients. Some children in care are being returned by private children’s homes who can no longer carry the risk as they see it. But these concerns have to be balanced with the daily measures being put in place by overworked public sector staff, including oversight of the most vulnerable in their own homes and in care homes and arranging care and support at short notice. The contrast between the minority in the population who are now round the clock key workers and the majority in the population who are confined at home is stark. The call to volunteer which is a form of National Service will be crucial in the challenging months ahead, to help keep keyworkers themselves safe from the risks they face – on top of exhaustion from the intense emotional labour they do, the risk of becoming infected themselves. So remember our safeguarders from all sectors – they have to give of themselves several times every day, because for the person they are protecting, it may be their only chance of survival.


To share a concern or to report abuse or neglect in any of its forms, use existing phone numbers or e mail addresses. The main ones are still:

For Adults:

  • 0800 917 1109

For Children:

  • 0808 800 4005


Anthony Douglas CBE

Independent Chair of the Suffolk Safeguarding Partnership

See all news articles

Letter from Headteacher to Parents

posted 2 Apr 2020, 06:12 by Robin Oxborrow   [ updated 8 Apr 2020, 02:04 ]

Dear Parents/Carers,

I hope you are feeling well and are able to follow the government advice on self-isolation, household isolation and social distancing.

In education, the advice from the government has been very clear on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19. If children can stay safely at home, they must in order to limit the chance of the virus spreading. That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend. It is important to underline that schools, all childcare settings, colleges and other educational establishments, remain safe places for children but the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.

Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response may be able to ensure their child is kept at home and every child who can be safely cared for at home must be.

Please, therefore, follow these key principles:
  • If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they must be.
  • If a child is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
  • Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends or family members with underlying conditions.
  • Parents must also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They must observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

I would like to personally thank parents for their support over the past two weeks where, due to your arrangements, we have been able to close Alde Valley Academy. This means that our staff and students have not had to expose themselves to any further risk of contracting the coronavirus. It has also allowed our staff to concentrate solely on setting, marking and feeding back on home learning material. I would like to thank all of our staff for the fantastic job that they have done to support our students academically and emotionally over the past few weeks.

You may be pleased to hear that today, Wednesday 1st April 2020, is the final day of the Spring Term and tomorrow is the first day of the Easter Holidays. This means that there will be no school work set for any students until 20th April 2020.

Over the Easter Holidays we have made arrangements to ‘supervise’ the children of any critical workers who have a role to play in the national fight against the coronavirus. Again, I would ask you to contact me directly on the following email address if you need Alde Valley Academy to support you during this time:

Free School Meals
As outlined in my previous letter we have set up a voucher system for the families of children eligible for Free School Meals. Our system has bridged the gap between the school closing and the Department for Education system which starts on 20th April 2020 after the Easter holidays. All parents of eligible students have been contacted and will be given details of the new system closer to the time.

In the meantime, I would like to draw your attention again to the conversation that I have had with the Leiston Citizens Advice who are reporting an increased number of families who are experiencing financial hardship as a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak. If you are in this category and would like advice about what to do next or the availability of local Food Banks please contact them directly on 01728 832193.

GCSE Exam Results
We have been provided with a small amount of detail on how Ofqual plan to collect data from school and award GCSE grades for Year 11 students this summer.

Regulators are expected to set out a process that will provide a calculated grade to each student which reflects their performance as fairly as possible. By the end of this week we will be asked to submit our judgement about the grade that we believe the student would have received if exams had gone ahead. This prediction will take into account a range of evidence and data including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment (including work produced since the school has been closed). Exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment, and use this information to produce a calculated grade for each student, which will be a best assessment of the work they have put in. The aim is to provide these calculated grades to students before the end of July and students will be able to appeal their grades if they don’t believe the right process has been followed. In these cases, there will be an option to sit exams early in the next academic year for any students who wish to. With this in mind, I would advise continuous light revision to maintain subject knowledge in case pupils choose to complete exams at a later date to improve their grade.

Following the Easter holidays we will not be setting or expecting any work from Year 11 students. I would advise however, that any students looking to study A Level courses next academic year ensure that they are familiar with all of the material due to be covered in the GCSE course in their chosen subjects.

We have not received any information about what will happen with the English Literature exams that Year 10 students were due to sit in the summer. It is extremely likely that students will sit these exams in summer 2021 due to the amount of teaching time missed.

We are here to support you through these extraordinary times so please do not hesitate to contact me direct on the school’s main phone line or on the email address given above. Please also provide us with feedback on how the school’s home learning, welfare and information systems have worked in the first few weeks of our provision.

I hope that you and your family stay safe over the next few weeks and I will be in contact with you at the end of the holidays.

Yours faithfully,
Mr. D. Mayhew

Message from Headteacher to Parents

posted 27 Mar 2020, 06:07 by Robin Oxborrow   [ updated 8 Apr 2020, 02:04 ]

Dear Parent/Carer,

Our continued thanks and gratitude go to staff and parents that are working hard and in new and creative ways to support pupils’ learning while they are working from home. 

These are challenging and unprecedented times and like you we are trying our best to implement the government guidelines to maintain critical services whilst maintaining social distancing.

With the Easter holidays approaching, there is a need to find the balance between government guidance on ensuring pupils and staff stay safe and at home and a provision made for critical workers to continue to fulfil their roles in the national response. 

The two categories of children who will be considered a school place at this time are 'vulnerable children' and children of 'critical workers'.

The definitions of these two categories are as follows:
  • Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans. Children who have a social worker include children in need, children who have a child protection plan and those who are looked after by the local authority. 
  • Critical workers include NHS staff, police, farmers and food retail workers, who need to be able to go out to work. Children with a parent or carer who is listed on the government’s critical worker list should be considered for a school place.

If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading. That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

I would like to ask parents about their needs so that we are able to work on a rota of staffing to ensure that we have sufficient staff in school whilst staff have the opportunity to have time off over the next few weeks.

I would appreciate all parents who are considering sending their children into school over the next week and Easter holidays to contact me on the following email address as a matter of urgency:

Please do not hesitate to contact me on this address if you have any feedback or questions about the provision for your child during this time.

Thank you all for your ongoing support, I hope you all keep safe and well.

Kind Regards

Dan Mayhew


Latest COVID-19 School Information

posted 18 Mar 2020, 07:56 by Robin Oxborrow   [ updated 8 Apr 2020, 02:03 ]

Updated information for parents regarding the possible impact of COVID-19 on the school has been released by ourselves and our Trust in the three letters that you can find below.

Advice on the coronavirus

posted 5 Mar 2020, 05:05 by Robin Oxborrow   [ updated 8 Apr 2020, 01:59 ]

The current advice at time of publication from Public Health England for anyone in any setting is to follow these main guidelines.

  1. If you have been in contact with someone with coronavirus or have returned from an affected area identified by the Chief Medical Officer as high risk and you are feeling unwell with a cough, difficulty breathing or fever, stay at home and use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or call NHS 111.

  2. Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so. Use hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.

  3. To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue, and throw the tissue away immediately. Then wash your hands or use a hand sanitising gel.

  4. Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.

At the current time and based on our understanding of what is known of COVID-19 and other similar respiratory viruses, it is likely that older people and those with chronic medical conditions may be vulnerable to severe disease. As more information emerges, recommendations may change.

The latest information can be found on the coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public website.

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