Head Teachers Blog

July 16th 2021

posted 16 Jul 2021, 07:53 by Liz Pattinson   [ updated 16 Jul 2021, 08:04 ]

Dear Students/Parents/Carers,                                                                                                               

I hope this letter finds you and your family well.

School day consultation and feedback

Following my last letter on 2 July 2021, I would like to thank all parents and stakeholders who provided feedback about our proposal to start the school day at 8.40am rather than 8.45am from September 2021. The rationale for this is that it will provide us with a 20-minute registration period where we can deliver a high quality, effective Personal Development programme to all year groups without affecting the rest of the curriculum. I am extremely pleased to say that the vast majority of our parents agree that the benefits of the extended day in developing well-rounded young people far outweighs any negative impacts of the proposal with the most frequently asked questions being around the timings of buses getting to school in the morning. I can confirm that all of the school buses will be on-site in time so the school day will begin at 8.40am from the first day back in September (see details below above first day).

 Another query that was raised by parents was related to the absence of Parents’ Evenings during the past academic year. I’m sure all parents understand and agree with our decisions not to hold face to face parents evenings this year but it is something that we will be reinstating on our return in September.

 Step 4 Covid precautions

We are unsure about the Covid situation we will face in the Autumn, so we want to be prepared for all scenarios. Unless students are attending an educational provision over the summer holidays (e.g. Summer School) they are not required to continue with the LFD tests during the holidays. We have provided all students with a test kit for them to continue to test, twice a week for the first half of the summer holidays if they wish to and more test kits are available from your local library, pharmacy or can be ordered online via GOV.UK.

As you will no doubt will be aware, the ‘bubble’ system currently operating, will not exist in schools from September as this has led to a high level of absence in some schools due to bubbles being isolated when they have had a positive Covid case. Schools are now instructed to test all students twice on their return with a gap of 3-5 days between tests before continuing regular testing at home. This is the most effective way to reduce the risk of transmission and support the continuation of face-to-face education. We recognise, however, the need to minimise any disruption to education and to continue to support your child’s mental wellbeing. The government will continue to review the future need for testing in light of any changes to the public health situation.

 On-site Lateral Flow Device testing

Government guidelines on students returning to school in the Autumn term stipulates that all secondary age students must be tested twice on-site, 3-5 days apart. In order to test all students prior to them returning to classrooms, we have changed the arrangements for our start back in September. The rationale behind the testing is as follows:

  • Testing will only be carried out for students where we have received parental consent. We will assume that if consent was given for testing in January 2021 that the consent still applies. If this has changed please inform us at school or contact me using the email address at the end of this letter
  • For our new Year 7 students and parents who have not previously given consent, please do so by using the following link: https://forms.gle/vyybYBzPncuQBjT28
  • Testing will be carried out for all students before they start back at school
  • Students will be tested and will wait for the results before being allowed to return home on that day
  •  If there is a positive result, parents will be contacted to collect the student
  • Students who travel to school on a bus will be brought into school at approximately 8.30am and the bus will collect them for the return journey at approximately 11.00am
  • Students who don’t catch a bus will attend school for their test in the afternoon at an allocated time
  • The second test will be carried out 5 days later whilst the students are in school
  • We are conscious that the government guidance is extremely likely to change in the coming weeks. The following preliminary plan has been created to provide you with some information but further details of timings and arrangements will be communicated closer to the start of the new term. An updated Risk Assessment and guidance around other Covid precautions (face masks etc.) will also be sent.

 Preliminary plan for the return to school in September



1st  September


2nd September


3rd September


6th September


7th September


 8th September


PD Day

Testing for:

Year 7 – All students


Year 9 – Local students


Year 11 – All students

Testing for:

Year 8 – All students


Year 9 – Bus students


Year 10 – All students






Year 7 and Year 11 students return to school

Year 8, Year 9 and Year 10 students return to school






Second test in school:

Year 7

Year 11

Second test in school:

Year 8

Year 9

Second test in school:

Year 10


This plan means that the return to school has only been delayed by one day due to Step 4 requirements and all of our students will be tested twice within the first week of the students’ return.


A number of students have hired lockers this term in order to avoid carrying their possessions around school all day. The £5 deposit will be returned to the students when the key is returned in September. Can I ask that all keys are returned by Friday 9 September so that we can re-allocate the lockers for the new school year.


At Alde Valley Academy we have very high expectations with our uniform and we are very proud of our students carrying the Alde Valley Academy identity through the community. As we move into the new academic year, please can I take this opportunity to remind you of some of our uniform expectations:


  • The new Alde Valley Academy navy sweatshirt is for PE use only and should not be worn underneath the school blazer
  •  A black knitted, v neck jumper can be worn under the Alde Valley Academy blazer
  • Black tailored trousers (with waistband, not denim, tracksuits, jeggings, leggings, cord or lycra). Trousers must be loose fitting and not a “skinny fit” and ankles must be covered by the trouser 
  • Black leather or leather look sensible shoes (not trainers, canvas shoes, boots or plimsolls)


Our full uniform policy can be found on our school website as an addition to these key reminders. 

 Key Staff Contact details

Due to personal circumstances Mr Kelsall has decided to step down as KS3 Manager. In order to allow you to get the support and communication required in a timely matter, please see the names and contact details of key members of staff who will have pastoral and academic responsibility for your child:

 Year 7 - Miss K Moore:                                               k.moore@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk

 Year 8 - Mr D Mayhew:                                               d.mayhew@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk

 Year 9 - Mr N Ketteringham:                                       n.ketteringham@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk

 KS3 Pastoral support – Ms J DeBelgeonne                 j.debelgeonne@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk

 KS4 Manager – Mr R Battle:                                       r.battle@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk

 KS4 Pastoral support – Mrs A Betts                           a.betts@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk

 SENDCO – Mrs C Wills                                                 c.wills@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk

Once again, may I take this opportunity to thank you for your support and resilience during this difficult year. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any feedback about any aspect of Alde Valley Academy. I hope you have a restful and safe summer and we look forward to seeing you again in September

Yours faithfully,

Dan Mayhew


2nd July 2021

posted 2 Jul 2021, 04:24 by Liz Pattinson

Dear Students/Parents/Carers,                                                                                                                          

 I hope this letter finds you and your family well.

As you are no doubt aware, the leadership of Alde Valley Academy is constantly looking at how we can improve the education of your children. We have made huge strides forward in terms of the quality and teaching and learning over the past 3 years and we continue to evaluate and improve all that we do inside and outside the classroom. We have a frequent and comprehensive Quality Assurance programme in place which includes Departmental Reviews which ask for parental and student feedback on the quality of our provision.

Again, we would like to hear from you if you have any comments at all about the school but particularly how well your son/daughter is taught at Alde Valley Academy. Whilst we can discuss individual subjects and lessons, we would rather not discuss individual teachers, more the systems that we have in place around behaviour management, communication, planning, marking and feedback. Please let me know your thoughts by using my email address at the bottom of this letter.

Over the last 12 months you will have noticed that we have looked closer at the Personal Development of our students and have had a whole school focus on issues around Mental and Physical Wellbeing, Diversity and Tolerance. As we look forward to the potential lifting of Covid precautions and returning to ‘normal’, we have reviewed how we incorporate Personal Development into every student’s day in school. We have introduced timetabled PSHE lessons into the curriculum but we feel that the time students spend with their tutor on a daily basis is vital for their pastoral care and development.

In order to allow our staff the time and capacity to deliver high quality and effective sessions during registration time, we would like to start the school day at 8.40am rather than 8.45am from September 2021. This will provide us with a 20-minute registration period where we can deliver a high quality, effective Personal Development programme to all year groups without affecting the rest of the curriculum.   

 I would very much like your views on this proposal as we will take all stakeholders’ views into consideration. We feel that the benefits of the extended day on developing well-rounded young people far outweighs any negative impacts of the proposal. If possible, I would like any feedback to be sent to me directly by Friday 16 July 2021 to complete our consultation by the end of term.

 Please send any correspondence to me on: d.mayhew@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk

 Thank you very much for your ongoing support. Wishing you all the very best; stay safe.

 Yours faithfully,

Dan Mayhew


15th May 2021

posted 17 May 2021, 08:26 by Liz Pattinson   [ updated 17 May 2021, 08:27 ]

15 May 2021


Dear Students/Parents/Carers,


I very much hope that you and your families have been able to enjoy some of the benefits of the relaxation of the Covid -19 restrictions.


You may be aware that this week the Government have announced that as part of the roadmap to reopening the country, face masks are no longer required to be worn by staff and students in school. We welcome this announcement as the restrictions caused by wearing face masks in lessons has a detrimental effect on communication in the classroom and therefore learning. However, in our context, with students and staff moving between lessons, we feel that it is prudent to continue to wear face masks in communal areas in the school building.


Due to the fantastic way that all of our students have taken on board our Covid-19 precautions, I am 100% sure that this will not cause a problem for anyone in the school. The new measures will come into effect from Monday 17 May and will be in place for two weeks until May half term which starts at the end of the school day on Friday 28 May. At this point we are due to review all of our Covid-19 precautions and update our Risk Assessment.


I would like to take this opportunity to commend the way that our Year 11 students have approached the ‘evidence gathering’ process over the past 4 weeks. The majority of students are well-prepared, focused and co-operative and we are confident that we will be in a strong position to award them the grades that they deserve in the summer. The Student Ambassadors are busy planning the Year 11 Prom for Tuesday 13 July at High Lodge in Darsham for their final celebration together (Covid restrictions permitting). We will be in contact before the end of term outlining the provision for Year 11 in June.


Every half term we have a theme of the term. The aim of the themes is to build on students’ personal development as part of their wider curriculum, through assemblies, form activities and key events taking place. This half term we have been looking at diversity. We have been working with students to raise awareness on many aspects of diversity which have included LGBTQ+, Race and Ethnicity, Additional Needs, Young Carers and Culture. Having an awareness regarding the importance of diversity remains an important part of our school community throughout the year but we felt it was important to build on this even further to support our inclusive culture. For the last half term of this year, we will be focusing on physical and mental health.


We are planning to have our Celebration Evening at Snape Malting, as we did two years ago, on Thursday 15 July 2021. Those families who were able to attend the last event in May 2019 will remember what a fantastic evening of celebration it was; a real opportunity to showcase our fantastic students. Details of the evening will follow shortly but if your business would like to be a sponsor for the event, please contact the reception at school.  


We are planning Year 10 Mock exams at the end of June.  Students have had an extremely disrupted year in terms of their learning and it is vital for us at this stage to be able to identify significant gaps and implement strategies to close them as the students move into Year 11.  It will also be important for students to experience a formal exam setting as this hasn’t been possible for the students during the pandemic restrictions.  A full timetable for the mocks is currently being compiled and will be distributed before May half term so that students can begin to prepare for these assessments.  Following the mock exams students will receive a school report and there will be a Year 10 parents evening before the end of the academic year enabling discussions to take place with staff about the progress being made by your son/daughter.


Due to our dramatic increase in student numbers we will be moving our Maths department to a new location in the building that is currently being used by Suffolk New College. This is an extremely exciting time for the school as we continue to grow. In order to maintain our ethos and small class sizes, we are recruiting six additional teachers for a September start:

1.       Head of Design

2.       Head of Performing Arts

3.       Teacher of Spanish

4.       Teacher of Science

5.       Teacher of English

6.       Teacher of Health & Social Care/History


It gives me great pleasure that we are now beginning our transition programme for Year 6 students who have chosen Alde Valley Academy for their secondary education. This begins with visits to the Primary schools followed by two induction days which will take place Monday 5 and Tuesday 6 July. To support this transition, we have appointed a group of Year 9 students as Transition Ambassadors. These students have met to discuss strategies which we will implement to support the smooth transition for our new Year 7 cohort.


Due to the very kind donations of electronic devices from our community during the pandemic, we are delighted to introduce the laptop loan scheme here at Alde Valley Academy.  We recognise that access to devices has been invaluable for families during these challenging times, and recognise the importance of access to a suitable device for all the learning tools required for your child's educational journey.  Any student in attendance at our school can borrow a laptop to take home for up to 6 weeks at a time through the scheme.  To arrange for your child to borrow a device, please contact the front office, alternatively you can email d.neill@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk


Once again, may I take this opportunity to thank you for your support and resilience during this difficult year. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any feedback about any aspect of Alde Valley Academy d.mayhew@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk.


Yours faithfully,

Dan Mayhew


7th April 2021

posted 7 Apr 2021, 01:44 by Liz Pattinson

Dear Parent/Carer,                                                                                                                                         


As always I hope this letter finds you well, having had a peaceful and relaxing Easter weekend.


As promised, we have conducted a complete review of our Covid-19 precautions in the light of the most up-to-date guidance from the Department of Education and medical experts. Our overriding intention is to reopen the school as much as possible to maximise the quality of teaching and learning whilst minimising the risk of infection. To this effect our focus remains firmly on:

1.       Hands

2.       Face

3.       Space

4.       Fresh air


One of the most contentious precautions that schools have put into place during the pandemic is the requirement for students and staff to wear face coverings in classrooms and communal areas. The government has today, Tuesday 6 April, confirmed that face coverings should continue to be worn in secondary school and college classrooms as a precautionary measure when students return after the Easter break. This cautious approach will help limit the risk of transmission and enable continued monitoring of the effect of school and college returns, as twice weekly testing is established and embedded in student routines. It is expected that face coverings will no longer be required to be worn in classrooms, or by students in other communal areas, at Step 3 of the road map, which will be no earlier than Monday 17 May.


With the latest guidance in mind we have decided to make the following key changes:

1.   Students will move around the school to attend lessons in subject specific classrooms as opposed to remaining in their ‘pod’ areas. This will be under strict supervision of staff which is explained later in this letter.

2.    Students will attend school in full school uniform every day and will change for PE following a strict movement and sanitising protocol.

3.   School uniform rules will return to normal with sweatshirts under blazers and coats no longer being permissible in the school buildings. We will be strictly enforcing the school uniform policy including rules around school shoes, piercings and hair colour. We appreciate your anticipated support with this as always.


Key details about how the new system will work will be explained to all students during registration on Monday 12 April. We have tried to keep many of the arrangements as they have been since September and our philosophy is still to maintain social distancing between students in different pods as much as possible.

·      All students enter the school site and register in the same rooms as they have since September.

·      Students and staff will adhere to a one-way system where the doors near the Hall are used to enter the building and the PE doors are used  to exit the building.

·      Year 7 students (top floor), will finish registration early and will be escorted to their pod communal area (see below). Other year groups will follow at 9.00am and assemble in their pod area as no other year groups need to share a staircase or corridor at this time.

·    Staff will collect their teaching group and will escort the students through the corridors, avoiding busy areas (by using alternative entrances), ensuring that the one-way system is adhered to.

·      This process will be repeated at the end of every lesson with the top floor classes moving first, followed by the middle floor classes and then the rest of the school. This will also be repeated at the end of the day. Please be aware that some students will be dismissed from school at 2.50pm. If you would like your son/daughter to be supervised until 3.00pm please let us know.  


All staff will reiterate the need for students to sanitise their hands and working areas on a regular basis. We have a huge number of sanitising stations across the whole school site. We expect students to use the sanitisers on a regular basis throughout the day. Work spaces (including equipment) will be sanitised by students before and after they use the area. For practical subjects like PE, Art, Science and Design, teachers will build time into their lesson plan to ensure students have time to sanitise their area and equipment effectively.


Year group ‘pod’ social areas will be maintained both inside and outside the school buildings. In these spaces students will be able to remove face coverings in order to eat and drink but we continue to encourage all students to spend as much time outdoors, in the fresh air, as possible.

·         Year 7 – Hall

·         Year 8 – Gym

·         Year 9 – Main playground

·         Year 10 – Covered Quad area

·         Year 11 – Dining room

Food will be available from our catering company for students eligible for free school meals and all other students in their pod areas. This system will operate, as it has since September, with a trolley service.


As mentioned earlier, it is expected that at Step 3 of the roadmap, which will be no earlier than Monday 17 May, many restrictions will be reviewed by the government. At that point the next stage of easements, including increased social contact indoors, will be confirmed following a review of the latest data on infection and vaccination rates. All changes will be carefully considered and all of our safety measures, including regular asymptomatic testing, smaller group bubbles, increased hygiene, ventilation and social distancing where possible, will be reviewed.


We are entering an extremely busy time in the school calendar preparing for Teacher Assessed Grades for Year 11 students, preparing to welcome a record breaking number of Year 7 students in September, recruiting new staff and preparing to expand the school building due to increased student numbers.

Our priority remains on maintaining a high quality education in a supportive and safe environment. If you require any further details on our plans or have any queries at all, please do not hesitate to contact me using the following email address: d.mayhew@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk.


Thank you very much for your ongoing support. Wishing you all the very best; stay safe.


Yours faithfully,

Dan Mayhew


25th March - Year 11 letter

posted 26 Mar 2021, 02:47 by Liz Pattinson

Dear Year 11 and Parents,

There has been a huge amount of change in education over the past 12 months, most of which has a direct and immediate effect on Year 11 students across the country. Sometimes when people are not in control of things that will have a direct effect on them and their future, they may worry or become anxious about what is going to happen. I hope that Year 11 are starting to feel as if they are back in control of their futures and that they have the support required to set themselves up for their next step.


I hope the following will give parents and students some reassurances which will help to reduce your anxiety and give back the control needed. Most of this information has already been relayed to students.


What we know:

·         All GCSE, A-Level and SATs exams are cancelled;

·         Year 11 grades will be awarded by the teachers and support staff that know them the best;

·         There is a significant amount of robust internal and external moderation of grades awarded to ensure the grades are accurate, fair and consistent between exam years and between schools;

·         We will base our Teacher Assessed Grades (CAGs) on:

1.       The data that we have on your attainment so far

2.       The assessments that are completed between now and the end of term

3.       Students’ attitude to learning between now and the end of the year

·         We will award students the grade that they deserve, no more, no less.


When students return to school after the Easter holidays they will enter an assessment window of 6 weeks between 19 April and 28 May 2021. These assessments will be completed in normal classrooms and in the normal timetable of the school day. Additional support and/or additional time will be given to students requiring it as they would have had in GCSE exams. Please find enclosed a timetable of when these assessments will be taking place.


The assessments will give us the basis of the Teacher Assessed Grade but, unlike terminal GCSE exams, we will be building a portfolio of evidence to show what level each student is operating at on a regular basis as opposed to everything resting on one exam.


In order to prepare our students as well as possible we have arranged a series of Assessment Preparation Sessions to run over the Easter holidays in 15 different subjects. Sessions are 2 hours in duration and run from 10am-12pm and 12.30pm-2.30pm everyday with exception of the bank holiday Easter weekend. I would strongly recommend that all students attend as many of these sessions as possible. All students have been given a timetable of the sessions and have been told to indicate what sessions they will be attending by Friday 26 March. Please note that Health & Social Care has been missed off the timetable but will be available all day on Wednesday 7 April.


All Teacher Assessed Grades need to be submitted to the exam boards by Friday 18 June following internal and external moderation so the likely last day for Year 11 students to be in school will be Friday 11 June 2021. However, it may be the case that some students are asked to return to school right up to the submission date.


Following the 18 June, students who are studying courses at A Level or Level 3 courses will be invited to attend dedicated ‘Preparing for KS5’ courses in the subjects that they wish to continue to study. These lessons will ensure that the whole GCSE course has been covered and that there are no gaps in their knowledge due to remote learning.


What students need to do now:

·         Have a positive and pro-active attitude in all that they do;

·         Sign up to and attend as many support sessions over the Easter holidays as possible;

·         Continue to revise in small, manageable chunks to ensure that the assessment grades are as good and consistent as possible;

·         Make sure they take some exercise and do things to relax and unwind;

·         Contact us in school if they need help.


Key members of staff:

1.       Mr Battle – Academic support                                   r.battle@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk

2.       Mrs Betts – Emotional well-being support                   a.betts@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk

3.       Mr Smith – Careers support                                      j.smith@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk



This has been an extremely difficult time for us all but the students’ future is our priority. I am 100% confident that if we work together over the next few weeks all students will receive the grades that they deserve and will have the knowledge, confidence and character to be successful in the next chapter of their lives.


I will be sending out a letter to all parents during the Easter holidays to explain our plans to relax some of our Covid-19 restrictions in school to begin the process of return to ‘normal’ school life.


As always, if you need my help for any reason please contact me directly:




Take care and stay safe.


Yours faithfully,

Dan Mayhew


22nd March 2021

posted 22 Mar 2021, 04:26 by Liz Pattinson

Dear Parent/Carer,                  

As always, I hope this letter finds you well and looking forward to a time when we can all return to life with some kind of semblance of ‘normality’.

Our return to school has been extremely successful and again we are reminded of the remarkable resilience of young people. Student attendance for the first 2 weeks has been remarkable at 96% and, on the whole, they have returned to school seamlessly and appear to be appreciative of the routine that school provides. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of our staff who, despite some having their own anxieties about returning to school, have been positive and professional in all that they have done. I would also like to take this opportunity to publicly thank our team of volunteers and support staff who have run the Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing with military precision. Over 96% of our families have provided us with consent for the tests and all of these students have now been tested 3 times in school and provided with ‘home-testing’ kits and a letter of instructions. Particular thanks go to Mrs Nicolosi, Mrs Burrows and Mrs Pattinson for their leadership of the teams. 

As we look forward to the Easter Holidays we are preparing to offer a full package of ‘Assessment Preparation’ sessions for our Year 11 students who are working hard to ensure that they are awarded the grades that they deserve in the summer. The system that will be used to generate these grades is beginning to become clearer but a separate letter will be sent to the parents of Year 11 students to explain the plans later this week. If you would like to keep up to date with these plans, further information from the Government is available at: 

It is with a huge amount of disappointment that I announce that Barry Norman has stepped down as Chair of the Alde Valley Academy Committee (AVAC) for personal reasons. Barry has led the team with enthusiasm and passion for the past 2 years and leaves us in a far stronger position than when he joined. I am delighted to say that TJ Haworth-Culf has been elected as Chair with immediate effect. The structure and role of the AVAC has changed over recent years and is now made up of influential, local, professional people who have a significant influence in the leadership of the school. They provide a ‘challenging friend’ role in all aspects of the school’s leadership. If you are interested in joining the Academy Committee please contact me at school.

I hope to update you on the potential lifting of Covid restrictions in school over the next few weeks but in the meantime,  I hope you stay safe.

Yours faithfully,

Dan Mayhew

24th February 2021

posted 24 Feb 2021, 08:10 by Liz Pattinson

24 February 2021

Dear Students/Parents/Carers,                                                                                                                                                                    

As always, I hope you and your family are well. As expected, several announcements have been made regarding the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions as well as the future re-opening of schools for all students. We have received two updates from the Department for Education and the Senior Leadership Team have consulted about the plans for the return of Alde Valley Academy students starting from Monday 8 March 2021.

We are extremely aware that there are a number of our staff, students and parents who are anxious about our return to school. I can assure you that all decisions have been made following scientific advice to minimise the potential spread of infection whilst returning to some semblance of normality. This phase of the return to school will be as close to what the students are already used to, incorporating the need for testing, and will be reviewed again once we reach the Easter holidays (return Monday 12 April 2021).

Please find below the answers to the questions that you may have:

When will the students be returning to school?

Testing and return of students will be phased during the first week to manage the number of pupils passing through the test site at any one time.


Students will return to school on the following days:

·         Years 10 & 11: Monday 8 March

·         Years 8 & 9: Tuesday 9 March

·         Year 7: Wednesday 10 March


What will Years 7-9 do on the days that they are not required back in school?

All students will return to using their normal school timetable (Week 2) from Monday 8 March. Students who are at home will continue with their Remote Learning on the days that they are not required in school.


Can my child continue to attend Keyworker School until they are due back into lessons?

Students who are currently attending Keyworker School are encouraged to attend school as normal until they return to normal lessons. For the week beginning Monday 8 March all students on site will be expected to wear full school uniform whether in lessons or Keyworker School.


Will the students still be in separate ‘Pods’?

Yes. All of the school Covid precautions which existed before the Christmas holidays will still be adhered to. This includes, but is not limited to:

·         The separation of year groups in ‘pods’ in different parts of the school including social areas (teachers move between classes)

·         Designated entrances/exits for each year group

·         Sanitising and cleaning expectations

·         Designated toilet facilities for year groups



Have the rules on wearing face coverings in school changed?

Yes. The DfE now recommends that face coverings should be worn in the school building including in classrooms. This does not apply in situations where wearing a face covering would impact on the ability to take part in exercise or strenuous activity; for example in PE lessons.   This is an additional precautionary measure for a limited time during this period of high coronavirus (COVID-19) prevalence in the community.


Face visors or shields should not be worn as an alternative to face coverings. They may protect against droplet spread in specific circumstances but are unlikely to be effective in reducing aerosol transmission when used without an additional face covering.


What are the arrangements for Lateral Flow Testing in school?

All students are offered 3 tests, 3 to 5 days apart as part of their return to school. Following these tests we will be moving to a home testing model (for students, following the first 3 onsite tests). The lateral flow devices used have received regulatory approval from the MHRA for self-use. Home test kits will be available for all staff on return. Once pupils have been tested 3 times at school, they will be provided with home test kits for regular testing.


The testing will be carried out by a team of fully trained staff and volunteers on a daily basis for the first two weeks. We are extremely grateful for the time and expertise that our team have devoted to support us setting up and running this system which has been extremely successful testing staff and keyworker children.


The timetable for testing is as follows:
















Years 10/11

Years 8/9

Year 7

Years 10/11

Years 8/9



Year 7

Years 10/11

Years 8/9

Year 7

Catch up


What happens if I haven’t returned the consent form?

Testing remains voluntary but strongly encouraged. We can only carry out the testing of students with a completed consent form from a parent.


If you have not already done so, please complete the consent form here.


Do students need to wear full school uniform?

Yes. All uniform expectations are the same as they were before Christmas. Students should still wear PE kit on the days that they have PE on their timetable but all other times must wear full school uniform.


Will Year 11 students return to tests and mock exams?

No. We are very conscious that the uncertainty around schooling and exams is extremely worrying for Year 11 students in particular. For this reason, our only focus for the remainder of this term is to get students back into school, support them in lessons and reassure them that the situation is under control. Any ‘mock exams’ which were planned for the students’ return in January have been postponed until after Easter in the first instance and will be reviewed along with all other arrangements and precautions.


Details of how GCSE grades will be awarded this year have still not been released. As soon as they are we will be making arrangements to ensure all of our students are awarded the grades that they deserve in line with DfE guidance and moderation.  


Can I choose to send my child into school or not?

From 8 March all pupils should return to school and attendance will be mandatory once again from this date. Students not undergoing testing should attend school in line with the school’s phased return arrangements. If you are a parent of a child that is vulnerable or if you are a critical worker, your child should continue to be able to attend school throughout, unless they receive a positive test result.  Mandatory attendance means that it is your legal duty as a parent to send your child to school regularly. Where a secondary age pupil is not expected to attend due to their school’s testing programme in the week of 8 March, absence will not be penalised.

 A small number of children and young people may be unable to attend in line with public health advice to self-isolate. Schools will still be required by law to provide remote education to any pupils who need to continue to learn from home. If you think that your child is eligible to continue to work from home for a medical reason, appropriate evidence as to why pupils cannot attend should be provided. The school may check that your child is advised not to attend school by asking to see a copy of the shielding letter sent to you.

We are fully aware that the extended lockdown will have placed additional mental stress on a number of our students. If you have any concerns about the mental wellbeing of your child please contact school and we will endeavour to support you through this process. Please however remember that normal school attendance regulations will be in place and therefore any absence will be dealt with accordingly as per the school attendance policy.



We are looking forward to welcoming back all of our students from Monday 8 March. Whilst I have tried to answer any questions that you may have, I am conscious that there may be some questions that I have not addressed. If this is the case I would urge you, as always, to contact me on the following email address:




I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all of our staff for their hard work throughout this lockdown period. This includes the site, admin, pastoral, support, volunteers and teaching staff who have really pulled together to offer our community the best provision possible during this difficult time. I would also like to thank the community for your support, particularly around providing electronic devices for our students to continue with home learning.

Yours faithfully,


Dan Mayhew


Friday 12th February 2021

posted 12 Feb 2021, 05:58 by Liz Pattinson

Dear Parents/Carers,

I don't feel there is a need for a letter at the current time as I do not have any information to give you about the 'roadmap' for reopening schools.We will hopefully be receiving further guidance from the government on 22 February about the planned reopening on 8 March 2021. 

Thank you very much for your fantastic support of us all at Alde Valley Academy and your phenomenal efforts supporting your children's education over this lockdown. We have seen some great work and commitment from students.

Comment from a year 7 parent received today:

"I would like to pass on to all of the staff what an amazing job the whole school is doing with online learning, positive messages, internet safety. I could not be more pleased with the school. Big thank you to everyone involved with Alde Valley Academy"

I would urge everyone to take a break from their screens over the half-term holiday and recharge for another full term when we return on 22 February.

I hope you stay safe and warm.

Yours faithfully,

Dan Mayhew

School closure - Tuesday 9th February 2021

posted 8 Feb 2021, 10:37 by Liz Pattinson

Dear Students/Parents/Carers,

Due to the continued difficult travel conditions we have made the decision to close the school again to key worker children tomorrow (Tuesday 9th February). 
The safety of all our students and staff are paramount in making this decision and by making it early we hope that other arrangements can be now made.
Remote learning lessons will continue as usual despite the closure.

Stay safe.
Dan Mayhew.

Monday 8th February 2021

posted 7 Feb 2021, 14:12 by Liz Pattinson   [ updated 7 Feb 2021, 14:25 ]

Dear Students/Parents/Carers,

Due to the significant snow fall and difficult travel conditions we have made the decision to close the school to key worker children tomorrow (Monday 8th February). The safety of all our students and staff are paramount in making this decision and by making it early we hope that other arrangements can be now made.

Remote learning lessons will continue as usual despite the closure.

Stay safe.

Yours faithfully,

Mr D Mayhew

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