Head Teachers Blog

March 2020

posted 18 Mar 2020, 04:28 by Liz Pattinson

Dear Parents/Carers                                                                                                                                     

As the Government has updated its advice on how they are dealing with the Coronavirus outbreak, I thought parents/carers would appreciate an update from the school.  We have been following the advice from Public Health England and the Department for Education.  Their advice has been around the importance of hygiene and how students and staff can reduce the spread of any outbreak. Posters and information have been publicised around the school

“Personal hygiene is the most important way we can tackle COVID-19, especially washing hands more; and the catch it, bin it, kill it strategy for those with coughs and sneezes.”

“Wash your hands more often for 20 seconds with soap and hot water.”

Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.

On the 12th March 2020 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) offered the following travel advice.

The FCO has advised:

• Against all but essential travel to Italy

• Against all travel to Hubei Province in China

• Against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China

• Against all travel to the cities of Daegu, Cheongdo and Gyeongsan in South Korea


You are probably aware that the Government has requested that anyone who has a high temperature or a new continuous cough should self-isolate for 14 days.  Any pupil absence should be reported in the usual way and if you have made the decision to self-isolate the absence will be recorded as an authorised absence

Will the school close?

At the moment, in line with the vast majority of schools, we are open.  We expect to remain open and can adjust as and when required.    

How will I find out if the school closes?

If the government places restrictions on all schools we will all be told through public information.  I would expect to be in a position to inform parents and we will use the website, emails and if possible, a letter.  The letter will include arrangements that we would put in place in terms of providing students with work, the priority will be Years 10 and 11 in view of public examinations.

What will happen to public examinations for Years 10 and 11?

At the moment, these year groups are very focussed on external examinations.  Any decision and information about what would happen would be made by OFQUAL (Office for Qualifications and Examinations Regulation).  They will be very mindful of the need to balance health with educational considerations.  

Why had some schools already cancelled all school trips abroad?

Some schools had made the decision in response to FCO advice.  We did not have any trips planned to Italy or China for example.  On the 12th March the Government announced that all school trips abroad are banned.  This will mainly affect Activities Week and we will look at the implications for this.

What about school trips in England?

Any decision here will be made with Public Health England and FCO advice.  At the moment we have cancelled the planned rewards trip to Thorpe Park.

Will there be an Activities Week this year?

Given the announcement about school trips abroad it will be different this year.  More information will need to follow.    

What will happen to any events with large amounts of people?

Clearly all events are under consideration.  We will need to review the Presentation Evening on 6th May 2020.

Is there soap in the toilets?

More frequent checks and replacements are being made.  In the event that there is an issue, pupils should alert the School Office who have additional supplies.

Should I bring my own sanitiser in?

This seems a very sensible thing to do alongside having your own supply of tissues.

What information should I believe on social media?

Misinformation and rumour are not very helpful.  Only trust credible sources such as HM Government and Public Health England.  School will contact you as mentioned earlier.  Don’t assume that lack of information means that we are trying to hide something.  Any information we share will be carefully considered. 

This is clearly an evolving situation and the school will respond appropriately.  In the meantime, the key messages are around hygiene and public health.

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care.  Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Yours faithfully

Mr D. Mayhew


December 2019

posted 29 Nov 2019, 03:29 by Liz Pattinson   [ updated 29 Nov 2019, 03:30 ]

It has been an extremely busy first term for our new year 7 students who have settled in extremely well and have quickly become part of the family. At the other end of the school the KS4 students are starting to gain momentum towards their GCSE exams in the summer with both year 10 and 11 sitting ‘mock’ exams in November.  

The Academy continues to nurture its partnership with a number of local, national and international businesses including EDF Energy, Morgan Sindall Construction Group, TA Hotels Collection and Leiston Press. EDF Energy have fully funded the purchase of a third school minibus with SZC and AVA livery placed on all three buses. Following Suffolk County Council’s decision to only provide free school transport to the closest school we have established our own transport plan using a combination of service bus routes and our new minibuses to transport an increasing number of students who are making Alde Valley Academy their school of choice irrespective of their closest school. Our commitment to sustainable, affordable transport remains in place for all parents. 

Indicative numbers of applications for September 2020 show that Alde Valley Academy will be oversubscribed in Year 7 for the first time in the school’s history. We are exploring the possibility of take students over our Published Admission Number (PAN) of 112 students whilst maintaining small class sizes and our unique ethos. 
Alde Valley Academy has had an Ofsted style review of student Behaviour and Attitudes (November 2019) by the Trust which was rated Good. The report concluded that ‘It is clear throughout every meeting and interaction that the students are deeply cared about by every member of staff, and that students recognise, and are grateful for, this level of care’. It also said ‘The school has worked hard to build a culture of success, and ensure that students are happy to celebrate their achievements, both around the school and in public. The behaviour system is simple, clearly understood and very effectively operated’.

Mr D. Mayhew

September 2019

posted 24 Apr 2019, 07:16 by Liz Pattinson   [ updated 25 Sep 2019, 02:02 ]

This summer we saw another great set of GCSE results for our students who continue to thrive at Alde Valley Academy. We were able to celebrate success with students, their family and carers and provide them with advice and guidance on their next steps in their education or apprenticeship.

Headlines show notable improvements in all of our core subjects of English, Maths and Science. The number of students gaining a 4+ in English was 69%, in Mathematics was 63% and in Combined Science was 60%. This was backed up by our separate Science results where the majority of students gained a 4+ in Chemistry (86%), Biology (86%) and Physics (82%). A huge ‘thank you’ to all of our staff for their hard work in supporting all of our students.

I am grateful to parents and carers for supporting the school by purchasing suitable school resources and uniform. The new skirts fit in really well and have enabled us to ensure consistency. We have received a number of positive comments from members of the community about how well behaved and smart our students look.

Our new Year 7 have made a particularly impressive start. Our new transport plans have proved to be really effective as we have been able to fulfil our promise of providing transport to any student wishing to come to Alde Valley Academy without a significant financial burden to the family. We are offering, and will continue to offer, student transport to and from school for just 50p per journey irrespective of the distance from Leiston. We have also worked closely with Sir John Leman High School who are offering free Post-16 student transport to their 6th form.  

I have spent a significant amount of time, as we start the term, in assemblies and visiting lessons and I have been impressed with student ‘buy-in’ to our ethos and values. A particular focus for development this year is peer and self -assessment to enable students to be more effective learners. Pleasingly, I have already seen this being effective in the classroom.


Great Autumn Term

posted 14 Dec 2018, 01:33 by Admin Admin   [ updated 8 Jan 2019, 09:11 by Robin Oxborrow ]

Alde Valley Academy staff and students have, as usual, been busy this term with many activities in addition to teaching and learning. This newsletter highlights some of the amazing opportunities that our students have at school and how well they grasp them.

We are very pleased to announce that Waveney Valley Academies Trust has been approved as the new sponsor of Alde Valley Academy. We all feel that this is a fabulous opportunity for students, parents and staff. We see this as a very positive and exciting move forward enabling us to continue on our strong journey of improvement.

Year 11 students have just completed their ‘mock’ examinations and we have identified and addressed their stengths and weaknesses in all subjects. We have set challenging targets and we hope to fulfil the potential of all of our students.

We are proud that Alde Valley Academy raises a large amount for charity. We are currently supporting Team GB athlete Ryan Crouch through ‘Inspired Through Sport’. The growth mind set for the physical and mental well-being of all our students was reinforced by Ryan through his own shared experiences of his life through sport when he visited us on 18th October 2018. Our students raised £2421 through sponsored exercise so ‘thank you’ to all that took part and to all of the friends and family who sponsored them.

‘Children in Need on Friday 16th November saw the Alde Valley community coming together once again to raise money for a great cause. A total of £525 was collected throughout the day. A huge thank you to all involved; this was a fantastic result!

I would like to thank you once again for your support in helping us to maintain high standards with regard to uniform and appearance. There has been a huge improvement in the overall appearance of our students over the past couple of years. We now thankfully see very few students wearing jewellery, hooded tops, incorrect footwear or in possession of mobile phones. If you need to check uniform rules, information is available on our website. I would like to remind all parents that students are not allowed piercings apart from one small stud in each ear lobe. Hair styles and colours should not be extreme. Acrylic nails are not suitable for school activities. Mobile phones should be switched off and kept out of sight throughout the day. Students must also wear black polished shoes.

Students are often commended by teachers for excellent academic work, improvement or progress in work or an outstanding contribution to the school or local community. The commendation is given via posters displayed around the school. Headteacher awards are also presented to a number of students throughout the school year. I would like to congratulate all of our students on their achievements this term.

After an amazing Open Evening in September, where we were overwhelmed by the amount of attendees eager to see the school in action, I am delighted
to report that the popularity of Alde valley Academy continues to grow. This is reflected in the fact that we have had 23 students start ‘new’ at the school since the beginning of September with the vast majority of parents and visitors to the school complimenting us on what a ‘calm and nurturing environment’ there is at Alde Valley Academy. Any new prospective parents and students are very welcome to join me for a tour of the school. In addition, the DfE and Ofsted provisional school performance data was released in October, and from that I am again delighted to inform you that Alde valley Academy continues to perform extremely well in terms of the Progress 8, which measures students’ progress across all subjects.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Christmas and look forward to welcoming all of our students’ back on Thursday 3rd January 2019.

1-4 of 4