1st January 2021

posted 1 Jan 2021, 09:38 by Liz Pattinson   [ updated 1 Jan 2021, 09:58 ]

1 January 2021

Dear Students/Parents/Carers,

I very much hope that you and your families have been able to enjoy some form of break over the past two weeks and wish you all a Happy New Year. With the rise of new cases locally and beyond, the identification of a new variant, as well as Government announcements on Wednesday, as promised, I am writing to update you on our plans for the staggered start to the Spring term and the mass testing of staff and students at Alde Valley Academy.

Staggered start to the Spring term

Since my last letter, the information from the government that all secondary schools in England must have a “staggered start” to next term, has changed. 

If your child is in Year 11, they should NOT attend school as usual from Wednesday 6 January. They should stay at home from Wednesday 6 January until Friday 8 January. Your child should continue their studies remotely online using Google Classroom and the other online platforms that have been explained to them. It is our intention to continue with Year 11 mock exams starting on their first day back which is now Monday 11 January. Every Year 11 student has been given a timetable for the exams, a guide for their revision and have been encouraged to prepare thoroughly for these exams. There is a distinct possiblilty that this timetable will be changed due to the delayed start to the exams, the testing programme and the increased availability of space to conduct the exams in the week beginning 11 January.  Please note that there will not be any food available for purchase at school during this week.

 If your child is in Year 7, Year 8, Year 9 or Year 10 they should stay at home from Wednesday 6 January until Friday 15 January. Your child should continue their studies remotely online using Google Classroom and the other online platforms that have been explained to them. Due to the nature of these announcements we have already briefed all students on how to access all online resources and emails. 

Teaching staff will send students work at the time that they would normally have that lesson. Therefore, they are able to follow the normal timetable and you will be able to monitor the work that is due and completed. It is expected that all students access Google Classroom and their emails at the beginning of each lesson and teachers will be available to support the learning for the duration of that lesson.

If you have any difficulties with the home learning please contact our IT department via our website:


Key Worker Children and Vulnerable Children

If either parent is a Key Worker, or if you consider your child to be ‘vulnerable’, then your child should attend school as usual (full time) from Wednesday 6 January 2021.  Your child will be supported to complete their online learning within their Year group bubble. If you intend to send your child to school during the first week of the Spring Term, please email me on d.mayhew@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk by Monday 4 January 2021.

Mass testing of students and staff in secondary schools

Over the past 2 weeks we have received a limited amount of details about the way that the Lateral Flow Testing needs to be rolled out to all secondary schools across the country:

             + an updated handbook on asymptomatic testing in schools and collegesThis handbook sets out the plans to begin rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing of staff, pupils and students, in secondary schools and colleges from January 2021 to identify asymptomatic cases

A great deal of the decision making about the practicalities and frequency of the testing is made in each school based on their context. I had a meeting with the Senior Leadership team and Trade Union representatives yesterday and we are in agreement that this form of testing is vital to ensure the safe return to face-to-face education for our students, staff and the wider community. The Lateral Flow tests need to be carried out twice, with the second test being carried out within 3-5 days of the first test. All testing is only with parental consent (consent form attached) and students will self-administer the test with guidance and supervision by a trained member of staff. We would urge all parents to give consent for these tests to be carried out. 

We have made the following plans for the initial testing:  

       + In our context, we feel that we will be able to test all Year 11 students that we have consent for twice in their first week back around their mock exams

       + We feel that we are able to test all other students twice in their first week back in school (week beginning 18 January)  

       + Following their initial test, students need to be tested ‘regularly’ according to Government guidance. We hope that we will be able to set up a testing             system to test every student and member of staff once a week as long as we can secure enough of the testing kits (due to be delivered on 4 January 2021)

I have attached an additional letter explaining the rationale behind the testing and a leaflet describing the testing process.  

If all consent forms could be returned to school via email consentform@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk or in person by Friday 8 January I would really appreciate it. 

Once again, may I take this opportunity to thank you for your support and resilience during this difficult year and to wish you all a happy and safe New Year. 

Yours faithfully,

Mr D. Mayhew


Liz Pattinson,
1 Jan 2021, 09:38
Liz Pattinson,
1 Jan 2021, 09:38
Liz Pattinson,
1 Jan 2021, 09:38