22nd January 2021

posted 22 Jan 2021, 06:45 by Liz Pattinson   [ updated 22 Jan 2021, 07:04 ]

Dear Students/Parents/Carers,

As always, I hope you and your family are well.

Free School Meal Voucher Scheme

As a school we have been working extremely hard to clarify what the provision will be around providing free school meals for our students during this lockdown. The Government has announced that the national free school meal voucher scheme will go live this week and we have been able to issues vouchers to all of our eligible families. This covers the period between 4 January and 18 January as a ‘backdated’ voucher. The vouchers are worth £15 per week per eligible child and will now be issued on a weekly basis to our families. The Finance Office will be in touch with families on a regular basis to ensure this system is rolled out effectively. If any family needs support with food or any other areas at the moment, please do get in touch and we will do our best to help or signpost you to other organisations.


Remote Learning

The new timetable of Registration, ‘Live lessons’ and independent study has started extremely well this week with the majority of students engaging and behaving extremely well. We have had an 80% attendance at morning registration throughout the week which is a great start but we would like to improve this still further.


There are, however, few issues that we need to be clear on:


·         There is a huge difference between ‘attendance’ and ‘engagement’. All teachers complete an engagement register which logs how actively involved a student has been and the quality of work produced relative to their ability. If the level of engagement is a cause for concern, Senior Staff will work with the family to resolve the issue but we are alert to the possibility that we may need to work with other agencies in the situation where a family did not engage. We also have the possibility that the pupil would be required to attend in school provision. Overall, levels of engagement are high, and the over whelming consensus is supportive of the use of the timetables.

·         The behaviour of students in a small handful of lessons has not been acceptable. We have had reports of students sharing lesson codes and enabling other individuals to join a lesson and cause a disruption. We have tightened our security to ensure that only students who are invited to a lesson will be allowed in. We have also encouraged staff to ‘eject’ any student who is not behaving in the lesson. This includes ‘off-task’ comments either verbally or in the chat function. Senior Staff will consistently drop into live lessons to ensure the conduct of students is acceptable; just as we would in a school lesson.


Electronic Devices

I would like to publicly thank all individuals and organisations from our community who have donated their old electronic devices for Remote Learning. We have been humbled by the huge amount of support that we have received particularly from the Good Neighbour Scheme (IP17GNS) and EDF Energy. I am extremely pleased to announce that all of our families now have at least one suitable device in their house for home learning and I would like to open up our offer further. I would like to encourage any family who has more than one son/daughter at Alde Valley Academy to contact us if they need a second device. I would also like to encourage you to continue to donate old devices to the school as we have a huge demand for them.


Please send your emails to: d.mayhew@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk


Consultation on GCSE, AS and A Level Grades for Summer 2021

The Government have now launched a joint consultation with Ofqual on how GCSE, AS and A Level grades should be awarded in summer 2021. This will last until the 29th January and students (due to take exams), parents and teachers can submit their views. The Department for Education say that teachers will use their judgement to determine grades. The consultation will consider the range of evidence teachers use to award a grade which could include coursework, other forms of assessment and papers provided by exam boards.


Further information on the consultation can be found here:




In the short-term, it is important that all Year 11 students engage fully with the learning as it is already clear that there is a stronger focus on the need for evidence to support the grades awarded.


Thank you as always for your fantastic support of the school. I would like to encourage parents to join our next Parent Forum meeting at 6pm on 4 February where we can discuss any issues that you may have or answer any of your questions. If you have any issues or comments that you would like to be discussed, or you would like to attend this virtual meeting, please send an email to:




I hope you stay safe.


Yours faithfully,

Dan Mayhew