5th January 2021

posted 5 Jan 2021, 13:15 by Liz Pattinson   [ updated 6 Jan 2021, 01:18 ]
Dear Students/Parents/Carers,

There has been a huge amount happening in the 4 days since I wrote to you last; the most significant of these being the announcement from the Prime Minister yesterday:

      +  A new national lockdown comes into force at 00:01 am Wednesday 6 January
      +  Schools will remain open to vulnerable children and the children of critical workers only
      +  All students will learn remotely until February half term
      +  The Government does not think it is possible for exams to go ahead fairly this summer. 
          The Secretary of State for Education will be asking Ofqual to consult rapidly on an approach for alternative arrangements that                                              ‘will allow students to progress fairly’
      +  The coronavirus testing programme should be continued to enable weekly testing for staff and daily close contact testing for staff and students. The programme also allows schools to test students on return

Remote Learning
All students should stay at home from Wednesday 6 January and 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 according to their normal school timetable (week 2) for the remainder of this week (until Friday 8 January) at the following times:

      +   Lesson 1:    9.00am – 10.00am
      +   Lesson 2:  10.15am  – 11.15am
      +   Break:    11.15am  – 11.45am
      +   Lesson 3:  11.45am  – 12.45pm
      +   Lunch:    12.45pm  –   1.30pm
      +   Lesson 4:    1.30pm  –   2.30pm

As you can see, following student and parent feedback from Lockdown 1, we have broken lessons down in to shorter sessions of 1 hour and added a break between each session.

A new ‘one week’ timetable is currently being created so that all parents are clear on the lessons due on a given day. These timetables will be distributed on Friday 8 January.

All teachers will be available to support your child throughout the lesson and can be contacted via their school email address. It is expected that all students access Google Classroom and their emails at the beginning of each lesson and work consistently throughout that session.

We continue to improve our provision and it is our intention to offer Year 11 students ‘Live Lessons’ via Google Meet. All Year 11 students will be sent an invite to the lesson where the teacher will deliver lesson content, encourage class discussions and will assess progress and misconceptions. It goes without saying that all students are expected to engage in all lessons unless they are unwell.
If you have any difficulties with the home learning please contact our IT department via our website:

In order to support learning we will provide all students with a resource pack containing an exercise book, guidance notes and some subject specific resources. These packs will be available for collection from school reception on Friday 8 January along with student files, work for certain KS4 subjects including Art, Health & Social Care and PE resources. If collecting these resources is going to to cause you a problem please let us know on the ‘enquiries’ email address at the top of this letter. 

Year 11 Mocks and Assessments
It was always our intention to conduct a full set of Year 11 mock exams starting on Wednesday 6 January. The majority of our students will have put in a huge amount of work over the Christmas holidays to prepare for these exams and it will be a source of disappointment and anxiety that these exams will not go ahead at this time.

I would like to reassure all of our students and parents that as a school we have been making preparations for the possibility that the GCSE exams would be cancelled this year. For this reason, we have explained to our students that these types of assessments are more important than ever as they will give us the ‘evidence’ to justify our Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs) if they are asked for in the summer. For this reason we will just delay this set of mock exams, the timetable and sequence of exams will be used when the students return after February half-term, or later if the lockdown lasts longer than predicted at the moment. We will closely follow the Government and Ofqual decisions and we will prepare students well for whatever assessments follow. Just keep working hard and we will do the rest!   

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. We currently have approximately 30 students due to attend our key worker school on a daily basis. If you would like to send your child to the key worker school please email Miss Moore on k.moore@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk

Emotional Wellbeing
Miss Moore has joined Alde Valley Academy to lead our fantastic pastoral team as Assistant Headteacher. She will be coordinating our regular ‘Welfare Calls’ to ensure all of our students are making progress academically, engaging well in their learning and to check on their emotional wellbeing. 

In order to provide students with a semblance of ‘normality’ and get to see their peers on a regular basis, we will be starting our virtual assemblies again next week. Look out for the invite via Google Meet.     

Mass testing of students and staff in secondary schools
Over the past 2 days we have received the delivery of all of the Lateral Flow Tests, PPE and resources that we require to roll out our testing programme. We have prepared our ‘Rapid Testing centre’,  are fully trained and ready to go. In my last letter I outlined our plans for the initial testing and subsequent weekly tests for our staff and students. Unfortunately, we do not have that ‘mass’ of students to carry out the mass testing.
       + an updated handbook on asymptomatic testing in schools and colleges. This 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.

It is our intention to continue with the plans for the regular testing of all staff and students that we do have in school at the key worker and vulnerable student schools. This testing will start on Friday (8 January) and will incorporate all students for whom we have consent, whenever they return. For this reason I would urge you to return the consent form that was sent on 1 January and can be found on our website and Facebook page. 

All completed consent forms must be sent to our dedicated email address below or returned via the school office.

I hope this letter has gone some way to clarify our provision for the continued education of your child and our commitment to continually improve our practices. However, I am acutely aware that you and your family may have questions or anxieties that I have not covered. If this is the case, or you have any comments on our plans, I would urge you to contact me directly on d.mayhew@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk. I assure you that I will respond to any enquiry within 24 hours.

Once again, may I take this opportunity to thank you for your support and resilience during this difficult time. I am confident that, working together, we will make the best of this situation and return to ‘normal’ school life as soon as it is safe to do so. 

Yours faithfully,
Mr D. Mayhew