October 2020

posted 22 Sept 2020, 03:50 by Liz Pattinson   [ updated 24 Sept 2020, 05:37 ]

Dear Parent/Carer,

It gives me great pleasure to write to all parents outlining a number of initiatives we are launching to help you get to know Alde Valley Academy a little bit better.
It was with huge regret that we were not able to welcome all parents to Alde Valley Academy for our Open Evenings but in the current circumstances we felt that it was a risk to our students, staff and parents that we were not prepared to take. 

I am aware that many parents may have had older children or family members who attended the school in the past and therefore are familiar with how we work and the fantastic facilities that we have. If this experience was not in the past few years I would urge you to ‘take another look’ as we have made huge strides over recent years in all aspects of school life.

Our GCSE results have improved year on year with the 2020 results demonstrating that students of all abilities are able to make great progress in all subjects. This is reflected in our Progress 8 score of +0.28 indicating that on average every student in year 11 achieved nearly a third of a grade more than expected in all 11 of their GCSE subjects. A pleasing 69% of students achieved a grade 9-4 in English Language and 70% achieved a grade 9-4 in Maths, which is significantly above the National Average.  

In order to allow parents to see how the school works we have created a video of staff and students working together demonstrating the the close working relationship that we have with our students. This video will be available on our website and social media pages from mid October.  
In the summer term 2020 we were very conscious that we had a record breaking number of Year 6 students who had chosen Alde Valley Academy for their secondary education but were unable to join us for the formal transition process. The transition process is always extremely important to us in order to relieve anxiety for our new students and enable them to make the change to secondary school as seamless as possible. For this reason we introduced a number of innovative ideas which you are welcome to see for yourself:
  • vLogs:  Published to try to introduce certain members of staff to the students and give them a ‘brief’ introduction to their roles in school. The vlogs were posted on our website everyday and are available for you to see at: http://www.aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk/students/transition-2020.
  • Letters from our students: A personal letter was sent to the Year 6 students from one of our Year 7 or Year 8 students. In them they summarised how they felt when they were transitioning between schools and how things turned out in reality. This provided reassurance regarding the experiences that our current students have at school.
  • Personalised video messages: Some of our Year 7 students who went to one of our nine feeder primary schools recorded a ‘personalised’ video which was shared with Year 6 students at their primary schools. These videos were available during the day at school or at home and, again, can be accessed on our website. 
  • Year 7 ‘buddies’: Each Year 7 tutor group now has two Year 11 ‘buddies’ who they were introduced to in vlogs. The Year 11 students provided reassurance and support to the Year 6 students.
  • Year 7 tutor groups: Students gave us information about who they would like to be in a Year 7 tutor group with.
  • Virtual tutor group meetings: Once we were able to put all 130 students into one of six Year 7 tutor groups (average class size of 21/22 students) we introduced the students to their new form tutor and Year 11 ‘buddies’ through the vlogs during the week. Following the introduction to the tutors all Year 6 students were invited to join a virtual tutor group meeting with their new class mates and tutor.
  • Virtual parents meeting: Following all of the children centred activities, myself and Mr Ketteringham (Deputy Headteacher) arranged a virtual meeting with as many parents as possible to give all parents the information that they required and an opportunity to ask any questions that they may have had.
  • School visits: Despite the lockdown, I personally visited every one of our feeder primaries (and those outside of our catchment) to introduce myself to the students and answer any questions that they had during this unprecedented time.
  • SEN Transition: Mrs Wills (SENCO) contacted all primary schools and parents in order to provide additional support for our vulnerable students who may have additional needs or need to be part of a nurture group. These groups of students were invited into school to meet the ‘team’ and familiarise themselves with the school site. This was obviously done following government guidelines on social distancing and other precautionary measures such as keeping students in pods based around their primary school groups. 
You can see from our work that the welfare and pastoral support of our students is absolutely paramount to us at Alde Valley Academy. This is reflected in the views of our parents:

‘All 4 of my children have gone here and we've seen the school improve massively in the last few years. I wouldn't consider sending mine anywhere else & recommend it to everyone. I really think AVA is a great school with really good staff.’ – Year 10 parent

‘I have had two children attend this school and can honestly say that it is a fantastic school. They both had an amazing education as well as an enjoyable one. The staff really do go above and beyond to support the students. I wouldn't have wanted them to go anywhere else as in my opinion AVA is the place to be!’ – Ex Year 11 parent

‘My daughter is now in Year 10 and is throughly enjoying her time at AVA ... AVA has something very special that is hard to put your finger on. Without wanting to sound too bonkers it feels like a big family. From the friendly office staff who know who you mean when you tell them your child’s name, to all the teachers and finally the head ... A ruddy brilliant place and I make sure to tell anyone who asks!’ - Year 8 and 10 Parent

Open Mornings
With the cancellation of the Open Evening we are extremely keen to ensure that all parents who would like to see the school in action are able to do so in a safe and controlled manner during the day. For this reason we are offering more dates to book a tour. There will be two bookable tours on each morning, lasting approximately 1 hour. Tour 1 will begin at 9.15am and Tour 2 at 10.30am.

The additional dates are:
  • Thursday 8 October 
  • Friday 9 October 
  • Friday 16 October 
  • Tuesday 20 October
  • Thursday 22 October 
The booking system is on our school website at: www.aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk
Small ‘pods’ of guests, made up of up to 2 family groups of no more than 4 members, will be taken on a tour of the school to see our refurbished school site.  
We hope you find the information in this pack insightful and useful. If you have any questions or queries about any aspect of the school please don’t hesitate to get in touch with either Mr Ketteringham (n.ketteringham@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk) or myself (d.mayhew@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk). 

From all of us at Alde Valley Aacdemy we would like to wish you well during this difficult and challenging time.

Yours faithfully, 

Mr D Mayhew