Updates from the Academy

Update 31.12.20

Returning to the Academy - January 2021

Dear Parent/Carer,

Please click the link below to see updated information regarding the students return in January 2021.

Update 3.11.2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

I hope this email finds you safe and well and that you and your families had a restful half term. I am sure you are all aware of the announcement, made by Boris Johnson on Saturday, of tougher national restrictions, as of Thursday. The Prime Minister and Education Secretary have said that keeping young people in education is a national priority so early years settings, schools, colleges and universities will all remain open. It was made clear that parents and carers should make sure their children keep attending school.

From Thursday 5 November and until 2 December, everyone must stay at home, and may leave only for a limited set of reasons. These include:

  • For education;
  • For work, if you cannot work from home;
  • For exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household, support bubble or on your own with one person from another household;
  • For all medical reasons, appointments and to escape injury or harm;
  • To shop for food and essentials;
  • And to provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer.

A full set of exemptions will be set out in law.

I wrote to you on the 23rd October 2020, outlining the changes we would be making to our Risk Assessment, in the light of a rising number of cases and following a thorough review of our first half term. We have been busy, over the last ten days, making sure that all of the new measures are in place for when we welcome students back tomorrow morning.

Therefore I thought it prudent to remind you of the key changes we are making, which we will go through with students first thing in the morning. We will be:

  • Returning to five, sixty-minute lessons a day.
  • Returning to one entrance into school, for pupils and staggering the start and end of the day. Students will move directly to a designated area, upon entry and only be with their ‘Bubble’. The new start and finish times for students are below:

Start of the Day:

All students to enter through the old ‘Pupil Reception’ entrance at the front of school

8:20am – 8:35am: Years 7, 8 and 9

8:40am – 8:50am: Years 10 and 11 (Students will not be admitted to school before this time)

 End of the Day:

2:30pm – Year 7

2:35pm – Year 8

2:40pm – Year 9

2:45pm – Years 10 and 11

  • We will be offering a bagel breakfast to every student as they enter school, however we will no longer be offering a canteen service during breaktime. Students can bring their own snack and drink (only water permitted) for this time.
  • We will continue to stagger break and lunchtimes, with designated areas for each year group.
  • Students will be escorted to and from break and lunchtimes, ensuring only supervised movement around the school at any one time.
  • A one-way system will continue to be in operation throughout the school
  • Face masks will continue to be compulsory in corridors and communal areas (unless a student is eating)
  • For those students who are exempt, we will be issuing a ‘lanyard’, which we are asking them to wear, in school.
  • All classrooms and corridors will remain well-ventilated at all times.

I am confident that the changes above mean that we are best placed to meet the challenges of the half term ahead, as we enter in to winter months and a concerning national picture in terms of COVID:19. The best place for our children is in school and we will be doing our upmost to ensure every member of our community is as safe as they can be. The new risk assessment, ratified by our governing body over half term,  can be viewed, via our website, in our Covid:19 Support section.

Emily Abberley (Assistant Headteacher: Teaching and Learning) will be sending out an email later this week, detailing how students, who have to isolate at home, can access their school work each day. We can provide devices for this period of time, where needed.

On an additional note, we experienced a high level of staff absence before half term, most of it unexpected. In some cases this will result in longer term absences and given the national picture I have approached our new Trust and asked for some additional leadership capacity, to ensure we can continue to keep all members of our community safe. Mr. Peter Kingdom, who is currently Head of Cheshire Studio School, will be joining our team, as ‘Associate Head’ for the next seven weeks. All students met him before the half term and have made him welcome. I look forward to working closely with him over the next few weeks. His role will be mainly focused on Safeguarding.

I appreciate that these are anxious times and I am keen to make myself available to answer any questions you may have about the changes outlined above, or to just get some advice. I will be hosting a ZOOM meeting on Thursday at 6pm. Log in details will be sent on Thursday morning. This will be an opportunity for parents to give any feedback they may have. Alternatively, you can always contact me at ehooley@theoaksacademy.co.uk.

Finally, I have attached an updated ‘addendum’ to our behaviour policy. It outlines the expectations we have of parents and students over the coming months. I would appreciate it if you could share this with your son/daughter before they return to school tomorrow. Can I also take this opportunity to remind parents of the letter sent last Wednesday. Only water will be allowed in school, as of tomorrow and all students must have a winter coat. Hoodies will not be allowed.

I look forward to welcoming students back tomorrow.

Yours sincerely
Emma Hooley

Headteacher
The Oaks Academy

Update 2.10.2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

I will be writing to you with a longer update on Monday, but I felt the need to write before this to focus on an emerging issues within school. Over the last couple of days we have had more and more students coming to school, without a face mask. As you know, it is MANDATORY for ALL students (unless exempt) to wear a face mask when in a corridor. On the whole the student population have complied with this, but we have begun to notice a slip in compliance.

I know you are aware that the number COVID 19 cases is rising across the country. We have not had any positive cases in school, as yet and work hard every day to ensure that we are keeping the site safe for all members of our community. I ask that you support this, at home, by reinforcing the rule around face masks and making sure that you have provided your son/daughter with one, each day. A fabric face mask would be best, as these can be washed easily and are more durable.

From Monday, we will be checking students, on the gate, for face masks. If they do not have one, we will be sending them home to get one, and informing you we have done this. If they are seen on the corridor, without their mask, they will be issued with an after school detention (to be completed the following evening).

As regards the school bus, if students do not have a mask (or an exempt card), they will not be allowed to travel. They must wear their mask or the whole of the journey.

I would appreciate your support with this matter and will write again on Monday with a more general update.

Kind regards,
Emma Hooley

Headteacher
The Oaks Academy

Update 18.9.2020

Update 18.9.2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

During these times, I think it is useful that I write  a weekly email, keeping you up to date with key themes form the week and asking for your support in reinforcing the measures we currently have in place, with your son/daughter at home. We are working hard to ensure that all the of the control measures we outlined in our risk assessment, are in place and that all of the school community understand the reasons why some things are ‘different’ at the moment.

I have had the honour of delivering our first ‘Star of the Week’ certificates today, to a number of students across all year groups. These have been awarded for exceptional effort, resilience and to those students who, day after day, are displaying excellent attitudes to learning. I will also be finalising our ‘Catch-Up’ plans next week. We are starting with Year 11 and parents have been contacted separately about changes to timetables for students, especially on a Tuesday, for Year 11 next week. If parents would like to discuss these in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs.White (Head of Year 11) directly ongwhite@theoaksacademy.co.uk

As we approach the beginning of our third week, I would, again, like to take the opportunity to clarify expectations around the following areas. Can I ask that you pay special attention to what I say about face masks below. There are however a few points that I would like to make at this early stage:

1.       Please remember the items of equipment that we have asked all of our students to bring to school:

  • 2 pencils
  • 2 pens
  • A ruler
  • A rubber
  • A pencil sharpener
  • A glue stick
  • A scientific calculator
  • Coloured pens or pencil crayons (if desired)

In addition to the usual items of stationery, all students should have the glue stick.  Normal practice would be for students to share glue sticks around the class but that is clearly impossible in the current circumstances. If your child does not have the above, or an appropriate school bag to put them in to, then please can you sort this over the weekend. Tutors will be checking all students, form Monday, and we will be contacting parents accordingly.

2.       It is vital that your child has a FACE MASK each day, preferably a fabric one. It is now mandatory for all students to wear these in the corridors. We have a small number of students who have not bought one in to school, so ask that you check each day, before sending them in. Please remember that such students do need a sealable plastic bag to store their mask when it is not in use. Any student, who is not exempt (and this has been agreed with the school), who does not have a face mask on Monday, will be isolated and parents contacted. These measures are in place because at some points during the school day, ‘Bubbles’ do mix on the corridors. It is IMPERATIVE that YOU ensure that they are bought to school.

3.       As you are aware, on the days students have PE they are able to come in their PE kit. Can I just clarify the following about uniform requirements on these days:

  • Students must be in, FULL, academy PE Kit.
  • Boys are allowed to wear BLACK jogging bottoms if they feel it is too cold. PE shorts must be underneath these.
  • Students are not permitted to wear ‘hoodies’ over their PE kits. They must wear either the RUGBY TOP (boys), FLEECE (girls) or their BLAZER. From Monday, if a student is wearing a ‘hoodie’ or jumper which is not uniform, they will be asked to give the jumper to their tutor to look after for the day. Parents will be contacted, as a reminder.
  • Normal uniform procedures apply on these days and students could be asked to go home to change in to the correct uniform, after a phone call with yourselves.

Finally, I have been asked to send you the attached poster, by Cheshire East. It is a clear step by step guide of the process you need to follow if your son/daughter are displaying symptoms. As I am sure you are aware, there is an issue with the availability of tests across the country. We will continue to work closely with families to try to support with this, if needed. I will be writing separately, next week, with detailed plans concerning how we will still continue to provide an education, for all learners, in the event of having to isolate a year group, I am hoping this will not be the case, but am conscious that it is something that is happening in other schools. For those families who do not have a device at home, from which students can work, we have started the process of asking parents to collect Laptops or IPADS from school, so please reply promptly if you receive an email over the next two weeks.

As always, thank you for your support and if there is anything you wish to discuss further, please do not hesitate to let me know atehooley@theoaksacademy.co.uk

Kind regards
Emma Hooley

Headteacher
The Oaks Academy

Update 11.9.2020

Update 11.9.2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

I am writing at the end of our first full week back at school to thank you all for your support in getting us to a point which seemed a long way distant in the dark days of the Spring and early Summer.

Attendance so far has surpassed our expectations. It has been lovely to see students, back in school, back in the classroom and back with their friends.  

I also want to pay tribute to everything that our teaching and support staff have done over the summer and at the start of term to prepare for re-opening.  It has been a magnificent effort and the changes to the site, to the curriculum and to our approaches to teaching and learning as well as to our organisation and routines are an eloquent testimony to the contributions of all concerned.  Doubtless we will need to make adjustments as the term goes on but the commitment from our whole staff team fills me with confidence that we will take these in our stride as well.

The majority of our students, too,  have been fantastic.  They have been on time, well equipped and have worked well with us to implement innovations such as a 100 minute lessons, staggered breaks and lunches, and the one way system around the school.

There are however a few points that I would like to make at this early stage:

1.       Please remember the items of equipment that we have asked all of our students to bring to school:

  • 2 pencils
  • 2 pens
  • A ruler
  • A rubber
  • A pencil sharpener
  • A glue stick
  • A scientific calculator
  • Coloured pens or pencil crayons (if desired)

In addition to the usual items of stationery, all students should have the glue stick.  Normal practice would be for students to share glue sticks around the class but that is clearly impossible in the current circumstances. If your child does not have the above, or an appropriate school bag to put them in to, then please can you sort this over the weekend. Tutors will be checking all students, form Monday, and we will be contacting parents accordingly.

2.       It is vital that your child has a FACE MASK each day, preferably a fabric one. It is now mandatory for all students to wear these in the corridors. We have a small number of students who have not bought one in to school, so ask that you check each day, before sending them in. For those exempt, due to medical grounds, we will be issuing cards on Tuesday morning. Please remember that such students do need a sealable plastic bag to store their mask when it is not in use. Again, we will be contacting the parents of those students who are forgetting to bring them, early next week.

3.       As you are aware, on the days students have PE they are able to come in their PE kit. Can I just clarify the following about uniform requirements on these days:

  • Students must be in, FULL, academy PE Kit.
  • Boys are allowed to wear BLACK jogging bottoms if they feel it is too cold. PE shorts must be underneath these.
  • Students are not permitted to wear ‘hoodies’ over their PE kits. They must wear either the RUGBY TOP (boys), FLEECE (girls) or their BLAZER.
  • Normal uniform procedures apply on these days and students could be asked to go home to change in to the correct uniform, after a phone call with yourselves.

 

4.     We are strict on our uniform policy in school, but I have noticed the following things and ask that they are rectified over the weekend, for Monday:

  • BLACK, LEATHER, SCHOOL SHOES must be worn. Black trainers are not allowed
  • For girls, straight black skirts are NOT permitted. It must be tailored trousers or a pleated skirt to just above the knee.
  • WHITE SOCKS are not permitted.
  • Trousers with ZIPS or EMBELLISHMENTS are not permitted. Girls must wear tailored trousers, they must not be ‘skinny’ or contain lycra.

 

We will be contacting parents on Monday, if the above remains unresolved for some. If you require support, please do not hesitate to email admin@theoaksacademy.co.uk and we will look to see what we can offer.

Tutor time on Monday will be extended to 9:10am, to allow us time to re-iterate the above with students and to ensure they fully understand the protective measures that are now in place around school. We will continue to ‘support’ those students who are finding this slightly more difficult and will be contacting parents, where we feel it is needed. I know you will be supportive of this, as the risk assessment, is in place to ensure we are all safe, in and out of school.

Finally, I wanted to end with a reinforcement of the absence procedure. During these times, it is vital that we know why a child is absent. Can I ask that you call school, by 8:30am on the day of the absence to leave a message or speak to our admin team. If the absence is related to suspected COVID:19 symptoms, then please follow the guidance in the attached document above. If the advice given is to arrange a test, please let us know and your child must self-isolate until the test result is back.

I apologise for the length of this email, but I feel that communication is key and want to ensure we ALL support each other, through these difficult times.

As always, if there is anything you wish to discuss further, please do not hesitate to let me know at ehooley@theoaksacademy.co.uk

Kind regards
Emma Hooley

Headteacher
The Oaks Academy