The Academy has had a busy term, not least because of our Ofsted Inspection in January, a series of “mock” examinations and some big decisions about our future.
Swale Academies Trust
When I last wrote to you, the Governors were meeting to discuss whether to support a formal link with the Swale Academies Trust. I can now tell you that they did vote unanimously to support the link and they have contacted the Regional Schools Commissioner to ask that we can join Swale Academies Trust at a suitable date in 2017.
You will probably not notice any changes immediately, as The Academy continues to run itself as we have always done, but longer term, we expect to see more opportunities to build on the quality of lessons, work with a larger network of schools in the South East region and get recognition for The Academy’s considerable strengths. This is an exciting time and we are looking forward to how this partnership will support our students.
On 17th January, The Eastbourne Academy was inspected by Ofsted. Our students were exceptionally well behaved on the day and did us all proud.
Under the new rules that started in 2015, any school that is already recognised by Ofsted as being “Good” gets a short, one day visit by two inspectors to see if the school still deserves its Good rating.
If the inspectors are satisfied that the school is still Good, then they leave at the end of the first day and later send a short letter to confirm the school’s status. If they are not sure the school is Good, or if they need more evidence, then they convert to a longer, two-day inspection, which has the power to change the grade if they need to.
Although we are not yet able to publish the details, I can tell you that the inspectors left at the end of the first day, so we are very pleased with this result and the fact that it was reached in such a short time.
I have seen a draft copy of the letter and will publish it on the website as soon as we are allowed to, but I am sure you will be very pleased and proud of the result.
Do we have your current phone number?
We are increasingly finding phone numbers for parents of students which are no longer working. There are a number of reasons why The Academy may need to contact you throughout the school day, including getting hold of you in an emergency or in regards to trips.
Please can you make sure you update our front office of any changes to your contact details either in person or via the link below. Updating your contact details
The Timing of the School Day
You will know that since 2010, The Eastbourne Academy has run a “staggered” day so that Key Stage 3 students work from Periods 1 to 5 each day, but that Key Stage 4 work from Periods 2 to 6 on Tuesday to Thursday.
We regularly review how we structure the day and recently have conducted a review of whether this arrangement still works well for the students and their learning. Some of you will remember that we asked parents to contribute to the discussion over whether you thought this was still a good idea. Your responses suggested that there was not a very strong opinion on either side, and we have also asked staff and students what they think about the different start and finish times.
We are now considering whether it would benefit students to have the same day for everyone from September. We would still open our Breakfast Club at 8 am each day but we are considering moving some of the older students to an earlier start (and finish) in September 2017 to allow more clubs and revision sessions to take place after school. At the moment, the older students do some revision before school and some after school, with a few revision classes running until almost 6 pm. I am looking into the implications of any change and will confirm any new times for the school day in the next newsletter which is due to come out in March. I am also looking at the dates of the December 2017-January 2018 holiday which is unusually short and whether it would be possible to move one or two days of holiday from Summer 2018 to December 2017 to give a decent break. If I propose any change I will include it in the March 2017 newsletter to give you plenty of warning.
If you have any thoughts or comments about these ideas, please remember that the Parent Consultation Group exists so that parents have a say in what happens in The Academy and we are regularly in touch to ask for viewpoints.
Year 10 Parents Evening- change of date
In connection with this, the Parent Consultation Group recently asked for a change in the calendar to move the Year 10 Parents Evening forward in the year, as they felt that June was too late to be able to have an impact on the students if any changes were needed.
As a result, we have moved the Year 10 Parents Evening from June 2017 to Tuesday 25th April 2017.
Parents Evening Time Slots
It was also said by parents that they find that it is very difficult when appointments run late on these evenings.
I will ask all teaching staff to do their best to stick to their appointment times, but please will parents and carers also try to keep to the time slot given. If we all do this it should make things easier for everyone.
Did you know you can access student progress data for your child at any time?
At The Eastbourne Academy, we pride ourselves on our digital systems that allow students and their parents/carers to access student progress data at any time, anywhere and on any device. We currently use a web-based programme called Go4Schools (www.go4schools.com). Parents/Carers who have provided us with a working email address received details of how to log in last year. For more details on how to access this data please see the link below.
I would like to remind all parents and carers that we have a dropping off bay in the car park which exists for that purpose - it is not a parking bay. No cars should stop on the double yellow lines at any time. This is particularly dangerous at the beginning or end of the day as it blocks the lanes in and out. If the car park is too full, it is relatively easy to park in Brodrick Road and it will not hurt the children to walk a few extra steps to come to the car.
Similarly, the Reception Area can get very crowded at the beginning and end of the day. The Reception is a waiting area for people who have appointments at school. It opens at 8 am and not before, however it is not big enough to be a waiting area for parents who are collecting children. Recently it has become very crowded and then it is impossible for Reception Staff to see who is coming in or out. Please do not use it unless you have an appointment at school.