Uncategorised | 1st March 2021

Update from Miss Thorrington regarding the wider opening of Ipswich Academy

01 March 2021

Dear students, parents and carers,

Following on from the Government announcement last week, and my subsequent correspondence, I am detailing below key information relating to your child’s education provision from Monday 8th March 2021. Paradigm Trust and Ipswich Academy are currently updating their risk assessment for full school re-opening. Once this has been approved, I will be sharing it with you. 

Full-opening of Ipswich Academy:

At present, the Government guidance states that students must return a negative lateral flow test prior to returning to the classroom. As a direct result, I have made the decision to stagger the start of the students’ return back into the classroom. The following groups will be attending on the to the following dates:

Monday 8thTuesday 9thWednesday 10thThursday 11thFriday 12th 
Open forKey worker and vulnerable studentsKey worker and vulnerable studentsKey worker and vulnerable students.
All year 10 and 11 students 
Key worker and vulnerable students.
All year 7, 10 and 11 students
All year groups back

Students who have not consented to testing will start back to school on the same day that their year group does. We strongly encourage you to sign up for the lateral flow testing to ensure that we create the safest learning environment for all students and staff. Please consent to testing by clicking here if you have not done so already.

Work for students from Monday 8th March- their year group start date: 

On Friday 5th March all students will be emailed their timetable for the week beginning 8th of March. Students will attend a live base group session each morning followed by a variety of pre-recorded lessons and written activities. 

Asymptomatic testing: 

In order for us to abide by Government expectations for students to undertake a  lateral flow test three times on site and then again once at home in the first two weeks after school reopens, we will be following a precise testing timetable. 

DateYear group AMYear group PM
Thurs 4th March1110
Fri 5th March79 – PARDI
Mon 8th March89G
Tues 9th March1110
Wed 10th MarchNo testing7
Thurs 11th March8

Text messages confirming exact times have been sent to parents – if you are still unsure please call us.

Will will continue testing beyond Thursday 11th March following a similar timetable to ensure students are tested 3 times in line with the guidance. 

We will be sending out a separate text message detailing the specific time slot for students to attend Ipswich Academy for testing, testing will be done in teaching sets. Students should attend promptly and enter the school premises by the double gates by the carpark. Students will then be directed towards the Sports Hall. If you have not received a text message by 4pm on Wednesday 3rd March, please contact the school. 

As per Government guidance, students will then be given their home test kit following the successful completion of their three in school tests. Students will not be given home test kits if they have not completed tests under supervision in school. 

Students who have tested positive for Covid 19 in the last 90 days cannot have a lateral flow test until after this date. If this is the case for your child, please inform the school so that we are aware. 

The school day from Wednesday 10th March:

We will be staggering the start and end of the school day. Year 10 and 11 students start at 08.45 and finish at 15.00. Year 7, 8 and 9 students start at 09.00 and finish at 15.15. Students will enter through specific doors, staff will be on hand to supervise students. 

Face coverings:

Face coverings will be mandatory for all students and staff whilst on site at Ipswich Academy until at least Easter in line with Government guidance. The only   exceptions will be:

  • those who are exempt, if your child is exempt then please make contact with the school prior to the 8th March;
  • when eating and drinking;  
  • participating in exercise or strenuous activity during PE lessons.

We encourage all students to bring their own face covering to school each day along with a sealable plastic bag for them to store their face covering whilst eating and drinking. We will have a small number of face coverings which we can supply students with in the event of theirs breaking.

We take the safety of the students and the staff very seriously at the academy and there will be a clear behaviour policy in place around the appropriate wearing of masks. We appreciate your support in reinforcing the importance of face coverings to your children.  

School uniform and PE kit:

Other than in exceptional circumstances, or in line with changes to Government guidance, we will continue to follow our standard uniform policies and staff dress code.

Uniforms do not need to be cleaned more often than usual or using any different methods.

If you envisage an issue with your child wearing the correct uniform, please contact the school prior to our full re-opening so that we can support on a case by case basis. 

On days where students have PE, students must come to school wearing their PE kit. There will be an opportunity for students to change into their school uniform after the lesson if they wish. 

Free school meals:

The National Voucher Scheme will end on Friday 5th March. Students requesting a packed lunch will therefore need to collect it from the school between 12.00-12.30pm on the days prior to their full-time education commencing. 

Laptop returns:

Until further notice students who were loaned a laptop can continue using them at home, this will enable students to complete additional work on Google Classroom at their convenience. 

Work for students if they have to self isolate:

For students who have to self isolate we will continue to provide school work via Google Classroom. We will provide more specific information about this if your child has to self isolate.  

Finally, and more positively, we are looking forward to welcoming students back to Ipswich Academy. As you know, we have been open during the whole lockdown and it will be good to get everyone back to classroom learning as soon as possible. The students are what make Ipswich Academy such a special place to be and I look forward to their return.

Thank you for your ongoing support. Your positive comments shared on the work we have been doing has been much appreciated and has been so reassuring to hear. I will communicate with you again once the risk assessment has been fully approved.



Abbie Thorrington
Principal 

Uncategorised | 24th February 2021

Update from Miss Thorrington

24 February 2021

Dear students, parents and carers,

Following on from the Government announcement on Monday, I would like to share with you the initial ‘headline information’ relating to your child’s education provision from Monday 8th March 2021. 

Extensive planning is already underway at Ipswich Academy to ensure the safety of staff and students, I will share plans with you in due course once they have been consulted on and finalised. 

Full-opening of Ipswich Academy:

Students will return to secondary education from Monday 8th March in line with Government guidance.

Testing:

Students who have consented to testing will participate in the asymptomatic testing programme to help break transmission links by identifying those who may be carrying the virus unknowingly. Students will be tested three times on site and then again once at home in the first two weeks after school reopens. We are currently planning the timetable for testing and not all students will be tested at the same point.  Students who have consented will not be returning to the classroom until they have reported back with a negative lateral flow test.

Again, following Government instructions, we will then be providing students with home kits for twice weekly testing thereafter.

Testing is voluntary, but strongly encouraged by the Government. If you are yet to consent for your child to undertake lateral flow testing in school, please click on the link to complete this. 

Face coverings:

Face coverings will be mandatory for all students whilst on site at Ipswich Academy until at least Easter in line with Government guidance. The only   exceptions will be:

  • those who are exempt, if your child is exempt then please make contact with the school prior to the 8th March;
  • when eating and drinking;  
  • participating in exercise or strenuous activity during PE lessons.

The expectation of all students is to maintain the safety of themselves and the safety of others. For this reason, we will have a clear policy around the correct and appropriate wearing of face coverings in school. Students will be made aware of this policy and will be expected to adhere to the rules in place. 

Prior to school re-opening, students need to continue with the fantastic work they have been completing remotely. All staff are incredibly proud of all students and  the work they have completed. I would also kindly ask parents and carers to complete the short questionnaire by clicking on the link to help us review and evaluate the online provision that we have been providing for students. 

In the coming week I will be working on the logistics of reopening Ipswich Academy and will be sharing these with you in advance of 8th March. If in the meantime you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the school. 

Thank you for your ongoing support. 

Abbie Thorrington
Principal 

Teaching | 15th February 2021

Learning Through Lockdown

Despite the current challenges around the majority of our pupils learning from home, we have started the term on a high by ensuring children both at home and in school experience the same quality-first teaching and learning they would get in the classroom. 

This is as a result of the extensive planning and preparation we had done before the start of the year. We took the findings and insights we gained during the first period of lockdown last spring and summer, and with other Paradigm Trust schools built a robust plan of action which we could apply should we need to close and engage in remote learning again. 

Our preparation continued when children returned to school in the autumn. This included training staff and students to use Google Classroom, discussing a remote learning pedagogy with other Paradigm schools and planning the logistics that were necessary to be able to deliver effective teaching online to all its pupils.

 So when the official notification that schools would be closed to all children (apart from vulnerable and key worker children) was received, we were able to move swiftly to remote learning with a minimum of disruption. 

Now we are delivering a full and engaging timetable of blended learning, through recorded lessons and live sessions which follow the same structure as an in-school lesson. We also provide online activities which support the children’s learning.

One of the major challenges during the first lockdown was the digital divide, with many families unable to access the online resources available due to a lack of appropriate devices and/or a reliable internet connection with sufficient data allowance. To overcome this challenge we have issued school laptops to any children who are learning from home and don’t have suitable access to technology. Where families don’t have access to WiFi, we’ve purchased dongles and data for them. Non-digital resources, such as exercise books, are also issued to pupils and we have stocked up on extra resources such as glue, paint and materials for Art which can be picked up from school for pupils working from home.

It’s extremely important to us that all our pupils continue to get the support they need, so all students have Base Group Time as normal and weekly assemblies. We make sure pupils receive at least two welfare calls a week, and our excellent pastoral team is available all day, every day to respond to any needs our students have.

We are also working hard to continue our provision for SEN pupils, with one-to-one video calls, phone calls and TA support in many of our virtual lessons.

Lockdown is undoubtedly a challenge, but one we are meeting head-on. It is an opportunity to adapt and improve our teaching and learning, both in the classroom and remotely online. As we would do in normal circumstances we are seeking the most effective ways to teach, testing different innovations and then sharing those that have been proven to be effective with the rest of the school and the entire Trust. It is our goal to always deliver an effective, challenging and interesting remote learning experience for our pupils, so they can all achieve their best.

News | 11th February 2021

House Competition: February to March timetable

Announcements | 25th January 2021

Year 10 Virtual Parent Consultation Evenings

Teaching | 21st January 2021

How our pedagogy is improving pupils’ prospects

Pedagogy is the manner in which we approach teaching. 

All schools in Paradigm Trust follow the same pedagogy – quality first teaching at all times, for every student. We are always informed by the latest research, but focus on teaching in a way that is effective, rather than fashionable in education pedagogy.

With pupils only having a finite number of hours in school, the time we have to educate them is limited. It is absolutely crucial to optimise what they get out of those hours, so having an effective, well thought out and proven pedagogy is essential. 

Our main influences are Teach Like a Champion – a collection of techniques which combine to deliver incredibly effective learning – and Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction, which establishes ten different strategies for teaching and assessing. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Rosenshine’s work is evidence-based, so Paradigm Trust knows for certain these methods are effective. The two works complement each other, providing a well-rounded base on which to build our pedagogy.

By using the same pedagogy across Ipswich Academy we can achieve a continuity of practice which is of great benefit to both pupils and staff. It means that there is a consistency in the way we teach, in the way we behave and in the way we apply our rules that runs all the way through from Year 7 to Year 11. Uncertainty is detrimental to effective learning, so having continuity in teaching and language is of great benefit to students. It is especially effective when we welcome a new intake of Year 7 students from fellow Paradigm Trust schools Murrayfield Primary Academy and Piper’s Vale Primary Academy; they are used to the pedagogy and settle in quickly.

While consistency is important we know every class and every child is different so we encourage all our staff to adapt, intelligently and with a strong understanding of the underlying rationale, to fit the needs of the pupils and subjects. Our pedagogy is designed to be flexible, giving teachers the tools to work in each individual situation.

Having this shared set of strategies naturally leads to improvement. With every school in Paradigm Trust using them, it makes it easy for us to get together and share strong practice. When one teacher makes a small adaptation which proves to be successful, it’s easily shared and applied across classes and schools.

By implementing this shared pedagogy we’ve seen a culture shift both in the classroom and in the curriculum, with improvements across the board in behaviour and engagement. Outcomes in lessons are much better and we are seeing a consistently higher level of effort in all classes. Effective use of pedagogy leads to effective teaching, which leads to effective personal development for students, alongside brilliant exam results and, ultimately, the best chances in life.

News | 18th January 2021

Lockdown House Competitions

Announcements | 18th January 2021

Year 11 consultation letter

18th January 2021

Dear Year 11 students, 

Thank you to all those that joined my assembly this morning to update you on the consultation process for GCSE and A Level examinations. 

Up to this point, you have all worked diligently and maturely in the face of what I think have been the most challenging circumstances learners have ever faced. Despite this pandemic causing huge disruption to your learning last year and this year, you have all made progress and shown that you are strong and resilient. 

We do however need to look to the future. The government is deciding how these grades will be calculated. Again, I need to stress that this is a consultation, no decisions have been made. 

Below are some key points that form the consultation:

  • assessments to take place in late May/June;
  • grades to be based on student current performance and NOT where we ‘think they would be at’;
  • teachers should assess students on the areas of content they have covered and can demonstrate their ability, while ensuring sufficient breadth of content coverage so as not to limit progression;
  • exam boards to provide papers for students to sit and for teachers to mark;
  • an opportunity to use coursework and own papers;
  • exams boards to provide support on grading;
  • exam boards would then quality assure the approach taken by each school, working together to ensure their approaches are consistent.

Students, parents and carers can comment on the consultation process. Please click on the link.

There were some frustrations voiced in the assembly today, a lot of you feel a sense of anger towards the way in which your exams are being handled. This is your opportunity to have your say. Following this, put your frustrations to good use and apply to your learning. We are all on this journey together and as always, we will support you in any way we can.

My final message continues to be- do not give up! You have been on an incredible journey; turn up to all your online lessons, keep working hard and know that every piece of work you complete will still make a difference.

Yours sincerely, 

Abbie Thorrington
Principal 

Announcements | 8th January 2021

Update from Abbie Thorrington

08 January 2021

Dear students, parents and carer,

I want to start this letter by saying a big well done to all students for their work online this week, you have made a great start and must now continue this way. Also, I would like to thank parents and carers for their support and patience with the process. We have loaned nearly 500 laptops this week and are urgently trying to seek additional devices for families requiring more.

Earlier in the week the Government announced that GCSE examinations were not going ahead this year. We share the disappointment for year 11 students following their incredible hard work over the past four years. Despite this, they have continued to engage with their learning this week and I encourage them to continue to ensure that they achieve the Centre Assessed Grade they deserve. 

Google Classroom update:

As often the case when something is new, we have faced a few challenges around student appropriate use of live links. I am therefore asking parents and carers for their support in speaking with students. 

Students are expected to join the live lesson at the allocated time in their timetable and they should leave the live lesson when the teacher ends it. There should be no misuse of the live lesson links in-between lessons. If students are found to be misusing the links, we will have to take further action or reduce the live teaching offer. 

Students should also be following their timetable that has been sent to them. Students are in their teaching groups to ensure that the work set by teachers is appropriate for their ability level. Students should not be sharing live links with one-another and going into other lessons. 

Contact home:

As well as monitoring students online work we will also be making regular phone calls home to speak with parents/carers and students to see how they are getting on and supporting them in any way possible. To make you aware, there may be occasions where you are called from a withheld number due to staff working off-site. 

Change of times for the school day: 

From Monday 11th January, all students in all year groups will be following the same timing of the day.

9.00-9.20- registration

9.20-10.20- lesson 1

10.20-11.20- lesson 2

11.20-11.35- break

11.35-12.35- lesson 3

12.35-13.15- lunch

13.15-14.15- lesson 4

14.15-15.15- lesson 5

Students will be sent their timetable which will reflect these times ready for Monday 11th January. 

Free data:

Yesterday I communicated with you around the positive news around mobile phone companies offering additional data at no extra cost. Availability is limited, please fill in this form: https://forms.gle/v1ayD7EHhRnfpgTNA if you would like to access this. 

Academy Council meeting:

On Wednesday 13th January I will be holding a virtual Academy Council meeting. Please click on the link, it would be great to see you all there. Please find the agenda below.

Thank you for your ongoing support, I wish you all a restful weekend. 

Abbie Thorrington
Principal 

Virtual Academy Council Meeting Agenda

Wednesday 13 January 2021

6:30 – 7:30pm

  1. Introduction and apologies for absence
  1. COVID Update: Risk Assessment in school

Online provision

                            Welfare calls home

  1. Hinterland offer – planned school trips
  1. Parental feedback: House system

      Knowledge Organisers

      Behaviour update/Road safety

  1. Agree date and time for next meeting and suggested agenda items
  1. AOB

Announcements | 7th January 2021

iMedia update – January 2021

Dear Year 11 student, 

Following on from yesterday’s announcement by the government regarding the cancellation of GCSE and A-level examinations this year, I am writing to you about the Creative iMedia examination scheduled to take place on Monday 11th January.

On Monday, the Department for Education and Ofqual stated that schools and colleges can proceed with the running of technical and vocational examinations “where they judge it right to do so.” In light of the current situation, we have decided to cancel Monday’s exam. 

You will not be disadvantaged by this. Grades will be awarded based on objective evidence, and any grades that your teachers set you will be moderated carefully, to ensure they are consistent within and between schools. 

We will provide more information about the grading process when we have it. In the meantime please continue to engage with the remote learning set for all your subjects.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get into contact.

Yours sincerely,

Abbie Thorrington
Principal 

Last updated January 7, 2021