Headteacher's Message
Weekly Message
   Added/Edited on the 21/05/2018     Previous Messages

Our week began with a phone call from Ofsted, one we have been expecting since September! Ahead of their visit on Tuesday, I was firstly impressed by the manner in which staff and students at the academy snapped into action, listening carefully to key messages about what to expect the following day. Due to our current ‘good’ rating, the visit by three inspectors was, initially, only for one day in order to test whether this rating should be maintained. I am unable to provide specific feedback at this time since the Chief Inspector’s report is due to reach me during this coming week for fact-checking before going through Ofsted’s own quality checking mechanism; the final judgement will be communicated as soon as it arrives after the half term break. At this stage, therefore, all I can say is that the inspectors did not have serious concerns with safeguarding, behaviour or academic progress to warrant returning for a second day and were able to provide some immediate feedback regarding our strengths and areas to develop further. All those children seen by inspectors, in meetings and during lesson visits, interacted in a polite and positive manner and were a credit to yourselves and the academy.

The inspection team were quick to point out that their visit should not interrupt the normal workings of the academy and, especially at this time of year, there was plenty going on. Most notably were the external exams being sat by Year 11; at this stage, I am delighted to report that students have continued with their confident and positive approach not only to the exams themselves but also the support sessions on offer. Staff have been highly impressed by the willingness of students to engage with a comprehensive package of support sessions, images of which have been shared during the week on our social media sites; many thanks for the messages of appreciation which have been posted in support.

I have enjoyed sharing recent positive feedback from the community with students in assemblies during this past week and have been delighted to receive the following message from the parent of a Year 11 student after finishing formal lessons the previous Friday: “I Just wanted to say a huge thank you to you and your colleagues for my son’s time at Longsands. He has absolutely thrived at your school and has always been excited to go, which he hasn’t been in the past. Academically, he has gone from strength to strength and we are so very proud of how hard he works and also the support he gets from his teachers. People are always very quick to point out the negatives with schools, but having put my two boys through your school as well as my partner’s two boys; I have a lot to be thankful for and have nothing but praise for you all. Whatever my son’s exams results, I know that he has been given the best teaching and support at Longsands and for that I’m very grateful. He’s very excited for the next phase of his education in sixth form.”

On Wednesday, we welcomed parents of a number of gifted STEM students as they engaged in an engineering challenge to produce an electronic speaker using solder and printed circuit boards. The atmosphere was positive and an excited, competitive buzz came from both students and parents with a few embarrassed students when parents managed to get their music playing! In addition, Miss Sparrow also received overall impact and engagement figures for the LEGO Mindstorms club which has run during this academic year. Erika Smallridge (Product Development Manager at Tomorrow’s Engineers EEP Robotics Challenge) gave the following words of praise: “We wanted to share some great feedback that we had from our Robotics Challenge student survey; what delights me is the enjoyment felt by students taking part”. The survey results showed that 98% of students had enjoyed the Robotics Challenge whilst 89% had gone away with positive perceptions of science and engineering and 92% left with the belief that engineering is suitable for girls and boys!

As Year 12 made a very positive start to their end-of-year internal exams, we bid farewell and good luck to Year 13 as they began their own period of study leave before sitting A2 exams after the half term break. In a similar vein to Year 11, the students enjoyed a final assembly led by Mr Elliott where members of the Student Voice also sold tickets for the ‘Summer Ball’ taking place on the 22nd June. Students have also received details of exam support sessions during this coming week; if, as a student or parent, you have any questions concerning this, then please do contact the relevant member of staff or a member of the sixth form team. Further details can also be found on the SNSFC website: http://snsfc.org.uk/

Finally, after starting the week by welcoming back the Duke of Edinburgh team from a soggy weekend at Grafham, we ended the week by waving off the PE team as they departed for Condover Hall and the netball competition as well as students and staff taking part in the Regional Finals of the Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial, taking place on Saturday. A busy and eventful week, therefore, and, as always, much to reflect on and celebrate.

Martin Paine

Headteacher