|Headteacher's Previous Messages|
Added/Edited on the 12/11/2018
Our week began with a welcome back to the staff and students who took part in the History department’s trip to Berlin to support their GCSE studies. Mr Wayman and Mr Owen reported that the students’ behaviour was exemplary with staff receiving numerous compliments about their conduct and enthusiasm from other visitors to the memorial sites. We were also pleased to read the following feedback from the parents of a student who attended the trip, “We just wanted to say a big ‘thank-you’ to the staff who accompanied the Year 11s on the recent Berlin trip. Our daughter had a fantastic time and didn’t stop talking about it for 2 days! She even visited her grandparents and told them all about it too.”
Year 11 are gearing-up for their mock exams which begin on Monday November 19th. Appreciative, recent feedback has highlighted the support which students and parents have received to date, ‘This week I just wanted to say how very impressed I was by all the staff who delivered the ‘Welcome to Key Stage 4’ evening. It was incredibly well put together, well presented and contained really invaluable information. I was also so grateful for the amount of additional time the teachers put into supporting the students; the clinics are a fantastic resource for the children and I would like to say a huge thank you to all the staff who put in so much of their own free time to these initiatives. Thank you to you and all staff at Longsands for all you are doing for our children.’ On Friday, we wrote home to all parents detailing the advice and guidance students have received as well as providing ‘My Revision Planner’, a document which details all of the subject content which students need to revise for all subjects. This document is also available on Doddle and can be found by following this link:
Promoting British Values is a key feature of the Longsands curriculum and, this week, our focus has very much been on marking the 100th anniversary of Armistice which marks the end of World War One. Mr Owen and Mr Wayman led thought-provoking assemblies all week, including an update on our recent ‘Heritage Lottery Fund’ project which investigated local regiments serving on the Eastern Front in the First World War. The assembly also included readings from students and music performed by our Sixth Form students. In addition, Prefects sold poppies to staff and students with all monies collected going to the local branch of the Royal British Legion. As a community, the whole school paused and reflected on Friday at 11am for a minute silence which was impeccably observed.
In addition, during this week, Mr Merson, Miss Gordon and a number of our Year 11 students participated in performances of ‘Oh, What a Lovely War’ at the Huntingdon Commemoration Hall. Mr Merson reported that the students involved ‘have been doing us proud’! Very well done to Samuel Thwaites and Alfie Lindsey-Gentle, Kayleigh Rhodes-Elson & Nick Barker.
Lastly, my week finished on a humbling and inspiring note when Olivia Longford (Year 8) knocked on my door and presented a Remembrance poem she had been inspired to write after listening to the Remembrance assembly. Apart from demonstrating impressive personal qualities and the values we promote, the poem was superbly written and will be shared in full via a separate post. I would simply like to end this post with the following extract from Olivia’s work, ‘A sad end, a bright start. Well, my friend, you can sleep now…You will be remembered.’
Added/Edited on the 05/11/2018
We returned from the half term break to an update from Evan Marlow, Cliona Blackwell and Thomas Hurrell who were all awarded prestigious Arkwright Scholarships last academic year, sponsored by ARM, a global tech company based in Cambridge. Nationally, all applicants were whittled down to 1000 who were asked to interview and only 400 were given sponsors; guided by Miss Bell, all 3 of our applicants were awarded scholarships. During half term, these talented young people attended an award ceremony at the Institute for Engineering in London. Arkwright Scholarships rightly recognise these students (who are now studying A Levels) as future leaders in engineering. The scheme has been launched with current Year 11 with students who are beginning to work on projects; good luck to you all.
On Monday, we also welcomed back staff and students from a very successful Geology trip to Arran as well as news from the very proud parents of Benedict Taylor in Year 13 who attained his Private Pilot Licence on Sunday! On Tuesday, we welcomed outside agency, Business Language Champions, who ran a highly successful ‘Glastonbury Goes Global’ languages project with our Year 9 students whilst on Wednesday evening we welcomed parents/carers to the academy for the South Africa information evening.
On Thursday and Friday, our ‘Raising Awareness’ committee, led by one of the senior Prefects, ran a second charity event to raise money for Cancer Research. The ‘Stand-Up to Cancer’ event involved students donating £1 in order to select a date in a diary. Each date will be placed into a raffle and the date selected, and the student 'owning' this date, will win a prize with the remainder of the money going to Cancer Research. Following this, the Prefects will be helping to organise the ‘Longsands Talent Show’ to raise money for Parkinson’s disease and Cancer Research.
During this week, I have also had the pleasure of meeting our highest performing students, in terms of their exceptional learning habits across classwork, home learning and behaviour, in Years 8, 9 and 10. Apart from affording me the opportunity to formally recognise these students, whose outstanding efforts and positive attitudes could so easily go unnoticed, these meetings also allow us to discuss what they are enjoying about life at the academy and what could be improved. The students had plenty of ideas which I will discuss further with relevant staff and act on those we are able to.
At the end of the week, I was delighted to receive further positive feedback, from a member of the public, about two of our students, “We were in Riverside Park today when my son and his friend got their aerobie stuck up a tree! Two of your Year 8 boys cycled by and stopped to help get it down; they were really polite and helpful, a credit to both their parents and the school.”
As I hope this evidence demonstrates, so many of our students continue to make us very proud of the values they demonstrate, the efforts they make and their subsequent achievements.
Added/Edited on the 22/10/2018
Whilst humility is a personal quality which we value at the academy, it has to be said that students have had an amazing final week of this half term. On Monday, we welcomed back Mrs Swainston, Mrs Mobin and 22 students who took part in our first ever study trip to Rouen. The trip involved a collaboration with students from the Lycée Jean Baptiste La Salle and included our students experiencing a typical day in a French school. During the final day, students enjoyed a tour of the beautiful, mediaeval city of Rouen and visited a French market and the cathedral before some souvenir shopping. The students’ behaviour was exemplary and they thoroughly enjoyed the trip and rose to the challenge of attending lessons in French. We were delighted to receive this feedback from the parents of one student, “Thank you for organising the French Study trip to Rouen. Emma enjoyed it immensely, describing it as 'the best school trip I have been on'. We enjoyed hearing all about it and it is obvious a lot of varied activity was packed into the well-planned programme you developed.”
Also on the languages front, five of our students were shortlisted as finalists for the Eastern region ‘Mother Tongue, Other Tongue’ poetry competition with two announced as runners-up in their category at the celebration event which was held at Murray Edwards College in Cambridge on Monday. The students' poems, which were written in French, have all been published in an anthology and we are very proud of them. Very well done to Riley Reed, Emmeline Terry, Kyle Wigley, Emma Mathers and Isaac Timms.
During this past week, our Year 11 Prefect team have led discussions with Year 7-9 students to review the use of Doddle to support home learning; this feedback will inform academy-wide and department planning.
On Tuesday, we welcomed Mark Levy to the academy, a veteran of the civil rights movement who was involved in the 1963 march on Washington and the Freedom summer of 1964 in Mississippi. Mark spoke with sixth form History and Politics students; the following feedback from Nathan Wyatt sums-up how inspiring his visit was, “I just wanted to say thank you for arranging the meeting this morning, I really enjoyed it and it has really motivated me.”
On Tuesday, students from Years 7-11 performed a variety of dance and drama performances as part of the ‘Weird and Wonderful’ show whilst, on Wednesday, Year 7 students performed a superb medley of musical numbers to approximately 160 parents; our thanks to all who attended.
Wednesday saw a veritable fiesta of sporting activity as Year 7 & 8 competed with great sporting behaviour and enthusiasm in the inter-form competition. This was immediately followed by the Year 8, 9 & 11 girls’ district hockey and netball tournaments. Well done to all who competed, especially to the Year 9s who won their tournament.
In the evening, the Rotary interviews took place for Year 13 students; we received fantastic feedback from the Rotarians who reported that it was wonderful to see students get so much out of the evening. This was highlighted by the parent of one student who has had to overcome significant issues during his time with us, “I just wanted to write to thank the sixth form for organising the interview evening yesterday as it turned out to be a very positive experience for our son and has given him a real confidence boost. I would like to add that we're very appreciative of all the support everyone is giving our son which is helping to make his sixth form experience much better than we'd hoped, thank you.”
On Thursday, we opened-up the academy to the community, especially parents/carers of Year 6 students as we held our annual Open Evening. The event was extremely well-attended and we received a significant amount of positive feedback, not least of all regarding the conduct and input of our student body. I was particularly struck by the following feedback about one of our speakers, Jasmine Fisher-Wright, “Last night, I attended the Open evening…a young lady made a speech regarding her time at Longsands - the A levels she is now taking and her future plans. She told the audience that she has a long-term illness, she sometimes has to leave class and that the school has been very understanding. This young lady did not need to tell the audience this, as her illness was not noticeable. Please could you pass my email to her, hearing this made a difference to me.”
On Friday the sixth form held a ‘Wear it Pink’ day in support of those who battle breast cancer. The day proved to be a lot of fun and the cake sale was impressively supported by all those who baked and ate! I was made to pause and reflect by the following feedback from a member of public who was also supporting a cancer charity, “Yesterday I spent an hour on St Neots High Street as a ‘Stand Up For Cancer’ collector. I saw at least 30 of your students while I stood outside Boots with my collecting bucket. I would like to pass on how very well they were behaving and how smart they looked in their kilts! Despite the fact that they were in little gaggles of 5 or 6, they were considerate and quiet. When I caught their eyes they smiled (although I am extremely old and boring) and at least 8 of them put their change into my collecting bucket. If I was on the staff at Longsands Academy I would like to hear this, and would be very proud indeed of these girls for representing their school in such a positive way.”
This followed the amazing feedback about Jacob Crawshaw and Owen Thomas who went to the aid of an elderly gentleman when he collapsed in the street. The values that your children display are inspiring and humbling; be very proud of them.
Added/Edited on the 15/10/2018
With the half term flying by, the penultimate week has proven to be another busy one with much to reflect on. The week began on a highly positive note with achievement breakfasts for students in Year 7 and 11 who routinely demonstrate exemplary habits of learning in terms of their classwork, behaviour and home learning.
On Wednesday, targeted Year 10 and 11 students received advice and guidance on successful study habits from our Learning Performance partners; Mr Owen reported that the students’ engagement was excellent and that they received some superb, practical advice to guide them through their GCSE studies. To support this, and linked to World Mental Health Day, Miss Leather led an ‘Exam-Fit, Stress-Less’ workshop with targeted Year 11 students. This is a pilot programme intended to mentally prepare students for the forthcoming mock exams, affording them an opportunity to explore strategies and tools to help them develop a more 'exam fit' mindset. Miss Leather reported that she received very positive feedback from the students who took part; the next workshop will be held on Wednesday 17 October.
On Wednesday we also welcomed the parents/carers of our new Year 7 students for a ‘settling-in’ evening which afforded them the opportunity to meet Mrs Postins, Head of Year, and tutors to review the first weeks of secondary education and reflect on recently awarded attitude to learning scores for classwork, behaviour and homework. We were delighted with the 86% turnout and the positive feedback received, summarised by one parent who wrote to their son’s tutor, “It was great to hear how our son has been doing…your enthusiasm for his future and the great things ahead really made us smile. Our son is really happy at Longsands and we certainly love seeing his confidence and personality grow from all he is experiencing.”
On Thursday we held a post-16 options event for Year 11 students and their parents/carers. This is the first time we have run an event of this size and it was a pleasure to welcome employers, training providers, colleges and universities into the Academy. The aim of the evening was to provide students with impartial and independent advice and guidance on all of the routes available to them at 16 and 18. It was lovely to see students engaging with employers in such a positive manner. We hope that the evening gave a flavour of the jobs and opportunities that are available to our students and helped to raise their aspirations about their future careers and educational pathways. On the evening, it was great to also great to meet Colour Sergeant Waters who returned to the academy he attended. Matt was excited to have a look around the school, which he attended in the mid 1980's. He recognised quite a few areas including the location of his locker, the E corridor where he was taught RE, the Ritchie Hall and he asked whether we still have an ice cream van come on site - alas we do not!
Finally, it is a regular privilege and pleasure when I embark on my thrice-weekly learning & behaviour walks around the academy, a duty shared among all senior colleagues. This week has been no different as I have witnessed happy and engaged children across all subject areas, enjoying and achieving in their learning. I have attached some images to illustrate these experiences which range from students up to their elbows in lungs to a quiet focus on English texts. Your children continue to impress and you should feel proud of them.
Added/Edited on the 08/10/2018
Since returning from the summer break, the PE department, led by Mr Hood and Miss Osborne, have been busy affording large numbers of students the opportunity to engage and enjoy a range of sporting activities.
Our netball squads are well-established with over 35 Year 7 girls attending training and fixtures each week and over 20 from Years 10 & 11, acting as perfect role models to the younger years. Hockey has been similarly well supported with over 40 students from all year groups training hard every Thursday and making excellent progress. Students from all year groups competed at Hinchingbrooke recently, with Year 7 & 10/11 netballers notching-up comprehensive wins whilst our Year 8 & 9 hockey teams fought hard to draw both of their matches. The girls have further fixtures coming against local schools including district fixtures for hockey and netball to be held at Longsands on 17th & 18th October; we look forward to hearing more of their achievements.
We have also learnt of some outstanding individual successes including students selected for Cambridgeshire U16/17 county hockey; very well done to Millie Payne (Y11), Summer Payne (Y9) and Tanya Sargeant (Y12). In addition, congratulations to Charlie Churms (Y11) and Sam Harding (Y12) who have been selected to play for London Wasps netball DDP programme. Lastly, Lucy Wood’s footballing adventures continue with her England call-up on Friday 26th to Sunday 28th October; good luck Lucy.
The boys have been equally busy having already played rugby fixtures against St Ivo, Abbey, Ernulf, Sawtry and Thomas Deacon. Over 35 boys are regularly attending Year 7 training and fixtures and Mr Hood reports that they are making great progress. On 18th September, over 40 Year 9 boys enjoyed their first session as part of the Hunts Leadership Academy. On Monday, Year 7 and 8 boys will be playing rugby against The Leys with Year 9 and 10 due to compete in the District Rugby Championships, to be held at Longsands. On Thursday of this coming week, our U14 squad start their County Cup journey away at Swavesey; good luck boys. On an individual front, our congratulations go to Rowan Bell in Year 10 who has been selected for the U15 DPP programme, supported by Northampton Saints.
Lastly, on Thursday of this past week, Year 9 & 10 students competed in our biannual Inter-form competition with girls competing in hockey or netball and boys rugby. I would like to commend the PE staff for their usual efficient management and leadership of this event and for all those students who took part and demonstrated admirable levels of sporting behaviour and excellence. Year 7 & 8 are due to take part in their own event on the 17th October.