|Headteacher's Previous Messages|
Added/Edited on the 14/05/2018
There are times when the media are quick to portray a negative picture of our children and teenagers especially. I have, therefore, been delighted to read and observe your children continue to visibly demonstrate the values and personal qualities which we promote at the academy and which you no doubt also expect at home.
I am always pleased to receive positive feedback from members of the local community, mindful that this often takes an extra effort than communicating feedback of a less positive nature. During this week, we were contacted by a member of the public who wanted to say how polite and helpful a number of students were in helping her retrieve her puppies who had run into the water chasing ducks! Seeing her upset and struggling to get them back, two groups of girls stopped to help and managed to retrieve the dogs for her; Ms Fiddy wanted to express her thanks and say how nice they all were.
Secondly, we also received the following feedback this week, “I just wanted to let you know what polite students you have (you probably know that already!) I was walking my 3 year old nephew home from nursery and every single student that passed us on their bike said thank you to us for letting them pass. It was all done with a smile and very good grace. Very impressive young people.”
I do not know who these students are and would be very happy to thank them personally, if they wish to come forward. In the meantime, I have thanked the members of the public who took their time to contact us and shared these stories with staff. Feedback like this uplifts us all.
On Friday, we paused to celebrate with Year 11 as we marked the end of their formal, timetabled lessons. The day was full of emotions as students and staff took this opportunity to exchange cards, gifts, food and, most importantly, words of thanks for all that has happened to cement the highly positive relationships which were evident on the day. After spending time with their tutors, students and staff gathered in the courtyard where hoodies were proudly displayed, photos were taken and Yearbooks were feverishly signed. The day culminated in a lovely assembly where students were able to say a final thank-you, as well as a sad goodbye, to their Head of Year, Miss Furlongher, before being serenaded by staff and then receiving final words of advice and encouragement from Mr Owen. Next week, a similar day, no doubt with similar sentiments, will have taken place for Year 13 students as they step away from familiar territory and make the brave step into the world of work or further education. Witnessing the emotions that these moments trigger in students and staff alike provides a visible reminder of the importance of unconditionally positive relationships which should be a key feature of any school which aims to support students in their well-being and learning. I am heartened to be able to confidently state that this is a noticeable strength of our academy.
As I have reported so often, your children are a source of pride and inspiration and we have every reason to feel very proud of them.
Added/Edited on the 07/05/2018
Whilst maintaining our on-going support for those students taking their GCSE & A Level MFL speaking exams and preparing to take further examinations in the near future, our focus has broadened to include internal, end-of–year exams which, this week, have been sat by Year 10 as well as Year 9 maths. In order to familiarise students with Ofqual expectations and procedures, these exams are sat in the exam hall in conditions as close as possible to the real experience. Mrs Carpenter, exam invigilators and Mr Owen reported how incredibly impressed they have been with our Year 10 students who have displayed a focussed, mature and sensible attitude as well as exemplary behaviour throughout the week. We have every confidence that this positive attitude will continue into next week and hope that the students will use the Bank Holiday weekend to rest and prepare for next week. Mrs Breakspear reported that the majority of Year 9 students approached their maths exams in a similar manner and the small minority who struggled to maintain their focus and behaviour on the Tuesday successfully acted on advice and guidance during Thursday’s exam.
On Tuesday, we welcomed back Miss Rose, Mr Dickerson, Mr Magen and 38 of our Year 10 Geography students from a highly successful trip to Barcelona. Staff reported that the trip ran extremely smoothly with a real highlight being both the students’ engagement with the learning activities (such as the ‘Rivers Day’) as well as their exemplary behaviour. Students clearly enjoyed themselves, as highlighted by the following feedback from one parent: “My daughter was full of beans when I collected her last night, she clearly has had a fabulous trip with you all. I know how much time and energy these trips require from the attending teachers so I wanted to say a sincere thank you to you all for accompanying and looking after the teens on this trip. The trips always sound fantastic, I am very tempted to sign up myself!”
On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of attending a performance of ‘Blood Wedding’ by our Year 10 and 11 Drama students. Like the rest of the audience, I was instantly gripped by the work and hugely impressed by the quality of the students’ performances whether this be on the stage or behind the scenes. Very well done everyone, you have every right to feel proud of your production; my thanks to Mrs Koncewicz for leading this event.
Elsewhere this week, the Science department led a successful Year 8 trip to the National Space Centre on Tuesday whilst targeted Year 7, 8 & 9 students engaged in a number of STEM challenges and ‘quests’, led by the Technology department, on Wednesday and Friday. Well done and thank-you to all those involved. The Sixth Form were pleased to welcome a Cambridgeshire Traffic Officer and the DriveIQ safety presenters to the school site on Wednesday. Year 12 students had the valuable opportunity to ask questions about a car that had been involved in an accident. All of our year 12 students now have the opportunity to complete the online ‘DriveIQ’ course, an award-winning safety education programme.
Lastly, on Friday our focus returned to Year 11 as targeted students attended the PiXL ‘Strive for 5’ conference in London as a support to their forthcoming English exams.
At such a critical time in the school year, we are very conscious of the pressures being felt by significant numbers of students and are hugely grateful for the support being provided by parents/carers. Please do contact relevant support and subject staff if you have any specific questions or needs; our continuing partnership work will help ensure that your children achieve the very best outcomes in the summer.
Added/Edited on the 30/04/2018
After an interesting and busy week at the academy, I, once again, have the pleasure of pausing, catching breath and reflecting on all that students and staff have been able to enjoy and celebrate during the past 5 days; we are all proud to be able to share the following highlights with you.
On Monday, we welcomed back students and staff who visited the Peak District over a sunny weekend as part of the Duke of Edinburgh award. We also heard the fantastic news that staff and students’ bag-packing efforts at Tesco’s on Saturday raised over £500 towards this summer’s Tanzania trip. My thanks to all students who took part as well as Miss Furlonger, Mr Lampett and Mr Smy for their support who reported that they were overwhelmed by the generosity shown by the local community.
During this week, Year 11 students began their formal GCSE exams in Art whilst a targeted group attended a maths ‘Strive for 5’ conference in London on Friday. On Wednesday, we welcomed parents/carers of our Year 10 students to an information evening ahead of internal exams which begin this week; many thanks to all who attended, your support is a key ingredient in your child’s success.
On Monday, Miss Bingham ran a successful trip to the Raptor Foundation for students on the ‘Intensive Literacy’ (i2L) programme whilst we welcomed representatives from the ‘Shakespeare at the George’ group who presented our Performing Arts department with a cheque for £1000. This will be invested in much-needed upgrades to technical equipment. As part of the presentation, a number of students in Years 9 and 11 performed superbly in front of Year 7 and our guests; they have every right to feel proud of the quality and inventiveness of their performances.
We were also delighted to receive the news that Macy Masters and Amelia Fleming in 7KKS had been successful in the ‘Arsenal Double Club 2018 World Cup Competition’, a national competition to design a footballing activity in French. A record number of schools from across the UK entered the competition which made selecting groups extremely competitive so Macy and Amelia should feel especially proud of their achievement. They will now attend a World Cup day at the Emirates; my thanks to Miss Sebborn for her support of this venture.
Later in the week, we heard from an elated Mrs Powell who informed us that our Year 12 Young Enterprise team came away with four awards at the Young Enterprise Cambridge area final. The team won Best Trade Stand, Responsible Business Award, Best Innovation award and came runner-up in the Best Overall Company category.
The group made products using up-cycled materials, the sustainability of which particularly impressed the judges. My congratulations to all involved, further details can be found in a separate Facebook post.
On Wednesday, we were formally awarded the ‘Quality in Careers Mark’ by Jonathan Lewis, Education Service Director for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough which recognises the good work which takes place across all key stages to prepare students for life after Longsands whether that be in employment or further education. My thanks to Miss Martindale, our CEIAG co-ordinator, for her considerable efforts in leading on this successful application.
Whilst conducting a learning walk around the academy, I was proud to show Mr Lewis a range of activities taking place both in and out of the classroom, including the whole of Year 8 engaged in our annual ‘Race for Life’ in support of Cancer Research UK. He was also interested to hear of the students engaged in our ‘Boot Camp’ project which ran its final session on Wednesday with all students feeding-back positively on the impact the scheme has had on their confidence, well-being, aspirations and subsequent decision-making.
Lastly, many congratulations to Ross Biddulph in Year 13 who has secured employment at GlaxoSmithkline in Stevenage as an ‘R&D New Chemical Entity Bioassay Scientist’; Ross was quick to acknowledge the support he has received in this process, especially from Mr Ivett.
Added/Edited on the 23/04/2018
I hope you all had a happy and restful Easter break; I am delighted to be able to report that the overwhelming majority of students have returned focussed and ready to learn and brought with them some vastly improved weather!
On the Monday of our return, I shared with staff a number of student achievements which occurred during our absence. As I then listened to an assembly on values, I was struck by the degree to which these students, like so many, visibly demonstrate our own values such as care and respect for others, high aspirations and the determination to fulfil them and strong relationships and shared goals achieved through teamwork.
This included Melissa Quail in Year 13 who attended the European Girls Mathematical Olympiad in Florence, as part of the 4 person GB team competing against 51 other countries. The team finished third overall and Melissa won a bronze medal; I am sure that you will agree that this is an extraordinary achievement.
On the sporting front, Myles Robinson-Young competed in France as part of Swim England campaign whilst Erin Hall Hall was not only selected as part of the U18 GB Dragon Boat Squad but also chosen as Boat Captain. These are wonderful achievements, you should both feel rightly proud.
In addition, I was contacted by the parent of Emily Stevens in Year 9 who informed me of Emily’s meeting with Boris Johnson after winning a competition, for the children of Foreign Office staff, to design the Foreign Secretary's Christmas card. The card was printed and sent out to Foreign Ministers around the world last year representing a proud moment for Emily, her family and all of us here at the academy.
Leading up to the Easter break, 9FJW took part in a sponsored silence raising an impressive £298.61 for Great Ormond Street Hospital, a charity chosen because some members of the form have undergone treatment there. We would like to make a special mention to the families of Milly Middleton and Samaria Lynn for their very generous donations and to Maxwell McKnight and his family for visiting GOSH to present the cheque over Easter.
Also to Maxwell McKnight and his family who kindly delivered the cheque to staff at Great Ormond street during the Easter break.
A real highlight of this week has been our annual Holocaust Exhibition Project which involved 50 Year 8 students who prepared and delivered a superb exhibition and presentation to Year 7 students, staff and parents. My thanks to all those students who invested so much time, energy and emotions into this project and to all those parents who supported their children on Thursday evening. A special thanks to Mr Lampett and Mr Nunnery for their hard work in ensuring the event was a huge success.
Congratulations to Hannah Baumert in Year 12 who, to support her ambitions to practice Law, successfully applied for a work experience placement with leading international law firm Berwin, Leighton & Paisner on the ‘Career Kick Start’ programme. The programme aims to provide aspiring lawyers with an understanding of the legal roles available within different organisations. This is an excellent opportunity for Hannah to gain an insight into how different organisations operate and work together, as well as meeting successful individuals within the business world.
My thanks to all those parents of our Year 7 students who attended subject consultation meetings on Thursday; it was great to see so many there to support our young learners and I was delighted by the positive feedback received from all I managed to speak with.
I hope you would agree, therefore, that your children have not only returned to significant fanfare but have also demonstrated all that we stand for at Longsands Academy in terms of our core purpose and values. We were all heartened by the positive feedback received by Astrea colleagues on Tuesday who, on visiting the academy for the first time, were quick to comment on the happy and positive climate which pervades the academy and provides a perfect environment to support the learning and well-being of students and staff alike.
Added/Edited on the 02/04/2018
Whilst this has been the final, and abridged, week of this term, I have been struck by just how much has taken place at the academy, with no let-up in the energy levels shown by students and staff alike.
On Monday, we welcomed back staff and students from the sixth form History trip to Belfast and also the Year 10 visit to Norfolk for the first Duke of Edinburgh weekend; by all accounts, the trips were highly successful and the students were a credit to themselves and the Academy. We also received the good news that our combined efforts on Friday raised over £1300 for Sports Relief; many thanks for supporting this event.
The end of term has provided a perfect opportunity to congratulate and reward deserving students for their hard work and positive attitude with staff having been asked to nominate students deserving of public recognition. In Key Stage 3, these celebrations came in the form of ‘Good Egg’ awards whilst Key Stage 4 students and staff celebrated in their own achievement assemblies. Mr Elliott led a similarly-themed occasion with Year 13 students who have demonstrated high effort and high progress in their studies. Well done to all who were nominated by their teachers and I hope you enjoy the chocolate!
On Monday, Mrs Fisher and our Year 12 BTEC Business Students ran a Charity Quiz for the local businesses of St Neots to raise money for Breast Cancer Care. The students worked individually and as a team during the planning, organisation and execution of the event which also allowed them to complete the ‘Event Management’ unit of their course; well done to all students involved and our thanks to the local businesses for their support.hinson, Meg Day, Teri-Ann Watling, James Parker, Luke Strathdee, Jason Tsang and Scott Lee.
On Tuesday, we held our 25th Dance Show which showcased the hard work and talents of students in Years 7-9. The students performed superbly during an extensive and varied programme; all those involved, both on and off the stage, should feel proud of the final production.
Our Prom Fayre on Wednesday was a great success largely due to the efforts of Mrs Baker, Mrs Doyle, Sophie James, Lucy Mansfield, Kirsty Grant and Grace Marsh as well as the support from several local businesses. My thanks also to Miss Furlonger, Miss Rose and Mr Hewitt who did a splendid job hosting and comparing the evening and all those students who bravely volunteered to model on the catwalk. Apart from the sale of second-hand dresses, all monies raised from the event are supporting this summer’s Tanzania trip. It took about 2 months of stressful planning but it was well worth it in the end; over 100 students attended as well as 12 businesses:
Mrs Chilton has been running a touch-typing competition which came to a conclusion this week; GES averaged an impressive 45.3 wpm but were beaten into second place by ORW with 45.6 wpm who won a pizza party for the form. The three top students each won a £25 voucher; well done to Ethan Copping (106.6 wpm), Gabriel Bishops-Gait (87.4 wpm) and Gabriel Pang (59.6 wpm). There were also 9 students that scored over 50 wpm and received a certificate; beat these scores, if you can! Almost without drawing breath, Mrs Chilton also organised an Eggstravaganza Scavenger Hunt for students in Years 7-9 with the winners collecting a suitable chocolate treat. Mrs Chilton expressed her gratitude to all who took part and helped to raise money for the Tanzania trip.
In support of Autism Awareness Week, Alex Warren led a team of volunteers from Year 9 and held a cake sale which raised a grand total of £100.74; I am always impressed by the students’ willingness to support this cause which I know is close to several hearts.
On Thursday, I was honoured to be invited to the Erasmus+ celebration where students from this year’s programme received certificates and reflected on their adventures in biotechnology with last year’s cohort. Mr Lesurf spoke movingly about Dr Sarah Miller and her leadership of the programme last year before she sadly passed away last Easter. The students involved have paid their respects exactly how she would have liked – by getting on with it and enjoying their learning.
As we broke for Easter, Year 11 students received information and guidance to support their independent revision over the two weeks. Whilst there are no formalised intervention sessions running during this period, there are opportunities Monday – Wednesday for students to be in school in the library should they need to use the space or facilities. Year 13 received similar guidance and, after the Easter break, will be provided with a number of facilities and opportunities to hone their exam preparations including the 5 o’clock club, support for quiet exam practice and additional study periods. As always, we are eternally grateful for your support of your children at this critical time including maximum attendance which is a vital aspect in ensuring they achieve the best possible outcomes which the support the next stage of their lives.
Lastly, good luck to Melissa Quail who will be attending maths camp at Trinity College in Cambridge over Easter before heading to the European Girls' Mathematical Olympiad in Florence, as part of the UK team; we look forward to hearing of your achievements.
Please do take the time to read our latest newsletter, which can be found under 'Latest News', to see a selection of this past term’s highlights; your children have, once again, provided much to make us all proud. Wishing you a happy and peaceful Easter,