Letter to Current Year 7-10 Parents and Carers

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Dear Parents/Carers

I hope this communication finds you and your family well.

As you are aware, John Smeaton Academy is soon to join The GORSE Academies Trust and I am delighted to write to you today to share a range of important information ahead of September 2021.

Leadership of the academy

Within The GORSE Academies Trust we enjoy many benefits, including the close geographical proximity of our schools. John Smeaton Academy will be joining five other 11-16 mainstream academies that are already within the trust. Each of these schools is amongst the top performing regionally and nationally.

I joined Morley High School in 2005, a year or so after Sir John Townsley had commenced in post as Headteacher and established the school’s transformational journey; a journey which, through creating a culture of high standards and expectations, in turn giving rise to a high quality, safe, learning environment, saw the academy achieve an Outstanding judgement from Ofsted in 2009 and again in 2013. The GORSE Academies Trust was established in December 2010 and in January 2011 Morley High School became The Morley Academy. In 2014 I secured the role of Principal of The Morley Academy and within my Principalship the academy secured World Class Schools status. It is fair to say that the academy represents a beacon of excellence within the city and has a national reputation for ensuring that all students, regardless of their background, secure an exceptional skill set and qualification suite.

In 2018 I was appointed as Executive Principal: 11-16 Education within the trust and during my Executive Principalship I have worked closely with Sir John Townsley, Chief Executive Officer, the Principal team, Governors and other key members of the trust, to progress the offer within our academies. We are exceptionally proud of the standard of education that we provide for our 6,500 mainstream secondary students and for our cohort of students at the trust’s Alternative Provision, The Stephen Longfellow Academy which also has a national reputation for excellence across the 4-16 age range.

There is no doubting the importance of leadership at all levels within a school and, having spoken to a wide range of stakeholders including members of the community, parents/carers, students, members of staff and future governors, we know that you share our passion for seeing John Smeaton Academy transform into the Outstanding provision we know it can be. We hope, therefore, that you will be welcoming of the decision made in collaboration with the Chief Executive Officer and the Board of The GORSE Academies Trust, which will see me leading the school with the support of an experienced Senior Vice Principal, Liz O’Connor. We are very much looking forward to working in partnership with you and I believe you will be delighted by the developments that we have put in place in preparation for the students’ return in September.

I am conscious of the length of this communication today and so it is my intention to write to you during the first week back to share details of the exciting provision on offer for students. I would like to draw your attention, however, to a few key areas of importance: firstly, from September, all students will receive a free breakfast on arrival at school in the form of a bagel. Taking advantage of this is by no means compulsory but we are hopeful students will welcome this addition to their morning and will enjoy eating their bagel in their form room during ‘Pre-form’.

Secondly, we have adapted the structure of the school day in order to ensure students in all year groups are able to take advantage of the range of activities that will be on offer after the end of the compulsory school day, both academic and skill based. Further details will follow in respect of our full enrichment++ programme, however, I am delighted to include a separate letter to accompany this one, which outlines details of the trust’s BIG 3: Rowing, Karate and Volleyball. I do hope you will take a moment, with your child, to go through this communication carefully as the offer is incredibly popular in our other schools; students are taught by qualified rowing, karate and volleyball coaches and will have the opportunity to compete in national competitions. Furthermore, in order to ensure students are able to compete in the city and beyond, we will be taking delivery of a minibus in the Autumn term.

In addition, I am delighted to share with you that, from September, students will be able to enjoy instrumental (peripatetic) lessons within the academy. The cost of these will be set so they are accessible to as many students as possible and the academy’s new Supporting Achievement Fund (SAF) will ensure that, where parents/carers need financial assistance, they are able to access it discretely and swiftly. Further details of the music lessons will be sent out by our Head of Music, Mr Copley-Dunn, during the first week in September. It is important to note, however, that peri lessons will be free of charge for all students who are in receipt of the Pupil Premium and all students who are taking Music as an option subject in Years 10 and 11.

In September we will also be launching our new John Smeaton Academy logo, inspired by John Smeaton’s iconic lighthouse and representing our aspirations for the academy to be recognised nationally as a true beacon of excellence in its own right. A brand new, high quality, website and media platform will compliment the offer and in order to ensure the local community are aware of the developments within the academy, we will be seeking representatives from all stakeholders to share their stories and to work together in partnership moving forward. If you are interested in being an active part of this please register your interest with Lisa Roberts, PA to the Principal at: [email protected] or you can contact her by telephone on 0113 8313906.

The school day from September 2021

As I have previously mentioned, the school day has been adjusted for September 2021. You will see from the table below that the academy day now consists of ‘Pre-form’, a Form Period, five one hour lessons and enrichment time after school.

We have ensured that the buses students currently use in order to get to school align with the timings below and that students will be able to arrive in school on time. If, however, you have any concerns regarding the timings of the academy day please email Lisa Roberts, PA to the Principal and SLT at: [email protected] or contact her by telephone on 0113 8313906 as a matter of urgency.

Gates open 08:25
Pre-Form 08:25 – 04:40
Form Period 08:40 – 09:10
Period 1 09:10 – 10:10
Period 2 10:10 – 11:30 Break A (KS3) 10:10 – 10:30
Break B (KS4) 11:10 – 11:30
Period 3 11:30 – 12:30
Period 4 12:30 – 14:00 Lunch A (KS3) 12:30 – 13:00
Lunch B (KS4) 13:30 – 14:00
Period 5 14:00 – 15:00
Enrichment++ 15:00 onwards

The academy’s gates will open to students at 8.25am and at this time students will proceed to their entry point, sanitise their hands, collect their free bagel (if they wish!) and proceed to their form room. During ‘Pre-form’ students will have the opportunity to engage in quiet reflection and preparation time, including reading a suitable book of their choice whilst enjoying their breakfast. Pre-form has been established to support students in ensuring they arrive on time for their form period are equipped correctly and ready to learn.

For clarity: ‘Pre-form’ is optional: students are encouraged to arrive during the Pre-form window and to take advantage of the opportunity to eat breakfast and prepare for the day ahead. We expect all students to be in their form in time for the start of registration at 8.40am. If a student enters the academy’s gate after 8.40am they will be marked as late and will be required to complete a late detention at break time. Further details can be found in the academy’s Positive Discipline policy which will be available to view on the new website from September and in the meantime can be accessed on John Smeaton Academy’s current website (www.johnsmeatonacademy.org.uk) via the Homepage where you will see a tab labelled ‘Information for September 2021’. We would encourage all parents/carers to read the policy carefully.

The end of the compulsory school day will be 3pm. We would, however, expect it to be commonplace that students would be remaining at the academy, through choice, to participate in the enrichment++ programme. In addition, students in all year groups may be asked to join ‘catch-up’ or ‘intervention’ sessions to assist with their ongoing studies. We would be grateful for your support in encouraging your child to play an active role in their learning journey after school; it is only through taking advantage of the opportunities on offer that our students will genuinely secure the gift of choosing their next steps into Post- 16 education, training or employment rather than having avenues closed off to them due to a lack of appropriate qualifications or a poor skills-base. Indeed, at John Smeaton Academy we will be uniting as a community to ensure all our students ‘Secure the Gift of Choice’ at Post-16 and for their lifetime.

Year group entry points into the academy’s building

Upon arrival into the academy’s grounds students should proceed to their designated entry point.

For the academic year 2021-22 the year group entry points will be as follows:
Year 7: Pankhurst Wing
Year 8: Barnado Wing
Year 9: Wilberforce Wing
Year 10: The Main Corridor (previously known as the Street) doors between the Pankhurst and Wilberforce Wing
Year 11: The Main Corridor doors between the Barnado and Pankhurst Wing

Members of staff will be on hand to assist students in ensuring they know where to access the academy building and collect their free breakfast. Furthermore, a map of the building showing the location of the students’ form rooms and entry points into the building can be located via the ‘Information for September 2021’ tab on the Homepage of the current website: www.johnsmeatonacademy.org.uk.

Required equipment including the Student Planner

During their first form period with their form tutor all students will receive a clear (examination room compliant) pencil case containing the required equipment (pencil case, black pen, pencil, green pen, purple pen, rubber, ruler, dry wipe board pen and glue stick). Students will also be gifted a Spanish dictionary irrespective of whether they are studying Spanish at GCSE and are expected to bring these to their Spanish lessons.

Students will also need to bring a scientific calculator to school each day and we politely ask parents/carers to ensure they prepare their child to bring this in September. Where cost is an issue please contact us at: [email protected].

In addition to the above, students will receive their Student Planner which is part of the required equipment. The Student Planner is exceptionally important and we ask that you make time to go through your child’s planner carefully with them at the start of term and to look at it daily. Within the first section of the Student Planner is some important information and consent sheets which will need to be returned to your child’s Form Tutor. In addition, parents/carers are expected to sign the planner at the end of each week in preparation for the Positive Discipline lesson in which students will receive praise from their Form Tutor and have the opportunity to discuss any concerns or areas for development/additional focus. There is an important section regarding the Student Planner within the Positive Discipline Policy. All parents/carers will be expected to agree to work in partnership with members of staff at the academy to uphold the standards of Positive Discipline in order to ensure we are able to bring about a culture within the academy where students feel safe and are able to learn and enjoy their daily experience within a high quality learning environment free from disruption.

All items must be carried in a bag which must be of a suitable size to carry exercise books/A4 folders and appropriate for use within the academy.

Uniform and PE kit

It is important that students wear their uniform with pride and in accordance with the academy’s uniform policy. Where students fail to dress in accordance with uniform guidance they will be sanctioned in line with the academy’s Positive Discipline policy; please be aware that if the uniform misdemeanour is unable to be immediately rectified it will mean the student will be withdrawn from the curriculum until the uniform issue is resolved.

It is, therefore, essential that we work in partnership to ensure that students understand the uniform requirements and that uniform is purchased for them that adheres to the expected standards. Prior to the end of term, I will be meeting all students to introduce myself and to explain the uniform expectations ahead of September.

As a separate enclosure to accompany this letter we have set out the uniform guidance for you, including in respect of PE. Please take time to read this carefully. This information can also be found on the academy’s website via the Homepage and the ‘Information for September’ 2021 tab.

Asymptomatic Testing and Start of Term arrangements

The Government have recently set out the next evolution to the schools’ guidance which is captured in the: ‘Schools Covid-19 Operational guidance July 2021’ document, a copy of which will be available to view in the ‘Information for September’ tab on the academy’s website.

Within the guidance the Government detail their expectation that all ‘all secondary school pupils should receive 2 on-site lateral flow device tests, 3 to 5 days apart, on their return in the autumn term.’ This is due to the potential mixing with others that students and families may be involved in over the summer period and in recognition of the important role that regular testing plays in reducing the transmission of COVID-19.

As a consequence, ahead of their return to school in September, where consent has been provided, students will be asked to complete two on-site lateral flow tests (LFT) in our Asymptomatic Testing Centre (ATC). This arrangement is similar to that which was put in place in March following the national lockdown.

The consent that parents / carers previously provided for on-site testing in March 2021 is not valid for testing in September 2021 so as a result, we are asking all parents / carers to provide consent again. To do this please go to the COVID-19 Testing page on The GORSE Academies Trust’s website https://covid.tgat.org.uk and press the ‘Onsite Testing Consent’ button. Upon doing so you will be taken to a Google form which you will be able to complete to provide consent. In order to assist us with the planning for the ATC we would be grateful if you could ensure you have completed the consent form by Thursday 12 August 2021. If, after this time, you would like to withdraw your consent or provide consent please email the academy at: [email protected].

The COVID-19 testing schedule for September 2021 for students at John Smeaton Academy is detailed below. Students are not required to wear their school uniform to complete their LFT. Upon arrival at the academy, within their designated testing window, students should proceed through the student gate and make their way towards the canteen area. Students will enter the academy building via the external door of the Barnardo wing where they will proceed to Rooms S21 and S23 which are located on the Science Corridor. Members of staff will be on hand to support students in accessing the building at the correct location.

Friday 3rd September Room S23 & S21 ( Science corridor)
09:00 – 10:00 Year 7 (test 1)
10:30 – 11:30 Year 8 (test 1)
12:00 – 13:00 Year 9 (test 1)
Monday 6th September Room S23 & S21 ( Science Corridor)
11:05 – 11:45 Year 10 (test 1)
11:50 – 12:30 Year 11 (test 1)
Tuesday 7th September Room S23 & S21 (Science Corridor)
14:00 – 15:00 Year 7 (test 2)
Wednesday 8th September Room S23 & S21 (Science Corridor)
10:00- 11:00 Year 8 (test 2)
11:30 – 12:30 Year 9 (test 2)
Thursday 9th September Room S23 & S21 (Science Corridor)
13:00 – 14:00 Year 10 (test 2)
14:00 – 15:00 Year 11 (test 2)

Please note that the arrangements detailed above are subject to change in line with ever evolving government COVID-19 restrictions. Should a change be required over the summer break, we will contact you to advise you of this.

Students’ date and time of return

As previously communicated, Monday, 6 September 2021 and Tuesday, 7 September 2021 will be staff training days. Students will not be required to attend school on these days unless they are attending for their LFT.

Students in Year 7 will return to school on Wednesday, 8 September 2021. Students will be expected to arrive in school for an 8.40am start.

Students in Years 8 and 9 will return to school on Thursday 9 September with Year 8 being expected to arrive in full school uniform for an 8.40am start and Year 9 for a 10am start. Upon arrival to school students should go through the academy gates and proceed to the outside area by the Barnardo wing, in front of the canteen. Students will then be invited into the academy building where they will line up for assembly. After assembly, students will spend the remainder of the school day in their form group and will have scheduled appropriate break / lunch slots. The purpose of the first day back will be to go through school expectations, issue timetables and provide students with other key information.

Students in Years 10 and 11 will return to school on Friday 10 September with Year 10 being expected to arrive in full school uniform for an 8.40am start and Year 11 for a 10am start. Upon arrival to school students should go through the academy gates and proceed to the outside area by the Barnardo wing, in front of the canteen. Students will then be invited into the academy building where they will line up for assembly. After assembly, students will spend the remainder of the school day in their form group and will have scheduled appropriate break / lunch slots. The purpose of the first day back will be to go through school expectations, issue timetables and provide students with other key information.

The full school academy timetable will be in operation from Monday 13 September.

2021/22 Training Days

Please be advised that the academy will be closed to students on the following days for staff training:

  • Monday 6 September 2021
  • Tuesday 7 September 2021
  • Friday 22 October 2021
  • Thursday 17 March 2022
  • Wednesday 29 June 2022

2021/22 Term Dates

The term dates for the next academic year are confirmed below. Please can I reiterate at this point that it is against the law to take your child out of school for holidays unless authorised by the Principal. It should be noted, however, that term time holidays will not be authorised. In all instances where unauthorised term time holidays are taken, John Smeaton Academy will prosecute parents through legal channels available.

Holiday School Closes School Opens
Summer Wednesday, 8 September 2021
Autumn mid-term Friday, 22 October 2021 Monday, 1 November 2021
Christmas Friday, 17 December 2021 Tuesday, 4 January 2022
Spring mid-term Friday, 18 February 2022 Monday, 28 February 2022
Easter Friday, 1 April 2022 Tuesday, 19 April 2022
Summer mid-term Friday, 27 May 2022 Monday, 6 June 2022
Summer Tuesday, 26 July 2022

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience in reading this communication, I appreciate it is unusually lengthy though I hope you are in agreement of the need to share these important details ahead of September.

I would like to wish you and your family a safe and enjoyable summer break.

Best wishes

Mrs L Griffiths
Executive Principal: 11-16 Education

BIG 3 and GGH information
Uniform and PE kit guidance