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Key Notes: 26 November 2021

26th November 2021

Coronavirus Update

As you are aware, we have had an increased number of positive Coronavirus cases in school since half term. Whilst we had previously been relatively unaffected as a school, sadly this was no longer the case and Ms Smith contacted you all last week with details of the additional mitigations we have put in place as a result. Initial analysis suggests that these additional actions are starting to have an impact and the number of new pupils testing positive has begun to fall again.

Nonetheless, the impact of the cases has been felt in all year groups and on our staff too. We currently have a number of teaching staff who are absent from school, and where Covid is concerned each of these will be for at least ten days – significant absences which also put pressure on colleagues still in school.  For this reason, please be understanding if you do not get the usual prompt responses from staff and if your children do not have their usual teacher.  We are working hard to secure supply teachers, but this is not easy at the current time.

All of this has meant that at Senior Team level we have had to consider further mitigations such as the cancellation of enrichment this week and the change back to single-year activities for the remainder of this term. We have also reintroduced the one-way system within the college.

In addition, the shortage of staff has meant that we have discussed contingency plans such as the re-introduction of home learning for one or more year groups. Please be reassured that at the moment the school remains fully open and that decisions such as this would only be made as a last resort and for as short a time as possible. However, it does illustrate why we are so grateful for your support in ensuring that children continue to test themselves regularly at home, that they bring their masks to school and that they understand the importance of hand sanitising, social distancing etc.

From the school side we will continue to do whatever we can to support the education of your children and to maintain the successful running of the college. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank you for your continued understanding and support.

Forward to the future

The mock exams for Year 11 are coming to an end and we are delighted with how well pupils have coped.  They have risen to the challenge, demonstrating resilience once again after having worked so hard on their courses throughout the pandemic. They are in the process of planning their futures and completing their Post-16 applications. Year 9s, are also thinking ahead and some have been having 1to1 sessions with our careers guidance counsellor in school this week to support them in thinking about their future and their GCSE and vocational course options.

Y11 Post-16 applications

Parents and pupils have been sent information regarding the next stage of the Post-16 process. Pupils now have their logon details (received via email) for the online platform and in the coming days, will receive a 1 hour lesson with Mr Willder on how to apply. Pupils should have finished their application by Friday 10th December. Pupils wanting to apply for an apprenticeship should also apply for a fulltime course as a backup.

Revised Enrichment Activities – sign-up required

Enrichment activities are starting up again next week with a revised format. Changes have been made to separate year groups as part of our enhanced of covid safety measures. These revised sessions will run until Christmas. In the New Year there will be different enrichment activities on offer. To ensure your child is included on the registers for activities and bus travel (if required), please complete the online Enrichment Activities sign-up form here. If you are unable to access the form online, please collect a paper copy from Reception.

AQA Drama Award

Keeley in Year 11, gave an amazing solo performance of 'Feed Me' from the stage show 'Little Shop of Horrors' on Monday this week. This formed part of her AQA Drama Award qualification. Keely even made the costume herself! What a star!

Road Safety – to and from school

We have received a number of reports of pupils behaving in an unsafe manner on the way to & from school. This is particularly true of cyclists but has also involved pupils running their hands along passing vehicles. Please remind your child about the importance of being safe and, if they cycle, ensure that they are visible, have lights and take care on the roads. I remember a pupil suffering a severe head injury a number of years ago and I would hate for any family to suffer similar as a result of someone not taking sufficient care.

University PowerHouse Games

Today, 11 pupils took part in the PowerHouse Games at Caius College Cambridge. The games were organised by Power2Inspire, and integrate state, independent and special-needs school pupils alongside university student and corporate volunteers. The university students coordinated a range of inclusive and adapted sports, such as boccia, new age kurling, sitting volleyball, goalball and sitting netball. Everyone had a chance to participate equally, to learn new skills, and most importantly, had loads of fun!

SEND Pinpoint News

The November edition of Cambridgeshire Pinpoint is available to view online here with lots of news and information to help parent carers of children with additional needs and disabilities. 

Topics include: review of the new Integrated Care System; children and young people's mental health survey; questionnaire to share views about SEN Support and EHCPs, and links to lots of free online events and groups.


On Thursday, 19 pupils from the Year 10 construction class visited SDC Building Contractors’ site on Melbourn Science Park.  Pupils were given a safety talk and tour of the development work taking place during the construction of new buildings on the Science Park. The talk focused on health and safety procedures, linking closely with the construction curriculum, and pupils were issued with safety equipment for the visit.  The trip was carried out under COVID-safe conditions, being mainly outdoors and involving a single year group of pupils who observed social distancing with other adults. Many thanks to SDC Building Contractors for hosting the visit and giving our pupils such an informative tour of the construction site.

Mr Reynolds said “Pupils really enjoyed the visit, and it helped them put into context many of the topics they have been studying on their Vocational Construction course.”

Physical Education

If anyone is interested in representing the school in cross country running, please make yourself known to the PE department asap. We have a competition at Netherhall School in Cambridge on Tuesday 7th December. This is the same day as the Year 11 boys’ last 32 ESFA Cup game against Debenham High School from Stowmarket 1430 KO. Other dates for upcoming fixtures are:

  • Year 7 and 8 football matches v Chesterton Tuesday 30th November 3.45-4.45pm
  • Year 10 v 11 Boys football friendly from 3pm on Thursday 2nd December


Year 11 pupils have been studying at An Inspector Calls and analysing the text in terms of a morality play. Each character was examined in terms of how they symbolise one or more of the seven deadly sins. Here are some excellent examples.

Bronze Award Winners

Congratulations to the pupils in year 8 who have each gained a total of 125 positive achievement points this term.  Here are the winners with their certificates.

Art: Year 8 and 9

Mr Barlow observed a great Year 8 art lesson this week where Mrs Ward was doing a demonstration.  He said, “All the pupils were watching so attentively, you could have heard a pin drop. It was one of those moments that summed up what school is all about for me!”

Mrs Ward’s class are currently working on a project based on Mehndi, a form of body art painted onto the skin with henna.  Pupils have been replicating the beautiful patterns and designs found in this ancient art form.  Following last week’s lesson, Jenna-Mae is seen here showing other pupils how to use inktense to paint leaves.

Meanwhile, Mrs Heeks’ Year 9 class have been producing some very impressive work on the Day of the Dead theme. Pupils have designed a front cover, researched the skull drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci and are now creating a larger Day of the Dead composition using ink intense bleeding techniques.

Have a good weekend,

Simon Holmes

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