11th January 2021

 

Dear Parents/Carers

 

It has been a rather cold and snowy end to the term at Stone Soup Academy and to be fair, quite a strange one, as we all try to cope with lockdown number 3. We know that it has been challenging for you, with your children being at home when trying to get them out of bed can be your first major challenge before you even get to home learning! Let me start by saying thank you. As a mother of a rather lazy 17-year-old son, I am well aware of how difficult it can be, so well done everyone! 

 

At the Academy we have continued to provide onsite and off-site learning. It has presented some challenges for us, but when all things are considered I think that it has all gone well. I hope that you feel the same. This term we have continued to run functional skills exams and our congratulations go out to all students who have passed their Functional Skills Maths and English. Functional Skill exams will continue to take place after half term.

 

We had a visit this term from the High Sheriff of Nottingham, who was so impressed with your school that she is presenting us with an award for our service to the community, which is a marvellous honour. Jordan our Head of Careers has been working this term with our year 11 students to ensure that they have the best advice and guidance in regard to college placements and their next steps. Personal Coaches will continue to arrange careers meetings with their Year 11 students next term and onwards. Careers at Stone Soup has just been recognised as a national Careers Champion!

 

In January, the Careers and Enterprise Company reached out to people across the education and careers sector asking for their choices of individuals, institutions and organisations whose careers focussed work has made a positive difference to the lives of young people.

 

We were nominated under the theme of Tackling Disadvantage and out of over 400 recognitions, our story stood out to them as one to highlight during their social media campaign in National Careers Week (1-5 March). We are very proud to have been recognised for our work in this area.

 

This term we held our first Stone Soup Award. This is an award dedicated to supporting students who have left Stone Soup for over a year and are still struggling to find and sustain full time employment. We will award up to £500 to each student, three times a year. Four students from our 2017 cohort came forward and were each supported to make some changes to their lives. We are really proud about continuing to support our students even after they have left us.

 

Our Parent leadership group met this term and gave us some valuable feedback as to how you feel that we are doing. We aim to meet once a term, so if you are interested in being part of this group then please contact me.

 

We have not really had many staff changes this term; however, we have made Oli Sillito, our current Head of Engagement, Acting Assistant Principal. Oli has been at the Academy for many years and we are delighted to be able to give him this responsibility as it is well deserved. Engagement at the academy is a key part of what we do. To keep you updated as to what has happened this term and what we are hoping to continue into next term please see below:-

 

This term we have been completing the following:-

 

 

  • Daily calls
  • Sending work home and using google classroom
  • Staff Focus: Weekly thank you film for students
  • Challenges for students
  • Instagram Quiz 
  • Sport Challenges
  • Insta updates
  • Twitter updates
  • Masked Singer 
  • Home Visits
  • Reward Cards
  • Student of the day/week
  • Lockdown menu
  • Stone Soup Hug for Parents
  • Knife crime competition
  • Stone Soup handshake for students

 

As you can see there is a huge amount happening at the Academy despite the challenges of Covid.

 

Our academy continues to grow and we are currently investigating the possibility of two exciting developments. Firstly, the creation of a Stone Soup Sixth Form, not in the traditional sense as we believe that our students would be better served by Nottingham College, in regard to the ranges of vocational courses that they can offer, but more in a pastoral support capacity. We are looking at a model where the students still retain support ties with us, to help them be successful as they start their courses in a very different environment. I would welcome any parent feedback as to what you would think would work for your child. 

 

The other area which will take a longer time to organise is the creation of a Key stage 3 provision that goes down to year 7. We already run a very successful year 9 provision, but we believe that we can change and improve young people’s experience of education if they start with us a little earlier. I will keep you posted with any news.

 

Finally, we have been shortlisted for a Government initiative called a Behaviour Hub. If successful we would be only one of two such hubs for alternative provision in this round and we would be using our skills to support and improve other schools. It would be a great honour for us if we were successful. The outcome will be late March so fingers crossed!

 

We close our doors this term at 1 p.m. on Friday 12th of February and we will reopen on Monday the 22nd February for our onsite learners at 9.30 a.m. for Year 11 and 10.40 for Year 10. Our remote learning offer will also reopen on Monday the 22nd of February.

 

We don’t want to lose touch with our young people over the break so our personal coaches will be making a catch-up call during the holiday and of course we are always available if you need us.

 

Thank you for your superb continued support of Stone Soup Academy. Thank you for answering our calls and for continuing to work hard to support your children to success. You are all doing brilliantly! 

 

Let us hope that after this break that we are on the home run and we will all be back to some sort of normal soon.

 

Keep safe and keep well.

 

Warm regards

 

Kerrie Henton

Principal

Stone Soup Academy

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