3rd April 2020
Well, I really don’t know where to start with my end of term letter, what a term this has been. We started off just planning for the GCSE exam period and thinking about what we would offer for our end of term trip. Now here we all are, self isolating and I am now Principal of a Virtual Academy, what a difference a few weeks makes!
Prior to all this madness, we were progressing really well towards the Spring and Summer. Our attendance levels were reaching the mid eighties and on one day we reached 90%. This is superb given that the attendance nationally in alternative provisions hovers around the mid sixties. We had a bit of a face lift over the February half term to make the environment even better for our young people. We installed new carpets in the games room and in Darrell’s Maths room. We replaced the furniture and moved this over to Richmond House so that the Year 9 students had a better games room on their site. We developed our library into a lovely calm environment with tree wall murals and green furniture and we spruced up the career’s room.
We held our first parent leadership group which gave us a great insight into some of your opinions about the school and also gave us a few things to work on. In case you are interested Becky, my Assistant Head of Engagement runs the group and if you would like to join please contact her directly on firstname.lastname@example.org the more the merrier!
Our functional skills exams were taking place and we have to date 18 level 1 maths passes, 7 level 2 maths passes (equivalent to a 4 at GCSE) 18 level 1 passes in reading and 6 level 2 passes in reading. Excellent results and testament to the hard work of our young people.
Our latest edition of the SSA Newspaper is now out and uploaded onto our website so please take the time to see all the great things that we have achieved since Christmas.
So given our current situation, we moved to being a virtual school on the 23rd March. You will have already received two letters explaining what is happening to keep you fully updated. The Government is focusing upon children open to social care and those on an EHCP but we wanted to support all of our students, so we closed the physical building and opened as a virtual school to all 80 of our students. We have been contacting you at least twice a day to ensure that we can mark your child as present. I know that this might seem a little bit of a pain at times, but be assured we are doing this because in these challenging times we need to ensure that all our students are safe and well. Also, we are still trying to give our students the opportunity to earn money through our dojo system and we can only do this if we know that they are available and working on the work that we have supplied.
We will continue to supply hard copy work for students without access to a computer and for those of you who do have access to IT we will continue to work on google classroom. All resources are also on our website at www.stonesoupacademy.org.uk.
We know that with layoffs from work, that some of our parents might be now eligible for free school meals when you were not eligible before. If this is the case, please log on to the following sites to ensure that you get what you are entitled to:-
If you live in the city:-
If you live in the county:-
We are sending our food vouchers to all students who are on the city and county free school meals list. If you are experiencing food poverty and you are not registered then please speak to your personal coach and we will see what we can do to help.
As I have mentioned before, the Government has advised that where possible, everyone should stay at home. However, if you are a key worker or if your children are LAC or under the care of a social worker then you can be supported by a school place during this time. We understand currently that you do not require your child to come into the Academy as you have a responsible person at home. If this situation changes, please let me know and although they will not be able to come into Stone Soup at this time, we can speak to the referring school to see where there is a place available. This will be a short term option until the COVID-19 crisis is over when all students will return to Stone Soup.
Over the Easter holidays we will stop our daily calls to the majority of homes but these will continue where the child is under social care, LAC or under the youth justice system. In these instances we will call twice a day to ensure that your child is safe and well. This is a City and County directive and I hope that you understand that it is done to support.
Although our virtual school will close for two weeks, we will of course be open if you have any concerns or problems and I will continue, as will my staff, to receive and answer emails, we will also be able to answer calls to the school.
Let us hope that this horrible situation we all find ourselves in is resolved sooner than we think, through our commitment to social distancing, washing our hands and staying at home, so we can continue with our lives. But until that time, please be assured that we are here to support you and to be a friendly voice at the end of a phone in times of difficulty, as part of the Stone Soup Family.
We will return to our virtual school for all students at 9 a.m. on Monday 20th April
Please keep safe and look after yourselves
Stone Soup Academy