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Principal’s Weekly Update: 2 March 2019

We began the new half term by welcoming back staff and students who enjoyed their visit to Rome as part as their studies in RE and Classics as well as those who had a great week skiing in Austria. All staff reported that the students thoroughly enjoyed their experiences and were fantastic ambassadors for the academy. I am incredibly grateful to the staff who gave up a proportion of their half term break to lead these trips as well as the parents and students for their support.

As I write this update, there are only 38 school days before the start of the main exam season which begins on Monday 13th May for both Year 11 and Year 13 students. It should be noted that GCSE MFL orals and Visual Arts exams begin even earlier, on 25th April. As such, Year 11 students have returned to our ‘Exam Ready’ half term, ahead of the March Mock Exams which begin on 11th March. I am pleased to report that many students utilised the support on offer over the Half Term break to further help with their exam preparation. Year 11 students continue to impress by their serious focus in lessons and also by availing themselves of the subject clinics and exam preparation support on offer.

I was delighted to hear positive feedback from Mrs Chilton about the conduct of Year 11 students who attended the Computer Science Revision Day on Friday, held at the St Neots Football Club. In addition to this, on Wednesday all Year 11 students worked with a company called Learning Performance to help reinforce effective revision habits. We were joined by Year 11 parents/carers on Wednesday evening, where Learning Performance gave advice and guidance about how best to support Year 11 students through the final stages of GCSE study. I hope the information shared at this evening and subsequently sent out is helpful for parents/carers over the coming weeks. In particular, I would encourage you to read through the PiXL ‘Prepare to Perform’ booklet which contains helpful information in promoting students’ well-being and scaffolding revision time. Such support at home is critical in ensuring we work in continued partnership to help support all our students secure the best possible outcomes in their examinations.

Mr Taylor and Mrs Andrews, from the sixth form leadership team, have been busy preparing Year 13 students for their own exams as well as interviewing Year 11 students who have indicated an intention to continue their post-16 studies at the Astrea Sixth Form and whose subject choices are dependent on their success in the GCSE exams. A number of targeted Year 12 students attended an Oxbridge information evening at Kimbolton, on Tuesday; my thanks to Mr Elliott for his support with this

On Thursday, Mr Owen and Mr Willis accompanied Year 12 and 13 Historians to a Russian History conference in London whilst Mr Martin and Mr Ivett led an Experience Day at Cambridge University for Year 12 Physicists. Both trips were a huge success with Mr Martin reporting that our students competed very well in a problem solving competition against three other schools. Longsands won three of the four prizes on offer; well done James, Matthew, Zoe, Evan, Liam and Cliona.

We were delighted to receive the results of the Rotary ‘Young Photographer’ results with Longsands students achieving success in the senior age group; very well done to Jake Gough and Tyler Maltby who took 1st and 2nd place respectively. In the intermediate age group, Ella Rawson achieved a very impressive 2nd place. Well done to all entrants and especially to the students mentioned who have been forwarded to the next level of competition at the Rotary Districts. My thanks to Miss Saklani for supporting the students in this competition and to Rotarian, Bob Southall, for his work with staff and students at the academy.

Lastly, as I was packing up on Friday to make the journey home, I received a surprise visit from ex-student Ryan Wood. Ryan faced a number of challenges during his time with us and worked hard to follow the advice and guidance given by staff at the academy. I was delighted to see Ryan again who begins his training with the Royal Anglian Regiment on Sunday. His thanks and gift were both heart-warming and humbling and a welcome reminder as to why this profession is such a wonderful one. Your children are capable of so much and are a source of inspiration – be proud.