Dear parents and carers,

I write to you all this evening, on what is our last day of term 6, not entirely sure how I can best sum up what has happened this academic year. The word “unprecedented” has been used way too often and I don’t think that it really accurately describes what we have been through as a Trust community in recent months. I guess we might be better to focus on what COVID 19 may have taught us about ourselves, our families and our communities; what we hold true in our hearts and our minds, and what we value above all else. So much has happened in the last four months since we locked down as a nation on 20 March; so long ago, yet for many of us it will always only seem like yesterday. My intention is to keep this message relatively brief… I can hear the collective sigh of relief from you all having read my many volumes of emails since March!

On the subject of what we hold true, our vision, our ethos, our philosophy and our culture across the schools and divisions of The Canterbury Academy Trust, I do hope you may feel we have kept to them during these uncertain and challenging times. And, with that in mind, I attach our end of term 6 Pillars of Excellence Newsletter, which I hope you will be able to read at your leisure. It is what we would send out “in the old days” at the end of each term, which had been brilliantly replaced, temporarily, by the weekly Celebrations Newsletter issued by Mrs Shilling, Miss Wilson and the Teaching and Learning Team across our Trust, highlighting all of the brilliant work that was going on in and out of the classroom, in and out of school, through lockdown. Despite all of the challenges that COVID has presented our Trust community, you will see the magnificent ways that students, friends, families, neighbours, streets and communities have pulled together to still make sure that we were making the very best of an incredibly difficult situation. I hope you may feel just as inspired as I have been reading the newsletter.

Can I remind you all, please, that although our schools have been guided to close for the summer break, our usual summer offer of provision delivered by our Youth, Community and Extended Services Team, led by Adam Fairbrass, will be sent to you all in the next couple of days detailing the activities available; running alongside a summer transition camp for our new Year 7 students in September, who have, of course, missed out on the normal induction process. Similarly, should you wish to follow what the Trust is doing through the summer period and beyond, please do click on any of our social media icons on the Newsletter and join any, or all, of our social media platforms.

Each of our Heads of School have written to parents and carers to inform you of our plans for the total re-opening of our schools from September, with start of term timings and details as to what our schools will look and feel like. As you know, each Head of School will be back in touch with you at the end of August, around a week before the scheduled start of term, to reconfirm details and provide you with any more information, should it be needed. We will also continue to monitor the situation with COVID closely through the summer break and work in conjunction with and adhere to, as we have throughout, all relevant agencies and published guidance.

Likewise, for those students in year 11 and 13 who will be receiving their results this summer and securing their onward destinations into further education, training or employment, I wish them the very best of luck and hope that we shall see our ‘Classes of 2020’ at a safe and appropriate time again in the future. I also wish them to know that we shall always be here for them if they ever need us; they will forever remain part of our Trust community.

So, as a line is slowly drawn under the strangest and most challenging of academic years, I wish to publicly and most sincerely thank our incredible staff across our Trust, whom I feel so privileged to work amongst. You, of course, our parental body, who have been so unfalteringly supportive of all that we have tried to do for our young people and families; your messages of support, thanks and encouragement have been so very much appreciated, humbly and often quite emotionally received. And then, of course, our students, your wonderful children, who have been dealt such a difficult blow through lockdown and who have handled things in the very best possible way. There are stories of utter inspiration, from so many of you, that will live with me and all of my colleagues for the rest of our careers. We are very much looking forward to seeing all of our students back in our schools again in September; their smiles and laughter has been so dreadfully missed.

It only remains for me to say, on behalf of all of my colleagues across The Canterbury Academy Trust, it has been and remains a privilege to have been with you, together, as a community, through this pandemic. We shall all look forward positively now to a happier and healthier academic year in 2020/21.

My very best wishes to you and all of your families for a restful, enjoyable and safe summer.

Yours,

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

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