Newsletters and Communication 

Communications

The Pillars of Excellence Newsletter – Term 6 July 2020

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

Click to download Newsletter

COVID19 Guidance for Schools - 3 July 2020

Dear parents and carers,

Before I begin, I do hope that as lockdown continues to be eased my message still finds you and all of your families safe and well. I hope, also, you may have had the chance to read our final Celebrations Newsletter from Mrs Shilling, Miss Wilson and the Teaching and Learning Team. It has been an immense piece of work to continue through lockdown, and I am incredibly grateful to them for all of their efforts. I hope that you will feel as passionately as I do, that everything you have seen in those newsletters has been a very neat and perfect encapsulation of everything that our Trust stands for, both in and out the classroom, and in and out of school. The next newsletter you will receive will be back to the “old days” of the Pillars of Excellence Newsletter at the end of this term.

You will all doubtless have seen the Department for Education’s guidance on how schools should re-open to all students full-time in September, released to the general public at the same time yesterday as Headteachers saw it for the first time; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools

As you already know, the guidance that remains in place until September has allowed us to welcome back significant numbers of young people at City View Pre-School and Nursery, The Canterbury Primary School and The Canterbury Academy. In addition to the groups of Key Worker and vulnerable children that already existed, it has been an absolute pleasure to gradually see more numbers return to campus, seeing more smiles and hearing the much missed sound of young people laughing and enjoying themselves gradually but surely increase in volume! I know I can speak on behalf of all my colleagues across the Trust, when I say we have missed our face to face interactions with your children, our students, so very much.

For those of you that may have read some or all of the guidance, you will see that there is much to wade through, and I am sure you will have many questions as to how things will work. As I have said on several occasions previously, I hope that you will still respect that I can make no guarantees of complete safety from COVID. But I can continue to assure you that we will take all reasonable steps to mitigate the risk that we shall all face to an acceptable level. I hope you will have felt assured by the COVID secure and compliancy documentation available on our website.

In the main, today, I write to thank you again for your unwavering support and the absolutely integral role that you continue to play as parents and carers across our Trust community in supporting us as we edge back towards a new normal in our schools. The time frame within which we have to plan for September is tight, but we are resolute in our determination to get things as right as possible, as quickly as possible and as safely as possible. Your feedback at every stage of our gradual and phased re-opening has been crucial in shaping our thinking, and we wish for this to continue as we move into what we hope may be the final phase of re-opening now for all students in September. There are still nearly two months before the start of next academic year and much can change, as we have seen most recently in Leicester. We shall live with this virus for many, many months to come. We must and shall, as always, proceed carefully, methodically and calmly; gathering as much intelligence, feedback, information and guidance along the way as possible.

With all of that said I also write to thank you for your patience. Our leadership groups across the Trust are in possession of the guidance and have begun to carefully plan their way through it. Meetings will continue next week and although it is impossible to give an exact time frame, it is my hope that each of our Heads of School will have written to parents with a clearer plan and details for the total re-opening of our schools in the next two weeks, including expectations around school uniform and other detail, certainly in advance of the summer holidays. I shall personally, of course, continue to update you as and when appropriate.

Alongside those communications, we shall also make you aware of the provision we will offer through the summer holidays across our Trust. Although schools have been guided by the DfE to close to all students over the summer break, our Trust is determined to still offer a provision through our Youth, Community and Extended Services Team. In light of yesterday’s most recent guidance, Adam Fairbrass, who directs that particular pillar, is currently in the process of finalising staffing and provision, so that we can write to you and our young people in the next week or so with details of what that offer may look like.

So, as our Trust community has done throughout this situation, we shall keep calm and carry on. There remains guidance in place for schools and parents until September, replaced then by the new DfE guidance above. We shall continue to face the challenges that COVID presents us together as a Trust team of students, parents, carers and staff; working through them sensitively, objectively and always with the very best and safest interests of all of our families in mind.

My very best wishes remain with you and all of your families,

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

COVID19 Update - 15 June 2020

Dear parents and carers,

As we all slowly, surely and safely, continue to adjust our lives to fit what will be a new “normal” for potentially many months moving forward, I write to update you on our current position and plans, looking forward as schools across The Canterbury Academy Trust.

You will doubtless already have read our newsletter this week, celebrating much of the work that has gone on across our Trust, both in school and remotely, over this last week. As we have begun to re-open our schools more widely since the beginning of June, our colleagues at City View Pre-School and Nursery continue to do a brilliant job in welcoming increasing numbers of young people back, as more and more parents return to work. Now, as we near the end of the second week in which more students returned to The Canterbury Primary School, we are delighted to report on some of the work that has been taking place, and we remain ever grateful for the ongoing support and overwhelmingly positive feedback that has been provided by our parents and wider community. At The Canterbury Academy all staff training on COVID New Ways of Working has now been competed and we are all very much looking forward to seeing more of our students in Years 10 and 12 return to us next week, alongside the Key Worker and vulnerable child group(s) that have been operational since lockdown began.

As you will know, as we move forward carefully, accepting COVID may now be part of our lives for the foreseeable future, The Canterbury Academy has, in the short term, been split into three schools:

  • A Key Worker and Vulnerable Child School led by Mrs Banbery
  • A Year 10 School led by Mr Brooke
  • A Year 12 School led by Mrs Winslow

You will already have been contacted privately by each of the Heads of School to inform you of the detail surrounding your child’s return to school. Again, may I thank you for all of your support and very useful feedback as part of that process. As I say, we are very much looking forward to seeing more of your children, our students, back on campus beginning next week. Each Head of School will be sure to maintain regular contact with you separately as our plans continue to develop and evolve over the remaining weeks of term.

Nevertheless, and as has been consistent in my messages to you throughout this crisis, if you are yet to do so and would like to claim a place for your “eligible” child in any of these schools please can you contact:

I feel obliged to remind you again that it is now the Department for Education’s position that;

“Now that we have made progress in reducing the transmission of coronavirus we are encouraging all eligible children to attend – it is no longer necessary for parents of eligible children to keep them at home if they can. In particular, as per the existing guidance on vulnerable children and young people, vulnerable children of all year groups continue to be expected and encouraged to attend educational provision where it is appropriate for them to do so.”

However, you continue to have my assurance that it does, of course, remain entirely your choice as to whether you send your child to school and, as I have said before, you will receive nothing other than our support in making the right decision for your child and your own individual family circumstance.

Quite justifiably, the journey that your child will make to and from school remains a concern, especially as many may use public transport. Stagecoach, as we understand it, will still be unable to run any dedicated school buses.  However, ordinary bus services are still running.  The number 22, for example, stops almost directly outside the campus on Knight Avenue. Students can catch this service to and from the main bus station in Canterbury. I can only continue to advise all parents and carers to check the Stagecoach website on https://www.stagecoachbus.com/regional-service-updates/south-east/canterbury as regularly as possible, just to make sure that the services you may require continue to run.

Furthermore, you will all be aware that from Monday 15 June it has become a requirement that anybody who uses public transport must wear a face covering. You can follow this link for the guidance on the government website https://www.gov.uk/government/news/face-coverings-to-become-mandatory-on-public-transport

We have also had the following message from Kent County Council, that I have been asked to share with you in advance of next week;

“To be clear, the requirement is for a form of face covering that covers the mouth and nose and is distinct from any medical grade PPE. With this in mind, it is the responsibility of parents to equip their child with an appropriate face covering for their journey. In addition to pupils wearing face coverings, those who support children with their journey to school will also be required to wear a face covering in line with the national guidance.”

KCC have produced a notice covering the key information around this, which I have attached for your information.

As I write to you today, with just over four weeks left of term 6, for parents of children currently in Years 7, 8 and 9 at The Canterbury Academy, it still appears that there will be no return to school until September 2020, at the earliest, unless they are vulnerable or the child of a Key Worker. For as long as this situation continues I hope that our students will still access their remote learning timetables and remember that our staff are here to support at any time, as are the Directors of Teaching and Learning, Heads of Learning and Heads of School. For students in Year 11 and 13 due to leave us in the summer, and for any others who were due to sit public examinations in the summer, we shall continue to update you separately on the processes through which your grades are being calculated and how you will collect them. Likewise, we shall also discuss some of those rites of passage you may have, in the short term, been denied, like the legendary Leavers’ Assemblies and Balls; such very important things that we wish to assure you we have absolutely not forgotten.  

As regards September, we have all very much welcomed the announcement that the government will fund ‘catch up programmes’ for young people through the summer and beyond, although there is still much detail as to how that will work needed behind the announcement.

Similarly, it remains the case, as I write to you, that despite the excellent news that the Prime Minister has pledged to have all students back in our schools full-time from September, the guidance behind that plan is also yet to be published. This is now a major concern for schools with so little time remaining to sensibly plan. As I have said throughout, until such point as legitimate, detailed guidance is produced by the Department for Education and the government, any speculation in the press or media remains entirely unhelpful. Regardless, and as I have said previously, when the detail and guidance is eventually produced, we shall address it positively together as a Trust community, navigating our way through it calmly, objectively and methodically, and always in the very best and safest interests of all of our children and all of our families.

As I finish today I wish to remind you of the Friday, many weeks ago now, that schools were forced to close due to COVID on 20 March. As I pointed out at the time, that happened to coincide with the 103rd birthday of Dame Vera Lynn. As we closed our doors that evening I spoke of the spirit that Dame Lynn embodied and the voice that sang many of our grandparents and great grandparents through some deeply troubling times in World War II. That evening, I left you with some words from one her most famous songs, the lyrics of which have seemed as relevant over the last three months as they did all those years ago;

But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling through
Just like you always do
‘Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away

Sadly, Dame Vera Lynn passed away yesterday morning, yet I feel sure that she would have been incredibly proud of how our community have handled everything that has been thrown at us by COVID. Last month, on the 75th Anniversary of VE Day, she spoke of how simple acts of bravery and sacrifice still define our nation. Never has that been more prevalent than in our own Trust’s community during COVID through your acts of kindness, support, resilience, care and encouragement, both for your own families and throughout our communities. It has been an inspiration.

As we look forward and, also, in celebration of a wonderful life, I shall leave you with our own Trust’s tribute to that beautiful song, ‘We’ll Meet Again,’ and everything that it stood for by following this link https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EgJ8Bik1RSU

For us, as Dame Lynn promised, that sunny day when we shall all meet again is edging ever closer.

As always, my very best regards to you all,

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

COVID19 Update - Reopening of Schools - 5 June 2020

Dear parents and carers,

As we conclude the first week of Term 6 I write, as promised, to update you further on our plans to open our schools more widely across The Canterbury Academy Trust.

I do hope, as always, that my message will find you and all of your families well and in good spirits. I hope, also, that our weekly newsletter from Miss Wilson, Mrs Shilling and the rest of our Teaching and Learning Team, will have given you a very good feel for the excellent work that continues across our Trust, both in school and remotely.

As you will be aware, the country remains at a critical point in its battle against COVID 19 and we must all continue to proceed with caution, none more so than in our approach to opening schools across the country to more students. As I have said, it is my intention to get it as right as possible, as soon as possible and as safely as possible. There is much to consider, much guidance to read, often at the last minute, and many logistical barriers to overcome.  Your voice has been and remains crucial in this, and I should like to thank those parents and carers who have provided such invaluable feedback through our questionnaire processes. We think we are nearly there…

We have carried out thorough risk assessments and adhered to COVID compliancy guidelines. You will now be able to view the following documents on our Trust’s website, should you wish to, by clicking https://www.canterbury.kent.sch.uk/covid-documentation/

  • The Canterbury Academy Trust – COVID Secure Statement
  • The Canterbury Academy Trust – COVID Risk Assessment
  • City View – COVID Secure Statement
  • City View COVID Risk Assessment
  • COVID Risk Assessment Guidance  

As you know, all of our schools have remained open through this pandemic, however, this week, City View Pre-School and Nursery continues to expand its offer. Whilst at The Canterbury Primary School, colleagues have been in for COVID New Ways of Working training, operating within their new “bubbles.” Mrs Farrell has written to primary parents separately and I know, alongside all of the team, is looking forward to seeing more of our children from Monday, 8 June, and excited to hear classrooms, corridors and playgrounds slowly fill with smiles and laughter once again.

It remains the case across our Trust that if your child has been classified as vulnerable according to a combination of the government’s and our own definitions, we will already have contacted you privately and you will have been offered a place in our provision. However, regardless of any label, if you feel your child to be vulnerable, please contact us and we will do all we can to support.

If you are classified as a key worker it still remains that your child, in DfE terms, is also “eligible” for a place in our provision, should you wish to accept it. The government’s definition of key workers remains available via this hyperlink Key Workers for your information.

As regards attendance, the guidance from The Department for Education has changed to say;

“Now that we have made progress in reducing the transmission of coronavirus we are encouraging all eligible children to attend – it is no longer necessary for parents of eligible children to keep them at home if they can. In particular, as per the existing guidance on vulnerable children and young people, vulnerable children of all year groups continue to be expected and encouraged to attend educational provision where it is appropriate for them to do so.”

It does, of course, remain entirely your choice as to whether you send your child to school and, as I have said before, you will receive nothing other than our support in making the right decision for your child and your own individual family circumstance. However, if you have not already done so and wish for your eligible child to begin attending, please can you let us know by contacting:

You are also aware that we have been planning for the wider return of Year 10 and 12 students at The Canterbury Academy for some face to face learning, which will supplement that which is being done remotely in Term 6. Thank you very much to the parents of students in Year 10 and 12 for returning your questionnaires so quickly, it has really helped shape our thinking and knowing how you feel has made a very complicated task slightly less so. Moving forward, if you are a parent that we know to be a key worker and/or your child has been classified as vulnerable, you will receive a letter from Mrs Banbery on Monday, 8 June, detailing our ongoing plan.

For the week beginning 15 June, staff at The Canterbury Academy will, as their primary colleagues have, receive training on COVID New Ways of Working. More widely, students in Year 10 and 12 will be invited back to campus for some face to face learning from the week beginning 22 June.

If you are the parent of a Year 10 student you will receive a letter on Monday, 8 June, from Mr Brooke, detailing our plan to offer your child some face to face learning, including the day and time they can arrive from w/b 22 June. Likewise, on Monday, 8 June, if you are the parent of a Year 12 student, you will receive a letter from Mrs Winslow. All of these plans are entirely flexible and fluid; we remain very conscious that things are still changing regularly and rapidly, so we continue to be keen on placing ourselves in a position where our plans can adapt and adjust quickly if needed.

Many of you have highlighted, quite justifiably, your concerns around the use of public transport, and I am afraid I am still unable to advise you further on that. Stagecoach, for example, as we understand it, will not be running any dedicated school buses.  However, ordinary bus services are still running.  The number 22, for example, stops almost directly outside the campus on Knight Avenue. Students can catch this service to and from the main bus station in Canterbury. I can only continue to advise all parents and carers to check the Stagecoach website on https://www.stagecoachbus.com/regional-service-updates/south-east/canterbury as regularly as possible, just to make sure that the services you may require continue to run.

For parents of children at City View Pre-School and Nursery and The Canterbury Primary School, Mrs Farrell will continue to keep you regularly updated as our plans develop through Term 6. For parents of children currently in Years 7, 8 and 9 at The Canterbury Academy, it still appears that there will be no return to school until September 2020, at the earliest, unless they are vulnerable or the child of a key worker. I know that our students will continue to access their remote learning timetables and please do remember that our staff remain here to support at any time, as do our Directors of Teaching and Learning, Heads of Learning and Heads of School. For students in Year 11 and 13 due to leave us this academic year, and for any others who would have sat public examinations in the summer, we shall continue to update you separately on the processes through which your grades are being calculated and how you will collect them.

With only six weeks remaining until the end of this term and much inconsistent, conflicting advice still circulating in the press, scientific and otherwise, the government are being urged by school leaders and unions to publish further guidance for September. Suffice to say and in a hope to assure you further, once it is published we will address it together as a Trust community, navigating our way through it calmly, objectively and methodically, and always in the very best and safest interests of all of our children and all of our families.

As I have throughout this crisis, I remain incredibly grateful for all of your support and thank you, in anticipation, as we continue to move forward together.

My very best wishes to you all,

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

COVID19 Update - 28 May 2020

Dear parents and carers,

As always, I hope that this message continues to find you and all of your families remaining safe and well.

With another week drawing to a close I wanted to write and briefly update you on a few things, as we continue to plan for the phased re-opening of our schools across The Canterbury Academy Trust.

For those parents of children at City View Pre-School and Nursery and The Canterbury Primary School, Mrs Farrell will be writing to you about the final plans for re-opening further accordingly. I would like to thank Mrs Farrell and her team for all of the work that has gone into preparing to welcome more students back to those sites and, of course, my thanks to all those parents who fed back their questionnaires and thoughts on our proposals. The information, opinion and perspective you shared with us was absolutely vital in shaping our plans. I know how much the staff are looking forward to seeing our students and their families again, as we all begin to adjust to our new “normal.”

As regards The Canterbury Academy, can I also thank the vast majority of parents of students in Years 10 and 12 for the prompt return of their questionnaire. Again, how you and your child feel about any potential return is incredibly important to us and will, obviously, play a huge part in our planning for how we may be able to offer some face to face learning to supplement the remote learning that students will already be doing. If you are a parent of a child in Year 10 or 12 and have not yet completed the questionnaire, please may I ask that you do so and submit it at your earliest convenience.

If you are the parent of a child in Year 10, please follow this link to complete and submit the questionnaire; https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=TxWpPkWAgE264qMS1YZuE8cGAJTexPFOt2F0gx2V3jNUOERNOFMxN0tGWjhZWktPM1pZQTdUSE4yRS4u

If you are the parent of a child in Year 12, please follow this link to complete and submit the questionnaire;  https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=TxWpPkWAgE264qMS1YZuE8cGAJTexPFOt2F0gx2V3jNUQVVGTUZZTTYwMUJIUzBCSFVKOUlMMU8yRi4u

With our Trust’s staffing capacity now assessed and parental questionnaires largely returned, the leadership group at The Canterbury Academy will be spending the start of next week planning what our offer for Year 10 and 12 might be, and I will be sure to keep you updated as this develops. There is, of course, a huge amount to consider in our planning and much government guidance to incorporate when doing so; especially in light of the fact that we are only allowed to have up to a quarter of each year group on campus at any one time. Risk assessments are also being finalised alongside all COVID compliancy documentation, and will be published on our website(s) for your information in the coming days. We wish to get things as right as possible, as soon as possible, as safely as possible, and remain incredibly grateful for all of your ongoing support as we continue to plan for this next phase. It is my intention to be able to communicate with you a more detailed plan as to what we can offer our Year 10 and 12 students on campus at the end of next week.

Sadly, however, government guidance would now appear to suggest that for students who are currently in Year 7, 8 and 9, there will be no return to campus possible until September at the earliest, unless your child is deemed vulnerable or you are a key worker. If you fit either of those categories a provision will continue to be available for your child, as it has been throughout, if you wish to accept it. If you are a key worker or your child is vulnerable, although I am obliged to point out to you that the government are now “encouraging” you to send your children to school, I also wish to assure you that, should you choose not to, you will receive nothing other than our support in making the right decision for your child and your own individual family circumstances. For students who are in current Years 11 and 13, and for others who may have been sitting public examinations this summer, we shall continue to update you separately.

As we continue to move forward, if you have any questions about our Phase 3 Remote Learning Plan or wish to now book a place in our provision(s) for your child who may be vulnerable, or you are a keyworker, please contact:

Finally, this evening’s government briefing was planned to announce their “final” decision on whether schools should re-open to more students or not, although the Prime Minister seemed to announce his definitive intention earlier this week. I shall be in touch next week with an update on our planning and next steps.  

My very best wishes to you all, always.

Yours,

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

Reopening of Schools - Questionnaire for Year 10 and 12 Parents - 26 May 2020
Dear parents and carers,

I trust that this message will find you and all of your families well, having enjoyed, I hope, a sunny and relaxing Bank Holiday weekend.

I have already outlined to you the planning that we are undertaking, carefully and methodically, as we begin to ramp up our preparations for the possible return of some more of our students. All of these preparations, of course, run alongside our Phase 3 Remote Learning Plan for Term 6, which you will all have received yesterday afternoon. And, as you know, the Prime Minister announced on Sunday evening that he should like secondary schools to provide some face to face learning for students in Years 10 and 12, to supplement that which they are already doing remotely. He has said that this should be available from 15 June at the earliest, and should run alongside the continued provision for key worker and vulnerable children.

As promised, and as part of our ongoing planning, I write to you with a questionnaire that I should be grateful if you would complete. As always, and in an attempt to be open and transparent, it is also important to me that I share with you an honest overview of
the position we now find ourselves in.

Moving forward, the only certainty is that there can be no certainty. Schools will be forced to be very different places for the foreseeable future. I am sorry, but I will not be able to guarantee protection from COVID. I remain unable to make that guarantee for children, parents, my colleagues or our families. As has been reported nationally, the only guarantee of protection is to remain in lockdown and at home until the virus has gone away, if it ever goes away. According to the government’s guidance, it is now about being able to mitigate the risk of COVID transmission whilst at school, and in society more generally, to an “acceptable level.” If they do return to school I cannot guarantee that your child will, in the short term, have access to the usual staff members that teach them. I cannot guarantee they will have access to their full, usual suite of qualifications and they will not be able to take part in certain activities. Equipment cannot be shared and this will have an obvious impact on many of the practical lessons that would normally take place. The beginning and end of the school day will need to be staggered, as will break and lunchtime. Movement around the campus will also be restricted to a minimum. I cannot guarantee that students will socially distance and the guidance acknowledges that for staff to police that will simply be impossible at all times during the day. Neither can I, obviously, make any guarantees of safety for those young people who may use public transport to and from school.

Having said all of that, as our government suggests, I can continue to reassure you that we will take all reasonable steps to mitigate the risk of COVID transmission to an acceptable level to keep everybody safe

  • Most importantly, we will continue to follow all of the DfE guidance given to us as sensitively and supportively as we can.
  • Children and adults will continue to be supported fully, either in their learning and work in school, wherever it is safe and possible, or alternatively in their remote learning and work at home.
  • Thorough COVID risk assessments and adaptions to learning/working practices will be in place for every aspect of this return to school and work. These risk assessments, in due course and in line with government guidance, will also be published on our website(s).
  • Again, in line with DfE guidance, COVID protective measures will be fully implemented, including support mechanisms and processes. These will cover vitally important areas such as cleaning and sanitising, any movement around the campus and all social distancing guidelines.
  • Class sizes, groupings and staffing, as well as the organisation and structure of learning and the school day, will be reviewed and adapted sensibly and supportively.

 

We wish to ensure that the safety and well-being, and not just the education, of everybody remains our highest priority.I do hope that our students will be having a break from their remote learning this half-term week, as we certainly do not expect work to be submitted. Instead, I hope that you will all be able to appraise yourselves of the tweaks to our Phase 3 Remote Learning Plan in advance of it starting on 1 June. Likewise, I hope you will be able to spend some time engaging in a really constructive family discussion around how you all feel about our children possibly returning.

The assessment of our staffing capacity will be complete this week, so it would be very helpful if you could return the questionnaire by Thursday, 28 May, please, coinciding with the next expected government announcement about the opening of schools. At this point we should have a much clearer picture of our staffing availability, as well as the students/parents who notionally wish to engage with what we may offer.

So, if you are the parent of a child in Year 10, please follow this link to complete and submit the questionnaire; 

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=TxWpPkWAgE264qMS1YZuE8cGAJTexPFOt2F0gx2V3jNUOERNOFMxN0tGWjhZWktPM1pZQTdUSE4yRS4

If you are the parent of a child in Year 12, please follow this link to complete and submit the questionnaire; 

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=TxWpPkWAgE264qMS1YZuE8cGAJTexPFOt2F0gx2V3jNUQVVGTUZZTTYwMUJIUzBCSFVKOUlMMU8yRi4

You will doubtless be reading and hearing much in the press and media about the safety of schools reopening. There is much confusing, inconsistent and conflicting scientific advice circulating at the moment, but, amongst all of it, I want you to be assured that we shall remain here for you; to support you, to listen to your concerns and help however, whenever and in whichever way we can. I want you to be in no doubt at all, that whatever decision you do arrive at regarding sending your child back to school, it will be the right one for your child, you and your wider family context. You will not be pursued for attendance and there will be no penalties. We will support you.

I look forward to collating your responses and will be in touch further at the end of the week with next steps.

With my thanks in anticipation and all very best wishes

 

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

Phase 3 Distance Learning – 25 May 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,  

As per my email of last week and as we look forward to the start of Term 6, we wanted to update you with regard to our distance learning programmes. 

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of yesterday afternoon, it is now clear, as we suspected, that a large number of our students, particularly in current years 7, 8 and 9, will be continuing to learn remotely, from home, and, as such, we have further reviewed and refined our distance learning package.  

Additionally, Mr Johnson stated that “up to a quarter” of students in Year 10 and Year 12 should be able to access some “face to face” learning in schools from 15th June; the details of which remain unclear with further guidance promised in the coming days. But, as you know, our planning continues through the ongoing assessment of our staffing capacity, alongside the questionnaire that parents of students in Years 10 and 12 will be sent tomorrow to gauge feeling about a possible return for their children from 15th June. Once further guidance is published and our position clarifies, more news will follow on this later this week.  

For Years 7-10, students can continue to access their work via the Show My Homework platform. You may have noticed that there has been a branding change with the app, and this is now called Satchel One; there are no other changes 

Understandably, remote learning does pose many challenges for children and their families, but please do remember that our teachers are available to support our students with their work. Students can contact their class teachers with questions about their work via Show My Homework or via email. Equally, when a task has been completed, this should be submitted to their teacher so that they can then receive feedback and guidance on their next steps. This feedback is vitally important for helping consolidate and shape future learning.  

At school, our students are very used to a structured timetable of lessons that helps them organise their day. In order to help them manage their workloads at home, we suggest that they follow the timetable below throughout Term 6. This is based on students completing three study sessions a day. While, of course, this can be flexible, we hope that it will help students and their families help manage chunks of work and structure their week. 

Years 7 & 8

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
English Maths Geography Science French/Spanish
Art Performing Arts PE Technology Food
RE IT History English Maths

Year 9

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
English Maths Science Maths Science
History or Geography Option Block B English History or Geography Option Block B
Option Block A Option Block C Option Block C Option Block A Catch Up
Option Block A Option Block B Option Block C
French

 

Spanish

Construction

Food

Textiles

Health & Social Care

RE

Art

Technology

BTEC Sport

 

Drama

Dance

Performing Arts

Construction

Food

CACHE

IT

Triple Science

GCSE PE

BTEC Sport

 

Music

Sociology

Photography

Business

Studies

Hair & Beauty

CACHE

 

 

Year 10

 

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
English Maths Science Maths Science
History or Geography Option Block B English History or Geography Option Block B
Option Block A Option Block C Option Block C Option Block A Catch Up
Option Block A Option Block B Option Block C
French

 

Spanish

Construction

Food

Textiles

IT

Health & Social Care

Business

RE

Computer Science

Technology

BTEC Sport

 

Art

Drama

Dance

Construction

Food

CACHE

Textiles

History

Technology

Spanish

 

BTEC Sport

Music

Sociology

Photography

Business

Hair & Beauty

Health & Social Care

 

Work will continue to be set fortnightly by teachers with clear guidance on the tasks and activities that students should be completing and clear deadlines for submission of tasks. 

Alongside this, we feel it is important for students to participate in exercise, enjoy fresh air, perhaps engage in activities together as a family such as baking, or family games, and spend time processing the very challenging circumstances that we find ourselves in. As ever, young people’s well-being is vitally important.  

For our students in Year 12, they will continue to be set work directly from their class teacher through their existing methods of communication, including via email, Microsoft Teams or Show My Homework. Again, all work should be submitted directly to the teacher so that feedback and guidance on next steps can be received.  

If you have any questions regarding your child’s learning, please do not hesitate to contact:  

Mrs Shilling, Teaching & Learning: ashilling@canterbury.kent.sch.uk 

Mrs Banbery, Head of the Middle School: abanbery@canterbury.kent.sch.uk 

Mr Brooke, Head of Senior School: jbrooke@canterbury.kent.sch.uk 

Mrs Winslow, Head of Sixth Form: lwinslow@canterbury.kent.sch.uk 

Mr Hadlow, Director of Post-16 Education: shadlow@canterbury.kent.sch.uk 

Finally, we would like to thank you for your ongoing support through these exceptional and challenging times. 

Yours faithfully,

Jon Watson

COVID19 Update - 22 May 2020

Dear parents and carers,

I write to you today, at what would have been the end of Term 5 to update you, as promised, on our planning for the possible reopening of schools across The Canterbury Academy Trust for more of our students.

Firstly, may I remind you that both The Canterbury Primary School and The Canterbury Academy shall remain open to the children of key workers and those deemed vulnerable through the half-term week, including Spring Bank Holiday Monday on 25 May. We continue to take this stance in order to keep helping key workers get to work, most notably our front line services in the NHS and other emergency workers, and support our most vulnerable young people and their families through this most stressful of times.

If you are a key worker and require a place for your child, please do remember to let us know. Likewise, if we have written to you separately because we believe your child maybe vulnerable, please let us know if you require provision moving forward. You can access the guidance for parents and carers and the list of key workers by following this hyperlink; Key Workers

If you have not already done so and wish for us to make provision for your child through half-term, including the Bank Holiday, please can you let us know by contacting:

To remind you:

  • If you are reporting to The Canterbury Primary School, Breakfast Club will be open from 7.45am and the school day will start at 9am.
  • If you are reporting to The Canterbury Academy, including the sixth form, please report to the main school hall for 8.45am.
  • Students do not have to wear uniform. Normal, casual clothes, will be fine.
  • A school meal and refreshments will be available as normal.
  • Please do not bring any PE kit unless you are specifically asked to in advance.
  • Our school days, as normal, will finish at 3pm.
  • With regret, there will be no after school clubs available at either school.

For those young people who may travel by bus, may I please advise all parents and carers to check the Stagecoach website on https://www.stagecoachbus.com/regional-service-updates/south-east/canterbury as regularly as possible, just to make sure that the services you may require continue to run. The number 22, for example, stops almost directly outside the campus on Knight Avenue. Students can catch this service to and from the main bus station in Canterbury.

Likewise, if you would like to be kept informed as to what our Trust community is doing to stay together even though we remain apart, please, if you are able, join our social media platforms:

Secondly, I remain very aware that next week would normally be a chance for students to have a break from their learning, and I wish for that to still be the case. Although the uptake across our Trust through all of our on-line and distance learning mechanisms has been brilliant, I do not want our children to feel pressured to keep studying through their half-term. I know that you will continue to find your own way and do what is right for your child, but, please, do not feel that we expect work to be submitted over half-term, or for on-line learning to be accessed as regularly, if at all. We can pick it all up again at the start of next term on 1 June.

As regards our ongoing planning for the re-opening of our schools to more pupils, the government’s briefing of yesterday afternoon gave no further assurances for schools and parents. I suspect we may not hear anything more until a final decision is made on 28 May, leaving only the Friday and weekend for nurseries and primary schools to make final preparations before 1 June. Mrs Farrell will be writing to all parents of children at City View Nursery and The Canterbury Primary School today with the specifics of their re-opening plans. I very much hope you will find the information useful. I thank you, again, for the replies to Mrs Farrell’s questionnaire; your comments and feedback was very much appreciated and hugely informative in shaping our thinking.

For The Canterbury Academy, on Monday, 25 May, all parents will receive an email informing you of our Phase 3 Remote Learning Plan. As has become usual, we have reviewed, acted on parental and student feedback, and tweaked our packages for the final term of this academic year. I hope that this will leave you with plenty of time to read and understand the slight changes to remote learning before they begin on 1 June. But, as always, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the appropriate Head of School.

In addition to vulnerable children and those of key workers, as you know, it is the government’s ambition that children in Year 10 and 12 may get some “face to face” contact before the summer break. On Tuesday 26 May, the parents of children in Years 10 and 12 will receive a questionnaire that I hope will gauge how you and your child may be feeling around a potential return to school. With a break from remote learning next week, I hope that you will be able to have some engaging discussion as a family, completing and returning the questionnaire as soon as you are able.

The intelligence we gather from the questionnaire will run alongside our ongoing assessment of the staffing capacity across our Trust, and the eventual and “final” decision that the government will make about the possible re-opening of schools on 28 May. Meaning, I hope, that by the end of next week, 29 May, we shall be in a much stronger position to make some informed, balanced and sensible decisions around the provision we can offer at The Canterbury Academy in Term 6; underpinned, always, by all of our very best and safest interests. So, until we are able to effectively assess all up to date DfE guidance, what provision we can facilitate and who may engage in it, our offer from 1 June at The Canterbury Academy will remain only for those students deemed most vulnerable and the children of key workers, until further notice.

I am sorry that I am not able to provide you with more specific dates and plans at this stage, but with so many variable, moving parts, I should certainly not wish to mislead you with any information that we may then need to rapidly U-turn on. I think we may have all seen enough of that lately. I will be sure, however, to keep you up to speed with all of our planning as it continues to evolve next week.

So, finally, it only remains for me, on behalf of all of the staff across The Canterbury Academy Trust, to thank you for your ongoing understanding and support. I do hope you may have had a chance to read our newsletter this week, updating our community on all of the incredible things that have been going on at school, at home, with our families and in our communities. Our students, our families and all of our Trust community continue to inspire us every day, and you remain constantly in all of our thoughts.

With my very best wishes to you all for a relaxing Bank Holiday weekend.

Yours,

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

COVID19 Update - 20 May 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

I very much hope that this message finds you and all of your families remaining safe and well.

I hope you will forgive the frequency of my communication with you, but I do wish to further update you around the ongoing planning that is happening to, hopefully, reopen schools across The Canterbury Academy Trust for more of our students.

Firstly, if I may remind you of some of the key headlines from the Department for Education’s most recent guidance documents:

  • The government has advised schools to plan for the possible return of students in nurseries, year R, year 1 and year 6 from 1 June, if the 5 key COVID tests have been met.
  • There is an ambition for primary schools to welcome back all year groups before the summer holidays, for a month if feasible, although this will be kept under review.
  • From 1 June, schools have also been asked to consider how best to provide some “face to face” contact for students in years 10 and 12 before the summer break. It remains unclear what this might look like.
  • Provision for children of key workers, and for vulnerable students, should continue, alongside remote learning programmes for students who are unable to attend and learn on campus.
  • Families should be encouraged to send children in the identified categories and year groups to school, if it is safe and possible for them to do so. There will be no fines or penalties for non-attendance.
  • Schools should review and adapt their curriculums and learning programmes to best support their learners, and all examinations and accountability measures remain cancelled until further notice.

As you know, it has remained the case since lockdown on 23 March that both The Canterbury Primary School and The Canterbury Academy have been open, including through holiday periods and Bank Holidays, for the children of key workers and those deemed vulnerable. It is now some time since I felt it necessary to remind you of who may fall into these categories, but with the language from central government beginning to change around what will be “expected” or “encouraged” from students and parents from, potentially, 1 June, I felt it pertinent to revisit.

If your child has been classified as vulnerable according to a combination of the government’s and our own definitions, we will already have contacted you privately. However, as I have often said, vulnerability is not always visible and neither can it be simply defined. It remains the case that if you feel your child to be vulnerable please contact us and we will do all we can to support.

If you are classified as a key worker it remains the case that your child, in DfE terms, is also “eligible” for a place in our provision, should you wish to accept it. The government’s definition of key workers remains available via this hyperlink Key Workers for your information.

Where previous DfE guidance stated clearly that;

Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

Going onto ask that parents abide by one overarching principle in the ongoing battle against COVID-19;

If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.

This guidance has now changed to say that;

Now that we have made progress in reducing the transmission of coronavirus we are encouraging all eligible children to attend – it is no longer necessary for parents of eligible children to keep them at home if they can. In particular, as per the existing guidance on vulnerable children and young people, vulnerable children of all year groups continue to be expected and encouraged to attend educational provision where it is appropriate for them to do so.

With that said we shall continue to keep our schools open and offer provision, at this time, for those eligible children through the May half-term, including the Spring Bank Holiday on Monday 25 May. If you have not already done so and wish for your child to attend through the holiday period, w/b 25 May, please can you let us know by contacting:

It remains the case that Stagecoach are not running any dedicated school buses.  However, ordinary bus services are still running.  The number 22, for example, stops almost directly outside the campus on Knight Avenue. Students can catch this service to and from the main bus station in Canterbury. I can only advise all parents and carers to check the Stagecoach website on https://www.stagecoachbus.com/regional-service-updates/south-east/canterbury as regularly as possible, just to make sure that the services you may require continue to run.

As regards the government’s proposed date of 1 June, you will be aware that there remains much discussion between teaching unions and central government around the reopening of schools to more children. At the time of writing this message I understand there to be around 1,500 primary schools nationally who do not feel they are able to open safely on 1 June. Likewise, there is a growing number of regional councils up and down the country who do not feel they can support the government in safely opening their schools on the same date. The press, media and social media coverage of this, of course, will not be helping the situation for anybody; but most importantly it will not be helping our children and our families in terms of the assurances we all need. Whilst we continue to acknowledge and respect the decision making of others, The Canterbury Academy Trust shall also remain consistently and positively focused on the health, safety and very best interests of the children and families that we serve across our Trust community, as we have tried to throughout this crisis: our students, our staff and all of our families and loved ones.

The only certainty, horribly, is that there can be no certainty. I hope that you will continue to support my honesty when I remind you that schools will be forced to be very different places for the foreseeable future. Further to my previous message around what schools and educational settings will or will not able to do and the precautions we will take, I must tell you now, and I don’t like myself for saying it, but I will not be able to guarantee protection from COVID. I cannot make that guarantee for children, parents, my colleagues or our families. As has been reported nationally, the only guarantee of protection is to remain in lockdown and at home until the virus has gone away, if it ever goes away. I cannot guarantee that students, some as young as four years old, will socially distance or even begin to understand the concept when their entire curriculum should be underpinned by social interaction and communication. I cannot guarantee that one child will not go near another, fall over and need to be picked up, treated with first aid, hugged and comforted. The only thing I can do is to continue offering assurances that we will take all reasonable steps to prevent it:

  • Most importantly, we will continue to follow all of the DfE guidance given to us as sensitively and supportively as we can.
  • Children and adults will continue to be supported fully, either in their learning and work in school, wherever it is safe and possible, or alternatively in their remote learning and work at home.
  • Thorough COVID risk assessments and adaptions to learning/working practices will be in place for every aspect of this return to school and work. These risk assessments, in due course and in line with government guidance, will also be published on our website(s).
  • Again, in line with DfE guidance, COVID protective measures will be fully implemented, including support mechanisms and processes. These will cover vitally important areas such as cleaning and sanitising, any movement around the campus and all social distancing guidelines.  
  • Class sizes, groupings and staffing, as well as the organisation and structure of learning and the school day, will be reviewed and adapted sensibly and supportively. We wish to ensure that the safety and well-being, and not just the education, of everybody remains our highest priority.

As we prepare together for this next phase, all of these important aspects and sources of information continue to be collated calmly, carefully and methodically. I would like to thank the parental body at The Canterbury Primary School for so promptly replying to Mrs Farrell’s questionnaire. Your views, opinions and thoughts are very much welcomed and incredibly useful in shaping what we can offer from, hopefully, 1 June. As we continue to assess the capacity of our staffing levels across the Trust, it will be our intention in the coming week to voice the parents of children in Years 10 and 12 at The Canterbury Academy, to get a sense of how they are feeling about their children potentially returning to school at some point in June, in line with the government’s ambition to have some “face to face” contact before the summer break. All of this valuable information will allow us to make informed, balanced and objective decisions, underpinned by all of our very best and safest interests.

With everything being considered by our government, teaching unions, councils, The British Medical Association and various sources of scientific advice, all of this planning, of course, must remain completely flexible and fluid. It is expected, I believe, that there will be more announcements around the proposed opening of schools by the government tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon. With the ultimate caveat that they will make a “final” decision on whether schools should open or not on 28 May, the Friday of half-term, and leaving only that weekend before 1 June.

I certainly do not envy the government their task and I should not wish to try and second guess their next decision. All we can do, as a Trust community, is keep on keeping on; calmly, sensibly and safely.

I shall write to you all again at the end of this week, which would have been the end of term 5, with a  further update on our planning and any more news following the government briefing of Thursday afternoon.

My very best regards to you all,

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

COVID19 Update - 14 May 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

As promised, I write again with further updates following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday evening about the proposed return to schools for some students.

Firstly, there are some key documents that have this week been published by the Department for Education beginning to detail their plans for schools to re-open:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/our-plan-to-rebuild-the-uk-governments-covid-19-recovery-strategy

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-educational-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020/actions-for-education-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-educational-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020/opening-schools-for-more-children-and-young-people-initial-planning-framework-for-schools-in-england

Obviously, I do not expect you to read them all but, in an attempt to be helpful, I wish to lay out some of the key headlines from them:

  • The government has advised schools to plan for the possible return of students in nurseries, year R, year 1 and year 6 from 1 June, if the 5 key COVID tests have been met.
  • There is an ambition for primary schools to welcome back all year groups before the summer holidays, for a month if feasible, although this will be kept under review.
  • From 1 June, schools have also been asked to consider how best to provide some “face to face” contact for students in years 10 and 12 before the summer break. It remains unclear what this might look like.
  • Provision for children of key workers, and for vulnerable students, should continue, alongside remote learning programmes for students who are unable to attend and learn on campus.
  • Families should be encouraged to send children in the identified categories and year groups to school, if it is safe and possible for them to do so. There will be no fines or penalties for non-attendance.
  • Schools should review and adapt their curriculums and learning programmes to best support their learners, and all examinations and accountability measures remain cancelled until further notice.

Further to my message to you all of Monday, I would like to share with you an honest, simple and ongoing assurance that we shall continue to do all we can to support our students and families as we plan for this next difficult phase. However, you will doubtless have noticed that the language from central government has begun to change around what will be “expected” or “encouraged” from students and parents from, potentially, 1 June. You will also be aware that there is much ongoing discussion between teaching unions and central government following the announcements from the Prime Minister on Sunday evening. Likewise, there still continues to be much speculation and conjecture in the media, with many school leaders and teachers having taken, passionately, to social media.

Whilst acknowledging all of this, The Canterbury Academy Trust shall also remain consistently and positively focused on the health, safety and very best interests of the children and families that we serve, as we have tried to throughout this crisis. And, to be clear, when we talk about families, we talk about our entire Trust community; our students, our staff and all of our families and loved ones.

So, with all of this in mind and in an attempt to give some more detailed assurances, I would like to share with you some of the initial planning which has been happening in the lead up to this next phase:

  • Most importantly, we will continue to follow all of the DfE guidance given to us as sensitively and supportively as we can.
  • Children and adults will continue to be supported fully, either in their learning and work in school, wherever it is safe and possible, or alternatively in their remote learning and work at home.
  • Thorough COVID risk assessments and adaptions to learning/working practices will be in place for every aspect of this return to school and work. These risk assessments, in due course and in line with government guidance, will also be published on our website(s).
  • Again, in line with DfE guidance, COVID protective measures will be fully implemented, including support mechanisms and processes. These will cover vitally important areas such as cleaning and sanitising, any movement around the campus and all social distancing guidelines.  
  • Class sizes, groupings and staffing, as well as the organisation and structure of learning and the school day, will be reviewed and adapted sensibly and supportively. We wish to ensure that the safety and well-being, and not just the education, of everybody remains our highest priority.

As we prepare together, as a community, for this next phase, all of these important aspects and sources of information are currently being collated calmly, carefully and methodically. We will then make informed, balanced and objective decisions, which we shall share with you in a structured and planned way over the coming days and weeks. In line with this, the thoughts, reflections and opinions of our parental body remain very important to us, and I continue to be incredibly grateful for all of the messages of support and best wishes I have received for our community throughout this situation. As we seek to continue gathering facts and opinions, Mrs Farrell, our Trust’s Executive Vice Principal for our Primary Campus, will be contacting all City View Nursery and Canterbury Primary School parents with a brief survey to complete; the contents of which will be very helpful in shaping our thinking and possible provision in our nursery and primary school from 1 June.

As we now plan for the ‘beginning of the end’ of this horrible virus and a time when we may all return to school, I feel obliged, candidly, to remind you that our new ‘normal’ will be vastly different from the old. What schools will be able to teach may be different; class sizes will be smaller; lesson timings may need to change; certain equipment will no longer be allowed to be used; certain activities may no longer be permitted; break and lunch times may need to be staggered; handwashing and sanitising more structured; and movement around our campus restricted in line with social distancing guidelines. But, you have adapted magnificently to our challenges so far, and we shall continue to adapt. We will innovate, create, change and evolve together; in our families, in our schools and in our communities.

We are the human race; we are resilient; it is what we do.

I shall be in touch with you all again at the start of next week, once the possession of further facts permit me.

Yours ever,

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

COVID19 Update - 11 May 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

I write to you today, as promised, following the Prime Minister’s announcements to the nation of yesterday evening.

As best I can penetrate what he said, there remains many ‘ifs’ attached to the potential ‘roadmap’ and the timelines he outlined. I completely appreciate that many of you will have been left more confused and frustrated by what was said, or not said, as the case may be. I know that there will be multi-faceted challenges that our families are facing right now, ranging from professional, personal and financial issues, through to the ongoing home education of our children; and many of these will be inter-linked in some way. But, in my message, I wish to try and provide you with some clarity, consistency and assurance from our perspective at The Canterbury Academy Trust, and for the young people and families we have a responsibility for.

Mr Johnson spoke of his desire to have children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 return on 1 June, “IF” he is satisfied that the 5 Point COVID Checklist has been met. He then went onto say that he “hoped” secondary school children who “will be facing exams next summer” may get some time with their teachers before the summer break, but mentioned no specific timeframe. There was no mention of any other year groups or what provision in Nurseries and Pre-Schools might look like.

There has been the promise of a more detailed plan and clearer guidance for schools to follow later today, once Mr Johnson has addressed parliament this afternoon. You do not need me to tell you that we as a Trust and, indeed, you as parents, need much more definitive detail on how we should reopen before we are able to contemplate, in any degree of detail, how that could work and what that could look like. You will doubtless be aware that many  schools up and down the country have already taken to social media and, in many cases, written to their parental bodies to inform them, most certainly, that their schools will not re-open on 1 June. Those decisions, of course, are entirely their prerogative. They will have been made based on the information they are in possession of and always with the very best interests and safety of the children, staff and families in mind.

For us across The Canterbury Academy Trust, our stance will remain absolutely consistent with that which it has been throughout this crisis, and I will not allow media reporting and political rumour mongering to distract us. As I said in my message of Friday evening, the reality is that the new ‘normal’ will be vastly different from the old, and we have been considering the logistics and intricacies of our students and staff returning for some time. As you will appreciate, there are countless scenarios and mechanisms through which this could be achieved, and I wish you to remain assured that we are considering all of these very carefully and thoughtfully, all underpinned by the safety and health of our young people, colleagues and all of our families. With 1st June only being some three weeks away, let’s hope that the government are able to move as quickly as they expect schools to in providing their expectations. When that clear, precise and definitive guidance is produced by our government, plainly outlining what is expected of us all as we move into this new ‘phase,’ we will, of course, share it with you as soon as we are able.

Although we cannot control the decision making of central government, we can control the way in which we respond as schools, as families and as a Trust community. I remain in awe of the way you have coped with what COVID has thrown at us. How you have adapted, been resilient, the ingenious ways in which you have approached the challenges of home schooling, the balances you have found amongst all of it and, overall, the empathy you have shown for each other, your families, your friends and our communities. So, until we get more detail nothing will change. We shall continue unphased, calmly, objectively and carefully, with our new, flexible and always evolving ways of learning; keeping calm and carrying on.

We will all be listening attentively for further, definitive updates, and I will be back in touch with you to share our planning as soon as possible.

Thinking of you all.

Yours faithfully,

Jon Watson

Trust Executive Principal

75th Anniversary of VE Day - 8 May 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

 Firstly and most importantly, I do hope that this message finds you and all of you families still safe and well.

I write to you on this Bank Holiday, as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe. Although I think we all agree we should be careful to not draw too many comparisons between the ongoing situation with COVID-19 and what the generation involved in the Second World War endured, this year’s commemoration of that which was sacrificed by so many for the freedoms we are afforded today does seem more poignant than ever. Each of us will have our own very personal reasons for remembering family and friends who may have fought, served and been affected by conflict; and for some of us these may be feelings we are experiencing again today as the battle against COVID goes on.

I hope you will already be aware of the work that we are doing across our Trust to celebrate VE Day, and we look forward to seeing as many entries as possible in our ongoing Head of House competitions. You may also now have seen our Trust’s wonderful ‘We’ll Meet Again’ tribute which was launched this morning on our social media platforms:

 A huge thank you to our Director of Performing Arts, Mrs Watson, for the initial idea and the care, attention and tears (literally!) that went into producing it. To see so many young people and families from across all areas of our Trust come together, even though we’re apart, to sing this iconic song, was quite a moving experience; I hope you have enjoyed watching it as much as me.

 In fact, Mrs Watson was approached by BBC Radio Kent this week to ask if our song could appear as part of their VE Day Commemoration programme this evening, starting at 8.30pm. Furthermore, after the Queen’s speech at 9pm, you will be able to hear the staff and students that were on campus today singing ‘We’ll Meet Again,’ recorded live this morning, as an introduction to the entire county’s radio sing-a-long. Please all try and tune in and sing-a-long if you can!

 Continuing the theme of when we may meet again, we eagerly await the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday evening, sketching out the ‘Road Map’ and potential easing of lockdown restrictions. For most of us we have been locked down now for seven weeks and, for some, even longer. We have come so far during that time and I know you will be as keen as I to continue following all government guidelines until such time as ‘easing’ becomes possible. There is still much media speculation around the possible re-opening of schools and my stance remains that such reports are both unhelpful and distracting. As the virus appears to now be through its first peak and we may have reached ‘the end of the beginning,’ I wish to assure you that, behind the scenes, our Trust is planning for the ‘beginning of the end’ and what a potential return to school might look like for our students and staff. However, the reality is that the new ‘normal’ will be vastly different from the old, with the logistics and intricacies of this already being very carefully considered. When clear and legitimate guidance is produced by our government and the Department for Education for schools to follow we will, of course, share it with you as soon as we are able. Until that point we shall continue with our new, flexible and always evolving ways of learning; in true VE Day spirit, keeping calm and carrying on.

 As our schools remain open to those students who are vulnerable and children of key workers, it has been another busy week. At The Canterbury Primary School it is brilliant to see some of the tasks and activities that are being completed via Class Dojo and emails. The positive response we continue to receive from parents sharing work that is being completed at home is overwhelming, with parents creating their own worksheets for their children to complete, cooking, baking, learning to play instruments and conducting their own investigations and experiments. It has been even better to be able to celebrate these achievements through dojo points and sharing photos on our Facebook page.

 At The Canterbury Academy, likewise, we continue to offer, as best we can, a provision that is rich and varied. This week, students have been creating their own obstacle courses with Miss Patel, studying character development in short films with Miss Davies, baking cinnamon buns with Ms Lewis, and creating felt hearts to give to patients and families who have to be apart from one another with Miss Uttley. They have also participated in PE on the track with Mr Piddlesden, worked through a VE Day themed session with Ms Allison and Mr Johnstone, and have been cooking again with Mr Pennec, this time making Japanese cotton cakes.

 I must again publicly thank the staff who have now made, staggeringly, over 3,000 face visors and hundreds of disposable pillowcase bags for our front line NHS and key workers. This valuable Personal Protective Equipment has been distributed to hospitals all over East Kent, Kent, Medway and has even reached as far as London! Mrs Holman, Mrs Vinn, Miss Khatkar and Mr Onions have worked tirelessly on campus, but there have been many staff that have worked hard at home too, with special mention going to Mrs Douglas for the scores of bags she was able to produce. I’d like to thank everybody across our community who has been able to donate to this cause; it has been hugely appreciated by us, but even more so by the hospital staff, doctors, nurses, midwives, GPs, care home workers, pharmacists and other key workers who have benefited from them.

 As you know, the distance learning programme we are running operates through our Show My Homework platform and this week, again, has seen students from all years submitting work they have laboured tirelessly over. There continues to be so many excellent examples, both at the primary school and the academy, that we have devised a GDPR compliant way of being able to share some with you in a weekly newsletter, the first edition of which you will receive next week. But, until then, and to name just a few from this week, we have seen amazing examples of architecture and house design inspired by favourite artists, new pairs of trainers designed to reflect the creator’s identity, examples of set design, scripts, storyboards and some beautifully crafted poetry. Each and every piece of work showcases our students’ love of learning and individual gifts, talents, abilities and skills; all underpinned by their dedication, commitment and pride.

My final word on this day of days, the 75th  anniversary of Victory in Europe is for you; our parents, carers and families, who remain an inspiration to all of our staff across the Trust through your resilience and unwavering support during this crisis. As we continue to live through the biggest challenge we have faced since the end of World War II, as a Trust community we remain resolute in our message. There is, and will continue to be much to cope with for all of us during this pandemic and beyond it. Our world may not return to ‘normal’ for quite some time, and we will all, in some way, bear the scars: economically, financially, professionally, physically and, most significantly, emotionally. As I type this message to you I can only thank you, profoundly, for what you are doing in finding the right balance for your children. Thank you for supporting them. Thank you for being flexible in your approach to their learning at home. Thank you for cooking with them, baking with them, walking with them, gardening with them, exercising with them, painting with them, creating with them, reading with them and teaching them new skills. But, most of all, thank you for talking with them, being with them and helping each other understand how you feel at the moment. These times spent together, amongst everything else, will never be forgotten.

 Let’s see what the announcements on Sunday evening bring us and I shall be in touch again next week.

 For now, and at least for today, lest we forget…

Yours faithfully,

Jon Watson

Executive Principal

Start of Term 5 - 17 April 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
I do hope that this message finds you and all of your families still safe and well, as what would have been the start of term 5 draws near on Monday, 20th April.

You will all now doubtless be aware that our government have, last night, extended lockdown for a further three weeks at least. This means that there is still no hint of schools reopening, or when lockdown restrictions may be eased. Much has been written and commented on this in the media, and it remains my view that such speculation is unhelpful. Please remain assured that our Trust, as it has done throughout this crisis, will continue to follow all relevant guidance from Public Health England, the NHS, Kent County Council, the Department for Education and our government. 

As lockdown continues I can’t reiterate enough how impressed and immensely proud we are of the resilience our young people across our schools have shown during these enforced changes, and the maturity with which they have dealt with it all. We’ve had reports of students, and even communities of families, setting up social media groups so they can attempt certain learning tasks together. We’ve also heard stories of children and families spending more time together learning new skills, with some of our students teaching their parents about topics they are covering at school. There have been examples of students helping out around the house; taking responsibility for a pet and learning new practical skills through DIY, tiling, painting, gardening and cutting the grass. There have been lots of cakes baked and new recipes tried. There has even been an attempt at a tie-dyed t-shirt!

But, most pleasingly, these have all been done together as families, and the common theme flowing through all of this feedback is that we appear to be talking more. We’re talking about our hopes and dreams, our fears, anxieties and emotions; many of which, right now, we may not have experienced before. So, if it is even possible to find positives as this horrible situation continues, it may be that we are discovering, and maybe re-discovering, who we are and what is really important to us as individuals, families, friends and as communities. Proving further that the Coronavirus will not defeat the human race. It will only serve to bring us closer together and make us stronger. 

Moving forward and into term 5 you will all now, I hope, have read my message about the continued tweaks we are making to our distance learning packages. Remember, please, if you or your child have any questions don’t hesitate to contact the specific subject teacher, their Director of Teaching and Learning or, ultimately, the appropriate Head of School. 

It has been great to have students in our schools through what would have been the Easter holidays and I thank you all, again, for continuing to observe the DfE guidelines in only seeking provision for your child if you are a key worker or your child is vulnerable, with you not able to keep them at home. For the start of next term, if you have not already done so and wish for us to make provision for your child, please can you let us know by contacting:

Throughout the Easter holidays our students have not been expected to wear school uniform, and they were delighted to find out today that I’m happy to continue this arrangement moving forward until further notice. I hope that this decision may relieve any additional pressure for those parents who, on top of long shifts as key workers and other commitments, will now not have the added worry of getting school uniform washed and ironed as this situation continues. Other than that our expectations, which you will now be used to reading, remain the same:

  • If you are reporting to The Canterbury Primary School, Breakfast Club will be open from 7.45am and the school day will start at 9am.
  • If you are reporting to The Canterbury Academy, including the sixth form, please report to the main school hall for 8.45am.
  • Students do not have to wear uniform. Their normal, casual clothes, will be fine.
  • A school meal and refreshments will be available as normal.
  • Please do not bring any PE kit unless you are specifically asked to in advance.
  • Our school days, as normal, will finish at 3pm.
  • With regret, there will be no after school clubs available at either school.

A huge thank you to all those families who were able to get involved in our ‘We’re Still Standing’ tribute to all NHS and key worker heroes, alongside anybody who may have inspired us at this time. We launched the video on our YouTube channel on Easter Sunday and the response has been overwhelming, with over 4,000 people already having viewed it! If you have not yet had the chance to see it please follow one of our social media platforms:

Or, go directly to our YouTube channel to view it on https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3Aqm9CB-fKTb70CbVTTByQ/videos?disable_polymer=1
Likewise, the response to our appeal for pillow cases has been phenomenal from across Canterbury and beyond. The way that streets and communities have pulled together to get them to us has been brilliant. We already have hundreds ready to be made into disposable bags for NHS and frontline workers but, please, if you are able to donate more, or know anyone who can, and you are able to safely get them to us, we and our NHS would be incredibly grateful. 
As regards Personal Protective Equipment, Miss Khatkar, Mrs Holman, Mrs Vinn, Mr Onions and their production team of students have already made around 1,000 face visors, which continue to be distributed to hospitals across East Kent, medical practises, care homes, pharmacies and hospices. Next week, our staff and students will be meeting the ongoing demand for hundreds more and it was lovely to see their hard work and determination to provide our NHS with PPE recognised by BBC South East News on Wednesday evening, with both Ollie Scott in year 7 and Abi Holman in year 10 talking proudly about what they are doing. 

Finally, I’ll finish where I started, with last night’s announcement of lockdown being extended. This will continue to be a very tough time for many of us, and even with all of our incredible efforts in pulling together to support each other and our communities through this, I hope that we will all still recognise that, simply put, it’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to talk about what is worrying us: it’s ok to talk about how we feel; it’s ok to ask for help and say that we might feel vulnerable. Our staff, of course, are here for you and your families and will remain so as long as our battle against COVID-19 goes on, and beyond if needed. But, I also recognise that sometimes it might be easier to talk to somebody else, so wanted to draw your attention to a service that is being offered across Kent to support families at this time. Kent County Council has launched a new 24 hour helpline called ‘Kent Together’ to support vulnerable people in Kent who need urgent help, supplies or medication. The helpline will provide a single, convenient point of contact for anyone in the county who is in urgent need of help during the Coronavirus outbreak. It is a collaboration between KCC, central Government, District, Borough and local councils, the voluntary and community sector, the NHS, emergency services and other partners to ensure help is at hand. 

If you feel vulnerable and have an urgent need that cannot be met through existing support networks, or are concerned about the welfare of someone else, you can contact the Kent Together helpline at www.kent.gov.uk/KentTogether  or by calling on 03000 41 92 92. It is a 24 hour service.

We shall all keep going, we must, as families and communities, working together. We will get through this.

My very best wishes to you all.

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

COVID19 Update - 10 April 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,

I do hope that this message finds you and all of your families safe and well.

Although it is technically a Bank Holiday, our schools remain open and I just wanted to write and update you on some of the work that colleagues across the Trust have been doing to help our heroes in the NHS at this most challenging time.

In the last two weeks we have been working collaboratively with the NHS and Kent County Council to coordinate our responses, along with other schools, to the NHS’s desperate need for personal protective equipment. I strongly believe it is our duty to do all we can to support our public service colleagues during our nation’s hour of need, and I hope that what we have done so far will fill our Trust community with a sense of commitment, purpose and pride, as the fight goes on against COVID-19.

So far:

  • We have offered our mini-buses and, potentially, some of our volunteer drivers to the NHS for the transportation of NHS personnel.
  • We’ve arranged for every usable pair of science goggles to be given to the NHS as PPE.
  • Miss Khatkar, Mrs Holman and other staff have already produced over 300 protective face masks for NHS workers using a 3D printer, with the offer of hundreds more to come. (see photos attached)
  • We have donated rubber cleaning gloves to NHS workers as PPE.

In addition to this, we have been asked to make disposable bags for NHS personnel to use. Mrs Molloy has already started to make many of these from her home, but we will need more material. To this end, I’d like to make an appeal to you. If you have any old or unused pillow cases, please, if you are able, can you donate them to the Trust so that we can continue to make as many bags as possible?

Mrs Molloy and others will be making more disposable bags from our campus on Monday, 20 April. So, if you are able to donate any pillow cases, please, without breaking any social distancing guidelines or making any unnecessary, non-essential journeys, can you make arrangements to get them dropped off in main reception at The Canterbury Academy before that date. I completely appreciate that this will mean you’ll have to think differently about getting them here and, I’m sorry, I don’t feel able to best advise you on how you might do that, given I would absolutely not wish to compromise the current guidelines in place from our government.

Both Mrs Holman and Mrs Vinn are happy to help try and coordinate things and/or answer any questions that you might have on vholman@canterbury.kent.sch.uk or evinn@canterbury.kent.sch.uk

Let’s, please, continue to do all we can to support our NHS heroes. Thank you very much in anticipation.

Continuing the theme of positivity and support, as you know, our Trust’s performing arts team have been working with you all to develop our ‘We’re Still Standing’ tribute, to thank and show appreciation to those of our friends, families and colleagues that are going above and beyond during this testing time. The response from you all has been quite staggering. Mrs Watson was inundated with videos of you all: children, brothers, sisters, cousins, mums, dads, aunties, uncles, grandparents, our entire community all still standing together, dancing, singing, playing instruments and doing your very best Elton John impressions. Well, now, I am delighted to say that the video has been edited and is ready for its premiere. IT. WILL. BE. EPIC!!!

So, on Easter Sunday, we will be releasing our Trust community’s ‘We’re Still Standing’ video across all of our social media platforms. Please, if you have not already done so I hope that you will now join one, or all, of our social media channels;

I might, possibly, maybe have had a sneaky peak at the trailer, and I hope that once you have seen the video you will feel as passionately as I do that it represents everything we stand for as a Trust community.

Moving forward, just a quick reminder that If you have not already done so and wish for us to make provision for your child through the Easter holidays, including Bank Holiday Monday, please can you let us know by contacting:

Please do enjoy a restful and healthy Bank Holiday weekend. We are here for you all and please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions, concerns, for any advice or even if you would just like a chat.

We’ve come so far already, so please do continue to stay well, stay safe and stay home.

My very best wishes to you all,

Faithfully yours,

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

COVID-19 Update - 3 April 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,

As lockdown now nears the end of its second week across the country, I wanted to share with you some of the wonderful things that our young people have been doing across our Trust community; both in our schools and whilst working remotely at home. I also want to remind you of the provision we will be offering across the schools in our Trust for the Easter holidays.

On our campus, the provision for some of our most vulnerable students and the children of key workers has continued. The children who have used this provision have engaged with a range of exciting opportunities, from dance with Miss Winter, baking a chicken pie with Mr Pennec,  bricklaying with Mr Wall, to black out poetry with Miss Love, with a whole host of exciting activities in between. Alongside this, the quality of work we are seeing through Dojo at our primary school has been fantastic and the number of students accessing their on-line learning at the secondary school remains very high, with lots of examples of staff and student communication through the Show My Homework platform. Given the forced adjustments we are all having to make to our teaching and learning it has been brilliant to see some of the work submitted, coupled with the level of marking and feedback returned by staff.  

Furthermore, the determination and resilience of our students, despite all that is going on around them, remains ever humbling as they continually strive to be the best that they can be. We have just received news that two of our Year 12 students have been accepted on the Kent Space Programme Residential this summer at Kent University. Also, over the next weekend, five of our Year 11s will be taking part in their Oxford University residential course virtually. This is very exciting for those young people and great news for our Trust community.

It may have been forgotten amongst everything that is going on, but today would also ‘normally’ mark the end of term 4 for our students. As you know, it is our Trust’s intention to continue offering provision for the children of ‘key workers’ and those that are vulnerable through the Easter holidays of 6 to 17 April, inclusive. Our schools will also be open and offering provision on both Bank Holidays; Good Friday, 10 April, and Easter Monday, 13 April. We have taken this decision so that we can continue to help key workers get to work, most notably our front line services in the NHS and other emergency workers, and support our most vulnerable young people and their families at this most stressful of times.

If you are a key worker and require a place for your child, please do remember to let us know. Likewise, if we have written to you separately because we believe your child maybe vulnerable, please let us know if you require provision moving forward. You can access the guidance for parents and carers and the list of key workers by following this hyperlink; Key Workers

If you have not already done so and wish for us to make provision for your child through the Easter holidays, including the Bank Holidays, please can you let us know by contacting:

If you would like to be kept informed as to what our Trust community is doing to stay together as we face these unprecedented challenges, please, if you are able, join our social media platforms. Likewise, it would be great to hear from you and see what you are doing;

One thing that we would love our whole Trust community to get involved in is our ‘We’re Still Standing’ video campaign. Led by our Performing Arts team, we want to make something to thank and show appreciation to those of our friends, families and colleagues that are going above and beyond during this testing time. So, we’re going to create a video entitled ‘I’m Still Standing‘ to the music of Elton John’s classic song (we might have to explain to our children, but we all know it is a great tune) and YOU could be the stars of the show!

If you have anyone you want to thank, be them nurses, doctors, carers, police officers, supermarket workers, delivery drivers, pharmacists, parents, colleagues, teachers or even our friends and neighbours; simply anyone that has inspired you, moved you or cared for you during this Coronavirus fight –  we need to let them know.

If you are able, please video yourselves for around TEN to FIFTEEN SECONDS doing any or all of the following:

  • A message to camera stating your chosen person’s name and why they deserve a shout out
  • A written message on a large piece of paper to camera 
  • A drawing or piece of art, with the name of the person it is dedicated to, recorded on camera (feel free to wave and blow kisses!)
  • A recording of you singing the lyric line ‘I’m still standing; yeah, yeah, yeah!’ (lots of these needed; feel free to have a boogie!)

We would love to have as many of you involved as possible, as we really want to create something positive as a community in the midst of these tough times for everyone. Please send all of your recordings to Sarah Watson: swatson@canterbury.kent.sch.uk by Tuesday, 7 April.

For GDPR purposes and if your children are taking part, please can you state the following in the body of the email: ‘I give permission for The Canterbury Academy Trust to use pictures and recordings of my child (insert name) online and all social media accounts held by the Trust.’

As regards our provision through the Easter holidays I am very aware that this would normally be a chance for students to have a break from their learning, and I wish for that to still be the case. Although we remain delighted with the uptake across our Trust through all of our on-line and distance learning mechanisms, I do not want our children to feel pressured to keep studying through the Easter break. Until things begin to settle down again, dealing with the fear and anxiety that COVID-19 may be causing could be challenging enough. I have already heard of so many examples of the incredible jobs you, as parents and carers, are doing for your families, loved ones, elderly neighbours and our communities; the routines you have settled into and the time that you have spent together. I know that you will continue to find your own way and do what is right for your child, but, please, do not feel that we expect work to be submitted over the Easter break, or for on-line learning to be accessed as regularly, if at all. We can pick it all up again at the start of next term on 20 April. Instead, in the face of all the negativity at the moment and the hectic world we live in, we may simply just want to enjoy each other’s company again.

For those young people that will still be with us over Easter we have decided that, as they would not normally be wearing school uniform during the holidays, they will not have to wear it to school either. The students were told this today and, you won’t be surprised to hear, were quite excited! Other than that our expectations remain the same:

  • If you are reporting to The Canterbury Primary School, Breakfast Club will be open from 7.45am and the school day will start at 9am.
  • If you are reporting to The Canterbury Academy, including the sixth form, please report to the main school hall for 8.45am.
  • For the Easter Holiday period only, students do not have to wear uniform. Their normal, casual clothes, will be fine.
  • A school meal and refreshments will be available as normal.
  • Please do not bring any PE kit unless you are specifically asked to in advance.
  • Our school days, as normal, will finish at 3pm.
  • With regret, there will be no after school clubs available at either school.

Please do remember to stay in touch with us and each other. We continue to face these challenges as a Trust community together, side by side, and I will not tire of reminding you that our staff are here for you; to support, help or even just to chat. We shall continue to do all we can.

As always, you remain in my thoughts.

My very best wishes to you and all of your families.

Faithfully,

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

COVID 19 Update - 1 April 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

 

I hope that this message finds you and all of your families well.

 

I am writing to you to let you know of our Trust’s intention to continue to offer provision for the children of ‘key workers’ and those that are vulnerable, through the Easter holidays of 6 to 17 April, inclusive. The Canterbury Primary School and The Canterbury Academy will also be open and offering provision on both Good Friday, 10 April, and Easter Monday, 13 April. We have taken this decision so that we can continue to help key workers get to work, most notably our front line services in the NHS and other emergency workers, and support our most vulnerable young people and their families at this most stressful of times.

 

If you are a key worker and require a place for your child, please do let us know. Likewise, if we have written to you separately because we believe your child, through our own definitions, maybe vulnerable, please let us know if you require provision moving forward. You can access the guidance for parents and carers and the list of key workers by following this hyperlink; Key Workers 

 

As regards our most vulnerable young people, we remain acutely aware that despite the government’s definition, vulnerability, for both young and old, is often not visible or ‘labelled,’ especially at times of such anxiety. If you believe your child to be vulnerable and have not already been contacted by us, please let us know and we will do all we can to support.

 

I am, however, obliged to remind you again that The Department for Education remain very clear in their guidance to schools;

 

Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

 

The DfE continue to ask that parents abide by one overarching principle in the face of the ongoing battle against COVID-19;

If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.

 

So, with all of that in mind, if you have not already done so and wish for us to make provision for your child through the Easter holidays, including the Bank Holidays, please can you let us know by contacting:

 

 

To give you a flavour of what the young people that continue to access our provision have been doing, they have been taking part in the Joe Wicks PE lesson, designing murals AND designing houses; even building a wall! They have been dancing, directing and acting in short films, writing, baking and even doing some maths. If you would like to see some of the things that our students have been up to across our Trust and some of the wonderful stuff that has been keeping our Trust community together, it would be great if you could join our social media platforms:

 

 

Although we have been delighted with the uptake across our Trust through all of our on-line and distance learning mechanisms, please also remember what I said on Friday about our children studying at home. They and, indeed, all of us, may be experiencing fears and anxieties that we have not felt before. Consequently, we do not want our children feeling pressured to study, or for it to cause tension and upset for families. We certainly do not wish for them to be on-line learning all day, every day. After all, that would not be reflective of the time they would spend at school with structured breaks, doing some of the physical, practical, creative and vocational activities that we mentioned earlier. Three separate study sessions at home, Monday to Friday, focusing on different areas of their curriculum, punctuated with regular breaks would be great. No more than an hour per session, as I’m not sure any of us can concentrate much longer than that!

 

If you are able to build family time in around these sessions it would be fantastic. Possibly playing games, board games, reading books, maybe some household chores, a bit of gardening or gong for a walk – applying all social distancing guidance, of course. You can also now, as a whole family, get involved in our ‘We’re Still Standing’  video campaign, as detailed yesterday. Thank you so much to all those families who have already thrown themselves into this and returned their clips.

 

Remember too, the simple idea of keeping a journal, scrapbook or a diary recording these unprecedented events is genius, and maybe something that we could all share when we get back to school. I’m convinced that through all of this, the feelings and emotions we experience and share with our friends and families, how we care for each other and how our communities pull together, will be remembered much more than any academic work or study completed.

 

Please do continue to stay in touch, talk to us and each other.

 

Stay well, stay safe and stay home.

 

My best to you all,

Faithfully yours,

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

COVID-19 Update - 27 March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,

As our first week of lockdown draws to a close, The Canterbury Primary School and The Canterbury Academy continue to offer a provision for the children of key workers and those that are vulnerable. It has been so fantastic to see how our Trust community has pulled together and continues to support each other through this most worrying time, so it is my intention to drop you all a quick line on a Friday to summarise the week and the wonderful things our community has been doing.

If I may remind you again, first of all, that if you are a key worker and require a place for your child, please do let us know. Likewise, if we have written to you separately because we believe your child, through our own definitions, maybe vulnerable, please let us know if you require provision moving forward. You can access the guidance for parents and carers and the list of key workers by following this hyperlink; Key Workers

Can I remind you also, please, that if you have not already received a direct message from us regarding your child’s vulnerability, forgive me, but we have not currently termed them in this category. However, we remain very aware that despite the government’s definition, vulnerability, for both young and old, is often not visible or ‘labelled,’ especially at times of such anxiety and stress.

If you have not already done so and you wish for us to make provision for your child, please can you let us know by contacting:

As you will all now be aware, there will be no public examinations taken by students this academic year. This will be causing, quite rightly, high levels of upset and worry for those young people who will receive exam grades in the summer, how they will receive them and what they may mean for their futures. Although there remains no clear, definitive guidance on how these grades will be determined, or how onward destinations like sixth forms, colleges and universities will be assured; for those this is affecting I can tell you that all relevant authorities are working to provide you with the answers. It will be ok. It must be ok. I will write directly to all those who may be affected, with what we know so far, at the beginning of next week.

In the meantime, it remains the case that on-line and distance learning mechanisms are in place for all students across the Trust, and have been communicated with you on a bespoke basis through your child’s individual school. I have been delighted with the feedback through Dojo at our primary school and it has been brilliant to see that nearly 1,000 students accessed their on-line learning at the secondary school in the first two days of this week alone! It was only ten days ago that school closures were announced, so to see how positively our students, parents and staff have adjusted to these new ways of learning and working has been quite phenomenal. I know that many staff have been in contact with their students too, via the Show My Homework platform and/or email, answering questions and challenging learning.

This has been, and will remain, a significant challenge for all of us, as we continue to re-align and discover new ways of learning. The immediate focus for teaching staff was to provide some consistency of learning, whilst also being cognisant with the fact that some of us may not have access to internet and on-line learning platforms at home. I wish to assure that we are continually reviewing our offer for the longer term and, after Easter, will be in a better position to refine it and improve, where appropriate, our levels of sophistication. As always, we should be very grateful to receive any parental feedback, so we can continue to make our students’ learning purposeful.

During this interim period and as we settle into our adjusted routines we, as a Trust, feel that the best thing we can all do is look after each other. We do not wish for our young people to feel pressured into studying. We certainly do not wish for them to be on-line learning all day, every day. After all, that would not be reflective of the time they would spend at school, with structured breaks, physical, practical, creative and vocational activities built in alongside their ‘pillars’ and core lessons, based on their own individual gifts, skills, aptitudes, abilities and talents. Maybe three separate study sessions at home, Monday to Friday, focusing on different areas of their curriculum, punctuated with regular breaks would suffice. We all know that to concentrate for much beyond an hour in one chunk can be a challenge; it certainly is for me! Maybe around these study periods time could be built in for other activities, possibly as a family and together. There are lots of ideas out there at the moment, some of which could be playing games, board games, reading books, possibly some household chores, a bit of gardening or gong for a walk – applying all social distancing guidance, of course. Somebody even suggested to me, which I think is a fantastic idea, about keeping a journal, a scrapbook or a diary, recording these unprecedented events as they unfold. As we have previously said, with this being the biggest challenge our nation has faced since World War II, it will be talked about for generations to come. Recording and gathering photos, newspaper headlines and articles, key events and even, may I suggest, our own feelings. This is something that we will talk about with our children, our grandchildren, and even our great grandchildren; many of whom will struggle to comprehend what happened. A diary, journal or scrapbook, would be a great way of showing them.

During these such stressful times please do not worry too much about your child’s learning. I know that is easy to say, and although every family and every child is different, we are all currently in the same position; up and down the country and all around the world. We absolutely do not wish for parents to feel that they must be teachers and for learning at home to become pressured, tense and upsetting for families. We will continue to do all we can to keep our on-line and distance learning packages moving forward, and I assure you that once we are all back together in our classrooms and in our schools we will pick things back up and move forward again, as classes, as year groups, as friends, as schools and as a community.

So, with that in mind and in an attempt to keep us all together, please do join our social media platforms, where we will be sharing as much good news as possible, things that families can do together, tips on keeping fit, recipes, cooking, arts, crafts and much more. It would be great to hear about what you and your families have been doing too;

One thing, I believe, is for sure; the feelings and emotions that we will experience and share with friends and families, how we care for each other and how our communities pull together, will be remembered much more than any academic work or study that is done.

I am very conscious that all of my communication to you has been about our children and that is, of course, entirely as it should be. But this is tough for all of us. It will likely get worse before it gets better and I hope that you, all parents and carers, are looking after yourselves as well. Everyone needs a break sometimes and I do hope that you are able to get one during this difficult period. I want you to know I am thinking of you all, and the incredible jobs you are doing for your families and loved ones.

I’ll leave you this week with a beautiful mural that our students produced. I hope it will speak for itself;

Our Trust and our staff are here for you. Stay in touch, be safe and take care.

My thoughts and all very best wishes remain with you and your families.

Faithfully yours,

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

COVID-19 Update - 23 March 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you this evening as we closed our doors across our Trust to most of our students on Friday evening, in the face of the world’s ongoing fight against COVID-19. We have been delighted to see some of our students back today but, needless to say, it has been quite a strange feeling across our Trust’s community. As you know, I wrote to you all on Friday afternoon regarding the provision that our Trust’s schools and divisions are able to make from today, Monday, 23 March, for those young people that are either the children of ‘key workers,’ or children that are deemed ‘vulnerable.’

This evening, I write to remind you of the list of ‘key workers’ that our government has published enclosed below, taken directly from The Department for Education;

Health and social care

Includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment

Education and childcare

This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach

Key public services

This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting

Local and national government

This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies

Food and other necessary goods

This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines)

Public safety and national security

This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas

Transport

This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass

Utilities, communication and financial services

This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors

Please remember that if you believe you fall into one of these categories, as of today, Monday, 23 March, there will be a provision made for your child/children across the schools of The Canterbury Academy Trust, including The Canterbury Primary School and The Canterbury Academy, should you wish to accept it.

However, I am obliged to remind you that The Department for Education are also very clear in their guidance to schools, in saying that;

Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

The DfE go onto ask that parents abide by one overarching principle in the face of the ongoing battle against COVID-19;

If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.

 

If you have not already done so, please can you let us know if your child will be attending school this week by contacting:

Can I remind you also, please, that if you have not already received a direct message from us regarding your child’s vulnerability, forgive me, but we have not currently termed them in this category. However, I remain very aware that despite the government’s definition, vulnerability, for both young and old, is often not visible or ‘labelled,’ especially at times of such anxiety. So, please, if you have not been contacted already and, having read this message again, believe your child to be vulnerable, you must be sure to contact any of the Heads of School listed above. Your child will, without doubt, be more than welcome to join our provision from today, Monday, 23rd March.

On-line and distance learning mechanisms remain in place for all students across the Trust, and have been communicated with you on a bespoke basis through your child’s individual school.

As for those students who were due to sit public examinations this summer, and further to my messages of last week, it is now the case that there will be no public examinations taken by students this academic year. As I write to you there remains no confirmed further information on how entry will be assured to sixth forms, colleges of further education and universities. I have been told that these answers will come in time and for those young people that this will affect, they must be assured that things will be ok. We do not yet know how and we must not be drawn into speculation, but I am hopeful that this will be resolved positively and sensibly in the coming days. As soon as we know more we will be sure to pass it on.

As regards transport to and from our Canterbury Campus from Monday, 23rd March, it remains the case that Stagecoach will be running no dedicated school buses until further notice.  However, ordinary bus services are still running.  The number 22, for example, stops almost directly outside the campus on Knight Avenue. Students can catch this service to and from the main bus station in Canterbury. I can only advise all parents and carers to check the Stagecoach website on https://www.stagecoachbus.com/regional-service-updates/south-east/canterbury as regularly as possible, just to make sure that the services you may require continue to run in the midst of this unpredictable situation.

As regards those students who are continuing to attend school:

  • If you are reporting to The Canterbury Primary School, Breakfast Club will be open from 7.45am and the school day will start at 9am.
  • If you are reporting to The Canterbury Academy, including the sixth form, please report to the main school hall for 8.45am.
  • Students across our schools should arrive in normal school uniform.
  • A school meal and refreshments will be available as normal.
  • Please do not bring any PE kit unless you are specifically asked to do so, as our new timetables begin to take shape.
  • Our school days, as normal, will finish at 3pm.
  • With regret, there will be no after school clubs available at either school, at this time.

In the meantime, it is our intention to share as much good news as possible through our social media platforms, keeping our Trust community in touch;

We will be sharing student successes from this term and beyond, things that families can do together at this most difficult time, tips on keeping fit, recipes, cooking, arts, crafts and much more.

So, as we continue to face this most incredible of situations together, our nation’s biggest challenge since World War II, we must take every opportunity to remind ourselves and our young people that we will get through this. And, when we do, and when they return to our campus, hopefully in the not too distant future, we shall be waiting for them with huge smiles and open arms, welcoming them back.

It is no longer my intention to write to you quite as much as has been necessary so far, but we will continue to update you as and when needed. With that said, and through beautiful coincidence, the day that we were forced to close our doors to many of our young people happened to coincide with Dame Vera Lynn’s  103rd birthday, the 20 of March. It was Dame Lynn’s voice and lyrics, of course, that sang many of our grandparents and great grandparents through some deeply troubling times over 75 years ago. I’ll leave you with some words from probably her most famous song, the lyrics of which seem as relevant today as they did all those years ago;

 But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling through
Just like you always do
‘Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away

On behalf of all of the staff across our Trust we remain incredibly grateful for all of your ongoing support.

My thoughts and very best wishes remain with you and your families.

Faithfully yours,

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

COVID-19 Update - 20 March 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

I wrote to you all yesterday regarding the provision that our Trust’s schools and divisions are able to make from Monday, 23 March, for those young people that are either the children of ‘key workers,’ or children that are deemed ‘vulnerable.’

In my letter I attempted to offer some help in terms of who may be classed as a key worker at this difficult time. However, we have now, this morning, been given guidance from the Department for Education as to what and who a ‘key worker’ is. I enclose it below, taken directly from the DfE;

Health and social care

Includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment

 

Education and childcare

This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach

 

Key public services

This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting

Local and national government

This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies

Food and other necessary goods

This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines)

Public safety and national security

This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas

Transport

This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass

Utilities, communication and financial services

This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors

 

I am very aware, as many have already pointed out nationally, this list is not particularly clear and may not be, in some cases, very useful in determining if one feels they are a key worker or not. But, we are where we are and if you believe you fall into one of these categories, as of Monday, 23 March, there will be a provision made for your child across the schools of The Canterbury Academy Trust, including The Canterbury Primary School and The Canterbury Academy, should you wish to accept it.

However, the Department for Education are also very clear in their guidance to schools today that;

 

Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

The DfE go onto ask that parents abide by one overarching principle in the face of the ongoing battle against COVID-19;

If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.

 

To this end, please can you let us know if your child will be attending school next week by contacting:

In order to allow us to plan for Monday, we had asked that parents and carers respond to this message by 3pm today. However, in light of the new guidance, we would now ask that you just let us know as soon as you can.

I am sorry to say that I still have no clear guidance from our government as to what may constitute a ‘vulnerable’ child. And, in light of that, you are aware that we have written to the parents and carers of children across our Trust who we have, using our own mechanisms, termed as ‘vulnerable.’

Can I remind you, please, that if you have not already received a direct message regarding your child’s vulnerability, forgive me, but we have not currently termed them in this category. However, I remain very aware that vulnerability is often not visible or ‘labelled,’ especially at times such as this. So, please, if you have not been contacted already and, having read this message again, believe your child to be vulnerable, you must be sure to contact any of the Heads of School listed above. Your child will, without doubt, be more than welcome to join our provision from Monday, 23 March.

On-line and distance learning mechanisms are now in place for all students across the Trust and have been communicated with you on a bespoke basis through your child’s individual school.

As for those students who were due to sit public examinations this summer and further to my message of yesterday, it now appears that there will be no public examinations taken by students this academic year. As I write to you there remains no further information on how entry will be assured to sixth forms, colleges of further education and universities. I have been told that these answers will come in time and for those young people that this will affect, they must be assured that things will be ok. We still do not yet know how, but I am positive that they will. As soon as I know more I will be sure to pass it on.

As regards transport to and from our Canterbury Campus from Monday, 23 March, we have been told by Stagecoach that there will be no dedicated school buses provided by them until further notice.  However, ordinary bus services are still running.  The number 22, for example, stops almost directly outside the campus on Knight Avenue. Students can catch this service to and from the main bus station in Canterbury. I can only advise all parents and carers to check the Stagecoach website on https://www.stagecoachbus.com/regional-service-updates/south-east/canterbury as regularly as possible, just to make sure that the services you may require continue to run in the midst of this unpredictable situation.

 

Finally, as regards what students should do on Monday, 23 March, if they are attending school:

  • If you are reporting to The Canterbury Primary School, Breakfast Club will be open from 7.45am and the school day will start at 9am.
  • If you are reporting to The Canterbury Academy, including the sixth form, please report to the main school hall for 8.45am.
  • Students across our schools should arrive in normal school uniform.
  • A school meal and refreshments will be available as normal.
  • Please do not bring any PE kit on Monday, but you may be asked to at a later date and as our new timetables take shape.
  • Our school days, as normal, will finish at 3pm.
  • With regret, there will be no after school clubs available at either school, at this time.

One day, hopefully not too far away, we will be able to look back and reflect on how we were part of a very difficult period in our world’s history. We shall look forward to seeing some of our young people on Monday and await, eagerly, for us all to be reunited once again as schools and a Trust community.

On behalf of all of the staff across our Trust we remain incredibly grateful for all of your ongoing support. I will continue to provide further updates as and when I have them.

All very best wishes to you and your families.

Faithfully,

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

COVID-19 Update - 19 March 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

As promised, I write to you all this afternoon to provide, as best I can, a definitive position for the schools and divisions across The Canterbury Academy Trust, following the announced closure of all schools and educational settings in England, to all students, except those that are ‘vulnerable’ or the child of a ‘key worker.’

Today, again, staffing has remained relatively stable across the Trust, with colleagues resolute in their desire to continue to provide, as best they can, for those young people who are still able to attend our schools. However, pupil attendance, quite understandably, continues to decline as parents self-isolate with their children in light of the ongoing pressure the COVID-19 outbreak places on our students, their families, our staff and our communities.

As you are aware, our schools will remain open for the children of ‘key workers.’ At the time of writing to you, and despite having just listened to our Prime Minister’s press conference, I still have no definition from our government as to what or whom a ‘key worker’ is.  To be honest, to define this term saddens me and our staff immensely. It goes against all that we believe in as a Trust which wishes to recognise the different gifts, talents, abilities, aptitudes and skills in our society equally. To say that any one ‘worker’ is more important than another is not something I feel at all comfortable doing. However, I am afraid we are where we are, and in an attempt to be helpful to parents, at this time, I can provide an idea of what I believe a ‘key worker’ to be, in the current climate, below:

  • National Health Service
  • Armed Forces
  • Teachers and childcare staff
  • Care home workers
  • Social workers
  • Police officers, community support and civilian staff
  • Prison officer or other probation staff
  • Firefighters
  • Local authority planners
  • Environmental health officers
  • Highway Agency traffic officers
  • Delivery staff

In the face of the ongoing lack of clarity from our government this is, of course, by no means a definitive list, and serves only as an attempt to provide guidance. If you believe that you fall into one of these categories, as of Monday, 23rd March, there will be a provision made for your child across the schools of The Canterbury Academy Trust, including The Canterbury Primary School and The Canterbury Academy, should you wish to accept it. It is with regret that, at this time, I am not able to tell you exactly what this provision will look like. Suffice to say we will not be able to offer what students are used to, but I can assure you that your child will be safeguarded, looked after, fed and engaged. It is, of course, your choice should you not want to accept this offer and wish to make alternative child care arrangements.

To this end, please can you let us know if your child will be attending school next week by contacting:

In order to allow us to plan for Monday, we would very much appreciate a response to this message by 3pm tomorrow, 20 March.

As I write to you, neither have I been provided with any clear guidance from our government as to what may constitute a ‘vulnerable’ child. To me, and all of the staff across our Trust, every young person and, indeed, many adults, are vulnerable. But, in light of, again, the lack of clarity from our government, we have written to all those parents of children across our Trust who we have, using our own mechanisms, termed as ‘vulnerable.’

If you have not already received a message under a separate heading regarding your child’s vulnerability, please forgive me, but we have not currently termed them in this category. However, I am very aware that vulnerability can often not be recognised or ‘labelled.’ So, please, if you have not been contacted already and, having read this message, believe your child to be vulnerable, you must be sure to contact any of the Heads of School listed above. Your child will, without doubt, be more than welcome to join our provision from Monday, 23 March.

On-line and distance learning mechanisms are now in place for all students across the Trust and will be communicated with you on a bespoke basis through your child’s individual school.

As for those students who were due to sit public examinations this summer, there remains no guidance from our government on how long these may be delayed for, if indeed they will be sat at all. At the time of writing to you there is no further information, either, on how entry will be assured to sixth forms, colleges of further education and universities. I am sure these answers will come in time and for those young people that this will affect, they must be assured that things will be ok. We do not yet know how, but I am positive that they will be. I will be sure to update you as soon as I have further news.

As regards transport to and from our Canterbury Campus from Monday, 23 March, we have been told by Stagecoach, today, that there will be no dedicated school buses provided by them until further notice.  However, ordinary bus services are still running.  The number 22, for example, stops almost directly outside the campus. Students can catch this service to and from the main bus station in Canterbury. I can only advise all parents and carers to check the Stagecoach website on https://www.stagecoachbus.com/regional-service-updates/south-east/canterbury as regularly as possible, just to make sure that the services you may require continue to run in the midst of this unpredictable situation.

I remain incredibly grateful for all of your support and will provide further updates as and when I have them.

All my thoughts and best wishes remain with you and your families.

Faithfully yours,

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

Important Information for Parents and Carers - 18 March 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

We are living through unprecedented times. One day, hopefully not too far away, we will be able to look back and reflect on how we were part of a very difficult period in our world’s history. Doubtless you will all now be aware that our Prime Minister has just announced the closure of all schools and educational settings in England, to all students, except those that are ‘vulnerable’ or the child of a ‘key worker.’ At this time both those categories remain undefined by our government. The closure of schools will start from Monday, 23 March.

Until this point, today, staffing has remained relatively stable across the Trust, and the commitment from colleagues has shone through as characteristically stoic and pupil centred. It was my intention to write to you all this evening to inform you of our two phase plan to cope with the ongoing pressure the COVID-19 outbreak has placed on our students, their families, staff and our communities. Obviously, given this most recent announcement, we will need to reflect and revisit these plans in the next 24 hours, but they were to be as follows:

Phase 1:

We were to continue to cover classes for absent colleagues in the way that we would normally. This has been happening on an ongoing basis across all schools and divisions of the Trust. As we remain in phase 1, for the next two days at least, some parents, however, have either taken the decision, or been advised to, self-isolate for a period of between 7 and 14 days with their children. On-line and distance learning mechanisms are in place for those young people and will be communicated with you all, on a more bespoke and contextual basis, through your child’s individual school.

As a Trust, all schools and divisions were to remain in phase 1 until further notice, or until such time that it became untenable so to do.

Phase 2:

It was to be our absolute desire to keep our schools and divisions open, unless instructed to close by Public Health England or the government. We are public servants and I believe that we should continue to offer a service to our communities at this most difficult time. At this moment, as I write to you, I am genuinely unsure how I will be able to tell some families that their children can continue to come to school because they are the children of ‘key’ or ‘important’ workers as defined by our government, whilst others are deemed not. Also, I am not sure how I can accurately label a child ‘vulnerable’ and in need of our support, yet another not. I cannot see, at this moment, how this will not contradict everything that we stand for and believe in as a Trust.

Our phase 2 plan was to move to a ‘diluted’ offer for some students across our Trust. For example, classes could have been combined at The Canterbury Primary School and at The Canterbury Academy in our Middle School/KS3 (years 7,8 and 9). Groups could have been combined and subject/faculty areas asked to cope with larger groups of students by working collaboratively and collegiately. For some parents you may be familiar with these practises as we have often used them on ‘snow days’ whilst remaining open. This would have meant that students in years 7, 8 and 9, for example, may not have been taught in ‘normal’ lessons, but they would be safeguarded, looked after, fed and engaged. By doing this, it would have meant that parents, undefined in terms of their ‘importance,’ could still get to work and go about their daily lives as best they can.

We would have attempted to first prioritise teaching for students, for example at The Canterbury Academy, in years 11 and 13, who may still face examinations, albeit we do not now know when or how these will take place. The Canterbury Academy would then have attempted to second prioritise the teaching of years 10 and 12 students, some of whom, also, may still face examinations at a point yet to be defined. For the next two days, at least, the Trust will remain in phase 1 of our plan.

As I say, in light of the government’s most recent announcement and the uncertainty it will have caused for families, I will be in touch with you again in the next 24 hours with our Trust’s definitive position for your child’s ongoing education post Monday, 23 March.

In the meantime, on behalf of all our staff across the Trust, I cannot emphasise enough how grateful we are for the ongoing and unwavering support our Trust community has received during this most difficult time.

Again, my very best wishes to you and all of your families.

Faithfully,

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

Health Advice - 13 March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,

 

As you will all now doubtless be aware, our government has moved to the ‘delay’ phase of their four point plan. The government coronavirus action plan sets out what the UK has done to tackle coronavirus (COVID-19), and what they plan to do next. The situation is constantly reviewed and actions are informed through expert science and advice, guided by the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser.

The action plan can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan

It remains the case that no school should close in response to a suspected (or confirmed) COVID-19 case, unless advised to do so by Public Health England. Indeed, advice received today from The Department for Education states that;

“The Chief Medical Officer has advised that the impact of closing schools on both children’s education and on the workforce will be substantial, but the benefit to public health may not be. Decisions on future advice to schools will be taken based on the latest and best scientific evidence, which at this stage suggests children are a lower risk group.”

Nevertheless, as a result of this move to the ‘delay’ phase, the Trust has considered, and will continue to review, the necessity of events scheduled to take place over the coming weeks. We have arrived at decisions around ‘non-essential’ events based on an attempt to limit, or avoid, large groups of people congregating together.

So, and for your information, the following events have been postponed for the period Monday 16 March until Friday 27 March, inclusive :

 

  • The Canterbury Academy Trust’s annual ‘CHOscars’ on 17 March has been postponed until later in the academic year. Date to be confirmed.
  • Year 11 Parents’ Evening on 24 March has been postponed. Mr Brooke, Head of Senior School, will be in touch with all year 11 parents and carers separately to provide further information.

 

For those parents/carers who have a child due to go on our ski trip to Austria during the Easter holidays, we shall be in touch with you separately next week with further news. You will, of course, be aware of the most recent government advice around school trips abroad. Please be assured we are in close communication with all relevant agencies so we can appraise you of the absolute and most up to date information.

 

The leadership of the Trust will continue to review planned, ‘non-essential’ events, on a regular basis, and update you as far in advance as possible. We understand this may be inconvenient, frustrating and upsetting, but please be assured these decisions have not been taken lightly and, we believe, are in the best interests of all parties.

As a nation we are aware that this is a rapidly changing situation and I wish to assure you, also, that the schools and divisions across The Canterbury Academy Trust are making all necessary plans for any potential school/divisional closure. Albeit, it would appear currently, this remains some way off. The Trust continues to be in close discussion with, and is following advice from, Public Health England. At this time there remains no further action for our schools to take. Should this situation change, Public Health England will be working closely with the Trust and we will inform you of any updates.

This will continue to be a challenging and worrying time for us all. On behalf of all of our staff teams across the Trust, we remain incredibly grateful for the way in which you are working with us, as a community, during these testing times.

 

As always, yours faithfully,

Yours faithfully,

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

Heath Advice - 6 March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,

After what has been a challenging and worrying week for us all, I write to thank you for the way in which you have worked with us, as a community, through this testing time. The amount of messages of best wishes we have received for our school community have been humbling, as has the level of support we have had from you around our handling of this difficult situation.

As of writing this message to you, the member of our school community, who continues to self-isolate at home as a precaution, remains well and continues to display no symptoms. I can further assure you that the school remains in close discussion with, and is following advice from, Public Health England. It remains the case that, at this time, there is no further action for the school to take and Public Health England have confirmed that there is no need for anybody else to self-isolate unless they have been contacted directly by them. However, if you are concerned or have any questions please contact NHS111 for advice. Should this situation change, Public Health England will be working closely with the school and we will inform you of any updates or required action.

As we have already mentioned, at this time of year there are many respiratory illnesses circulating. You can continue to protect yourself and others by:

·         Catching your cough or sneeze in the crook of your elbow or using a tissue. Then bin the tissue and wash your hands, or use an alcohol-based sanitiser gel.

·         Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based gel until you can wash your hands.

·         Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

You can continue to help by following the DfE guidelines already passed to you about sharing simple and effective hygiene messages from https://twitter.com/NHSuk/status/1235112744917049346   or https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/101-coronavirus-/resources 

I would also like to remind you of the newly formed Department for Education Coronavirus helpline for staff, parents and young people:

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Email: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)

Furthermore, you can continue to access all of the latest information by visiting:

Updates on COVID-19:

·         https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

Guidance for educational settings:

·         https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19 

Travel advice for those travelling and living overseas:

·         https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus 

My very best wishes to you all for the weekend and, again, my sincerest thanks for your ongoing support.

Yours faithfully,

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

Health Advice - 4 March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,

As you are already very aware, The Canterbury Academy remains in close discussion with, and is following advice from, Public Health England. A member of our school community continues to self-isolate and, at this time, there is no further news or action for the school to take. Should this situation change, Public Health England will be working closely with the school and, as promised, we will inform you of any updates.

However, I thought you should also be made aware of the most recent guidance issued by The Department for Education, updating you on the government’s response to Coronavirus, COVID-19, below;

 

Government Coronavirus action plan

Yesterday, the Coronavirus action plan was launched. This document sets out what the UK as a whole has done to tackle the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and what it plans to do next.

The action plan can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan 

The document includes:

·         what we know about the virus and the disease it causes

·         how we have planned for an infectious disease outbreak, such as the current coronavirus outbreak

·         the actions we have taken so far in response to the current coronavirus outbreak

·         what we are planning to do next, depending upon the course the current coronavirus outbreak takes

·         the role the public can play in supporting this response, now and in the future

Current advice remains in place: No school should close in response to a suspected (or confirmed) COVID-19 case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.

The importance of hygiene

Personal hygiene is the most important way we can tackle COVID-19, especially washing hands more; and the catch it, bin it, kill it strategy for those with coughs and sneezes.

Please help us in sharing simple and effective hand hygiene messages.

https://twitter.com/NHSuk/status/1235112744917049346 

Public Health England has a dedicated webpage with a range of posters and digital materials at:

https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/101-coronavirus-/resources 

Sign up is quick, free and means you will be alerted as more resources are made available.

Department for Education Coronavirus helpline

On Monday we launched a new helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Email: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)

Where to find the latest information

Updates on COVID-19:

·         https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

Guidance for educational settings:

·         https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19 

Travel advice for those travelling and living overseas:

·         https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus 

I hope you will continue to find these updates useful.

My thanks, again, for your ongoing support at this difficult time.

Yours faithfully,

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

Health Advice - 3 March 2020 update

Dear Parents and Carers,

Further to my previous message to you of this morning, I wish to thank you for the support we have received regarding the way in which we have handled what has been a difficult situation for everyone. To remind and update you, The Canterbury Academy was made aware that a family member associated with our school community is now a confirmed case of Coronavirus, COVID-19. The member of our school community is still well, continues to display no symptoms, and is self-isolating at home as a precautionary measure for 14 days.

The school remains in close discussion with, and is following advice from, Public Health England. At this time there continues to be no further action for the school to take. Should this situation change, Public Health England will be working closely with the school and, as promised, we will inform you of any updates.

You can continue to access the ‘COVID-19: guidance for educational settings’ for your information, should you wish to on https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19


You can also continue to track further information regarding Coronavirus on the Public Health England blog https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/

As I mentioned earlier, Public Health England have confirmed that there is no need for anybody else to self-isolate, unless they have been contacted directly by them. However, if you are concerned or have any questions please contact NHS111 for advice.

Further to this, the Department for Education have contacted schools nationally today with some additional information for those who are concerned about Coronavirus:

Department for Education Coronavirus helpline

The DfE have launched a new helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Email:
DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)

No school should close in response to a suspected (or confirmed) COVID-19 case, unless advised to do so by Public Health England.

 

Where to find the latest information

Updates on COVID-19:

·         https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

 

Guidance for educational settings:

·         https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19

 

Travel advice for those travelling and living overseas:

·         https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

I hope you will find this useful.

I remain very grateful for your ongoing support.

Yours faithfully,

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal

Health Advice - 3 March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,

The Canterbury Academy has been made aware that a family member associated with our school community is now a confirmed case of Coronavirus, COVID-19. The member of our school community is well, continues to display no symptoms, and they are self-isolating at home as a precautionary measure for 14 days.

The school has been in close discussion with, and is following advice from, Public Health England. At this time there is no further action for the school to take. Should this situation change, Public Health England will be working closely with the school and we will inform you of any updates.

We have enclosed the link to the ‘COVID-19: guidance for educational settings’ below for your information: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19

Further to my previous message, please be assured that we will continue to monitor the situation and we will advise you should anything change.

As you will be aware, at this time of year there are many respiratory illnesses circulating. You can protect yourself and others by:

· Catching your cough or sneeze in the crook of your elbow or using a tissue. Then bin the tissue and wash your hands, or use an alcohol-based sanitiser gel.

· Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based gel until you can wash your hands.

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Further information regarding coronavirus can be found on the Public Health England blog https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/

Public Health England have confirmed that there is no need for anybody else to self-isolate unless they have been contacted directly by them. However, if you are concerned or have any questions please contact NHS111 for advice.

Jon Watson
Executive Principal
The Canterbury Academy Trust

Health Advice - 28 February 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,

Now that the advice on how to deal with any potential spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) appears to have become more consistent, I felt it pertinent to write to you to offer some assurances around the advice we may need to follow, should there be any issue across the schools and divisions of The Canterbury Academy Trust.

The Department for Education has regularly provided us with updates from Public Health England, which advises schools and parents on what they should do if staff, students or pupils have travelled to an area that is designated as having a risk of contagion from the Coronavirus strain, COVID-19.

As a Trust we fully support these messages, and we also suggest that, because the situation is changing daily, you may wish to check the Public Health England website to ascertain the latest advice on https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19

We shall continue to apply all common sense approaches to dealing with any potential virus that schools could face at this time of year through general good hygiene practises, and this will also be happening, of course, in homes and other places of work.

Please be assured that we will continue to regularly monitor the advice that is being given and will contact you further should the need arise.

As always, thank you in anticipation of your ongoing support.

My best regards,

Jon Watson
Executive Principal
The Canterbury Academy Trust

Community Cafe now open

The Canterbury Academy Trust is pleased to announce the opening of the Community Cafe

The cafe opening times are Monday – Friday 8am – 9.15am

Coffee, Tea and Hot Chocolate, Snacks and Cold Drinks.

Located in The Professional Learning and Community Centre, City View, Franklyn Road, Canterbury, CT2 8TP

Pillars of Excellence Newsletters