Further to today’s announcement by the Department for Education, we are confident that, due to relatively small numbers of students and the venues being used, our exam arrangements are such that we can run all scheduled exams safely, within the revised Covid guidelines issued on 30th Dec 2020.
We recognise how important it is to give students the opportunity to sit these exams, knowing how hard they have worked to prepare for them, and will therefore be running the exams as scheduled. We do of course understand that ultimately, the choice regarding this opportunity is that of the student and some may prefer to take any alternative exams/assessments at a later date.
Exam timetables and information were emailed to students earlier today – these are correct at the current time.
As we enter the period of remembrance for 2020, the History and Technology departments have been hard at work to continue their efforts in commemorating those servicemen from Biggleswade who lost their lives on the battlefields of the First World War. We have doubled the number of individual memorials from 15 to 30 and have continued to place the plaques outside the former address of each man who served. The names & addresses relating to each plaque can be found in the supporting documentation below. The circular walk, which is listed below, takes approximately 1 hour to complete and will allow students as well as parents and wider family members to learn a little more about the men who “gave their today for our tomorrow”. Of particular note this year are the memorials to Victor Wakes at 20 Hitchin Street and to Joseph Watts at 10 Chapel Fields. Both of these gentlemen are the relatives of two students at Stratton Upper School and we are always privileged when able to assist our pupils in finding out more about their family history.
You will undoubtedly be aware of the heightening of concerns at the current time as the cases of Covid-19 continue to rise. We as a school continuously monitor our daily operations and adjust where necessary to ensure the best possible approach to keeping everyone as safe as possible whilst still maintaining our high standards and expectations. In addition, the Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust hold regular Covid Committee meetings and they decided yesterday that face coverings should now be mandatory and worn by adults (staff and visitors) and students when moving around indoors, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain. This decision will be implemented in ALL CMAT schools, from Wednesday 21st October 2020. Our year group bubbles are working well in school but there are times when larger numbers of children within the bubble are in close proximity in corridors at key points of changeover. While the guidance suggests that presents a very minimal risk within the same bubble, we are mindful that infection rates are rising and want to take every reasonable precaution. Therefore, with effect from Wednesday 21st October, we will be asking all students to wear face coverings within the school buildings as they move to and from lessons.
In practice this means: • Students entering school in the morning will do so in a face covering and head directly to their classroom. • Once in the classroom they can sanitise their hands and remove their face covering unless they have permission from me to wear it in class. • Once the lesson is over and the student moves to another class, even if it is in the same zone, they should wear a face covering prior to moving. Students will not be required to wear a face covering during break and lunch when they are outside, nor will they be required to wear one in the inside eating spaces – these spaces are much larger and social distancing is more possible. I know that parents and students will support this action as wearing face coverings reduces the risk of spreading the infection and serves to make many people feel more secure. I have spoken to all year groups this morning via a virtual assembly to explain the new requirement to wear a face covering while moving around inside the school buildings and the importance of ‘Hands – Face – Space’. I would be very grateful if you could reinforce the importance of following this practice with your child.
In addition to the control measures we have in place, we are also engaging fully with the NHS Test and Trace process and will work closely with the Department for Education, the local Health Protection Team of Public Health England and the local authority to ensure any confirmed cases are reported without delay.
New dawn for Stratton Upper School as it joins Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust
Stratton Upper School has entered a new era after joining the Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust (CMAT).
The Biggleswade school with a roll of 900 students becomes the first school in Bedfordshire to join the multi-academy trust.
Stratton Upper School will receive £3.5 million to invest in improving the school’s building, facilities and IT infrastructure. The school has already equipped a number of classrooms with state-of-the-art interactive whiteboard displays and staff have access to new laptop computers.
This is the start of a long term and ongoing plan to invest in the facilities and education provision in Stratton and ensure it provides the best possible opportunities and a high-quality learning environment for the young people and families of Biggleswade and the local community.
Principal Roz Hodges said: “We are delighted to join CMAT - a Trust that has a decade of experience and a proven track record across a number of academies. Students and staff will benefit from a wide range of support and expertise which will help to further improve Stratton Upper School in many areas.
“A number of changes have already had a positive impact and we have been thankful for the guidance of CMAT’s leadership team as we have settled in to the new school year.
“Students will experience schemes and activities embedded across the Trust’s schools that support their academic and personal development ensuring they are responsible individuals who play a full part in our community.”
CMAT currently operates 15 schools across an area extending from Stamford to Cambridge. The Trust has developed an enviable track record in working with schools to improve their own standards and achievement throughout the region. In 2017, CMAT was ranked as the fifth best performing multi academy trust for Key Stage 4 in the Department for Education’s league tables.
Most recently Ely College, who joined the Trust in 2016 in Special Measures, was rated as Good with Outstanding Leadership and Management last year, a real source of pride for the local community.
Executive Principal of CMAT Andy Daly said: “At CMAT, we believe that every pupil deserves a high-quality education in schools at the heart of their local communities and this is what we aim to deliver in our partnership with Stratton Upper School.
“We are delighted that Stratton Upper School chose to join CMAT and we look forward to supporting the school on its future path, fostering strong collaboration between our other schools, and strengthening our links to Biggleswade and the surrounding village communities.”
Stratton Upper School is currently promoting the opportunity available to prospective students joining the school next year with a programme of online activity. This information is available at www.stratton.beds.sch.uk/
For more information about CMAT, please visit www.cmatrust.co.uk.
We are really proud to have been nominated as a 20/21 Music Mark School by Inspiring Music. This is a great achievement by both staff and students and we look forward to being able to continue performing, playing and making music.
In the most unusual of years we have been working tirelessly to support our students, ensuring they can progress to their chosen destination, despite all the challenges of the lock down. We are thrilled that our Year 13 students achieved A level and vocational grades that reflect the hard work of all the students, supported by their parents and our staff. There have been some amazing successes and we are delighted to share the achievements and destinations of our students.
Csenge Keri and Beatriz Vasconceios De Sousa both achieved a stunning 4A* grades each with Csenge going on to study Physics at Durham University while Beatriz will read History at the University of Cambridge. Lonyin Chan with no fewer than 3 A* and 2 A grades is going to study Computer Science at Manchester University and, after achieving 3A* an 1A grade, James Hogben will study Biomedical Science at Manchester.
The following students each achieved an incredible 2A* and 2A grades: Manu Chapman is holding an offer of an Aerospace Engineering degree with Southampton University I Frost will study Theatre & Performance at Warwick University Taylor Gilling is chasing an apprenticeship in finance Sian Roberts will study Veterinary Science at Bristol University Louis Winwood will be studying History at the University of Lincoln Harvey Young will read History and Politics at York Lenice Joubert achieved a Distinction* and 3 A grades will go on to study English Literature at the University of Hertfordshire.
Also, with a string of A and B grades: Phoebe Wick will be starting her journey to become a secondary Maths teacher at Manchester Met Jack Welsted has secured a place at Leeds University to study Banking and Finance.
We are also really pleased that Annabel Fisher and Lily Fry will be starting careers in Nursing. Annabel has an apprenticeship and Lily will be studying at Derby. Imogen Richardson will read Law at Lincoln University and Maisie Condron will study Physiotherapy at Coventry. Jacob O’Connor will start an apprenticeship with the East of England Ambulance Service and Jacob Guildford has secured his apprenticeship with Unilever Colworth to work on Ben & Jerry’s ice cream!
We are delighted that our Year 13 students are going on to a wide range of higher and further education and training and feel confident that they will make a as positive contribution to the wider community as they have during their time at Stratton Upper.
We would like to thank all of those parents who have not only contacted the school to thank us for the support we have provided but also for their input and support, especially during these unusual and uncertain times. The resilience of the staff, students and families in our local community has been humbling and we are very proud of everyone’s hard work and perseverance.