Principal’s Update – 10th December 2021

Dear Families,

I hope this update finds you and those closest to you in good health. I write to you at the end of our Positivity Week where students have enjoyed a range of activities based around trying out new challenges, taking risks with their learning and approaching life with a growth mindset. This combined with the snowfall on Sunday has meant we have had a joyful week overall at the academy.

Dear Families,

I hope this update finds you and your family in good health. We have had an eventful week at the academy as we move through December and towards the last full week or the calendar year.

Year 13 examinations

Our Year 13 mock examinations have begun this week and will continue until the end of next week. This is an important benchmark for our students as they look to gauge their progress under test conditions.  The results and feedback from this will help to shape their learning as we move towards the summer examination period in May. If your child is in Year 13, please do encourage them through this period and help them balance their workload. This will be the first formal exam period for many students, so, dealing with the challenges that an intense fortnight like this brings is a vital part of their preparation.

End of term arrangements

You will hopefully have received a letter today detailing our end of term arrangements. School will end for all students on the 22nd December with all students leaving site at 12.15 following afternoon registration. Please make the necessary arrangements for your child to make it home at the earlier time that day. If you have not seen the letter, please ask your child for the copy that was given to them in school today or visit our website.

Covid Update

Our numbers of covid cases remain low in school but we will continue with our protective measures at least for the remainder of the term. We will never be complacent when it comes to the safety of our community and we are ready to respond to whatever situation we are presented with over the next few days and months as we move through winter. With that in mind, families will also need to understand that part of our contingency measures will be to move to home learning for some groups should the situation necessitate this. We aim to continue with business as usual but, with the uncertainty surrounding the new Omicron variant, we need to be ready and agile enough to respond quickly and effectively.

Thank you to families who are continuing to log their twice weekly tests. The page for logging all results can be found here and we are asking students to test every Sunday and Wednesday as a routine. We will begin mass testing for students returning to school after the winter break, details of this can be found in the letter distributed today.

Sports Update

Our Year 10 Basketball team played their first ever competitive game against Murray Park. Despite being 12-2 down in the first quarter, the team improved massively as the game went on, and grew in confidence. The score ended in a 32-20 defeat – but the boys should be very proud of their effort and determination. Well done.

Our Year 11 pupil Katie Heald has had remarkable success in swimming – She gained a qualifying time for the Winter National Championships, competing last weekend at Ponds Forge international pool, Sheffield, racing alongside GB and Olympic swimmers. In a thrilling race, Katie won her heat in the 100m Butterfly, but came up just short to make the final. She is now aiming for the Summer Nationals in 2022. Well done Katie on your fantastic achievements so far – we are very proud of you.


Traffic has been somewhat more challenging than usual on a couple of occasions this week. If families collecting students could please use the turning circle and avoid parking on Moorway Lane it would ease the flow of traffic leaving the site at peak time. Your help and understanding with this is appreciated.

Holiday Activities

Over the winter period, thousands of children in Derby who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals could be involved in the Winter Holiday Activities with approved local and national organisations. These are free holiday activity clubs to enable children and young people to enjoy fun activities with friends and learn and develop new skills. You can find out more on the website here.

Careers Update

We were proud to see one of our Year 9 students, Daniel Broad, be recognised as one of 3 finalists in the Brilliance Category at the E4E Awards Ceremony at Derby University this week. He has achieved the Bronze, Silver and Gold sections of the Derby Moor Award since starting at the academy, completing over 70 different assignments. His diligence and determination was praised by the judges and he is an excellent ambassador for our wider curriculum offer.

Geography – Sustainable Futures Project

While studying Sustainability topic in Year 9 Geography, a group of students were inspired to design a sustainable city for the future. The students have designed, planned and made models of their city, considering the role of energy, waste management, housing, transport and food. A real Town Planner, Abigail Upton from DLP Planning Limited has reviewed the designs and decided on the winning team. Their talents for town planning has been recognised and now the designs have been entered into the World Town Planning Day schools’ competition 2021. If you would like to see their work there are images on the web version of this update.

Fish and Chip Night

Thursday evening saw the first of the Year 11 Maths “Fish and Chips” revision evenings. The students attending, engaged incredibly well and enjoyed the Maths even more than the food on offer. These special events will continue to run throughout the year in the run up to the Summer 2022 exams, meaning many more Year 11 students will have the opportunity to take part.


Wishing you a safe and relaxing weekend,

Scott Doyle