Headteacher's Previous Messages
Weekly Message
   Added/Edited on the 15/01/2018

There has, once again, been much to praise our students for both on an individual and collective basis as they continue to enjoy and achieve in a range of disciplines within and outside of the academy.

A first for Longsands was the achievement of the Year 8 boys’ football team who played in the sixth round of the National Cup on Wednesday, away to Debenham High School from Stowmarket. At the end of normal time and a pulsating game, the score stood at 3-3 with goals from Glen McConnell, Jaiden Bell and Ciaran Pearsall. The match, therefore, went to extra time and further goals from Joe Jackson and Jaiden Bell ensured that Longsands ran out 5-3 winners. The team are now through to the last 16 in the country and we have fingers crossed for a home tie; very well done boys.

On Friday, the English Department organised a Youth Speaks competition which required both Year 8 and 9 students to present a 10 minute speech, to our partner Rotarians, on various topics, including space exploration, homelessness and body image. A huge well done all those who took part, the judges were very impressed by the quality of all of the presentations. After a close competition, the winners were Nicole Sealey, Rory Oscroft and Madeleine Humphrey with their speech on homelessness; they are through to the next round where they will be competing against other schools in the local area. Many congratulations.

During this past week, I was contacted by an exhibitor from the EDGE careers fair at Woodgreen which was attended by a number of our Year 11 and 12 students in December. The exhibitor was incredibly impressed by the young people she came into contact with and commented, “I just wanted to write and congratulate you for doing such an amazing job with your students. There were many interested in engineering, which for us (a small local engineering company) was really encouraging, especially the number of girls that were thinking of studying STEM subjects. Your children were engaged, engaging and polite; they were enthusiastic and keen to make as much use of the time they had with us.”

On an individual level, we received the fantastic news that Melissa Quail in Year 13 has been accepted by Cambridge University to study maths at Trinity; well done Melissa, it is much deserved. We were also delighted to hear from the parents of Scarlet Thompson in Year 7 who has been appearing in Jack and the Beanstalk at The Cambridge Arts Theatre. Scarlet has just completed a run of 32 performances in her first professional role after being chosen from 160 children who originally auditioned. We are all impressed by Scarlet’s energy and commitment.

In Science, we were delighted by the manner in which a small number of our students engaged with the BP Ultimate Challenge where they conducted their own experiments and edited videos, showing the process and outcomes. These videos can be seen on our Youtube channel (please follow the link on our website); I am sure that you will be equally impressed by the efforts of Amit Solanki, George Boothby, Toby Walden, Nathan Jones, Izzy Warner, Charlotte Baker and Hannah Jeff.

Elsewhere, this past week saw us welcoming parents/carers of our Year 11 students as they received feedback on recent mock performances as well as guidance on how they can support their children in responding to the results and preparing for the real exams in the summer. Many thanks to all those who attended.

Our focus now turns to Year 9 students as they make decisions about the subjects they wish to study at GCSE next year. During this week, students will be asked to reflect on their learning habits by all subject teachers (this review can be found on pages 25-35 of the logbook) and, on Wednesday, students will then receive their second Progress Review of the year which will include staff assessments of students’ attitude to learning and academic progress. On Thursday, we look forward to welcoming parents/carers to the academy for an Options Evening where general information and advice will be provided as well as the opportunity to gain some more bespoke guidance from subject representatives. This is all intended to ensure that students and parents/carers are fully informed for formal discussions at Parents’ Consultation meetings on the 24th January and then options interviews starting after half term.

As you can read, your children continue to work hard to be the best they can be and I have been struck not only by the obvious enjoyment students have taken in aspects of their learning but also the determined manner by which they have approached a range of opportunities to better themselves. I have included images showing students working in targeted groups with staff and their older peers as well as the impressive number who attended Science CREST club after school on Friday. These provide examples of how much goes on without major fanfare; as parents and staff, we have much to be proud of.

Martin Paine

Headteacher

Weekly Message
   Added/Edited on the 08/01/2018

Happy New Year; it was great to welcome back students and staff to the academy after the Christmas break and I am pleased to be able to report that students have made an overwhelmingly positive start to the new term.

We returned to some fantastic news about two of our Year 11 students: Myles Robinson-Young and Christopher Ferguson who have achieved considerable success in their respective sporting disciplines of swimming and football. Both students provide a source of considerable inspiration to all members of our learning community and we wish them every success in their endeavors. Further details can be found in separate posts on our Facebook site.

In addition, Myles competed at the Winter English Nationals Swim competition in December. In total Myles achieved 1 silver and 3 bronze medals including a number of personal best times!

We also returned to an official letter of thanks from the ’Show Racism the Red Card’ organisation who wrote, “We are extremely grateful for the support that you and your organisation have shown towards our charity. This generous contribution will help us to continue the work that we do to tackle racism through anti-racism education.”

On Friday, Year 9 students listened to a presentation from Mrs Breakspear and Mr Owen which provided information and advice about the GCSE Options process. Students subsequently received an Options Booklet with a supporting letter detailing the process and key dates being sent home to parents/carers.

On Thursday, we welcomed back a number of ex-Year 13 students and their families for the formal presentation of their A Level certificates. The event also afforded the wonderful opportunity to hear about their initial experiences of work, travel and university and we were, as always, left feeling inspired by all that the young adults have gone onto achieve.

During this coming week, our current Year 13 students will begin their mock exams which provide the opportunity to assess and then develop their knowledge and skills before the summer exams.

We look forward to welcoming parents/carers of Year 11 to subject consultation meetings on Wednesday when discussions will focus around recent mock exam performance and the next steps required to further improve outcomes. Beforehand, please take the time to review your child’s self-review in each subject which can be found on pages 25 – 35 of their logbook.

Lastly, on Friday, students in key stage3 received letters inviting them to take part in the Bronze or Silver Science CREST awards; I hope that many take-up this excellent opportunity to further enjoy and achieve.

Martin Paine

Headteacher

Weekly Message
   Added/Edited on the 18/12/2017

Our last full week of the Autumn Term began with the official handover of the Christmas Hampers which had been so thoughtfully donated by students and their families. We were joined by representatives from the Foodbank as well as reporters from the Hunts Post whose article appeared in last week’s edition. Feedback from the Foodbank read, “Longsands collected an incredible 628.52kg of food with an estimated value of £1200. A huge thank-you to the students, parents/carers and staff for the idea, implementation and enthusiasm of all involved to make this a hugely beneficial venture. Your donations will enable us to help feed those who are really struggling this Christmas.”

On Wednesday, after a lovely Christmas lunch, Year 11 students formally received their mock exam results and their second Progress Review. The message given by Mr Owen and Miss Furlongher was for students to reflect more on their approach to these exams rather than the results themselves. All students, whatever levels they achieved, have the shared ability to improve before the real exams in the summer. Staff will work relentlessly to provide the support needed to help identify exactly what specific actions are required whether this pertains to students’ attitude to learning, independent study, skills development, gaps in their knowledge or their mental and emotional well-being so that they are able to approach their exams in a positive frame of mind. We are aware of the demands also placed on parents/carers at this time and fully appreciate your continued support in ensuring your children achieve the best possible outcomes in the summer.

In the evening, a packed congregation at St Mary’s Church enjoyed our annual Carol Concert as we took the opportunity to not only appreciate the hard work and musical talents of our young people but to also pause in our busy schedules and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Thank-you to all who attended and supported the students who made us very proud.

A real highlight of the week for many, was the staff ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ competition in support of those who are affected by Alzheimer’s disease; this is a cause close to, sixth former, Jess Martin’s heart who led the organisation of the event with Miss Saunders and appeared on Black Cat radio during the week to promote the event. We were overwhelmed by the level of support from students, their families and the local community which resulted in us selling all 350 tickets. The audience was treated to a highly entertaining event which showcased a range of dancing abilities and styles! I am delighted to report that our combined efforts have raised a fantastic £1548.71 which includes a donation from the carol service and £500 donated to a ‘Just Giving’ page, set-up by Mrs Sparrow and Mr Ivett. Very well done to all involved.

Christmas was very evident around the academy on Friday with students in Key Stage 3 holding their Christmas Bazaar which, this year, is supportingFOUR PAWS’, an international animal welfare charity. Students had clearly prepared their stalls with enthusiasm and ingenuity and appeared to thoroughly enjoy the day; we will post a total on Facebook as soon as it is known. Sixth Form students and staff also joined in the festive fun by donning Christmas jumpers in support of ‘Save the Children’ and, whilst all of this was happening, targeted Y11 and Year 12 Access to A Level students visited the Woodgreen Careers fair to support decisions pertaining to their future pathways.

Lastly, Santa was also seen in the academy on several occasions during this week, visiting Key Stage 3 assemblies to dispense a hearty ‘Happy Christmas’ as well as handfuls of sweets. As well as this, he has also been visiting Year 11 lessons to deliver invitations to those students who have been nominated by staff for their outstanding attitude to learning; invitations are to attend his ‘Winter Wonderland’ on Monday where there will be sweets and goodies and a special screening of ‘Elf’.

I have attached two images to give you a flavour of the week; please explore our Facebook and Twitter sites for more details; here you will also find a link to our latest Newsletter which provides fuller reports of all highlighted events which students have enjoyed and engaged with in recent months. I would lastly like to wish you and your families a restful and happy Christmas break and thank-you for your continued support during this term.

Martin Paine

Headteacher

Weekly Message
   Added/Edited on the 11/12/2017

A busy week at the academy has seen students and staff engaged in a range of events and activities many of which have more than a whiff of Christmas about them!

On Tuesday, students visited Cambridge and thoroughly enjoyed The Kings Carol Service whilst 60 Year 8 students had great fun at the Milton Keynes Xscape and the Snozone trip.

On Wednesday we welcomed and introduced our new trainee teachers from Cambridge University who will be with us from January to May, learning and working in Geography, MFL, Classics, Biology, Chemistry and maths.

On the sporting front, PE staff led the Twickenham Varsity trip on Thursday which proved to be highly enjoyable as well as successful with 3 wins for our Year 7, 8 and 9 rugby teams who played against Isleworth Academy. Elsewhere, our Year 10 Netball Team won the district tournament last week and, as District Champions, have qualified for the County finals where they have a good chance of qualifying to represent Cambridgeshire at the regional finals. The 6th Form netball team continue to do very well and are currently top of the AoC League. The Year 8 Boys’ football team has also enjoyed considerable success in the National Cup by reaching Round 6 for the first time in Longsands’ history. Lastly, Louise and Somer Beavis and Ollie Jefferies were nominated for the 'most promising young player of the year' at the Huntingdonshire end of season cricket awards with Louise winning the award. Very well done to all.

Staff have been busy rehearsing for our Strictly Come Dancing competition taking place this coming Thursday. Tickets are £2 and can be purchased at break time from the Ritchie Hall each day or from Finance at any time. All money raised is in support of Alzheimer’s. 

A highlight of the week was the collection of the Christmas Hampers which students, in their tutor groups, have been donating towards over the past fortnight in support of the St Neots Foodbank. We were overwhelmed not only by the amount of food which has been donated but also by the care, thought and kindness shown through its presentation and the words of support an comfort. The hampers will be collected on Monday, images of which will be added to those already on our social media sites.

Many thanks for your support of all that the students have engaged with which has provided opportunities for them to shine; they have made us all very proud.

Weekly Message
   Added/Edited on the 04/12/2017

It was lovely to start the week with the following feedback from Katie Williams, Town Development Manager, “I hope the band members enjoyed performing at the St Neots Christmas Lights Switch-On event on Sunday. The band sounded fantastic and we would be delighted to welcome them back to the stage at future events.” The band, ‘Red September’ is comprised of students studying Music Technology in the St Neots Sixth form; they have performed at a number of events and never fail to entertain and impress.

Tutor Groups have made a great start to the Christmas Hamper Challenge, collecting items of food for those in need over the festive period. Representatives from the St Neots Foodbank will be visiting the Academy on Monday 11th December to collect the hampers; many thanks to all those who are supporting this worthwhile cause.

As our Careers, Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) co-ordinator, Mrs Martindale leads our work to prepare students of all ages for the world of work. On Wednesday, we welcomed a range of local and national employers into the Academy in order to provide students in Year 10 with a ‘mock’ interview ahead of their work experience in July. The employers were all very impressed with the way students had prepared for the event and then presented themselves in a clear and confident manner; well done to all involved.

On Friday, students gathered at break to discover who had won the staff ‘best moustache’ competition in aid of Movember, a cause which endeavours to reduce male deaths from prostate and testicular cancer. Students and staff have been donating to individual staff buckets, raising £186.51 in total; we were delighted to learn that Mr Lampett was the eventual winner, having his moustache dyed blue as a consequence!

I hope you have taken the time to view your child’s achievement points which have been awarded during this term; over 9000 have been issued by staff and we were delighted to present the first two bronze badges, for achieving 50 points, to Georgia Byatt and Callum Nicholson; very well done.

Lastly, our annual Christmas Bazaar is fast approaching and we would gratefully receive any raffle prizes which are presented to students who are victorious on the various stalls; if you have any suitable items, then please send in to our Key Stage 3 team.