The Wider Reopening of Schools to More Pupils

Our primary concern, at this time, is to ensure the wellbeing of our staff and pupils. The last few weeks and months have been challenging ones and our schools have responded extremely well to this crisis.

Following recent government announcements, we have considered carefully our own approach to reopening to more pupils. We are eager to see our young people return to schools; however, we are also clear that their return to schools needs to be considered carefully and cautiously.

The government aspiration is for primary schools to start reopening from the 1st June and secondary schools to begin face to face contact with priority year groups from the 15th June. Our Trustees met on the 21st May to review our plans and the individual risk assessments of schools. Government guidance subsequently changed again and there is a further meeting in the first week of June to consider these plans further.

Our primary schools will begin to open to staff from the 1st June. Individual schools will contact parents with the details of the induction that will be in place for pupils during this week. This induction is to ensure that when we do open more fully to Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 on the 8th June we do so safely. Where children are not being taught in school, we will continue to place an appropriate emphasis on remote learning to ensure that those children not in school can continue to learn.

Secondary schools will start to open to pupils in Year 10 and Year 12 from the 15th June. Again, schools will contact parents and pupils to discuss those arrangements. At secondary school, the emphasis placed on high quality remote leaning will continue in every year group as the offer in place at school will be limited.

Of course, in bringing any young people back into schools we will adhere to government guidance. School sites are being prepared and measures are being taken to apply social distancing where government guidance indicates we should. Travel may be very different for some families and we are working to support parents in this area.

Finally, we fully appreciate that some parents will not wish their children to attend school at this time, and we fully respect this. There will be no penalty for parents choosing to keep their children at home at this time.

aiminghigh@e21c

We are excited to be launching our careers programme across our schools through aiminghigh@e21c. Join us for inspiring talks and a chance to pose questions to our speakers on Thursday 21st May at 4pm-5:30pm on Zoom. Speakers include;

Juan Lopez | Barrister London | Francis Taylor Building

Lisa Gagliani Charity Chief Executive

Damien Mace – Lead Environment / Film Director for Visual Effects Company

Harriet Parkin – lighting technician from Bradford

Mark Patterson who is an ex professional footballer and Academy coach

Please sign up below and we will send you a link and password to the meeting. Year 9-13 students welcome.

REMEMBER TO USE YOUR SCHOOL EMAIL TO SIGN UP OR YOU WILL NOT BE SENT AN INVITATION.

 

Information for parents and children on Zoom

Zoom is an external provider that has no connection with Education for the 21st Century, all
participants should take their own steps to read Zoom’s GDPR and safety policies. These policies
can be found on their website here

Information about the security of the platform can be found here. Access to the platform will strictly be limited to students form E21C schools and the event will be carefully monitored.

 

 

Status of Schools Update 11th May

Following the announcement from the Prime Minister on Sunday the 10th May we will begin to make plans to open primary schools to reception, year 1 and year 6 pupils from the 1st June in a phased return, should the conditions set out by the Prime Minister be met. The Prime Minister also set out his ambition to open schools in some way to years 10 and 12 before the end of the Summer term. Considerable, care and thought needs to go into our planning to ensure that schools are opened safely to both children and staff. This will be our primary concern. Further detail will follow as the government releases more guidance.

In the meantime, staff in schools are working hard to ensure that remote learning is effective. We fully appreciate the work that parents and pupils have put into making remote learning a success and thank you for your continued support.

Appointment of Executive Headteacher for the Bromley hub

We are delighted to say that we have successfully appointed to the Executive Headteacher position for the Bromley hub. Following interviews, with a strong field,Lisa Peterkin has been appointed and will start with us in September. Lisa has provided the following introduction of herself;

“I am currently the serving Headteacher at St Mark’s Church of England Academy, in Mitcham, South London. I also have the pleasure of being a school improvement adviser for Lambeth and work with schools within the Local Authority. I have a passion and commitment to academic and character excellence within a values driven organisation. I have dedicated my career to working in urban areas and am excited by the opportunity this new post brings.

I have over 25 years experience in schools, starting my career as a teacher in Sociology with 15 years as a senior leader, 8 years as a Headteacher. I hope that working with the new Head of school at Coopers and the three other serving secondary heads, we will celebrate a demonstrable commitment to every child that E21C serves”

We are very much looking forward to welcoming Lisa to the E21C family of schools.

Simon Garrill
Chief Executive Officer

 Coronavirus advice and update 20th March 2020

Further to the announcement from the Secretary of State for Education earlier this week we very much regret that we are to close all our schools from Friday the 20th March.  Schools are quickly defining the provision that they will be able to offer

You will be aware that the Government have also announced that there will be no public exams in May and June, indicating that Year 11 and 13 pupils will nonetheless get qualifications. As yet, we do not have any specific detail of how this will be managed but we do realise that all of our pupils who were due to take examinations this year will need our support and guidance over the coming weeks.

These have been incredibly difficult decisions and we do appreciate why the Government has felt it necessary to do so at this time. We will continue to follow ongoing Government advice.

Schools will be open to vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

Schools will also strive to provide childcare to those parents who are defined as critical workers. It must be stated that if parents are able to provide childcare for their own children, even if they are on this list then they should try to do so.  Please apply the following principles;

If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be. The following principles apply;

  1. If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
  2. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
  3. Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

There is separate guidance for parents here. However, the list is;

Health and social care

This 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.

Clearly if parents are able to provide safe childcare at home we would urge you to follow government advice and do so.

Removal of Financial Notice to Improve

Following a financial notice that was issued on the 28th October 2018, we are pleased to confirm that this has now been removed, following the Trust meeting all of the conditions. Details have been released on the GOV.uk website here.

Eden Park High School

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Building Complete!

The brand new building that is the permanent site for Eden Park High School was handed over to the Trust this week and is now being prepared ready for the students to arrive on Thursday 29th August!

 

Better together: Why joining an academy trust has brightened our future

An interview with Nicki Mattin, Principal of Spires Academy

Spires Academy formally joined E21C, a multi-academy trust based in South East London, in January 2018. In this interview, Spires’ Principal, Nicki Mattin, expresses that she feels the partnership has and will only bring about more excellent developments within the school, and perhaps for other Kent comprehensive schools in the not-so-distant future.

Why was E21C the best choice for Spires Academy?
When we first began the process of selecting a trust to partner with, we were presented with a variety of excellent choices. What we initially loved about E21C was how engaged they were with the school and our students when they came to visit us – I don’t think they realised, but we were looking at them closely as they were walking around to see how they interacted. We were impressed by their enthusiasm and energy, and that was what attracted us to them at first.

Ultimately, we felt that E21C were likeminded people; we liked their ethos, their people and their positive attitude. We wanted to partner with a trust who would recognise that there are real strengths in our school that could be used to their benefit, but could also challenge us to be better every day. What was really key for us was finding a trust that would be a strong partner and that could help us with school improvement, with our eye at the top. E21C has offered us that, and it feels like a true collaboration, rather than an uncomfortable take-over.

The moment that sealed E21C’s compatibility with the school was when the trust and Spires jointly signed a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ before our partnership had formally begun. Perfectly capturing the essence of our combined ethos, the ‘handshake’ agreement demonstrated good will on both sides. The uniqueness of the document expressed to us that E21C was willing to act receptively from day one and established trust and mutual respect from the very beginning of our relationship.

Has E21C had to adapt at all since your partnership began?
I think E21C has experienced a few surprises since working with us. Since we are a smaller, stand-alone school, I think our new partnership has tested E21C to think about secondary schools and secondary education in a different way. In addition, since we are a Kent high school and situated in the midst of a challenging selective system, it has enabled them to consider schools from a broader perspective and in a wider context.

In truth, there has been some give and take for both parties, but that has only strengthened our relationship and our progress. From our stand point, Spires has, naturally, had to relinquish some of our control and autonomy, but the school and E21C both recognise the value of having a critical friend and the benefit of being able to develop together.

What are the main benefits of joining a trust for your pupils?
For one, E21C’s support has enabled us to establish a sixth form two years earlier than we were going to; that’s a huge benefit to us and to the pupils looking forward. With the trust’s encouragement, we have explored the advantages of social media – something that was formerly too risky for us to entertain. What’s great about this is that we’ve been able to build a great and warm presence online, and for the students I think it’s wonderful for them to be recognised on a platform that they are really used to and that delivers updates instantly.

How have Spires staff taken to the partnership?
So far, they are really benefitting from the cross-conversation that is available to them now with other members of staff from within the trust. Several of our staff members have visited some of E21C’s other schools; there have been many opportunities for them to network with like-minded education professionals and develop as individuals as a result.

How has your role as Principal been affected by Spires’ partnership with E21C?
Primarily, the partnership has given me access to a very experienced Head and CEO to use as a sounding board whom I can bounce ideas off. Headship can sometimes be a lonely position and you can often feel quite isolated. Now, I’m part of a bigger, critical network, that will only help to strengthen me and the school, allow us to feel less secluded and reinforce our decisions.

How have parents reacted to the partnership?
I think parents in general are a bit suspicious of multi-academy trusts, especially those that go into schools and completely take over. I think because E21C has put the identity of our school first and hasn’t attempted to assimilate us in any way, parents still feel that they have that strong connection to the school. Day-to-day, they are dealing with the same people they always have done, so things haven’t fundamentally changed for them. The general feeling amongst parents, I think, is that the trust is just a wide, helpful umbrella around the school.

What does the future hold for Spires Academy and E21C?
It’s early days, but all I can say is that, as a school, we are very open, honest and positive and we are so looking forward to seeing the great things Spires and E21C can do together in the coming years. Hopefully this partnership will work really well and will be the start of something very special for schools in Kent.

E21C breaks ground for the building of Eden Park High School

We’re delighted to announce that the construction for Eden Park High School has officially begun!

Following Bromley’s Council’s decision to approve construction of Eden Park High School at the Council’s Plans Sub-Committee meeting on the 22nd February, the laying of the groundwork in preparation for construction is underway in Balmoral Road, Beckenham. With multiple diggers and an experienced building crew on-site since April, the school is on track for its planned opening in September 2019.

Having officially welcomed its first intake at its temporary site at The Ravensbourne School in Hayes Lane last year, both students and staff are looking forward to making the move to the permanent site in just under 18 months’ time.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to see several years of dedicated campaigning and perseverance finally pay off, as the building work for Eden Park High School begins,” says Head Teacher, Emily Codling, “It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work from local parents, local people and the E21C Trust, all of whom are delighted with the plans for the school and the progress so far.”

The new school, which operates extended hours, is helping alleviate a chronic shortage of secondary school provision in the Borough, ultimately providing 1,600 places for local students.