1st October 2020
Dear Parent or Carer,
It is with a great sense of pride that I write to you as the new Principal of Ash Hill Academy. I am honoured to be have been entrusted by our sponsor, Delta Academies Trust with the responsibility of taking the Academy forward as its new leader and am looking forward to working with you and our staff to provide a first class education for your child.
The previous six months have been a source of great strain and uncertainty for families up and down the country due to the Covid-19 health crisis and it has been wonderful to see our students back in school fully, following our catch up curriculum and returning to some sense or normality.
I would like to personally thank our Governing Body and Mr Higgins for making me feel so welcome and allowing me to shadow senior members of staff to become familiar with Ash Hill Academy’s systems and routines. I would also like to pay tribute to Mr Higgins and the Ash Hill staff for making the Academy the thriving success story that it is, acknowledged this year by Ofsted as being a good school, but also because of the improved GCSE outcomes that Ash Hill students have achieved. I realise that the strong leadership of Mr Higgins has played a pivotal part in this continued success and, as an experienced leader myself, I am incredibly keen and determined that these successes will be built upon.
I have 25 years of experience in education and have led three other schools successfully. Before joining Delta Academies Trust as a Principal in 2016, I was a successful Deputy Head Teacher in a school in Wakefield that secured three back to back outstanding judgements from Ofsted between 2005 and 2013 and finally left to pursue headship. I have a good understanding of what it takes to help a school become outstanding and that will be our aspiration for Ash Hill. My previous Academy, Hull Trinity House Academy was itself judged to be a good school back in February of this year and its Ofsted report reads very similarly to that of Ash Hill’s.
The role of Principal is a one that I take extremely seriously and I will strive to ensure that your child is given the opportunities and quality of education that enables them to realise their potential.
Whilst this letter provides an opportunity for me to introduce myself as the incoming Principal at Ash Hill Academy, I would also like share with you two fundamental elements that I think are key to our improvement agenda:
Good behaviour: being our best, always
Throughout my lengthy career in education, I have learned that good behavioural standards, positive attitudes to learning and positive relationships are crucial to students being able to thrive and flourish and get the very best from their school years. This includes following reasonable requests in a timely manner and good standards of uniform and presentation.
After consulting with Mr Higgins, from Monday 5th October, students will be required to remove and carry their coats inside all school buildings, with their full uniform on show. Currently, some coats being worn do not add to the smart appearance of students and it is difficult to check uniform is being worn properly beneath them.
We are clearly in a situation because of an unprecedented global health crisis that may cause undue worry and I understand that some parents and carers have anxieties about their child attending school; however, I can assure you that our robust Health Risk Assessment and our staff’s vigilance mean that your child can safely attend and access learning. Due to the months lost educationally since the Prime Minister closed schools on March 20th 2020, it is imperative that students are in the Academy to catch up lost curriculum time: the Government in their guidance state that all students should be back in school not only for their academic progress and future attainment, but for their own well-being and future prospects.
Persistently Absent Pupils (attendance falling on or below 90%)
Persistent absenteeism has a significant and detrimental impact on pupil progress. If your child’s attendance is identified as a concern, we will contact you to make you aware and engage with you to improve low attendance, for instance through an Attendance Support Plan and Attendance Review Meetings. This will be with your child’s Learning manager or with the Academy’s Attendance Officer. We will work in partnership with you and your child to improve attendance to achieve our academy target of 97% attendance.
As an academy we work closely with the Local Authority Education Welfare Team and refer children and families in to the service who do not engage with us and with Attendance Action Plans and who continue to be persistently absent from school. In this instance a Penalty Notice for unauthorised absence may be issued. Students should not be missing school for holidays during term time and this is reinforced by the Local Authority.
If it is proved that you knew of your child's non-attendance and failed without reasonable justification to ensure regular attendance, a fine of up to £2,500 may be imposed by the court.
The court also has the power to direct a Parenting Order requiring you to attend at counselling and guidance sessions. It can also specify other appropriate action by you as directed by the named Local Officer on behalf of the Academy.
Ongoing serious medical conditions that adversely affect attendance, through no fault of the pupil, will of course be taken into consideration and authorised where appropriate
Attending school regularly
Students with good attendance:
- achieve better and maximise their potential
- become more resilient and better prepared for life after school
- feel happier and gain confidence
- often find it easier to develop positive relationships and make and keep friends
- go on to have better prospects of employment and training
- are less likely to be involved in risk taking behaviour, be at risk of harm or be involved in anti-social behaviour or criminal offending
Did you know?
- Ash Hill Academy expects 100% attendance.
- 90% attendance means missing on average one ½ day EVERY week.
- 90% attendance means the equivalent of missing 4 whole weeks in one school year.
- Over 5 years, this is the equivalent of missing HALF a school year.
- Missing just 17 days in one year can mean dropping a full grade at GCSE.
- Only 10% of persistent truants achieve 5 grade 9 - 4 passes at GCSE.
- Historically, 5 or more good GCSE passes can increase wages by 42%.
- 75% of pupils with 95% attendance or more achieve five 9 – 4 grades at GCSE.
- Conversely, of pupils with less than 90% attendance only 25% achieve 5 9 - 4 grades at GCSE.
- Schools are open 195 days a year that leaves 170 other dates for leisure time.
- A child on holiday for 2 weeks during term time will miss 50 one hour lessons. Some never catch up.
- Being late 10 minutes each day for one year is equal to missing approximately 6 school days.
Good standards of behaviour and high attendance are crucial ingredients to a successful school. In order for us to ensure your child develops and maximises their potential we would ask that you talk to them about applying themselves, showing good effort and behaviour as well as attending consistently and punctually.
I am looking forward to working with all parents and carers and forging strong partnerships between home and school.