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Latest News

As we break for Easter, I would like to thank all staff and students for their commitment and support this term.

This is, traditionally, the busiest term in the school year and 2014 has been no exception. Students have risen magnificently to the challenges of the aspirational targets that have been set for them and, as a result, standards are rising rapidly. Around the school, we can see that the clock is now ticking and the first public examinations will begin shortly after Easter. There is a huge amount of support available to our students as they prepare for the challenges of the summer examination session and I would urge everyone, without exception, to accept this help when it is offered.

When we return to school on Wednesday 23rd April, there will be just 9 school days until the first GCSE examination.

I hope that every student has a restful and productive break, making time for rest as well as for revision and returning ready for the challenges ahead. The summer term will be equally busy!

Ms B Hare

I would like to congratulate those students who are supporting our team motivational report. The purpose of the report is to give a boost to those students who still need to achieve their Mathematics GCSE and who are also aiming for 8 or more GCSEs at A*-C. In common with lots of motivational programmes, we are giving small team rewards for success on this report.

We have been working closely with our Student Leadership Team over the past fortnight and I was pleased to be able to invite a group of Year 11 students to join our Senior Leadership Team meeting this week. It was extremely interesting to hear their views on the successes of Year 11 and the support still required as students complete this year. They were clear that the majority of the changes to the school this year have been of benefit to them, as students, and gave us some excellent ideas for further motivational and support work. Next week, we will be joined by a group from the Sixth Form for a similar discussion.

I am also pleased to confirm that Sandy Upper School will remain open for all students next Wednesday 26th March, on the day of industrial action and, although there may be some changes to our normal routine, a high quality education will be provided for all.

 

Ms B Hare

I would like to thank our prospective parents who joined us on Monday evening for a meeting with our Governors.  The purpose of the meeting was to provide an update on our Academy conversion and to answer  questions from families who will be joining us in September 2014.  You will see that a press release from the Governors about our recent meetings with  parents /carers, and an overview of the questions asked, has been included in this edition of Spotlight.  Regular updates will be provided as we move forward and any further questions should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

We continue to be busy, and productive, as a school  community.  This week, we have enjoyed theatre trips and our Careers Fair and we are all looking forward to next week’s Dance Show, when we will welcome students from across our community into our school.  We look forward to seeing you at this event, and at our other events in the coming weeks.

Ms B Hare

Principal

 

Community rallies around Sandy Upper School

 

A period of intense action culminated last week with a mass show of support for Sandy Upper School.

 

At recent meetings, over 300 parents, prospective parents, staff, governors, representatives from the Local Authority, the Department for Education and our Member of Parliament came together to demonstrate their support for Sandy Upper School and to reinforce their commitment to delivering the best education for children in the local area.

 

The students, staff and leadership team were praised for their hard work and dedication. Parents voiced their support, celebrating the rapid turnaround in results, teaching and discipline that has been achieved since the the school’s new leadership was secured. There was unanimous agreement that the Headteacher, Ms Balraj Hare, and her team have been instrumental in delivering these changes at the school.

 

Richard Banks, Chair of the Governing Body and long-standing Sandy resident, declared “I want to make this the first choice school in this area. The predicted results will be the highest ever achieved by the school to date despite all the disruption. This is a phenomenal transformation.”

 

Explaining the disruption to the school, Claire Burton, Deputy Director for Academies and Performance at the Department for Education, emphasised that these are exceptionally unusual circumstances that could not have been predicted and that, at every stage, the Governing Body have had the best interests of the children at heart.

 

Alistair Burt, local MP, added that, because the situation was outside the school’s control, it was the government’s responsibility to ensure that the school has the support that it needs and stated that he had assisted the Governors in securing financial support directly from the Secretary of State for Education.

 

Parents expressed a wish to offer their support to the Governing Body and the School Leadership and the panel responded by asking parents to continue reinforcing the genuine, positive results and messages about the school in the community; to engage with the Parent Council and to encourage their children to continue their hard work and commitment. Questions should be directed in the first instance to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or The Chair of Governors, Sandy Upper School, Engayne Avenue, Sandy, BEDS SG19 3AN.

 

Key Questions and Answers

School status: The plan is for the school to convert on 1st September. Until conversion to academy status, the school will continue to be a Local Authority maintained school. After conversion, the Local Authority will continue to have strong relationship with the school.

Ofsted rating: Currently the school is in an Ofsted category of concern. Recent HMI reports state that the school is making exceptional progress. The school and leadership will need to demonstrate sustained progress to be removed from a category of concern. There will be another inspection in the next couple of months.

Future sponsor: Having looked at a range of potential sponsors, the Governors, along with the Local Authority and DfE, are working with a potential sponsor for the school. The DfE examines the structure, governance, finance, track  record and capacity of all potential sponsors and will also conduct regular checks through the annual audited accounts and an annual performance assessment. Many decisions are under the control of the DfE, and it is hoped that an answer will be available in the next two to three weeks.

Funding: In addition to regular school funding, Sandy Upper has access to a post-conversion grant as it will be a sponsored academy. On top of this, due to the extraordinary situation, the Governing Body has secured additional funding from the DfE to secure strong school leadership. The DfE has confirmed that this funding will run until September at which point the successful sponsor will be in place.

Curriculum: There are no plans to change the curriculum. In a school where a curriculum is working, it will not be changed. If there are national changes, however, then a school does need to be flexible. If there do need to be any changes, any meetings to discuss this will include parents.

Uniform: There are no plans to change the uniform. The leadership team have contacted the uniform supplier. For new uniform items, they are happy to supply the school directly with un-branded items where required. Existing students should continue to wear their current uniform.