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The Basildon Academies

Message from Headteacher - 13th July

Important Announcement

I write to you to update on a few matters before the summer break. As I am sure you can appreciate schools are receiving updated information from the DFE in preparation for the autumn term.

Firstly, a reminder that Friday 16th July is the last day of the summer term and students will leave site at the following times:

Year 7 & 10 (Year 9 who have transitioned to the Upper Academy) - 12:30pm
Sixth Form - 12:45pm
Year 8 & 11 (Year 10>11 students at the Upper Academy) - 1pm

Secondly, I recently sent home a communication regarding the start times for each year group for Thursday 2nd September. Could I ask that you ignore that information in light of the Prime Ministers recent announcement about the changes to the control measures that schools should have in place from September 2021. 

One of these changes is that secondary school students should receive 2 on-site lateral flow device tests, 3 to 5 days apart, on their return in the autumn term.  The first of these will take place before students return to normal classes.

Following this announcement we will stagger the return of pupils across the first week to manage this.

More details of individual appointment dates & times and full return days will follow in due course. 

The main changes to control measures in schools from step 4 are:

  • All secondary school students should receive 2 on-site lateral flow device tests, 3 to 5 days apart, on their return in the autumn term. We will stagger the return of students across the first week to manage this (more details of individual appointment times and full return days will follow).
  • Students and staff should then continue to test twice weekly at home until the end of September, when this will be reviewed by the government.
  • Removal of the requirement to prevent mixing and keep consistent ‘bubbles’.  We will however continue to structure the Lower Academy with separate learning zones for each year group, a different start and end time for year 9, and our lunch and break staggers through the day (as per my previous communication).
  • Removal of contact tracing responsibilities. From Step 4, close contacts will be identified via NHS Test and Trace and education settings will no longer be expected undertake contact tracing. Contacts from a school setting will only be traced by NHS Test and Trace where the positive case specifically identifies the individual as being a close contact.
  • From 16 August 2021, children under the age of 18 years old will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case.
  • Addition of PCR tests instead of self-isolation for identified close contacts. Whilst awaiting the PCR result, the individual should continue to self-isolate.
  • Face coverings no longer required.
  • Removal of restrictions on gatherings, group sizes, assemblies etc.

As part on our ongoing practice, we are required to continue to maintain the following control measures:

  • Ensure good hygiene for everyone.
  • Maintain appropriate cleaning regimes.
  • Keep occupied spaces well ventilated.
  • Follow public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19. 

These are outlined in our risk assessment available on our website.

School day timings following LFTs in September:

A further communication will be sent to all giving details of individual appointment dates & times for on-site LFTs and full return days.

Throughout the pandemic we have endeavoured to support students and families to reduce barriers to accessing education, supporting with devices, uniform, travel, lunches etc.

High expectations of students is an important driver in success. Supporting high expectations is essential to this. For the avoidance of doubt, I want to take this opportunity to make clear the expectations of the academy in a 2 key areas:

Uniform infringements will return to being dealt as before the pandemic. Any uniform infringements will result in students reporting to their Head of Year and continuing their education in Return to Learn until the issue is resolved. I have ensured we have a budget to support any families financially in obtaining uniform if this is a barrier.  Please speak to the Head of Year in confidence if you require this support.

Mobile Phones
You may have seen in the media that the government is keen to ban mobile from all classrooms as research is clear that phones are a distraction in learning environments.  Classrooms at the academies have been designated as ‘no phone zones’ for a number of years.  However, to be clear, if a phone is seen by a member of staff in a classroom for any reason, it will be confiscated at the first offence. The phone will then go to reception for collection via our ‘on-call’ team.  Students refusing to comply with the request will escalate the incident.

I would like to thank you all for the support you have given the academies, our staff and students over the past 16 months as we have navigated our way through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Yours sincerely,
Gary Smith

Step 3 of the roadmap from Monday 17th May

This week the Prime Minister announced that the country will move to Step 3 of the roadmap on Monday 17 May.  In terms of the impact of this on schools the main points are:

What is staying the same 

The protective measures which remain in place (and are in our risk assessment), include regular hand washing, consistent groupings (bubbles), keeping pupils and staff apart as much as possible, Keeping occupied spaces well ventilated, and enhanced cleaning routines.   

Regular asymptomatic and symptomatic testing remains a vital part of the approach to suppress the virus. . 

Staff and students will continue to have access to twice weekly asymptomatic COVID19 testing supplied via the academies.

 What is changing from 17thMay? 

 Face coverings will no longer be required for students in classrooms or communal areas .

Face coverings will also no longer be recommended for staff in classrooms. Face coverings should still be worn by staff and visitors in situations outside of classrooms where social distancing is not possible (for example, when moving around in corridors and communal areas). This may include parents and carers entering the school grounds to collect/ drop-off pupils.

Schools will be permitted to take domestic residential education visits. 

The academies risk assessment will be updated in line with these changes.

The full DFE operational guidance can be found here;

Thank you for continued support.

Kind regards
Gary Smith

Update on twice weekly COVID-19 testing at home for students - 23rd March

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Thank you for your support with rapid COVID-19 testing for students at school. 

Students will shortly be moving to twice weekly, rapid COVID-19 testing at home. This is following their first three supervised tests on site at school/college. 

Up to 1 in 3 people who have COVID-19 have no symptoms and could be spreading it without knowing. Getting into a regular habit of testing twice a week will help stop the virus spreading, keeping your family and friends safer.  

Please make sure your child tests themselves twice a week 3-5 days apart, in the morning before school if possible and, if not, the evening before. 

Your child should also continue testing twice a week, at home, throughout the Easter school holidays. We will be sending home extra kits for Easter holiday before term ends.   

If your child has not been tested at school yet, then please get in touch with us so that we can arrange a time for them to be tested on site, before beginning home testing.  

This does not replace testing for those with symptoms. If you have symptoms you must self-isolate immediately, book a PCR test and follow national guidelines.  

Reporting results 
It is really important that results of test are reported online straight away, even if your child’s result is negative or void. It’s easy to do via the Test Register at Wonde – activation details have been sent to parents/carers. This will report results directly to school then provide the link to report to  

Results can also be reported via telephone by calling 119 (free from mobiles and landlines). Lines are open every day, 7am to 11pm. 

Testing for parents, households and bubbles twice a week 
A reminder that regular rapid testing is now also available for parents, their households and support or childcare bubbles. The government is encouraging all families to participate in twice weekly testing to help stop the spread. 

Parents and other adults in the household can access tests by: 

  • Ordering tests online   
  • Getting an assisted test at work, if it is available 
  • Attending a test site to get tested (where you will be able to see how to take the test) or pick up tests to do at home. 

To find out more on school household testing visit Households and bubbles of pupils, students and staff of schools and colleges: get rapid lateral flow tests -

We continue to encourage everyone to take part in regular Covid-19 testing. Information, including a video showing how to do a test from home can be found at the top of this page. 

If you have any questions or queries around this please email, this and any other school email address should not be used for recording results.  

Thank you for your continued support 

Gary Smith 

How GCSEs, AS and A levels will be awarded in summer 2021 - Ofqual

Since March 2020, students’ education has been disrupted by the closure of schools and colleges to all but vulnerable children and children of key workers, ongoing potential for self-isolation and further closures. On 4 January 2021, the Prime Minister announced, in the context of new national restrictions, that exams in summer 2021 could not go ahead as planned.

The Government made an announcement on 6th January confirming that GCSE and A Level examinations would not go ahead in the summer of 2021.

To determine how GCSE & A Level grades would be awarded, a joint consultation between the DfE and Ofqual was subsequently launched.

On 25th February, the Government made an announcement on the outcome of the consultation between Ofqual and the DfE concerning the award of GCSE and A Level grades.

The proposals being taken forward were supported in response to the consultation. The consultation received over 100,000 responses of which just over half (52%) came from students.


In summer 2021, exam boards will ask exam centres (The Academy) to generate, for each subject, teacher assessed grades for their students. These grades should be based on a range of evidence completed as part of the course, including evidence produced in the coming months, which demonstrates the student’s performance on the subject content they have been taught.

  • Students will receive teacher assessed grades, with students only assessed on what they have been taught.
  • Fairness and flexibility are at the heart of the Government’s plans to ensure young people get to their next stage of education or training.
  • It will be fair: all students will be treated as individuals
  • It will be rigorous: a clear methodology and open process will be followed
  • It will be professional: a quality assurance process will be carried out to check consistency of judgements across teachers and that the correct processes are followed - to ensure as much fairness as possible.


The grades submitted to exam boards must reflect a fair, reasonable and carefully considered judgement of the student’s performance across a range of evidence, on the curriculum content that they have been taught.

Centres will be asked to make a holistic judgement of each student’s performance on a range of evidence relating to the qualification’s specification content that they have been taught

When determining grades evidence from across the full duration of your courses will be used, including previous, ongoing and work scheduled to take place. Assessed pieces of work will include:

  • Student work produced in response to assessment materials provided by the exam board, including groups of questions, past papers or similar materials such as practice or sample papers. The optional use of questions provided by exam boards, as well as mock exams, coursework, or other work completed as part of a student’s course, such as essays or in-class tests.
  • Non-exam assessment (NEA) work (often referred to as coursework), even if this has not been fully completed.
  • Student work produced in centre-devised tasks that reflect the specification, that follow the same format as exam board materials and have been marked in a way that reflects exam board mark schemes. This can include substantial class or homework (including those that took place during remote learning), internal tests taken by pupils and mock exams taken over the course of study.
  • Records of each student’s progress and performance over the course of study

Exams boards will provide schools with a ‘bank’ of questions which can be used to produce internal exams covering the subject content that has been taught.

Judgements will be objective and based on the evidence produced by a student on the content they have been taught.

The academy should be confident that work produced is the student’s own and that the student has not been given inappropriate levels of support to complete it, either in the academy, at home or with an external tutor. Exam boards will investigate instances where it appears that evidence is not authentic.

The range and amount of evidence could vary between students and across subjects.

Quality Assurance

Each centre is required to put in place an internal quality assurance process, including internal standardisation of marking and grading judgements, which will be checked by exam boards.

Exam boards will also check a sample of the evidence used to support teacher grades

Exam boards will conduct their own checks through random sampling and, where they identify a cause for concern, more targeted scrutiny.

Our successful Centre Assessed Grades process last year provides us with excellent experience to fairly, rigorously and professionally assess this work.  These grades will then be scrutinised through the internal sign-off process:

Department sign-off

Each grade for a subject must be signed off by at least 2 teachers in that subject, one of whom should be the head of department or subject lead. Where there is only one teacher in the subject or department, or only one is available, the head of centre should be the second signatory. Where a staff member might have a personal interest in a candidate (for example as a relative), heads of centre should make sure that additional controls are put in place, as appropriate.

Head of centre (Headteacher) sign-off

The head of centre is required to confirm that the grades are a true representation of student performance. If the head of centre is unavailable to do this, it may be delegated to a Deputy Headteacher.


  • Teachers will submit grades to exam boards by 18 June, allowing as much teaching time as possible before teachers make their assessments.
  • Results days for GCSE, A level will take place in the week of 9 August 2021.
  • These earlier dates provide additional time for appeals to be completed, so students reliant on those outcomes to achieve their university offer have the best chance of accessing a place.
  • Courses will continue to be delivered and lessons will continue to be taught.
  • Continued commitment and hard work are the way forward.

Key Messages for Students

  • This will not be a process ‘done to you.’
  • You have agency here.
  • It is the quality of your (previous, current and future) work, across the duration of your courses that will determine your grades.
  • This process will be driven with integrity and distinguished by fairness, rigour and professionalism.

Thank you for questions, support and patience in this matter.  If and when we receive any further information or guidance from the government I will update you all accordingly.  Attached to this letter are some frequently asked questions received from students during an assembly held with them last week.

Yours sincerely,

G. Smith

Questions from students

Q1. How is Current Grade determined?

It is primarily based on a student’s ‘current performance’. In order to determine this, teachers take into account the following: in-class work (face-to-face and remote learning); non-exam assessment (NEA); internal (in-class) assessments; and internal examinations.

Q2. With students returning to school from 8th March, can their Current Grade change?

Yes. Year 11 students will be continuing with the education and therefore working to improve their current grades.

Q3. How are Current Grades checked?

Current Grades determined by subject teachers are moderated by the Head of Department and Senior Leader.

Q4. What checks are used to determine that final grades are fair?

Confirmatory moderation will be undertaken by the subject teacher, Head of Department and Senior Leader. All grades will then be independently moderated.

Q5. When will Centre Assessed Grades be sent to the exam boards?

By 18th June.

Q6. Once the Centre Assessed Grades are sent to the exam boards, what checks do they undertake?

Quality assurance will be undertaken by exam boards. A sample of schools (exam centres) will be selected randomly across different representative centre types. Some schools will be selected based on a level of risk.

Q7. When will students receive their GCSE and A Level results?

Results Days will be brought forward by two weeks this year and will be Tuesday 10th August for A Level and Thursday 12th August for GCSE

Q8. If a student does not agree with their GCSE results, what can they do?

A student who does not agree with their grade(s) must first ask their school (exam centre) to check whether an administrative or procedural error had been made.

Where an exam centre does not believe an error had been made, a student can ask the centre to appeal to the exam board on their behalf.

The centre will submit the student’s appeal to the exam board and provide the evidence on which its judgement had been made.

Fantastic News! - The return to face-to-face education during the week commencing Monday 8th March

I am writing to confirm the arrangements for the return of our students to face to face education during the week commencing 8th March.  The-Government has set out its plan for the return of all students to schools and colleges, as part of the roadmap for leaving lockdown. 

As part of this plan all secondary school students will be offered rapid testing using Lateral Flow Devices to support the return to face to face education.  

Students will be asked to self-swab at the on-site centre.  Once the test has been conducted students will return home to be informed of their result. If the result is negative, or you are not providing consent for testing they will return to face to face onsite learning the next day.

Students will return to face-to-face education the day after their first negative test result. If a test is positive, they will be directed to self-isolate and parent/carers will be contacted. 

The staggered return for students during the week commencing 8th March facilitates the initial on-site testing.    

This week students will receive information regarding the date and time of their first test appointment, and the return date to face to face education.

Further onsite tests will be conducted as part of the normal school day. 

In the event that your child has tested positive for COVID-19 with the last 90 days, please let us know as they will not be required to take part in the testing programme. 

As has always been the case, your child should not attend school if they have COVID-19 related symptoms, and in such a case, you should arrange for them to be tested immediately, and the result communicated to us as soon as possible.  

To enable us to facilitate on-site testing for your child you will have received a consent form. 

Please ensure this is completed and returned in the pre-paid envelope as soon as possible but before Monday 8th March. We cannot deliver on-site Lateral flow Tests without the consent form. 

Once students have been tested 3 times at school (over a two-week period), they will be provided with home test kits for regular testing. 

Ensure face coverings are used in recommended circumstances. 

Face coverings should be worn by adults and students when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained. Face coverings do not need to be worn by students when outdoors on the premises. A face covering is a covering of any type which covers your nose and mouth. 

In addition, the Government also recommend in secondary schools, that face coverings should be worn in classrooms 

Our full Covid-19 Academy Risk Assessment can be viewed in the ‘Information’ section on our website. 

Thank you for your continued support.  The messages of support and thanks we have received from families have been much appreciated.  We are really looking forward to seeing our students back at school.  

Kind regards and take care, 

Gary Smith 

Update from Headteacher - 25th February 

The Prime Minister announced earlier this week that the Government has set out its plan for the return of all pupils to schools and colleges, as part of the roadmap for leaving lockdown.

All secondary schools will return to face to face education during the week commencing Monday 8th March.  As I am sure you agree this is fantastic news!

As part of this plan all secondary school students will be offered rapid testing using Lateral Flow Devices to support the return to face to face education.

There will be a staggered return for students during the week commencing 8th March in order to facilitate the initial on-site testing. 

To enable us to facilitate on-site testing for your child you will receive a consent form. Please ensure this is completed and returned in the pre-paid envelope as soon as possible but before Monday 8th March. We cannot deliver on-site Lateral flow Tests without the consent form.  It is planned that after receiving 3 on-site tests over the first 2 weeks, students will then be issued with home testing kits.

I will contact you all over the coming days to confirm the return day and times for all students during that week, along with some additional information about control measures that schools have been directed to ensure are in place upon students return.

I thank you for your continued support.  The messages of support and thanks we have received from families have been much appreciated.  We are really looking forward to seeing our students back at school. 

Take care and kind regards,
Gary Smith

Consultation on how GCSE, AS and A level grades should be awarded in summer 2021 - Update from Headteacher -25th January

The Department for Education are now consulting as to how student grades could be awarded this summer.

It is the Department for Education's policy position that exams this summer should not take place as planned.

This consultation is open to anyone who wants to respond but will be of most interest to students who had been expecting to take their GCSE, AS or A level exams this summer, their parents and carers, their teachers, school leaders and those who use the qualifications to make selection decisions, such as further and higher education institutions and employers. 

It is important to us that your voice is heard as the decisions made will directly affect you.  With this in mind I strongly recommend that you respond to the consultation and complete the survey.

The link to the Consultation on how GCSE, AS and A level grades should be awarded in summer 2021 can be found here:

and the link to the survey can be found here:

Please make sure you continue to engage in your remote learning and I look forward to seeing you as soon as possible.

Gary Smith

Year 11 February Exams Update - 18th January

Thank you for your continued efforts in live lessons. 

I am sure you will have seen some information in the news regarding the BTEC exams scheduled for February, so I am writing to give you an update. The Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, wrote to Ofqual to confirm:

Given the further disruption, for all other VTQs with written exams scheduled in February and March (including BTECs and other qualifications included in performance tables) it is no longer viable for these exams to go ahead.

Therefore, BTEC exams will not be taking place in February. This means the BTEC Business Studies exam on February 1st will not go ahead. 

We will be in touch when we know more about the summer assessments. 

The government are currently looking at assessment options to enable you to receive grades. It is critical that you continue to engage in your remote learning in order to prepare for whatever these alternative assessment arrangements may be. 

If you have any issues accessing remote learning, please do email 

Take care and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Gary Smith

Check-in Tutorials - Update from Headteacher - 11th January

From Monday 11th January, students in Years 7-11 will be able to engage in a once a week Zoom Check-in Tutorial in their class group.  

In the Check-in Tutorial they can ask generic questions to a member of teaching staff. 

This is a voluntary session to support student wellbeing. 

The dates and times for each year group are:

Mondays 8:15am – Year 10 
Tuesdays 8:15am – Year 7 
Wednesdays 8:30am – Year 8 
Thursdays 8:45am – Year 11 
Fridays 8:45am – Year 9 

The invites to the check-in tutorial will be sent to student email accounts.

Kind regards

Gary Smith

Headteacher's Announcement - Update from Headteacher - 5th January

The Prime Minister has today announced that a new national lockdown will come into force at 00:01 on Wednesday 6 January.

All primary (reception onwards), secondary schools and colleges are to move to remote learning only for the majority of children until February half term.

During the period of national lockdown schools will remain open to vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers only. The children of critical workers and vulnerable children may continue to attend onsite, if they cannot stay at home.

Public vocational exams and assessments scheduled to take place in January will go ahead as planned.

All other children and students will learn remotely until February half term.

Key Worker/Vulnerable Provision

During the period of national lockdown, schools and colleges should only allow vulnerable children and the children of critical workers to attend.

Children with at least one parent or carer who is listed as a critical worker are eligible for a school place. It is not necessary for both parents to be critical workers.

If you intend for your child to access the on-site Key Worker Provision from Monday 4th January, and to allow us to plan accordingly, then please contact: stating:

  • Student name
  • Student year group
  • Your key worker status
  • The days you need to access the provision

Students accessing this provision should arrive on site at their normal times, in full school uniform. 

Students accessing this provision will then access the live streamed lessons on site with staff supervision.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing

Students accessing the Key Worker/Vulnerable provision will be asked to undertake a lateral flow or PCR test when they join the provision.

Consent information will be sent to parent/carers upon the receipt of the expression of intent to access the provision.

Remote Learning & Live Streamed Lessons 

Live stream lessons began on Monday 4th January for all students.

Year 7-11 students will receive their lesson links directly to their Basildon Academies email account each morning.

Year 12 & 13 will continue to learn through Microsoft TEAMS and should log on daily to receive their assignments and live lessons.

Learning begins at the usual time for each year group and runs as per the usual academy day.

Students can also use recorded lessons via the One Drive to support with homework or exam questions if they need to revisit any lesson.

A ‘How To’ Video is available on our website:  

If your child does not engage in remote learning they will be classified as a vulnerable child under government guidance and therefore expected to attend onsite to access the remote learning.

Remote Learning Devices

If you are having difficulties accessing a suitable device to support remote learning then please email and we will endeavour to support your request.

Free School Meals

Free School Meal vouchers will continue to be distributed as they were for the Christmas period.

You will receive an email or text from containing a link which will allow you to select your preferred supermarket and receive your voucher directly.

Thank you for you continued support.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Remote Learning Team with any queries, to let us know about any access issues or to celebrate the work your son/daughter has completed at home:

Kind regards and a happy new year,

Gary Smith

Academies Parent Forum COVID-19 FAQs - 30th November

Click here to access the Academies Parent Forum COVID-19 FAQs 

Covid 19 - Face Coverings in School

The Secretary of State for Health has made a decision to move Essex into the Local COVID Alert Level: High, in order to reduce infections in our county. This will come into effect across Essex at midnight on Friday 16 October.

The move for Essex into the High Local Alert Level means no change to the education system in Essex.

It is of the utmost importance that all children can attend school safely, to support their wellbeing and education and it is intended that all education settings remain fully open.

As Essex is now defined as an area of national government intervention, the guidance on face coverings has changed.

This means that for your child attending the academy, face coverings should be worn when moving around indoors, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

Exemptions to this rule apply and no-one will be excluded from education on the grounds that they are not wearing a face covering however, it may restrict some access to communal areas.

From Monday 19th October, students should arrive at the academies with a face mask that can be worn if they are in an indoor communal area, where social distancing is difficult. Government guidance remains that face coverings are not to be worn in classrooms.

If your child fits the exemption criteria defined by the government, detailed on the website, then please let us know via email to

Where a student is unable to access a face covering, or where they are unable to use their face covering due to having forgotten it or it having become soiled or unsafe, the academies will have a small contingency supply available to meet such needs.

Please note that face coverings should be plain and free from brandings or slogans. I would like to thank you for your continued support.

G. Smith

Covid 19 - Quick guide for parent/carers - September 2020

September Opening of Schools - Latest update: 28th August

Dear Parents and Carers,

I would like to say thank you for your continued support over the past 4 months, and we really appreciate the work both you and the students have put in with home schooling.

I am pleased to be able to write to you regarding the return to school for all of our students on a full-time basis from September.

We are very much looking forward to welcoming all of our students back to the Basildon Academies on Thursday 3rd September.

Lower Academy

On the first day back we would ask that each year group arrives separately to attend a 2 hour period to allow us to run through health and safety procedures, give groups a full tour of the site and to demonstrate expectations.

Thursday 3rd September only:

From Friday 4th September the Lower Academy school day will run as follows:

Upper Academy

Year 10, Year 11 and Year 13 students to return on Thursday 3rd September:

Year 12 Students return on Monday 7th September. Each Year 12 student has been sent a letter detailing their individual timetable and arrival times.

Inevitably we will need to do some things differently for a period of time.  We are following and adhering to government guidance within our planning for full opening and our overriding priority is our determination that no student or staff member is at increased risk for being in school.  Therefore the following control measures will be in place:

Face coverings in education

From 1st September new advice will apply to the use of face coverings by staff and pupils in some schools, and to learners in further education. 

At this stage students are not to wear face coverings in classrooms, however if the wearing of a face covering in communal areas (corridors, canteens, playgrounds) provides additional confidence in supporting your child in returning to school this will be permitted. 

Students that choose to wear face coverings in communal areas will need to adhere to the government guidance on the safe wearing face coverings. 

The relevant points from the guidance is as follows: 

  1. Nationwide, the government is not recommending face coverings are necessary in education settings. 
  2. Face coverings will not be necessary in the classroom even where social distancing is not possible.    
  3. In the event of local intervention (lockdown) areas, face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around schools, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.   
  4. The academy has the discretion to require face coverings in communal areas where social distancing cannot be safely managed. This will remain under review.  
  5. The academy has the discretion to permit face coverings for staff, pupils or other visitors where this provides additional confidence to parents to support a full return of children to school or college. 
  6. Safe wearing of face coverings requires cleaning of hands before and after touching, putting on and taking off. 
  7. Face coverings that are brought on site require safe storage in individual, sealable plastic bags between use.   
  1. Arrival and Departure from site  - from Friday 4th September
    1. Students operate within year group and teaching group ‘bubbles’ at the lower academy.  Students will only mix within their ‘bubble’.  At the upper academy groups will remain together for the majority of the classroom time (not always possible in option subjects).
    2. This will mean that the academy day timings will change for different year groups along with staggered start and finish times
    3. All students, staff and visitors should arrive and depart through the main reception entrance.
    4. Students will retain the same amount of teaching time during this period.
    5. Students will access and exit the school via the reception entrance.
    6. All students, staff and visitors will be required to wash their hands or use hand sanitiser on arrival.
    7. All staff, students and visitors will be asked to remove their face coverings on arrival in line with guidance from the DFE.
  2. Attendance
    1. School attendance for students will be mandatory again from the beginning of the autumn term. All students must attend school.
    2. No-one with symptoms of Covid-19 should attend the Academies.
    3. Where a student is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical and/or public health advice, they will access our remote education.
    4. The usual rules on school attendance will apply, including the availability to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices in line with local authorities’ codes of conduct.
  3. Classrooms
    1. Students will be provided with a basic learning kit (pen, pencil, ruler, rubber and pencil case) and should provide their own additional equipment.  This frequently used equipment should not be shared by students or staff.
    2. Groups for the majority of the classroom time will remain together in a constant classroom, but may be taken by a specialist teacher to a specialist room. This transition around the site will take place with staff supervision.
    3. Class sizes will return to normal - max 30 in line with Government guidance.
    4. Students will be allowed to mix into wider groups for specialist teaching within their ‘bubble’.
    5. All teachers and other staff can operate across different classes, year groups and ‘bubbles’ in order to facilitate the delivery of the school timetable.
    6. Where staff need to move between classes, year groups and ‘bubbles’, they should try and keep their distance from students and other staff as much as they can, ideally 2 metres from other adults to enable a full educational offer.
    7. It is strong public health advice that staff in secondary schools maintain distance from their students, staying at the front of the class, and away from their colleagues where possible – all classrooms will have a designated area allowing teachers to remain 2m from students.
    8. All classrooms will be arranged with forward facing desks.
    9. Students will be seated side by side and facing forwards, rather than face to face or side on, in line with guidance.
    10. Classroom based resources, such as books and games, can be used and shared within the bubble; these will be cleaned regularly, along with all frequently touched surfaces.
    11. Resources that are shared between classes or bubbles, such as sports, art and science equipment will be cleaned frequently and meticulously and always between bubbles.
    12. Outdoor sports will be prioritised where possible, and large indoor spaces used where it is not, maximising distancing between students.
    13. During the initial opening period practical activities in subjects such as science, DT & catering will be demonstrated by a specialist adult where possible.
    14. Appropriate health and safety signage is in place in learning environments.
    15. Co-educators and other support staff can move between groups freely within their allocated ‘bubble’.
    16. All spaces should be well ventilated – prop doors open and keep windows open.
    17. Cleaning materials will be available in every classroom and used as and when appropriate.
    18. Information posters are displayed in every classroom, at the main entrance, places visible to those at the school gate, in the staffroom and in all toilets.
    19. The Basildon Academies Behaviour and Attitude to Learning Policy will operate to support positive attitudes to learning.
  4. Break and Lunch
    1. There will be separate break and lunch times for each year group bubble.
    2. Both break and lunch will last for 30 minutes, with bubbles having access to the school dining room at this time.   Normal service with regards to hot and cold food will resume.
    3. Cleaning teams will ensure surfaces in communal spaces, such as the canteen are cleaned between ‘bubbles’. Cleaning will take place between ‘bubbles’, following the principles set out by Government current guidance:
    4. The dining room will have a supply of cleaning products and gloves.
    5. All students are expected to make use of outside space, unless raining. Social distancing should be adhered to, where possible.
    6. All students will wash their hands or use hand sanitiser before and after eating.
    7. Students can bring their own lunch to school in a lunchbox, but sharing of food must not take place
    8. All catering facilities are cashless to remove the need to exchange cash. Students will be issued with a new card in September.
  5. Movement around the site
    1. Movement around the school site will be kept to a minimum. The school day structure will limit movement around the site.
    2. One way circulation will be in place and should be followed where indicated.
  6. Uniform
    1. The academies will return to the usual school uniform policy.  Students will return in full school uniform.
    2. Uniform plays a valuable role in contributing to the ethos of a school and setting an appropriate tone, also supporting parents/carers with implementing effective personal hygiene.
  7. Meetings and Visitors

    a. No onsite staff meetings to take place unless deemed to be critical (safeguarding)
    b. We ask that no visitors, including parents, arrive onsite without an appointment.
    c. Where parental meetings are required onsite by a member of the pastoral team or SLT, they will happen outside of school hours (3:30pm). On site meetings to follow social distancing guidelines of 2m spacing.
    d. Government guidance asks us to discourage parents from waiting or gathering at school gates or the front of the school.
    e. Parents driving students to school are kindly asked to find a drop off and pick up point away from the school site, and in particular Timberlog Close at the lower academy.
    f. All visitors must wash their hands or use hand sanitiser on arrival.

I am confident the measures implemented reassure you that we are maintaining safety as our highest priority.  I will be in contact again should any of the government guidance change over the summer break.

We very much look forward to seeing all students returning on 3rd September.  I hope you enjoy the summer break and take care.

Yours sincerely

G. Smith

Welcome back Year 10 & 12 - Monday 15th June

This week we welcome back our Year 10 and 12 students and today saw the first groups of Year 10 students return to The Upper Academy.

It was great to see our students back in their uniform and ready to learn.  Our academy has not been the same without them and this week represents the first step in returning our academy to normality.

74% of students have attended their provision today demonstrating that students are keen to return to the classroom.

We look forward to getting the green light from the government to open to wider year groups as soon as possible.

Kind regards,

Gary Smith

School re-opening plans for Year 10 and 12 from 15th June 2020

I hope you are all well. 

As you may be aware the government have delayed the proposed return to school date for Year 10 & 12 students from the week beginning 1st June to the week beginning 15th June.  Today Headteachers received the following guidance from the government:

On 24 May the Prime Minister announced that secondary schools should plan on the basis that from the week commencing 15 June, they can invite year 10 and 12 pupils back into school for some face-to-face support with their teachers, subject to the government’s 5 tests being met.

Any plans that secondary schools have made for pupils to return earlier in June should be amended to commence from 15 June.

The return arrangements previously communicated to you for your child will now apply from the week beginning 15th June rather than next week.

Thank you for your continued support during this period.

We now look forward to seeing your child back in school during the week beginning 15th June.

Yours sincerely,

Gary Smith

Message from Headteacher - 21st May 2020

School re-opening plans for Year 10 from 1st June 2020

I hope you are all well.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the support you have given the school throughout the closure period.  

I am writing to you to confirm the arrangements for Year 10 students returning to school from June 1st in line with current government advice.

From the week beginning June 1st Year 10 students will return to the academy for one day per week to provide contact time that supports home learning. 

During this phase of reopening Year 10 students have been allocated a day to attend the academy.

During this phase of reopening the school day will begin at 9.00am and end at 3.00pm.

This will be a full school day where we will deliver classes from key curriculum area.

During our first phase of reopening our planning indicates that classroom staff to student ratio will be 1 adult : 6 students.

Our normal expectations regarding conduct and uniform will apply, however please do not let a particular uniform issue be a barrier to attending during this phase.  If there is an issue please ensure your child has a note from you.

Attendance Expectations

No-one with symptoms of Covid-19 will be allowed to attend the Academies.

If a student or staff member develops symptoms compatible with Covid-19 whilst at the Academies, they will be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 7 days. Their fellow household members should self-isolate for 14 days.

First Day Absence Calling will be undertaken for all Year 10 who are expected to attend a particular day(s) at the Academies as per usual processes.

Any students who are unable to attend the setting due to clinical vulnerabilities will receive welfare calls in line with our remote learning expectations.

Parents/Carers will not be subject to fines for non-attendance during this period.

Clinically vulnerable children who are at higher risk of severe illness (for example, people with some pre-existing conditions as set out in the staying at home and away from others (social distancing) guidance) have been advised to take extra care in observing social distancing and should learn from home where possible and therefore not attend during this phase of reopening.

Clinically extremely vulnerable children are advised not to learn outside the home. Children in this position are advised not to attend. Read Government guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable for more advice, and therefore should not attend during this phase of reopening.

As per Government guidance, if a child lives in a household with someone who is extremely clinically vulnerable, as set out in the guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable, they will be supported to learn at home, and therefore not attend during this phase of reopening.

On days where students are not scheduled to be in school their remote learning will continue.  

Our overriding priority will be our determination that no student or staff member should be at increased risk for being in school.  

Today I have posted a letter to you all  that will outline in detail the control measures that will be in place during this phase of reopening. These measures have been developed in consideration of GOV.UK guidance to reduce the risks relating to Covid-19.

Due to social distancing, please be reminded that parental meetings and answering of queries will continue to take place over the phone or via email.  Before 1st June you will all receive a phone call from an academy leader to answer any queries you may have.

Thank you for your continued support during this period. I have delivered many home learning resources to students over the past weeks and know first-hand that they are keen to return.  We are looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible from June 1st.

I would also like to thank parents and carers who have sent messages of support and gratitude for the work we are providing and the contact we are making, especially those that show and display the fantastic home learning that is taking place.  I really appreciate the work you are all putting in.

I look forward to seeing you back in school during the week beginning June 1st.

Yours sincerely

G. Smith

Message from Headteacher - 13th May 2020

Update for Year 10 & 12 - School reopening June 1st

Dear parent/carer

I am sure you have digested the information and advice from the Prime Minister’s press conference on Sunday and how schools will reopen from June 1st.

Secondary schools have received the following guidance from the Government at this stage:

From 1 June 2020, we expect that secondary schools and colleges will be able to offer some face to face contact with year 10 and year 12 pupils. This will not be a return to full timetables or pupils back in school or college full time, rather some support to supplement pupils’ remote education.

In line with implementing protective measures and reducing contacts, schools and colleges should limit the attendance of the year 10 and 12 cohort in the setting at any one time and to keep students in small groups. 

From June 1st we will provide, subject to any further government advice, face-to-face in school contact for Year 10 and 12 to complement our online provision, and support student remote home learning.  I will communicate with you all again before half term confirming the details of this provision, safety measures and expectations as well as the learning model.  Please be reassured that our planning will place the safety of our students, staff and community as priority.

Finally, thank you for your continued support during this period.  I am heartened by the amount of supportive emails and positive social media communications that we receive from families, especially those that show and display the fantastic home learning that is taking place.  I really appreciate the work you are all putting in.

Stay safe.

G. Smith

Message from Headteacher - 12th May 2020

Year 10 GCSE Examination Results 2020

Dear Student, Parent/Carer

As Year 10 students you are entered for GCSE English Literature this summer.  It has now been confirmed that the results for these examinations will be awarded using the same methods as Year 11.  You will receive your GCSE Literature grade this summer.

Please find below a link to the letter from the Chief Regulator at Ofqual outlining how grades will be calculated for Year 10 GCSE students entered for this summer:

Further information for students, parents and carers can be found following the link below:

We have been advised that exam centres (the academy) must not, under any circumstances, share the centre assessment grades nor the rank order of students with students, or their parents/carers or any other individuals outside the centre, before final results have been issued.

Thank you for your continued support during these difficult times.

Stay safe,

Gary Smith

Message from Headteacher - 4th May 2020

Update regarding online learning - Subject Support

Today we launched our subject advice email addresses for students and parents/carers to contact if they have a query about a certain topic, key skill or exam question. Each subject email will have the same format with the name of the subject followed by, e.g.

Email addresses will be available for: English, Maths, Science, History, Geography, French, Art, Photography, Drama, DT, Sport, PSHRE, Business Studies, Childcare & Hair and Beauty. If you need any assistance in accessing these, please visit The Basildon Academies website.

These are designed to answer subject or topic specific queries, not general queries or concerns. Please continue to direct these to or for a safeguarding concern,

Thank you for your continued support.

Stay safe,

Gary Smith

Message from Headteacher - 22nd April 2020

Update regarding deliveries of Home Learning Packs

New learning packs and learning kits are being sent to all year groups this week to support students in getting the new term started. 

Today our staff began delivering 170 Year 10 Home Learning Packs. These are being delivered to homes across our community.

These packs will support Year 10 in continuing their learning as they approach the crucial year of their GCSE studies and will run alongside our online learning strategy.

Each pack contains learning materials for individual students that have been prepared by our staff.  This includes items such as learning kit, creative arts material, flash cards, language dictionaries, sketch books, text books, subject work books, reading books, PSHRE materials and learning plans.

The materials are tailored to individuals subjects and tiers and are designed to support your home learning during the school closure period.


Updated information for parents and carers regarding school closures can be found via the link:

Stay safe,

Gary Smith

Message from the Headteacher - 20th April 2020

Update for students & parents/carers regarding online learning support

Today sees the launch of 2 national resources (one from The Department for Education, one from the BBC) to support schools and parents with home learning. These are:

These will be used to support and supplement our ongoing Home Learning Strategy  and the work set by our staff through Doddle

Stay safe,

Gary Smith

Message from Headteacher -  17th April 2020

Update for students & parents/carers regarding daily lessons from BBC Bitesize

From 20th April, you’ll be able to access regular daily lessons in English and Maths, as well as other core subjects via the BBC bitesize website and also special programmes broadcast on BBC iPlayer and BBC Red Button.  These daily lessons will supplement the online learning resources already provided by the academy.  The lessons are age/year group specific and are fully resourced.

To access these please follow the link below:

New Maths and English lessons will be available every day for all ages. These will be created with resources from Bitesize, other parts of the BBC and other education providers. The content of these lessons will be backed up by new videos, practice tests, educational games and articles. Regular lessons on other core subjects, including science, will also be available. 

Parents & Carers can get advice on how to teach anyone who is home-schooling and the Bitesize website will also have guides for students with SEN (special educational needs).

Lessons on screen

BBC iPlayer and the Red Button service will host Bitesize Daily. These are six different 20 minute shows, each designed to target a specific age group, from ages five to 14, and for pupils throughout the UK. Experts and teachers will be involved, covering what should be learned that day for the different year groups and key stages. Maths, Science and English will be covered in dedicated programmes, and other subjects such as History, Geography, Music and Art will also be covered.

For older students, BBC Four is also joining forces with Red Button for evening programmes to support the GCSE and A Level curriculum.

Stay safe,

Gary Smith

Message from headteacher -  3rd April 2020

Update for students & parents/carers regarding summer 2020 grades for GCSE, AS and A Level:
Year 11 & Year 13 Examination Results 2020

Dear Parent / Carer

Please find below a link to the letter sent to schools today from the Chief Regulator at Ofqual outlining how grades will be calculated for GCSE, AS and A Level students this summer.

Further information for students parents and carers can be found following the link below:

I will of course be in touch with you again as soon as I receive further instructions regarding summer results.

We have been advised that centres (the academy) must not, under any circumstances, share the centre assessment grades nor the rank order of students with students, or their parents/carers or any other individuals outside the centre, before final results have been issued. 

Thank you for your continued support during these difficult times.

Stay safe,

Gary Smith

Message from headteacher -  2nd April 2020

Update for parents/carers with regards to Easter opening

The academy will remain open over the Easter break to provide supervision for the children of key workers and for students supported with an Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP) or those who have a social worker.

This will include remaining open on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Please continue to follow NHS guidance on self-isolation and social distancing:

Stay safe,

Gary Smith

Message from Headteacher -  31st March 2020

Staying Safe Online: Resources for Parents & Carers

Further to Mrs Sherman's letter on 23rd March, please find below some resources for parents and carers to support you with online safety and the use of social media.

During this period of school closure, we understand the importance of technology for families and friends to stay in touch, as well as to support online learning. In order to allow you to manage these apps and devices safely, please do take the time to review some of the websites below:

  1.  NSPCC:
  2.  Get Safe Online:
  3.  UK Council for Internet Safety:
  4.  Internet Matters:
  5.  CEOP:
  6.  Thinkuknow:
  7.  Childline:
  8.  Google:

Stay safe,

Gary Smith

Message from Headteacher - 24th March 2020

Free School Meals Support

To support students in receipt of free school meals with lunch provisions during the school closure period we will be sending you Tesco gift card vouchers. 

The free school meal grant is worth £2.24 per day and the Academy will top this up to £2.75, meaning the gift card voucher has a weekly value of £13.75 per child.  

We will send you 2 weeks worth in the first instance to cover the period from the school closure until the Easter break. This will be sent to you in the post.  This means if your child is entitled to free school meals you will receive £27.50 per child for this period.

You can spend the gift card in any Tesco Store (you cannot spend in Tesco petrol stations). To spend in store present at the till with the barcode clearly visible.

If you think your child may be eligible for free school meals then please follow the link:

Thank you for your continued support at this time and best wishes.

Gary Smith

Message from Headteacher - 23rd March 2020

As of Tuesday 24th March all children of Key Workers and those children in other eligible categories will work from The Upper Academy.

From Tuesday 24th March, in order to deploy staffing and resources efficiently, children of Key Workers and those children in other eligible categories will work from The Upper Academy.  We will be operating both academies from a single site in order to ensure we streamline facilities.  This will mean that we can give all students attending access to a greater number of staff and facilities.

The Lower Academy will remain part of our strategy, and we may use this site again over the coming weeks.

Message from Headteacher - 20th March 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

If you are a Key Worker or have a child that meets the other criteria, please can you identify yourself via email to as soon as possible to enable us to contact you directly.

Schools are, being asked to continue to provide care for children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response (Key Workers) and cannot be safely cared for at home.

Vulnerable children including 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

Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include:

  • Health and social care
  • Education and childcare
  • Local and national government
  • Food and other necessary goods
  • Public safety and national security
  • Transport
  • Utilities, communication and financial services

As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The government has given clear guidance on:

If children can stay safely at home they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.

The government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

I will continue to provide you information via all platforms as further details are made available

Kind regards

Gary Smith