A virus, national recognition for exam results and a farewell?

Today has been a very strange and quite emotional day. It marks but will probably be the final day for our year 11s and 13s before they come back in the summer to collect their results. As I write this there is still some uncertainty over exactly how these marks will be awarded. There was also a sense, with all of the staff and students in the school, that many of us would not be seeing each other, possibly, for quite a long period of time. None of us deals too well with uncertainty, yet we are trying to provide that certainty in spite of not knowing what the future holds.

I have been so proud of our students this week.  They have been aware of the pressures that all of the staff have been under and they have been overtly caring and considerate in their approach to everyone in the community.  Walking around the school, you would not know that this week was different to any other apart from slightly smaller class sizes.

I would also like to pay tribute to all of our staff.  So many staff – not only our teachers – are going way beyond the call of duty in helping to keep things as calm as possible in these unprecedented circumstances. Despite their weariness, the anxiety of pupils and staff, the unnerving sense of not knowing where all this is leading us – they’re doing an extraordinary job in extraordinary times.  I am so proud that we have been open to all years every day.

I wanted to do something today for our students so they could leave with a smile on their face in spite of the uncertainty to your head. We had a Fun Farewell Friday.

 

Year 11

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Today might be the last day this year group are together in school.  We had a hastily arranged day for this lovely year group.  They gathered for an early lunch before heading to the Sports Hall for some inflatable fun.  They then had an end of year assembly with awards and a few speeches.  They left with shirts signed and ready for some rest.

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Year 13

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They celebrated with Dominos pizza and some farewell.  When I arrived at the school in 2014 this is the year group that was in Year 7. It has been such a privilege to watch them grow over the past six years into the most incredible young men and women. I could not be more proud of a group of students and they will certainly hold a special place in my heart.

 

 Food parcels

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Mrs Dickerson, our catering manager, and Mrs Beckett, our finance director, have spent a great deal of time this week arranging our food parcels to be ready for collection next week.  We have made this provision to support families who are entitled to free school meals as I am aware that the school closure will bring unanticipated additional costs.  We are in times of greater financial uncertainty, so if you have concerns about providing these additional meals please make contact with the school either by telephone on 01803 329351 or admin@TQacademy.co.uk

 

National recognition for GCSE results

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We have been recognised nationally by receiving a prestigious award for their outstanding key stage 4 results last year. The award is based on 2019 data provided by the Department for Education and Ofsted, and for the school’s commitment to collaboration, analysed by the Schools, Students and Teachers network.

Torquay Academy was found to be among the best performing non-selective secondary schools in the country, receiving an award for student progress at key stage 4.

The SSAT Educational Outcomes database compares all state-funded schools in England and the highest performing schools in a range of key measures are awarded SSAT Educational Outcomes Awards.

Sue Williamson, Chief Executive of SSAT said: Congratulations to Torquay Academy on winning an SSAT Educational Outcomes award. This success is down to the superb learning and teaching, outstanding support and inspirational leadership of students, staff, parents and governors. You have made a huge difference to the lives of the young people in your school. Thank you.

 

A Farewell Fun Friday

 

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We don’t know when we will back in school together again so we decided to have a special Fun Friday for our amazing boys and girls.  Dripping with hand sanitiser they all had a wonderful hour of fun.  It was lovely to see following what has been a very difficult week.

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The packs that weren’t to be…

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Mr Christophers and Mrs McKee spent a day and a half packing an envelope for every year 11 so they could have four weeks worth of detailed revision. These packs were due to be given out on the day the government announced that they would not be sitting their exams this summer.  All of the teachers hard work will not go to waste though as we have many students who will be using these resources.

 

House assemblies

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This week we have been having house assemblies.  You can see in this picture Mr Gale sharing his favourite Fawcett quote.

 

Maths at Met Office

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At the beginning of March a team of year 10 Mathematicians went to the Met Office in Exeter to compete against other schools in the team maths challenge event. We got told all about the new supercomputer used by the company to help predict the weather and how it performs over 202 trillion calculations per second, that’s the equivalent to every person on the planet doing 2 million calculations per second!
Our team of students consisted of Ellis Knowles, Anthony Brooking, Felix Houghton and Jake Ellwood. The competition consisted of four rounds, each round presented the students with different challenging problems to solve. Our students did fantastic. They didn’t quite win a round but were highly commended by the organisers for coming close to the podium spots every time. A huge well done to the team who did exceptionally well. The staff supervising them said they were a pleasure to work with.

 

Science Dept Hand Washing Experiment

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In the wake of COVID-19, and instructions to wash hands for at least 20 seconds, my mini scientists on science club thought they would investigate this claim. The first petri dish is a control. The second shows microorganism from unwashed hands. The third plate is microorganisms remaining after hand washing for 5 seconds, and the last plate shows growth after washing hands for 20 seconds. Most of the growth remaining on the last plate is skin flora, which are healthy and vital for our health.

 

Good luck from Germany

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Lea spent the2016/2017 school year with us and always told everybody that it was a great experience!  I received an email from her and her parents this week explaining a German tradition where family and friends compose a motivation banner for students before they sit their final exams (Abitur in Germany equivalent to our A-Levels).  They have shared Lea’s motivation banner as it features one of the phrases she has kept using since being with us TA: ‘You never fail until you stop trying’.