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It is expected to be a really cold week. A reminder to all parents that our uniform policy is clear: we expect students to wear a grey v-neck jumper with their blazer. Any other branded jumpers or hoodies (unless given as part of our rewards programme) are not permitted and will be confiscated. Cold weather is not a reason to compromise standards. Further to this, we are reminding students to change back into their black school shoes after sport at social times again this week. We have benches specifically for this reason and the very first rule in the ‘Ready’ section of our Code of Conduct is ‘We always wear correct and smart uniform at all times and always have the right equipment for learning.’ Students who choose to wear trainers on corridors or in classrooms can expect a consequence and again, we operate a policy of confiscation and collection.

It’s an important week for parents of students in Year 9. We have our ‘Guided Curriculum Choices’ evening at 5pm on Thursday, This is a VIRTUAL event and the link is here. It is an opportunity to hear about the courses we will offer at Key Stage 4 and start the discussion about what qualifications your child would prefer to study towards in Years 10 and 11. Miss Seleshe and Miss Chudasama are hosting the online event which begins at 5pm online.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to parents of students in Year 11 whose children had their first ‘real’ exams last week in Health and Social Care and Sports Studies. We had 100% attendance at the exams and I expect that to continue for the IT exam at the start of February and into the Summer too. We also had an inspection from JCQ, the exams regulator, who observed our procedures and gave us a fantastic report about our adherence to public exam regulations – which was expected.

We also had a visit from a very good boy last week: Jhura, a detection dog, joined us as part of our regular safeguarding work. His visit wasn’t part of any specific concern. Students welcomed him warmly and were very friendly, cooperative and mature. As expected, nothing was found. Jhura will return regularly as part of our continued commitment to ensure our school remains a drug-free place, in the same way we work with the police to regularly and randomly have our ‘security arch’. We will never be complacent when it comes to student and staff safety.

It was great to see CORE Extra resume last Tuesday: students started new clubs and I dropped into all sessions. I particularly enjoyed saying ‘Hola!’ to students in our new Spanish club and watching our students in our Chess Club get to grips with the rules of the game. It was great to see students in Year 10 at the Tate Gallery in Liverpool too – there were lots of compliments given to teachers accompanying them which was lovely to hear. We have some brilliant opportunities this week too at the Academy. UCB are joining us today to give an assembly to Year 7 students and will also be working with Year 9. We are excited to be forming such a strong partnership with UCB and I hope to share more about that shortly.

Our elected Student Parliament meet again on Tuesday at The JointWorks. They are going to be purchasing activities and games for students to do at social time and also deciding what prizes will be on offer for the 100% Attendance ‘Rewards Raffle’ each half term. It was great to see our first ‘golden tickets’ handed out last week to those who had attended every day the previous week. We will continue to send ‘alerts’ to families where attendance is below our standards and we continue to work with Birmingham City Council’s team to issue fines where attendance doesn’t rise to our expectations. One family at JQA has been fined £1600 recently. 

Today, we have the School Nurse Team in to support with the Flu Nasal Spray for students. All are eligible for this and I would encourage all families to take up this offer. Flu is a huge concern, considering the pressure on the NHS in Winter and the risk to the elderly – something my family have struggled with over Christmas and I have been personally affected by last week.  A thank you to all parents who have signed up for this. I have invited those parents who have requested digital support to come to the Academy and collect either a laptop or an internet dongle. Homework is set online via Teams and we expect all students to be able to access their Microsoft Outlook 365 account so they can complete their homework. I welcome further requests for laptops or internet access and I review these weekly.

Finally, I need to let you know that the Governors have upheld a permanent exclusion for a student in Year 10 that I issued in December. Again, I reiterate to all parents that I will not have students’ learning persistently disrupted by the actions of other students. Teachers come to school to teach; students come here to learn and achieve. We have a clear STEP system of monitoring and support and if you child is within this system, it is important to work with the Academy to ensure their conduct improves. There are currently 14 students who we have placed at other schools because their choices have repeatedly ruined learning for JQA students. Excellence is expected here.

You are always welcome to come in for coffee on Wednesdays to meet with our pastoral staff, SENDCo or careers advisor between 9am and 11am. As always, you can call the Academy on 0121 729 7220, leaving a message if lines are busy and we will get back to you. Our lines are very busy in the daytime so I encourage parents to use the voicemail facility by pressing option 2. If you would like urgent support, you can always reach Mr Bibb (our Designated Safeguarding Lead) on option 4.

You can always contact me directly this week at: [email protected]