Year 9 End of Term Letter – 15th December 2021

Four female students working on computers

Dear Parents/Carers,

As 2021 draws to a close, it is with mixed emotions that we reflect on the year that we’ve had. In January, the national lockdown had the UTC learning online for a phenomenal five live lessons each day for the vast majority of students right up until March. We opened our doors to vulnerable students and those who were in key-worker families. We understand that the pandemic has affected families in all sorts of different ways but we reflect with pride in the way that The Leigh UTC and Inspiration Academy staff supported the learners and the broader community at that time.

By April, we had all students back and enforced suitable measures to ensure that the curriculum was delivered in full to start helping students get back on track with their learning. Regular on-site testing ensured that students and their families were kept safe as the world returned to its new normal. Despite the national lockdown we achieved International Baccalaureate World School status for our Middle Years Programme (MYP) which has helped us to structure learning for our Year 7, 8 and 9 students so that learning gives a more global feel and supports learners to develop into forward-thinking young adults. We also achieved National Online Safety accreditation for our commitment to helping students remain safe online. This year’s National Online Safety parent courses are going live this week – please log in and complete those; parents who did last year’s gave really positive feedback.

The teaching staff have worked incredibly hard to restructure student learning to maximise opportunities to re-teach content completed during the lockdown whilst minimising the impact on new learning. Our Year 11s have recently completed their mock exams and have demonstrated great progress in the last few months giving us confidence that our strategy to accelerate progress seems to be working for large numbers of our students.

In September, we welcomed a few new members of staff to the team as the workforce continues to grow. The number of students now attending the Leigh UTC is up to 740 and will continue to expand in 2022/23. During modules 1 and 2, we focused on increasing the level of homework that students were being asked to do to make necessary progress to be successful and we are already seeing the impact of this. We’ve had students on the National Tutoring Programme learning either in groups of three, or individually through MyTutor. Students on this programme are giving really positive feedback.

December saw us celebrate the festive period through the annual Christmas Jumper day and Christmas dinners last week. Some of the staff are pictured below by our wonderful Christmas tree! Sadly, the rising number of COVID cases and advice from Public health England meant that two year groups will complete this week learning from home on live lessons. Live lessons were launched from 8:30 on Friday morning, and have been full of students since then!

People at UTC wearing Christmas jumpers

All staff and students were asked to wear a Christmas jumper and donate £1 to Save the Children.

The last day of Module 2 is Friday 17th December, finishing at 1.45pm. Students will attend lessons 1 to 4. They will have lunch and tutor time, before being registered and dismissed at 1:45pm. Please be aware that Tuesday 4th January is a staff inset day.

For the start of Module 3 Y9, Y10 and Y11 are to return on Wednesday 5th January 2022. Y9 students arrive at the academy at the relevant times for their testing and following a negative test result go to their lesson.

Before we can return, governmental advice states that all students will need to have a COVID test in school. Therefore, Year 9 students are asked to join us on Wednesday 5th January to take a COVID rapid flow test. The testing will take place in the UTC Lecture theatre and students should access it via the playground. Students who have had COVID in the previous 90 days do not need to be tested.

  • Students in 9V – please arrive at 8am
  • Students in 9W – please arrive at 8:45am
  • Students in 9X – please arrive at 9:30am
  • Students in 9Y – please arrive at 10:15am
  • Students in 9Z – please arrive at 11am

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a restful Christmas break, and thank you for your continued support.

Yours faithfully,

Steve Leahey