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Letter to Parents & Carers

Letter sent out 14.09.20

Dear Parents and Carers
RE: Welcome Back!
I hope that this letter finds you all in good health. During last week’s ‘staggered start’, BOA welcomed its new Year 10 cohort and saw the safe return of students in years 11 and 13. Attendance during the first week was excellent and it was wonderful to see students back in the building. Most encouragingly, students were keen to return to their learning. We also welcomed our new Year 12 cohort during the enrolment days on Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th September, and we look forward to their first official day later this week. Thank you – first of all – to students for adapting so effortlessly to the measures in place due to COVID-19 and for ensuring that all members of BOA’s community feel safe and secure.

Year 10
Students in Year 10 worked with our industry practitioners last week and produced work that would normally be showcased during an exhibition and performance. As we are not able to invite audiences into BOA at the moment, the content has been captured by our Year 13 Broadcast students and we will share this with you once the footage has been edited. Our industry practitioners had nothing but praise for the Year 10 students they worked with and I am absolutely certain the showcase will capture the talent, energy and commitment of this year group. Well done to all!

Year 11
It was wonderful to welcome Year 11 students back on Thursday last week and to speak to this cohort via a series of assemblies. Firstly, I was pleased to see that lockdown and the time away from the Academy have not dampened their spirits or creativity. I spoke with all students about a showcase we will organise for the w/c 5th October, where – if we are unable to invite audiences into the building – we will film the content in order to share the exhibitions and performances with you all. I will share details of these showcases with you very soon.

Year 12
The enrolment days for Year 12 students went smoothly and I am looking forward to meeting this cohort of students on Wednesday 16th September. Originally, we had planned to hold a year group assembly at the Old Repertory Theatre on Station Street but, due to the guidance surrounding large gatherings, we have had to change these plans. I’ve been contacted by a few sets of parents to clarify whether their children are to report to BOA or to a different venue on this day. To clarify, I’d like all Year 12 students to arrive at BOA for 9am on Wednesday 16th September, when we will arrange a series of small assemblies. Whereas Year 12 Dance students will be at Birmingham Repertory Theatre later in the day, all students will begin their first day in BOA building before being escorted to their teaching venues. Apologies if there has been any confusion here.

Year 13
As well as meeting with all Year 13 students last week to welcome them back, we delivered a short presentation on ‘progressions’ and UCAS applications. Miss Rickard, who is responsible for overseeing all applications to higher education et al, will ensure she meets with all students to support them with their choices and personal statements. As with Year 11, I spoke to Year 13 students about a showcase we will organise for w/c 19th October. Again, if we are unable to invite audiences into the building, we will film the content in order to share the exhibitions and performances with you all. I will share details of these showcases with you very soon.

Birmingham’s lockdown
At the time of writing, the lockdown measures to be introduced in Birmingham from Tuesday 15th September do not affect public transport, places of business and schools. As a result, BOA is open and there are no changes to the arrangements for full opening. If there are any updates, I will let you know as soon as possible.

Timetabled hours
The Department for Education has asked all schools and academies to ensure full opening from 1st September onwards. As a result, I am not able to organise part-time education for students in compulsory education (Key Stage 4). Whereas timetables Post-16 students have been organised into blocks, learners still receive their correct allocation of timetabled hours. Independent learning to support Post-16 qualifications has been set on the Academy’s virtual learning environment (VLE) for students in years 12 and 13 who will find they do not have lessons on certain days. Parents and carers must ensure their children attend the Academy for their timetabled hours. It is important to note that BOA building is open until 6pm, Mondays to Fridays. If students miss their trains home or if a train has been cancelled, they are able to wait in the Academy building.

And finally…
I look forward to writing to you shortly with news of the showcases for Years 11 and 13, as well as with details of how to access the footage from the Year 10 Induction Showcase. I also look forward to celebrating the outcomes of the summer projects completed by years 10 and 12. Until then, I do hope you all stay safe and well.
Yours truly,
Alistair Chattaway