Sybil Andrews Academy

Sybil Andrews Academy features on BBC Look East

We were delighted to welcome Kevin Burch from BBC Look East on Wednesday 21st October 2020 to discuss how the school and students have coped this term.

The film crew interviewed our Head Boy and Head Girl, our headteacher Trenica King, Tim Coulson, Chief Executive of Unity Schools Partnership, as well OM Health & Wellbeing Consultancy.

Click on the You Tube video below to see the film.

Students across Sybil Andrews Academy have taken part in a poignant visual display to mark Remembrance Day.

Creative poppies, many with special messages, adorned the front of the school last week before a virtual assembly was held on Armistice Day along with a two minute silence.

What is it like to attend school when all your friends are at home?

To be one of only a handful of students in a big secondary school, getting used to a new timetable, a new routine, but remaining at least two metres away from your new ‘classmates’.

That was the situation facing 12-year-old Tilly Greening, one of the minority of students who continued to attend a very different type of school setting as her parents worked at West Suffolk Hospital.

Just two weeks ago, Sybil Andrews Academy was a bustling and vibrant secondary school in the heart of Bury St Edmunds’ Moreton Hall estate.

Then, following the decision of Prime Minister Boris Johnson to close all schools due to the coronavirus pandemic, Tilly was suddenly one of the 1.5% of pupils still attending school within the Unity Schools Partnership and its 11,000 pupils across West Suffolk and Romford.

Amid these startling statistics, which have been replicated across the country, Tilly shows the same resilience that we often attribute to young people.

Tilly, who lives in Thorpe Morieux, said: “It has been a little strange but also quite fun. Each student who still goes into school has made their own timetable around the traditional subjects – and I have done things like art and dance.

“We usually work in the library, but on different desks, or we take turns in the computer room.

“We have different teachers with different specialities, but they have all supported us whenever we need it.”

When we spoke to Tilly, there were just five students at Sybil Andrews Academy with the school, like many others, committed to remaining open to support key workers.

But what does her friends think of the new educational environment?

Tilly explained: “I speak to my friends after school and we talk about our day. They are working from home, but I think I can concentrate better being at school.”

It is not only students who have had to quickly adapt to a different environment.

In whistle-stop time, school leaders and staff had to formulate an action plan to bring learning into homes up and down the country – with the Easter holidays bringing a welcome break to pause, reflect and then devise more new ways of working.

Stephanie Hugill, Head of Performing Arts at Sybil Andrews Academy, said: “It has been surreal coming into the school and teaching such a small number of students.

“As a teacher, I think I miss the daily contact the most. It has been a strange feeling not coming into school, saying hello to students and having lots of different little conversations with them.

“But we have still had fun and it’s so important to stimulate the students in every way possible. The Joe Wicks morning workout, involving students and staff, has been hilarious.”

As a performing arts teacher, Mrs Hugill admitted the new way of schooling has been a challenge.

But bringing her creativity to the fore, she is planning some practical activities – including a virtual performance using any five items from your kitchen.

With Tilly now having two weeks off from school, with her father having some well-earned planned annual leave, Mrs Hugill commended the decision to remain open during the holidays for other children who still need to attend.

She explained: “I think it is so important that schools do everything they can for our key workers.

“While schools are not frontline in the same way as our NHS or shop workers for instance, we feel it is crucial to provide some stability in these unprecedented times.”

This month began with our Year 8 football team braving the elements whilst competing against King Edward School, the boys fought hard against the wind and rain to secure a 7-3 victory.

February also has seen the release of the much anticipated netball league results. We are thrilled to confirm that Y8A secured the league title after remaining undefeated all season and Y7A after an equally strong spell finished in second place.

This month students have also had the opportunity to take part in a basketball workshop (girls), Year 8 boys basketball league and Under-13 girls indoor cricket tournament. Our Year 8 boys were unlucky to lose to Thurston in basketball having remained level all game until a successful shot on the final whistle.

The department were inundated with applications for Sports Leaders. With such a strong field of students here at Sybil, it was an extremely difficult selection process. Students will hear by the end of next week if they have been successful.

Finally, a huge thank you to all of the parents and students that attended the Salou Pre-Meeting on 6th February – with less than six weeks to go the countdown is well and truly on!

Upcoming Fixtures:

  • Thursday 12th March – U13 Hockey Tournament
  • Friday 20th March – Salou Netball Practice (8-8.40am)
  • Monday 23rd March – Salou Football Practice (3-3.50pm)
  • Friday 27th March – Salou Netball Practice (8-8.40am)
  • Monday 30th March – Salou Football Practice (3-3.50pm)

Elise Wright – Running/Swimming/Netball

Elise enjoys swimming, running and playing netball. She swims for West Suffolk Swimming Club and has just competed in the 2020 Suffolk County Championships.

Each week she trains four or five times in the pool plus strength and conditioning gym sessions.

Elise is having a successful cross country running season and has been selected to represent Suffolk and Suffolk Schools at a number of inter county events over the coming weeks.

Her other love is netball. She plays competitively for Jetts Netball Club and is the captain of the Year 8 Sybil Andrews team who won the Under-13 Area Netball League.

Safer Internet Day 2020 was celebrated in school around the theme ‘Free to Be’ – looking at identity online.

On Thursday 23rd January, the police were in school with students in Years 8-10, focussing on internet safety followed by workshops with Year 10/11 on computer science safety.

Safer Internet Day aims to inspire a national conversation about using technology responsibly, respectfully, critically, and creatively.

Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre, the celebration sees hundreds of organisations get involved to promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.

We discussed the moral responsibility of keeping yourself safe and keeping other people safe when online with this year’s Safer Internet Day focus of ‘Identity’.

The Safer Internet Centre has lots of fun and educational activities that can be used, including an entire area dedicated to parents/carers. Please visit https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/safer-internet-day/safer-internet-day-2020/i-am-parent-or-carer.

We would encourage all parents/carers to look through this information and discuss with your child at home to reinforce the messages that we are giving in school.

Sybil Andrews Academy regularly updates the school website with up to date information on e-safety. Visit https://www.sybilandrewsacademy.co.uk/e-safety/ to find out more.

  • We are delighted to begin a new partnership with the ‘collège Simone Veil’ in Mandres les Roses, near Paris. Our French students in years 7-10 have just completed their introductory letter to their new French penpal. We are all excited to find out more about the French teenagers, their lifestyles and their school when they write back to us in the coming weeks.
  • John Greenwood, from Suffolk Police Cyber Crime Unit met Years 8, 9 and 10. Here he tells us more about his visit to Sybil Andrews Academy:

I work for the Cybercrime Unit in Norfolk and Suffolk Constabulary and recently visited Sybil Andrews to present assemblies and workshops to the students around two key areas. The first area was around improving their personal cyber security (guidance from N C S C) with tips about what makes a good password and highlighting the need for all passwords to be strong and unique.

We also talked about the additional security 2 factor authentication provides and how your personal data could be compromised through no fault of your own.

Finally we identified how human error is the most common factor leading to data lose and how we need to consider the information we post online and our share settings as our digital footprint accumulates and follows us throughout our lives.The second strand delivered was about the Cyber Choices programme – a national initiative to deter individuals from getting involved in cybercrime, and prevent re-offending.

Year 11 students have started a revision competition in which they compete for individual rewards and a group prize. Every hour of revision is rewarded with a token that counts towards an individual total and is then placed in the group’s collector. Students have shown real grit to stay for after school revision sessions and with their final set of mock exams now taking place pupils excellent focus bodes well for the summer examinations.

For more guidance on what students should be completing for revision please download our 123 revision booklet.

This month saw the release of the much anticipated NCFE Health and Fitness results. Our Year 10s, who sat the exam in November, performed exceptionally well and we are thrilled that so many students achieved their target grade. Special mention must go to Bethany, Leo, Noah, Lauren and Josh for achieving Level 2 Distinction. Team PE are very proud of you all.

Earlier in the month, our Year 7 girls finished their netball league fixtures on a high with both the A (21-1) and B (5-2) teams securing a win over St Benedicts. January has also seen our Year 8s compete in indoor athletics and for some of our students to assist with Under-11 Sportshall Athletics, both valuable opportunities.

The 29th and 30th of January were exceptionally busy days for Team PE with Year 8 Football, Year 10 Futsal and our annual swimming gala against Culford School. We are thrilled to share the news that our Year 10 Futsal team have progressed to the county finals – commiserations to Year 8 Football whose cup campaign has come to an end following a disappointing defeat to Holbrook Academy.

A huge congratulations to Year 8A netball who have won the area league after remaining undefeated all season. Their success makes the girls Sybil’s most successful netball team to date.

And finally a massive well done to Year 7A netball who have finished in second place in their area netball league. In a league of 12 teams this is a superb achievement.

Maesie McKenna – Badminton

Maesie has been playing badminton since the age of six and now trains up to five times a week.

Maesie plays for Abbeygate Badminton Club and Suffolk. She has represented Suffolk for two years in the Under-14’s, winning girls doubles.

She now plays for Suffolk in the Under-16’s, already gaining silver in the girls doubles.

Maesie also plays in the England tournaments competing against children from all over the country.

When the students in Mrs Cresswell’s Maths class asked when they’d ever use geometry, she had the answer, as follows:

Year 10 were completing their unit of construction of triangles. We had just drawn an isosceles triangle when one pupil asked when they were ever going to need to draw an isosceles triangle in real life.

I said every Christmas when you make gingerbread houses with your kids. The class sounded excited to try as many had not had the ‘gingerbread experience’.

In pairs I gave them the dimensions of the tray and they had to construct their own template. This was the hardest bit as a few had a number of trial runs before getting it.

Four Year 10’s stayed after school and made the gingerbread and cut out all the pieces. The gingerbread was given back to the class and they spent a wonderful lesson decorating. Some amazing bits of imagination and design. Hopefully they will never forget how to construct a triangle.