- About Us
- Year 11
- Parents & Carers
4 February 2019
Dear Parents and Carers
First, thank you to all of us who made sure that our children made it to school on Friday. I appreciate that snow comes to Brighton rarely and the temptation to stay at home was great. Attendance on Friday was good at PACA, a great reflection on all our students.
In events this week, we welcome a group of 11 Spanish students who will be joining for a week in Year 9. Our rolling programme of STEM activities continues with year 7-9 roboticists going to compete against other schools in the south east on today. Last week we launched the consultation process for the temporary suspension of the 6th form and consultation meetings are available this evening and on Tuesday 5-2-19 (please see our website for details).
In a previous letter, I mentioned that we were considering changing the timing of GCSE options choices. Following discussion at the Parents’ Forum, I can now confirm that we will not be conducting GCSE option choices in Year 8 and will delay this until students are in Year 9. Last week I had a conversation with some students about how they would feel about this change. While some said they knew what they wanted to study already, they knew many did not. Overall, many schools which had moved to do GCSE options over 3 years are moving back to 2, giving students longer to decide their interests, and making sure that our students have a broad curriculum for longer in secondary school. We know many students will want some choice in Year 9 so they can follow subjects that they have more interest. We are working on a process to allow students to make a limited choice in year 9 and I will let you know how we will do this after half term.
You may have seen in the news this week that the Schools’ Minister, Nick Gibb, has been calling for an outright ban on phones in schools (see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-47095053). While we ban the use of phones in school, we do not ban the use of phones outside the school building at break time. There are many arguments for and against a full ban on phones in school, but it is clear that they do present a distraction and students sometimes do not remember to have them put away at all times in the school building. For that reason, we will be tightening up the implementation of this rule. In addition, we will be implementing a full ban on headphones. There has been an increase in students having headphones dangling out of shirt collars, as a small mark of rebellion. This week we will be making it clear to students that if we can see headphones, we will be confiscating them. We will make sure that this week every student has this message.
Budding restaurateurs and chefs may be interested in the attached flyer for a competition that is running until Friday. I am grateful to Mr Flynn who is always looking out for exciting activities.
Lastly, I would like to round off with an update from our Duke of Edinburgh coordinator, Ms Wales.
I am delighted that since the Awards Ceremony in November, two further Bronze Awards have been made: Anthony van Niekerk and Owen Williams are now the proud holders of a Duke of Edinburgh Bronze!
PACA has signed up our new cohort of Bronze Award participants –16 eager young people have begun working towards their Volunteering, Physical and Skills sections, as well as training for their expeditions: developing knowledge of OS Maps, the importance of kit, and how to plot routes using grid references.
Many are already getting stuck into their Sections: India B has almost completed her six months of Music, Toby M has been running regularly in order to build up to a 10K run in the near future, Rebecca B and Lauren B are working towards six months of Dance, and Ella P has been spending Saturday mornings developing specific goal-keeping skills.
For the first time ever, PACA has opened up DofE Silver to those who have successfully completed their Bronze Award in year 9. We have five young people who will be working towards longer expeditions this year. These students were exceptionally committed last year, and I know they will work together to be successful again this year! Kaitlin E has already completed a month of volunteering with a local parkrun, and is taking on a range of roles to support this free, weekly 5K run (or jog, or walk, or plod!)
As always, we are immensely proud of the young people who have taken up these challenges – we are proud to be a part of DofE @ PACA!
Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA) is a co-educational school for 11 to 18 year olds based in the heart of the Mile Oak Community in Portslade, Brighton.
PACA’s motto is ‘Unlocking Potential’ and we are committed to unlocking the full potential in our students and staff.