Subject: Samuel Whitbread Academy E-Newsletter Issue 108 (20/12/19)

Samuel Whitbread Academy 
Issue 108 (20/12/19)

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Dear Parents and Carers,

It's Christmas and the autumn term has finally come to an end.

Last week I had the pleasure of watching this year’s pantomime, Aladdin, which was an absolutely fantastic spectacle and a great evening’s entertainment. It was a real team effort with students as young as 4 from our feeder schools performing alongside our GCSE and A Level students. The previous Friday we also had our Christmas concert with performances from the school choirs, orchestras, rock bands, percussion groups and finishing with the school band. These two events take hours and hours of practice and rehearsals and I'd like to thank all the students, parents and staff including: peripatetics, Art, DT, Dance, Drama and the Music department for all their hard work and dedication.

Two days before the actual election, the Sixth Form team invited all of the candidates for mid Beds. We had representatives from Labour, the Green party, the Monster Raving Loony Party and an independent candidate. The debate lasted over an hour with some excellent questions from students and staff. Unfortunately Nadine Dorries was double booked and couldn't attend, however, Conservatives still managed to win the exit poll, matching the outcome of the country on Thursday. On Monday, I was delighted to be invited to give a reading at St Mary’s Christmas Carol service in Meppershall. It was a lovely festive occasion.

Every year BEST runs a Christmas card competition and this year the winner was Alasdair in Year 9 with an amazing picture which must have taken hours to create. The winning designs from each year group will be used to create all the Christmas cards sent by SWA and BEST this year. We had yet more good news last week with the arrival of Hollie and Summer, otherwise known as ‘Cotton Wool Mice’ with their new EP, which they self-funded and had designed and recorded themselves. It’s amazing to see what these two young folk singers have managed to create and they were no doubt inspired by ex-student Maddie Morris, which won BBC Young Folk Musician of the Year Award earlier this term and is a great supporter of Cotton Wool Mice!

Following on from Mrs Hood’s email about uniform, please can we ensure that Santa brings any necessary items, such as shoes, ties or jumpers this holiday, to ensure that everyone returns with full uniform after the break.

In sport the netball girls are going from strength to strength with another couple of excellent wins against colleges from Norwich and Southend, the U14 and U18B football boys are still going strong in the national cup, and our basketballers are leading the way in the district competitions.

Finally, it's not too late to fill in the questionnaire on the two tier consultation here.

Nick Martin

Year 9
Merry Christmas! We are now at the end of a really long and tiring term for the new Year 9's. Their first term has been an overwhelming success and I am very proud to be associated with them. Please help them to rest and unwind over the holiday to allow them to come back in January refreshed and ready for another fantastic term. Please ensure your child returns not only feeling fresh but also looking ready for the new term. Our uniform policy states that they need to be in school shoes, blazer and tie and school trousers. Thanks so much for your support.
Festive wishes.

Mr R Sinclair
Year 10
As a very long half term ends we end 2019 on an extremely positive note for our Year 10 students. Following the first set of reports over 160 of our students achieved an average predict grade of 5 or above which is fantastic and shows us how hard they are working already in the early stages of their GCSE courses. The average attitude to learning for the year group was 1.76 meaning our students were gaining a large number of ‘Good’ and ‘Excellent’ in their reports this term – Over 200 students achieved the average ATL or above which is amazing!

We ran three Christmas competitions this month to get the Year 10 students in the Christmas spirit and there were some superb entries from each tutor group. The winning pictures are below.

We would also like to remind parents that a letter was sent out in regards to uniform so can we ensure that the holidays are used to make sure students have the correct uniform when starting back on the 7th January 😊

Have lovely Christmas and a brilliant New Year! 

Miss V Yadav
Year 11
It has been a long term for the Year 11 students, with mock exams having finished just a couple of weeks ago. The students’ mock exam results will be handed out during tutor time on 16th January and I encourage you to have a reflective conversation with your child about their results. This will mirror the experience of results day and provide each student with the nervous excitement they will feel in August. In February we have the next Progress Review Evening. This time you will have the opportunity to sit down and discuss progress with the subject teachers. I don't think it’s an over exaggeration to suggest this is the most important communication opportunity within their schooling so far. A letter with times and dates will be sent out in the new year. Please do everything you can to ensure these vital conversations happen. We really can see the end of Year 11 thundering towards us and I am extremely excited to celebrate the successes we will have. I hope you have a great Christmas and New Year.

Miss Tabert

Sixth Form
Well done to all our students for making it through a very long half term. Next term our Year 12 students start thinking about university and apprenticeship applications with their Parents Information Evening on the 23rd January. Many of our Year 13 have sent UCAS applications and the final (final!) deadline is the 15th January. Our Christmas assembly was lots of fun this morning, an enormous thank you to all students and staff who contributed to our Christmas Taskmaster competition. Winners of the taskmaster we form groups 13M and 12J who have won themselves breakfast next term. We gave out many awards from subjects and tutors, as well as Music and Drama badges. Special mentions go to form group 13A for their participation during The Twelve Days of Christmas, thank you for your enthusiasm! We wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

Mr Tonking, Mrs Hoad & Mr Huckle
Pastoral Support
Central Bedfordshire Council are running “Kidstime Workshops” for supporting families talking about mental health. It is aimed at parents with a mental health condition and their children aged 5-17. It offers a safe space for families to talk and to learn about mental health from supportive professionals. It also aims to address children’s various fears about mental health and its treatment. These sessions will take place once a month on a Thursday in Arlesey. For more information, contact Kerry Nielow on 03003006440 or
As we approach the end of the first term of this academic year, I have the pleasure of providing an update on the activities that the governing body have been involved with over the last three months. In October BEST were granted the Governor Mark Award which is a huge achievement and reflects all the hard work that went into the application prior to the summer break. Congratulations to all involved. At the start of the year, Steve Botterill, Ian Mason and Jennie Condé  were welcomed to the team and have spent the autumn term settling into their new roles and becoming involved in SWA life. As Steve says “it is a privilege to be part of the governing body. From within you see not only the large amount of work that happens behind the scenes from the governors themselves but all the additional out of hours commitments made by the staff at SWA".

Since September, members of the governing body have been working with the senior team to continue monitoring and evaluating the quality of education within the school. This involves SLT link visits, meeting departmental heads, and carrying out Quality of Education Reviews, all of which have been valuable in enabling governors to have a deeper understanding of how the school is adapting to and implementing the new Ofsted inspection framework.

In addition to the close working with specific departments, governors have also carried out a safeguarding audit and are working on developing an action plan with the senior team. The Year 8 and Sixth Form open evenings provided us with an opportunity to meet current and prospective students and parents, and we have also begun to closely look at the proposed transition from three to two tier. We will provide further updates on this as the year progresses.

Many governors have also been lucky enough to attend a number of creative arts events, including the Christmas concert and the pantomime. The feedback has been excellent and everyone who attended has spoken very highly of the outstanding performances and commitment on display - from both students and staff! From all the governors, we wish you a happy and restful Christmas, and look forward to working with you in 2020.
Election debate
On 10th December the Sixth Form Mid Beds General Election debate took place. It was a fantastic event where Sixth Form students could challenge the candidates for Mid Beds. The party candidates were very impressed with how the students challenged them on a range of complex issues. Thank you to the following candidates for turning up:

1) Labour party
2) Independent candidates
3) Green party
4) Monster Raving Loony Party

It was unfortunate the Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates did not arrive.

Well done to all involved!

Admissions Policy
BEST is proposing a change to the admissions policies for its schools from September 2021. As per the Schools Admissions Code, BEST will commence a six-week consultation period. Please see information on the changes by clicking here.
Two Tier Consultation
Information and a link to the one-question questionnaire can be found here. We would appreciate people taking the time to read the letter and completing the questionnaire.
Eco Schools
Please click here to read the latest developments from our school’s eco committee, who are making great progress with their projects!
Food Festival
Yesterday Sixth Form students took part in the food festival to raise money for one of our sister schools, The Methodist Junior High School in Kwahu-Tafo, Ghana. If you would like further information on this link please see here.

Over £625 was raised as a result of the country stalls. Each tutor group had a country from which they needed to bake/cook delicacies and sell. Many of the stalls went all out and were very impressive. The tutor group that raised the most money was 13M (£120) with 13A a close second (£110). The atmosphere was excellent and brought the whole sixth form together for a very festive end to the term. Something that everybody needed. Well done to all involved. The money raised will be of great benefit to our sister school in Ghana.
Performing Arts
Last week SWA showcased the BEST pantomime 2020 of Aladdin. The huge number of students taking part meant that we had two casts over four nights. As always it is was a fantastic production and both students and audience had a great time booing, hissing and laughing ("he's behind you!"). Well done to all involved. 
All current Year 10 students are encouraged to pop up to the art department to collect their lovely little ceramic fish masterpieces which they made in Year 9 if they would like them. Any students wishing to do so will need to bring their Year 9 art group details so we can find them among the 400-odd little fishies in 21 different boxes! Please collect before the end of January.
SWA currently has three vacancies being advertised. The closing date for each position is listed below:

• Religious Studies Teacher (with potential PSHE TLR) – closing date Sunday 12th January 2020
• Fixed term Learning Support Assistant – closing date Sunday 5th January 2020
• Casual Exam Invigilators – closing date Thursday 16th January 2020.

Please click here for more information. If you know of anyone in your circle of family and/or friends who may be interested in the above roles please do encourage them to apply!

The Artist of the Month for December is Alasdair Year 9. Alasdair won the BEST Christmas Card Competition Star Prize for his above design. This took him 3 days to complete using coloured pencils with hints of tipex. Well done Alasdair!
For the under 15 rugby boys it was mixed emotions in the County Cup this week. The A team made it into the County Cup final but the B team narrowly lost out in the other semi-final to Cedars A team, despite man-of-the-match Owen Cochrane scoring five tries. The date and venue for the final after Christmas will be confirmed shortly.

A tough game in tough conditions greeted us as the U16 B team arrived at Wootton to play their A team in our semi-final match in the County Cup. Wootton adapted to the rain and pitch much better and we were quickly 15-0 down thanks to their inside centre causing us some real problems. As the game progressed we grew more into the match and increased our physicality and looked after the ball much better. Sadly the clock beat us and we run out of time, SWA losing 15-10. A great effort and a stunning second half performance. Very proud of all the boys!

1st XV
Wednesday’s game against Richard Collyer’s College from Horsham in Sussex was the most complete performance of the year so far by Whitbread. A strong attacking threat right across the pitch and amazing defensive resilience saw the boys complete a 26-0 victory, with tries scored by Dan Chalmers, Regan Marshall, Theo Ogonah and Connor Stone. There were standout performances from Regan, Theo and Tim Hughes but Man of the Match went to Haydon Jones who constantly gave the players great front foot ball to set up our attacks from. Well done boys, a fantastic way to end the decade.

Over the past two weeks the first team netball girls have continued their impressive winning streak with a 51-24 win over Norwich and a 47-18 USP College in Southend. It has signalled a great start to the season and a fantastic way to end 2019 with two very strong performances and hopefully many more to come. The girls would like to thank coaches Hayley and Jo for their commitment and support this year and they look forward to what 2020 will bring, starting with preparing for the regional tournament in January.
SWA’s U18 B team successfully made it through to the last 16 of the National Cup with a 1-0 win over our old foes Thomas Telford. It was the first time Whitbread has ever beaten the national football specialists (having lost in the National Cup final 3 years ago). In some very tough conditions, Jamie Parker popped up to net the only goal. The boys now face the trip to Grieg Academy in Haringey after Christmas for a place in the quarter finals.

The U14 football boys are still going well in the National Cup – up next they face Bishop Stortford School in the fifth round just after Christmas with a place in the last 16 at stake and a trip to Bromley. We are hoping for another big cup run for this talented group of players!
Our U14 basketball boys finished the season unbeaten and now progress through to the County semi-final after Christmas and are due to face Cedars for a place in the final. There have been some superb performances all season with particular mentions to Harry Lupton, Charlie Atkinson and Reon Gilbert for their continuously excellent performances. The U16 boys have also reached the semi-finals, only losing one game, to St Thomas More with a depleted squad, but now have the chance to get their revenge in the final with Van Dyke standing in the way of a repeat meeting with St Thomas More in the final.

It was a fantastic result for the Year 10 and 11 girls basketball team in the District final last night. They beat Etonbury in the first game 31-6 before turning up the intensity to beat Redborne 41-10. Now as District champions, they look forward to the County Championships in the new year. Congratulations girls!

Show my Homework
We an online system for setting homework. The site is called 'Show My Homework' and can be accessed here. All pupils have been given a username and password for parents and carers, so you can monitor the work being set and the quality of the homework being completed by your children. Please follow the link if you wish to know more about the website and the functions it has to offer parents and carers.
Is your Child using their
entitlement to Free School Meals?
If your child is already receiving Free School Meals please remind them that they are entitled to £2.20 per day. It is advised that they use this amount at lunch time when they will get the best deal for their money. If the amount is not used it is not carried over to the next day, it will be removed and £2.20 will be credited to the account on a daily basis.

If there are any problems using the Biometric Finger Print System please speak to one of kitchen staff either behind the counter or in the office. If your child feels uncomfortable approaching the kitchen staff then please go to the year team pastoral officer.

Please be aware that the process for using the biometric finger print is exactly the same for children using free school meals or paying for school meals.

School Closure Arrangements due to Severe Weather
Please find information below from Central Bedfordshire Council for parents/carers to register to receive school closure alerts:
In order to receive an e-mail alert via the Central Bedfordshire Schools’ Open Status (SOS) system, you will need to register:
• Click here 
• Click on 'register for updates' and fill in the text boxes
• Click on 'submit' You will then receive an email which contains instructions on how to 'activate' your account which will include a 'one off' activation code.
• Click here
• Go to 'Log in to edit your details' and type in your email address and the activation code.
• The next time you want to edit your details (e.g. change the names of schools you wish to receive alerts for) type in your email address and password.
Please do not try to ring radio stations to find out if schools will be closed. Telephone lines will be busy and this may prevent a vital call reaching the News Centre. Please listen to the radio or access the website for confirmation.
If you have an existing account but have lost your login details please send an e-mail to to have your details refreshed.
For further information, please click here (APPENDIX C S)   

Free School Meals
- Are you Entitled?
If you would like to find out if you are entitled for your child to receive Free School Meals please contact Customer Services at Central Bedfordshire on 0300 300 8306. Please have the following information ready: national insurance numbers and dates of birth for you and your partner, dates of birth for your children, and if you receive support from the National Asylum Support Service, your NASS number. You may qualify if your child attends a school full time in the Central Bedfordshire area, and you get any of the following: Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit, Support from the National Asylum Support Service, Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit) and you have an annual income that does not exceed £16,190.

If you do not live in Central Bedfordshire area but your child attends a school in Central Bedfordshire full time, then you should apply to Central Bedfordshire Council, on 0300 300 8306. You will be informed if you are entitled to free school meals when you telephone, any problems verifying the entitlement will be discussed during the call. Please be advised that you can only apply for Free School Meals through Central Bedfordshire, Samuel Whitbread cannot process the application.
Young Carers
Our website now has links to organisations that offer advice and support for all the family along with young carers chat forums . Also you will find application forms for grants along with guidelines to help in making it easier to access any financial support you may need.
Pupil Premium
You may have received an email from us recently about the Pupil Premium funding that we have available to support some of our students. There is an application form on our website that you can use to request any support from the school - click here to see. All application forms or any requests for further information should be sent to

SEND Information Sessions
Free drop in information sessions are available for parents/carers with children with SEND. Click here to read more information.
Service Families
Samuel Whitbread is committed to supporting our service families. If you think you are going to be posted please contact Thomas Rowell ( so that he can help your child's transition go as smoothly as possible.
Career information, advice and guidance support
The 4YPUK Careers Adviser Rose Birmingham is available for 1:1 appointments to talk though options and career ideas (or lack of ideas!) including apprenticeships, college courses, employment, training etc. To book an appointment visit: . Appointments are held in in Room 910 (Library).

More information and support can be found here on our website.
Brook Appointments
Brook appointments can be made via the Medical Room. Students can seek advice on issues such as online safety, healthy relationships, LGBT diversity, puberty, self esteem and many more.
Adopted Children
If your child is adopted from care, under a special guardianship order or a residency order, we can claim extra funding from the government to support them in their progress at school. The funding is part of the Pupil Premium Grant and we can use it for all sorts of support from 1:1 tutoring to help with equipment, revision guides and trips.

Please let Mr. Candlin if you think your child may be eligible for this support. Email:

Safeguarding Team
We take the safeguarding of our students very seriously at SWA and the safety and protection of our students is paramount in all that we do on a day to day basis. Mark Gibbs, Associate Principal, is the Designated Safeguarding Lead at the Academy.

The team which includes Clare Hood, Associate Principal, Clare Bonham PSO Sixth Form, Jo Abbott PSO Year 10, Tanya Clark PSO Year 9, Thomas Rowell SENCO, Julie Saggers PSO Year 11, Vishali Yadav Head of Year 10, Charlotte Tabert Head of Year 11 and Richard Sinclair Head of Year 9 are always willing to support and give advice.

If you do have any concerns about any of the students about their safety please contact a member of the Safeguarding team to discuss your concerns or contact The Central Bedfordshire HUB on 0300 300 8585 or if you live in Bedford Borough please call 01234 718700.





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BEST (Bedfordshire Schools Trust)

Samuel Whitbread Academy

Samuel Whitbread Academy has changed bank accounts. Could you please advise parents that all future cheque payments for school trips should be made payable to: Samuel Whitbread Academy – School Fund.
Signing In/Out
Following the installation of gates, students will only be able to enter and leave the school via reception. If your child needs to sign out during the school day, please make a note in their planner.  This will enable them to leave their lesson if necessary and sign out at reception ready to be collected.

All parents need to sign in at reception whenever they visit the site.
We would like to remind Parents and Carers of the regulations regarding holidays and would like to make you aware that Best Term dates may differ from the term dates published on the Central Bedfordshire website. Please see our website 
The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 and Central Bedfordshire advise that unless special circumstances* are identified then term time holidays should not be authorised. 

Absence Request Forms can be collected from the Attendance Office (Room 337).
If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs A Martin – 01462 628041 or 
Samuel Whitbread Academy E-Newsletter

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Samuel Whitbread Academy
Shefford Road, Clifton, Shefford, Bedfordshire, SG17 5QS
Tel: 01462 629900
Fax: 01462 629901

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