One of our CELT academies, Brannel School, was in the news this week. The school has just been granted planning permission by Cornwall Council for a new classroom extension.

‘The Eco Patch’, as it has been named, will inject new life into learning outdoors. The development includes a new classroom and miniature smallholding with chickens, ducks, pygmy goats and other small animals.

Chris Liles, Headteacher, said “The Eco-Patch is a pathfinder. It will be an inspirational space which joins up the delivery of complimentary programmes for animal care, outdoor learning, health and wellbeing, and environmental education in order to maximise the learning potential of our environment and our pupils.

“We believe that outdoor learning is at its most potent when it is interwoven within the formal school curriculum. Taking the curriculum outside will have a positive impact on attainment, increase engagement, and enable the development of a wide range of skills including problem solving, communication and resilience.

“By encouraging interaction with the environment and developing a sense of identity and pride in their local environment and community, our aim is to enrich the local and global environmental awareness of young people.”

The building, designed by Penryn-based architects Marraum, has been designed with a sustainable ethos in mind in both materiality and form. There will be timber decking around the new buildings and raised beds for planting. Despite potential delays caused by the Covid-19 lockdown, we are still hopeful that the Eco Patch will be completed for the start of the new school year in September.

To view a short video showing what The Eco Patch will look like, follow the link to Marraum’s website

Autumn term is likely to be the most challenging that any teacher has experienced for generations. There is understandably huge concern about the impact of school closures during the COVID-19 lockdown. There is concern both about the face-to-face learning time pupils have missed, and about a possible extended ‘summer learning loss’ effect where learning prior to the lockdown may have been forgotten. The reality is that different children will have done different amounts of learning during lockdown.

Social mobility experts are warning, in particular, that by September the gap between disadvantaged children and their peers may have widened significantly. The disadvantaged gap is a perennial challenge not only for educators, but for society as a whole. The impact of school closure during lockdown has the potential to unpick all the positive gains that schools have made over the last decade in addressing this issue. Schools are now having to rise to the challenge of averting a social mobility decline caused by the Covid-19 crisis.

As we plan to reopen schools across our Trust, we are considering the evidence for different possible approaches to where our focus should lie in order to provide every pupil with appropriate academic support.

At the beginning of July, we commissioned a research project to look at how we can collectively, as a Trust, mitigate the worst effects of the pandemic and create a cross-phase, system wide approach to minimising its impact on the progress and outcomes of our disadvantaged learners – now and in the future. Our research and action group comprises nine senior leaders from across our primary and secondary settings to ensure a group make-up that is genuinely representative of the range of perspectives and ideas across CELT.

The key aims of the project are to:

  • Minimise the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown on the progress and outcomes of disadvantaged learners – now and in the future.
  • Create a sustainable, evidence-based approach to developing powerful learning and teaching that improves outcomes for all pupils.
  • Secure an enduring and productive professional learning culture, providing guidance and support for all teachers at all stages, across our Trust.

This morning, Marc Cooper (Deputy Head, Brannel School) and Natalie Simmonds (Headteacher, Lostwithiel Primary School), delivered a presentation to our CELT Headteachers’ Board, outlining the beliefs and principals that will underpin the project, and setting out the first steps for implementation.

The research group has already reviewed a broad range of the latest national and international research focusing on the disadvantaged gap, and has produced a set of provision guidance for all educational leaders, teachers and support staff across our Trust, to inform their thinking and planning as we prepare for the return of pupils in the autumn.

We will be delivering the research project in partnership with the International Centre for Educational Enhancement at the University of Bolton (@Boltonuni), led by Professor David Hopkins (UoB, Educational leadership Chair, and John Baumber (Head of ICEE, @johnbaumber)

For more information view our Provision Guidance for Disadvantaged Pupils:

We are looking to work with other multi-academy trusts who would like to share best practice on designing and delivering a catch-up programme.

#CornwallVSG2020. The Cornwall Virtual School Games 2020, sponsored by the University of Exeter, began on Monday 22nd June and ended with a closing ‘congratulations’ ceremony on Friday 26th June. The Games had over 10,000 unique participants and nearly 40,000 individual results registered. This is an outstanding level of engagement from across the County.

During this week children of all abilities in Cornwall, from reception through to year 10, completed 14 different sport-based challenges. There was one sport-based challenge per day with Athletics on Monday, Bowls & Boccia on Tuesday, Dance & Gymnastics on Wednesday, Volleyball on Thursday, Tennis on Friday and throughout the whole week ‘Making Up The Miles’.

We are exceptionally proud of all the pupils who took part in the Games across our CELT family of academies. CELT academies took home medals across the board:

Medals List

  • Carclaze Primary School  – Year 3 Athletics, Silver
  • Poltair School – Year 8 Athletics, Silver
  • Penrice Academy – Year 8 Athletics, Bronze
  • Carclaze Primary School – Year 2 Bowls & Boccia, Silver
  • Poltair School – Year 8 Bowls & Boccia, Gold
  • Poltair School – Year 9 Bowls & Boccia, Silver
  • Poltair School – Year 10 Bowls & Boccia, Silver
  • Carclaze Primary School – Year 2 Gymnastics & Dance, Bronze
  • Carclaze Primary School – Year 3 Gymnastics & Dance, Bronze
  • Penrice Academy – Year 8 Gymnastics & Dance, Bronze
  • Poltair School – Year 9 Gymnastics & Dance, Silver
  • Poltair School – Year 10 Gymnastics & Dance, Silver
  • Poltair School – Year 8 Volleyball, Bronze
  • Poltair School – Year 9 Volleyball, Silver
  • Poltair School – Year 10 Volleyball, Bronze
  • Poltair School – Year 8 Tennis, Bronze
  • Poltair School – Year 9 Tennis, Silver
  • Poltair School – Year 8 Making up the Miles, Silver
  • Poltair School – Year 9 Making up the Miles, Gold
  • Poltair School – Year 10 Making up the Miles, Silver

Check out more at Active Cornwall on YouTube here:

You can also watch highlights from the Games and the Closing Ceremony.

We are delighted to be able to formally announce that Pondhu Primary School in St Austell will join our family of academies this September.

Pondhu’s Governing Body has given careful consideration to the decision, including getting expert external advice, and has concluded that this is definitely the best step forward for the school.

Debbie Tregellas, Headteacher of Pondhu Primary School, said “Our ethos and values at Pondhu are a great fit with those of CELT and we are fully engaged with the CELT mission of learning together to help every child achieve more. We believe that joining a multi-academy trust like CELT, which has a clear focus on working as a partnership of equals, will give Pondhu the backup and support to continue our positive direction of improvement and make sure our progress continues strongly in the right direction. It will further strengthen our governance and leadership capacity, help us to make sure that we are setting the right strategic direction, and give our excellent team of staff more opportunities and support to develop their careers within the CELT family of academies in the years ahead.”

This week we are so excited to announce the opening of the first ever Cornwall Virtual School Games sponsored by the University of Exeter!

This year Cornwall is celebrating ten years of it’s annual School Games. One of our CELT secondary schools, Poltair School, was due to host the Games this year. This has not been possible given that all schools remain in partial lockdown due to the continuing Covid-19 threat. However, Poltair School, along with our other CELT academies, are excited to be participating in Cornwall’s first ever Virtual Games.

Lee Adams, Curriculum Team Leader for PE at Poltair School said: “Poltair School is really looking forward to the Virtual School games and will be encouraging all students, staff and families to get involved over the coming weeks. What a great way to bring the spirit of the School Games back and put a smile on so many young people’s faces by representing their schools once again. Best of luck everyone and do your schools proud.”

The #CornwallVSG2020 started today with a virtual opening ceremony. Poltair’s Mr Adams and Year 10 sports leaders Reehan and Gwen appear in the video to wish everyone taking part the best of luck, with Gwen reading The School Games Oath.

Reehan Hussain, Year 10 Sports Leader from Poltair School, said: “I hope you are excited about the challenges released today. The Virtual School Games is a great opportunity to represent your school again and get involved in activities whilst scoring points for your school. I will definitely be taking part for Poltair and hope you do too for your school.”

During this week, children and young people from reception through to year 10 will be completing 14 different sport-based challenges. There will be one sport-based challenge per day with Athletics on Monday, Bowls & Boccia on Tuesday, Dance & Gymnastics on Wednesday, Volleyball on Thursday, Tennis on Friday and throughout the whole week ‘Making Up The Miles’. We have had an amazing number of CELT students take part – and we have seen them dressed up as birds, cats, and bears, as well as lots of families joining in. One young lady even took part with her 5-month-old brother!

By getting involved in this year’s Games, our CELT students will have the chance to learn something new, connect with their friends from school and their family, get physically active and give some of their time to gain points for their school.

Follow with the social media hashtag #CornwallVSG2020 

Check out the Cornwall School Games Facebook page@CornwallSchoolGames 

The government acknowledges that the necessary five tests for easing the lockdown in England have now been met. As part of the country’s unlockdown plan, this week our CELT secondary academies were delighted to welcome Years 10 and 12 back to school.

Since the beginning of lockdown our CELT academies have been dedicated to delivering emergency provision, remote learning, centre-assessed grades, and preparing their school buildings to welcome back our students. Although we do not yet know what the national plan will look like in the longer term, we will continue to ensure that all our CELT students are able to learn effectively even if disruption continues, that they are brought back into school in a safe and timely manner, and that the impact of the disruptions to their education is recognised in our national assessment systems.

The risk of coronavirus to pupils in the classroom is “very, very small, but not zero”, according to sources in the government’s scientific advisory group, Sage. In line with government public safety guidance, there are number of measures our academies are putting in place to ensure the continued safety of our students and staff:

  • Significantly reduced number of students in schools.
  • Staggered timings to reduce contact.
  • Temperature checks for students and staff entering the buildings.
  • Students are taught in ‘bubbles’ of no more than 15, single classroom tables are arranged to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
  • Separate meeting and departure points.
  • Students to wear face coverings on school buses.
  • Additional cleaning of surfaces and toilets throughout the day.
  • Pastoral support for students in school.

We are delighted to announce that children across our CELT academies who are eligible for free school meals will receive a six-week food voucher from the government’s Covid Summer Food Fund to cover the summer holiday period, after a high-profile campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford. The food vouchers will be worth £15 per week per eligible child.

Mr Rashford has said the extension of the government’s free school meals scheme – launched when all schools were closed as part of the coronavirus lockdown – has “bought an extra six weeks” to “figure out what’s next”.

Is this a chance to end ‘holiday hunger’ for good?

At CELT we already recognise that some of our families are struggling financially all year round. Our academies access the government’s Holiday Activities and Food programme, which enables them to offer activities and free meals in the summer holidays. However, we recognise there is more to be learnt about how we can best help our families in need.

The DfE have issued the following guidance, to which our CELT academies will be adhering, wherever possible:

Education and childcare settings are already open to priority groups. Now that we have made progress in reducing the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) we are encouraging all eligible children to attend – it is no longer necessary for parents of eligible children to keep them at home if they can.

In particular, as per the existing guidance on vulnerable children and young people, vulnerable children of all year groups continue to be expected and encouraged to attend educational provision where it is appropriate for them to do so.

From the week commencing 1 June 2020, we are asking primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, Reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups. Primary schools that have capacity after making provision available for these groups can invite additional children to return, so long as they can accommodate more children while still following the approaches set out in the protective measures guidance and their own risk assessment.

From 15 June, we are asking secondary schools, sixth form and further education colleges to offer some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of year 10 and year 12 students and 16 to 19 learners in the first year of their course who are due to take key exams next year, alongside the full time provision they are offering to priority groups.