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Local Academy Hosts Gavin Williamson on First Day Back to School

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  • 6th Jan 2022 11:09

Local Academy Hosts Gavin Williamson on First Day Back to School

Local Academy Hosts Gavin Williamson on First Day Back to School

 Secretary of State to see testing in action and greet staff and students at the start of the new term


Malcolm Arnold Academy in Northampton town is hosting a visit from the Secretary of State Gavin Williamson today, on their first day back to school. The school will be showcasing their smooth testing process and the ways in which they are initiating their students back to the classroom after their summer holidays. 


Many students returning to the school grounds today spent part of their break at summer school, where they combined learning with outdoor activities including kayaking and rock climbing. The shift back from wilderness to classroom is, for many students, cause for fresh excitement and opportunities to see their peers and teachers again. 


Like many schools across the country, Malcolm Arnold is operating a staggered return to school. The three key year groups of Year 7, Year 11 and Year 12 started school today, and they will be joined by all other year groups from Monday next week. 


Among other measures, MAA is requiring that all students complete a lateral flow test before returning on their allocated day and if positive, not to attend and contact the NHS. They will also test students, with parental consent, twice during the first 4 days of return in accordance with DfE guidance. 


Aside from its policies on coronavirus, Malcolm Arnold is starting the year off as usual with the flurry of inductions to new teachers, new friends, and new aspects of daily school life. New students will also be introduced to DRET’s flagship literacy initiative, ‘DRETReads,’ which is funded by DfE Covid Recovery Fund. The programme aims to increase the accessibility of literary texts that are considered important cultural capital, and to help boost the reading age of all students – especially important in the aftermath of Covid lockdowns.


All students from Year 7 – 11 read 46 books in class with full guided adult support, and an additional 4 books from a published list given to students, totaling 50 books by the end of KS4. These texts, which include Great Expectations, The Silk Roads, 1984, and Mythos, will cover a range of voices, genres, and time periods to provide a rich grounding in the literary canon. Every student at Malcolm Arnold will read for 20 minutes at the same time every day, and all classes in each year group read the same novel together. Staff receive training in advance of the delivery, both on the techniques of reading aloud and also specifically for the text they are reading.


Megan Morris, Principal of Malcolm Arnold Academy, said: 

“We are delighted to welcome the Secretary of State to Malcolm Arnold today and to showcase our fantastic staff and students as they return to school for the new academic year. We have spent the summer preparing for our students’ return to make it as smooth as possible for everyone, and to see that in action has been fantastic. 


“As we continue to navigate safety measures for all of our staff and pupils, we never lose focus of our commitment to offer all of our students a world of possibility through an extensive Music, Sport and Enrichment program. Our school-wide, innovative initiatives like DRETReads allow us to introduce our students to exciting new ideas in a natural, fun way that often doesn’t even feel like learning. 


“We simply can’t wait until our classrooms are filled with the sound of discussion, laughter, and learning once again.” 


Secretary of State Gavin Williamson said: 

“I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Malcolm Arnold Academy, especially at the start of the autumn term when it’s great to feel that sense of excitement from staff and pupils.


“There was an enormous sense of optimism as we get back to a greater sense of normality, and that was reflected in everything I saw - the lessons for new Year 7 pupils, Year 11 science lessons and I loved hearing the magnificent choir. I want to wish everyone at the school the very best for the academic year ahead.”