ELA Newsletter

Spring 2024

Thank you for taking the time to read this spring’s ELA Newsletter. Whilst it has been a short term, it has been fantastic to see the wealth of experiences ELA schools have been able to offer our students since we came back to school in January.

We’ve focussed as always on our three themes: reflecting on things we have to celebrate, considering ways in which we’ve worked together, and looking ahead to exciting opportunities across the rest of the academic year.

If you’d be interested in getting involved with Trust work, through offering a student talk, careers support, or volunteering more widely, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the headteacher of your school.

Wishing you all a peaceful Easter break, and we look forward to seeing staff, students and parents in the summer term.

Lucy Scott
CEO of the Eastern Learning Alliance 

Things to celebrate

Girton Glebe Primary School

Girton Glebe have had an incredibly busy and productive term with lots of work developing the PYP, trips to The Sedgwick Museum and West Road Concert Hall, and World Book Day.

Gardening Club

Exciting news! Our school gardening club, set up by awesome volunteer Alison in the Autumn term, have been awarded the RHS Level 1 Gardening School Award! After months of hard work in the pond and forest area, the gardening club have been recognised for their efforts to make an accessible growing space and for beginning to understand the benefits of gardening.

Young Writers Success!

Just before Christmas, our wonderful Cherry Class entered a Young Writers’ competition where they were tasked with writing an imaginative and creative 100-word saga about a fictional monster. When we returned to school in January, we received the incredible news that ALL of the entries from Cherry class would be published in a book called Crazy Creatures – Amazing Imagination. According to Grace and Charlotte in Year 4, “The whole competition was amazing, and we enjoyed writing our stories and can’t wait to share the book with the rest of the school!”.

Football Champions!

Mr Butler and 10 excited Year 5&6 girls enjoyed a blustery Tuesday afternoon in Cambourne as they left school to attend a football tournament. The girls, with their shared commitment to football training at the Glebe this year, competed against 15 other Cambridge teams and walked away with the top award, beating their closest rivals on goal difference! Mr Butler and Mr Bull are very proud of the team, not just for the commitment they have shown to win the tournament, but how they represented the school with the positive and happy attitude throughout all of their games.

Year 3 Visit The Sedgwick Museum!

Lime Class were very lucky to go on a school trip to the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences in Cambridge. This was part of our Rocks, Relics and Rumbles project. Everyone was very excited to be getting on the public bus in to town. Before heading to the Sedgwick, we walked through the Grand Arcade and were amazed to find ammonites and other fossils in the stone floor. When you are next in the Grand Arcade, look at the floor!

In the Sedgwick, we found rocks from: space, the very top of Mount Everest, and from all around the world. We were fortunate enough to be able to handle and sort some really interesting samples depending on how they were formed. We also saw some of the specimens that Mary Anning (who we learnt lots about in Year 2!) had discovered.

Impington Village College

We were absolutely delighted to be ranked as East Anglia’s Top Comprehensive School of the Year 2024 by The Sunday Times Parent Power List and listed as one of the UK’s Top 10 Comprehensive Schools. This is a testament to the hard work and commitment of our entire learning community and recognition of the well-rounded learning experience that we provide for our students.  

Elsewhere, our students have enjoyed a diverse range of educational visits, both nationally and internationally. A cohort of students jetted off to Delhi and Jodhpur in India to teach students with disabilities at the SKSN school. Closer to home, students travelled to the historic Roman town of Bath to bolster their Latin studies, which is now available as a curriculum subject for our International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP) students for the first time. Other students have enjoyed trips to watch various theatre productions and competed in a range of competitions, including the recent South Cambridgeshire Debate Competition, which was hosted by Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Lucy Frazer, at the Houses of Parliament.   

As an IB College, we believe that learning is a life-long process and the Spring term saw the return of our Adult Education Programme; a calendar of classes and courses for people age 14 and above. From foreign languages to pottery to cooking classes and more, we are proud to offer a broad range of experiences to our adult learners and the feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive.  

Downham Market Academy

Our wonderful catering team of Jason, Hayley, Karen, Ali, Chris and Angela have been shortlisted in the Public Sector Catering Award finals as the “Education Catering Team of the Year”. The team have worked wonders over the last 18 months to improve the quality of our catering provision and now the vast majority of our students visit the canteen regularly to enjoy the food on offer. Menus have been designed to provide healthy and nutritious food that students and staff enjoy!

We’ve got everything crossed that the team’s achievements are rewarded on awards night in early April – some of the team are travelling to London for a glitzy ceremony where they will learn if we have won the award.

Vista Academy Littleport

We were absolutely delighted to celebrate with five Vista students who attended the inter-schools tech tournament at Downham Market Academy and came home with the trophy! They were tasked with making a design and a miniature prototype for a motor-powered machine. Their winning design needed to cross a wire and deliver aid to people in difficult to reach areas and it also included a feature to make it go back in the form of a reversible switch. The students enjoyed the energy in the room and seeing what the other teams produced, while revelling in the opportunity to invent and create. We must also thank Mrs McNeil who gave up her time to support our students on her day off – we are grateful to our staff team, without whom events and opportunities like this would not be possible. 

Elsewhere, our students have enjoyed a diverse range of educational visits, both locally and internationally. Our Year 11 Geographers went to Cambridge to undertake their fieldwork, Year 9 and 10 students have headed to Anglia Ruskin University and our volunteering club headed to the very local nursery. We have welcomed various visiting speakers and guests in especially during national careers week. We welcomed James Laing to the Art Department. James lives in Cambridgeshire and is a successful Art Director working in film and TV, specialising in set design and decoration. He has worked on films such as “The Meg 2” and “The Marvels”, as well as TV hits such as “Boiling Point”. He came to talk to the students about how he got into the profession and what the job involves. It was an interesting session with great engagement from KS3 and KS4 students who asked James some thoughtful questions.  

This term also saw the inaugural Vista LGB that provided Mr Harrison with the opportunity to share and celebrate the significant work that has been undertaken to improve the school in all aspects of school life. 

Athena Sixth Form College

Following a moderation process, we are pleased that our Year 13 students have, once again, achieved superb results in their studies of Health and Social Care. Many of the students have received distinction and merit grades in their most recent externally assessed work.

The Health and Social Care course is growing in popularity, with students looking for public sector jobs, teaching and caring careers taking up the course. Some choose to combine it with our Childcare course, allowing a hands-on and varied route into a range of childcare settings. Abi, one of the current cohort, has recently secured an apprenticeship with a local primary school and is very keen to develop her skills working with young children while pursuing a career as a primary school teacher.

The Cavendish School

We have had another fantastic term, finding lots of collective achievements to be proud of- both big and small – across TCS. This term, we have been incredibly proud of all the work our community has undertaken to continue to offer great student experiences at TCS.

First and foremost, we can’t help but beam at the sight of Geoffrey Giraffe “Standing Tall” and gallivanting through the Grand Arcade: a symbol of our community’s vibrancy and spirit. TCS students worked together to decorate Geoffrey, as well as contributing to the Trust giraffe! Our Giraffe was sponsored by Cambridge University Press and Assessment, as part of the trail around Cambridge organised by the charity Break. His presence serves as a reminder of the ethos and values of the school.

We were thrilled to celebrate the journey of our pupils who ventured on a residential trip to Hilltop. Their time spent at Hilltop was nothing short of transformative. From conquering challenging activities to fostering deep connections with their peers, the trip had a real spirit of adventure and camaraderie. It was great to welcome students back to hear all about their experience, and know that the lessons learned and memories created will enrich our school community for years to come.

Chesterton Sixth Form

We are thrilled with the huge number of year 11 applicants we have received, showing the excellent levels of interest in the sixth form. We have continued to hold face-to-face guidance meetings and it has been a pleasure to meet so many students who all seem so well suited for A-level study.

We continue to be incredibly impressed with the integration of sixth formers with the rest of the school. Currently year 12 students are involved across an array of areas of school life where they are supporting staff and students with wellbeing, reading proficiency, extra-curricular and subject specific activities. Additionally, a number of sixth form students have taken the initiative to set up their own whole school club, which so far have included, Programming, Tabletop games, Debating and even a Dr Who club!

We are delighted to congratulate Heather on being offered a place at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge to read mathematics next year. This, along with the other range of fantastic offers (Exeter, Edinburgh, Durham, Manchester, and York to name a few) students have received just show the impact of CSF’s bespoke approach to university entry.

Impington International College

Following our well attended Open Evening in the Winter term, we are delighted to have record numbers of students wishing to enrol with us in September. We have recently also celebrated our alumnus, Tyger Smalls, who he has been drafted by US Major League Soccer team, Charlotte FC. Tyger now trains under the guidance of former Premier League manager, Dean Smith!

Elsewhere, our Performance School staged its first full production of the year; the Broadway classic, Guys and Dolls. The performance received rave reviews and the students were rewarded for their hard work with three sold-out nights. A cohort of our students also enjoyed taking part in the trip to India to support students with physical impairments at SKSN school, where they donated 16 bags of much-needed clothing, learnt more about Indian language and culture and even practised their cricket skills.

Witchford Village College

For all students at Witchford as we pass the halfway point in the year, the spring term heralds a real sense of the start of the next stage in students’ journeys with us.

Year 7 are no longer transitioning into secondary and are a fully fledged part of WVC. In student lunches with the Head, Year 7 say they feel part of the school and are looking forward to their time with us. On Open and Induction Evenings, prospective students stare open mouthed when we say that within the year they will all be on stage performing a song and dance routine in foreign language, yet rehearsals are in full swing in lessons and ‘Languages Alive!’ is looming on the school calendar!

Year 8 are now over halfway through Key Stage Three and well on their way to meeting the intent of their subject curriculums. These Intents are important to us as they are crafted so the knowledge and skills acquired help and inform students throughout their lives and to give them a lifelong grounding in the subjects they study. This is particularly pertinent where students move on to GCSE years and are not able to carry all subjects forward.

Year 9 have engaged very well in preparing for Key Stage Four through the Pathways process. These conversations often begin with ‘imagine you are 25 years old, what can you see yourself doing?’. It is great to hear the dreams and aspirations of students, but also the majority who are not quite sure yet and are keen to keep all options open to the future.

Year 10 have returned from work experience in recent weeks, and it has been lovely to hear all the stories about their experiences. It is heartening to hear all the links they make between their personal development here at WVC and how it is used in the ‘real world’. We are grateful too to all the businesses in our community who support this initiative. Congratulations to all those who have been offered further experiences in the future!

One of our favourite days of the year is the Mock Interview Day where around 30 employers come in and interview Year 11 in preparation for their Post-16 provider interviews. The feedback from the employers was fantastic, and even the shyer students had positive feedback and lots of tips to take into their upcoming interviews. Again, we are grateful for their time to support WVC students. Year 11 are also well into the revision for their exams at the end of May.

Other highlights of the term include.

  • Participating in the finals for the East of England Parliamentary debate in the House of Commons;
  • Assemblies from our local MP and Secretary of State Lucy Frazer;
  • Visits form the Combined Authority Mayor Dr Nik Johnson;
  • ARU Climate Oracy Project;
  • Rehearsals for Oliver!
  • Dance Workshops;
  • West End Trips;
  • Magpass Assemblies and Fundraising;
  • Year 10 Apprenticeship Event;
  • WVC Pledge events;
  • Paired reading programme;
  • Language Nut Completions;
  • Art work showcased at Babylon Galleries;
  • Science trips to the Institute of Physics and Astronomy
    …and so much more!

Downham Market Academy

In January we welcomed a group of Chinese students and their teacher to DMA where they experienced lessons and learning in an English school.

Each student had a “buddy” at DMA who they shadowed for the week and it soon became apparent that long-lasting friendships would be forged. Not only did our guests gain a huge insight into a different schooling system, DMA students also got to learn about a totally different culture which was fascinating and has inspired many to plan trips to China in the future.

Cambridge Maths School

In late February, students embarked on a visit to the Centre for Computing History, immersing themselves in an afternoon of exploration amidst a plethora of interactive exhibits. Delving into the realm of retro computer games, they engaged in spirited competition while navigating through a diverse array of challenges. Within the nostalgic ambiance of the 80s-themed classroom, students encountered BBC Micro computers, where they grappled with the intricacies of coding in BASIC. The keyboards, with their layouts markedly distinct from contemporary ones, posed a formidable challenge. However, undeterred by the unfamiliarity, students persevered, embracing the opportunity to delve into the vintage computing experience. 

Undoubtedly, the retro arcade emerged as the focal point of the visit, captivating the majority of students. From intense bouts of Super Smash Bros on the GameCube to the timeless allure of the Ms. PacMan arcade machine, there was no shortage of excitement. The palpable enthusiasm sparked by the retro gaming atmosphere lingered long after the visit concluded. Evidencing the profound impact of the excursion, one student was particularly inspired, channelling their newfound motivation into the creation of a PacMan clone using JavaScript mere days after the visit. Such moments of creative ingenuity serve as a testament to the enduring allure of retro gaming and the boundless possibilities of technology. 

Just prior to the Christmas break, all CMS students attended the Maths Inspiration event in Cambridge, where they had the opportunity to engage with talks delivered by various mathematical alumni. These talks spanned a wide range of mathematical applications, including the analysis of small probabilities through micromorts, the exploration of mathematical principles underlying juggling, and the modelling of traffic flows to assess the efficiency of escalator usage. As the Autumn term drew to a close, so too did the National Ritangle challenges in which our students had been actively involved. Additionally, CMS achieved notable success in the National Cipher Challenge, with one of our teams performing admirably enough to contend for victory in the final round. While they narrowly missed clinching the top spot, they are buoyed by their achievements and are poised to excel further next year, armed with finely tuned code-breaking algorithms. Furthermore, two of our students represented the school in the UKMT British Maths Olympiad, both achieving a distinction. 

At the onset of the year, our physics cohort participated in the Online Physics Challenge organized by the British Physics Olympiad, yielding remarkable outcomes. Each of our students garnered either a bronze, silver, or gold award, with an impressive 17 students attaining the coveted gold accolade. 

This exceptional achievement has spurred a significant number of our students to embrace the challenge of the Senior Physics Challenge. Having recently completed the examination, we eagerly await the results. We extend our commendation to every student who embraced this challenge. 

Athena Sixth Form College

Our fantastic PA group, the Friends of DMA (FODMA) have worked tirelessly to help Athena students raise money to celebrate at the Summer Ball in June.

Many events took place before Christmas and there are multiple planned for this term. It’s a delight to see the Athena students work with FODMA and well over £2000 has been raised towards the prom fund for both Athena and DMA so far!

Chesterton Community College

This half term our school has been a hive of activity, brimming with remarkable achievements and unforgettable events. From artistic performances to academic triumphs, our students continue to shine, showcasing their talents and making us proud. 

We enjoyed a heartwarming multi-faith gathering at Great St Mary’s Church, where students from Year 7 & 8 came together to celebrate our diverse community. 

We are delighted to announce that Chesterton has been honoured with an FFT attendance award, reflecting our commitment to outstanding attendance during the autumn term. This achievement is a testament to the dedication of our students, staff, and supportive parents and carers. 

In the realm of mathematics, our students continue to excel, with an impressive array of achievements in the Intermediate Maths Challenge. With 19 gold, 24 silver, and 30 bronze awards, alongside engaging enrichment activities organised by CCC, our mathematicians go from strength to strength. 

Our drama studio came alive with the hauntingly captivating performance of ‘Phantom Manor’ by Chesterton Youth Theatre’s Year 9 Company. With a sold-out audience enraptured by this original piece of theatre, our budding thespians showcased their talent and creativity. In a monumental feat, Chesterton Youth Theatre staged a spectacular rendition of Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’. With three different lead casts, live music, and technical wizardry, this production captivated audiences and garnered well-deserved acclaim. 

Congratulations are in order for the teams from Chesterton who participated in the WorldWise Quiz at Long Road Sixth Form College. One of our teams even secured second place amongst tough competition, a testament to their geographical knowledge and prowess. 

The Music Department Live Lounge was a showcase of musical talent and passion, as our students took centre stage with mesmerising solos and small group performances, captivating the audience with their melodies. 

In D&T, our students showcased their ingenuity and creativity in the annual Architecture design challenge. Collaborating with professionals from the Cambridge Association of Architects and students from the University of Cambridge, our budding architects crafted innovative designs for ‘the dip’, an underutilised area of our school. 

As we celebrate these achievements, we continue to nurture the spirit of challenge, diversity, and community that defines Chesterton.  

Downham Market Academy

After a year of hard work, we were visited by our “assessor” who scrutinised all of the improvements that we have made to ensure we work with our parents and carers for the benefit of young people in our care. We are so proud that the assessor agreed with our own evaluation that our provision to engage with the community is strong and we were awarded the prestigious “Leading Parent Partnership Award”.

Over the last year, we completed a full self-audit of all our processes before devising an action plan to make improvements. We know that young people learn best when there is cooperation and collaboration between school and home so ensuring that the working relationship between school staff and parents/carers is strong has been a priority for us.

Working Together

Witchford Village College

One of the highlights of this term working with the Trust has been the ability to make viable International Trips which have been led by staff at WVC. We have been able to do this by linking up with other schools to be able to fill the places required to keep costs as low as possible. We have been lucky enough to visit Iceland with Vista Academy and Berlin with Chesterton.

Berlin was a jam-packed four days exploring how the Cold War impacted Berlin seeing much of what we had learned about back in the classroom in person. Once students had arrived in Berlin, we were straight off on a 3-hour walking tour of Berlin lead by the incredible Gregor. Up bright and early the following day we headed to the former Stasi (secret police in East Germany) Headquarters. Later on the way to the Eastside Gallery everyone made their way down to the longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall which has been daubed with the paintings from over one hundred artists commemorating the fall of the wall in 1989. Students next stop was the Reichstag before the Palace of Tears, the DDR Museum and on to Berlin TV Tower, historically built as a focal point for East Berlin. Thankfully they had lifts as we were 1,100 ft above the ground and were able to see Berlin lit up by night – it was magical! Finally, students spent time dedicated to paying remembrance to the victims of the Nazi regime.

In Iceland everyone started with a journey to “The Bridge Between Continents” to stand between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates and to observe the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, followed by visits to the Hot Springs and a geothermal power station. The Secret Lagoon was a relaxing port of call before visits to the Gullfoss Waterfall and the Geyser. Following a good nights’ entertainment was a visit to the LAVA Centre which had amazing interactive exhibits. These enabled students to look back through history to the formation of the landscape of Iceland from its earliest incarnation to its development over time above a hot spot. Next was the glacial hike at Solheimajokull Glacier! On the last day students had a final opportunity to explore Reykjavik and experience a virtual flight over Iceland, before taking the lift to the top of the Hallgrimskirkja Church spire enabling them to end their tour with a panoramic view over the city.

Both trips were invaluable additions to a super-curricular offer and were only possible with Trust collaboration.

Impington International College

We have enjoyed collaborating further with Cambridge Maths School and a number of our students regularly benefit from lectures arranged by the school.

On the theme of cross-school collaboration, a cohort of our students continue to regularly visit The Cavendish School to support with the delivery of lessons and to play Dungeons and Dragons with its students.  

Vista Academy Littleport

This term has seen us welcome the Trust Lead for PSHE, Mr Gee who has led workshops with over 50 of our students. They were invited to share their opinions and ideas about their vision for Vista. Mr Gee commented that: “the students gave some very insightful and balanced feedback on the school, the changes and what they would like to see more of going forward… their responses were really mature.”

This term again our collaboration with other schools in the Trust has seen; six of our students able to join the amazing Iceland trip that was led by Witchford Village College, a cohort of students visiting Chesterton Sixth Form as they looked at life beyond Vista, three of our students in Year 9 join students across the Trust in a new Cambridge University initiative and our Trust central site team have supported further development of the school building to ensure that it meets the needs of our students better.

Chesterton Sixth Form

For this year’s CSF Programme that was launched to Y10 earlier this year, it was amazing to see such interest shown over the Trust with applications from WVC, CCC and Vista. We now look forward to working with the other schools to ensure their students are able to access the full suite of opportunities of the CSF Programme to support their highly ambitious and inquisitive approach to their future. Students applied through a 1000 word written academic research project, followed up by a meeting with the Directors of Sixth Form.

Next term, they will take part in an Aspiration Day at Murray Edwards College. 

The Cavendish School

TCS staff have benefitted from the support of Victoria Hearn and the central trust team during our Ofsted visit from two inspectors. Staff and leadership across TCS were excited to have time to showcase our school, and talk about our passion in helping remove barriers for our pupils. 

Who could forget the magic of World Book Day? With a visit from the esteemed local artist and author, Roland Burt, our students were transported to worlds unknown, their imaginations set ablaze. Pupils explored their identity and social interactions through the medium of language and art. 

Our journey doesn’t end here; it’s only the beginning. Together with our fellow schools in the trust, we continue to pool our resources and expertise to nurture our students’ potential. From discussions on trauma-informed and therapeutic approaches to behaviour management at Girton Glebe primary to the invaluable insights gained from the career day at IVC, our partnership with the trust has enriched our community in countless ways.

Cambridge Maths School

At CMS, we aim for our students to delve deep into their subjects well beyond the A-level curriculum and to have the opportunity to apply and extend the knowledge they have acquired while learning to collaborate with each other. To achieve this, we have initiated the CMS projects in our first year, grouping students into teams of four with a mentor from either a university or a commercial organisation focused on Mathematics and Science. 

We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our mentors in giving their time and expertise to support CMS students through this endeavour. The mentors have posed challenging problems and then guided the groups in considering how to approach these problems and organise their lines of inquiry. Groups of students will collaborate with the mentors over a period of approximately five months. This experience provides excellent preparation for academic study and work after school, as they are likely to encounter problems that take hours, weeks, or months to solve, rather than the brief problems typically presented in the A-level course. 

The students are working in groups of around four, grappling with questions including: 

  • Special Relativity – with Dr. Hannah Banks – Cambridge University 
  • Investigating the Benefits of Huffman Coding in Data Compression and Digital Communications – Virginia Cangelosi – ARM Ltd 
  • Why Can We Trust Scientists? Jacob Breward Butler – Cambridge University 
  • EGS and Fourier Transforms – Dr. Gareth Jones – Chesterton Community College 
  • Machine Learning: Classification – Dr. Mark Calleja – Raspberry Pi 
  • Structure of White Dwarfs – Dr. Charlotte Simmonds – Cambridge University 
  • The Physics of Flying Things – Dr. Orazio Scarlatella – Cambridge University 
  • How can we use Mathematics to understand the weather? – Charles Powell – Cambridge University 
  • The Expansion of the Universe – Dr.. Steven Gratton – Cambridge University 

The students will present their findings at our CMS Projects Conference on the 8th of May, and we are excited to see what they have discovered. 

As part of our ambitious research projects curriculum some of our students have also been working with Richard Hayler from Raspberry Pi on a fantastic opportunity to put their coding skills quite literally into space. Erik has written a short piece on the project. Well done to all the students who have taken part. 

 “As students at Cambridge Maths School, we participated in the national AstroPi event organised by the European Space Agency. We were tasked with programming a Raspberry Pi to estimate the speed of the International Space Station whilst onboard.  

Using the Python programming language, our program captures images of the earth at regular intervals. By comparing similarities within these images, we then calculate the distance travelled and estimate the ISS’s speed. Our code also logs various sensor data for analysis upon the Raspberry Pi’s return to Earth. 

This project has not only enhanced our technical skills but also taught us the importance of teamwork and skills for real-world technical scenarios. With a tight deadline, strict planning and management were crucial for our program’s success. 

Our program has just received flight approval from mission control to be run aboard ISS. We cannot wait to see how it operates and to analyse the data it collects.” 

Our recent excursion to London’s Sondheim Theatre for a performance of Les Misérables proved to be an unequivocal triumph! Collaborating with Chesterton Sixth Form, our students were treated to an unforgettable evening of exceptional performances. We are thankful to the staff of Chesterton Sixth Form for their invaluable assistance in organising the event, and we commend our students for their exemplary conduct, showcasing themselves as outstanding ambassadors of Cambridge Maths School. 

Chesterton Community College

In recent weeks, collaboration has been at the forefront of our efforts, as exemplified by the concerted efforts of our SENCOs across the trust. Through the sharing of best practices and the integration of innovative tools such as Widgit, our dedicated team have been working hand in hand to ensure that every student receives the support they need to thrive. This collaborative spirit was further exemplified by the joint venture between CSF and CMS, where students had the opportunity to witness the magic of ‘Les Mis’ in London. Beyond the realms of arts and entertainment, collaboration also found its place in academia, as Dr. Hutchinson engaged CMS students in a dialogue about statistical analysis techniques to enhance our evaluation of Year 11 mock scores. Their expertise not only enriched our understanding but also served as a testament to the power of collaborative learning. As we continue to forge ahead, let us remain steadfast in our commitment to working together. 

Impington Village College

In the Winter newsletter, we proudly announced that more children in Cambridge will be able to benefit from a free IB education, with Girton Glebe Primary School applying for candidacy to offer the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) to its pupils from September 2024. As a College, we have been collaborating with the team at Girton Glebe to work towards implementing the PYP.

Students have enjoyed learning from our specialist teachers who have been teaching Latin, French, Art, Design and Technology, History, Geography and more every week at the school. 

Girton Glebe Primary School

This term, Girton has been busy developing the Primary Years Programme (PYP). As part of this, Chris and Jo Pyle (Girton’s IB Lead) have been having regular meetings with Jo Sale, the Trust IB Lead. Jo brings with her a wealth of IB knowledge and is supporting us to road map our IB journey. Alongside this, Jo Pyle also met with staff at The Cavendish to discuss their implementation of the PYP and the process they went through to develop it successfully. As such, we have had a really productive term with IB planning and preparation! We have had many informative staff meetings and have started to map out our PYP curriculum for next year; our Central Ideas have been formed and we are now starting work on our Lines of Inquiry.  

As well as this, our Year 6 class continues to be supported by teachers from IVC, who deliver Drama, History, Geography, RE, Latin and Art. Our Key Stage 2 children also benefit from a specialist French teacher from IVC.  

Our final CPD session of the term was led by Jake, from Chesterton, who delivered a session of Science. This allowed us to see how we can develop our curriculum and skills so that our children become ‘Secondary School Ready’ for Science by the time they leave us.   

It has been incredibly helpful to be able to work with so many knowledgeable staff and benefit from their expertise!  

Athena Sixth Form College

In February Mr Pettitt was welcomed to Vista to carry out the guidance meetings with Vista Year 11 studentsAll Vista students who have applied to continue their education in the Trust here at Athena had a meeting and a range of exciting careers (from nursing to graphic design) and routes into them were discussed

Athena has received more applications from Vista than ever before and we look forward to deepening the connections between the 2 schools by facilitating a range of exciting pathways for Vista students here at Athena.  

Looking Ahead

Impington International College

International visits help to instil a true sense of global mindedness into our students and we are looking forward to supporting our partner schools overseas with trips planned to Botswana, Japan, Peru and more. Our students are committed to helping causes beyond their own individual needs and geographical locations. They are excited to volunteer their time, energy and knowledge to support numerous projects around the world. 

Next term, we will also be supporting our students through their IB examinations and we look forward to sharing their results with you.  

Downham Market Academy

As our school gains in reputation locally, our popularity with families has also increased.  We are heavily oversubscribed as student numbers continue to increase.  We have worked with the Local Authority to offer additional spaces again this year for the September intake of Year 7 students.  The Local Authority have provided a grant of around £400,000 to create additional teaching spaces and we are looking forward to moving in very soon. 

Following the success of the math’s trip to Disneyland Paris in January, many students are looking forward to their own overseas trips in the coming weeks: Geographers are travelling to Iceland; Spanish students will be perfecting their language skills in Barcelona and thrill-seekers will be tearing down the pistes on the ski trip.  Foreign trips for 24/25 have already been launched with strong take up for a Geography trip to the Azores and a History trip to the Belgian Battlefields. 

Impington Village College

Our students will enjoy more international learning opportunities with trips to Japan, Peru, Botswana, and more. Elsewhere, our GCSE students will enter a crucial part of their learning journeys, and we will support them through their examinations and coursework submissions. We will also host a range of exhibitions for our GCSE students, which will include photography and art showcases that we cannot wait to welcome you to.

Cambridge Maths School

Preparations for our upcoming trip to Kenya are progressing smoothly! The students are eagerly anticipating the opportunity to immerse themselves in the vibrant landscapes, contribute to local schools, embark on safari adventures, and embrace a new cultural experience. Conversations about the school they’ll be visiting and what educational supplies they can bring to support the local children have commenced, with students showcasing their creativity in generating ideas. 

Additionally, our students have begun brainstorming fundraising initiatives, and we’re encouraging everyone to participate in these events. All funds raised will be directed towards initiatives managed by the Nakuru Children’s Project, which collaborates with various schools around Nakuru to address their specific needs. Projects range from constructing new classrooms to building playground facilities and implementing lunchtime meal schemes. 

In the coming weeks, students will refine their ideas and set their plans into motion. Keep an eye out for further details on how you can contribute to this cause. If you’re aware of any companies or businesses interested in supporting our fundraising endeavours, please don’t hesitate to contact Ms. McEwen or any of the students serving on the school council. Every contribution, no matter how big or small, is deeply appreciated. 

As the trip draws nearer, students will begin arranging their travel vaccinations, applying for visas, and compiling packing lists, heightening the excitement surrounding the upcoming adventure.

Meanwhile, our students have been actively exploring various post-18 options through Unifrog. Many aspire to pursue further studies in STEM subjects such as Engineering, Mathematics, and Natural Sciences, with some expressing keen interest in degree-level apprenticeship schemes. We eagerly anticipate a series of talks, excursions, and activities designed to assist our students in making informed decisions about their future endeavours. These include a bespoke taster day at St John’s College, attendance at a UCAS discovery fair, and visits to university open days.

Furthermore, 84% of our students have enrolled to complete their Duke of Edinburgh Award with us at CMS. They’ve diligently prepared for the expedition section of the Award through comprehensive online training modules. We eagerly await the opportunity to put their learning into practice as we enter the expedition season. Prior to embarking on the journeys, we’ll spend a weekend at Grafham Water honing essential skills such as campcraft and navigation. Subsequently, we’ll undertake a practice expedition in the Lake District in June, followed by the qualifying expedition in Snowdonia in September. 

The Cavendish School

As we look ahead to Easter, students and staff alike are very excited about our Easter celebration on the last day of Spring term. We continue to focus on coming together as a community, celebrating our differences, and embracing our shared journey as we plan events for the future.

 The Autism Celebration event on April 12th stands as a testament to our dedication to inclusivity, a collaborative effort with the NHS, LA, and Police service, complete with celebrity speakers to inspire, inform and uplift.

As we march into the summer term, we invite parents and the community to get involved with life at TCS. From the exhilarating Activity Day on the last day of term, open to all parents, to the introduction of the “I need you to know…” communication form, we welcome your voices, your feedback, and your presence as we continue to grow together. 

Chesterton Community College

Looking ahead, there’s much excitement brewing at Chesterton, especially as we anticipate the continued benefits of the Accelerated Reader (AR) program. AR is more than just a computer program; it’s a gateway to unlocking the joys of reading and expanding vocabulary comprehension for our students. With its tailored approach, AR not only motivates our young readers but also empowers them to take charge of their reading journey. Thanks to the unwavering support of our active PTA, who have generously funded resources such as new library books and digital theatre subscriptions, AR is set to flourish even further, enriching the literary landscape of our school. As we eagerly anticipate the positive impact of AR in the coming months, we also extend a warm invitation to all parents to join us at PTA meetings. Your involvement is invaluable as we strive to create an even brighter future for our students. 

Girton Glebe Primary School

After Easter, we are excited to continue developing our PYP curriculum and begin to get parents involved with this through the Parent Workshops, which will be happening in Summer 1. 

We are also really excited about two residential trips which will be taking place: Year 5 will spend three days in Norfolk Lakes, where they will be taking part in Outdoor Adventure Activities; and our Year 6 children will spend a week at Abernant Lake in Wales.  

Athena Sixth Form College

Athena ApplicationsWe have had lots of applications to join Athena in September.  Guidance meetings for the applicants have taken place and we are delighted to have made over 100 offers to study with us in September.  Students sent their personal statements through in advance and it was a pleasure for Mr Pettitt and the rest of the team to meet so many highly aspiring and genuinely interesting young people in the guidance meetings.  We are very much looking forward to working with our new Year 12s and to seeing them at our induction day on 9th July. 

National Careers Week – this, along with National Apprenticeship Week, was celebrated in style at Athena.  Students heard from a range of guest speakers in PD time, including the UEA, British Sugar and CWA.  This is all building towards our futures week, that we are all looking forward to, in June.  The staff at our site completed signs for their doors listing the skills they have gained from previous jobs as a way of introducing students to the array of careers that are on offer.  Who knew that the catering team had a former RAF member, telesales operator and a carer within it?! 

As part of Futures Week we will be hosting the University of Hertfordshire for a day as they talk to us bout university life, we will be visiting the University of Suffolk and we will hearing from Anglia Ruskin University as they will deliver a talk about how to access Degree Apprenticeships. 

Witchford Village College

With this term marking a year since our Good Ofsted report, we have spent time reflecting on how far we have come in the last year, including above average outcomes and what we still need to do to be the best we can be. All teachers at their heart want to be the best teachers they can be and as such we have spent this term reflecting on what makes the things we do best, the best – and how we can apply this to all we do, all the time. The outcome of these reflections has been to review the lessons for the summer term and see where there are opportunities to tweak activities to make them as fun, learning rich and enjoyable as possible for all students.  

The summer term also enables us to open our full grounds which really does add to the vibe and ethos of WVC. These summer vibes also remind us of activities associated with the summer term such as the GCSE exams (and of course Prom!), enrichment week and welcoming 180 new faces to our family in our Year 6 transition events. There is lots to look forward to!

Chesterton Sixth Form

After the Easter break, we are looking forward to putting on our second Progression Evening event at Chesterton. The event is an important opportunity for both students and parents to be informed of all things post 18, as well as provide them with a stark insight into the current situation of the graduate market.  

The CSF Programme will continue to develop and will see subject level experiences and opportunities be made available to the nineteen students who are part of it. 

We also cannot wait to take our Year 12 cohort to Kenya to build on the legacy of last year’s group and continue the great work with the Nyathuna Primary school. Students are planning enrichment activities and will be involved in delivering a host of subject lessons.  

Vista Academy Littleport

Our students will enjoy a full enrichment week in early July as they engage with trips, various option activities, Duke of Vista, charities day and culminating in the keenly anticipated sports day. Further to these enriching experiences, our Year 10s will be undertaking a full set of mock exams before heading out into the world of work to complete a full week of work experience with local companies and organisations. Elsewhere, our GCSE Year 11 students will enter the final stage of their journey at Vista, we will support them through their revision, preparations and examinations before celebrating with them at their prom which they have been fundraising for throughout this academic year. In school, we are looking forward to the catering team coming in house from Easter onwards which will support offering high quality and varied options in the canteen alongside.

In recent weeks we have welcomed our new attendance officer and look forward to a new Deputy SENDCo and Data Manager joining our team to further increase capacity to enable the Senior Leadership Team to further drive school improvement across the school. 

Opportunities with the Eastern Learning Alliance

There are a number of vacancies across our family of schools. Find out more about our current vacancies by visiting our website –

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