ELA Newsletter

Summer 2023

Thank you for taking the time to read this summer’s ELA Newsletter. Students have enjoyed another exciting and inspiring term across all our settings.

As ever we’re really grateful to headteachers in all our schools and colleges for their updates below. 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 summer break, and we look forward to seeing staff, students and parents in the autumn term.

Lucy Scott
CEO of the Eastern Learning Alliance 

Things to celebrate

Witchford Village College

One of the highlights of this term will be enrichment week – the first since the pandemic. There are a variety of activities on for each year group and these have been led by student voice; students telling us the types of things they feel the need to enrich their curriculum. As such we are looking forward to trips away, outdoor learning, Design and Technology events, community-based activities and brining employers into school for a career’s fare and interview skills! 

We have welcomed a high number of trainee teachers to WVC this academic year and they have made a valuable contribution to our school. It is always great to be able to listen to the ideas and innovations at the cutting edge of education-thinking that trainees bring into school from their providers. It is also fantastic that as our reputation as a good school grows, we have been trusted with more trainees next academic year and earlier in the year. 

We are proud of the staff, student and parent end of year surveys which show improvements in all areas from a year ago. A lot of hard work in all areas goes into these improved outcomes, and I am very proud of all involved. We have also had excellent turnouts at several events this term, including parents’ evenings, safeguarding events on county lines, e-safety and drugs as well as the exceptionally well attended ‘how to help your child revise’ evenings for years 10 and 11. 

Trips and activities are well and truly back on the agenda, and we have recently seen: Translation Bees; District Athletics Tournaments; West End Theatre trips; Duke of Edinburgh; 6th Form, College and Workplace experiences; Debating in the House of Commons; SEND Pentathlon; Nice and Monaco; Mock Trial in Ely Magistrates Court; Institute of Astronomy visit and many more.  

We have much grander plans for next year, including a series of residential trips. 

Impington Village College

Following our initial launch of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP) in September 2021, it is a huge milestone to achieve our official authorisation. We are now officially the only state secondary school for 11 – 18 year olds l in the UK to provide the IB MYP, Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme. Elsewhere, our students have enjoyed the resumption of local, national and international field trips post COVID. We are also pleased to have overseen the smooth rollout of our 1:1 Chromebook devices to our Year 7 and 8 students, ensuring they are all well equipped to thrive in an increasingly digitalised world.

Downham Market Academy

We are very proud of all our students, particularly in year 11 and 13, who have taken opportunities presented to them and really worked hard to prepare for their exams this summer – we have everything crossed that their efforts are rewarded on results day! 

As a Headteacher, I am so proud of how our staff go above and beyond what is expected of them, day in and day out, to ensure that our students, their families and our colleagues have a great experience with Downham Market Academy.  The number of clubs on offer this year has been huge, there have been more trips to enrich learning and more opportunities for students of all ages to demonstrate their leadership skills. 

At Parents’ Evenings this year we have tried something new with our “Learning Showcase” that provides students the opportunity to build a portfolio of the work from each subject that they are most proud of and this being a topic of discussion between teacher and parent/carer.  It is so heartwarming to see families sharing in the success of their children with our teachers.

Chesterton Sixth Form

Almost all Y12s took part in an incredible social action project in Kenya. They spent three days working in a rural school where class sizes are between 80-90! Our students fully committed themselves, supporting in all areas of the school: from teaching subjects and crafts in lessons, serving and cleaning during lunch times, building assault courses in the playground, painting the alphabet in the primary school patio and at the same time, bonding some amazing relationships with the students and teachers. They were then able to go on a three-day safari where they were able to see a huge array of animals.  

This trip has planted the seed for our next cohort of Y12 to return to continue the legacy that was started this year; we are thrilled that the social action project in Kenya will be a staple part of our offer, giving students this amazing opportunity year upon year. 

Girton Glebe Primary School

This academic year, I have been incredibly proud to showcase not only our students’ academic achievements, but all of the incredible talents that the children at Girton Glebe possess. From musical talents and sporting achievements, to special interests such as art and baking and even charity work, it has been wonderful to celebrate our diverse and extremely talented students over the year.  

This year saw the debut of our Year 3&4 Spring Production: a new opportunity to exhibit the acting, dancing and singing abilities that our children have to offer, alongside our existing Key Stage One Nativity and Upper Key Stage Two End of Year Performance. It was heart-warming to welcome so many families to our exciting production of Peter Pan The Musical and to celebrate our children’s successes outside of the classroom. As well as this incredible display of talent, we have also seen Girton Glebe children shine at once in a lifetime experiences such as the Young Voices concert at the O2 Arena, in which 40 members of our school choir performed amongst 7,000 children from around the country. We have also enjoyed sharing our learning with parents and the wider community in regular class assemblies and attending more local sporting events. 

In the Summer Term in particular, I have been especially proud to welcome visitors from our parent community and the local area into our school to share the community spirit that we have worked hard to build over the academic year. Through uplifting whole-school events such as World Book Day, Red Nose Day and, most recently, The King’s Coronation, we have cultivated a whole-school culture of taking pride in our school and sharing our accomplishments with each other and our Girton families. Events such as our Street Party have enabled our team of staff to work collaboratively, bringing together classes and Key Stages and creating a real sense of belonging at Girton Glebe. One of my favourite moments from this term was seeing our whole-school choir perform to parents as part of our celebrations for the Coronation of King Charles III; it is truly joyous to see all of our teachers’ hard work and dedication culminate in special performances such as this one – and even more special to be able to share these moments with our families. 

Through continuing to build links with the local churches in Girton, looking after our local area with our Big Bag Litter Picking Challenge, arranging performances at local events such as the annual Girton Feast, and reaching out to local care homes to build connections with the elder members of our community, I feel that we have re-established the sense of Girton Glebe being a village school at the heart of its community. 

Impington International College

Our Performance School continues to grow and, recently, we welcomed representatives from London Contemporary Dance School – The Place, to the College to deliver a series of workshops and performances.

On the sporting stage, students have been excelling and experiencing international success with two students having represented England in national and international football and hockey competitions throughout the academic year.

We have also seen significant growth in the number of overseas applicants looking to join us in September. 

Chesterton Community College

Students have given us so much to be proud of at Chesterton this term!

This term has seen five Turing trips taking 225 students on foreign trips above with each visit having 50% disadvantages and SEND students. These have provided powerful experiences to our students, memories to last a life time and plenty of opportunities to nurture resilience.

Our Sixth Form launched ‘Speakers’ Corner’ as part of Friday break times with students delivering short presentation to each other on topics they are passionate about.

Our under 12 and under 14 girls football teams have been crowned County Champions!

Music continues to shine with large and small events with high numbers of student taking part.

Students have excelled in drama with workshops and performance opportunities, including at the Royal Theatre in Northampton.

Cambridge Maths School

This has been an exceptionally exciting year as we met our first cohort of applicants, both at the aptitude test in January and at our academic interviews in March. We’ll meet our offer holders for an inspirational day in June where they will meet the other students along with their class teachers and have taste of some of the subjects that they’ll be taking in September. We already have lots of interest for our cohort next year with our next open event planned for 3 July. The building is having the finishing touches added and we’ll be able to show off our brand-new facilities when we open in September. There will be an opportunity to visit the school in the Autumn term – details will be published on our website. 

Eureka Days

We are looking forward to our Eureka days for year 9 and 10 students. They will be joining us on the 22 of June and the 3rd of July for a Day of Maths and Science related talks and activities. We have speakers such as Ben Sparks, David Spiegelhalter AMSP, NRICH and Cavendish labs all contributing to what will be an outstanding programme to inspire and enthuse the next generation of mathematicians and scientists 

If your school missed out on being able to attend this year, then keep an eye on the Cambridge Maths School Outreach page to see what opportunities are coming up in the future. 

Maths Circles

We have had a lot of interest in Maths Circles for next academic year and are very happy that schools like Hinchingbrooke and Cromwell Community College are coming on board next year and giving students in year 7 and 8 the opportunity to experience Maths Circles. These are designed for talented young mathematicians to grapple with some complex problems and develop their understanding and communication of maths, so that they start to talk like university mathematicians. We hope that many of the young people involved in Maths Circles today will develop a love of maths that means they stay in this field through to university and post graduate level.  

If you would like to find out how your school can get involved in this fully funded opportunity, please go to our outreach page or have a look at our Maths Circles Page.  

The Cavendish School

We’re so proud of our TCS students again this term! Our secondary age pupils attended their first sporting fixture –five-a-side football and we went away with the first-place trophy. 

Our first residential trip was a fantastic success – thank you to all the staff and students for making sure that’s the case! 

We’ve been really excited to launch our Maths Circles after school club for our gifted mathematicians – seeing them engage with the subject so passionately has been brilliant to see.

We are also very proud to have passed our JCQ new examination centre inspections and are now fully authorised and ready to go.

Athena Sixth Form College

As always, we are proud of the efforts and achievements of our students at Athena.  The year 12 are an awesome year group with by far the best attitude to learning outcomes that we have had for many years.  50% of the students achieved a top score for their attitude to learning from all of their teachers.  To have so much potential and effort with year 12 really is very exciting. 

The Year 13 students worked hard to prepare for their exams and to secure their futures.  All who want to go to university have got offers, many have multiple offers, and we are waiting until August to hear the exciting news as to where they will all be heading in the next stage of their lives. We enjoyed a lovely evening with them at their Summer Ball in June.

We strive to support students will all ambitions, not just those who seek a future at university, as we are proud of the exciting apprenticeship prospects secured by many Athena students. 

We are proud of the revised offer that we are able to make foe Year 10 students.  We had an exciting Open Evening on 29th June where students got the chance to meet our subject experts and see the Athena space for themselves.  We were also able to offer out new Childcare route to potential students and able to announce the beginning of what we hope will be an exciting relationship with Leith’s Cookery Academy.

Chesterton Sixth Form

Throughout the year, we have been overwhelmed by the amount of interest CSF has had through the various CAP information evenings and on our Open evening back in October.

This level of interest really came to the fore this term with our Y11 Offer holder day and Y10 Taster day. Both days were packed and there was a real buzz around the school with regard to all things sixth form. For Y11s, the day provided a chance to meet like-minded peers and try out A Level subject sessions and for the Y10s, they were able to take part in skills sessions that focused on the VESPA mindset, and study skills that relate to A Level study and gave a flavour of the kind of activities students may encounter.

Both days concluded with some delicious and authentic paella and arguably the best ice cream in Cambridge, Jack’s Gelato! 

Working Together

Impington Village College

The development of the IB Cluster across the Trust continues to grow – it is truly invaluable to share our IB experience and expertise and I believe we are all benefitting significantly from cross-Trust collaboration. The Trust has also been providing valuable support to progress our site development, which has included the redevelopment of our Science Labs. 

Witchford Village College

As our reputation grows staff at WVC have been thrilled to be able to begin to lead on various areas of Trust work, providing extensive guidance and advice in areas such as Reading, Work Experience and the Science Curriculum.  

We have worked closely on staffing, being able to offer our expertise to other schools, but also allow them to go out and support by having other Trust staff come in and support their duties at WVC. 

Sometimes it seems astonishing that things we do are only relatively recent initiatives – they seem to be just what we have always done! Our Trust PSHE model has only been in place for a year but has seen the provision improve rapidly at WVC with purposeful lessons happening each day of the week, with lessons supported by assemblies and drop-down days which are delivered by skilled and expert practitioners – often from across the Trust. 

The Trust plays a vital role at WVC in its audits such as attendance, safeguarding and reading. As a school that has been through so much positive change it is incredibly valuable to be able to go thought these rigorous audits where we can share what we do, but also learn from the successes of others to enable us to keep on improving.  

Downham Market Academy

This term we were very excited to show off our brand new, unisex student toilets and our new Reception area which offers a much more welcoming and bright space for visitors.  These projects were completed by the ELA site team, Gavin and Pawel, along with colleagues from within Downham Market Academy.  Gavin and Pawel offer technical expertise and take great pride in improving the school site and making the experience for students, staff and visitors better each day.  Thank you to both for an amazing job! 

We’re also really lucky to work with the ELA comms team who has designed new signage around the school to help students and staff alike navigate our many buildings entrances and exits.  The team also maintains our website which always receives positive comments from parents and prospective employees researching our school. 

It has also been great to share ideas from the ELA with colleagues new to the Trust, working in the newest school to join the family: Littleport & East Cambs Academy.  Being so close geographically opens up lots of opportunities for close collaboration between the schools which we are keen to explore further next year. 

Girton Glebe Primary School

One huge benefit of working within the ELA that we have really felt at Girton Glebe this year has been the success of our transition programme from Year 6 to Impington Village College. With the majority of our Year 6 cohort moving up to IVC, continuity between our provision and our local secondary school is greatly important. Working more closely with Victoria and her team this year has meant that we have been able to provide schemes of work and lessons taught by subject specialists in areas of the curriculum such as Drama, Language, SRE and PE. On top if this, we have also benefitted from building closer relationships between our staff and those working in other schools within the trust. This sense of being part of a wider community of teachers and education specialists has not only provided useful expertise and advice for our teaching staff, but also opportunities for our growing SLT to develop their skills as leaders. 

It’s not just the people at Girton that benefit from being a part of ELA. Over the year, we have seen many improvements to our school site and the children’s learning environments. From resurfacing and painting outdoor areas such as the swimming pool, to resourcing our classrooms and refurbishing our school library, the school has been transformed over the last year, benefitting not only our students by the local community who are able to use these spaces outside of teaching time, too.  

Cambridge Maths School

We have been extremely lucky this term in regard to the collaborative planning within ELA trust for the PSHE and PD offer. Lead professionals have benefited from protected time to meet, discuss and develop a personal development program which looks to be outstanding.  

Working within the trust is advantageous! It has allowed us to benefit from a tried and tested approach, up to date and solid resourcing and the sharing of good practice. I have been able to visit schools and experience first-hand the offer across our tiered programme. It’s exciting to see the engagement of young people, their reflection and enthusiasm. 

It gives the young people that are supported within the trust the support to be aware of the world around them, to be curious and question, to be kind, compassionate and empathetic. I look forwards to introducing it to CMS students.  

The Cavendish School

We have worked really closely with the Girton Glebe Primary SENDCo to support their provision for young people with additional needs.

We have enjoyed working with Johanna Sale from Impington on our IB accreditation process and look forward to continuing this work in September. It was wonderful to have questions to make sure our practice is evidence based and share our knowledge and resources in return. Working with Jo has meant that we have been able to draw on substantial leadership knowledge of the IB to ensure our success with final accreditation.

Our ongoing work as part of the Trust as a whole contributes to the wealth of knowledge held at TCS and gives us a real community feel. It also gives us the opportunity to give back to our community by sharing our own expertise. 

Chesterton Community College

We continue to benefit from being part of the wider Trust in so many ways. We’ve welcomed colleagues with a range of specialisms to help us develop our excellent practice, from PSHE to literacy to small group provision.

It’s great to see students at CCC benefitting from the wider expertise across our family of schools.

In return, many of our colleagues have been out and about supporting across Trust schools. 

Athena Sixth Form College

Mr Pettitt has visited LECA twice this half term to build what we hope will be an enduring and mutually beneficial working relationship between the 2 institutions.  We met lots of students at the careers fair and we were pleased to be invited back as a guest speaker at the Year 10 study skills day. We are looking forward to hosting many Year 10 students from LECA here at Athena in the summer term to give them a flavour of what it is like to be a student here. 

We look forward to working with LECA very closely in the future and deepening the bonds of affection that are felt between the 2 ELA schools. 

Impington International College

Members of our Senior Leadership Team have enjoyed sharing their experiences and policy ideas to support the development of Cambridge Maths School – a member of our staff has also been helping to develop the Pastoral Curriculum. Chesterton Sixth Form has also benefitted from our support on the delivery of its rugby programme and we have an ongoing programme which sees our students visit The Cavendish School to engage in gaming sessions with its students.  

Chesterton Sixth Form

We are very fortunate to be part of the ELA as are often able to share expertise and resources on a Trust wide level. Whether it be providing all Y12s with careers guidance meetings with Juliet Martin from WVC (thanks Juliet!) or having a Trust PSHE day at IVC to help establish the programme for Y12 and 13 (thanks Chris!), it always results in the students receiving the very best provision.

Looking Ahead

The Cavendish School

We look forward to ensuring a smooth start to our first examination year by working to further develop our curriculum. We are particularly excited to share key messages around this on our website and to parents so do look out for exciting updates as we start the new year.

As always, we have a range of community events planned for next year– such as our end of term events and our community cafés.  Parents are always so very welcome to get involved with these – we’d love to hear from anyone with interest.

Parental feedback events will continue throughout the year via the Evidence for learning platform. 

Chesterton Sixth Form

Whilst we are very much looking forward to a rest over the summer, we cannot wait to reopen our doors to our new cohort next year. The sixth form growth is something we have worked incredibly hard to achieve and we are confident that some amazingly talented students will be considering CSF come results day.  

We are thrilled to announce that we have appointed member of staff to lead on community volunteering and we are looking forward to playing a larger role as members of the wider Cambridge community.  

Witchford Village College

The senior leadership team at WVC have been busy this term looking at what we want to achieve in 23/24. These have been fantastic conversations and we are so pleased, given our Good Ofsted this year, that we are really able to focus on the future and the next steps. The team have looked at their own areas of responsibility and have presents their ideas for the future. We are now bringing all these ideas together as a collection that can be shared with staff, students, parents, and the community. The next steps for WVC are based on ensuring we can pass on the key achievements of the past year to new people at our school so the things we have achieved stick. We are looking at creating a culture and set of values that mean when an application for a college place or Job has WVC as part of the paper work, there is common and shared meaning and value. Having established the new and rich curriculum over the past few years, we are now really looking at the way it is delivered to ensure more and more students are not just achieving but excelling.   

We are of course also looking forward to welcoming our new year 7 – the biggest intake we have ever had. Quite rightly, the current Year 7 have an excellent reputation as ambassadors for the school we have become.  

Athena Sixth Form College

As always, the wait is on for A Level Results day when students can finally celebrate the beginning of the next step of their lives.   

Following our successful Open Evening we are looking forward to giving students a chance to spend time with us for a morning at our Athena in Action mornings in September. 

We are proud to be working with NEACO and have welcomed our new NEACO representative, Helena, many times. She was worked tirelessly and with enthusiasm to help our Year 12s to write CVs, organise work experience, write personal statements and she was a crucial part of our successful ‘Futures Week’ in June.  We are looking forward to working closely with Helena next year and to seeing where our Year 12s, who she has helped so much, end up taking their next steps. 

We also look forward to welcoming our new cohort of Year 12 students.  Following the Induction Day in July and their GCSE results day, they are primed and ready to start life at sixth form with a bang. 

Cambridge Maths School

It has been an incredibly exciting term for the Cambridge Maths School as we make plans for opening in September. At the very heart of our vision for the school is our outstanding science and maths curriculum, which places problem solving, cross-curricular projects and active learning at the centre of its delivery. We are making good use of our partnerships with Cambridge Maths and the University of Cambridge to ensure that students have an inspiring experience that will get them doing ‘real world maths’ and grappling with scientific and mathematical problems from day one We are also working hard to develop our ‘Curriculum X’ and enrichment programmes with a series of visiting lecturers and scientific leaders already signed up to share their expert knowledge with our students. 

Downham Market Academy

Next year we are looking forward to offering new courses at both KS4 and KS5 as well as a new approach to homework and assessments as we seek to support students to achieve their very best throughout their time at Downham Market Academy. 

After an absence of many years, international trips are back on the calendar with Iceland and Ski trips already organised and others to Barcelona and Belgium in the pipeline.  We are also looking forward to taking students on both day trips and residential excursions within the UK to enhance and enrich our curriculum and personal development opportunities. 

Finally, amidst the national backdrop of teacher shortages, we are looking forward to welcoming new teachers to join us in September – our growing reputation as a good school to learn and work in attracted some very strong applications and we’re pleased that we will be fully-staffed with well-qualified and specialised teachers in the new year. 

Girton Glebe Primary School

Following our Good Ofsted Rating earlier this year, we as a school are excited about the opportunity to now adapt and improve our curriculum offer and personalise our provision for the children that we have at Girton Glebe. As Headteacher, I am most looking forward to working towards the launch of our International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme. This will update our current curriculum, matching what and how we teach to the needs and talents of our pupils, in an exciting pupil-centred approach to teaching and learning.  

We are of course also excited to continue to develop our relationship with Impington Village College and are already putting together a programme of specialist provision for foundation subjects within Year 6, ensuring a smooth transition for our older pupils from the moment they enter their final year of primary school. All of this, coupled with curriculum workshops for parents, open afternoons for prospective families and members of the local community, and continuing to build and develop links with local businesses and members of our village, will make for a very exciting year at Girton next year! 

Impington Village College

Following our IB MYP authorisation, we are looking forward to continuing to develop our programme as the first cohort of students move into Year 9. Our GCSE provision will continue to be developed and redesigned to ensure it is as engaging as our Key Stage 3 offering. We are looking to offer a broader range of subject choices and provide greater continuity for students who want to continue their IB journeys at our Sixth Form. 

Chesterton Community College

The 2023/24 academic year sees the launch of our new ethos and values at Chesterton. After many years we are moving to a renewed focus on ‘Community, Challenge and Celebration’. This is an exciting development for the year ahead and we look forward to working with students and parents to really embed these values next year.

2023/ 24 will also bring new visits and trips as part of a seven year plan in aiding the development of our students – look out for exciting updates in this area! 

As always it is great to hear from parents who are keen to be more involved with school life – please do drop us a line if you are interested in working with us in any way.

Impington International College

We will shortly be conducting a five-year evaluation which will review the progress we have made as an IB World School since 2019. The College has grown significantly, both in terms of student numbers and in terms of the different programmes we are able to offer, and we cannot wait to showcase the incredible learning experiences we have available to students. Furthermore, we are excited to find out the results of our current Year 13’s IB examinations and we are looking forward to welcoming our next cohort of Year 12s to the College in September. 

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 – tela.org.uk/vacancies/

Site Search