Academy weekly news

For the week ending: 10 July, 2020

Dear Parent / Carer

As you know I have always believed in running a school based on both of my boys.  It would be true to say that wherever I have worked, their names have become known and rather than being embarrassed about this, I’m extremely proud.  It’s a very simple approach that makes the most difficult and challenging decision straight forward.   When I first came here I was impressed by the incredible work of our heads of house and the pastoral support team. However, what quickly became apparent was that we had a system which was vertical, dealing with problems which were largely horizontal and consequently, we had good staff whose time wasn’t used as effectively as it could have been through no fault of their own.

I put forward a proposal to move from a house system to a year system and the consultation for this was about to be launched when we had to shut the school way back in March.  It was literally going to happen a couple of days later. Given the importance that I feel this structure is to the school, I consulted with OAT over the Bank Holiday weekend in May asking if we could move forward on this and I was so pleased that they agreed.

As a result of this, in September we move from a house system to a year system.  I realise that in some cases, this may cause some anxiety, given there will be good relations built up with heads of house, but I can assure you we are working hard to pass over case studies to the relevant members of staff and in fact, the new structure increases the amount of support for students as this was the premise in which I did the instruction (with my own boys in mind).

Other roles outside of this remain the same.  Each year group will now have two members of staff directly responsible for students; these will be a head of year and a pastoral manager.  In addition, Years 7, 8 and 9 will be led by a head of Key Stage 3 (member of SLT) and Years 10 and 11 will be led by a head of KS4 (member of SLT).

In this system, the head of year and the pastoral manager moves through the years with their groups, as will the form tutor and we will have a good balance between head of years as teachers and pastoral managers as non teachers. It is a traditional model and one I believe is ideal for this school in helping us move forward and providing even more support for our students. Crucially, it combines academic and pastoral in one team.

I am therefore pleased to announce the following staff to these positions:

Year group Head of Year Pastoral Manager
11 Oliver Cooper Gemma Calver
10 Suzanne Smith Dean Fisher
9 Georgia Ryan Jon Wilkinson
8 Kirsty Gardiner Karen Parkes
7 Rachel Read Honey Turpin

Some advance notice of how we see September when students come back; firstly to confirm the following:

  • Thursday 3rd September – the school is only open for Year 7 students.
  • Friday 4th September – the school is only open for Year 7 and Year 11 students.
  • Monday 7th September – the school is open to all students.

We will ensure additional home learning is set for Year 8, 9 and 10 during these two additional days away from school.

Given COVID, it is vital that all students return to Ormiston Denes in full uniform and fully equipped from the first day, as we are not currently permitted to lend any equipment or uniform.  The equipment required is as follows:

  • School bag,
  • Pencil case containing black/blue/green pens,
  • Pencil(s), eraser, pencil sharpener,
  • 15cm ruler, protractor, pair of compasses,
  • A reading book,
  • Scientific calculator (Casio FX-83GT or FX-85GT recommended),
  • PE kit.

We are currently consulting with Ormiston Academies Trust regarding the food provision in September, at this moment in time the academy will only be able to offer cold lunches to our FSM children, as we continue to develop this provision with our catering contractor.  All other students are required to bring with them their own packed lunch.  It is also imperative that all students bring with them a full water bottle as under current legislation the use of water coolers is not permitted; this will be a continued expectation of the academy for all students.

The model we are currently putting together (especially given our new year group structure) is based around a zone for each year group.  This is where students will have the majority of their lessons and where they will eat, and we are also working on providing a (limited) area of social space for each year group within each zone.   As long as students remain in their zones, departments will be free to set their classes so that they can teach the appropriate curriculum to the appropriate group.  We are also looking at a range of methods to extend the learning experience for all year groups which would be a mixture of Period 5s and home learning.

The school day will run as follows:

8.50am Registration and tutor time
9.10am Period 1
10.25am Period 2
11.40am Break 1 (30 minutes)
12.10pm Period 3
1.25pm Break 2 (30 minutes)
1.55pm Period 4
3.10pm Additional home learning/P5


As you can see, there is no change to the start or end of the day.  Each year group will have its own entrance into the school – the details of which will be confirmed nearer our September start.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the parents and carers of our Year 6 (new Year 7) students, I very much look forward to seeing your children at Ormiston Denes in a few weeks’ time.

A message from Miss Mayo:

Welcome to Year 6 (new Year 7 parents).   Admission documents have been sent by ParentMail to all parents and carers of new Year 7 students, and it is important that all documents are completed urgently and returned to us to enable our records to be updated.   Next week would have been our transition week for our new students.  Although we are unable to welcome Year 7 into the academy, we are providing a transition pack to every student, with a range of information and activities, and a transition guide for parents. We are conducting virtual assemblies with students in their primary schools, and there will also be additional information and resources on our social media page and website during the course of the week, including head of year and form teacher information.  For all transition information please see the Transition page on our website. If you have any queries please email our Transition and Co-curriculum Projects Manager, Ms Mayo at

Our uniform supplier (Screens Schoolwear) is now open for business again. However, currently you have to make an appointment to visit them.  A letter from Screens can be found on both the transition and uniform page of our website. Whether you are purchasing a uniform for new or existing students, it is advisable to read the letter in full before proceeding.

The national free school meals voucher scheme will be available until the end of the summer term. The academy has finalised this order and vouchers have already been issued to families.

Additionally, a “Covid summer food fund” will offer six-week food vouchers to children eligible for free school meals in England during the holidays.  The academy team has already placed this order for all of our eligible children and families and vouchers will be distributed in due course.

Our website has been updated with new links to support mental health and online safety.  These can be found on the Safeguarding page. If you have a concern, please do not hesitate to contact the academy, or use the online reporting form, also found on this page.

I hope you all continue to stay alert and more importantly, stay safe.

Yours faithfully

Mr Jim Nixon, Principal

Welcome to Ormiston Denes Academy, north Lowestoft’s secondary school and the first choice academy for the majority of families in the local area. We offer a rigorous, traditional curriculum; supplemented by a broad choice from creative and performing arts, technology, and sport; all personalised to the strengths of individual students. Read more…

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