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All the latest News from Ely College

October 2020

  • Ely College Principal praises students and staff as he reflects on first half term

    Published 21/10/20

    Simon Warburton was appointed Principal at Ely College in September. It has been an interesting first term for the new Principal, who has not only had to find his feet in a new school but has also navigated the challenges of Covid-19 guidelines for schools.

    Reflecting on his first half term, Simon said: “It seems odd to say given the circumstances but it has been a great first half term at Ely College and I have been blown away by the support of the Ely community, staff, students, Richard Spencer and Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust. Starting a new role is never easy, let alone in the midst of a pandemic, but I am lucky to work in an incredibly positive and caring environment where everyone works together.”

    When schools reopened in September, Boris Johnson made it clear that all students were expected to return to school as usual. The college currently have an attendance figure of over 96% so far this year which is over 10 percentage points higher than the average for schools across East Cambridgeshire. The college have had just one positive Covid-19 case since coming back in September and following guidance from Public Health England, only 32 of 200 students in the year group were asked to isolate.

    Simon continued: “Our attendance figures are really positive and show that staff and students trust the measures we have put in place. We know the impact of the virus has varied from school to school and we are thankful to have a strong parental community who are trusting our judgement. We took the guidance very seriously from the start and broke the college up in to zones with different year groups in each area. This meant we had to spend a lot of time and money over the Summer refurbishing an additional block to ensure it was a high-quality learning environment for our students and staff to work in.

    “We are very lucky to have a fantastic relationship with our parents and they have been so encouraging and supportive, even when we had our positive case. All decisions are made with input from staff and our Student Council and we take their feedback very seriously.

    “We have paid a great deal of attention to the message we put across to students, prioritising their wellbeing and mental health. We are not sanctioning students who do not wear a face covering and prefer instead to emphasise compassion and thank students for wearing a face covering. We have introduced a Mask of the Week competition to raise awareness of wearing face coverings in school and to make it a more fun experience for our students. We have a really compassionate environment, and everyone wants to do the best for each other.

    “One of our biggest challenges has been cost. We have received very little additional money from the government and have spent a lot on refurbishing classrooms for zoning and cleaning. It is tricky balancing finding the money for vital cleaning products, while continuing to provide high quality education.”

    Looking ahead, Simon is mindful that changes could be coming in the near future. He said: “I am aware we are in the East of England and the infection rate is not as high here as in other parts of the country. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next half term and what changes this might bring. The challenge for me is always to ensure my staff and students feel supported. Like many workplaces, some of our staff have not had a week off since March and so my priority for half term is making sure we all get some downtime ready for another half term - whatever that may bring.”

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  • Franklin House keep reaching the Gold standard in PLEDGES

    Published 21/10/20

    Not just one… but THREE hard working Franklin House students have become the first this year to achieve their Gold PLEDGES accolades. It has become clear that students have spent their time in national lockdown well, as not only the Gold’s, but also the Bronze and Silver awards have been rolling in!

    Kicking the start of term off with a bang, Lucy Francis and Sophie Norman in Year 11 met with our new Principal Mr Warburton to be awarded their Gold pins and certificates. These were the first Gold PLEDGES Mr Warburton would bestow in his new role at Ely College so this was a memorable moment for all.


    When asked what the secret to their success was, the girls commented on how, throughout Years 9 and 10, they had both took part in a number of activities that accumulated quickly, leading them to GOLD. These included taking up the roles of Sports Leaders and volunteering at sporting events. This, they discussed, was particularly rewarding at the time, as they both enjoyed the opportunity to encourage younger students at Ely and partnering schools to find their passion in sports and keep up with exercise. Both enjoy dance and had great fun, sharing routines with primary school students as we invited them to collaborate in different sports projects with the college.

    Speaking about their achievements, Lucy and Sophie said: “It has been hard work to meet the criteria, but we have really enjoyed the challenge. We were given ownership on so many projects including our recycling project and different House projects we did together when we joined the student council. Working towards our PLEDGES has offered us new experiences we are very proud of and we now look forward to encouraging other students to do the same and keep aiming for Gold.”

    Just a few days later, Franklin House hit the mark again as Joseph Chapman was awarded his Gold pin. Joseph is only in Year 9 and has already achieved great things through the PLEDGES system. One of our current Student Ambassadors, he is working on his personal project put forward for consideration by the student council; this year he and a friend are working to revamp our infamous Ely’s Got Talent show AND start to plan for the schools Aquafest boat race entry in July. It is their hope that loads of students will get involved in these events, not only to earn their own PLEDGES but also in the hope that these events will raise money for the RNLI.

    After listening to student feedback last year and some time to reflect on the value of PLEDGES, the extracurricular system has recently been updated including how to log PLEDGES through TEAMs and the class notebook. Mr Fisher and Mr Craven have taken the lead on this so if you have any questions please contact them.

    Since Ely College joined the CMAT trust, the college has introduced a simple but broad set of PLEDGES that pupils are expected to complete during their time at the school, at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels. The fact that some students are completing the set before Year 11 is very impressive. Students gain their PLEDGES through activities and work across seven categories: Participation, Leadership, Environment, Diversity, Giving, Excellence and Service.

    We have recently adjusted the PLEDGES poster to include more COVID friendly options, in the hope that student keep going with their PLEDGES through this difficult time and know there are outlets for them to achieve. Well done to all the Bronze and Silver award winners this term, including Freyja Gunn from Turing House here with Mr Burke.

    The PLEDGES form part of the school's parallel curriculum – a system that is designed to develop the whole child and complement the academic courses. Similar to the Duke of Edinburgh scheme (also offered at Ely College!), it helps pupils develop character and skills that can be taken into their adult life.

    Simon Warburton, Principal at Ely College said “The scheme has really helped drive a wide range of activities and improved relationships. It encourages students to give back to the school and their communities. Through PLEDGES, we can recognise, encourage, and reward those important aspects of personal development and learning that examinations do not. I’d like to congratulate Franklin House and look forward to giving out many more gold awards in the months to come”.

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  • Mask of the Week Launched! Be a hero!

    Published 12/10/20

    Not all heroes wear capes.... but they do wear MASKS!

    MASK OF THE WEEK: We've launched our new Mask of the Week initiative! SLT will be on the look out each week for great masks to share, but the emphasis is on making sure students are wearing them week in week out, they are fresh & clean AND you have TWO to hand for daily use.

    If you've made your own with funky fabric, made loads for the community, or even if you're twinning with friends etc... THEN please let Mr Mawby know - WE WANT TO SEE THEM! Be proud of the heroes you are by supporting the nation's keyworker heroes! #WearAMaskSaveALife #NHS

    Well done to Caitlin our first winner of #MaskOfTheWeek who was spotted last week with her friends in this cool Harry Potter number! She made it herself, & her friends had some bright & colourful masks too! With hand sanitiser also at the ready, we commend her for being prepared.


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  • Student Ambassadors launch 'Helping Hands' Mental Health project and are here for you...

    Published 08/10/20

    Two of our amazing Student Ambassadors are the think tank behind this fantastic new initiative. We are here to listen. We are here to help. Well done to Poppy and Erin on the student council for identifying some of the barriers young people experience in opening up about their personal well-being.

    'Helping Hand' is a new 'student self-referral' email address dedicated to starting conversations and offering support around student mental health. On the other end are a small team of safeguarding officers and students offering peer support.

    From daily worries & anxieties in and out of school, to more serious concerns for yourself or a friend, 'Helping Hands' is a confidential point of contact for all students; one that we hope offers a new way to start these important conversations and encourages more of us to open up about mental health and well-being.

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