Impact of COVID-19 on Education at Mascalls Academy – 2020
The global pandemic of 2020 has impacted everyone but perhaps especially those at key points in their education. Whilst all schools have ensured that schooling has been minimally disrupted, it is necessary to offer a school based context pertinent to us a provider.
Mascalls Academy (part of the Leigh Academies Trust) is located in the South East corner of the UK in rural West Kent. We have 1300 students on roll including 180 in the 6th Form.
Missed Learning Time
Like all secondary schools we completed online learning during the initial lockdown period between March-May. We made provision of Chromebooks for all students without access to their own electronic device and used the Google Suite as our chosen platform for blended learning. We were not initially able to offer online live lessons due to GDPR restrictions but work was set and marked with weekly regularity.
From June, all Year 12 students were offered in-school sessions on a rolling fortnightly basis to compliment their online learning. This was very well attended, with 93% of students completing sessions in school with their teachers. Where possible, assessments were completed online and grades recorded but of course this couldn’t successfully replace the rigour of the usual end of year examination (we do not offer AS entry).
Since September we have been open to all year groups every day and have not, as of the time of writing, been required to send any year groups home for a period of isolation. Our Year 13 attendance figure is currently 96.7%, which confirms that students are accessing quality first wave teaching in the classroom.
PPE/Mock examinations are booked to take place in the final week of this semester and the first week of the January 2021 term and we are planning to offer full course examinations including all papers. In class assessments have been used to inform academic predictions for the end of the year and we will continue to gather evidence should changes to the reporting methods be implemented.
Impact on UCAS
We have used the online Google Classroom format to ensure positive communication with our students about virtual events; we have directed them to specific fairs and exhibitions as well as offering guidance regarding applications and research tools via video conferencing. This has been a challenge in that our students typically seek a great deal of guidance from us about the procedure of application and whilst we have worked hard to remedy this it will inevitably have consequences for this year’s tranche of applications. Grades submitted in this pre-Christmas window will reflect current assessment submissions and centre assessed forecasts.
This year group were due to complete a week of Work Experience in April 2020. They had worked on preparing for this through a dedicated weekly session, seeking placements and crafting CVs. Naturally they were disappointed that this was cancelled and many have found that the ongoing situation means that the possibility of quality work experience in this final school year will be impossible. We are keen to ensure that our students are disadvantaged as a result of this.