It has certainly has been a busy week for the government and announcements, at Mascalls it has been another fantastic week. The arrival of additional fencing has secured our directional systems further and students are settled into the systems established on site. Dare I say it, but our ‘new normal’ is beginning to feel normal. I would like to thank you for the confidence that you have shown us resulting in an attendance that comfortably exceeds national averages. This is remarkable considering that it is also the season for colds and flu. If you have any queries regarding symptoms please refer to my statement of 18th September or please read the letter to schools from the NHS by clicking here. Put simply, as a result of continued strong attendance your son/daughter is at an advantage in securing their success within the academy and beyond.
This week we have ordered a huge number of external tables to improve the environment in each of the year areas for our students to enable even more to eat comfortably outside. As the inclement weather approaches we will look to ensure that we have adequate exterior cover as well as using student advisories if raining. Sixth form students continue to wear face masks when in transit around the site and staff now join them, again students have barely flickered at the appearance of masks continuing the credit to them for their acceptance of the national situation.
Transport and conduct off site
This week I have met with various transport representatives and local business managers. I have assured them that Mascalls will work with British Transport Police and local business managers to ensure that new national guidelines are adhered to at the beginning and end of the academy day when not on site, assisting in identification where necessary. Please continue to reinforce at home that as of Monday face mask use in local shops is mandatory, as is the wearing of facemasks for the duration of any journey on public transport.
Understandably, it can be confusing for students to socially distance when on site there is no requirement to do so within bubbles. Students must be aware that as they arrive and leave site, they are governed by national guidelines and in some cases, law so must be sensitive to members of the public and the distance they must keep. Again, any reinforcement at home is always welcomed.
NHS track and trace app.
The NHS app went live on Thursday 24th September for people aged 16 and above. The app works in the background monitoring proximity contacts, symptoms and will notify individuals if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive. More details on the app can be found by clicking here.
In school, students can keep their mobile phones switched on, on silent (not vibrate) and in their pocket or bottom of their bag. There is no need to check phones throughout the day and as such our policy remains that they must remain out of sight. If your son or daughter receives a notification from the app, please ensure that you contact the academy as soon as possible via email@example.com.
As part of the government’s Contain strategy schools and academies have been asked to ensure that plans are in place should the local situation or national guidance change. The Prime Minister has repeatedly emphasised his commitment to keeping schools open, we are fully prepared to continue doing just that. In the event that the situation changes, and I not envisaging any immediate change. The plans to continue education remotely or as a mixture of face to face and remote learning are firmly in place. We intend to use Google Classroom and Google Meet as our sole remote provision as we had before the start of this academic year. We also intend to offer remote lessons live and in time with the school timetable, this is in place for groups, bubbles and the entire academy should it be necessary, lessons will be recorded and placed within the classroom should there be any connectivity issues in real time. We have taken receipt of our first batch of Chromebooks which will be going out to Year 11 shortly, the others will follow as soon as possible. We have also been familiarising students with Google Classroom where necessary, every face to face class now has a virtual classroom. Our dedicated website with all of the information required will be launched in the next few days.
Finally, as with every letter, I thank you for your continued support which is very much appreciated by staff. In a time of constant change, we are holding strong to the things that should never change: prioritising the wellbeing of our community and the education of our young people. We have been inundated with positive messages of support and encouragement, they have a huge impact on our hard working and exceptional staff so please do keep them coming. To date we can report that there have been no confirmed cases of COVID within our academy community, where we have asked individuals to isolate as a precaution and seek a test, every one has returned negative. We remain in an area of relatively low transmission but our vigilance, continuing education in good habits and insistence on sticking to the rules over time will ensure that the risk to our community remain as low as possible.
Mr W Monk