I hope this update finds you and your families well. There are some important changes for next week so please do read this update carefully. Since our return at the start of this year, we have maintained many of the COVID measures in place last year such as staggered breaks and lunchtimes, daytime janitor to sanitise high contact areas, daily cleaning of all spaces, hand sanitisers in all classrooms, ventilation in classrooms and encouraging twice weekly testing. The effect of staggered break and lunchtimes also staggers the lessons time of students and reduces the number traversing the site at any one time. We are incredibly grateful to parents and carers who continue to proactively test on Sundays and Wednesdays reducing transmission within the academy, we are experiencing a small number of cases and are currently significantly below many other local secondary academies.
We continue to follow the latest guidance from Public Health England and will update you with information as and when appropriate. We have also noted that a number of parents/carers have naturally been concerned following reports from students of cases directly or from social media, please be assured that you will always receive rapid updates directly from the academy and not via social media or students. There are also other, non-Covid, autumn illnesses in circulation which are entirely normal as we approach winter. As always, and throughout the pandemic the academy, parents and carers must continue to work collectively to provide the place of calm and consistency our amazing young people need. Currently infection rates within the academy remain below the local community rates, meaning everyday activities such as shopping and leisure activities carry a higher risk than school attendance, however we want to act proactively to ensure we do not reach the levels seen elsewhere.
Our next steps therefore, to prevent further transmission will first relate to testing and facemasks. From Monday we will distribute further LFT kits to students asking that tests be conducted on Sunday Evening, Tuesday evening and Thursday evenings. Also, from Monday we would also ask that students wear masks in all indoor spaces when not in lessons or eating in the canteen, unless of course students have previously been exempt. There is no need to inform us again of any exemption if you have already done so. Finally, while the weather remains relatively dry, we will also return students wearing PE and dance kits to the academy on the day they have PE or dance. This must be the Mascalls PE and dance kit only and not additional branded wear such as hoodies which would be dealt with as a normal uniform infringement.
In the instance that your son/daughter feels unwell, first take an LFT test. Inform the academy and isolate should the test prove positive and then seek a PCR test. Again, confirm that result with the academy as soon as it is received.
Baroness Berridge visits Mascalls.
Mascalls were excited to welcome Baroness Berridge, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System as part of a ministerial visit to the area this week to see the excellent quality of education on offer. Baroness Berridge was incredibly impressed with the staff and students of Mascalls. The Baroness toured the site and visited lessons noting how well the academy has supported our wonderful students through such challenging times and allowing them to continue to make impressive progress as a result of the efforts of our entire community and the Trust.
Free School Meals
Free School Meals/Pupil Premium Payments are available to all eligible pupils attending maintained school in Kent. An application must be submitted to secure both Free School Meals and the Pupil Premium Payment. Pupils who have already been eligible for Free School Meals since April 2018 do not need to renew applications until April 2022.
HOW TO APPLY
Application forms are available from Kent County Council or you can apply online. To see if you are eligible and to complete the form online.
You will no doubt have noted in the national press the intention to roll out the vaccine programme for 12 -15-year olds using schools as a base for that programme. As I stated previously parental consent will be sought at a time when we are in a position to commence the programme, we currently await further guidance from the Department for Education. There will be no need to inform us of your reasoning should you not consent, just simply do not fill in the form in the same manner as our testing programme.
Finally, a thank you for your ongoing support and remaining calm and consistent, we continue to be flooded with positive messages from parents and carers which go a long way. After all we are all sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, parents, carers as well as teachers and most certainly in this together. And it is the only community with whom we would choose to navigate this pandemic together.
Mr Monk | Principal