Principal’s End of Year Update – 22nd July 2022

Dear parents/carers,

After the hottest week on record, following our experiences over the last three years, we managed to once again pivot, adapt and be flexible to rearrange both our timetable and other areas of our site to ensure that our students were able to continue as normal, relatively cool (as can be expected) but most importantly safe.  They showed amazing self management, a character trait we aim to develop through giving them the opportunity to take personal responsibility in preparation for life beyond the school gates.  It is a timely reminder that also, whatever the weather, Mascalls will always be open for our community.  It is our job to be there and we do it gladly for our wonderful students.

Over the course of this year students from a variety of year groups have performed at a variety of open evenings, three nights of a dance show, a Community Christmas Tea, year 7 Christmas Sharing, Performing Arts Spring showcase, a school play, a piano recital, a primary school fair, Paddock Wood Christmas light up, a National Area of Excellence Showcase, the LAT staff Awards (where we received the highest number of nominations in the Trust), Sports day, school Musical, multiple sports leaders events, an Art showcase, language teaching in primaries, over 30 school trips across the year.

In addition, there have been over 225 co-curricular clubs, sporting fixtures, 106 224 positive points, one heatwave, it also feels incredibly strange to remind parents/carers that we have also conducted nearly 6000 COVID tests in our testing centre this year in September and January, oh and an OFSTED inspection.  To say it has been busy would be an understatement and I would like to pay tribute at the end of the year to our incredible staff who as the OFSTED report rightly reported “go the extra mile”.  Absolutely none of this would have been possible without the hours and hours of behind the scenes preparation undertaken by staff on top of the day to day job of delivering high quality lessons.  It is safe to say we love our academy, are proud of it and all the students who are part of it.

Open Air Cinema – a resounding success

This week for the first time ever we had an open air cinema for our students on Wednesday.  Again, impressed with their conduct, so much so, that the owner of the business himself praised our students and offered to return next year with the full cinema package of not just the giant screen but also including popcorn and various other options.  It was a lovely and actually relaxing event much needed after the heatwave and hopefully we can see a return to our calendar next year.

Staff Goodbyes

Naturally, at the end of the year, we say goodbye to some wonderful staff who have contributed so much to Mascalls this year and before.   We say goodbye to:

Jodie Wilson (Social Sciences), Kim Roberts (History), Christopher Shearman (Science), Oliver Butcher (Geography), Sarah Dey (Business), Patrick Gregson (Science), Emma Mearing (Attendance), Caroline Du Rand (Design), Ferne Whipp (Learning Support), Andrea Room (Learning Support), Louise Leat (Learning Support).

Moving onto new careers, promotions, international moves we wish them all the best of luck on their new adventures.  We have had a very successful recruitment season this year replacing all leavers and expanding our staff numbers even further leaving us superbly placed in September to begin our continuing drive for improvement.  I look forward to introducing them all to you in my first update back in September, but for now my thanks go to those who are leaving for all they have given Mascalls.

Art Gallery

Once again, the incredible talent and character of our visual arts students was on display in our annual Visual Arts exhibition last week. The quality and variety of work produced by our fine art, photography, textiles and graphics students was outstanding; evidencing the hours of work that our young people have put into their pieces.

It is so inspiring to see, year-on-year, the breadth and depth of the messages our students communicate and we genuinely could not be more proud of having had the privilege of teaching them. Whilst we are sorry to see them go, we are so very excited to see what happens next for them and cannot wait to hear how they are continuing their creative journeys beyond Mascalls Academy.

Thank you so much to parents, guardians & students for all the messages of appreciation and it was lovely to see so many of you there, supporting our students.

If you were unable to attend the exhibition, please do not panic! We have a video in production that will be shared via the Mascalls Academy Art & Mascalls Academy websites alongside our @mascallsart instagram page (which is always worth a follow!).

Changes to teaching groups in September

Our last COVID measure, teaching students in advisory groups, from September will return to a similar system developed before the pandemic, albeit better – with more flexibility, more support and specialist subject criteria.  We will be operating a hybrid system of mixed ability groups and sets in our core subjects of English, maths and science with entirely different criteria for each subject so that all strengths and areas for development are catered for. We have also developed an assessment system that would ensure we can make changes to best support if necessary so no student is limited in any way in any subject area. For subjects outside of our core we will continue with mixed ability grouping entirely which is in keeping with the latest research from the Education Endowment Fund.  It is highly likely you will only notice new names in the teaching groups as they change, but you will definitely see even more rapid progress across all groups of students.

We will see you in September

We look forward to welcoming our new Year 7 students on Thursday 1st September, along with our Year 12 students.  On Friday 2nd September we look forward to seeing all students back together fresh with some wonderful stories about their summers.

Finally, from me, as I have done every Friday for three years, my thanks go to parents and carers for their ongoing support. It makes a huge difference to our staff when parents/carers take time in their day to send in positive messages.  As I have pointed out previously in an age where criticism, negativity can easily take primacy in modern communication and social media, we are actually surrounding our students with the opposite.  A caring, supportive community in partnership all with the same intent – the health, happiness and continual progress of our young people.

Have a safe and wonderful summer break, we look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Yours sincerely

Mr W Monk