Principal’s Statement – 10th December 2021

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Dear parents / carers,

I hope this update finds you and your families well.  We are fast approaching the end of the term and there are absolutely no signs of slowing or relaxing in terms of well our students are doing, this week we had our highest attendance this term, we have been consistently above the national picture but we can safely say we are also constantly improving with attendance to match anything pre COVID.  This is a remarkable achievement and I would like to thank parents and carers for their efforts in ensuring that attendance is no barrier to progress in the current climate.

Nationally, reports abound about the progress of COVID.  Our benchmark for events is that as long as theatres, cinemas are open and other events run, we will continue with our dance shows and Christmas events with some additional measures in place such as facemasks and reducing or removing refreshments to prevent overcrowding.

Arrangements for the start of term

Following the announcement by the Department of Education to reintroduce testing in schools at the start of the new year we can now finalise our arrangements.  Previously we have staggered the return of students over three days to assist with our testing centre, given the efficiency of our system we now intend to do the same but over two days as indicated below:

  • Tuesday 4th January – Years 10, 11, 12 and 13 return to the academy
  • Wednesday 5th January – Years 7, 8 and 9 return to the academy

To help with our process, please ensure that your son/daughter knows their username and password for the government testing site which they have used previously.  Other details which are useful are parent/carer’s contact details and phone number.  If they can be written down or recorded as a note on their phone that would also help to speed things along.

Arrangements for the end of this term

The last day of term is next Friday 17th December, the academy day ends at 12.30pm, bus companies have been made aware and have assured us that all services will run from that time.

In addition to the spectacular dance show performances which are running this week and into the weekend we have also had more members of our student community representing our academy wonderfully as Sport Leaders.  Our first leadership event took place on Wednesday 1st December as we were host to the area Cross Country event for all local primary schools. The leaders did a fantastic job in setting up the course, meeting and greeting, marshalling and leading/guiding the runners. Their leadership and encouragement were crucial as the rain and wind swept across the fields but it proved to be a great event enjoyed by all.

On Wednesday 8th December a number of our year 10 Sports Leaders were invited to organise, lead and officiate at the area Sports hall Athletics event at the Angel Centre, Tonbridge. After initial training and preparation at Mascalls the team arrived in Tonbridge eager to display their leadership and sporting skills and they did not disappoint!

They organised, coached and encouraged the Year 5 and 6 pupils and were a credit to the PE department and Mascalls.   Well done all, we are super proud of all of you!

Communications with the academy

Just as a polite reminder to parents/carers when contacting the academy, we aim to respond to all communication within 24 hours.  Our pastoral staff and leadership team do teach and sometimes for the entire day so may not be available instantly – please be patient and always be prepared to hear another side of events, the full picture underpins the very nature of our support, any investigation and outcome.  In addition, if your son/daughter manages to contact you directly please always ask them to inform the academy first if they feel unwell or are upset, a majority of the time, when we are informed we can resolve most issues and then contact you with an outcome.  We also know that when parents/carers are informed directly by their son/daughter before the academy it can then become a stressful time for you at work or at home, we are able to help and always will – as long as we know.  It certainly goes without saying that any overly aggressive or threatening communications towards staff will not be tolerated.  We do completely understand why, we care about your son/daughter as much as you do and as our aims and ethos state – we are each other’s greatest allies.

National Online Safety

As part of Mascalls’ ongoing commitment to keeping our students safe in person and online we utilise National Online Safety achieving national accreditation for our work.  It is important that we all work together to take an active role in teaching children about online dangers. Learning how to act safely when using the internet is an incredibly important part of safeguarding our children.  We are continuing to use the resources and support from The National Online Safety site who aim to keep parents and teachers up to date with the ever changing online world.

The resources include Parents & Carers courses (presented by Myleene Klass), online video resources and weekly guides covering a huge range of topics, including online relationships, online Bullying, online grooming, child sexual exploitation, radicalisation and extremism, hacking, sexual harassment and violence, sexting and fake news to name a few.

To create your account, please use the following link and complete your details. When you’re set up, you’ll be able to set ‘Parent/Carer’ as your user type and access the videos that have been identified as particularly useful by Mrs Brooks under the ‘Watch List’ section.  Any questions or queries please contact Mrs Brooks.

Finally, from me a huge thank you to parents and carers for their ongoing support in ensuring incredible attendance, attending virtual parents’ evenings, supporting homework and knowledge organiser revision and attending events at the academy.  There are studies that show the strength and impact of the parent/carer/-academy relationship on improving outcomes for our young people and given the overwhelming support we frequently feel – they are most definitely in the right place.

Yours sincerely

Mr W Monk