Principal’s statement – 12th February

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Dear parent/carer,

I hope this update finds you and your families well. Thirty-nine days ago, the Prime Minister announced the third national lockdown, in the thirty school days that followed the incredible determination to succeed shown by our students has been nothing short of humbling. We are incredibly proud of each and every one. Now, it’s half term and time to step away from the screen for a while, look up. Whilst the national lockdown continues, within those guidelines, take a break.  You deserve it.  If you are struggling for inspiration for what to do, please have a look at the list, produced by Newcastle City Council,  here.

We will return to remote learning on Monday 22nd February and shortly afterwards following the Department of Education update, due around that time, we will provide you with full details of how we will manage our return on or after the 8th March. Much discourse reported nationally refers to ‘catch up’ and ‘generation COVID’, this is more than unhelpful and highlights just how little those authors know about learning and student well-being. That is not terminology in use at Mascalls.  After the first lockdown, which was much longer, our students came back excited but nervous. We supported them, we reintroduced structure and familiarity, with high expectations and we strengthened our warm strict approach. They noticed and they appreciated it.

We assessed them formatively and frequently in class. What we found was that they were exactly where we thought they would be after a lockdown and only slightly behind chronologically.

We developed curriculum plans and targeted our teaching through high quality instruction. We did not cram, cram, cram or do lots and lots of interventions rather we re-planned to deliver content over the whole time available. We completed a data capture at the end of Semester 1 and lo and behold…the students, on the whole, had made excellent progress and pretty much ‘caught up’. We [and they] will do exactly the same this time.

We are ready to welcome all of our students back as soon as we are allowed to do so, they will be welcomed and they will be absolutely fine.

Testing

We are pleased that over the last few weeks our lateral flow testing has revealed no positive cases amongst attending students. We have learned a significant amount about the process and have realised that the registration of the student and related test is more time consuming and cumbersome than the testing itself. When students return on mass, the volume of students going through our testing centre will obviously increase. In order to help ensure the process is as efficient as possible, we are asking that you help your son/daughter to memorise key information for the registration process so that it can be repeated from memory. Most is already obvious but there are one or two pieces of information that may not be. Such information can be looked up but to do so for each student for every registration can significantly slow the process down. Our aim is to work towards testing every student every week. The details required for registration are:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Whether they have any current symptoms
  • Whether they have had the vaccine (and if yes, when)
  • First Line of their address
  • Post Code
  • Mobile Contact (either theirs or a parent’s/carer’s if easier to recall)

Finally, my continued gratitude goes to you, the parents and carers. Your commitment and positive communication with staff have inspired and encouraged. It is absolutely clear that our community has flourished against all the odds, that partnership must never change. Please have a wonderful and safe half term, we will see you all soon.

Yours sincerely

Mr W Monk | Principal