Principal’s Statement – 16th July 2021

Closeup shot of a young man writing on a note pad

Dear Parents/Carers,

Welcome to my last statement of the 2020-21 academic year, a year that felt as though it had 2365 days in it for everyone!  I apologise for the length of this statement, please do read it carefully as it contains very important information.  We are almost there however, and reflecting back on the challenges we have faced in the last eighteen months I can safely say it is an absolute honour to lead such a wonderful group of staff, an incredible group of young people (of whom I am immeasurably proud) and amazing parents/carers.  We have achieved so much and arrived at this point a stronger community than before, it boggles the mind to think what we can achieve together without the external challenges of recent times. So, my 2021-22 challenge to everyone is to find just 10%.  By that I mean, if you were 10% stronger, 10% braver, 10% more involved, perhaps studied 10% harder or for 10% longer, what would you do? Not just for students but parents/carers, all of us, parental engagement and our collective culture has one of the biggest influences on the outcomes of young people and if you were 10% more aspirational for your son/daughter or if you talked with your son/daughter about their learning just 10% more, about knowledge organisers, about lessons, then the outcome would be far greater.  We can do that, after all we didn’t come this far just to come this far.  Did we?

Arrangements from September 2021

Following the latest announcement from the Prime Minister regarding the final stages of the government road map, schools have been issued with the following guidance from the Department for Education for September.

Contact Tracing – from Monday 19th July academies will no longer need to identify contacts of students who test positive. Instead, NHS Test and Trace staff will work with “positive cases” to identify close contacts. Contacts from schools and academies will only be “traced” by the NHS where the positive case specifically identifies the individual(s) as being a close contact. From August 16th under 18’s and those who have been double vaccinated will no longer need to self isolate if they have been in contact with a positive case.

Bubbles – there will no longer be ‘bubbles’ in schools and academies. There will be some grouping changes in Years 7-9 which will remain consistent for most lessons in the timetable, we are returning to setting in those year groups, based on sustained academic performance over time and not limited to individual test results. Students in Years 10 and 12 will be in new groups due to GCSE and A level options and there will be no changes to teaching groups in Years 11 and 13 as they complete their courses.

Face Coverings – the use of face coverings will no longer be necessary in classrooms, which has been the case for quite some time now. Many of our students use public transport and the latest position is that masks will still be required. For those travelling on Autocar, we have received this message:

Please remind students that face coverings are still a requirement. From Monday 19th July this rule will remain in place on all Autocar services and will continue as a condition of carriage that appropriate masks or face coverings must be worn (unless exempt).

We will continue to monitor the situation over the summer break and issue guidance for face coverings for movement around the site if necessary. Of course, we support all students who wish to continue with the use of face coverings.

One-way Systems – these will no longer be a requirement, although at Mascalls much of this has been beneficial to the flow of students around the site therefore, we will be keeping many aspects of the one way system and where this is not possible a move on the left pattern.

Staggered Lunchtimes – there will be no requirement for staggered lunches, although we have felt some benefits to this system, the ability to maintain a full duty rota has proven very difficult, returning to the whole academy break and lunchtime is a decision yet to be confirmed.

September on-site Testing in Secondaries – 

The Department for Education states that as children will be mixing during the summer holidays, all secondary students should receive two on-site lateral flow tests, three to five days apart, on their return in September. This therefore alters the start of the academic year in September and is now detailed below:

Year Group Returning

Wednesday 1st September

7, 12 & 13

Thursday 2nd September

8 and 11 (and Year 7, 12 and 13)

Friday 3rd September

9 and 10 (Whole school return)

Monday 6th September

Whole academy returns and second COVID test round begins

Following completion of the second on site testing all students will be supplied with home testing kits once more and expected to continue with twice weekly testing on Sundays and Wednesdays. Testing is now considered the most important measure in the prevention of transmission

Euros 2020(1)

Almost every member of the Academy community watched England’s performances in the Euros with pride and passion. It was an incredible series of results from a young, talented and dedicated group of athletes, the future is certainly bright. We also watched aghast at the response from a vocal minority nationally following the penalty shoot-out. Mascalls does not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind. There is no honour or humour in discrimination and it has no place in our community or any community, should any member of our community challenge our stance we will meet it with a zero tolerance approach.  We are immensely proud of the inclusive nature of our academy, we pride ourselves on our respect for diversity, celebrate our differences and are also incredibly proud of all of the England players on and off the pitch for their contribution under intense scrutiny and expectation.  Well done England!

Sports Day 2021

It was lovely to see the return of our sports day this week, the sound of students excitedly cheering their friends on and in fact sometimes just being excited to be there was electric and has been hugely missed. It has been two years since our entire academy has been in one area for such an event, students made us proud watching all the performances including a wonderful dance performance before the afternoon. A change in champions from two years ago, the results are as follows:

  • 1st Place Earhart College – 980 points
  • 2nd Place Luther King College – 928 points
  • 3rd Place Shackleton College – 909 points

Events such as these cannot run without the help of a number of staff and some students supporting, so to Mrs West and the PE department (and many others) a huge thank you for putting on such a fantastic large scale event with the student safe in pens (or bubbles) spectating, difficult in the best of times, even more so now, well done all and thank you!

Staffing Changes

It is natural to have a turnover of staff at the end of each academic year, traditionally our turnover is incredibly low. Staff this year are leaving largely for promotion or relocation. Usually we would talk about how much they will be missed, they certainly will be, but it is probably more prudent to mention just how much of a positive impact they have had on our young people and the entire academy community over a number of years for many of them.  We also say goodbye to a number of trainees and wish them well on their journey in education.  Each has left their mark and we are incredibly proud that they go on to new projects carrying the Mascalls name with them, well done to all of you and best of luck.  Those teachers leaving us are

  • Mrs Gray, Assistant Principal, 15 years
  • Miss Mohamed – SENCO, 12 years
  • Mrs Belivanis – Lead Practitioner, Dance, 20 years
  • Mrs Beard – MF Teacher, 8 years
  • Miss Daughtery – Maths Teacher, 4 Years
  • Mr Hetherington – Science, 2 Years
  • Mr Brolly – Science, 1 year
  • Mr Vingoe – Science, 1 Year
  • Mrs North – Business, 2 Years

The last day, Wednesday 21st July

When it arrives, our last day before we break for the summer holiday is next Wednesday. Students will attend lessons in the morning and will be dismissed at 12.30 with all of the usual bus transport arranged for that time. 

Finally, from me to each and every member of our academy community, a thank you for the wonderful support and positive messages we have received this year. It has kept us all going when things look bleak, if I had said at the start of the year we would have transferred to remote provision and back again, navigated an International baccalaureate verification and a Challenge partners review with a National Area of excellence I would have thought it impossible. Yet we have, and we have not done it alone.

Have a wonderful and safe summer break.

Yours sincerely,

Mr W Monk