Dear parent/carer,

I hope this letter finds you and your families well.  In the most challenging period in its history, Mascalls Academy – its staff, its students, its parents and carers have coped remarkably well.  The Christmas holiday has finally arrived. There are currently just two active COVID cases within the academy, six since September, which is a remarkable feat and shows that our prevention measures are strong and that our response, track and trace standards are robust. As a collective our community has stood together, vigilant and vocal keeping our amazing young people safe. But. We know that the challenge is not over.  Our colleagues at the Department of Education, at the eleventh hour, have again issued updated guidance and strategy for the start of the new term, which I will discuss later in the statement. Please take the time to read it in full. We will be ready to meet those demands, but first, the most important thing for every member of our community is to stop, and to rest.  January and the spring term will most certainly continue to present our community with challenge and we will be ready to meet it head on.

Reporting of Positive cases over the Christmas holidays

Should your child develop COVID-19 symptoms between Friday 18th December and midnight on Sunday 20th December which then results in a positive COVID-19 test result you should inform the academy as soon as possible using the below reporting portal. This also applies if your child is asymptomatic and has a test between the same dates. You can access the portal here:

https://sites.google.com/latrust.org.uk/covid-19-parent-portal

If your child develops symptoms on or after Monday 21st December, then you do not need to inform us if they test positive as contact tracing will be managed by NHS Test and Trace.  This also includes if your child is asymptomatic and has a test on or after the 21st December.

Finally, if your child develops symptoms and tests positive on or after the 25th December, as well as co-operating with NHS Test and Trace you should inform the academy using our parental reporting portal above as your child may need to isolate during the first few days of the spring term.

If we are notified of a positive case that affects your child that requires them to self-isolate over the Christmas break we will notify you as soon as possible via email.  The parent portal will also be updated with any self-isolation notices.

If you have any general COVID-19 questions then you can email covid19@latrust.org.uk

Mass testing of students

On Tuesday, the DfE published a press release regarding mass testing of staff and students in school and academies.  In areas of the highest transmission mobile testing units will deployed by the Department of Health (Mascalls does not fall into this category), elsewhere schools will prepare for testing facilities to be available on site using trained staff.  Preparation to ensure we are able to deliver on those Government promises has begun and more information will follow in the New Year.

Start of the new school year

Following a second press release made yesterday, the start of the academic year now looks a little different. Understandably the government is prioritising year groups who face public examinations in 2021, the academy will expect to see Year 11 and Year 13 back as usual from 4th January, alongside children of key workers from any year group should they need to attend.  For all other year groups, (years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12) remote learning will begin and students will learn from home.   Our staff will be on site delivering live content from Google Classrooms in line with the normal academy timetable and posting resources for those unable to attend in real-time.  In summary:

  • Year 11 and 13 return on site 4th January as expected
  • Years 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 – begin remote learning from 4th January
  • Year 7, 8, 9,10, 12 – return to the academy in the week beginning 11th January
  • All public examinations are unaffected.

As remote learning begins on mass for those year groups, please be aware of the following when attending live:

When in the live lesson students must follow this code of conduct:

  • All students will be muted during the lesson
  • If students need to ask the teacher a question they must type it into the comments box
  • If a student does not wish to be seen they must turn their camera off from the beginning of the google meeting
  • If a student has their camera on they must ensure they are appropriately dressed
  • When the teacher begins recording the lesson all student cameras must be off
  • Students must be in a quiet place at home where they will not be disturbed during the lesson
  • Parents/carers are not permitted to ask any questions via the google meeting

Attendance will be monitored both live and through the completion of tasks if your son/daughter is unable to register live due to access within the home.  The current information states that students from all other year groups will return in the week beginning 11th January.

For year 11 and 13 students, please note that for the week beginning 4th January, there will be no canteen facility so packed lunches, water and snacks are essential.

Naturally parents in years 8 and 9 will have questions regarding Chromebooks and their arrival, suffice to say that as soon as they are delivered from our supplier they will be distributed to the last two year groups. We will continue to chase over the Christmas period.

Our remote learning portal is again available for those parents who require access to information or Google Classroom codes, that can be found by clicking here:

click here to access our remote learning portal

Public Examinations for Year 10 and 12

There are some public examinations for Year 12 and Year 11 students in the first week back.  These will continue as normal, please attend in line with the details you have already been provided.

As ever, I would like to thank each member of our community for their support and insistence on following the guidance.  Please take care over the holiday period and finally I would like to take this time to wish you all a very healthy, happy, merry Christmas and New Year.

 

Yours sincerely

Mr W Monk | Principal