Welcome back to term five, after what I hope was a lovely break. It seems such a different outlook when the weather (eventually) turns in our favour. I hope that you and your families are all well and that you had a fantastic Easter break where you were able to experience the best of the gradual release of the national lockdown. It is probably safe to say that students, and staff alike, were certainly showing signs of fatigue towards the end of last term but have come back to us rested, focussed and happy. It is an absolute privilege to lead an academy with such an incredibly supportive parent/carer community with us. Our attendance this week has been back to the pre-pandemic levels way back in September to December 2019 and vastly over the current national averages. Walking around the academy this week there has been a wonderfully calm and purposeful atmosphere with students enjoying each other’s company at break and lunchtime, smiles in abundance.
Over the Easter period the government extended its existing guidance on the use of facemasks in schools and academies with a review or announcement planned around the 17th May. In that respect we will continue with our current position until such a time that those recommendations change.
National Online Safety
Mascalls Academy are keen to ensure that we support our young people and parents in raising awareness of the potential issues that can arise online. An overwhelming majority of the incidents investigated by our pastoral teams have their roots in online behaviour or social media. A series of helpful quick videos for this semester have been selected by our safeguarding and pastoral teams. The topics selected are based upon the issues we are currently being made aware of by some of our students and parents. You can access the clips by using the link below and they will appear within the watch list on your homepage. These will be updated each semester to ensure they are relevant and useful to parents and to ensure that we are working as a collective to keep our young people aware and safe online.
Knowledge Organisers – ask them, then ask again
Our knowledge organisers (KO) form a significant part of our curriculum strategy and help to acquire the basic knowledge required to access the curriculum and build toward application. As you may be aware permanent changes within the brain occur as a result of repeated recall and retrieval of information further increasing the capacity of the long-term memory. As recalling information becomes more automatic, the limited working memory (the memory used in daily tasks) is freed up to focus more efficiently on the task in hand. It has been an incredibly successful strategy. We have noticed an impressive set of results from our students in the KO tests throughout the entire pandemic which places them in a fantastic position for success moving forward. The ongoing success of this strategy is to ensure it remains at the forefront of your conversations with your son/daughter and not become ‘part of the furniture’, we are incredibly close to achieving something exceptional through this strategy. We ask that you speak regularly with your son/daughter about their most recent knowledge organisers, ask to see them in their Google classroom or on our school website here, not just the most recent, but any of the historical organisers. Question them using it, and question them again, at any time. Furthermore, please see the most effective strategies below to help your son/daughter revise going forward.
Year 11 and 13 – Teacher Assessed Grades
Naturally one or two queries remain from parents, carers and students about ‘the last day.’ It is our intention to give students every possible opportunity to provide the evidence required for their courses. Students will be required to remain with us until at least half term to ensure that they have the maximum time, I will write directly to students, parents and carers separately with final details in due course, suffice to say the focus for students remains on producing the best possible work in every lesson. Our Teacher assessed Grades policy can be found by clicking here, which shows how we intend to be equitable and provide every opportunity for our students to succeed, no one will be disadvantaged. We are incredibly grateful to all parents, carers and students who have given our staff the time and space to accurately reflect on the evidence and work available during this entire process. Our staff have been instructed not to share any grades or predictions at all in advance of the final results in August and according to Ofqual guidelines, must record any attempts to secure such information.
Our Bromcom parent app ‘My Child at School’ offers many benefits in terms of live academic attendance, reward and behavioural data for parents and carers. There are also financial benefits to the school and correspondingly to the students in using it as a regular form of communication through ‘push notifications’. We send a considerable number of text messages at cost to the academy and would like to phase these out in all but the most urgent of communications, please ensure that you have push notifications enabled for the My Child at School so that we can communicate and save essential finances.
Finally, a huge thank you to parents and carers for your ongoing support and positive messages. We have had our penultimate virtual parents evening this week again with exceptional attendance, but we still want more! It would come as no surprise that there is a link between academic success and parental engagement in learning. We have seen our community strengthen throughout the course of this pandemic to the ultimate benefit of our wonderful students. Continue to be involved in their learning and progress and engage with the academy when you need to, we are here for you and working together want nothing more than the very best for each and every single one of our students.
Mr W Monk