Principal’s Statement – 24th September 2021

Mascalls Academy building

Dear Parents/Carers,

I hope this update finds you and your families well, a much shorter update this week you will be most pleased to hear.

COVID and the Power of Social Media

Whilst we have a few COVID cases, confirmed by PCR tests, within the academy currently we are not experiencing the same number of cases as many of our local secondary academies. Those students at Mascalls and their families have been wonderful in testing and isolating appropriately, which helps immeasurably. We are also not currently in line with reports regarding schools and high transmission in the national media nor in fact many local social media posts. These posts and messages have proven frustrating and impact on those students and families who may already be anxious regarding school attendance. This week alone we have had multiple LFT results that have subsequently returned negative following a PCR but have resulted in significant anxiety for other students in the meantime.  There are other seasonal coughs and colds circulating that are not COVID. Please be mindful when posting and messaging and also be aware that parents/carers will be informed fully and directly by the academy, it serves no purpose to do otherwise.  Currently, there are no particular year groups who are experiencing significantly higher transmissions than another.  As a community our role, together, is to ensure students are safe through consistent and calm messaging.  Last week we made the decision, to avoid further cases, to introduce the same measures requested by Public Health England in schools that have seen far higher numbers than at Mascalls because we feel that it is not prudent to wait until that point to do so.  Please continue to have faith that our track record throughout has been strong, continue to ensure your son/daughter attends when well and rest assured that we will continue to provide the environment to ensure the impact of the last two years is minimal.  

As a reminder our reintroduced measures are:

  • Face coverings when moving around the academy, not in class or eating (unless exempt), please ensure your son/daughter has one each day.
  • Increased LFT testing at home on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
  • Continuing with split breaks and lunchtimes, lowering crowding.
  • Increased ventilation, in addition to approximately 90% of student movement occurring outside buildings between lessons.
  • Increased sanitisation and daily cleaning.
  • PE/dance kit on PE dance days.

Open Evening

Our first large scale event for over two years took place on Monday with hundreds of prospective students and their families visiting us for open evening.  It shows that our reputation as an outstanding provider of education in the community is continuing to grow.  We were also in awe of the number of student volunteers for departmental support and tour guides and so very grateful as it went very smoothly.  As you would expect our students ‘sell’ the academy more than any member of staff could and they did not disappoint, they were incredible. Thank you.

Email from Parent/carer following open evening:

Greetings,

I would like to feedback on the open evening we attended at Mascalls on 20th September, in particular regard to our “tour guide” XXX, in Year 10.

XXX showed us around the varied and vast campus with enthusiasm. She represented Mascalls as well prepared, knowledgeable of her subject and keen to show the school in its best light. She was polite, mindful of the needs of the tour group and handled the naturally occurring hubbub that comes from such a large scale event with composure.

XXX answered all of our (numerous) questions in a thorough, mature and considered manner and was a credit to the event, as well as the school as a whole.  

The open evening experience was very positive, not least for our daughter who hopes to attend in September 2022, but as parents; to be able to identify the character and spirit of the student body via pupils like XXX. 

Many thanks,

Quotes from visiting parents:

“My daughter has been blown away by the range of performances she has seen tonight” 

“This school has been transformed; I had no idea it would be like this!”

Virtual Parents Evenings

We have our first virtual parents evening for Year 11 and 13 next week, last year the feeling was overwhelmingly positive.  We do however miss the unpixelated faces of our parents and carers and will be looking to introduce some events to ensure that we can see you face to face at points throughout the year.  Watch this space.

Vaccines

We have yet to receive further information from the School Age Immunisation Service (SAIS) regarding the vaccine roll out in schools, the same body who run all school vaccinations such as HPV.  We will provide the venue for the service if and when required, with SAIS conducting proceedings and of course collating any related messaging or consent.

Lastly, my continuing thanks for the positive messages being received daily. They help our staff hugely as we navigate the ongoing challenges firmly together. Have a wonderful and safe weekend.

Yours sincerely,

Mr W Monk

Principal