I hope this letter finds you and your families well. A much quieter week this week compared to last week and despite those who have been required to self-isolate as a precaution our attendance continues to remain very high in relation to local and national averages.
At the time of writing we have had no further positive cases of COVID reported within our academy community or those who have been asked to self-isolate. We continue to have some students who are self-isolating as a precaution and I would like to thank the vigilant parents and carers who have followed the guidance to help protect our community. Over the next week we are looking forward to welcoming back all of the Year 11 and then Year 10 students who are in their last few days of self-isolation and remote learning and I would like to thank all of the parents for their support during this period ensuring that they actively engage in the online provision to ensure they are not disadvantaged. The time has really shot by.
It is a particularly challenging time for staff where the provision of work is required to be almost simultaneously provided online and face to face for differing groups of students. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our amazing staff who are doing an exceptional job working towards keeping our students safe and learning whilst navigating the same global pandemic and associated risks with their own families.
Mascalls Academy uses self-isolation in line with the national guidelines as one of our prevention measures, the most up to date guidance on isolation can be found by clicking here. The most notable conclusion from that guidance is that self-isolation is not just for a few days to be safe, it is 14 full days from the last date of close contact with an infected person, if you don’t have symptoms, or 10 days if you do experience symptoms. Please do not be offended when Mascalls enforces the legal requirement to follow those guidelines. There is also no need to self-isolate if you have been in contact with someone who has been asked to self-isolate.
We have a strong track and trace methodology within the academy for our staff and our students which follows the national guidelines, this involves any infected student identifying close contacts during the infectious period, identifying lessons taught from the infectious period, identifying individuals from seating plans including measuring physical distances within classrooms, identifying classroom activities that may have altered the seating plans.
We have finally had an update as to the next delivery of Chromebooks which will be provided for our Year 7 and Year 10 students in the next two weeks. Again, this is a huge logistical task and safeguards the education of our students in the future. The Chromebooks are a loan device to students locked to their school accounts and a real privilege for students, it is vital that they are seen that way. Other Chromebooks will follow as soon as supplies arrive.
Christmas is almost upon us, many of us are counting down already! We will be looking to identify how we can continue with the traditional events that go on at that time including our amazing canteen Christmas dinner, more information on this will follow, but with the canteen staff we have, it is an event not to be missed.
We have now purchased School Cloud having observed a range of solutions in place in other schools and academies, this looks by far and away the most user friendly, suitable and successful solution to our parent evening problem. We will be undergoing setup next week and are hoping to make arrangements for our first virtual parents’ evenings shortly afterwards. Please watch this space, we are looking forward to being able to discuss your son or daughter’s progress in person as soon as we can.
Parents will be as frustrated as we have been with the removal of our SIMS parent gateway. We have now signed a new contract with Bromcom to manage all of our school information and to provide the ‘My Child at School’ app. This involves a full transfer of all data, a huge task, with testing and training currently undergoing we are working towards a February switch over assuming those processes are successful. More information and access arrangements will follow in the new year.
Years 7, 8 and 9
A quick reminder that there will be some changes to Year 7 and 9 areas from Monday 30th and to ensure that Year 8 have access to appropriate playing space. This is as a result of observing the behaviours and needs of year groups and to introduce Year 7 to a new contained area of the academy. We will continue to monitor and introduce changes to ensure equitable access to all of the resources we have available to students at break times. All students have been informed and we will be on hand on Monday to guide them to the appropriate new spaces.
Finally, my usual thanks go to you, the parents and carers as an integral part of our community team. Your positive messages continue to flow and inspire our staff and your insistence on supporting our measures is felt here. Face masks are being worn with minimal ‘nudging’ and we are refilling our 130+ hand sanitisers dispensers regularly, which means they are being used! I have also received no communications from our community this week regarding students not following guidance which is always nice! Thank you for your reminders at home and please stay safe and vigilant.
Mr W Monk