Dear Parent/Carer,

I hope this letter finds you and your families well.  It has been a strong return for our students this week, who continue to amaze with their calm and resilient approach to academy life.  Our attendance this week remains high and comfortably above the national averages which is testament to the confidence you continue to show and the hard work of our teaching and support teams in ensuring our environment is as safe as it can possibly be.

Over half term we continued investment in our environment with the additional of more external seating areas for Year 9 students, the repurposing of internal spaces with tills and serveries so that all year group bubbles now have internal spaces in the event of inclement weather and adequate time to ensure they can gain access to food unrushed.  We have also continued to extend our hand sanitisation regime with dispensers now in every classroom.  Naturally it is a mammoth task to ensure that approximately 150 dispensers remain filled and although they are regularly checked students can also play their part in reporting low supply to members of staff who can inform our site and cleaning teams to replenish stock.  In addition, please ensure that you continue to reinforce the need for regular hand hygiene with your son/daughter.

National lockdown

The recent decision by the government to enter into a second national lockdown may or may not come as a surprise to many of you.  As an academy we were always anticipating a change locally or beyond in the face of unpredictable community transmission.  We responded pre-emptively requesting face masks to be used during all movement around the academy in my final letter prior to the half term break.  The students have responded admirably to this for which we are grateful.  Naturally there are a small number of individuals who are exempt and we ask that if you have any concerns please work with your college teams to discuss the options.  The latest research suggests that the use of face masks protects others and will protect both students and staff to ensure we can remain safely open for all.

During the period of national lockdown, it remains business as usual for our staff and students, we continue to prioritise the well-being of our staff and students and ensure the highest possible educational standards.  We remain fully up to date with the latest guidance for schools and academies and constantly review existing measures, seeking improvements wherever possible.

Conduct in the community

From tomorrow as students arrive and leave the academy non-essential shops will be closed and members of the public will be less prevalent on the streets.  This essentially shines a spotlight on the conduct of our students in the community and directly affects our reputation locally.  In uniform, they stand out, even more so from tomorrow.  Last term there were a small number of concerns raised about conduct within our community and on public transport, our reputation is important to us and is vital to the future prospects of our students when considering the views of local employers.  We will work to ensure it is protected.  I ask that you speak with your son/daughter requesting that they go straight home from school and come straight onto site in the morning following all national guidance on route.  Please ask them to not congregate in groups outside of the academy grounds.  It is illegal.  In the instance that the national situation, our message and your reinforcement has not been received and clearly followed, we remain committed to identifying individuals, acting internally and reporting conduct to the appropriate authorities.

Chromebooks

There have been a number of queries regarding the arrival of Chromebooks for students in years 7 to 10.  We continue to seek updates from our supplier against a backdrop of international shortage of such devices.  We remain a priority purchaser but the message is simply that they will arrive when they arrive, and that is imminent.  We will distribute the Chromebook at the earliest opportunity after their arrival.  It is a huge logistical and financial project for the academy to loan Chromebooks to all students, your patience and understanding is very much appreciated.

Communication

I would like to thank parents and carers for their calm and positive interactions with staff.  It is clearly evident that we are all in this together, not one of us, our families are immune to the events that continue to unfold and it is only by working in partnership that we can continue to support our students and our community. Ultimately, we are all attempting to achieve the same result – a safe environment for our entire community, it is vital that whilst emotions may run high in the current climate we remain a place of calm and consistency for our community, together.

Finally, at the time of writing I can confirm that we have no confirmed cases of COVID within our academy community.  We continue to use self-isolation as a precautionary measure for all staff and students and promote the national guidelines for test and trace as appropriate.  If you have any queries, please contact your son/daughter’s college team or advisor or via reception@mascallsacademy.org.uk.

Yours sincerely,

Mr W Monk

Principal