I hope this update finds you and your families well. Perhaps a slightly shorter update this week than in other weeks and this is largely in part to the fact our students have adapted fully to our systems and are continuing to amaze us with their smiles and resilience against the backdrop of rising cases across the country. Our attendance continues above national averages and our students continue to benefit from that. This week we were joined by members of the Trust Executive team who visited lessons and checked practices and procedures. I am pleased to report that the outcomes were again positive and compliment the outcomes of the Health and Safety Executive’s feedback previously.
Earlier in the term our focus was solely on well-being, health and safety and the systems that would support a smooth return. Naturally our focus has now shifted to enhancing the teaching and learning from ‘behind the line’ or from ‘within the teacher box’, which poses some tricky challenges. Next week our Year 11’s will be in receipt of the first delivery of Chromebooks with other years to follow as soon as possible after half term. We have invested heavily in whiteboards for all students also to be delivered next week. Coming in zip lock bags, these will contain a full kit (of whiteboard, pen and rubber), supplied for free and as such becoming part of our equipment list and therefore as essential as a pen and pencil. We have also purchased visualisers for all staff being delivered in two batches, this will enable staff to increase the volume of recall and retrieval questions to the entire class, add clarity to explanations, feedback and expert modelling of responses by staff from within the box or behind the line. It will also increase the quality of our online provision should we need to return to remote learning.
Reports and Parents ‘Evenings’
Next week all students will receive reports containing their Knowledge Organiser averages for this term and attitude to learning grades, Years 11 and 13 will also receive their first-grade projections since last academic year. Inevitably parents/carers will want an opportunity to discuss the progress of their son/daughter and staff have increased communication with parents where possible, each teacher teaches on average 300 students so it may not always be as timely as you require. We will be working hard on how we respond to the absence of face to face parent’s meetings and will update in due course. There a number of technological solutions available and we will consider the best approach for Mascalls.
Canteen and Breakfast Service
There have been a number of queries over the availability of food and the timings for break and lunch. I am in constant dialogue with Cucina, our contractors, to continually improve how the service runs in amended conditions. From next week we will be adding a breakfast service from our street kitchen so that students can be fuelled for the day. Rest assured that there is actually plenty of food available for all year groups and if students have concerns they need only to contact a member of the duty staff who available in abundance at those times.
We have hit a ‘bump in the road’ with the availability of our marquees, it seems that even with the lack of large weddings, marquees are in great demand, it is most definitely a temporary bump and has delayed their arrival slightly. We are working hard to find a quick solution. We have been lucky with the weather so far and we do have ample space currently should it rain heavily during break or lunchtime. Please make sure your son/daughter always have a coat available.
Finally, I can confirm that our current position remains that we have no confirmed cases of COVID within our academy community. In every instance where we have instructed individuals to self-isolate and seek a test, as a precaution, we can confirm negative results have been returned. We will continue with our vigilance and ask that parents reinforce that message at home, if you have any concerns please continue to inform firstname.lastname@example.org or our usual attendance hotline. Please rest assured that we have full risk assessments and clear actions to follow in the event of any suspected cases as we continue to monitor the local and national shifting picture.
Thank you all again for your support, it is very much appreciated. We are almost at the half term mark and a well-earned break for our remarkable staff, incredible students and wonderful parents/carers.
Have a fantastic weekend.
Mr W Monk