Dear Parents and Carers,
This is the first email I have sent to all parents since the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday evening and evening and subsequent clarification from the DfE. It is clear that we are entering into a crucial stage in our national struggle to save lives and keep the NHS operating as normally as possible. As an Academy we are proud, in our small way, to be playing a part in this much bigger effort.
I can confirm that the Academy remains open for vulnerable children (those with an EHCP or a social worker) and those whose parents are essential key workers and who cannot be cared for at home. In the light of the ban on all non-essential movement from home, however, we have been increasingly rigorous in checking that the children in school meet these criteria. In particular, any child who has a parent at home, including if they are working from home, should stay at home. Please email me on email@example.com to check if you are in any doubt about sending a child in to school who has not already accessed our provision. We now have all our staff on a rota covering each day of the week and will only call in staff from this rota to support the number of children we have in school. This means it is important that you let me know if there are any changes in your circumstances, or if you will need your child in school on some days but not others (for example because of your shift patterns). I am more grateful than I can say for the enthusiasm and creativity with which my staff have approached the unexpected task of making this provision.
At the Academy we have introduced a number of additional precautions to maximise social distancing and to minimise the risk of infection:
· Students have been kept 2m apart
· Students have been allocated a single computer which they will use for the duration of their provision in school and which no one else will use
· The keyboards and mice on these computers are being cleaned at least once a day
· We have increased the frequency of the points in the day when students are required to wash their hands
· We have staggered the start of lunchtime to minimise the number of students queuing for lunch
· Staff (like students) have stopped wearing jackets and ties
The overwhelming majority of our students are, of course working at home. For many, as I have been discovering myself for the first time today, this can be quite a disorienting experience. As time goes on, we will all learn more about the best ways to do this successfully in a very difficult situation. In the first instance, we have uploaded a great deal of work to Show My Homework to supplement the packs that most students took home at the end of last week. A couple of parents have reported that students have been rather overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work. While we want to be sure that every student has plenty to do, we do not want to be adding to anyone’s (student’s or parent’s) anxiety at this difficult time. My suggestion would be that parents decide with students on two or three tasks that they will attempt each day (including Maths and English at least twice a week) but that if a particular task is a cause of anxiety that they move on to something else. If you do have a specific concern over a piece of work that has been set please email the teacher concerned directly. All teacher addresses can be found in the brand new home working section of our website at https://www.macclesfieldacademy.org/introduction-overview/ .
This section of the site is still in development but it will grow rapidly over the next few weeks. By the end of tomorrow, for example, it will include a guide to submitting work online via Show My Homework. A number of teachers will be trialling this over the next few weeks so that we eventually have more than one system in place to protect us against the possibility that different systems will struggle to cope with sheer volume of work in the coming months. If we eventually have Show My Homework and One Note in action, that should give us the best chance of being able to maintain a continuity of support. If you have any other ideas of information or other support materials that would be helpful to include on the website, please do not hesitate to let me know.
It will be important that, as far as we can in these very restricted times, we provide our students with some variety of stimulation. I know that over the last couple of days, a number of them have enjoyed the PE challenges on our maccacademype Instagram account. I understand that today was all about the swoosh challenge (whatever that is). Look out as well for Art challenges on themacclesfieldacademyart Instagram account. I am especially grateful to Miss Jerome and Mrs Underhill for the initiatives they have taken in setting these challenges. I hope they will enable our students to mix and match their day with some of the more formal Academic work. Once again, what is important is not that everybody does everything but that everybody has something useful to do. I will be introducing some further ideas in my next email which I hope to get out by the end of the week.
Finally, these are very difficult times for us all. The measures the Prime Minister announced on Monday night were extreme and will be unwelcome to many. I am quite sure that no politician would take these unpopular steps unless he was convinced that there was no alternative in the light of the expert scientific advice he had received. Please, therefore, do everything you can to safeguard both your own family and the community as a whole by following his instructions to the letter. We should all be very proud of the work our NHS, our school staff and our other essential workers are doing, but that work will be in vain, and lives will be needlessly lost if we do not individually and collectively follow the stringent new rules of the “lockdown”.
You are all very much in my thoughts. Please take care and stay safe.
The Macclesfield Academy
PA: Lara Nolan
Tel. 01625 383113
Email: lara firstname.lastname@example.org