Dear Parents and Carers Reopening of our School from September 2020 You will have heard the government announcement that schools will be open for all students’ full-time education from September 2020. This letter is primarily designed to explain the provision that has been put in place for the start of next term. Our school has been welcoming students in Year 10 back to school since June. We approached this with great caution, reviewing all the scientific advice to ensure that we could be as safe as possible. This has gone extremely well, as our safety measures and risk assessments were excellent. Thank you to all those parents who sent your children back – it has been lovely to see them. The Government has stated: ‘Given the improved position, the balance of risk is now overwhelmingly in favour of children returning to school. For the vast majority of children, the benefits of being back in school far outweigh the very low risk from coronavirus (COVID-19)’. The guidance we have been given from the DfE has been thoroughly scrutinised by the senior team and we have developed an approach that, we believe, suits our students, parents and staff. At this moment in time, this is our plan but it may well change if further guidance is given stating we need less or more measures to protect those in the school. We will keep you updated via the school email/school website. Videos for the students are being created to get them ready for September and the changes that are being implemented. We will send these out before the start of term. For Years 8-11 Term starts on Tuesday 8th September at 8.45 am. On the first morning, Students will be based in their tutor bases with their tutor getting used to the “new normal” and re-establishing relationships with staff and their classmates. Year 7 Students have two days’ induction on Friday 4th and Monday 7th September. In preparation, there are some key points that you need to be aware of to ensure that your child is safe.
- COVID-19 symptoms – You must ensure that if anyone in your household has COVID-19 symptoms, your child does NOT attend school. Any child or staff member who develops symptoms in the school day will be sent home immediately. If anyone in your household, or your child, tests positive for COVID-19 you MUST inform the school.
- Travel – The government has advised walking or cycling to school wherever possible to reduce the use of public transport.
- Attendance at school will be compulsory for the vast majority of children. The government has relaxed the rules on attendance during lockdown. However, this will change in September. The government guidance says: ‘Missing out on more time in the classroom risks pupils falling further behind. Those with higher overall absence tend to achieve less well in both primary and secondary school. School attendance will therefore be mandatory again from the beginning of the autumn term.’
- Behaviour and Hygiene – Your child will be expected to follow strict behaviour rules relating to physical contact with other students, keeping their hands clean and following good respiratory hygiene through the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach. Students will be expected to use the hand sanitiser provided before entering all classrooms.
- Enhanced cleaning – cleaning routines will be established that allow for regular cleaning of key areas and contact points.
- Bubbles – Students will be in YEAR group bubbles.
- Curriculum – We will, despite the restrictions, be maintaining a broad and balanced curriculum with students accessing all of their subjects and taught by our subject specialists. The school day will be organised as three double lessons instead of six single lessons to reduce the need for changeovers between lessons and these will then be delivered across a two-week timetable.
- Classrooms will need to be adjusted to meet the recommendations in the guidance with staff teaching 2m from students and minimising any 1 to 1 contact closer than this for the safety of all staff.
- Movement around the site – A ‘one-way system’ will be in place in school and, where they exist, external doors will become the main entrance and exit for classrooms.
- SEND – If your child has Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) Mrs Law will contact you before the term starts to explain what provision will look like from September.
- Break/Lunch – Our school kitchen will reopen in September, and lunches will be available again. Pupils eligible for free school meals will return to having their lunch at school, and will no longer receive lunch vouchers. Food will be only served at lunchtime. We recommend students bring their own breaktime snacks and water bottles whilst the canteen operates in this way. In order to maintain social distancing during social times, there will be a staggered break and lunchtime.
- Equipment – It will be more important than ever that your child has their own equipment in school to ensure that this does not need to be shared.
- Uniform/PE Kit – Pupils will be expected to wear school uniform. On days where students have PE they can wear their PE kit for the whole day.
- Face coverings – The Department for Education tells us that its guidance around face coverings hasn’t changed – that is, ‘’they aren’t expected to be worn by pupils or staff in school.’’ Public Health England does not recommend the use of face coverings in schools. ‘’They are not required in schools as students and staff are mixing in consistent groups, and because misuse may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission. There may also be negative effects on communication and thus education.’’ Face coverings are required at all times now on public transport and in shops from 24th July.
- Arrival – Students need to arrive from 8.30am and must be in tutor bases by 8.45am. Senior staff will be around the site between these times.
We understand that some of you and your children will be anxious about returning in September, after some months out of school. Please be reassured that we are taking exceptional measures to make our school as safe as can be. We will be providing additional emotional and wellbeing support for all students, and will also be providing additional opportunities to support learning where this is required. Although very many of our students have worked hard using our remote learning resources provided by our dedicated teachers, we are fully aware that learning has been lost. We are all determined that your sons and daughters will absolutely not be ‘a lost generation’ and we’re adapting our curriculum to make sure that they get the learning and knowledge that they need to achieve success in the future. M J Serridge Headteacher