Dear Parents and Carers Introduction I would like to start by saying that we are looking forward to seeing all our students return to school at the start of September and, in particular, meeting our new Year 7s in person for the first time. I hope over the last few months, despite the challenges we have all faced, families have been able to spend some quality time together and have enjoyed something of a summer break. This September we are very excited to be fully reopening and welcoming all of our pupils back to school, it seems such a long time since we were all together at Harrow Way. 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. 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)’. I hope in this letter, (which is a follow on from my letter issued on 16th July) and our September Reopening video, I can reassure you that we have planned and prepared to manage the risks and, in doing so, provide a safe and productive learning environment. Please take time to read this letter carefully. 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. Face coverings update Up until yesterday I have found the information about masks and face coverings extremely confusing, often counterintuitive and at times unhelpful. I am pleased there has been greater clarification and Headteachers have been given greater flexibility. I am sure you will have seen on the news that Secondary pupils will have to wear masks in school corridors in local lockdown areas of England, after the government reversed its guidance. The Department for Education says that, for most areas of England, it is keeping its recommendation against using face coverings – but that schools will be able to make their own decision whether to ask pupils and staff to wear them. This allows for local choice and some changes depending on transmission levels. This morning I agreed to a joint local decision with the Headteacher of John Hanson. The approach we will be taking is that staff and students can wear masks if they wish in corridors and break/lunchtime. I will send out further details at the start of term in my eNews for those students who wish to wear them on procedures they will need to follow. Key Information: Start of School dates: Thursday 3rd September – INSET Day Friday 4th September – Year 7 Induction Day 1 Monday 7th September – Year 7 Induction Day 2 Tuesday 8th September – Year 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 In preparation, there are some key points that you need to be aware of to ensure that your child is safe.
1. 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 (see below). If anyone in your household, or your child, tests positive for COVID-19 you MUST inform the school.
Illness with COVID Symptoms – If a student feels ill with one or more COVID symptoms then the government guidance will be followed:
- The student will be taken by the member of staff who is ‘’on call’’ to our COVID first aid room which is away from other students and staff.
- Parents will be contacted to pick up their child.
- You will need to arrange for a COVID test on the same day.
- The student will need to self-isolate until the results come back.
- If negative they can return to school.
- If positive they self-isolate for 7 days and the rest of the household self-isolate for 14 days. You must inform the school immediately if the test is positive.
- If a person tests positive then the School will liaise with the local health protection team who will advise the school on what to do next.
COVID 19: Self-assessment – Before arriving at school
The first line of protection against the spread of the virus is for individuals to take responsibility for carrying out a personal health check, by ensuring good personal hygiene in terms of regular hand cleaning and using a tissue to: catch it, bin it, kill it, as well as keeping an appropriate distance from other people.
Each day before leaving for school, pupils, parents and carers should carry out a personal health check.
The main symptoms of the coronavirus are:
- A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature);
- A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual);
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
- Travel – We continue to advise against all but essential travel by public transport. The preferred mode of transport is by foot or bike and preferably with friends in the same year group. Students can also get a lift by car, ideally with members of their own household. If this is not possible, please refer to the transport and travel guidance as set out by the Department for Transport: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-transport-and-travel-guidance. We have had confirmation from Pikes Coaches (King Arthur’s Way, Roman Way, Saxon Fields) that students will need to wear face masks and sanitise before getting on the bus, and there should be no food/drink consumed or litter left on the bus. Pikes Coaches have also confirmed fares are £1.40 single and £2.20 return from September. The Local Authority has advised that students can initially use their old bus passes for the Kimpton/Thruxton/Appleshaw/Weyhill route until the 2020/21 passes are produced.
- Attendance at school will be compulsory for the vast majority of children. The government had 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.’
- On arrival – Students must not arrive on site before 8.30 am unless previously arranged. Senior staff will be on duty at the gates each morning. We would ask students to arrive at the following times and go straight to their tutor bases.
8.30 am – Year 8 and Year 11 8.35 am – Year 10 8.40 am – Year 7 and Year 9 We appreciate that some students will want to come into school with their siblings and as such we have a dedicated space for waiting. 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. There will also be a staggered end to the day for different year groups between 2.50pm -3.00pm. Students are expected to go straight home and not ‘hang around’ outside the school gates or beyond.
- 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. Behaviour guide for students.
- 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.
- 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. Parents are requested to put money into their children’s lunch accounts online wherever possible.
- 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.
- 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.
- Meetings with parents/Parents on the school site – wherever possible all communications will continue via telephone/email. Only in exceptional circumstances will on site meetings be arranged.
Unless by prior arrangement, parents should not attend the school site unless they are dropping off something for their child or picking up their child for an appointment or if they are unwell. Parents must wear a face covering at all times when visiting the school. And finally… 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. Yours sincerely M J Serridge Headteacher N.B Video – Slide 6 – There was a year group missing. This should read: Arrival 8.30 am – Year 8 and Year 11 8.35 am – Year 10 8.40 am – Year 7 and Year 9