Dear parents/ carers,
As I am sure you are aware, on 24 May the Prime Minister announced that schools should plan to invite students from Year 10 back to school on a part time basis to receive some face to face support before the summer break. More detail on what the Prime Minister proposed can be found on the GOV.UK website.
We have been thinking very carefully about how we can safely welcome our students back to school. We have completed a detailed risk assessment and we believe we are ready to reopen. We have missed our students greatly and we are really looking forward to seeing some of them very soon. The safety of our staff and students is obviously of paramount importance to us. We have made lots of operational changes to the school site to ensure we can follow the hierarchy of controls to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Controlling the transmission of the disease: minimising contact with children and adults who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school.
- Management and control through personal hygiene: cleaning hands more often than usual – wash hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with running water and soap and dry them thoroughly or use alcohol hand rub or sanitiser ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered.
- Ensuring good respiratory hygiene: promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.
- Enhanced cleaning regimes: cleaning frequently touched surfaces often using standard products, such as detergents and bleach recommended by the Department for Health.
- Minimising contact and mixing: altering, as much as possible, the environment (such as classroom layout) and timetables (such as staggered break times).
We know you will have lots of questions about if it is safe for your child to return to school and we hope we will cover the majority of these concerns in this letter. If you have a question that is not covered please contact the PA to the Principal, Miss Walendziewski ([email protected]), and we will respond to your question as soon as possible.
Arrangements for Year 10 students’ part time return to school
In line with Government guidance, we will have no more that 25% of Year 10 students on site at any one time, 25% of Year 10 students equates to 42 students. From 15 June, 25% of Year 10 students will attend school on a Monday, 25% on a Tuesday, 25% on Thursday and 25% on a Friday, students will attend on the same day each week. To avoid the use of public transport during rush hour, we have pushed start times back for Year 10 students. Year 10 students should arrive on site between 9.45am and 10.00am. There will be a staggered end to the day for Year 10 students, finishing between 3.10pm and 3.20pm. Year 10 students will be located in the main building, Year 12 students will be on site but located in the New Building. The Year 10 students will not come into contact with Year 12 students or the children of key workers who are currently attending school.
The 25% of students who are attending site on a particular day will be split in to four groups of between 10 – 12 students and will stay together throughout the day and on subsequent days that they attend school. Students will have three double lessons a day, these will be Maths, English and Science lessons taught by subject specialists. Other subjects will continue to be delivered via remote learning. Students will be taught in the same classroom all day; they will take rest breaks in their classroom and will have a 20 minute lunch break where they will not mix with students from other groups. Students will be placed in appropriate ability groups. This teaching will prepare students to continue with their independent remote learning on the days they are not in school. You will receive a personalised letter at the start of next week detailing exactly when you child is invited in to attend school.
What if I don’t want my child to attend school?
If your child is clinically extremely vulnerable, or living with someone who is in this group, they should not come back to school and should continue with remote learning. If your child is clinically vulnerable you should follow medical advice to decide if they should come back to school. Please refer to government guidance for further details of these groups. This letter will inform you about all our preparations for making sure the school is as safe as possible, so you and your child can make an informed decision about whether to return to school. The decision to send your child back to school before the summer break remains with parents/ carers and we will respect your decision.
How have we reorganised the school to make it as safe as possible for our students and staff?
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have redesigned our student Code of Conduct and produced a Behaviour Policy Addendum, both of which can be downloaded below:
We will spend some time going through the Code of Conduct with students on their first day back. We would appreciate it if you would look at this with your child prior to their return to school. We must insist that all students follow the Code of Conduct, it has been put in place to help keep everyone safe. If students can not adhere to the Code of Conduct they will be asked to continue with their learning at home.
We will have a staggered start to the day and end of the day for all groups of students who are attending school. School staff will be on duty at the start and end of the day and during lunchtime.
Students should arrive on site at the designated time (not earlier) and enter their designated playground area (relevant signage will be in place); they then line up in groups and will be collected by their teacher. There will be social distancing guides in the playgrounds.
We have implemented a one-way system for movement around the College. Social distancing guides are marked on the floor in the Restaurant and on the walls around College. Staff will be present in corridors to help ensure that social distancing is maintained, including the use of the stairs and entry to toilet blocks. All staff will respect social distancing, including during one to one conversations when assisting students who require additional support in understanding a topic.
Year 10 students will have a 20-minute lunch break; 10 minutes in the Restaurant and 10 minutes outside. Social distancing will take place when students are in the Restaurant and outside. Lunch provided will initially be a packed lunch; students may bring their own packed lunch/ water bottle. Water stations/ vending machines will not be available but bottles of water will be available for no charge to students.
Year 10 students will be taught in groups of no more than 10-12 students. The group will be kept together all day, starting and finishing at the same time and having break together. We are only using larger classrooms with adequate ventilation. Windows and doors of classrooms in use will be kept open. Classrooms have been reorganised to adhere to social distancing guidelines. There will be a seating plan in place in every classroom.
Students will receive a weekly Values (PSHE) lesson to support their wellbeing and continue to signpost them to the emotional support available inside and outside of school.
Hand sanitiser and tissues are available in every classroom and in communal areas including Reception, Upper Mall, Restaurant and the New Building.
To help support students and parent/carers to minimise any risk of infection, students will be able to wear non-school uniform. Students are expected however to dress appropriately. Students will keep their bags and coats with them to stop congestion around locker areas. Students must have their own equipment, including a water bottle, and not share this with others.
Masks will not be provided for students but staff and students can wear masks if they so wish. Staff may wear PPE.
My child will have to use public transport to get to school and I am worried about this
We have pushed the start of the day back to ensure students don’t have to use public transport during the rush hour. We will have staff on duty at the Bus Station at the start and end of the day. From 15 June, it will be mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport. Further information on making your own face covering can be found on the BBC News website.
How often will College classrooms and facilities be cleaned?
There will be enhanced cleaning regimes of facilities throughout the day; this will be conducted by an increased cleaning team on site, with continuous cleaning of high frequency usage areas and toilets. In addition, time has been allocated for a daily enhanced cleaning of all used spaces, (including outside spaces).
If a child or teacher gets coronavirus when College opens, will parent/carers be informed?
The Government have stated that if a student or staff member develops symptoms compatible with COVID-19, they should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 7 days. All staff and students who are attending an education or childcare setting will have access to a test if they display symptoms of COVID-19, and are encouraged to get tested in this scenario. If a child or teacher tests positive the school will be closed for a deep clean and parents/ carers will be informed.
Has the school been clear of infection?
There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the College.
We hope the information in this letter reassures you that the school has taken significant action to do our very best to safeguard students and staff. The offer we have put in place for Year 10 students will enable them to get back into a routine of school prior to the summer break and receive expert teaching from subject specialists, there will also be the opportunity to meet friends and interact with their peers. We do appreciate you will be anxious about your child returning to school, please do get in contact if you have any questions or require any further information.
With kindest regards,