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 12 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.
Government guidance for secondary schools
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 12 students’ part time return to school
In line with Government guidance, we will have no more that 25% of Year 12 students on site at any one time. On days that they have a lesson, Year 12 students should arrive on site between 10.15am and 10.30am. All Year 12 lessons will be delivered in the New Building, they will not mix with other students on site and there will be no reason for Year 12 students to enter the Main Building. There will be a staggered end of the day for Year 12 students, finishing between 2.30pm and 2.40pm. Year 12 students will attend for one extended lesson in each subject a fortnight and will attend in subject blocks. Students will remain with the same subject teacher in the same classroom or the Presentation Suite during their time on site. Class groups will be much smaller than usual with social distancing in place in all areas used for lessons. Students will take a short rest break and their lunch break in their classroom. Students can bring a packed lunch with them or we will provide one. Students must bring their own water bottle with them. Students will not be able to attend College for private study lessons at this time and will be expected to leave College after their lesson ends.
We will be reminding students of the emotional wellbeing support available to them inside and outside of the school. We understand the lockdown has been a very stressful time for our young people.
Year 12 students will follow a new timetable
Please discuss this with you son/daughter. We will also be emailing this information to students.
(w/c 15 June, 29 June & 13 July)
(if you normally have Maths Week A Monday Session 2)
(if you normally have Biology Week A Monday Session 3)
BTEC Business (Diploma)
BTEC Applied Science (Ex Cert)
(w/c 22 June & 6 July)
(if you normally have Chemistry Week A Monday Session 1)
BTEC Business (Ex Cert)
(if you normally have Maths Week A Monday Session 3)
(if you normally have Biology Week A Monday Session 5)
BTEC Applied Science (Diploma)
(if you normally have Chemistry Week A Tuesday Session 1)
(if you normally have Maths Week A Tuesday Session 2)
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 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.
Water stations/ vending machines will not be available but bottles of water will be available for no charge to students.
Teaching groups will be kept together all day, starting and finishing at the same time. We are only using identified larger classrooms with adequate ventilation. We are using the Presentation Suite for some Year 12 lessons. This a large room, with air conditioning, and can accommodate a class of up to 23 with social distancing in place, however we will be using it for no more that 17 students. Windows and doors of classrooms that are being used 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.
Hand sanitiser and tissues are available in every classroom and in communal areas.
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 if they choose to.
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.
Read advice about face coverings
Are students going to sit the usual end of Year 12 exams?
No. Due to the time that students have spent away from their teachers, we feel that this would not be appropriate this year. However, now that students will have had the opportunity to spend some time with teachers before the summer holiday to receive face-to-face delivery on material previously studied remotely during the closure, we hope to reschedule these exams for the start of the new academic year. This is important, not least, so that teachers are able to make better informed estimates of grades for students wishing to apply for Higher Education in September/October but also to help teachers further understand where future individual intervention may be needed.
How are you going to determine who can continue into Year 13 on their current courses?
Due to the time students have had to spend away from their teachers in College, this year all Year 12 students will be able to progress into Year 13 on their current pathway, if they so wish. However, in order to maximise outcomes for students next summer, teachers may nonetheless wish to discuss with students the suitability of this decision, based on their progress up until the time of closure. In addition, students wishing to change their pathway at the end of Year 12 are welcome to raise this with Dr Delbridge. Students who do continue into Year 13 on an unchanged pathway will be closely monitored and supported to ensure they are in the best position to progress onto their preferred destination in Summer 2021.
How will social distancing be observed in a college environment, especially in corridors and around locker areas, so that students and staff are safe?
This is of paramount importance to us. All Year 12 sessions will be delivered in the New Building, mainly in the Presentation Suite, but also some in the larger and well ventilated A or B rooms, all of which also have air conditioning. Only students in Year 12 will be present in this building; in turn, Year 12 students will not be allowed to enter the Main Building (where Year 10 students & children of keyworkers will be). Additionally, teachers will not teach both Year 10 and 12 students on the same day. The number of Year 12 students in College each day will be significantly restricted, with typically only two classes present each day, running simultaneously, ie: students will not be attending College on a rota, within any day. In turn, class sizes will be reduced/restricted where necessary to ensure social distancing; students may therefore find that their normal class has been split into two smaller classes, timetabled for different rooms with different teachers. Class sizes will be determined by the size of the room used and so will vary. 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 the topic.
How often will College classrooms and facilities be cleaned?
There will be plentiful supply of hand sanitiser and tissues available to students in both communal areas such as Reception, and in classrooms. 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 tests positive for the virus 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, and are encouraged to get tested in this scenario. If a child or teacher tests positive for COVID-19 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 school.
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 12 students will enable them to get back into a routine of school prior to the summer break and receive expert teaching from subject specialists. 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. Many thanks for your continued support.
With kindest regards,
Dr Andy Delbridge
Assistant Principal and Head of Sixth Form