Following the government’s announcement that schools will reopen in September, I am writing to share with you the arrangements we have implemented to ensure the safety of all staff, pupils and visitors to the school. These arrangements have been put into place following a robust risk assessment process.
We are looking forward to seeing the pupils once again, but I would like to reassure you that the safety of our school community is our priority. We will continue to review the arrangements we have implemented at this stage and update you with any changes as and when we make them.
I can confirm that school will reopen as follows:-
Year 7 on Thursday 3rd September at 9:00 am via the student entrance
Year 11 on Thursday 3rd September at 11:15 via the main front entrance
Year 10 on Monday 7th September at 8:45 am via the student entrance
Year 8 Monday 7th September at 9:00 am via the lower yard gate
Year 9 Monday 7th September at 9:00 am via the main front entrance
Year 12 and 13 will return via the resonate entrance
Year 12 at 10:30 am on Thursday 3rd only
Year 13 at 10:30 am on Friday 4th only
Before reopening, we will carry out a risk assessment to identify the risks associated with coronavirus specific to our school and minimise those risks as far as we are able to.
All staff and pupils will have access to testing if they develop symptoms of coronavirus, and rapid action will be taken should any test come back positive to ensure that the school continues to be a safe environment. The affected pupil or member of staff will be required to self-isolate at home for 14 days, as will any pupils and members of staff they have been in close contact with
We recognise that some of you may have some concerns about your child returning to school and that another change will be unsettling for some children. We also understand that the past weeks will have been challenging for many families. If you would like to talk to us about your child and any concerns you have about their return to school, please – in the first instance – contact your child’s head of year via the email firstname.lastname@example.org
Maintaining a safe school environment
I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the preventative measures the school has put in place in order to minimise the spread of infection.
As per the advice from the government, the following actions for infection control remain in place:
Displaying coronavirus infection control measures information posters around the school
Encouraging good hygiene by promoting the importance of handwashing for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap in the following circumstances:
Before leaving home
On arrival at school
After using the toilet
After breaks and sporting activities
Before food preparation
Before eating any food, including snacks
Before leaving school
Installing alcohol-based hand sanitiser dispensers that contain at least 60 percent alcohol throughout the school
Ensuring pupils and staff understand that they must cover their mouth and nose with a tissue before they cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue away
Ensuring frequently touched objects and surfaces are cleaned and disinfected more regularly than usual
Calling NHS 111 if someone becomes unwell, isolating any unwell people in a separate room, and providing a separate bathroom, where possible
Telling staff to stay at home for 14 days if they develop symptoms of coronavirus
The behaviour policy will be updated to reflect the new guidance and procedures in school, with the aim of keeping students and staff safe at all times. These will be communicated clearly with parents and students
As an important part of our school community, I would ask that you continue to encourage good infection control practices, such as thorough handwashing, at home and keep your child informed about the things they can do to discourage the spread of infection.
As per the current NHS and government advice, you should keep your child at home for a period of 14 days if they develop coronavirus symptoms. Symptoms include a high temperature or a new, continuous cough. Where symptoms continue after 7 days, or begin to worsen, you should call 111. If someone in your child’s household has symptoms, your child must self-isolate for 14 days from the day the other person’s symptoms started. This is because it can take 14 days for symptoms to appear. More information regarding symptoms and actions can be found on the NHS website (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/).
If you think your child may have been exposed to or has coronavirus, please contact the school at the earliest opportunity.
Pupils will be required to wear full school uniform at school during this time. An updated list of the school uniform can be found on the school website.
Arrangements for the start and end of the school day
The beginning and end of the school day are the busiest times for children and adults congregating together in one place, so maintaining safe distances within normal arrangements can be a challenge. We have implemented the following measures for when pupils return to school:
Students will have a designated entrance to arrive and leave the school building. This will allow us to keep year groups separate during social time and also to minimise congestion at peak times.
Year 7: Student entrance
Year 8: Lower yard gate
Year 9: Main front entrance
Year 10: Student entrance
Year 11: Main front entrance
Sixth Form: Resonate entrance
The times for dropping off and picking up pupils will be staggered for each year group as follows:
Year 7: 9:00 am and 2:45pm
Year 8: 9:00 am and 2:45pm
Year 9: 9:00 am and 2:45pm
Year 10: 8:45 am and 3:00pm
Year 11 8:45 am and 3:00pm
Sixth Form Will receive separate communication
The school will not be open to students until 8:30 and this will be for the year groups arriving at 8:45.
Anyone dropping off or collecting students from school will need to follow the social distancing guidelines when outside the school. Parents will not be allowed on-site without an appointment.
We encourage pupils to walk or cycle to school if possible and avoid public transport where possible and at peak times.
Pupils will enter the school through their allocated entrance and go straight to their first lesson.
A marked one-way system has been set up in the school corridors to minimise face-to-face contact between pupils and make it easier to follow social distancing guidance.
Students will be taught for all subjects in year group bubbles. Each bubble will have a designated area of the school and most subjects, other than practical subjects, will be taught within this area. When students move for practical subjects they will follow a one-way system to avoid face to face contact.
This limited movement will still allow for students to experience the full curriculum.
Desks will be arranged to face forwards, as the guidance recommends, this will support limited face to face contact.
All students will need to have their own basic equipment of a pen, pencil and ruler. This is essential to reduce the risk from sharing equipment that is used regularly.
There will be an increased focus on informal teacher assessment to identify gaps in learning.
Regular knowledge and skills check, prior to teaching a topic will take place to ensure gaps are addressed to ensure all students can access the new learning to the required standard.
Catch-up will be interleaved within lessons to ensure it is broken down and manageable for the students.
No formal assessments will take place in school until the end of half term to allow students to settle back into the routine of the school day.
Students will require equipment for lessons, as they would for the start of any school year. However, with the current guidance, it is essential that students do not share equipment and should have their own pen, pencil, ruler, rubber and calculator.
If your child travels to school on public transport, they will need to wear a mask for the journey. There will be bins available on arrival at school for students to dispose of their masks. Hand sanitisers will also be available at the school entrance.
Arrangements for breaktimes and lunchtimes
We recognise the importance for all pupils to have a break from learning and to enjoy time outside during the school day. Reconnecting with friends will be an important aspect of pupils settling back into school life, so we have made some adjustments to break and lunch times to ensure they can do so safely.
Break and lunch times will be in bubble year groups and on a rotation.
Students will be encouraged to wash hands before and after break and lunch.
The canteen will be cleaned between year groups to ensure safety.
There will be a reduced menu available to students in the first instance.
Support for pupils and families
We do not underestimate how difficult the recent weeks have been for us all and we all will have been touched in some way by the coronavirus pandemic. We recognise the need to focus on pupils’ emotional wellbeing as well as their return to learning. We will strive to make the transition back to school as smooth as possible for students, while allowing them to access the full curriculum safely.
I hope that these arrangements provide you with the information you need to support your child’s return to school. I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for supporting the school over recent weeks and supporting your child with their home learning.