As our Academy will shortly be closing for the summer holidays I just wanted to thank you again for your patience and support throughout this pandemic and take the opportunity to inform you of how we will be moving forwards in September.
As you will know the government has now published a significant amount of new guidance for schools which will apply from September. We have now reviewed this guidance and reviewed arrangements, including possible adaptions to start and finish times and instructions to ensure the environment is as safe as possible for our children and staff when they return.
I am sure you will agree that one of the most encouraging aspects of the new guidance is that from September ALL children should be back in school. With this in mind we have looked at our curriculum and asked our subjects leaders to focus on a period of ‘settling in’ for the children and time to reflect upon the period that has gone before us. All of us in some shape or form will have been affected by the pandemic and, as an Academy, we want to make sure we can support you and your child as best as we can. I realise for some of you there will be a level of anxiety about your child coming back to school and, as a parent, I fully understand this. However, I can reassure you that we are committed to following the guidance for September carefully and fully supporting your children in their return.
Many changes will need to be enacted for us to be able to follow the guidance. Students need to remain in year group ‘bubbles’ and to be segregated from other year groups as much as possible.
Firstly, this will impact on the vertical tutor groups which we value so much. Students will now be in House tutor groups for their year, for example Y9 Aidan. Tutors and rooms will be shared with the students on the first day they return in September.
We will implement a staggered start and end to the day as advised in the guidance:
Students will enter the school site and be directed to enter the building, use the one-way system and immediately make their way to their tutor room. There will be no socialising in the corridors.
In order to manage the number of children moving around the building we are also implementing staggered break and lunchtimes, this will allow the year bubbles to be discrete and separate during social times.
Initially when we return there will be no breaktime refreshments and the lunchtime offer will be reduced. If children wish to bring a packed lunch they will be allowed to eat outside should they wish to, weather permitting. This is in line with guidance. The biometrics system will be in operation, cleaned thoroughly at the tills between each use. We intend to close the recharge machines so monies need to be added to accounts through Parent Pay.
Outside of every classroom there is a Hand Sanitiser station which all students will be required to use on entry to the class. All doors will be wedged open to reduce the need to touch surfaces and windows will be open to keep the rooms well ventilated. Every classroom will have tissues available, but we do advise students bring their own.
Once in the classroom students need to have their own equipment with them as they will be unable to borrow anything from the school or each other. There will be limited stock in school for students to be able to purchase during tutor time only. Lockers will be out of bounds when we return as we cannot allow free movement around the building so all books and resources will need to be carried between lessons. Any shared resources will be cleaned meticulously or left for a period of 48-72 hours before being used again, again as per guidance.
Full uniform will be required from September and as I said in my previous letter the uniform suppliers are now open. Please note we have a strict uniform policy, especially regarding hair and jewellery. All uniform and equipment details can be found on the website. At the moment we are not allowed to open the changing rooms so students will need to wear full academy kit on the days they have PE. We do hope guidance will change and if so we will update you as soon as we can.
In order to allow us to induct all students to the new regime we find ourselves working, for the first week the students should arrive at the following times, they will meet in the sports hall to be told who their tutor will be:
|2nd September 2020||New Y7 Only||8:50am|
|3rd September 2020||Y7 & Y8||8:50am|
|4th September 2020||Y11||8:30am|
|Y7 & 8||10:10am|
Sadly when we return it is clear there will still be ‘risk’. People will still have COVID and the risk of transmission of the virus will still exist. Our commitment to you is that we will communicate with you promptly and clearly if we have a concern, however, we need a commitment from you that you will act swiftly and in accordance with the guidance if we are worried about your child. We will need you to ensure that if your child, or anyone in your household is showing symptoms of COVID that they remain at home and tested as quickly as possible. We will inform Public Health England of every child that we send home with symptoms to ensure the Track and Trace System is ready to alert others should a test return as positive. We are waiting for confirmation that we will be given testing kits in school to issue to families of children who show symptoms to help speed the process up.
We acknowledge that as we return there will be other bugs and viruses that are not COVID but manifest themselves in a similar way. Please understand and bear with us – if their symptoms are the same as COVID we will ask you to seek a test and your child will have to be isolated until the outcome of that test is known. I realise this will be frustrating however, we have to protect our staff and other children.
In the event of a possible further ‘lockdown’ the Academy will be able to switch to a ‘Virtual School’, utilising Microsoft Teams. Like many others we have learned a great deal throughout this period about what works and what doesn’t so our aim is to ensure that resources will be available that are in line with the curriculum that would have been offered in school.
Towards the end of August I will send a ‘form’ to be completed which will allow you to share any relevant information which you feel we need to know, express your child’s meal preference and ask if any contact numbers need to be updated as it is essential we can contact you in an emergency.
I hope and pray that you have a happy and safe summer break. Like you we have never experienced anything quite like this before and the staff are in desperate need of some time to rest and recuperate. We look forward to welcoming the children back in September and will of course keep in contact should anything change before then.
If you have any queries please email firstname.lastname@example.org and any questions which are received before 12.30pm on Wednesday 22nd July will be answered, either in a FAQ which will be uploaded to the website or a call to discuss. After this the email box will be checked but only emergency requests will be dealt with as the school will be closed due to extensive building work.