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Published on 20th August 2020
The latest government guidance has indicated that all students will return to school from September 2020. The guidance states:
“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)…”
This remains subject to a review of the national Covid-19 data in August and, of course, any local lockdown measures imposed.
This document sets our provisional arrangements for September 2020. Any references to year group relate to students’ year groups from September onwards (not current year groups).
Returning to school in September
|Monday 31st August||Bank Holiday Monday|
|Tuesday 1st September||INSET Day – All staff return to school|
|Wednesday 2nd September||INSET Day – All staff in school|
|Thursday 3rd September||Year 7 Induction Day – students in school all day
Year 10 Induction Day – students in school for half a day
|8:30am – 3:10pm
9:20am – 12:30pm
|Friday 4th September||
Year 7 Induction Day – students in school all day for second day of induction
Year 9 Induction Morning – students in school for an assembly and extended tutor period
Year 8 Induction Morning – students in school for an assembly and extended tutor period
Year 11 Induction Morning – students in school for an assembly and extended tutor period
8:30am – 3:10pm
8:50am – 10:30am
9:50am – 11:30am
10:50am – 12:30pm
|Monday 7th September – onwards||Years 7-11 – all students in school to commence their timetable of lessons||
8:25am – 3:05pm (Years 10 & 11)8:40am – 3:10pm (Years 7, 8 & 9)
All students are expected to return to school in September in line with government guidance. We recognise that some students will be concerned about doing so and we will do all we can to support them and their families. Shielding advice will be paused on 1st August but a small number of students with very specific medical needs may need to discuss their return to school with their doctors and other health specialists; health care plans and individual risk assessments may need updating for these students.
Students who develop symptoms of covid-19
Any student who displays symptoms in school will be isolated until they can be collected by a parent/carer. If it occurs during a lesson, the student will immediately be sent to the first aid room by the teacher. Our first aid staff will be fully prepared for this eventuality and we will, of course, continue to monitor the student’s safety and well-being whilst they are isolated. Our expectation is that a parent/carer will generally be able to collect a student within 30 minutes of being contacted.
If a student (or someone in their household) develops symptoms of covid-19, the student should stay at home and parents/carers should arrange for them (or the symptomatic person) to be tested. Any siblings living at the same address will, of course, also have to self-isolate.
Once the test result is received, parents/carers must inform school. In the event of a negative result and, provided the student feels well enough, they can return to school. In the event of a positive test, the student must remain isolated for 7 days from the date of the first symptoms (if they were the unwell individual) or for 14 days from the first day of symptoms if it was someone else in their household. Where a student is not in school because of self-isolation, we will continue to provide instructions via Google Classroom for work that requires completion.
In the event of a positive test result for someone who has been in school, we will need to inform the local health protection team and take advice. A ‘rapid risk assessment’ will be carried out and it may result in those who have been in close contact being asked to self-isolate. We will communicate as swiftly and clearly as possible with those affected should this eventuality arise. As a school, we will also engage fully with NHS Test and Trace, providing information as required and communicating with families where needed. We will be asking that all staff and parents/carers do the same.
In order to prioritise the safety of students and staff, the school will continue to adopt a range of protective measures based on the Public Health England ‘system of controls’. We are being asked to cover all the controls set out but to implement them in a way that is appropriate for our schoolcontext. The government guidance is clear that, provided we do this, we will minimise the risk to all those in school.
As has been the case throughout the pandemic, all our decisions are underpinned by a school-wide risk assessment which is regularly reviewed. The key information from that risk assessment has been included in this document.
There are some general measures and expectations that will be in place for all students and staff and reviewed on a regular basis:
• Regular hand washing
We will ensure that there are good supplies of soap and sanitiser in school. We will support and remind students to wash or sanitise their hands on arrival to indoor rooms and spaces, after breaks and before/after eating.
• Good respiratory hygiene (promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach)
We will ensure that we give students regular reminders on this and will continue to ensure good ventilation in all rooms.
• Regular cleaning
We have already established good cleaning protocols across the school site and increased the number of cleaning staff on site throughout the day. We will ensure classrooms, corridors, toilets and other areas are cleaned regularly, focusing particularly on frequently touched surfaces.
• Minimising contact between people
We will take a range of steps to minimise contact between people and crowded spaces. Much of this revolves around minimising the mixing of different year groups. This will include:
o Staggering the start and end of the school day for different year groups
o Allocating different zones to students for learning, socialising at break and lunchtimes and access to toilets (further details below)
o Arranging classrooms, where possible, to ensure that desks are forward facing
o Asking all students and staff to follow signposted one-way systems around the school buildings
Students will be given some further detailed information via their year group Google Classroom page and, in more detail, as part of the induction programme on their first day.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
In line with the current guidance, the majority of people in school will not need to wear any PPE over and above that which is usually worn (for example, by first aiders or during practical activities in subjects such as science or technology). In the event that a student becomes ill with covid-19 symptoms and a 2m distance cannot be maintained, additional PPE will be worn by staff; the student
may also be asked to wear a face mask. Clearly, this may be subject to change as the government review their position with face coverings.
Lockdown has affected everybody differently. Members of our school community have dealt with all sorts of challenges over the past few months and we know that the pandemic has had an impact on both physical and mental health. As students return to school, we will make use of socially distanced assemblies, tutor time, personal development lessons and all our well-being support staff to ensure a smooth transition for students. For many, simply returning to school and some form of ‘normality’ will be enough. For others, it will not. We will ensure that those who have found lockdown especially difficult or those for whom the transition back to school is particularly challenging are well supported. We are keen that parents/carers keep communicating issues to us so we are as informed as possible.
We will be making some adjustments to the timings of the school day on a temporary basis. The arrangement below makes staggered arrivals and departures from school possible whilst also allowing us to maintain a full curriculum timetable. It is important to recognise that although we have switched to a four-period day to minimise movement time around the school site, there is no loss to learning in any of the year groups.
KEY STAGE 3 (YEARS 7, 8 and 9)
|Tutor time||Period 1||Break||Period 2||Lunch||Period 3||Break||Period 4|
KEY STAGE 4 (YEARS 10 and 11)
|Tutor time||Period 1||Break||Period 2||Lunch||Period 3||Break||Period 4|
Key Stage 4 students should arrive on the school site between 8.15am-8:25am and KS3 students must arrive between 8:30am-8:40am. Students can arrive to either of the gates (and should generally use the nearest to their route into school) but should move quickly away from the gate area and towards the outdoor areas of their year group safe zone. It is essential that students do not congregate in spaces with students from other year groups and I would appreciate you reinforcing this message at home with your child. Duty staff will be present around the school site to ensure this happens. There is also a staggered end to the school day with Key Stage 3 students leaving the school site five minutes later than Key Stage 4.
Tutor Groups and Learning Zones
All year groups will be organised in to specific zones for their learning. This allows students to receive a full curriculum but minimises the amount of movement required during the school day. Lessons will be primarily taught in these areas, with movement to other locations across the school required only when students have a subject on their timetable that needs to be taught in a specialist room with specialist equipment and resources. The learning zones are as follows:
• Year 7 – Main tower block
• Year 8 – Library block
• Year 9 – Humanities block
• Year 10 – the new ‘Paul Irons Building’ (ground floor) and the Arts/ Science block (ground floor)
• Year 11 – the new ‘Paul Irons Building’ (first floor)
Break and Lunchtime Safe Zones
All year groups will be allocated an indoor and outdoor space during break and lunchtime. It is essential that all students remain within these spaces during unstructured times. When the weather is fair, all students will be expected to be in their outside space, with the exception of year 11 who will also have access to the ‘red area’. In the event of some inclement weather and a wet break/ lunch is announced, students will remain in their designated indoor space. These spaces have been specifically allocated to allow ease of access to toilets within the year group learning zone as well the catering serveries.
Movement around the school site
To mitigate risk, a clear and visible one-way movement system will be put in place to ensure that students avoid mixing with students from other year groups. This covers both movement in and outside the building. There will be markings strategically placed across the school to guide students and staff will be visible during lesson changeover to ensure that students follow the system and know where they are going.
Timetable and Curriculum
It is our intention that all students will follow the full curriculum on their return. The timetable has been carefully designed to ensure no loss to learning. Subject areas have planned the adjustments that are required in light of the disruption to school over the last few months.
In Years 7 and 8, students will be largely taught in tutor groups with the exception of a small number of practical subjects (where health and safety requirements dictate smaller groups). In Year 9, students will be taught either in tutor groups or in an ability-based class. In Years 10 and 11,
students will be placed in ability groups in core subjects and mixed ability options classes for all other subjects.
To reduce movement, we have organised timetables so that students remain in their learning zones for a significant number of their lessons. When movement of students is required, we will be implementing the one-way system to minimise risk. This is necessary so that students can continue to learn in rooms with the appropriate specialist facilities and equipment, undertaking practical work in certain subjects. Where there is practical work going on, a range of additional PPE, cleaning measures and adaptations to work spaces and working practices will be in place.
Year 11 curriculum
Whilst we are clear that we need to take steps to ensure that students are supported in bridging gaps in key areas, to forcibly remove access to certain subjects goes against our values as a school. We do know that there will be a very small number of year 11 students for whom it may be right to reduce their total number of qualifications. As would always be the case, we will discuss that on an individual basis with parents/carers but we will allow all students to settle back into school and re-establish routine before we start to discuss such big decisions.
We will be offering a limited school meal service from September to include provision for students who are entitled to free school meals. The free school meal funding system that has been implemented during the lockdown period will cease to operate. We actively encourage parents to provide a packed lunch for their child, however, there will be food serveries stationed in each year group safe zone across the school to provide some limited hot food options as well as a selection of cold food items. It is very important that our students bring to school a filled water bottle for the school day. There will be no access to water fountains, however, the catering staff will be happy to support students in getting access to water and to refill their bottles if required. Students will not be expected to use the biometric fingerprint devices at the start of term – names and codes will be taken by the catering staff and accounts must continue to be topped up online.
Physical activity is crucially important for students’ well-being. PE lessons will take place as part of the proposed timetable and they can do so because year groups do not mix. It is therefore an expectation that all students will bring their full PE kit to school on the days they are timetabled on PE. The PE Department will have access to four separate changing spaces in the new school building which will reduce the number of students in each room to a standard class size. We will give students regular reminders about good hygiene and changing facilities and equipment will be cleaned regularly. Wherever possible, students will engage in outdoor sports and, where weather or other circumstance do not allow this, we will use large, well ventilated hall spaces. For the first half term, students will follow a summer sports programme and contact sports will be avoided.
Uniform and Appearance
All students are expected to be in full uniform from September. Government guidance is clear that uniform does not need to be cleaned any more often than usual or using any other methods than normal. The same high standards of appearance are also expected, in particular:
• No piercings or jewellery
• No make-up
• No unnatural hair colouring
• No extreme haircuts
Mobile phones are not permitted on the school premises so I ask all parents to support the school by ensuring that your child’s phone is kept at home. In these current circumstances, the office staff will not be collecting phones from students at the start of the school day. If any urgent messages need to be shared between you and your child, this can be done via the school reception.
Whole School Events and Parent/ Carer Meetings
At the start of term, we will be trying to minimise the number of visitors on the school site. As such, most parental contact will be by telephone or email. Most meetings will either be via Teams / Zoom or, if face-to face, outside school hours. Some of our usual information evenings and other events are likely to be replaced with online events or printed information. We will, of course, send more information out in September and as the guidance from the government develops.
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