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Staggered Reopening in January 2021

Published on 22nd December 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

I am sure you will have seen the announcement in the media, about the staggered reopening of schools in January across the country, to allow Lateral Flow Testing to be considered to take place in schools on a voluntary basis. The aim of this testing is to ensure that as many students and staff are able to remain in school as possible, and to combat the spread of the Coronavirus by ensuring that those who test positive self-isolate as soon as possible. This includes those who are asymptomatic.

Guidance produced by the Department for Education stipulates that only Year 11 students, children of critical workers and vulnerable students will return to school in the first week of the new term.

Monday 04 January will be taken as an additional INSET Day to allow the staff of the school to prepare for the testing that will be carried out. Year 11 students, children of critical workers and vulnerable students will return on Tuesday 05 January. Students in Year 7, 8, 9 and 10 will return to face-to-face teaching in school on Monday 11 January. This will follow a week of remote learning.

A full copy of the guidance can be found by clicking the link below:

Schools and childcare settings: return in January 2021 – GOV.UK (

Vulnerable children and young people include those who:

  • are assessed as being in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, including children and young people who have a child in need plan, a child protection plan or who are a looked-after child
  • have an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • have been identified as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities (including children’s social care services), and who could therefore benefit from continued full-time attendance.

If your child is in Year 7, 8, 9 or 10; you believe your child falls into one of these categories; and you wish to take up a place in school for the week from Tuesday 05 January to Friday 08 January, please inform the school using this form ( and notifying us of your intention as soon as possible, but no later than Wednesday 30th of December 2020. This will allow us to make effective plans for this group of students. We will also need notification of the days which your child will be in school that week. If your child does not fall into one of these categories, your child will work remotely for the first week of the term.

During the week commencing 04 January, all learning for students in Years 7,8,9 and 10 will be remote and will be a combination of google classroom and live lessons. More details about this will follow in due course.

If testing is due to take place at Fernwood Secondary School I will of course write again in due course. There are a number of logistical and parental permissions that would be required. I will need reassurance from the Government that there will be no further financial burden on the school and our ability to deliver a quality first education. I estimate that the cost of supply staff covering teachers who are absent due to Covid at £80,000. Currently I am offered no additional funding from central government.

We have faced so many challenges since March and this is the latest. I am sure that as a community and supported by you, our parents, this is the next challenge we will overcome. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing support and I will write to you again between Christmas and the New Year with a further update.

I hope that you will have a restful and peaceful time together as families and that we renew our strength for the challenges ahead in 2021. This pandemic will pass and the introduction of vaccinations offer real hope.

With my very best wishes for the Christmas season.

Paul Burke

Head Teacher – Mr P Burke
The Fernwood School, Goodwood Road, Wollaton, Nottingham, NG8 2FT
0115 9286 326 |
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