I hope this letter finds you and your families well. I would like to provide you with information regarding the re-opening of the school in September following the government guidance which was made available on 2nd July. This document outlines that:-
‘Returning to school is vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. Time out of school is detrimental for children’s cognitive and academic development, particularly for disadvantaged children. This impact can affect both current levels of learning and children’s future ability to learn, and therefore we need to ensure all pupils can return to school sooner rather than later. The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from coronavirus (COVID-19) is very low. We know that school is a vital point of contact for public health and safeguarding services that are critical to the wellbeing of children and families.’
Therefore, further to my earlier correspondence I am writing to provide you with the information on how we intend to open fully, safely and deliver our curriculum.
The Wade Deacon Trust Board has approved our re-opening plans, however these may be subject to changes that may occur over the summer period.
September Opening Dates
Wednesday 2nd September at 8.40am – Year 7 Pupils
Wednesday 2nd September at 9.00am – Year 11 Pupils
Thursday 3rd September – All Year Groups in school - Please see staggered start times further in letter.
School attendance will be mandatory from the beginning of the autumn term. This means from that point, the usual rules on school attendance will apply, including:
parents’ duty to secure that their child attends regularly at school where the child is a registered pupil at school and they are of compulsory school age;
schools’ responsibilities to record attendance and follow up absence
the availability to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices in line with local authorities’ codes of conduct
Pupils who are shielding or self-isolating
The majority of pupils will be able to return to school. You should note however that:
a small number of pupils will still be unable to attend in line with public health advice because they are self-isolating and have had symptoms or a positive test result themselves; or because they are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19)
shielding advice for all adults and children will pause on 1 August, subject to a continued decline in the rates of community transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). This means that even the small number of pupils who will remain on the shielded patient list can also return to school, as can those who have family members who are shielding. Read the current advice on shielding
if rates of the disease rise in local areas, children (or family members) from that area, and that area only, will be advised to shield during the period where rates remain high and therefore they may be temporarily absent.
some pupils no longer required to shield but who generally remain under the care of a specialist health professional may need to discuss their care with their health professional before returning to school (usually at their next planned clinical appointment). You can find more advice from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health at COVID-19 - ‘shielding’ guidance for children and young people.
Enclosed with this letter is a Parent Guide to Attendance which outlines our support and procedures for September.
Public health advice to minimise coronavirus (COVID-19) risks
The full opening guidance suggests how contact is reduced and will depend on the school’s circumstances, it will (as much as possible) include:
grouping children together
avoiding contact between groups
arranging classrooms with forward facing desks
staff maintaining distance from pupils and other staff as much as possible
Therefore, we have staggered the start and finish times for certain Year Groups, added more break and lunch times, arranged our classrooms as above and will implement measures to reduce the chance of transmission as far as is reasonable practical.
The School Day
Please see end page for the outline of the school day.
Drop off / Pick Up, Use of the Car Park & Public Transport
Asyou can see from the timings of the day, we have staggered these to ensure we do not have lots of people arriving at similar time. We are asking all parents and carers that ‘drop off’ and ‘pick up’ to remain OUTSIDE the school gates on Stuart Road/ Breeze Hill and please adhere to the latest guidance on social distancing. Ideally only one parent/carer should ‘drop off’ and ‘pick up’.
If you are driving to school please ‘drop off’ and ‘pick up’ your child(ren) on Stuart Road.
If pupils are using public transport, please ensure you and your child are fully aware of the guidance for the use of local buses. The recommendations on transport to and from school allude to reducing any unnecessary travel on coaches, buses or public transport where possible (for example, by walking or cycling to school).
If you have children in different Year Groups expected to attend but have different start and finish times please can you drop them off for the earlier start time and the older sibling can go and stay in their classroom. It is imperative pupils arrive at their allocated time. This will ensure the safety of everyone and reduce the chance of transmission of the disease.
Pupils WILL be expected to wear full school uniform as per my last correspondence. I appreciate your support in ensuring pupils come to school well equipped and ready to learn. If you have any enquiries regarding school uniform, please contact our school office.
PODs & Class Sizes
We have worked very closely as a school team and with external support from the Wade Deacon Trust and their Health and Safety advisors. We are working on the premise of having ‘Key Stage and Year Group Pods.’
This means that pupils will get their full curriculum entitlement in their current classes / sets and teachers will move around the building to them. Key Stages and Year Groups will have assigned zones and they will remain in these areas for the majority of their lessons. Specialist rooms in science, DT, Art etc. will continue to be used but these have been carefully timetabled to ensure cleaning can take place.
Learning & Curriculum
I know you appreciate; this period has been a very complex and challenging situation for all concerned. However, it is imperative we get pupils back into learning routines and engaged in a full curriculum offer. When we return we will be launching our ‘Recapture’ curriculum to help the pupils make rapid and sustained progress.
Below are a list of essential measures we will adhere to reduce the risk of transmission;
a requirement that people who are ill stay at home – please ensure your child does not attend if they are showing any of the symptoms.
robust hand and respiratory hygiene – this will be encouraged regularly as it is now and we will increase the signage as a reminder to take these steps.
enhanced cleaning arrangements – this has been carefully considered and staggering breaks, lunches and the use of specialist rooms will allow for this.
active engagement with NHS Test and Trace – we will engage fully in advice and guidance from Public Health and the NHS Test and Trace team.
formal consideration of how to reduce contacts and maximise distancing between those in school wherever possible and minimise potential for contamination so far as is reasonably practicable – the steps I have mentioned will reduce the risk of transmission.
Lunch, Break Time & Food and Drink
Those pupils entitled to a Free School Meal will receive these as normal. The dining room will be offering a hot and cold take-away service.You may wish to send your child(ren) with their own packed lunch. Please advise them that this should not be shared with anyone. We would also ask all children to bring in their own drinks bottle (clearly labelled and filled) as we will turn off the water fountains. Please be reminded that fizzy or energy drinks are not allowed.
Support for pupils with SEND
We will work with families and pupils to provide the best possible support for pupils with SEND and make reasonable adjustment as necessary to ensure the safety of pupils and staff. Should any parents and carers wish to discuss this in detail please contact your child’s Progress Leader or Mrs Cross.
Cleaning Considerations & Movement around the site
We have worked very closely with our cleaning team to ensure regular cleaning has and will take place as it has done during lockdown. We will ensure there is enough tissues, hand sanitiser, disinfectant and paper towels and bins in every classroom to keep everyone safe.
Behaviour – Home school agreement
There are amendments and an addendum to the current Behaviour for Learning Policy, which can be found on our website. The guiding principles are that pupils follow the Hillside Way. Nevermore have these principles been more important. It is critical pupils co-operate with staff and follow instructions for the safety and well-being of everyone. Any behaviour than might put others in danger will not be tolerated and appropriate sanctions put in place.
Enclosed is a new Home School Agreement. We would ask that you read this with your child. It does not need to be returned, however if you have any queries please contact the school office. Unless we hear from you, we will assume you consent to this Home School Agreement.
First Aid & Medication
Pupils that require first aid will still be able to access this and additional PPE will be provided to the designated first aiders. Pupils that need medication will still be able to collect this from Pupil Support, please ensure it is correctly labelled with you child’s name. Any queries regarding medication please contact Mrs Banks in September.
Please do not send your child(ren) into school if they feel unwell, are showing any one of the Covid-19 symptoms or require any general first aid.
Pastoral Support for Well-Being and Mental Health
We are very aware that the coronavirus outbreak may have caused significant mental health or wellbeing difficulties for some children. It is important to recognise that while ‘getting back to normal’ is important and will be reassuring for many, we will consider how to support pupils back into school.
We know some children may also have experienced bereavements in their immediate family or wider circle of friends or family or had increased/new caring responsibilities. All children will have missed the routine of school, seeing their friends, and being supported by their teachers and other adults in the school. Therefore, we will provide opportunities for children to talk about their experiences. If you feel your child requires additional support with regards to their mental health and/or emotional well-being please contact the school office who will direct you to a member of the Pastoral Team.
Home & Remote Learning Plans
Home learning and Remote Learning plans will still be in place should there by a ‘local lockdown’ and we have plans for how this will be communicated should such an event occur.We have trained all the secondary pupils and staff on the use of Microsoft Teams and wewith staff to look at how we can develop this further and hope to be able to provide more ‘on-line’ and ‘live’ teaching.
Visitors and Guidance on accessing the school Reception Desk
We will carefully ensure that only essential meetings take place on-site and where possible all correspondence should be via telephone, e-mail or letter.Only one person at a time will be allowed into the main office and signage will ensure this is clear to visitors. We have a duty to protect our staff and I appreciate your co-operation in this matter. There will clear markings on where to queue to access the office if this is necessary.
As always, we will continue to use our social media and website to communicate any updates with you. These are listed below:
I hope this letter has served as a clear indication of what we will endeavour to put in place control measures to minimise risks but this will not mean that risks can be removed altogether.
We have also produced short videos and PowerPoints which we hope will reassure pupils and their families, these are available on our website.
Finally, I would once again like to take this opportunity to thank you wholeheartedly for your understanding and ongoing support in helping us to manage this unprecedented situation and I wish you a lovely summer break.