Download Letter here: Letter to parents August 28th
28th August 2020
As we approach re-opening next week I hope you and your families have had the opportunity to relax and enjoy a break in these unusual times. We have completed significant work to prepare for re-opening. Virtually the entire school has been repainted, every room has been thoroughly cleaned, we have changed practices, moved and rearranged furniture, sourced equipment and have recruited a number of staff to support our efforts to keep everyone safe. We have increased day time cleaning considerably and are appointing two more daytime cleaners, three additional lunch-time supervisors and an additional site assistant. We have also recruited further staff to assist in the Office given the necessity for increased communication with parents via phone or email. Much of this letter is the same as the one I issued in July, however I wanted to take the opportunity to reassure you regarding our procedures.
September Wider opening
We are looking forward to welcoming the children back next week. We believe we have provided a good level of education and communication over the last 6 months but nothing will replace the importance of face to face daily contact with teachers and friends. A full return is in everyone’s best interests and Governors and myself passionately believe we have done our utmost to ensure the safety of all. Needless to say the most important priority and consideration is the safety of all students, staff and visitors. Therefore, our plans closely reflect Government and Local Authority guidance.
Keeping Students and Staff Safe
We have followed the Government guidance which says that bubbles in secondary school are likely to be the size of a year group. Our aim therefore is to ensure that, as far as possible, year groups are isolated from each other whilst in school. Students will largely be taught in the same room for much of the day. Therefore, staff will move around the building to teach students. In Year’s 7, 8 and 9 students will be taught in Tutor Groups. In Year’s 10 and 11 students will be taught as much as possible in Pathways to enable them to access their option subjects in preparation for GCSE exams.
We have followed Government guidance and introduced staggered start and end times. As previously stated Year’s 10 and 11 will attend school on Wednesday 2nd but then work from home on Thursday 3rd. Year’s 7,8 and 9 will work from home on Wednesday 2nd but then attend school on Thursday 3rd. All Year Groups are anticipated to return as normal on Friday 4th September at the times shown. Please ask your children to check their emails for information regarding work.
|Year Group||School Re-integration Day- Date and Times||Normal Hours of the day during current Covid 19 situation|
|Year 7||Thursday September 3rd at 8:35am and remain on site until 2:45pm.||8:35am- 2:45pm|
|Year 8||Thursday September 3rd at 9:00am and remain on site until 2:50pm.||8:45am- 2:50pm|
|Year 9||Thursday September 3rd 9:30am and remain on site until 3:00pm||8:55am- 3:00pm|
|Year 10||Wednesday September 2nd at 9:00 am and remain on site until 2:55pm.||8:45am- 2:55pm|
|Year 11||Wednesday September 2nd at 8:35am and remain on site until 3:00pm.||8:35am- 3:00pm|
Arrival and departure from site
Government guidance recommends Year Groups should enter the building through different gates and entrances where possible. As this will mean students moving and waiting around the front of the school, I am closing the Vehicle gates for student safety. Parents will be unable to drop off and pick students up on the school site. Parents of students who require access should have been contacted directly. We have two entrance gates and would encourage students to enter by their allocated gates and entrances as much as possible. We would also ask parents to remind students of their responsibility to socially distance on the way to and from school.
|Year Group||Designated Entry/Exit Gate||Designated Entrance/Exit|
|Year 7||Side gate off the Mill Inn Bank||West Wing entrance and wait inside the school’s green perimeter fence|
|Year 8||Main gate off Station Road||Main Hall and wait in the paved area outside the Hall.|
|Year 9||Main gate off Station Road||Main Hall and wait in the paved area outside the Hall.|
|Year 10||Side gate off the Mill Inn Bank||West Wing entrance and wait inside the school’s green perimeter fence|
|Year 11||Main gate off Station Road||Community entrance and wait inside the school’s green perimeter fence|
Transport to and from school
If your child travels to school using public transport, please remember that they will be required to wear a face mask or covering. Please be aware that a dedicated Student transport service is going to be launched from Murton to enable students to avoid travelling on public transport. Details have been advertised via our Social Media. As always students are able to cycle to school until October half term providing they follow guidance, wear a helmet and have facilities to lock their bicycles.
Handwashing and Hygiene
We will expect students to wash their hands thoroughly throughout the day, especially before eating but have also located hand sanitizer at entrances to the building and in every classroom, which students will be required to use.
Government advice has changed as of August 25th. It is now up to individual schools to decide. I discussed this with Governors and our position is unchanged. We are happy for students and staff to wear facemasks if they wish, especially in communal areas such as school corridors or social areas where there inevitably will be a lot of students. It may be that this position will change as Government advice changes or in the event of increased local restrictions. Please advise your children that some staff have to wear PPE at certain times and not to be alarmed by this.
Brunch and Lunch times
To reduce risk of transmission we are zoning the Dining areas and caterers are offering a simplified menu, which will allow us to keep Year Groups apart. Caterers are able to offer a simplified service at Brunch time however this will not be available to Year 7 in the first few weeks as we need to keep numbers in the Dining Hall as low as possible. Year 7 students then will need to bring their own break-time snack and drink. This will be reviewed and changed as soon as we are able. We currently are NOT able to offer a Breakfast service. To facilitate cleaning before use by other students Year Groups will only be able to sit at certain tables and locations. We have purchased additional furniture to convert the Hall into Dining space for Year 7.
We would expect students to remain in their designated areas at Break and lunch but would encourage students to go outside as much as possible to their designated areas and part of the field as transmission rates are lower outside.
Year Groups are allocated a zone with designated toilets. All water fountains have been disconnected so students need to bring water bottles or purchase bottled water from the caterers.
It is essential that parents ensure they set up parent pay accounts as we will not be accepting or handling any cash from students. Students will be required to use their finger print at the cash register, however staff will be able to wipe these prior to individual use. If students prefer they can give their name and accounts can be accessed in that way. If you need help setting up a parent pay account please contact the school via the email@example.com email address.
Our expectations are that all students will return to school in full uniform and that includes a bag. One of our priorities is to get students back into routine as quickly as possible so could you remind children of our expectations particularly with regard to nails, use of make-up and piercings please. No child should return to school wearing a piercing that cannot be removed on request. Outdoor coats must be removed inside the Building and Hoodies are NOT allowed. The use of Mobile phones in school is banned and should students bring phones they must be switched off and in their bags. Failure to comply with this will result in the phone being confiscated.
Students MUST bring their own basic equipment such as pen, pencil, ruler, rubber, sharpener, calculator etc as we are not in the position to be able to lend equipment as we have done before.
Students should come to school dressed in their PE kit on a day when they have PE. However, they should bring their Uniform in their bag to change into at the end of the PE lesson. This allows us to clean the changing rooms prior to their use by another Year Group. If a student’s PE lesson is last lesson of the day then they are welcome to go home in their PE Kit if they wish and not bring uniform that day. I am awaiting further guidance on this but as an extra precaution you may want your child to wear a face mask/covering whilst changing.
Deliveries, Visitors and Parental appointments
As stated previously we will follow Government and LA advice to minimise visitors to site. Parental communication should be by phone, email or virtually by Google meets or Zoom. No routine parental appointments will be permitted during this period for the protection of students and staff.
Students MUST take responsibility for their own belongings and equipment and BE PREPARED for school. Unfortunately, staff in the school office will not be able to pass items on to students if they have forgotten something.
The DfE has made it very clear that attendance will be compulsory from September, so our normal policy and procedures will return and we would ask for your support in ensuring that your child attends school unless they are too ill or they are displaying symptoms of Covid-19.
Preventing the Spread of Covid-19
I would ask all parents and carers to read these notes carefully and talk them through with their child prior to the start of term so that they are clearly understood:
- If anyone in school (student or staff member) becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia), they must not come into school. If they do, they will be sent home and advised to follow the “stay at home” guidance which states that they must self-isolate for at least 7 days and should arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus (COVID-19). Other members of their household (including any siblings) should self-isolate for 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms.
- If a child with symptoms is awaiting collection, they will be moved, to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door, depending on the age and needs of the child, with appropriate adult supervision if required. In our case this will be the Exclusion Unit as it is separate from the main school and has its own toilet facilities.
- It is very important that students clean their hands regularly; when they arrive in school, at the start of every lesson, especially before and after eating, and after using the toilet. Our hand-washing facilities are limited so we will have hand sanitiser in every classroom and teachers will require students to use this regularly. Parents/Carers could help us and their child by purchasing a small bottle of hand sanitiser for their child to bring to school and use each day.
- We will ensure good respiratory hygiene by promoting the “catch it, bin it, kill it” approach. We have purchased lidded bins for each classroom. Again, I would encourage parents to ensure that their child carries a pack of paper-tissues to school.
- If your child is wearing a face-mask because they are using public transport, they should be taught how best to put it on and remove it (so that they don’t touch the front of the mask and wash/sanitise their hands afterwards)
- We will engage with the NHS Test and Trace process and would ask all parents/carers to do the same. This means that parents, carers, AND staff members must be ready and willing to:
- Book a test if they or their child are displaying symptoms. Tests can be booked online
- Not come into school if they are displaying symptoms
- Provide details of anyone they have been in close contact with if asked to by NHS Test and Trace
- Self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone who develops symptoms or tests positive
- Inform the school immediately if they or their child tests positive or negative We are keeping year groups apart to ensure that should someone test positive, disruption to others in school is minimised as much as possible. By September, the Government has promised that school will be provided with a small number of home-testing kits. We recognise that while we can maintain year group separation in school, we can’t control what happens outside school. Students will of course, mix with siblings from different year groups, but parents can help to protect their children by minimising other unnecessary contact with students from other year groups and schools, and thinking carefully about their child’s arrangements for coming to and from school each day.
Home/School Contact Details
It is always important for us to hold the correct contact details for you and your child, but never more so than now. I would also ask parents/carers to ensure they are easily contactable during the day. Under no circumstances will staff be allowed to transport students in staff vehicles.
Maintaining your distance
Please remind your children that where possible it is important to try to remain a safe and sensible distance from each other. As difficult as it is-physical contact should be avoided.
I have received confirmation from the Secretary of State for Education that the school will convert to Academy status on September 1st and join the Eden Learning Trust. As many of you are aware this has been delayed as a result of Covid-19.
I would like to finish by thanking all of you in advance. I know many of you may be nervous and your children even more so. I discussed the return to school with my eldest daughter, who is starting Year 10 the other day and she like many has mixed feelings. She is looking forward to returning and meeting friends but worried about crowded corridors and potential outbreaks. I tried to reassure her that these worries are entirely normal. I endured the annual school shoe shopping expedition to Clarks yesterday at the MetroCentre and I was unnerved at the experience. It is a significant step we are all taking next week by returning but it is an essential one. School is such an integral part of a young persons’ life and identity- it is so much more than simply education that I do agree with the Government that school re-opening has to be the national priority. We can now look forward to returning to some form of normality even if it is “the new normal”. Hopefully in a couple of weeks the nerves will have dissipated and everyone will be familiar with the routine and begin to enjoy getting down to the important business of learning.
As I said in July- the Autumn term will be about repairing and rebuilding routines, supporting students reintegrate and re-establishing relationships. I have no doubt that we will encounter some challenges and frustrations along the way but by working together in the interests of the safety of all students and staff we will overcome them. Please remember at the moment education remains secondary and health and safety is the paramount consideration.
Once again a huge thank you for your continued support and I shall be in touch regularly with further information as required.
Mr G.W. Lumsdon