As promised in our correspondence earlier this week, we are writing to provide detailed plans of our full re-opening to all students from Monday 8 March. Our testing centre has been functional for some time and thanks to our dedicated staff we have been able to upscale productivity to ensure no child is delayed in their start back to face-to-face teaching.
As a school we feel we have been well equipped to deal with changing circumstances and this latest announcement is no different. Given the robust COVID safety measures within school, our return on Monday 8 March will effectively mirror the provision that existed before Christmas. Students will be in year group bubbles, mainly taught in year group teaching blocks, and will have staggered start/finish and break times (the full details of this can be found in our COVID factsheet).
In accordance with government guidance, the two major amendments to our school routines involve face coverings and testing. Details of these procedures are detailed below:
In line with government guidance “all secondary school and college students will take three COVID-19 tests as they return to the classroom from Monday 8 March at existing school testing facilities. After the initial programme of three tests in school or college, students will be provided with 2 rapid tests to use each week at home”
Whilst the government have afforded phased returns in order to allow for the testing of students, we are planning to conduct student testing on site over Thursday 4, Friday 5, Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 March 2021.
Following this correspondence, your child will receive an individual appointment slot for their test. With an excess of 1300 students to test over the 4 days, it is imperative that students arrive at the time allocated. This will ensure that we can operate as efficiently as possible. Given the volume of tests we will be working 8am-6pm on all days and it is unlikely we will be able to change appointment times. Full instructions on where to go and what to expect will be given in the correspondence.
To give you a basic idea of the schedule for testing, year groups will be tested on the following days:
- Thursday 4 March – Years 11 and 13
- Friday 5 March – Years 10 and 12
- Saturday 6 March – Year 7 and half of Year 9
- Sunday 7 March – Year 8 and half of Year 9
Please note that keyworker students who are in school will be tested on Thursday/Friday so will not need to come in for an appointment. Any child who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days will also not be required to test.
On days where year groups are being tested, there may not be live lessons available for those particular year groups. This is partly due to the disruption to attendance of students and partly to allow teaching staff the time to come into school and collect their home testing kits to test themselves over the weekend.
We will provide you with further guidance around the home testing process in the coming weeks.
Before Christmas, face coverings were compulsory for students when travelling in enclosed spaces such as corridors. The government has now also advised “that face coverings should be worn in classrooms”. This is a government directive and they “are taking this additional precautionary measure for a limited time during this period of high coronavirus (COVID-19) prevalence in the community.”
Students should arrive at school with a face covering and it is advised that they bring a spare covering should they need to change the covering throughout the day. The expectation is that students will now wear a face covering at all times when indoors. The exceptions where students do not need to wear a face covering are: when travelling outside of school buildings, when students are outside during social times, when sat down to eat at break/ lunchtimes or when participating in PE lessons.
What will happen if my child has to isolate due to COVID?
As was the case before Christmas, if a student has to isolate due to COVID they will receive a blended remote provision, which will be a hybrid of live lessons and set work. Your child’s achievement leader will communicate this with you in more detail if this becomes a requirement.
Once again I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and kind words/messages many have sent throughout this difficult time. As we move through the various phases of the roadmap out of this pandemic, your continued support will be just as crucial and appreciated as always. There will no doubt be more challenges ahead, whether they be health, social or educational specific issues, and our collegiate approach to coming through this era together is something that has, and will continue to, set our school community apart. We must continue to stay safe, follow the rules and look out for each other.
Following yesterday’s announcement about the awarding of GCSE and A level grades we will be in touch with parents of Year 11 and 13 separately once further guidance arrives.
We are genuinely looking forward to welcoming everyone back on Monday 8 March.
Mr S Huntington and Mr M Jones
Executive Principal and Senior Vice Principal