As you are aware, there is ongoing work to create a new teaching block along with extensive remodelling to the existing building. We expect this to be completed prior to the start of the new school year, the week beginning 6th September 2021. When the students return after the summer break, they will need to orientate themselves to a number of changes:
· a new teaching block
· a different room numbering system throughout the school
· a number of subject departments and various aspects of our provision that will have moved location within the school
· new systems at lunch/breaktime
· new protocols to maintain the safe and orderly movement of students around the reconfigured site.
In addition to this we have now received new government guidance that will apply from September 2021. The new guidance for schools and information for parents/carers can be found on the following links: operational guidance What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during COVID-19
However, the main points to note can be summarised as:
· Students should not attend school if they have tested positive for COVID 19 for a period of 10 days
· Students with symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, new persistent cough, anosmia), get a PCR test and only return if the PCR is negative and they are better. Also, if any student has, what is termed ‘precautionary symptoms’, which is essentially any cold, flu or gastrointestinal symptoms, we encourage a PCR test but we expect school attendance to continue whilst awaiting the result.
· Pupils who are close contacts will no longer need self-isolate and should continue to attend school. However, the Health Protection Hub are encouraging any student identified as a close contact by NHS Track and Trace take a daily LFT for a 10 day period. The continuation of twice weekly asymptomatic LFT home testing for staff and pupils is also encouraged.
· After the end of the summer term, it will no longer be necessary to keep children in consistent groups (‘bubbles’) or operate staggered starts and ends to the school day.
· Face coverings will no longer be advised for pupils, students, staff and visitors either in classrooms or in communal areas.
· Hygiene, ventilation and cleaning protocols will remain in place
Government guidance will also require us to administer a programme of COVID 19 testing as the students return to school at the end of the summer holidays. The government has suggested a phased return of year groups to facilitate this. In line with previous testing, no student will be tested without the clearly expressed consent of the parent or carer.
Given all of this, the start of the new term will be particularly challenging for our new Year 7 as government restrictions have prevented us from staging our usual transition days during this term.
As a result of these circumstances, we will need to make a number of modifications to the start of the new school year:
On Friday 3rd September, our new Year 7 will be invited into school, before the start of the new term to facilitate testing. We will be sending further details about this, directly to the parents and carers of the new year7.
Then, on Monday 6th September, Year 7 will be the only Year group in school. This will enable us to deliver a comprehensive introduction to the school, providing them with a programme of orientation and ‘settling in’ activities.
Years 8 to 11 will begin the new school year in line with the schedule below, which will allow us to deliver a thorough induction programme for all students on their return to school. You will also note that Year 8-11 will be offered an appointment slot for a COVID test on the day before their official start to the new school year. This will allow us to get the students back into school as soon as possible and begin their focus on the new term without the distraction of testing on arrival. Please note the schedule below:
Monday 6th September-Year 10 and 11 students, with consent, to attend an appointment slot for a COVID test and then return home. Further details to follow.
Tuesday 7th September- Year 9 and 8 students, with consent, to attend an appointment slot for a COVID test and then return home. Further details to follow.
-Year 11 to arrive in school for a 8.45am start to the new school year with an induction programme, before transitioning to their new timetable.
-Year 10 to arrive in school for a 11.30am start to the new school year with an induction programme, before transitioning to their new timetable.
Wednesday 8th September
-Year 9 to arrive in school for a 8.45am start to the new school year with an induction programme, before transitioning to their new timetable.
-Year 8 to arrive in school for a 11.30am start to the new school year with an induction programme, before transitioning to their new timetable.
You will note each year group has a specific date and time for the start of their new school year. On arrival students should make their way to The Heart Space, where we will begin the induction process. Following the induction and tour the students will resume normal lessons, using their new timetable.
After their first day of the new school year, on arrival to school, all students will be able to use the front entrance from 7.30am or the side gates, next to the Tennis Courts from 8am.
At the end of each school day, students will leave the site at one of two exit points depending on their location for their last lesson. All students in the new teaching block and those that are downstairs in the main teaching block will leave via a new school exit at the front of the school between the new and main teaching block. Students who are upstairs in the main teaching block and those in PE/Performing Arts will leave via the side gates next to the Tennis courts. A map is attached for your reference. Students remaining in school for extracurricular activities will need to wait for a few minutes, whilst the main body of students leave the site, before moving to their after-school activity.
The new government guidance applicable from September 2021 will allow us to return to our usual pre pandemic school day. The school day schedule is also attached for your reference.
Currently all of the building work is on schedule and we expect that everything will be ready in time for the new school year. We will, of course, inform you immediately If there are any unexpected changes to these arrangements.
As always thank for your support and understanding as we work together to ensure that the start of the new term is a happy and successful one for all of our students.
Very best wishes and kind regards
Steve Carter, Headteacher.