Letter from our Principal: Academy re-opening to Year 10 Pupils
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Dear Parents/Carers and Pupils,
Further to my letter dated 22nd May where I highlighted to you that the Government has announced that Schools can start to bring pupils from Year 10 on site before the end of the academic year, I am now in a position to provide you with more detail on what our offer will look like.
It is important to note that there are still many restrictions around what we are able to do, and this means that our offer will be different to what pupils have been used to in the past. The Government has also made clear that any return to school is to supplement our on-going remote learning, not replace it, so although pupils will have the opportunity to come into school for a maximum of one day a week, they will still be spending the other days learning at home on Google Classroom, with our live learning offer still available to them like it is now.
We have put together a series of questions that we hope will provide you with everything that you and your child would like to know about what our offer will look like for our Year 10 pupils. We appreciate that the information contained in this letter is very detailed, but we hope that it answers some of the questions that you and your child may have at this time. We ask you to sit together as a family to go through this, so that everyone is clear about what we are proposing at this time, why we are proposing it and how we are planning on working with you to achieve the best for everyone.
There will be a separate individualised letter that you will receive informing you of the day that your child will be being asked to attend school from the week beginning June 22nd 2020. You will receive this letter on Monday 15th June via ParentMail.
We appreciate that although through this communication we are seeking to reassure you that we have followed all the necessary guidance, and to advise you that our plans have been approved by the Trust and other organisations, we appreciate that you may still have questions that are specific to your child or your circumstances. We are also aware that your child may have raised a concern on the questionnaire that they have recently completed, and we want to be able to discuss these with you. It is vital that you feel able to ask questions and we ask that you continue to do this by contacting the year team in the usual way. If they are unable to answer your question, or you would like to speak to a member of the Senior Leadership Team who are responsible for Safeguarding or Pastoral care, or our SENDCO or Pathways lead then please do let us know before June 22nd 2020.
We are here to listen to you and we will continue to work with you as we move into this next phase of our learning. We remain committed to making sure that we provide your child with both academic and pastoral support at this time and ask you to continue to communicate with us, continue to encourage your child to complete their home learning on Google Classroom, share their success stories with us and encourage them to continue to display our values within our wider community.
With the warmest of wishes to you and your families at this time.
Mrs R Smith
Questions Relating to the Wider re-opening of our Academy to Year 10 Pupils
What guidelines are you working to when bringing the Year 10 pupils back into school?
At all points, we are following the guidance that has been given to us. The guidelines for the return of Year 10 pupils is different from the guidance that primary schools have had. In summary:
- We can have no more than 25% of Year 10 pupils on site at any one time. This means that we can only have a maximum of 48 Year 10 pupils in the building at any one time.
- Those students must be in small groups. This means that there will be a maximum of 12 pupils in four separate groups, (A,B,C,D).
- The pupils in each group (A,B,C,D) cannot mix with each other whilst in the building and we must limit the number of people they come into contact with. This means that each group will stay in the same room for their lessons, with their own outside space.
- Social distancing must be maintained at all times. This means that pupils must keep 2m apart from each other and they cannot share equipment.
- The main form of learning for Year 10 pupils will still need to be at home via our home learning package – ie Google Classroom
Given the guidelines above, how are you proposing each pupil’s time in school will look?
The guidelines above are there to make sure that everyone is as safe as possible when they are in the building. We are therefore proposing the following:
- Each pupil will only be in the academy once a week on the same day each week.
- Year 10 pupils will be expected to attend from 10am -2pm. This will support our pupils who are using public transport. The school bus will be available for pupils.
- Each day there will be four different groups and each pupil will belong to one of these groups.
- Each group will be in one area of the school. They will remain in this area and not interact with any other group. They will eat their lunch in this area, use the toilets in this area and have a separate outdoor space to use.
- There will be two staff assigned to each group. They will also need to follow the social distancing rules, so staff will work in different ways to support each pupil.
- The academy will provide a ‘grab bag’ lunch for each pupil. Pupils will order their lunch in the morning and these will be delivered to their area. Pupils will therefore remain in their group whilst they have their lunch. They will then be able to move outside into their outside space, should weather permit.
- There will be four different lessons during the day that will run for 45 minutes each, with a 5 minute gap between each so that pupils can wash their hands or use the bathroom, as necessary.
- Three lessons will be live streamed into each of the rooms, meaning that the pupils can have subject specialists delivering their lessons, but without there being any potential ‘contamination’ of the bubbles. The staff members who are assigned to each group will be able to support with questions, and help with the ‘interactivity’ aspect of the lesson. This will provide opportunities for the teacher to explain any ideas in more detail and for pupils to be able to pose questions to the subject specialist.
- Each pupil will also have the opportunity to have a socially distanced, face to face conversation with one member of staff regarding their responses to the questionnaire. This will enable us to provide each pupil with any further support that they may require.
- Other staff will also be present in the academy to support as necessary.
- For the four days that pupils are not in school, they will be expected to complete the minimum daily online learning, as they have already been doing, and this will be checked each day and parents/carers will also receive an update. In addition to this, live streaming will also continue for Year 10 pupils and they will be able to sign up for this on the days that they are not in school, as before.
What equipment will each pupil need to bring to school?
Pupils will not need to bring a bag or any equipment with them to school. They will be provided with an individually named wallet of equipment which will stay at school. This will therefore reduce any potential contamination of items between pupils.
Should pupils not have any basic equipment at home, we will be able to source this for them and allow them to take this home to support their learning. Pupils have already outlined this to us on the questionnaire, or can speak to us during the face to face conversations.
Will I need to bring my lunch with me?
No, you will not need to bring lunch with you. We will provide a ‘grab bag’ for you each day. You will be able to choose your sandwich filling at the start of the day and we will be freshly prepared, on site each day.
During the day, there will be water available for the pupils either through taps within the areas that have drinkable water in them, or through a water jug. Pupils will be provided with their own disposable cup in case they would like an additional drink during the day. Pupils can bring a bottle of water with them, but they must not bring any fizzy drinks, lucozade etc into school as these items are already not allowed on site.
Do I need to wear my uniform?
Yes, we are asking pupils to wear their uniform. As each pupil is only in once every week, there is adequate time for their uniform to be washed and dried between each session. It will be necessary for this to happen, as pupils have been in contact with others outside their own household.
We have decided that pupils will wear uniform as it enables you to feel part of the academy again and also makes the morning routine simpler for you.
Will I be able to travel to and/or leave the academy in a group?
It is really important for you to remember that you must follow all government guidance when you are in school and in the local community. This means that you will not be able to travel in large groups to/from school and you will need to practise social distancing when you are in the community. We should also remember the government guidance that encourages us to stay at home where possible, so we should not be leaving school and ‘hanging around’ the local community, but going directly home.
We are expecting that you will set an excellent example to others within the community, remembering that Primary aged pupils will also be travelling to and from school at the same time, and be looking to you as role models. We all have a role to play in ensuring that social distancing is maintained at all times both within school and outside of school, to make sure that the virus does not continue to spread.
You keep mentioning ‘social distancing’, but how will I be able to do this in school?
We have put a number of measures in place to help you to socially distance more easily in school. These include:
- Floor stickers both inside and outside the academy building that help you to easily see the 2m distance.
- Choosing four different spaces around the academy for you to utilise during the day.
- Opening different entrance and exit points to the building for each group, meaning that you will be able to space out more easily around the academy
- Spacing out the desks and removing desks that will not be being used, so as to help you to feel safe and socially distanced when you are working
- Reminding you throughout the day of the need to socially distance
- Enabling you to stay in one area during the day and bringing your lunch to you, therefore reducing the amount of movement that will take place and making it easier for you to socially distance.
Will I be able to mix with people from other groups?
No, during the day you will stay in your designated group. We are allowed to put a maximum of 15 pupils in any one group, but we have put a maximum of 12 pupils in our groups to help you to socially distance easier.
You are not allowed to ‘mix’ with pupils from the other groups. Each group will form their own ‘bubble’ and pupils will need to stay in their bubbles. This is to reduce the number of people that you come in contact with and therefore reducing the risk of the virus being passed on.
It is very important that you understand this before you arrive at school.
The government keeps telling us to wash our hands. Will we be able to wash our hands during the day?
Yes, you will be expected to and we will remind you to do this as well. As soon as you enter the building, you will be expected to wash your hands. We have set time aside between lessons for you to wash your hands and everyone will be expected to wash their hands at least every two hours and before and after you have eaten, and after you have visited the bathroom, or have been outside.
There are handwashing facilities either within or very close to the areas that we are using to make it even easier to wash your hands. In addition to this, there are also hand sanitisation units that have been wall mounted in each area, should these also need to be used.
What else have you done to support the health and safety around the academy?
We have placed some additional basic resources into each of the classrooms. Each classroom has a supply of tissues so that we can encourage everyone to ‘catch it, bin it’ should they sneeze or cough. Pupils will also need to wash their hands should they cough or sneeze. There are lidded bins within each zone.
In addition to this, there are also resources available for pupils to wipe down their desks, should they need to during the day.
We have given each group toilets that they can use and in doing so, we are able to ensure that these can be cleaned during the day, along with any high frequency ‘touch points’ such as door handles.
We have increased the number of handwashing stations that are available for pupils to use.
In our reception area we have erected screens, and these are also present in the dining area, although pupils will not be using the dining room this half term.
We have also removed all ball games from the outside spaces and pupils will not be able to play these games during social times, as per guidance, to remove the potential for handling items that others have frequently touched.
Pupils will have their own equipment packs and will leave these in school. They will be the only ones who use these. Pupils will not be passing paper or equipment to each other within the classroom, therefore minimising the interactions that are taking place.
Will I be expected to wear a face covering in school?
No, in school, the current guidance states that we do not need to wear a face covering. We will be socially distancing ourselves.
However, if you travel to school on public transport or the school bus, the government guidance does state that you do need to wear a face covering from June 15th. You will need to bring your own face covering with you. If this is a disposable covering, you will need to dispose of this before you get into school, (remembering to bring an additional disposable mask with you for the home journey). If you are using a cloth face covering that you will be taking home to wash, you will need to bring a small bag into which you can place the mask before you come into the academy. You will then place this into the inside part of your blazer pocket. You will be asked to wash your hands on arrival to the building.
Please do remember that the government has released separate guidance on the wearing of face coverings and it is important that you are familiar with this guidance.
I usually have an individual music lesson in school on the day that I am in. Will I be doing this during the day?
No, you will not be having this music lesson. However, Mr Asher has been arranging for some music lessons to happen online and he can provide you with further information on this if you contact him.
Can I collect my child from school, or drop anything off for them during the day?
We are asking that parents/carers do not come onto the academy site during the day. The only exception would be if you had to collect your child eg because they felt unwell. We would then give you clear instructions on our procedures for this.
It is important that if you collect your child in person, you do not wait inside the school area, or close to the school gate. You will be asked to socially distance, away from the school gate, so that our pupils can exit the building safely. If you collect your child in a car, then we will ask you to stay in your vehicle and your child will make their way to you. If your child requires assistance in getting to the vehicle, then a staff member will support your child to get to the vehicle, and then move away, so that you can safely place your child into the car. We will work with you to put into place an effective routine that enables everyone to work safely together.
What happens if I do not feel well during the day?
If you do not feel well during the day, you will tell the staff member who is in your area. You will be asked to move into a different area and your parent/carer will be telephoned. It is therefore important that there is someone available to collect you, should this be necessary, during the day.
What other support will there be for me during this time?
We have asked you to complete a questionnaire and this has enabled us to find out a little bit more about how you have been over the last few months. We have also been in contact with you on a regular basis. We will use this information to offer you both academic and pastoral support, and you can always speak to us should you feel that you need any additional support due to the current situation.
In addition, each day, the group will have a ‘pastoral session’ and this will enable us to talk about things together. We will also be able to offer you additional information and support sites that are available.
Those of you who access additional support from us, such as counselling, will still be able to access this as you have already been doing.
We hope that being in smaller groups with the same staff each week, this will enable you to feel confident to speak out should you need anything else.
I currently receive a Co-op Voucher as I am on FSM, will this now stop because I am coming into school?
No, this voucher will continue for the duration of the academic year.
I have a child in Years 7,8,9,11, will they be able to come into school on the same day?
No, the government has been very clear that only pupils in Year 10 and children of critical workers / vulnerable pupils are allowed to be invited back into school. Pupils who are not in these groups, should continue to stay at home, using the google classroom and live lesson programme to direct their learning. If you have any concerns or questions around this, then please speak to your child’s pastoral team.
My child is in Year 10 and has already been attending school as part of the critical worker/vulnerable pupil group. Will they now no longer be able to do this?
Pupils in Year 10 who have already been attending as part of this group will continue to do so. They will follow exactly the same routines that they have already been in. They will however be able to live stream into the lessons that are being delivered during their time in school. If you have questions regarding this, then please do speak to the pastoral team.
My child has some additional needs, will they still receive support?
Yes, pupils who have additional support will be working in the same ‘bubble’ and will therefore receive additional support with staff that they know and are familiar with. They will also continue to receive their package of learning on the days that they are not in the academy.
My child usually attends the Pathways provision. Will they be able to come back into school?
Yes, pupils that attend the Pathways Provision will be working in the Pathways Centre. They will be working with staff that they are familiar with within the Pathways Centre.
Are all Year 10 pupils expected to come into school on their allotted day?
Yes, we are delighted to be able to welcome all of our Year 10 pupils back on their allotted day. However, we appreciate that some pupils will not be able to come back into school due to medical reasons that pertain either to themselves, or members of their household.
In summary, the government guidance states:
- Pupils who have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable due to pre-existing medical conditions have been advised to shield. We do not expect people in this category to be attending school or college, and they should continue to be supported to learn or work at home as much as possible. Clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) people are those considered to be at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19). Parents/carers should follow medical advice if their child is in this category.
- Enabling you to stay in one area during the day and bringing your lunch to you, therefore reducing the amount of movement that will take place and making it easier for you to socially distance.
- A pupil who lives with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable), including those who are pregnant, can attend their education or childcare setting
- If a pupil lives in a household with someone who is extremely clinically vulnerable, as set out in the guidance on shielding, it is advised they only attend an education or childcare setting if stringent social distancing can be adhered to and, in the case of children, if they are able to understand and follow those instructions. If stringent social distancing cannot be adhered to, we do not expect those individuals to attend. They should be supported to learn or work at home
- Pupils should not attend if they have symptoms or are self-isolating due to symptoms in their household, or have been asked to self-isolate.
If your child falls into one of the categories above, then we ask that you speak with us to discuss this. If your child does not fall into one of these categories above, but you have concerns for another reason, then we urge you to speak to the pastoral team or our designated safeguarding lead, Mr Halshaw, about this.
We will be working with you, as always, to support our pupils at this time and to listen to any questions or concerns that you may have pertaining to your individual situation at this point in time.
What happens if my child is unwell or not able to come into school?
If your child is down to be in school on a particular day and is not attending for any reason, we ask that you ring school in the normal way, to let us know that they are not attending. We may then ring you back to speak with you, as per our normal procedures. You only need to call us on the days that your child is expected into school, unless your child starts to display symptoms of Covid-19, in this case, we ask that you telephone us to let us know regardless of whether or not they are expected in school that day.
If your child becomes unwell whilst in school, we will contact you and ask you to collect your child, as per our normal protocols. If your child is presenting with symptoms of Covid-19 we expect the following Government guidance to be followed:
- If a pupil develops symptoms compatible with coronavirus (COVID-19), they will be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 7 days.
- They must arrange to have a test to see if they have COVID-19. They can do this by visiting UK to arrange or contact NHS 119 via telephone if they do not have internet access.
- Their fellow household members should self-isolate for 14 days.
- Where the pupil tests negative, they can return to their setting and the fellow household members can end their self-isolation.
- Where the pupil tests positive, the school will notify the rest of their group and advise them to self-isolate for 14 days. The other household members of that group do not need to self-isolate unless the pupil or staff member they live with in that group subsequently develops symptoms.
The academy will also seek further advice from Public Health England in the event of a positive test.
So what happens now?
Each Year 10 pupil will receive a further letter which outlines to them the day and group that they form part of and the specific instructions for that group eg where they should go upon entering the academy.
If you do not receive this letter, then we ask you to contact Ms Campbell-Jones on email@example.com to ask her to resend this letter. Please do not send any other queries to this address, but direct these to your pastoral team.