You may have heard the news announced by Gavin Williams, the Secretary of state for Education, concerning the delayed opening of schools for the new term. The following is in line with those recommendations and also takes into account our own unique needs as a school.
We are keen to get all of our children back safely, and to meet the requirements to conduct mass testing for our secondary children. In the long term, this will be less disruptive for them and should keep school safely open.
However, setting up the testing takes time and training, and we want to do it well. We hope to follow the guidance, but still provide a quality education for our community. Tonight our SLT made some decisions about how to do this effectively.
Children from Nursery to Year 6 will return to school on Wednesday January 6th, one day later than planned to allow staff to be trained for covid testing, and for staff to be tested using the new lateral flow tests.
Children in the DSP will return to school on 6th January as planned, and as we strongly recommend testing before starting lessons, we will be offering testing for all DSP, children of key workers and vulnerable children in school.
Note: You will receive a testing information and permission letter in a separate email, it is very important that this is returned to school ASAP, as we are not able to test without it. Testing is one of the keys to successful reopening of schools.
For children in years 7 to 10
The government guidance is to offer online learning for Year 11, with another week of holiday planned for year 7 to 10. However, we have decided to include years 7 to 10 in our online learning programme starting on Tuesday 5th January. We are confident that we can deliver a quality learning experience for our students for the next two weeks. We will make sure that Middle School have their usual online assembly at 9:00am on Wednesdays, where amongst other items, students will be able to ask any questions they have.
Year 5 and 6 are still able to attend school, but will also be engaging in online curriculum for two weeks, supervised by one of the Middle School team.
Year 11 will have online learning from 5th January, and can return ready to be tested during period 1 on Monday 11th January.
The current government advice is that the majority of secondary aged students are safer studying online at home rather than in school for these two weeks. This means teachers can work from home, less people are using public transport, and the schools testing programme can be established.
Once our mass testing programme is organised, we will be able to admit students back into school. We are keen to open fully by 18th January, when we hope to see everyone return to face to face teaching. This is in line with government guidance.
If you are a key worker we will be supervising a room for your children in Y7 – Y11 to complete their online learning in school. This will be available from Wednesday to Friday of the week beginning Jan 4, and Monday to Friday for the following week. However, please remember that the current government recommendation is that, unlike the summer, it is currently safer for your child to stay at home if at all possible.
There will be no school meals available for students in Y7+ so you must provide a packed lunch.
If you are a key worker and your child can not stay at home, please let Mr Prothero know before Friday 1st January, so appropriate arrangements can be made for supervision.
Year 11 should be able to return to school on 11th January, when mass testing will be available to check for asymptomatic cases of Covid. For this week they will have an adjusted timetable focusing on their GCSE exam subjects
Years 7 to 10 should be able to return on 18th January. We will make mass testing available for them on Friday 15th January.
We will be sending more information and a consent form before carrying out any mass testing. These will be sent to your email address and also made available on our website . Note this testing is for Year 7 and above.
What to bring:
Mask (Year 7 and above)
Replenished supply of hand sanitiser
Personal pencil case
Thank you for your ongoing prayers for our school community. I have been encouraged by several offers of help, messages of support and genuine care. It is a great privilege to work with your families.
Link to Department of Education Gavin Williamson’s announcement re school return