Parents SEPTEMBER 2020-Important information
As you are likely aware, the government has announced that schools should fully reopen from the start of the upcoming autumn term.
They have decided this on the basis of:
- The prevalence of coronavirus decreasing
- The new NHS test and trace system being in place
- More clarity about the measures that need to be in place to create safe environments in schools
- Time out of school being detrimental to children’s development
- The low risk to children of becoming severely ill from coronavirus
This means we’re planning to open to all of our students in September. We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone back and the school will be fully operational for all year groups from 7th September. We are working hard to make the school a safe and enjoyable environment and need to ensure that everybody is clear about the changes we have made to the day to day running of the school. This will mean every year group will have a specific period of induction. This broad approach was agreed by the Buckinghamshire Association of Secondary Headteachers to enable all students to return to school as safely and quickly as possible.
The start of term will look as follows:
We wanted to explain what you can expect from us and what we will expect from all of our parents and carers. I have attached some additional guidance for you to read with your child to give them a flavour of how school will differ. When your children come into school, we’ll have the following protective measures in place:
- A detailed Risk Assessment has been completed that is centred around the systems of control outlined by the DfE guidance. These are grouped into ‘prevention’ and ‘response to an infection’. Actions have been taken as a result of the Risk Assessment to keep everyone safe.
- Students must regularly clean their hands at school by either washing them or using hand sanitiser. Stations will be available in school for washing and using hand sanitiser. We are asking all students to bring their own hand sanitiser to improve wider access to hand hygiene.
- Students must not come on site before 8:30 am where they will be greeted and sent to a designated teaching room to follow their new timetable. Tutor time has been moved to the end of the day to create a more controlled departure to prevent bubbles from mixing.
- Students will be taught in year group bubbles in specific teaching blocks as outlined on the attached map. Students will only come out of these teaching areas for specialist lessons in subjects such as ICT, PE, Art and DT.
- The timings of the day including lessons, break and lunchtime have been adjusted to allow for staff and a small number of students at a time to have some social time and to move around the site in a newly created one-way system. This will be covered in the first days of school.
- The school will be regularly cleaned during the school day, with particular attention being paid to toilets, catering and certain specialised teaching spaces that will be shared by some year groups.
- Social distancing will be maintained, where every possible to 2 metres, especially for staff who have to teach across multiple year group bubbles.
- We will follow a detailed COVID 19 response plan created by Bucks County should we have any suspected cases or cases on the virus.
- We are advising all students to wear face masks on school transport as well as the mandatory use of masks for those that use public transport to get to school. Masks will need to be removed on arrival at school. Masks are not deemed to be necessary in school as per the DfE guidance.
We appreciate these are significant changes, but they are created by the size, age and layout of our site and the reliance on buses to get over 70% of our students to school. We will use part of their time on their first day back in school to go through this in a more detailed and practical way with each year group. Our Risk Assessment has been approved by the Governing Body and is available on this page (Important Documents section).
Although there’ll need to be some changes to reflect the teaching time that was lost during the lockdown, we’ll still be doing our best to provide an ambitious, full and broad curriculum. The SLT are currently completing recovery documentation that will focus amongst other things on the curriculum, student progress, well-being and school culture.
Our current plan is:
- Some schools have limited the number of subjects students will access. Although this would have been easier logistically, we do not believe in this approach. Students will follow their normal timetable from September.
- We have significant data on engagement with remote learning during lockdown. We will use this to inform our staff of potential areas of concern.
- We have created modified ‘flight paths’ that will take into account students starting points and projected progress over the next academic year.
- Department Leaders will be creating recovery plans during our September INSET to ensure that we can identify groups or individuals that need additional support.
- Baseline assessments will be completed at an appropriate time in a sensitive manner taking into account that some students may be anxious about ‘being behind’.
- We have created an additional Assessment Point for reporting to monitor progress closely.
- Additional Tutor Review meetings have been calendared for early in the new term to allow all parents to review their child's return to school.
- Teaching and Learning remotely is very different. We will be preparing staff and students to re adjust back to what we expect in the classroom.
- We are reviewing marking and feedback to ensure it is safe, timely and effective in the current climate.
- We have learnt many things from remote learning and these will perhaps shape how we structure ongoing support for students, especially those in examination groups next summer.
- We have a remote learning plan should a local lockdown force a full or partial school closure.
- We will not be offering any extracurricular or after school activities in the first half term.
Attendance will be mandatory in September, as the government expects all pupils to attend school. The usual rules will apply, meaning we’ll be recording attendance and following up on any absences.
If your children have been staying at home due to the current shielding guidance, the government is due to pause this guidance on 1 August if there's a continued decline in coronavirus transmission rates. That means they should be able to come back to school in September.
However, if you’ve received clinical or public health advice that your child should still remain at home, please let us know and continue to follow that guidance. We’ll be offering remote education to these pupils.
We’re aware that the lockdown has been a difficult time for many of us, including our students. Please let us know if you think your children might need extra support when returning to school, such as if they feel anxious about coming back or they’re experiencing bereavement. You can get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to do this.
Our current plans to support your children’s wellbeing during this time are:
- Many students have been in school or have completed online academic mentoring sessions over the last few weeks. This has given us a good understanding of how our students are feeling.
- A wellbeing questionnaire has been sent out to all parents by Mrs Hankin, Assistant Headteacher - Safeguarding and wellbeing. Please complete this for us.
- Activities are planned on transition days to support general student well-being through the pastoral team.
- TEAM HUB and SEN staff have been in regular contact with particular students and these will be offered specific transition plans to meet their needs if required.
If you have any questions or concerns about the points we’ve set out above, please get in touch with the school at email@example.com
This information is subject to change if DfE guidance alters or a local lockdown situation occurs. We will communicate any changes that need to be made during the summer break. We’re extremely grateful for all the support we’ve received so far from the school community. We’ll continue to keep in touch if there are any updates to our plans or if we need to make changes due to new or updated government advice or changes to our local circumstances.
Mr S Jones