We have four key priorities for keeping children safe at school:
Priority 1: Ensuring Strong Provision for Students’ Wellbeing
We fully recognise that for many the return to school and ongoing issues in relation to the pandemic will be a source of anxiety and that a number of our students have experienced loss and trauma over this period. Our pastoral system will continue to function as usual, with Heads of Year and Senior Leaders being a visible presence. Likewise form tutors have had specific training in supporting students’ wellbeing and we have 14 qualified Mental Health First Aiders. Finally, this year we have appointed two counsellors. We will obviously be particularly attentive in this regard, but if you do feel particular support is needed please contact any member of the Senior Leadership Team or your child’s Head of Year to discuss.
Priority 2: Focus on Good Hygiene Practices throughout the School
- We have installed hand sanitising units in key locations across the school and students are encouraged to use them regularly in passing.
- Our housekeeper, Linda, and our caretakers, Mark and Steve, are conducting a rolling deep clean of the school in addition to enhanced cleaning provided by our school cleaners. This includes more regular cleaning of toilets and IT rooms.
- All classrooms have been decluttered and deep cleaned.
- Tissues are available in every room for students and staff for sneezes and coughs.
- We have asked that students bring as little as possible into school.
- Doors are open and weather permitting windows will be open to facilitate circulation of air.
- We have removed the fingerprint biometric system and replaced with a contactless card system. Students have been issued with new cards in their place. These have been distributed free of charge, but if cards are lost students will need to purchase a new one at a cost of £3 if they want to use the canteen.
- Anti-bacterial wipes are available in every room for students and staff who want to wipe down their workspace and, in addition to more regular cleaning of all IT rooms by our cleaning team, we ask our students to wipe down keyboards and mice on computers before using.
- Face masks are compulsory for those who can wear them in corridors during transition between lessons and at break and lunch. Beyond this their use anywhere else is optional. We will not enforce the use of masks outside of on corridors at the specified time, but we will support those who make the decision to wear them. Masks must be plain white, blue or black.
- Reminders are all over school about good hygiene practices.
Priority 3: Minimise Contact between Individuals where Possible
- All PE will be completed in school uniform without ties and in trainers.
- We would encourage as many parents as possible to send their children in with packed lunches and a drinks bottle. We are providing a reduced offering at the canteen for those students who want to purchase lunch or have free school meals, but this will only be a grab bag containing a cold lunch.
- We already have a staggered lunch for students to access the canteen and the pod. This will be more rigorously enforced and will not rotate weekly for the foreseeable future.
- During lunch times and break times students will be allocated a physical area (theatre, Maths corridor etc) and a particular area outside to minimise contact outside of their year group.
- Although the end of school will remain 3.15, we will be releasing year groups in a slightly staggered manner to minimise the numbers leaving at once.
- No whole school assemblies will be held for the foreseeable future and year group assemblies will be held in the Sports Hall to allow for social distancing.
- In the mornings gates will open at 8.00 and all students should go straight to form at 8.15 to prevent unnecessary interactions between different year groups while on the school site.
- At the core of our approach to minimise unnecessary contact between students is a rigorously implemented one-way system to minimise surges in movement around the school. This will involve classes being dismissed from particular areas in an orderly manner and, in some cases, students lining up outside to be brought in by their class teacher when ready.
- For the foreseeable future breakfast club will not be open. If this presents any issues, please contact us because we can provide a breakfast grab bag for those who rely on this.
- The canteen will be not be available at all during break time. Students will have an opportunity to eat their break from home or socialise in their internal or outside year group zones, which will be supervised by members of staff.
- Teachers will have a demarcated zone at the front of the room around their desks that will be marked out by tape on the floor and we would ask that students do not cross this to ensure that staff can distance appropriately during lessons.
- Where possible desks have been laid out in straight lines to face the front.
- Reminders about social distancing have been placed throughout the school.
Priority 4: Keeping Individuals with Covid-19 Symptoms, or with Family Members with Symptoms, Away from School
- For obvious health and safety reasons we are asking all students and staff who experience any recognised Covid 19 symptoms, however mild, to stay away from school, get an immediate test and let us know the outcome immediately.
- Any student or staff member who develops any recognised Covid 19 symptoms, however mild, will immediately be removed from general circulation and placed in a protected area. In the event that students do develop these symptoms parents will be contacted immediately and we would ask that you either give permission for them to be sent home or collect them as soon as possible.
- In the event that there is a positive diagnosis of Covid made we will follow all Government track and trace guidelines and would ask that you do likewise.
Adhering to These Rules
We expect all students to recognise the motivation for these rules and systems and that they will support them accordingly. At the point of writing we have been stunned by the mature, supportive and positive manner in which students have stepped up to this challenge. However, for health and safety reasons, any incident of purposeful non-compliance with these processes and systems will result in students being sent home for the protection of our community. Before they return to school a full Risk Assessment will
be drawn up with the student and parents to ensure their long-term compliance.
We aim to keep the curriculum as broad and challenging as possible. In light of the above we are confident that students can participate in all lessons ensuring that they get the full breadth of the challenging curriculum we provide. The main exception being PE, who have prepared an adapted curriculum that recognises that students will be wearing their uniform with trainers for now. The introduction of the extended day has been fortuitous all things considered. For the foreseeable future we will be using the extra time this affords for directed reading in form only, while the changes noted above are embedded, following which we will progress with the exciting plans we have already shared with you.
Things to Note
- If any student shows recognised Covid 19 symptoms, however mild, we would ask that they are kept away from school and tested as soon as possible. If your child is tested positive, you must tell us immediately by telephone or email during normal school hours. Outside of these hours you can email me at any point at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For now, students should only bring trainers for PE lessons.
- Use of face masks at the school is compulsory for those who can wear them in corridors during transition time. Beyond this we will respect any student’s decision as to when and where to wear them elsewhere in school. Masks must be plain white, black or blue and we are happy to provide masks for those who need them.
- The canteen will not be open at all during break so please bring a snack to school.
- Please send children into school with as little as possible – a school bag with a pencil case, lunch box and, if relevant for that day, trainers for PE.
- All students should wear full school uniform.