17 June 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope this letter finds you and your family safe and well.
I wrote to you last week to inform you that we would be potentially inviting small numbers of Year 10 pupils back into school in the week beginning Monday 22 June, in line with government guidance, and advice from the Director of Public Health for Wigan. The purpose of this provision is to ‘supplement pupils’ remote learning’ rather than any return to normal lessons or study. This week we welcomed back students in Year 12 for Academic Review days with a Sixth Form Tutor, as well as a small number of pupils in other year groups for one to one reviews.
As a result of consultations this week with the Governing Body and the Local Authority, we feel in a confident position to welcome students in Year 10 back to school, in small numbers each day, from Monday 22 June. We are strongly encouraging all students to attend at their allocated time. We will be delighted to see them again!
It is important to note that students will only return in small groups and will only attend for one morning a week in the first instance. Students will be placed in ‘pods’ in school so that different groups of students and staff do not mix; by doing this we will reduce potential transmission of COVID-19 and ensure a safe environment for students and staff. Students will have catch-up lessons with subject specialist teachers in maths, English, science and RE and will also have supervised study time for their option subjects. Students may also have individual academic progress checks as well as pastoral and welfare checks.
As you will appreciate, we have had to make numerous changes to school to make it as safe as possible for all the school community. Please read the instructions below carefully and discuss them with your son/daughter in advance of their time in school, ensuring they understand fully what is expected of them. Any student who does not comply with these rules will be sent home and their place in school withdrawn for this period.
Keeping students and staff safe
The most important control measure to prevent transmission of COVID-19 is that any student who has symptoms or confirmed COVID-19 MUST NOT under any circumstances come to school. Any student displaying symptoms whilst in school will be cared for following strict protocols. We will direct parents to pick up their child as soon as possible and arrange for a coronavirus test immediately. Testing is available for all students through the government portal
(https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/). Where a student or member of staff tests positive for the virus, the whole pod will be instructed to self-isolate for 14 days, following government guidance. They will not therefore be allowed into school for that period.
Shielded and clinically vulnerable young people
For the vast majority of young people, coronavirus is a mild illness. Children and young people (0 to 18 years of age) who have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable due to pre-existing medical conditions have been advised to shield. We do not expect these children to be attending school and they will continue to be supported 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). A small minority of children will fall into this category, and parents should follow medical advice if their child is in this category.
Living with a shielded or clinically vulnerable person
If a student lives with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable), including those who are pregnant, they can attend school. If a student lives in a household with someone who is extremely clinically vulnerable, as set out in the COVID-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable guidance, we advise they only attend school if absolutely necessary. Parents of students in this category who need to attend due to pastoral, wellbeing or academic needs should discuss this with Mrs Sullivan or Mrs Quirk by emailing them: firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com.
The day in school
• The day will run from 9am – 1pm. Students must arrive no earlier than 8.50am
• Pupils must be in full school uniform
• Students must enter through the pupil entrance as they would do normally. There will be 2m markings on the floor that students must stand on. Staff will be present to guide them at this point and all students will use hand sanitizer on entry.
• Students will have a briefing from staff and will be required to sign a Code of Conduct outlining expectations whilst in the school building. This will cover hygiene, social distancing and safety.
• Any student not following the Code of Conduct, and therefore compromising the safety of others, will be sent home immediately.
• There will be break time food provision but no lunch service. Water fountains will be out of use.
• Students may bring bags in with them with their own stationery, but no unnecessary items should be brought into school.
• Students will only be using rooms on the ground floor. Desks in these rooms have been marked out so that students are 2m apart.
• All unnecessary movement should be avoided, and the one-way system will be in strict
Students will attend school on the following days only:
Monday Forms 10BX and 10BY
Tuesday Forms 10CX and 10CY
Wednesday Forms 10HX and 10HY
Thursday Forms 10TX and 10TY
Friday Forms 10WX and 10WY
The government has advised that use of public transport should be minimised wherever possible and, where it is necessary, for everyone to follow new instructions regarding face masks and hygiene. All of these instructions can be found by following this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid19safertravel-guidance-for-passengers/ Where possible, students should walk or cycle to college. Locked bike racks are available in the pupil entrance. Parents who wish to drop off students in cars can use the car park to the left of reception.
Social distancing outside of school
Can I please strongly encourage all students to continue to follow social distancing rules outside of school. I have been asked by the police to remind all students of this and that they will enforce the current laws where groups of young people are congregating. Whilst young people may or may not be badly affected by coronavirus, the evidence on whether they can carry and transmit it to others is still very inconclusive. Likewise, whilst some lockdown measures are being eased, the majority stay in place to protect us all.
The following is taken from the Department for Education website: ‘Wearing a face covering or face mask in schools or other education settings is not recommended. Face coverings may be beneficial for short periods indoors where there is a risk of close social contact with people you do not usually meet and where social distancing and other measures cannot be maintained, for example on public transport or in some shops. This does not apply to schools or other education settings. Schools and
other education settings should therefore not require staff, children and learners to wear face coverings.’
The majority of study will still take place at home remotely until further notice. We expect students to engage with that learning fully, challenging though the circumstances may be. All work will now be set on Synergy. The Synergy Student Portal allows students to easily see what work has been assigned by class teachers for each of their timetabled lessons. Students will be able to submit work and ask teachers questions. This new function in Synergy allows teachers to track pupil engagement and offer advice and guidance to those who need it, and provide feedback on some of the submitted work. The government has produced a guide for parents and young people, which can be found by following this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-informationforparentsand-carers
I realise there is a lot of information to take in here. I also understand and recognise that students and parents may be anxious about returning to school and that everyone’s family circumstances will be different. However, I do feel that inviting students in Year 10 back into school for some face to face contact is the right thing to do under the conditions and protocols we have created. We are really looking forward to seeing our students again and we will continue to support them as much as possible.
If you have any questions, please do get in contact via the usual means.
Mr M Wood