Back to School Arrangements

Parent Letter CG Aug20

I hope you have enjoyed the summer holiday break, despite the current circumstances.

I also trust that you are looking forward to the children returning to school next week.  As a parent myself, I fully understand the concerns you may have.  The school has worked very hard during these recent weeks to prepare the school for the children and staff and a safe return for all.

 

The arrangements for next week are as follows:

Tuesday 1 September

Year 7                          8.40 am – 3.00 pm

Year 12                        10.00 am – 11.30 am

Wednesday 2 September

All year groups            8.40 am – 3.00 pm

 

As we are fortunate enough to have a large site with multiple entrances, we are able to stage the entrance points for year groups as follows:

 

Year 7              Communications Entrance

Year 8              Communications Entrance

Year 9              Dining Hall Entrance from the outer quad

Year 10            Creative Entrance closest to the Astro-turf pitch

Year 11            Discovery Entrance

Post 16            Entrance via Reception

 

As you will be aware, the government guidelines change on a weekly basis.  The common thread that remains is that ALL schools must be open to ALL year groups.  The changes this week regarding face coverings are as follows.  Students have the choice to wear a face covering in communal areas.  For a school, we are referring to corridors, social spaces at break and lunchtime.  Face coverings are not to be worn in classrooms, unless there are exceptional medical circumstances that deem it appropriate for the child.  The journey to and from school is another suggested use of a face covering, should the child or yourselves as parents wish that to be the case.  Please be advised that the very small minority of children who use public transport to and from school, they must wear a face covering as these are compulsory on public transport.

 

When the children return next week there will be the following mechanisms in place to protect and safeguard everyone:

  • Every classroom will have wipes, hand sanitising gel, tissues and antibacterial spray. We will ask the children to wipe their seat and desk on entry and exit from the room
  • Every zone of the school has a set of toilets. These will have sufficient soap and paper towels with open bins.  We discourage the use of hand driers as these move air around and we do not support flip top bins in any part of the school.  these encourage more people to touch the flip top and again can be responsible for moving the air around unnecessarily.  We have placed open top bins for litter, tissues and paper towels etc throughout the building
  • There are new free-standing sanitising gel stations throughout the school
  • Discovery has had a number of classrooms built through the central open corridor – this has been built to enclose safely, a number of classrooms and control where students are sitting and learning
  • We have changed our Cleaning rotas to ensure we have daytime cleaners continually ensuring toilets, handrails etc are cleaned
  • One-way systems now operate as follows:
    • Ground floor communications, past my office and past the French classrooms is one-way only
    • Communications stairwells are strictly one way only
    • Discovery is one-way. In through the double doors, past the Maths classrooms, to the end of the zone, across and then down past Science lessons.
    • All Discovery zone classrooms will also have a one-way in and one way out. In to the Maths and Science classrooms via Discovery and then exit those classrooms via the fire exits straight outside.  If children need the toilet during their Maths and Science lessons, they will have to leave through the fire door and then back into Discovery – Maths classes re-enter through the dining room doors into Discovery and Science classes re-enter through Discovery external doors.  They will then loop through the zone to use the toilet and then re-enter their classroom.
    • Creative Zone will utilise the exits through the fire door for Business and ICT classes. This allows the Technology and Arts rooms to filter back through Creative at the end of their lessons
  • PE and Dance Changing rooms have been adapted and extended to ensure students can be spread out when getting changed. Our aim is to provide PE lessons outside wherever possible.  We firmly believe that children need to be able to play sport and complete their practical lessons as much as is safe to do so.
  • All assemblies will be conducted via recorded presentations and viewed within tutor rooms and not as a large gathering
  • All classrooms have been laid out in rows, facing forward and the teacher will remain at the front of the room within 2m. Teaching Assistants who support individual children will operate differently.  They may have face coverings and will adapt their position with the children so as to avoid direct face to face communication, wherever possible
  • All internal corridor doors will be propped open to allow the movement of children and to avoid people touching doors.
  • All classroom doors will be propped open to avoid children having to touch doors or handles
  • Fire risk assessments have been amended accordingly to reflect the risk of spreading the virus against the risk of fire
  • There are no bells in the school so the end of lessons and social times will be managed by staff to safely reduce the volume of children moving at one time. This is supported by the one-way system and the use of exits through fire doors in classrooms so as to disperse children sensibly and safely. Due to the vast number of entrances and exits into the building, we are able to safely move children and maintain the highest levels of safeguarding too.
  • Exercise books will be marked by teachers after a 72-hour break. Students will place their books where requested and teachers will leave them before marking, as per the guidelines.
  • We intend to continue with online learning for homework and for any local lockdown arrangements for specific year groups, should they arise.

 

One request is one that was highlighted in the end of term letter.  If you could provide your child with some basic equipment, pen, pencil, ruler, eraser, crayons etc, it would massively reduce the need for things to be distributed, collected in and sanitised before future use.

Every child will be issued with a lanyard, a plastic swipe card with their name on only.  This will be the mechanism for them collecting their printing and for purchasing food.  This reduces the number of fingerprints on keypads for food tills and printers, again something that is far more hygienic for all.  they will be issued on Tuesday for Year 7 children and Wednesday for all other year groups.

The most important thing I need your support with is as follows.  We must ensure all children understand the overwhelming importance of protecting themselves from any germs is to wash their hands properly and regularly.  We also need them to operate good respiratory hygiene by insisting they operate the ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ method.  Children and staff will have a cold and sneezes etc, we need to ensure they use a tissue and then bin it immediately.   Any child that becomes unwell during these coming weeks, will be treated accordingly.  If we suspect they have a raised temperature or a persistent cough, we will insist they are at home.  Please do not send them into school should they present with any of the symptoms of coronavirus.

We are very excited to welcome the children back.  We will be spending a significant amount of time the first week reassuring them and resetting the foundations for learning and teaching after a very unusual last six months.

In line with the advice and guidance from the government, we have to insist on no visitors to the school, unless there is a relevant and unavoidable reason.  If you do have to come to school, please would you ensure you wear a face-covering once you enter Reception and use the sanitising gel provided.

Moving away from Coronavirus now, I want to take the opportunity to tell you how proud I am of the amazing successes our A-Level and GCSE students received last week.  After a nightmare of U-turns and messing about, we can finally applaud and congratulate them on their achievements.  The class of 2020 have totally smashed all expectations and after the year they’ve had, it is only what they deserve.

Please do continue to liaise with your child’s tutor or Year Lead should you have any questions or concerns.

We look forward to welcoming the children back and very much hope that September brings us all the new start we all deserve.

With the warmest of regards

Mrs C Gilbert

Head of School