Coronavirus Daily Bulletin STAY SAFE; STAY ALERT
Thank you for your patience in awaiting this bulletin which I had hoped to send last week. In light of the Government’s latest instruction we have been full-on trying to organise the safest and most effective way to ensure students and staff can return to full time education again in September. This bulletin therefore is a lengthy document which contains key information you may wish to keep in a safe place.
Phase Two Re-opening
School will close for the summer this Friday. Some summer holiday work will be set for students via Class Charts which will be interesting and fun. At KS4/5 there may be more specific tasks set which relate to the courses students are studying. We have already started creating new temporary classrooms from existing internal spaces whilst we await the repairs to the roof on the English block. For various reasons we were advised to wait for the next round of CIF (Condition Improvement Fund) funding to pay for the work to be completed. This round of funding will now be available for us to apply for towards the end of the autumn term, which means that work on the English block could take at least another 18 months before it is completed. This is not what we wanted to hear but we have taken steps swiftly to ensure the education of the students does not suffer in any way.
The new classrooms we are creating will therefore need to remain for the duration of the work. Mobile classrooms could not be considered in the end, as prices tripled once lockdown measures eased, putting the costs of installation completely out of our school budget.
Other work over the summer holidays includes extensive and urgent installations and upgrades. We are thankful to have won bids to fund the majority of this.
In order to ensure the health and safety of all staff and students in September, it is vitally important that we take time to embed new practices in light of Covid-19. We have therefore made some changes to the planned first week back. I hope you will understand why we have had to do this and support us in a phased re-entry to school.
1) We will need to have three INSET days at the start of the autumn term, not two as in the calendar. I must ensure staff are fully conversant with all the usual training we put in place at the start of a school year but also allow them time to familiarise themselves with the key measures we have had to put in place as a result of the pandemic. I fully appreciate that this may inconvenience some families, but I am certain you would want us to have all systems in place and staff confident in how things will run before your child attends. These INSET days will be on 1st, 2nd and 3rd Sept. The extra INSET day has been authorised for all schools by Trafford Local Authority in light of the pandemic and the changes to the start of term required this year. Some students with complex Special Educational Needs and/ or Disability (SEND) may be invited into school on the afternoon of 3rd September - more information to follow from Mrs Noonan.
2) Friday 4th September will be solely for Year 7 and Year 12 students as they have had no formal induction due to lockdown. Further details will follow from Mrs Eastwood/Mrs Wagstaff (new Year 7 Head of Year) and Mr Keegan/Mrs Brennan (Year 12).
3) As per Government guidance, we will be re-opening fully to all year groups however we feel a staggered start of term will help students reintegrate back into existing and new routines. The health and safety of staff and students is paramount in all this. We cannot amend the timings of the start and end of the school day due to the number of students who use the school buses, therefore our day will operate for students as 8.45am – 3.10pm.
- Friday 4th September: Years 7 and 12 only
- Monday 7th September: Years 7, 11, 12, 13 only
- Tuesday 8th September: Years 8, 9, 10 only
- Wednesday 9th September onwards: all year groups
All students are expected to attend so that we can start further catch-up work as soon as possible, however if they are ill or showing symptoms of Coronavirus they must not attend. Work will be set via Class Charts for students not in school on 4th-8th September.
Full school uniform is also expected. If you foresee any issues with purchasing items in time, please let us know.
Arrival at school:
We would encourage students to walk or cycle as far as possible. Students should not enter the school site before 8.35am. When students arrive they will be met by staff to ensure social distancing is adhered to at all times. Students arriving in cars should be dropped off where safe to do so but cars should not wait near school as space will be limited. Students arriving on a school bus will be ‘held’ on the bus until staff instruct them to disembark. All students arriving, whether by car, school bus, public transport, on foot or by bike, will then be directed into school via different year group entrances, guided by staff. Further details to follow.
I have been informed by TfGM that students who travel on our designated school buses will not be required to social distance on school buses as they will not mix with members of the general public on those journeys and usage tends to be consistent. As there will be a mix of age groups on buses, students must wear face coverings or masks. I am awaiting further guidance from TfGM with regards to our ‘busier’ buses and will let you know more in due course.
Please ensure your child brings hand sanitiser with them to use when embarking/disembarking school buses. Hand sanitiser stations are in abundance around school for use during the school day.
Students should also bring their own stationery and keep it in a named pencil case in a named school bag. No sharing of equipment will be permitted. Lockers will be temporarily unavailable as they cannot be located within zones due to lack of space in these areas, but bags can be kept in designated classrooms where the majority of lessons are taking place. They should be clearly identifiable so that your child does not need to touch other students’ bags as far as possible.
In school provision:
Once in school, students will be kept in 'year group bubbles' and will be assigned a 'zone' in the building within which they have the majority of their lessons. They will be told which zone they are in/taken there on arrival to school. Staff will teach across the zones and will not have their usual classrooms. Sixth Form students will be based purely in the Sixth Form block and will not come into main school.
We will ensure coverage of all subject areas in order to maintain a broad curriculum and the best catch-up provision across the board. Where specialist facilities are needed e.g. in PE or Art, we will try our best to ensure these lessons are taught in specialist classrooms however restrictions will be in place. Teaching Assistants will be allocated to a bubble and will run interventions within their bubble only. In class support will still require social distancing measures to be in place. We will continue to make ‘reasonable endeavours’ to secure or arrange the specified educational/healthcare provision stated in EHCPs.
Students will also be allocated a zone for breaks and lunches so that bubbles do not mix. The timings of these will be staggered to allow for cleaning and use of toilets/handwashing.
Breaktimes and lunchtimes
We are delighted to announce that our Catering Team have some exciting changes in store from September with new menus which are still healthy and cater for all dietary requirements. Students will be asked to give their feedback early in the term! We will be operating a slightly reduced offer in September over our staggered breaks and lunches, while we see how many students will be taking a hot school meal/grab and go meal and how many will bring a packed lunch. The offer will increase as demand increases. We are also installing a pop-up food shop in the school grounds which will serve cold food and drinks and will assist us with social distancing measures.
I would like to take this opportunity to reassure you that we have a 5-star hygiene rating and that the kitchens remain spotlessly clean. Sanitisers will be available for use before and after biometric fingerprinting, the same with cash loader machines, however it would be really beneficial if you can ensure your child has enough money on their account via ParentPay before the start of each week.
All of this information will be discussed with students on their first day back but we will send out further details for them shortly, along with their timetables and the rooms in which they will be studying.
Unfortunately, many activities which boost subject and extra-curricular provision such as field trips or the school choir, will be put on hold until further notice – you will have read about this in the Press. We will still try to bring subjects to life in other ways and where we can safely provide activities in bubbles, we will.
Health and wellbeing
Whilst curricular 'catch up' is the order of the day, we will be mindful not to pressurise your child. With careful, thoughtful planning and preparation and our staff’s usual excellent delivery, students will learn what they need to learn. The most important thing is to get everyone feeling safe and confident first and the rest will follow. Over the first few weeks, we will carefully identify the gaps in student knowledge and put vital intervention in place swiftly.
Substantial mental health support is being put in place for returning students and we are doubling the number of counsellors available, including BAME counsellors. If your child feels they would benefit from this support once they are back please let Miss Diffley know (firstname.lastname@example.org). She will be highlighting summer group support sessions for students on a range of topics which may help with re-integration in September.
Several whole school strategies are currently being amended in light of re-opening and these will be shared via our website in due course. In particular, the behaviour system has been revised. We need to be very strict in terms of students following our Covid-secure behaviour guidelines; students must take this seriously at all times as we will not tolerate behaviour which deliberately sets out to break these rules. You can support school by reminding your child to observe social distancing at all times, to frequently wash and sanitise their hands, to stay within their ‘zones’ and ‘bubbles’ in school and to remember to catch it, bin it, kill it if they have a cough/cold/hayfever. Lidded bins will be available in every classroom/eating area.
Students or staff who display Coronavirus symptoms
We will be provided with a small number of home testing kits in September which we will give to the families of children/to staff experiencing symptoms in school. We will then inform staff and students’ families who have been in close proximity with the child/member of staff that the individual is displaying symptoms, without disclosing their identity unless absolutely necessary. Parents/carers must ensure their child is tested (via the NHS Testing System or by calling NHS 119) if they display symptoms and inform school immediately of the outcome so we can put protective measures in place. We will then take advice from our local Health Protection team as to next steps if the result is positive. Students will be provided with work to complete at home if they feel well enough.
We will also be running the Track and Trace system which will help us to manage the risk of the virus re-emerging as measures ease nationally.
If a test returns negative, parents/carers should:
- Inform school immediately
- If your child feels well enough and no longer has any symptoms similar to Covid-19, they may stop self-isolating
- They could still have another virus such as a cold or flu in which case they should avoid contact with others until they feel better.
- Other members of the household can stop self-isolating.
If a test returns positive, parents/carers should:
- Inform school immediately
- Your child should isolate for at least 7 days from the onset of their symptoms; if they still have a high temperature they should keep self-isolating until it returns to normal
- They may only return to school if they show no symptoms other than a cough or loss of sense of taste/smell. These symptoms can last for several weeks after the infection has gone.
Where a student is unable to attend school because parents/carers are following clinical and/or public health advice, absence will not be penalised.
In the event of another lockdown
If this happens, or if a child needs to self-isolate, remote learning will take place immediately. Your child should ensure they engage with this and complete work as directed unless they are ill. School will provide more details on “Securing Learning During Lockdown” via our school website.
Further to this we will await guidance on whether the school will remain open for the children of key workers/vulnerable children.
An updated risk assessment will be on our school website over the next couple of days. I am awaiting Trafford’s guidance on this in order to finalise it. Please give us your feedback after you have read it. This document will constantly be revised as needed over the summer and the coming school year.
Headteacher’s Award for Kindness and Thoughtfulness
This week’s sees the final awards of the year. Alizah in Y7 gets a special mention for her kindness letter to staff. Thank you Alizah!
Our two winners this week worked with our wonderful Mr Burgess over a number of days to create a piece of artwork (above) to highlight Black Lives Matter. Lots of people have signed the little hearts seen here to show their support. The awards therefore go to Ruby (Y9) and Anthony (Y10) for working so hard on this and for sharing their thoughts on recent incidents in the news. They have helped us raise awareness with their efforts. Thank you to everyone involved!
I will send out a brief bulletin on Friday so if there are any questions regarding the return to school, please let me know and I will include them. In the meantime, have a good week ahead and please look out for the documents I’ve mentioned in this bulletin on our school website or via the other usual forms of communication.
Ms Kim Earle