We hope that you have had a good start to the school summer break and recognise that for many families planning childcare and working arrangements has to be done in good time for the return to school. With this in mind we wanted to provide you with additional information about our return in September.
Coronavirus Testing and Phased Return
To help us keep everyone safe, we will be offering rapid Covid-19 testing to all our pupils as they return from the summer break, as advised by the Department for Education. Around one in three people experience no symptoms when they have Covid-19, so may spread it without realising. Using Lateral Flow Devices for regular testing is an additional tool, along with our established safety measures, to identify those who may be infected and help prevent it from spreading. We operated a testing centre successfully during the return to school in March and our pupils are well practiced now from doing home tests in recent months. They will be asked to take 2 coronavirus tests in school, with 3 days between each test. Test results will take about 30 minutes to process and pupils participating can return to school after their first negative result. If at any point they test positive, they will need to self-isolate at home in line with government guidance.
Testing is voluntary, and you and/or your child will need to give consent for it to be carried out. However, we strongly encourage your child to take part so we can help prevent the spread of coronavirus by breaking the chains of transmission. We very much hope that the vast majority of our pupils will be tested in order to help protect everyone in our school. Consent will be collected through a form, a link to which we will be text shortly or is available here: https://forms.office.com/r/f7ZJKRrjGB. This form is applicable to the new year 7 intake and any new starters since March 2021. The deadline for this to be returned is 9am on Monday 23rd August to allow us to collate the responses.
As per guidance consent collected for testing in March 2021 will be carried over for the testing in September. If you wish to withdraw your consent your child simply needs to not attend testing. If you wish to give consent where previously you declined please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the name and form group of the student and your relationship to them. You will need to include the statement: “I give consent for my child’s data to be stored in line with the Privacy Notice and also agree for them to take part in the lateral flow testing programme”.
The lateral flow tests that are used in schools are very easy to self-administer and pupils will complete the tests themselves with the supervision and support of trained members of staff. We understand that some pupils may feel anxious or not have taken a test previously. This video is a very reassuring walk through the processes involved and will ensure they know how to take the test and what is involved – https://vimeo.com/481164419.
If your child is not participating in testing, they should attend school as usual at the times specified for the return on either Monday 6th September (Year 7 only) or Wednesday 8th September along with their form group.
After the 2 initial tests at school, pupils will continue to be offered Coronavirus tests that they should take twice a week at home. These will be distributed in school and your child will bring them home. Home testing will be reviewed by the government at the end of September.
In the week starting 6th September we will begin our phased return. We ask that pupils in year 11 attend school on Monday for testing only in their allotted time slot. Pupils must then return home. Our new year 7 will all remain in school for the rest of the day on Monday 6th September following testing. These pupils should arrive school at the time specified below but they will stay until the earlier finish time of 2.45pm for the first 2 weeks only. This will be their first day of school and even if not being tested they must attend and remain in school.
On Tuesday 7th September all students in years 8, 9 and 10 will attend school only for testing. As soon as they have been tested they should return home. They will need to attend at the time specified below. Year 7 will be in school all day on this day as usual. Year 11 will remain at home.
On Wednesday 10th September students in all years will attend to school at normal times. We expect students to arrive between 8.30 and 8.45 and move straight to their form rooms.
School attendance is mandatory and our usual rules on attendance will apply. As a reminder, pupils should self- isolate and not come to school if they:
- Have coronavirus symptoms or have tested positive
If they have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus there is no longer a requirement to self- isolate if either under 18 or double-jabbed. However it is strongly advised that close contacts get a PCR and take regular home lateral flow tests.
Our Safety Measures
Rest assured that we will continue doing everything we can to make sure our pupils can return to school safely. Our safety measures have been robust and we will continue to follow many of these.
We will continue with the different entrances and exits as we had in the autumn term to minimise crowding as students arrive and leave. These are the entrances that students should use when they arrive for testing. Students are regularly reminded that they should not gather at the school gate at the end of school.
The entrances and exits are as follows:
Year 7 & 9 Entrance / Exit – Carpark ‘Out’ gate and Canteen Gate
Year 8 Entrance / Exit – Main Gate and Reception
Year 10 & 11 Entrance / Exit – Main Gate and Student Entrance
Our school day times and structure will remain differentiated to minimise contact and our school site is zoned to avoid contact between year groups as much as possible. We have clear hygiene expectations in terms of hand washing and sanitisation.
This year we have changed the day timings slightly following feedback from our students:
Year 10 and 11: Break – 11.45am – 12.00pm. Lunch – 1.15pm – 1.45pm
Please note school ends at 3pm for all students after the first two weeks during which year 7 will finish at 2.45pm.
We look forward to what will hopefully be a more normal school experience from September and wish you a safe and happy remainder of the summer.