St John Plessington Catholic College

26-Feb-21 Important Message from the Headteacher

Dear Families

Firstly, many thanks for all of the positive feedback that we are receiving regarding remote teaching and learning – your support with this is very much appreciated and never taken for granted. I write further to the government announcement regarding the return to face to face teaching for all pupils, we are looking forward to welcoming back more of our pupils from Monday 8th March.

As you will have heard, the expectation of the return is different for secondary schools than primary schools. Secondary schools are required to offer three tests in school to every pupil over the first two weeks back and the first of these tests needs to happen on the first day a pupil returns.

As is the case with other secondary schools, both on the Wirral and nationally, given the number of pupils we need to test safely and the time it will take for us to receive the results of these tests, we will need to stagger the return of our pupils.

The DFE has given us comprehensive guidance regarding the requirements.

The guidance makes it clear that the first year groups to return should be those already on public examination courses. This is reflected in our plan below.

When does my child return? Please see attached pdf plan

In the event that the only means of transport available to your child is the school bus, your child should return to school on the same morning as their year group shown above. Please alert your child's Head of Learning in advance if this is the case.

Pupils in Y8 will arrive at school after lunch. They will not be able to buy a lunch at school.

Friday 12th March all year groups are in school and testing continues

The second and third tests for year groups will take place during the second half of this week and the start of the next week, for year groups tested first. For year groups tested for the first time in the latter part of the week they will be tested twice in the second week back.

Monday 15th March onwards Every year group in everyday from 8.30am


Will my child still receive remote learning provision if their year group is not in school yet?

Yes, the remote provision will continue via Google Classroom from Monday 8th March – Thursday 11th March for those pupils who have not yet returned to school.

Will there still be provision for the children of key workers?

Yes. These pupils will all return on Monday 8th March and follow their normal timetable. They will be in lessons being taught by their teacher as the rest of the class is still accessing their lesson remotely.

What is the purpose of the testing?

The purpose of testing pupils is for two key reasons:

  1. To identify asymptomatic pupils who have come to school and could, unknowingly, be spreading the virus to others.
  2. To familiarise pupils with how to conduct the test as they, with your support will be given some tests and be asked to conduct two tests per week at home. We will contact you separately with details of this.

We all need to work together on this. We need to test

The testing is a critical way we can play our part in continuing to drive down the levels of the virus in our local community and enable us to get to the point when the current restrictions are lifted. We can then look forward to spending more time with our loved ones and travelling more freely.

Do parents need to give consent for the testing to place or can my child give consent?

For children under the age of 16 we need your consent for them to be part of the testing in school. These forms were sent out in January via Parentmail. Thank you to all parents who have responded in order to ensure the safety of our college. For those of you who have not returned the form a reminder has been sent this week which should be returned by Monday 1st March to allow us to register centre testing kits.

Does this testing mean we can send our child into school to be tested if they have one of the recognised COVID symptoms?

No. The testing in school is for asymptomatic pupils and staff. If your child has any of the symptoms you need to book a test for them at one of the Wirral Symptomatic testing centres. They must not come into school.

What happens if a child does test positive?

The child will be isolated and we will contact home immediately and arrange for the child to be collected as quickly as possible. The child will then need to book a PCR test (the ones in school are LFT tests) which will enable the particular variant of the virus to be identified. Occasionally these tests come back negative but the child and family members still have to isolate for 10 days.

Are there any other changes we need to be aware of when pupils return?

Again you might have heard in the news, pupils must now wear a face mask in classrooms as well as in the corridors.

Although it is not as effective as a face mask, pupils will need to wear a visor if they are identified as exempt from wearing a face mask. Please ensure that your child brings their own visor to school.

This additional measure will be in place at least until Easter when the DFE have said they will review it. We have been implementing this already with the key worker and vulnerable pupils who have been in school.

In line with public health guidelines and the requirement to change face masks regularly, please ensure that your child has at least THREE face masks with them each day.

Does the Hands, Face, Space guidance still apply?

Yes. These remain the most crucial elements of our safety measures and our frequent hand washing and sanitising, wearing a face mask and staying as far away as possible, wherever possible a minimum of 2m from each other remain crucial measures.

Will there be any difference to the school day when pupils return?

As you may be aware, we have continued to review the school day to make sure the timings keep our pupils and staff as safe as possible. We will not be changing the start and end time for pupils but may adjust times within the day if necessary. On the first day of return pupils should line up in their fire drill areas.

What other equipment will my child need?

Your child should bring back any books that they have at home and their planners. Pupils must not share equipment therefore they must bring their own pens, pencils, rulers and maths equipment.

Thanks again for your support. We look forward to welcoming our pupils back from 8th March onwards. Should you have any other queries please contact your child’s Head of Learning in the first instance .

Yours sincerely

Ms Maria Sharratt