As the summer break draws to a close, I’m writing to update you on a number of important points as we return to school.
We are looking forward to welcoming all students back to the college over the next couple of weeks. School will start with a carefully phased return for all pupils in September 2021. We will begin by inviting Year 7 initially to allow them to have the transition experience that they have missed during these lockdowns. Year 11 will then join them and each year group will have dedicated transition sessions, which allows them to return to school in a controlled manner, experiencing the new norms and expectations and having the dedicated pastoral care that they will need after the summer break. Students will receive their timetable, planner and key expectations and information to enable them to start the school year successfully.
The expected days of attendance for year groups commencing on Friday 3rd September are as follows:
Year 7 Friday 3 September at 08:30
Year 12 Friday 3 September at 12:30
Year 11 Monday 6 September 2021 at 08:30
Year 13 Monday 6 September 2021 at 10:30
Year 10 Monday 6 September 2021 at 12:30
Year 8 Tuesday 7 September 2021 at 08:30
Year 9 Tuesday 7 September 2021 at 11:00
From Wednesday 8 September 2021 all year groups will be in school.
In response to the government guidance on the return to school, we will be testing all students twice over a five-day period as they return to school. If you have not previously provided consent for testing and would like to do so please complete this form. Please ensure that we have up to date consent for your son/daughter. It would also be good practice if your child were to bring their own paper tissues and a small hand sanitiser with them to minimise risk of spreading any bacteria. Can you please check that your son/daughter has all the necessary equipment on a daily basis to ensure that they are ready to learn and that they minimise the risk to themselves and others.
How do the self-isolation changes of 16 August affect school attendance?
If children and young people (aged 18 years and under) have not tested positive for Covid, and they are not otherwise ill they are expected to be in school.
Anyone aged under 18 who has been a close contact of someone who has tested positive is no longer required to self-isolate unless the child also has symptoms. They are advised to take a PCR test but they do not have to isolate whilst they wait for the results.
Students who are aged 18 years and over will be treated as adults under the guidance and will not be expected to self-isolate if they have had a close contact provided they have received both Covid vaccinations and 14 days have passed since the second dose.
I think my child has Covid, what should I do?
If your child has symptoms, please let school know, book a PCR test and isolate until you have the results. If you receive a positive test result, your child should self-isolate following the national guidance.
Will children still be expected to take lateral flow tests (LFTs)?
Testing is voluntary, but it is encouraged as it is still one of the best ways to break the chain of infection.
Can I encourage you to test regularly at home? When we return to school, government guidance will be followed:
- Secondary school pupils and college students – In the first week of term, two LFTs will be taken at school three to five days apart. In following weeks, two LFTs to be taken at home each week until the end of September.
Will testing continue after the end of September?
Infection rates will be reviewed at the end of September and will determine whether home LFTs need to continue.
What should I do if my child has a positive result on a lateral flow test?
They should self-isolate immediately and you should arrange a PCR test as soon as possible.
Other members of the household do not need to self-isolate whilst you await the PCR test result if they do not have symptoms and are aged under 18 years or are fully vaccinated.
Will pupils still be part of bubbles?
No, schools are no longer required to do this.
What happens if there are positive cases in schools?
All schools and colleges are required to have outbreak contingency plans. Action may need to be taken if certain thresholds are met.
Will children be made to have a vaccination?
No-one will be made to have a vaccination, but having both doses of the vaccination is still the best way of preventing people from becoming very ill with Covid-19.
The national vaccination programme is now open to anyone aged 16 and over. Sixteen and 17-year-olds will be contacted by their GPs and are not able to book vaccinations online.
I would like my child to have a vaccination as there is someone in my household who is vulnerable but my child is younger than 16.
Vaccinations are being offered to 12-15- year-olds if they have an underlying health condition or if someone they live with is immunosuppressed. You should speak to your child’s GP.
Will my child have to wear a face covering in the classroom?
Guidance states that face coverings do not need to be worn in the classroom. But if your child travels to school or college on public transport that is crowded and they can’t socially distance it is a good idea to wear a face covering if they are able.
Parents are encouraged to wear face coverings at the school gates particularly if social distancing isn’t possible.
Will normal school activities now be taking place?
Yes, activities such as sports, singing, playing wind or brass instruments, and going on trips and excursions are now allowed to take place.
My child is anxious about returning to school. Is there any support?
The last year and a half has been especially tough for our children and young people. If your child is worried about returning to the classroom please contact your child’s head of learning in the first instance. They can also get help and advice online such as at www.kooth.com
Students should return in full uniform in September. The uniform also clearly outlines expectations on footwear, which must be plain black shoes of polishable material and with no sports logos. A reminder of our uniform list and PE kit list can be found here. Our uniform policy also clearly states that there should be no false nails, no false eyelashes, nose rings or earrings. Thank you for your support in ensuring that our high standards of uniform and appearance are maintained and allow us to remove barriers to learning.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any queries.
Enjoy the long weekend and take care.
Ms Maria Sharratt