Covid-19

Re-opening: Secondary and Sixth Form

This letter includes important information to students, parents and carers about the return to school for all secondary students (years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11) and sixth form students (years 12 and 13) in September 2020.

I hope that this letter finds you and your family safe and well.

We are now approaching the 1st September and I want to get in touch on the current situation in school and to give you some updated information about the full return to school for all our students in September.

The Department of Education (DFE) published the guidance for the full opening of schools from the beginning of the autumn term on 2nd July. It has been updated and remains a ‘live’ document with updates.

The link below will take you to the full guidance produced for parents and carers: Click here.

We have been planning in detail for the return of all our students in September. As always, the safety of all our students and staff remains paramount whilst constructing these plans. Like in May, we will be holding staff training on 1st and 2nd September prior to opening. You will appreciate that we need to ensure that our staff are fully trained in the all protocols and routines to be appropriately prepared and organised for your child’s safe return.

The DFE guidance is very lengthy, therefore the key summary information below will hopefully answer any questions you may have and also gives you all the information required for your child’s return to school in September.

Key headlines from the DFE document:

  • All schools and colleges are to open to all children in all year groups from September.
  • Mandatory attendance by law will be in force to allow schools to open at full capacity. Parents/carers have a duty to ensure that their child attends school every day. The only exceptions are if a pupil falls into the category of approved shielding pupils or temporary self-isolating pupils (confirmed COVID 19 case). See below for further information.
  • Schools are to deliver their full curriculum for all year groups.
  • Restrictions on class sizes will be lifted. Classes will return to their normal sizes.
  • COVID-19 secure hygiene & cleaning and social distancing measures will be in place to reduce the risk of infection. Measures will include:
  1. Increased cleaning of furniture, equipment and frequently touched surfaces.
  2. Frequent washing of hands and sanitising of hands with alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  3. Reducing the use of frequently shared items to mitigate against infection.
  • Students will be in year group ‘bubbles’ to minimise contact with others and to maintain social distancing wherever possible. To be clear there will be some movement within a year group bubble to allow for specialist teaching, however measures will be in place to minimise mixing with students in other year groups.
  • With less movement around school, your child will mainly be taught in one room.
  • To minimise contact of year group bubbles student arrival times to school and dismissal times at the end of the school day will be staggered- see the table below. All students will still receive their full entitlement to the curriculum.
  • We will no longer take temperature checks. The government is clear that routinely taking the temperature of pupils is not recommended for identifying coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • All secondary phase and 6th form students will be encouraged to keep their distance from each other and staff. This is alongside the infection protection measures mentioned above.
  • There will be continued access to testing and advice from local health protection teams where there are any positive cases in schools. NHS Test and Trace is explained later in the letter.
  • The school will teach a high quality broad and balanced curriculum in all subjects and will make use of existing assessment strategies to address gaps in knowledge and skills.
  • Teachers and other adults in school are to distance from each other and students where possible and everyone is to minimise contact in corridors.
  • Students are to distance themselves from each other where possible.

September Start Dates

  • Staff Training Days - Tuesday 1st September & Wednesday 2nd September 2020 – the school is open to staff only. Students return from Thursday 3rd September
  • Year 7, Year 11 and Year 12 return only – Thursday 3rd September
  • All Year groups return: Year 7, Year 8, Year 9, Year 10, Year 11, Year 12 and Year 13 – Friday 4th September

The School Day: Staggered Arrival and Dismissal Times

As stated above, to minimise contact of year group bubbles student arrival times to school and dismissal times at the end of the school day will be staggered until further notice- see the table below.

We are also staggering the start days of different years. Our new year 7 will attend on Thursday 3rd September in order to carry out our transition/settling in programme. Year 11 and 12 will also start school on Thursday 3rd September. Both year groups will sit important GCSE and A-level exams in the summer of 2021 and we want to ensure that they start the year well. By Friday 4th September all year groups will be back in school learning.

Years 7, 11 and 12 start on Thursday 3rd September

Year Group

Start of the day

End of the day

7

8.30- 8.50 (3rd Sept only- see the below table for the regular arrival time)

3.20

11

9.10

3.40

12

9.10

3.40

Students must arrive on time

Years 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 are all in school on Friday 4th September

Year Group

Start of the day

End of the day

7

8.30

3.20

8

8.40

3.25

9

8.50

3.30

10

9.00

3.35

11

9.10

3.40

12

9.10

3.40

13

9.10

3.40

Students must arrive on time

Students arriving at School on 3rd and 4th September

Students are expected to arrive to school in full school uniform at the stated time in the table above. It is important that your child arrives on time and not before as there will be no entry into school (if they do, they will be asked to wait outside of the building until their allotted time).

Year 7 arrival on Thursday 3rd September (8.30am-8.50am)

Year 7 enter through the main school gates and will walk along the main concourse to enter the doors on the left near main reception. They will have a separate entrance to other year groups on the first day. The route will be clearly signposted, and staff will meet, greet and guide year 7 students into school.

If parents/carers of year 7 students are accompanying their child to school on the first day, please drop your child of at the main gate. Parents/carers will not be able to enter the concourse into the site.

Years 8, 9, 10 and 11 arrival (see the tables above for first day dates and arrival times)

Years 8, 9,10 and 11 upon arrival will enter through the main school gates and will walk along the main concourse to enter through the doors near main reception. Staff will meet, greet and guide students into school to their form rooms.

Years 12 and 13 arrival (see the tables above for first day dates and arrival times)

Years 12 and 13 upon arrival will enter through the main school gates and will turn to the left to enter the 6th form building via the PE/lower car park side gate.

Before the school holidays we posted out a letter which contained a sheet for students in years 8, 9, 10 and 11 telling your child where to go on the first day back when he/she arrives to school including your child’s form and form room. Please ensure that your child brings the sheet into school with him/her on the first day back.  Year 7 only will be told where to go when they arrive.

Lunchtime/Food and Drink

Due to the staggered start and end times for each year group, we will not be holding any formal break-time. In light of this, students can bring a snack and a drink (fizzy drinks are not allowed) that can be consumed without mess or fuss as teaching takes place. Teachers will control when this takes place. Please provide your child with a bottle of water as the water fountains will not be in use.

Lunch will take place as normal for 30 minutes (this has always been the length of lunchtime). Lunch time will be staggered by year group to minimise contact between year groups. Your child will remain in their year group bubble. Normal canteen services will be available and all children in receipt of free school meals will receive their entitlement. Your child will also be able to go outside to get fresh air. Duty staff will be present to remind pupils about social distancing.

Year 7 lunch on 3rd and 4th September

To support parents/carers and to allow time to set up the students on our payment system, the school will cover the cost of lunch for year 7 students on 3rd and 4th September only. From Monday 7th September lunches will be payable unless a year 7 child receives a free school meal.

Year 7 students can bring in a snack and a drink in a bottle from the first day of the new term.

School Uniform

All students will be expected to wear full school uniform including their lanyard from the first day back to school. PE kit will also be worn for PE lessons. Please see the school website for further details about our school uniform. Uniforms do not need to be cleaned any more often than usual, nor do they need to be cleaned using methods which are different from normal.

Equipment and Stationery for School

School resources will be frequently cleaned and/ or rotated. To avoid unnecessary sharing of resources, your child must have a school bag and bring it to school every day. They must have the necessary stationery and equipment with them as we will not be loaning stationery equipment due to guidance on sharing. The minimum requirements are that students have a pencil case with a pen (plus a spare), pencil, ruler, rubber and pencil sharpener as well as their student planner and any subject books. Your child can also bring in a coat. Subject exercise books and the student planner will be issued by the school.

Breakfast club and after school clubs

Regretfully, we will not be able to provide a breakfast club or any after school clubs for the foreseeable future. This is because we will not be able to restrict social mixing between year group bubbles. We will regularly review this in the autumn term.

Public Transport

The government has said that it expects that public transport capacity will continue to be constrained in the autumn term. We ask that all families avoid the use of public transport and lift sharing in cars where possible. We encourage parents, staff and pupils to walk or cycle to school if at all possible. Be aware that it is now mandatory for anyone over the age of 11 to wear a face covering on all public transport.

Face Masks and Face Coverings – part of school uniform

Following the latest announcements from government on 26th August 2020, the wearing of face masks will be mandatory in secondary schools in areas where local lockdown is in place. Given that there is likely to be limited notice of lockdown being implemented, I am asking all parents with children in our secondary phase to ensure that their child has a face mask as part of their school uniform. Having a face mask ready will mean that should our area be placed into local lockdown, your child could continue to attend school without interruption to their education.

 The new guidance is that face masks should be worn in corridors, in communal areas of the school and during all out of the classroom activities. The mandatory wearing of face masks does not extend to in the classroom. Should children in any phase of our school wish to wear a face mask, they are welcome to do so – including in the classroom.

When child wears a mask or covering, please talk to your child about wearing it securely and appropriately (fully covering the nose and mouth) and not to touch the front of their face during use. It is worth have a run through with your child at home. Students must wash their hands immediately on arrival to school (as is the case for all students). If your child arrives to school wearing a mask or covering and wants to dispose of it, your child must do so in a bin provided when entering the building. Face masks and coverings can be kept by your child in a plastic bag. The plastic bag must be kept secure in your child’s school bag. Your child must wash his/her hands again before heading to their classroom.

Because face masks and coverings are mainly intended to protect others, not the wearer, from coronavirus (COVID-19) they are not a replacement for social distancing and regular hand washing. It is important to follow all the other government advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) including staying safe outside your home.

For further information, please read the government advice: Click here

Visitors on site including parents and carers

There will be strict control of who is allowed on site in order to prevent infection. If you wish to talk to a member of staff, please use other forms of communication such as a phone call or an email to our enquiry email. Any visitors on site will be by prior appointment only. We do not want to stop home-school communication, indeed it is very important, that said we are sure that you will fully understand the reasons to limit visitors in school at this time.

All visitors on site will be required to wear a face mask/covering and to use the provided alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

Pupils who are shielding or self-isolating

Much more is now known about coronavirus (COVID-19) and so by September there will very few children and young people advised to shield. The overwhelming majority of pupils will be able to return to school in September. You should note however that:

 

  • A small number of pupils will still be unable to attend in line with public health advice because they are self-isolating and have had symptoms or a positive test result themselves; or because they are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Shielding advice for all adults and children paused on 1 August. This means that even the small number of pupils who will remain on the shielded patient list can also return to school, as can those who have family members who are shielding.

Read the following government documents for further information: Click here.

If your child falls into either category above, please contact us in school as soon as possible via the enquiry email. It is important that we know the situation.

Remote Education Support

Where a class, year group or small number of pupils need to self-isolate, are shielding or there is a local lockdown requiring pupils to remain at home, we will offer remote education. Students will follow a curriculum sequence that allows access to high-quality online and offline resources and teaching.  Knowledge and skills will be built incrementally, with a good level of clarity about what is intended to be taught and practised in each subject. We will provide further details about our remote learning plans in the autumn term.

Be vigilant and help us prevent transmission and NHS Test & Trace

All schools have been instructed by the government to follow this process and to make students, parents and staff aware:

Important Virus Prevention Measures

It is important to minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school. Pupils, staff and other adults must not come into the school if they have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or have tested positive in the last 10 days.

If anyone (child or adult) in the school becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia), they will be sent home and advised to follow ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, which sets out that they must self-isolate for at 10 days and should arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus (COVID-19). In the case of a child, we will contact home and ask one parent only to collect the child. Other members of their household (including any siblings who may also be students in school) should self-isolate for 14 days counting day 1 from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms. If the test result is negative, the child or adult will be able to return to school and anyone who is self-isolating for 14 days will be able to end it.

Read the following government documents for further information:

Government guidance in different languages-web links:

We are asking parents to keep us informed of COVID 19 test results if your child has to have one so that we can track attendance and support your child with learning at home. We will keep your child’s test results confidential to only key members of staff, e.g. the appropriate senior leader and the school nurse.

Clean hands thoroughly and more often than usual

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an easy virus to kill when it is on skin. This can be done with soap and running water or hand sanitiser. We will ensure that pupils clean their hands regularly, including when they arrive at school, before and when they return from lunchtime and when they change rooms. Regular and thorough hand cleaning is going to be needed for the foreseeable future. To support school to instil good handwashing and hygiene habits in our students, please reinforce these good habits at home. The ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach continues to be very important for everyone to follow in school and at home.

Manage confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) amongst the school community

We will take swift action if we become aware that someone who has attended school and has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). We will contact the local health protection team. This team will also contact us directly if they become aware that someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) and has attended the school – as identified by NHS Test and Trace.

The health protection team will carry out a rapid risk assessment to confirm who has been in close contact with the person during the period that they were infectious, and ensure they are asked to self-isolate.

The health protection team will work with us in this situation to guide us through the actions we need to take. Based on the advice from the health protection team, schools must send home those people who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive, advising them to self-isolate for 14 days since they were last in close contact with that person when they were infectious. Close contact means:

  • direct close contacts - face to face contact with an infected individual for any length of time, within 1 metre, including being coughed on, a face to face conversation, or unprotected physical contact (skin-to-skin)
  • proximity contacts - extended close contact (within 1 to 2 metres for more than 15 minutes) with an infected individual
  • travelling in a small vehicle, like a car, with an infected person

The health protection team will provide definitive advice on who must be sent home. We will keep a record of pupils and staff in each group, and any close contact that takes places between children and staff in different groups.

Household members of those contacts who are sent home do not need to self-isolate themselves unless the child, young person or staff member who is self-isolating subsequently develops symptoms. If someone in a class or group that has been asked to self-isolate develops symptoms themselves within their 14-day isolation period they should follow ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’.

 They should get a test, and:

  • If the test delivers a negative result, they must remain in isolation for the remainder of the 14-day isolation period. This is because they could still develop the coronavirus (COVID-19) within the remaining days.
  • If the test result is positive, they should inform school immediately, and must isolate for 10 days from the onset of their symptoms (which could mean the self-isolation ends before or after the original 14-day isolation period). Their household should self-isolate for at 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms, following ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’- see above

If we have two or more confirmed cases within 14 days or an overall rise in sickness absence where coronavirus (COVID-19) is suspected, they may have an outbreak we will and must continue to work with our local health protection team who will be able to advise if additional action is required.

In some cases, health protection teams may recommend that a larger number of other pupils self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure – perhaps the whole site or year group. Whole school closure based on cases within the school may not be necessary and will not be considered except on the advice of health protection teams.

In consultation with the local Director of Public Health, where an outbreak in a school is confirmed, a mobile testing unit may be dispatched to test others who may have been in contact with the person who has tested positive. Testing will first focus on the person’s class, followed by their year group, then the whole school if necessary, in line with routine public health outbreak control practice.

Catch-up support

You may have heard that the government announced a package of catch up support for schools to support schools to help all pupils make up for lost teaching time, with extra support for those who need it most. This will include a national tutoring programme. As we receive more information, we will plan and deliver.  More details will be shared with you.

 

Important final key messages for parents and carers to share with students before they return to school

This letter has provided important details about the return to school and I would like to draw out a few final important messages aimed directly to students:

  • Do not worry about the return to school or about the work missed- staff will support you to get back into good learning habits and to continue your learning journey
  • Once back in school, follow all staff instructions at all times and other instructions on the screens, on signage and on posters. For a successful return to school it is important that you comply with all school rules including the school behaviour policy. The health, safety and wellbeing of everyone in school relies on everyone complying with rules and following guidance
  • Arrive to school safely and on time. Leave school promptly at the end of the day. Go straight home and social distance on your journey to and from school
  • Wash and sanitise your hands regularly in school- this is the main way to eliminate infection
  • Maintain social distance at all times. It will be hard at times not to gather with and to be in proximity to friends and peers, however social distancing is another important way to reduce the possibility of infection
  • Stay in your year group bubbles. These bubbles have been created to keep you safe from infection. Limiting the movement around school and keeping students in year group bubbles is another important way to reduce the possibility of infection.
  • Follow your timetable when you receive it and only go to locations that you are allowed to
  • School uniform including lanyards is to be worn as normal. PE lessons require the usual PE kit
  • Bring your own school bag and stationery to avoid sharing
  • Bring your own drink in a bottle (no fizzy or energy drinks). Water fountains are out of use
  • For any student who feels a bit nervous and worried about study and lessons, and the return to school after a long time away, I find that this quote helps: ‘Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out’. It will not seem like a large mountain to climb and a lot to take in if students simply try their best

Final words

The fine tuning of our risk assessments and safety plans during the summer break places Waverley School in a very strong position to welcome back all our students in September. The thorough protocols that we planned and put in place throughout June and July were very successful. We are currently finalising our plans to make Waverley School as safe as possible for our students and staff in order to deliver the full curriculum. We will continue to adapt to the on-going updates from the Department for Education and should it be necessary, we will yet further refine our plans.

On behalf of all staff, we would like to thank you for your understanding and patience over the last few months. This has been a very challenging and unprecedented situation and we appreciate all the support that families have offered school over this time. Many of you have been in communication with school and your kind words and continual support have been well received. For us to be able to open safely we will continue to rely on your support and we would like to thank you in advance for that; your cooperation will be vital.

Please continue to check our school website regularly for the latest updates over the coming days. Rest assured, we are continually scanning for new updates from the government and are revising our practice and policy in order to make sure Waverley School is as safe as it possibly can be.

Finally, I would like to wish you a good end to the summer break. I look forward to working with parents/carers in the new term and I am very much looking forward to welcoming our students back from 3rd September.

Yours sincerely,

 

Mrs A Lloyd

Head of School- Secondary Phase