Back to school safety arrangements - message from Headteacher

August 2020

Dear families,

In response to feedback to our Parent Survey in July, I am writing to give you further details about the safety measures we will have in school in September to support the safety of pupils and staff. These changes will be explained to each year group as they return and will include:

  • a phased return with different year groups returning on different days, with structured induction sessions so that all pupils feel secure in returning to school, and in how systems will work. Pupils will have opportunities to ask questions and to discuss their experience of the past months
  • separate entrances for different year groups:

Years 7 & 8 – Morpeth Street main gates

Year 9 – Morpeth Street ‘staff entrance’ (by car park entrance)

Years 10 & 11 – Portman Place, West Wing playground

Years 12 & 13 – Wessex Wing

  • pupils will not be allowed to congregate in the playground before school and will go straight to their tutor rooms. Each year group will be registering in a separate section of the school. In order to support the safety aspects of this new system, pupils will not be allowed to enter school before 8.30 am or to stay in school after 3.00pm in the first instance (The only exception is for free breakfast – we will continue to offer this provision on a daily basis from 8.00 – 8.30 am. Pupils should enter via the ‘staff entrance’ on Morpeth Street and will be expected to eat their breakfast in the ‘cold dining hall’ where they will stay until 8.40am)

We have made changes to the timing of the school day to support safe entrances and exits, to minimise movement around the school and to include staggered breaks and lunchtimes in order to reduce the numbers of pupils in shared areas such as toilets and playgrounds.

  • Additional handwashing facilities – all pupils will be expected to wash their hands as they enter the school and at regular intervals throughout the day – this will be supervised by staff. There will also be clear guidance about hygiene signposted throughout the school on corridors and in every classroom.
  • Hand sanitising liquid, tissues, gloves and detergent will be available in every room and equipment and computer keyboards will be cleaned in between lessons. Pupils will be expected to bring their own basic equipment (2 blue/black pens, ruler, rubber, calculator, pencils, reading book to avoid sharing. Art, PE, Science, DT and Music equipment will be cleaned between classes).
  • Classrooms will be regularly deep-cleaned and layouts have been redesigned to minimise mixing with all tables facing the front, and will be well-ventilated.
  • Arrangements for lunchtimes and break times have been changed to include staggered timings, different sittings in the dining hall, clear arrangements for safe use of the dining hall and toilets, and cleaning between sittings.
  • There will be a one-way system operating throughout the entire school and banisters and handrails, door handles and other frequently touched surfaces will be regularly cleaned.
  • Specialist staff have been trained to support pupils with SEND safely.

The government is currently revising its guidance on face coverings for staff and children in Year 7 or above in England. We will keep you informed of developments.

Covid 19

If your child has any of the symptoms below s/he must stay at home and arrange to have a test:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

If the test is positive, s/he must self-isolate for at least 10 days from when the symptoms started.

All other household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. We would ask families to contact the school immediately if their child tests positive for coronavirus and to use the NHS Test and Trace service.

If your child becomes ill during the school day with suspected Covid 19, they will be sent home as soon as possible. If a pupil is awaiting collection, they will be moved to a ventilated room where they can be isolated with appropriate adult supervision with access to a separate bathroom that will be disinfected between use. Adults caring for a child will wear appropriate PPE.

We understand that some families will feel anxious about their child’s safety and the measures we have put in place. We will be arranging a limited number of tours of the school for family members, 1 per household, who have any further concerns so that we can answer questions and so that you can see the changes that we’ve made. These will take place on Tuesday 1st, Wednesday 2nd and Thursday 3rd September. If you would be interested in taking part in one of these tours, please call our school office before Friday 28th August to arrange a time.

Yours faithfully,

Jemima Reilly, Headteacher