Parent and Carer Update - 18th December 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
We found out last night that the government has said that schools will not open to all students at the start of term. Clearly this has not given us any time to plan with teachers so it is a difficult situation.
The government has announced C19 testing in schools. On the face of it this is a good thing and will make schools safer and reduce the need for children to be sent home when they are close contacts. However although it is a good intention, there are enormous hurdles to get over to make it happen and currently schools do not have the information they need to set this up. Clearly the school holidays start today so timing is not on our side. I hope that over the holiday things become clearer and I am told by government precisely what schools need to do to set up their testing centres. You will appreciate there are many challenges to this, not least where to find the space in an already full school and where to find the staff. Once I know what we need to do I will be able to plan. I find myself apologising for this lack of certainty although it is not of my making.
It appears that all students could be offered C19 “screening” in January if the government’s outline plans can be made to work. In addition staff and students identified as close contacts will be tested daily for a week so that they can continue to attend school. Please don’t worry about this because before anything can start I will write to you and there will need to be consent.
For us then, this is currently the plan:
Monday 4th January is our existing training day. The government has said that schools can have this as an extra training day so that we can set up NHS testing centres in our schools for our students but I can’t work on that yet as the details are lacking. We already have training planned for 4th so we will run our training day as planned. On this training day we will be training teachers on remote teaching.
There is no point me organising another training day as I have nothing to base it on so currently I plan to open on Tuesday 5th for Year 11 in line with government guidance for who can attend school. Government has said that most students will work from home. Therefore we will teach Year 11 in school. We will aim to live teach Year 10 (on-line) for the rest of that week. Students will join those lessons via email link or via Satchel. Students just need to follow the link at the normal time for the lesson and teachers will then make sure they know what to do. We will set work for Y7-9 using Satchel. We know from our surveys that some Y7-9 students do not have access to devices, and therefore, to Satchel from home. We are preparing some work packs for those Y7-9 students without devices. Please collect from the TLC building on Monday 4th January between 1pm and 2pm. All Y7-9 students with Satchel access from home will get their work on Satchel.
Year 11 will all attend school. Some have exams later in the first week or the second week back – there are no changes to exams.
In addition these students can attend school:
- Children of critical workers can attend for childcare whilst you are working – here is the government definition: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision. Here is a survey for all parents so that we can know whether we need to offer a childcare place in school if you are a critical worker. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/3WJK5VX Please complete this by 8am on Monday 21st December so that I can then sort this out. We will confirm all childcare places as soon as we are able by email. Any replies received after 8am on Monday 21st will be processed on Monday 4th January.
- Vulnerable children – on the training day on 4th January Heads of Year will phone parents and inform them of who can attend. If you have not heard from us by 1pm on 4th and think we have missed you out please contact your child’s Head of Year.
Year 11 will be taught as usual in school from 11am on Tuesday 5th January. Any other students in school will be supervised to work on the remote learning set by teachers so they will do the same work that those at home do. Everyone else will work at home.
I will open late at 11am on Tuesday 5th to allow for staff to meet to plan for C19 testing. Therefore students will arrive for a late start that day. In the unlikely event that we have not had details to plan from I will contact you again and open at the normal time.
That is as much as I can say for now. This feels like an extraordinary way to end communication with you at the end of term – but I suppose that these are extraordinary times.
Take care over the Christmas period.