Coronavirus IMPORTANT UPDATE – Year 10 Students & Parents.

IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR PARENTS & YEAR 10 STUDENTS FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS ACADEMIC YEAR

 Dear parents and students;

Year 10 return: – Following the announcement by the Prime Minister on Sunday regarding the return of Year 10 and 12 pupils, I have received further guidance from the Department of Education on how this is to be implemented. The following is a summary of this guidance;

Key points from the secondary guidance are as follows:

  • Secondary schools should plan on the basis that from the week commencing 15 June, they can invite Year 10 and 12 pupils back into school for some face-to-face support with their teachers, subject to the government’s 5 tests being met.
  • Secondary schools should offer this face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of Year 10 and Year 12 pupils, which should remain the predominant mode of education during this term for pupils in these year groups.
  • Schools are able to have a quarter of the Year 10 and Year 12 cohort (for schools with sixth forms) in school at any one time.
  • Any plans that secondary schools have made for pupils to return earlier in June should be amended to commence from 15 June.
  • Vulnerable children and children of critical workers in other year groups should be accommodated as currently or if currently in a hub then schools should explore how to bring them back to their normal school, subject to risk assessments.
  • Secondary schools should aim to practise social distancing in line with the measures the government is asking everyone to adopt in public and in workplaces, including keeping pupils 2 metres apart from each other where possible.
  • Ensuring sufficient distance between pupils is likely to mean classes are no more than half their usual size.
  • Mixing between different groups of pupils should be kept to a minimum.
  • Where rotas are used, secondary schools should avoid split day rotas within the same day and ensure that only a quarter of children are ever in the school on any one day. Vulnerable children and children of critical workers in all year groups should still be encouraged to attend full-time.
  • Within the guidance above, schools have the flexibility to implement face-to-face support for Year 10 and Year 12 pupils in the way that best suits their circumstances

Clearly as a result of this guidance, the school is having to adjust the draft plans for year 10 and this means that any in-school meetings which might have been arranged as a result of the weekly update which I published on Friday, will now have to be rearranged.  They can still happen on-line or by telephone but cannot be face to face in school.  Any face to face meetings can take place but will have to be from the 15th June 2020.

Many thanks once again to pupils for completing the survey about returning to school.  We know from this that 75% of you are keen to see friends but almost 40% of you are a little apprehensive about returning. We know that many of you are concerned about social distancing not only in lessons but at social times also.   Almost half of you were also worried about hygiene and 40% of you were worried about sharing equipment. I also know that for many of you, the top priority is to be able to have some time to catch up with friends.  However there are just as many who are either keen to get back to lessons or meet their teachers.

In order that you are clear about what you can realistically expect upon return, I have summarised this below.

From the 22nd June, if the Scientific advice from the Civil Contingencies Agency allows, we intend to deliver lessons to Year 10 pupils because many of you want this to happen.  These will not follow your normal time-table, nor will all pupils be in at once.  As I have previously mentioned, these lessons are not compulsory and many parents will wish to keep their children at home even if schools do return and the school will not be issuing any warning letters or Fixed Penalty Notices to parents who would prefer it that their children remain at home. This still remains the case. Equally, parents may wish to have a flexible approach, with their children being in school some of the time and remaining at home at other times to continue home learning. We will however expect pupils to prioritise the Core subjects of English, Maths and Science should they wish to come in. A summary of the plan so far is below;

  1. Only one quarter of the year group will come in at any time – 60 pupils (4 groups)
  2. The groups will be based on those who study Triple Science and those who don’t
  3. Pupils will be allocated to a teaching group which they will have for all their English, Maths and Science lessons. They will be in this group for the remainder of the year and will always be in the same three classrooms
  4. Pupils will have the core subjects on Monday to Wednesday but they may not be in every day – this will depend on numbers.
  5. There will be no social mixing between the groups (bubbles) during this time and they have been allocated a social area on the field. Social bubbles(teaching groups) will not be allowed to mix. This means that during break and lunch you will not be able to meet and talk to all of the friends whom you want to.
  6. Where possible, pupils will always have the same three teachers for English, Maths and Science
  7. These groups will be set in advance.
  8. There are two 30 minute breaks during the day, Monday to Wednesday.
  9. Option subjects will run on Thursday and Friday – two extended periods for each option block with a break in between.  Therefore the days will start later on Thursday and Friday and end earlier. Realistically, there may well be only one opportunity for all pupils to attend an option lesson before the end of the academic year
  10. Because there will be more social mixing on Thursday and Friday during lessons, all pupils will then have a week off being in school and not return until the following Monday.
  11. On-line learning will continue for all year groups including Year 10 for those who do not wish to come into school.
  12. We will endeavour to have transport available from Southampton even for those who would normally take public transport – see below

Health and Safety upon return: – We already have in place, all of the hygiene measures that you would expect because we have had in a cohort of pupils who are children of key workers.  This includes signage, hand sanitizer etc for all classrooms that we are using. We will have canteen facilities and I would encourage you all to use these because we are able to track and trace the source of the foods and minimise infection.  It is for this reasons that no ‘sharing snacks’  eg crisps, sweets etc will be allowed to be brought onto the school site.  Pupils may bring their own lunch, but this will have to be eaten separately and not shared with anyone.  Pupils should bring their own bottle of water and take it back home with them.  We will however have drinks available to purchase on school site. Once we know who is planning to return we can give more information regarding these matters.

Each class group will have its own area on the field, weather permitting of course.  If there is inclement weather, then the class will need to return to their classrooms.  Every group will have the same three classrooms for English Maths and Science and therefore we maintain groups together. I intend to share with you our risk assessment once that is finalised. I have been awaiting feedback from staff and pupils so that we can modify this as needed. This will give a lot more detailed information about the steps we have taken to minimise the risk of transmission and will be available well before the 22nd June.

Transport: – The buses from Southampton are available and they are modified to take a maximum of 22 pupils each.  Therefore we can accommodate all of the Year 10 pupils who normally travel from Southampton and potentially have room for others who currently travel by train and would prefer not to.  The bus company are willing to vary routes to enable this to happen.  Please contact the finance office if you are keen to use this facility and don’t already do so. Pupils who wish to wear any Personal Protective Equipment may do so. Local Authority transport will continue and have all of the necessary measures in place for a reduced number of pupils. Parents who wish to bring their children by car can do so but must not get out of the car and in the afternoon cannot come on to the school site to wait in the car-park until after the buses have left.  It is unlikely that there will be mini-bus transport available from Landford; please look out for important updates on this matter.

Personal safety of Year 10 pupils: – It is likely that more of you will walk to school socially distanced or even on your own.  It is for this reason that we want you to wear your full school uniform and please wear it with pride.   In these difficult times, a return to some sort of normality is what we all need.  I also know that as a year group you are a very affectionate bunch and I know that when you see your friends and teachers it will be hard for you to respond in an atypical human way.  Please can I ask that you don’t hug each other, especially your teachers!!  A simple smile is the acknowledgement we all need to support our emotional well-being and appreciation of being back amongst each other.

Year 10 Children of Key workers or who have EHCPs: – It will not be possible for Year 10 children of key workers to be in both social groups (bubbles) of pupils at school. Parents will need to make a choice as to whether they continue to remain with the cohort who has been together for the past 10 weeks or to join the Year 10 lessons.  Parents of children with EHCPs should contact Mrs Thomas (Learning Support Department) or Mrs Anderson(ASC Resource Base) for further information regarding provision.

Arrangements to register for attendance: – All pupils who wish to attend for lessons must be registered by their parent.  Mr Bettiss will send out a link for parents to do so.  There will be a deadline for registration so that we can plan the teaching groups, transport arrangements and catering arrangements. You will receive this in the coming days.

Further communications:- Over the next two weeks, more steps will be taken to prepare the school for Year 10 return and once complete, I plan to share with all of you, a short video of how we the school site is ready for the return of Year 10 pupils. This will be on the school’s You-tube site and we will provide links from the website and Facebook. This is likely to be broadcast early in the week of the 8th June.  We will also provide guidance about how we will continue to offer on-line learning through Google Classroom for other year groups and those Year 10 pupils whose parents do not wish them to attend school during this academic year.

Mr McKavanagh (Headteacher)