END OF TERM LETTER / RETURNING TO SCHOOL IN SEPTEMBER 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
We would like to take this opportunity to write to you to address the return to school for all students in September.
All the staff here at the Coleshill school are thoroughly looking forward to welcoming all students back on site, full time, in September. We recognise that returning to school is vital for the cognitive and academic development of our students and their well-being.
Using the guidance and framework issued from the Department of Education, we as a school, have undertaken substantial planning and consultation to effectively manage and minimise the risks associated with COVID. Through rigorous preparations and a range of protective measures we are taking the necessary steps to mitigate risk as far as possible and promote a safe school environment, whilst still providing a high-quality educational experience, where students can thrive and grow.
Therefore, as a result of the guidance provided to schools and control measures we have adopted, we have had to make some substantial and temporary changes to the routines, systems and organisation of the school. These are outlined below.
Hygiene, Health & Safety
The safety and well-being of our students and staff continue to remain a high priority and as such to minimise risk, we have taken the preventative/protective measures outlined below:
Promotion of good hygiene routines remain the most effective way of limiting the spread of infection. This includes robust hand and respiratory hygiene. Students will be encouraged to regularly wash/sanitise their hands and use tissues to catch it, kill it, bin it. We strongly advise that your child always has tissues and a supply of hand sanitiser with them. However, tissues and hand sanitiser will also be provided in each classroom. We will operate in year group bubbles and group students together to avoid mixing between groups, whilst continuing to encourage social distancing where and when possible. Limiting movement around the school where possible through timetabling students into zones/areas thus reducing the mixing of students outside of their bubble. Creating forward facing classrooms to encourage social distancing where possible. Establishing rigorous routines by all stakeholders to regularly clean and sanitise equipment, workspaces and communal areas.
It is expected that all students will follow and fully participate in maintaining good hygiene and reinforcing the protective measures we have implemented. This will include students sanitising specific equipment: for example, in an IT lesson, every student will be expected to wipe down the mouse and keyboard before and after use. Such measures will allow us to run a full curriculum and support every student and member of staff in the school.
Any person showing signs of COVID must strictly follow the government guidelines and advice, which is available here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Anyone who displays symptoms of COVID (which includes a new continuous cough, or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in their normal sense of taste or smell) must stay at home and book a COVID test through the NHS testing and tracing for corona virus website (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/) or alternatively this can be ordered by telephone via NHS 119 for those without access to the Internet.
Please note in line with the government guidance, if your child becomes ill whilst in school and exhibits COVID symptoms he/she will be isolated, to reduce the risk to other students and staff and you will be called to collect them.
There has always been a clear link between good attendance and good progress in school.
In the current climate, this is more important than ever before. In accordance with the government guidance, it is important to emphasise that whilst we provide support where needed, attendance is compulsory for all students, and it is the parents or carers duty to ensure that their child attends regularly. We will continue to work with our families to ensure good attendance.
We appreciate that some households may be reluctant or anxious about returning and we would like to reassure you that we will endeavour to put the right support in place to address this. This may include students who have themselves been shielding previously but have been advised that this is no longer necessary, those living in households where someone is clinically vulnerable, or those concerned about the comparatively increased risk from coronavirus , including those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds or who have certain conditions such as obesity and diabetes.
Whilst I hope the information in this letter provides reassurance around the measures we are taking, please contact the relevant year group leader at the earliest opportunity if there is a specific issue or concern you would like to discuss further.
If your child is absent from school, please continue to report and inform the school of their absence on 01675 462435, option 1. Please ensure that you give a clear reason for why your child is absent.
We are pleased to confirm that we are continuing to offer a broad and balanced curriculum in all year groups and have endeavoured not to remove any subjects or lesson time from the curriculum.
Subject leaders have been working hard over recent weeks to adapt planning for September to ensure that learning time is maximised to review and re-teach key concepts as well as focusing on teaching to build new knowledge, understanding and skills. Please continue to reassure your child that they do not need to worry about lost learning, missing out or catching up. We will do our best to ensure that no student will be disadvantaged as a result of being away from school during lockdown.
In the event of a future lockdown
In the event of a future localised lockdown we will be using Microsoft teams and Gs4Schools to notify and organise students to transition across to remote teaching. This will be the platform from which students will be able to access their lessons, engage in dialogue and feedback with their teacher and submit work. From September our home learning will be set using G4S and live lessons via Microsoft teams. Please ensure that your child familiarises themselves with this platform to aid with a smooth transition to remote teaching, in the event of a local lockdown. As part of our induction process we will be providing training and guidance for all students on how to access and effectively use Microsoft teams, to ensure maximum engagement. This will take place during their ‘remote learning’ induction when they are at home. We would appreciate your support with this, encouraging your child to access and engage with this to ensure that we are able to provide a high-quality provision no matter the circumstance.
One of the most significant measures for the school is the creation of curriculum bubbles, which allows students to be maintained in specific groups, limiting interaction with other bubbles as much as possible.
We have organised students into year group bubbles. Each year group bubble will be allocated a specific set of classrooms, which is, effectively, an area of the school in which the vast majority of their lessons will take place. Teachers will move to classrooms throughout the school day rather than the students to limit the amount of movement around the school.
Where specialist rooms are required, for us to continue to offer a broad and balanced curriculum offer, for example, in DT, art, music, PE, IT or science, specialist rooms are not allocated to a specific year group and will be timetabled and available for use as required. However, in line with our protective control measures there are specific and robust cleaning protocols that will be implemented in between use by different groups to minimise and reduce risk. PE will take place and is timetabled. We want to encourage and allow students to continue to participate and enjoy exercise as part of their education to promote physical and mental well-being. However, using the most recent government guidelines and advice the PE Department have planned and designed a variety of sporting activities in accordance with dynamic risk assessments to ensure health, safety and well-being of all their participants.
Please see the grid below for an outline of the school day
Travel to and from School
For the safety and well-being of the staff and students and to ensure that our cleaners are able to undertake and complete a thorough cleaning of the school, I must stress that students should not arrive onsite before 8.30am (unless their school bus arrives before this time). Students who are walking or cycling to school must enter through the Packington Lane entrance at the back of school.
When students arrive on site, they will be directed to their arrival zone (see above grid) which will be within their year group bubble.
Similarly, the departure from school will be slightly staggered to avoid the mixing of students. All students are to leave the site promptly (and are not to linger and wait for their friends) once they are dismissed from their final lesson of the day. Again, your support in this matter is essential.
The government advice is that public transport use is minimised, and alternative methods of transportation are used where possible.
If your child travels by public transport he/she must wear a face mask or covering, on both the journey to and from school and will have to abide by the guidelines as set up the transport company. Please be aware capacity on public is significantly reduced at this time. Please see the detail below for the specific protocols and measures that are to be followed on arrival to school when wearing a face mask or face covering Where using designated school buses, students are able to sit side by side in mixed year groups, but still must wear a face mask/covering.
Public Health England does not (based on current evidence) recommend the use of face makes/coverings in schools. They are not required in schools as students and staff are mixing in consistent groups, and because misuse may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission. There may also be negative effects on communication and thus education.
However, face masks/coverings are required at all times on public transport and designated school buses for all students. For students using a face covering on their way to school, there will be specific protocol to be followed on arrival. This will include:
Not touching the front of their face. Wash or sanitise their hands immediately on arrival. Disposing of temporary face coverings in the bins provided or placing reusable face coverings in a clear plastic bag that they can take home with them and then clean/sanitise their hands again before entering a classroom. It is expected when using disposable masks, it is the parent/carers responsibility to ensure that their child has enough face masks/coverings for the journeys to and from school.
Students are expected to wear full school uniform as outlined on the school website. We recommend that you check the school website carefully, paying particular attention to the school’s expectations in regard to acceptable footwear.
We thank you in advance for your support and recognise that the vast majority of our students come to school every day looking smart and proud to wear our school uniform. However, we also request that if you feel there will be a specific barrier to meeting the uniform policy, or if you are facing particular hardship, you should contact your child’s year leader at the earliest opportunity to discuss the support that we can provide.
Adjustments for days on which students have timetabled PE
If your child has PE they should arrive at school in their full school PE kit on that day to avoid any need to use the changing rooms. Please support us in ensuring that your child is organised and:
Dress appropriately for the weather bringing the school PE fleece to keep warm. Hoodies and branded clothing are not permitted as alternatives. Plain black base layers: sport leggings or long-sleeved top (no visible branding) are allowed and can be worn underneath (not instead of) the school PE kit.
To help minimise and reduce contact between students, they will not be able to borrow equipment pens pencils etc when they come into school. We will be providing paper textbooks and exercise books as normal.
Therefore, we require all students to bring the following items into school every day. Please support us by ensuring that your child has the following:
Pencil and pen (black, red) Glue stick Ruler Calculator (scientific) Pencil crayons or felt tips Clear sealable plastic bag if travelling by public transport and using a face covering or mask Hand gel with 70% plus alcohol content (hand sanitiser)
Whilst not compulsory items of equipment, we also strongly advise that people have their own:
Please note that students will need to bring their own water bottle filled with water, as the communal water fountains will not be available for use during the school day.
Catering and break time
There will no opportunity to purchase food before lunchtime, students are therefore encouraged to have breakfast before arriving to school and should bring a snack for breaktime. ‘Grab and go’ items will be available to purchase at lunchtime. However, we would encourage students to bring a packed lunch. Students in receipt of Free School Meals will be entitled to lunch as normal. The morning break will be carefully controlled with student in zones and not all students allowed out every day, to reduce mixing between the year group bubbles.
Behaviour Policy & Expectations
As I am sure you appreciate the arrangements outlined within this letter are for the safety and security of all pupils and staff. As a school, we have always expected the highest standards from our students, and this will remain the case. We also recognise that the overwhelming majority of pupils will continue to meet our high standards for conduct and behaviour every single day.
It is essential and right that our focus is on reinforcing excellent routines, relationships and delivering high quality learning and teaching experiences.
Students, therefore, will be expected to abide by the full remit of the behaviour policy- and in light of the changes outlined above, please familiarise yourself with the new addendum, which reiterates and reinforces the protective measures and health and safety expectations. This also includes the continued operation of detentions and internal exclusion. This can be found on our school website.
Given the time already missed, we cannot allow individual pupils to risk any further disruption to learning.
However, we also fully understand and appreciate that a great many pupils will have faced a diverse range of personal, social and emotional challenges during this time. And we are committed to providing the right support for all our students.
Our policies, approach and curriculum in the first term, and beyond, will have an explicit and consistent focus on well-being, positive relationships, and clear routines to ensure that students are able to access the support they need and re-integrate positively back into school and continue their learning.
Parent and carer access to the school site
In accordance with the guidance above, we will need to carefully control visitors to the school site.
Whilst we continue to highly value the relationship and communication between home and school, parents or carers are not permitted on school site unless there is an emergency and you have been contacted. Where contact is needed between school and home, this will be through Microsoft teams or a telephone consultation.
Please see the plan below for returning back to school in September. There is a deliberate staggered start to school to give us the time and space to reintegrate our year groups, by providing them with the opportunity to engage in a comprehensive induction programme that is focused on student well-being, re-establishing positive routines and practices to promote good hygiene and social distancing. In addition, we will need students to familiarise themselves with the new layout of the school, in anticipation of the completion (in the summer) of the new Wilson Block.
In the days that your child is not attending school (see above) they are expected to participate in Remote Learning at home- ‘live lessons’ via Microsoft teams (schedule to be confirmed and issued on Tuesday 1st September). Many of our students have already been engaging with live lessons, however, as part of our induction process we will be providing additional training and guidance for all students (particularly with Year 7 and 12) on how to access and effectively use Microsoft teams, to ensure maximum engagement.
We appreciate that you may still have further questions, however, we anticipate that many of these will be addressed during our rigorous induction process in September, and as such we ask you to reserve these questions until after this has taken place.
We would like to thank you for taking the time to read the information contained in this letter and thank you for your continued support. We are very much looking forward to welcoming back our students to the school and we eagerly look forward to seeing them all in September.