5th March 2021
Information for Students, Parents and Carers
On March 3rd, 2021, the Welsh Government (WG) made an announcement about plans for a return to school from Monday March 15th. If positive progress continues to be made with reducing the transmission of the coronavirus, it remains the intention for all schools in Wales to open fully to every year group after the Easter break on Monday, April 12th.
The guidance received set out expectations that from Monday, March 15th secondary schools should provide a provision for:
· vulnerable learners and critical worker’s children through a ‘Hub’ provision
· Children undertaking essential exams or assessments
· Children in years 11 and 13
The guidance also stated secondary schools may also provide a provision for:
· Children in years 10 and 12.
· Children in years 7, 8 and 9 with the opportunity of a ‘check-in’ with staff
Such guidance is very clear that these two weeks before Easter are not intended as a full return to school but we certainly recognise the importance of welcoming back everyone, students and staff. To do so safely we need to follow all regulations and guidance but we have very positive experiences of doing this from the Summer and Autumn last year.
Different plans and alternatives have been discussed with staff and school governors and I can confirm the following arrangements for the two weeks beginning Monday, March 15th:
For children in Years 10, 11, 12 and 13
All children in Years 10, 11, 12 and 13 should attend school every day from March 15th to Friday, March 26th. Everyone in these year groups will:
· be able to ‘check-in’ with staff and spend time with friendship groups
· attend all lessons on their timetable, taught by all their subject teachers
· continue with the same times of day and lessons. This means morning registration starting at 8.30am and the day ending by 2.45pm
For children in Years 9, 8 and 7
All children in Year 9 should attend school on Tuesday, March 16th and Tuesday, March 23rd
All children in Year 8 should attend school on Wednesday, March 17th and Wednesday, March 24th
All children in Year 7 should attend school on Thursday, March 18th and Thursday, March 25th
On the days specified for each year group, everyone attending will:
· be able to ‘check-in’ with staff and spend time with friendship groups.
· spend time with each subject teacher, providing the opportunity to discuss experiences of ‘home learning’ and establish what is best taught after the Easter break
· be able to work with the support staff who are familiar with each individual child
continue with the same times of the day. This means morning registration starting at 8.30am and the day ending by 2.45pm
· be based in the Lower Block to limit contacts between year groups
Expectations related to COVID-19
Whilst it is wonderful to be welcoming children from all year groups back into school, this is clearly not a full return under normal conditions. In order that everyone can attend school safely, we will be expecting all of the protocols that we had in place before Christmas to be followed in addition to changes to the wearing of face coverings. These include:
· Children in different Year groups or ‘contact’ groups keeping to the designated areas before school, at break and lunchtime
· Children maintaining a safe distance wherever possible between themselves and staff
· Expectations for high levels of personal hygiene remain with frequent opportunity to wash or sanitise hands
In terms of face coverings:
· Face coverings should be worn in all buildings, including classrooms where social distancing cannot be maintained. The exception is at mealtimes, and when children are outside
· Frequent putting on and removals of face coverings are not recommended as this can risk contaminating hands and face. If children are outside for a short period it may be easier to keep face coverings on.
· Children will not be required to wear face coverings when running around / playing games.
· Face coverings should continue to be worn by children when travelling on dedicated school transport.
· Visitors to the school should use a face covering, including parents / carers
Staff have been provided with disposable surgical face masks (WHO recommended type IIR Surgical Masks) and reusable, single use face coverings can be provided for all children
Single use face coverings should be disposed of safely in lidded bins available around the school
Staff and learners may have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering if (for example):
· they are not able to put on or to wear a face covering because of a physical or mental illness, or because of a condition or impairment;
· they are accompanying somebody who relies on lip reading where they need to communicate;
· they are escaping from a threat or danger and don’t have a face covering.
Face coverings are not a replacement for far more effective measures such as social
distancing and hand hygiene.
This will run as normal each day and a reminder that face coverings should continue to be worn by all children when travelling on dedicated school transport.
The school canteen will be open as normal at break and lunchtime. At present there will not be a service pre-school when children arrive each morning.
Lateral Flow Tests
All staff now have the option of participating in twice weekly lateral flow tests to keep everyone in the school community safe. From March 15th there will also be an opportunity for children in Years 10, 11, 12 and 13 to also undertake twice weekly lateral flow testing in the home context. Further information and detailed guidance on this will follow as soon as this is made available by Welsh Government.
Home learning will continue for children in Years 7, 8 and 9 on the days they do not attend school. However, the present timetable will need to change as it cannot operate with staff now teaching classes ‘face-to-face’ in school. As such, for the two weeks before Easter, children will follow a home learning timetable which is the same as the lessons they would follow if they were in school. This will place a different demand on them and as such, they are only required to ‘attend’ lessons 1 to 4 when at home.
More specific details about the lessons each day will be confirmed with you before Friday, March 12th.
It will be expected that all children will attend school on their allocated days. Only self-isolating learners that are unable to attend school due to shielding, close contact with a confirmed case, or a COVID diagnosis will be provided with home learning resources at those times.
The application process and provision for the children of critical workers and those most vulnerable will continue whilst they are not able to attend on designated days.
There will be a more detailed operational plan available on the school website shortly. This will include specific information and a reminder of the designated outside spaces for each year/contact group, one-way systems and entrance/exit points to rooms and buildings.
I am sure you appreciate there has been a great deal of information to consider in order to plan the provision for these two weeks before Easter. We are very much looking forward to meeting all the children again and working with them in a more familiar way. I believe this plan gives the best opportunity for all our children in the present circumstances.
Thank you for your support and please contact us at school if you need any further information, or to discuss any matter in more detail.