The government has published guidance to support schools in planning for reopening in September. You can read their summary for parents here. The guidance states that schools now need to minimise the points of contact that could allow infections to spread, no longer primarily relying on enforcing social distancing. It details a range of ways in which schools can achieve this, allowing a high degree of flexibility for schools to adapt these measures to their own context.
Our main aim is to reduce movement around the school site, minimising contacts that students have with different groups, by keeping students within their own year group for the vast majority of their time in school. To achieve this, we have taken the following measures:
Adapt the school timetable so that teaching rooms are clustered by Year group ‘Zones’ wherever possible, with staff coming to the rooms. Some specialist teaching rooms will still need to sit outside of these ‘Zones’ but the vast majority of room changes will only require students to move small distances without mixing with other Year groups. To minimise disruption to the curriculum we have not made any changes to teaching groups.
Ensure students enter the site safely. They can enter the site via the Marks Road gate if travelling from the direction of Peel Common, or via a new access route through the grounds of Baycroft School. They will not be able to enter through the Main Gate, in order to ensure a safe arrival for Baycroft pupils.
Avoid students gathering in groups outside their Year groups at the start of the day. They should not be on the school site until 8:35am. On arrival they will need to move straight to the room for their Period 1 lesson. Morning registration will take place at the 8.45 a.m., before the start of Period 1 (8.50 a.m.)
Use one-way systems to ensure areas do not become overcrowded when students do need to move.
Restrict students to a Year group ‘Zone’ at break and lunchtimes. Every student will be provided with a colour coded lanyard to identify their Year group, to ensure these ‘Zones’ can be appropriately supervised. Lunchtime timings will be staggered to ensure students can access the catering facilities more easily. Canteen food outlets will only be available at lunchtime and will be a limited ‘grab and go’ menu of hot food to ensure students can be quickly served.
Stagger Key Stage 3 and 4 dismissal times at the end of the day. Years 7 and 10 will dismissed at 3.05 p.m. and Years 8,9 and 11 at 3.10 p.m. to make leaving the site easier.
In addition, we will implement robust hygiene measures to minimise the risk of any spread of infection, including:
All lessons ending with a 5 minute ‘clean down and tidy up’ routine, supported by all necessary hygiene products.
A rolling cleaning programme in place across the school during the day.
A full clean down at the end of each day and use of an electrostatic sanitisation program for further protection. You can see a video explaining how we are using this program by clicking here
Changes made to the layout of teaching rooms to ensure they comply with the guidance.
Students will need to bring and use their own equipment, and not share this with others or be able to borrow them from teachers. Our expectations on this are unchanged, all students are expected to have a pencil case with them containing pens (blue or black), pencils, ruler (15cm or 30cm), rubber, sharpener, compass and protractor. Highlighters are optional but useful to have. Calculators are also optional but advisable for KS3. They are essential for KS4 and can be purchased from the Maths department if necessary.
Hand sanitisers will be available in every room and these will be routinely used by staff and students. Students may also find it useful to carry their own hand sanitiser. Alcohol-free hand sanitiser is also available, please let us know if your child requires this.
If a child in school has Covid-19 symptoms, they will have to be taken home straight away, and staff waiting with them will have to wear protective equipment. Please ensure we have up to date emergency contact details for your child, and contact school reception if there have been any changes. We have a small number of testing kits to give to parents where it will be difficult for them to access a testing site. Students must not attend school if they have any Covid-19 symptoms. More information from the NHS on symptoms can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/
If there are two confirmed cases within 14 days, or a rise in absences because of Covid-like symptoms, this could be counted as an outbreak. Mobile testing units are likely to be sent to schools that have an outbreak. An outbreak could mean other students in a Year group being sent home. The guidance says whole-school closures "will not generally be necessary". We will have a plan in place for these eventualities and for the possibility of a local lockdown.
All of these measures are supported by a Risk Assessment, which has been approved by School Governors and is available here. This will be reviewed regularly to ensure it is working for staff and students, and of course may need to change in response to any revisions to government guidance. These measures are all temporary, and need to be in place whilst the government guidance remains in force. We do not have any date for how long this will be, but will keep parents updated as soon as we are aware of any changes.
Nationwide, the government is not recommending face coverings are necessary in education settings generally because a system of control, applicable to all education environments, provides additional mitigating measures. However, Headteachers do have the discretion to require the wearing of face coverings as an additional measure.
Therefore, from Monday 14th September all students will be asked to wear face coverings in two circumstances:
When moving between lessons and to break and lunchtime, because these are points in the school day when distancing is more difficult for students. Their use remains optional during breaks and lunchtimes (unless queueing for food) as distancing is much easier at these times within their year group zones.
When arriving at and leaving the school site because, despite being outside, these are times when all students will be briefly in contact with significant numbers of students from other year groups. We would also encourage their use on the journey to and from school.
All students will need to bring a face covering with them from Monday 14 September, and a plastic bag to hygienically store them when not in use. Hand sanitiser continues to be provided in all classrooms and around the school site. However, given the need to sanitise hands when putting on and removing face coverings, it will be beneficial for all students to carry their own hand sanitiser.
Face coverings must be used appropriately, covering the nose and mouth. They can be plain or patterned but must not display any offensive images or designs. Scarves and bandanas will not be appropriate as they do not fit securely round the side of the face and are harder to store hygienically when not in use. A small number of disposable masks will be available to give to students without face coverings, but we hope and expect that all students will bring their own.
We continue to ask that students do not wear face coverings in lessons due to the negative impact this will have on communication. Should you wish your child to wear a face covering during lessons, please contact your child’s Head of Year so this can be discussed and appropriately planned for.
You should also contact your child’s Head of Year if you believe your child qualifies for exemption from wearing a face covering. Exemption might apply to those who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, or if speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate.
We expect all students to be in full school uniform We are aware of supply issues with some items of uniform, please be reassured we will be flexible whilst these short-term issues are being resolved. Details on uniform can be found on the school website here. Please note government guidance states “Uniforms do not need to be cleaned any more often than usual, or in any different way to normal due to coronavirus”. If you have any questions about uniform, please contact your child’s tutor before they return to school.
The only exception is for PE where different arrangements are required to facilitate safe use of changing rooms. On days where students have PE Periods 1 & 2 they will be permitted to come into school in their PE kit. They must be in full Crofton PE kit, this will be monitored by the PE team. Students will then change into their normal uniform when the lesson is complete. If students have PE Period 5 they will be allowed to leave school in their PE kit.
We will of course keep these safety measures under constant review to ensure they are effective, and may also need to respond to any changes in government guidance. Should we need to make any significant adjustments, we will inform parents and students as soon as possible.
We are confident these measures will allow students to get back into school routines quickly and safely, catch up on any work missed, and enjoy being with their friends.
We hope and expect the school will continue to remain fully open, as I am sure you do. However, we do need to plan for the possibility of further closures and I hope you will find the following summary useful for your own information and reassurance.
In circumstances requiring remote education we would provide the majority via Microsoft Teams. Parent and student feedback identified this as the most effective aspect of our home learning provision before the summer. We are currently working with staff and students to ensure this can be used even more effectively across the curriculum in the event of a closure. Students can access it via PC, laptop or mobile devices. In some circumstances we may also support this with work set on Satchel:One. If your child is having any difficulty accessing either of these platforms at home please contact firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible so that we can help with this.
A closure could happen under a number of different circumstances. Government guidance could change, and unforeseen circumstances may arise. However, based on our current knowledge, the likely scenarios can be summarised as follows:
Partial Closure due to one or more students testing positive for Covid 19: the extent of this closure would be directed to us by the local Public Health England Health Protection Team, once we have provided information about students who had ‘close contact’ with those students testing positive. If this only involved a small number of additional students needing to self-isolate for 14 days we would provide remote learning for them via the Satchel: One platform. However, should a whole year group be required to self-isolate then we would move to remote education via Teams for the majority of lessons, following the usual school timetable. This would also apply should we needed to implement a partial closure by year group due to staff absence.
Closures centrally directed by Government: these would be for whole year groups, and therefore remote education via Teams will be used for the majority of lessons, following the usual school timetable. Government guidance states this type of closure would be undertaken in a ‘tiered’ approach. Tier 1 would be a ‘local lockdown’, where schools would remain fully open under the same measures currently in place at Crofton. For Tier 2, year groups would be in school on a two week rota basis; two weeks in school as normal then two weeks at home remotely educated. The school would choose which year groups, and when, depending on the stage of the year. At Tier 3 the government would direct which year groups would remain in school, and Tier 4 would be a full closure. For Tiers 2 to 4 the school would remain open for vulnerable students and children of Critical Workers as with previous closures. More detail on the different ‘Tiers’ can be found here.
Should it be necessary to activate any of these contingency plans we would contact parents directly as soon as possible.
At present there is no indication these plans will be required, but I hope you will find it reassuring to know plans are in place should the need arise in the future.