2nd March 2021
Welcome back to the new term. Last week was a week of big announcements. Information is coming slowly into school and we are working with staff to firm up our plans and procedures to ensure that you have all the information that you need.
Reopening of School
I think we were all really pleased to hear from the Prime Minister that schools will be fully reopening next week and we are excited to welcome all our pupils back.
All students are expected to attend from Monday, 8th March 2021. Schools are, however, permitted to have a phased approach to reopening in order that lateral flow testing can take place. The return dates for pupils are therefore as follows:
Monday 8th March – Key Stage 2, Year 7, Year 10 and Year 11
Tuesday, 9th March – Year 8 and Year 9
This means all pupils will be in school on Tuesday, 9th March 2021. We would like to encourage and support all our pupils to engage with the testing programme as the school fully reopens.
Participating in Mass Rapid Testing
The test is voluntary but everyone is encouraged to take it. The DfE guidance states that students are expected to have a negative test result before returning to face-to-face teaching and learning. We have therefore spent time finalising our plans and our own school staff team will run the tests that need to be administered as part of the Government’s plans. The testing will be carried out using Lateral Flow Devices (LFDs), as per government guidelines. You will be aware that frequent testing of students in schools is no longer planned. Instead, on return to school, students are encouraged to participate in 3 tests on-site, each 3 to 5 days apart, before moving to home-testing. We must have written consent for every student to participate in this programme. If a student arrives for testing and the form has not been completed we will not be able to test them. Students over 16 are allowed to complete the form themselves after discussing the testing with a parent/carer. A student may withdraw consent at any time if they wish to do so. Many of our students have been taking the test which only takes a matter of minutes.
Please read the Privacy Notice enclosed and complete and return the consent form with the student when they return to school. An email will also be sent out which can be signed and returned to the school.
Due to the change in the testing requirements, we are asking that this form be completed by all parents/carers (or students over 16 if preferred) as it also allows for non-consent returns. This will support our administration team in planning the delivery of the tests. Please note that we are asking that parents/carers who have already completed a return to assist our planning before half-term, also complete this form to ensure that our records remain accurate.
If you do not wish for your child to be tested, please still complete the form so that we are aware of your decision.
This also applies for students over the age of 16. Any student, where consent has not been given, will be required to return to school on the same day and time as the rest of their year group. They will be asked to proceed to the classroom where their lessons are normally held. Please note that all returns are recorded. Only students who have given consent will be asked to attend the further two tests that need to take place in school. We will assume that if you have declined to be tested in school, you do not wish to receive home testing kits.
Home testing for students will not start before week beginning Monday, 15th March 2021. Further details will be sent regarding home testing next week. Please note that consent is not needed for home testing.
Staff are currently processing the limited information that has been received in school regarding the requirement for teachers to provide Teacher Assessment Grades (TAGs) this summer. The message to all our students in Years 11 remains the same “KEEP WORKING HARD AND CONTINUE TO PUT 100% EFFORT INTO ALL YOUR LESSONS”. Their outcomes are still very much in their hands. Our principle is to give our students every opportunity to show what they can achieve. We will continually update everyone who is due to take exams this summer as more information becomes available.
Please be assured, pupils are in safe hands, their teachers want the best for them and we are all here to help and support them.
Finally I’d like to share with you that Ofsted visited the school on Wednesday, 3rd February 2021. A copy of the Ofsted report can be downloaded from either of the following links:
The school welcomed their findings which included that safeguarding in the school is effective and that there is a strong culture of safeguarding across the school. The school also received comments about meticulous record keeping and positive and respectful relationships between staff and pupils.
I am mindful that our pupils have again spent a considerable time out of school and I want to take this opportunity to share with you how much we are looking forward to welcoming them back. We are adapting our curriculum at the start of every day to allow them time to reconnect with their friends, peer groups and staff. We are building additional time over the coming weeks for them to have time to talk individually to staff and share their experience of lockdown. If you have any concerns regarding your child at this time, please contact the school, we are more than happy to discuss these with you.