16 September 2020
Thank you for your continued support in getting all our students back into College safely. All of us are committed to providing the best education possible for your child, while securing the health and safety of our whole College community. Thank you for continuing to follow public health guidelines and encouraging your children to do the same.
You are already aware of the steps we have put in place to ensure the safe return of all students to college. We know that you will be keen to understand the impact that we have had in our first week of the term, and what our plans are to ensure all students catch up with any missed learning, and what will happen if a teacher or student is asked to stay at home over the coming months.
All students in all year groups are back full-time. There are no rota systems in place.
New arrangements for a one-way system, staggered breaks and lunchtimes and additional hygiene procedures have been embedded and are working well.
The College is appointing additional cover supervisors to help deal with possible staffing absence due to staff self-isolating whilst awaiting tests/test results.
The College attendance figure for the first week of term was 96.5% which is 0.5% more than the same period last year.
Figures for all year groups look positive as do the initial figures for our SEN and Pupil Premium students.
Coverage of the Curriculum
The full curriculum is being taught across all year groups with no reduced provision.
Staff are assessing gaps in student knowledge by low-level assessments and quizzes and using these to inform Personal Learning Checklists (PLCs). Teachers will be looking to cover any identified gaps in knowledge and skills within their future planning.
The College is currently finalising plans as to how to use the government’s catch-up funding which will consist of additional tutoring and classes.
Remote Learning March - July 2020
Our provision during lockdown consisted of a blended approach using live lessons, recorded lessons and the OneNote platform.
Our two reporting points during lockdown showed a high level of student engagement. The one-to-one Teams consultations held during lockdown discussed engagement, academic progress, IT provision and health and well-being.
Remote Learning in the Future
We have plans in place for any future full College lockdown, year group lockdown or individuals needing to self-isolate. These plans are based on our successful experience during the last lockdown and consist of providing relevant work for individuals self-isolating and a blended approach for whole year groups (work delivered during their timetabled lessons) if they are at home.
Mental Health and Well-being
As part of our continuing commitment to developing and maintaining our students’ overall well-being, we dedicated a whole day to well-being activities in tutor groups this week.
This was an opportunity for all students to take some time to reflect upon how the previous six extraordinary months may have affected them and those they are close to. The overall purpose of the day was to provide all our young people with some tips and strategies to help them recognise and deal with poor emotional well-being.
Assessment and Exam Board Changes
Ofqual have instructed the exam boards to change some aspects of assessment and content coverage for students in Years 11 and 13. Some exam boards are yet to finalise their arrangements or have changed their decisions several times in the last week as in the case of poetry in AQA English Lit. As we receive further information, we will update parents and students.
Important Information: COVID-19 Symptoms, Self-isolation and Attendance at College
We are aware that parents have been provided with misleading information from a number of sources about the requirements for self-isolation and attendance at College. Please read carefully the information below about the measures in place at the College.
The three main symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
If someone in your household develops one or more of the symptoms above, you must follow the guidance on self-isolation below.
You do not need to self-isolate if you have a sore throat unless you also have one or more of the three main COVID-19 symptoms.
If Someone in your Household Develops Symptoms
If anyone in your household shows any of the three main symptoms of COVID-19, they must self-isolate for 10 days. All other members of the household must self-isolate for 14 days. Students who are self-isolating must not be sent to College. You should arrange a test for anyone who has symptoms. Anyone in the household without symptoms does not require a test but must continue to self-isolate.
If symptomatic individuals receive a negative test result, you may be able to stop self-isolating but if you cannot arrange a test, everyone in the household must continue to self-isolate for the full 10/14-day period, even if symptoms have stopped.
Ensuring that symptomatic individuals and those that have been in close contact with them do not come into College is essential. We are aware that testing capacity is in short supply nationally, but it is vitally important that households self-isolate for 14 days unless a negative test result is received.
If a student develops symptoms in College, they (and any siblings at the College who live at the same address) will be sent home and expected to self-isolate with their household.
We appreciate how frustrating it can be to receive conflicting guidance but the public health requirements for schools to ensure students self-isolate are clear and will be applied by College staff without exception, even if parents have received different advice elsewhere.
Availability of Home Test Kits
Some parents struggling to obtain tests at test centres have been encouraged to request a home test kit from schools. The College has been allocated a total of 10 testing kits for our 1,700+ students and 200+ staff. Regrettably, we cannot therefore make these freely available to all students who are having difficulty booking a test at a testing centre.
In certain exceptional circumstances we may offer a home test kit to a student but please do not contact the College to request one. We hope that if supplies increase in future, we will be able to extend the assistance we can provide to families having difficulty booking a test. We will update parents and carers as soon as the situation changes.
Following World Health Organisation advice, the College strongly recommends that all students and staff wear face coverings when moving around the College, in shared areas such as corridors and on dedicated school transport where maintaining social distancing is more difficult. Face coverings are mandatory on public transport.
We request that all parents and carers support our stance and encourage their children to wear face coverings in line with this advice in order to keep all members of the College community as safe as possible.
Thank you for your support in these challenging times. Please remember to follow both the College’s and public health guidance to keep everyone learning safely.