We are about to reach the end of the academic year and what a year it has been! No-one in September could have predicted the challenges we would all face during 2020. I would like to thank you for your continued support during this time; we know that it has not been easy home schooling but our community has shown strength and togetherness which has allowed us to provide continued education.
Throughout this period we have been extremely proud of our students; they have all adapted really well to the changes, and have shown great commitment, resilience and determination. We would, of course, have preferred to have had them in the classroom but we know they have all tried their best during this time and that is all we can ask for.
What will re-opening in September look like?
As you are aware from our last correspondence all schools have received guidance from the government to inform their planning for September opening. The guidance released from the government can be found here.
We have spent considerable time planning how we would best implement this guidance to meet the needs of our community. As has been the case throughout this time the safety and wellbeing of our staff and students is paramount and remains at the heart of any decisions and plans. I feel it is important to note that every setting is different and will consequently come up with a different solution to the challenges posed by reopening. Having worked closely with our Trust, the Local Authority (LA) and the unions it is apparent there is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Our plans reflect our unique context and the constraints of our academy site.
Our guiding principles have been to:
- Keep our whole community as safe as possible through robust safety measures
- Foster our culture of ‘excellence, kindness and community’
- Deliver the curriculum in its entirety, keeping the breadth and depth of what we had planned
- Ensuring students are as well prepared as they can be for any future examinations across their full complement of subjects
- Re-establishing the normal running of the academy as far as possible.
As part of our planning we have carried out a new risk assessment based on the guidance released by the government. This risk assessment has now been approved in principle by our Board of Trustees, however it is subject to a further audit in August. This second step is necessary to ensure we take into account any changes to our circumstances, new or updated government guidance or any localised infection control measures required in response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
It is our intention to write again during the summer to keep you updated, reassure and remind you of our plans but we thought it would be helpful for to have as much information as possible prior to the summer break. A summary of our plans can be defined as follows:
- All students to follow a full curriculum including all subjects
- Students to operate in distinct year group bubbles
- Bubbles to have separate entrances and exits onto site to reduce the contact at the start of the day
- Year 7, 8 and 9 to remain in zones and classrooms throughout the day
- Year 10, 11, 12 and 13 to move around to classroom spaces so examination subjects can continue in technical spaces where required
- Bubbles to be kept apart and contacts between groups minimised by reducing the movement around site
- Strong hygiene procedures to be followed at all times and social distancing to be observed wherever possible.
To ensure the safety of all students and staff on site please can I ask that you complete our September return survey as soon as possible so we can put the relevant support and care in place where needed in line with the government guidance around shielding and vulnerable groups. We also want to ensure we have an accurate picture of how students will travel to school so we can have plans in place as required.
Free school meals during the summer holiday
As previously mentioned, the government has announced that those currently eligible and in receipt of the free school meals scheme will continue to receive this over the summer holiday. In line with this guidance, a single e-voucher from our supplier Sodexo will be provided to cover the period 20 July to 28 August 2020.
As you can imagine there has been a lot to consider and we have tried to plan for all eventualities as far as possible. The guidance document attached to this letter will hopefully give a comprehensive overview of our intentions moving forward.
I will be in contact over the summer and prior to the start of the academic year to ensure you receive any required updates in a timely manner. Should there be any further questions please could I ask that they are submitted here.
I look forward to welcoming your children safely back onto site in the new term and I hope we can get back to some sense of normality moving forwards with no further time lost. I wish you all an enjoyable, restful and safe summer with your families.