School Reopening Letter

School Reopening Letter

 

Dear Parents and Carers

 

Re: Full opening of the school from September 2020

 

As promised, please find herewith a detailed letter for your child's return to Heathfield school in September. This letter is for you and your child/children, so that everyone is clear about what will happen when we reopen when we welcome students back. This is all new for all of us and I know that you will bear with us whilst we settle the school and adjust to a very different September return. We hope that we have thought of everything but as I am sure you appreciate the guidance can change overnight, so there may be glitches in the first instance and I would really appreciate any helpful feedback. We, as the Heathfield Community are very much in this together. Please go through this letter with your child so they feel confident and happy about coming back, we have missed you all very much.

Following guidance released by the government, outlining how schools should respond to the pandemic, whilst fully opening from September, we have been developing our plans and would like to share the following information with you.

 

Social distancing

 

The government guidance acknowledges that social distancing within a school environment is very difficult and in classrooms with a full complement of students is impossible. In order to minimise student interaction, whilst still delivering a full curriculum, we will wherever possible utilise the idea of year group 'bubbles'. We will work to minimise the interaction of students between year groups whilst enabling students to access their full timetable of lessons. Mixing between year groups will be minimised to reduce the chances of transmission of Covid-19 across years.

 

Face coverings

 

The government guidance which was released on the 26 August relating to facial coverings states that students are only required to wear a face covering where a school was within a local lockdown area, due to an increase in community transmission of Covid 19. Under normal circumstances the government are leaving decisions around the wearing of facial coverings to individual schools. We are currently not requiring the wearing of facial coverings by staff or students, however, should a student or member of staff wish to wear a facial covering they would be welcome to do so. The government does not recommend the wearing of facial coverings within classrooms.

Locations where a facial covering would be more appropriate, but still a choice, would be a corridor which has little ventilation. Government guidance recommends that a facial covering is kept within a resealable plastic bag or container between uses and that if it becomes wet it should be replaced. Please make sure your child knows how to put a face covering on and off safely.

 

Cleaning and hand sanitising

 

We have increased the frequency of cleaning across the school and in particular commonly touched surfaces such as hand rails and door handles. Students will be asked to wash their hands frequently throughout the day using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. There will also be a bottle of hand sanitiser in classrooms for students to use upon entry, in addition to hand washing. We would recommend that where possible students have their own small bottle of sanitiser for their own personal use. Each year group will be assigned a toilet block for their primary use.

 

Timings of the day

 

Due to the number of students arriving at school by bus, a staggered start will not be practical so the school day will follow the usual timings with a 9.00am start for tutor time and a 3.30pm finish. We have however built in some extra time into our last lesson so that we can slightly stagger the exit times for students to relieve congestion at the end of the day.

Year 7 and 8 will walk with their teachers to their exit gate at 3.20pm, Year 9 at 3.25pm and Years 10 and 11 will move to their exit at 3.30pm. This will not change bus timings. We have added additional circulation time between lessons so that there are increased opportunities for students to wash their hands between lessons in addition to break and lunch times. We would encourage students to bring a snack and a drink for break as we will not be serving food at this time. 

The first day of term for Years 7, 10 and 11 will be Monday 7th September. Year 7 will have a day of induction activities and all students will be briefed about the measures put in place to minimise risks for all. Years 8 and 9 will start school on Tuesday 8th September and will also receive a thorough briefing on the measures in place.

 

Arrival and Exit

 

Students are requested to walk or cycle to school wherever possible, and parents are asked to not congregate on site.

Each year group has been allocated a different entrance/exit so that different year groups do not mix on entry and exit. These entrances will be staffed and clearly signed to help students find their way.

 

  • Year 11- SPACE entrance through the hard play area.
  • Year 10 - Gate between the Sports Hall and the hard play area.
  • Year 9 - Gate next to the Humanities building.
  • Year 8 - Gate next to the DT rooms.
  • Year 7 - Science Corridor.

 

Teachers wherever possible will escort their classes to the front of the school at the end of the day and students will exit using their allocated gate.

Students should arrive as close to school start time as possible to reduce the amount of interaction before the day begins. A message from the local Co-op is that only 10 customers are allowed in the shop at any time, with face coverings where appropriate. If your child is purchasing lunch items on a morning, please encourage them to leave enough time to do this so that they are not late for school.

 

One way systems, lockers and equipment

 

In order to minimise the number of students in particular corridors we have introduced a number of one-way routes through our main buildings and corridors. We understand that this may be inconvenient and will take some getting used to, but is a worthwhile sacrifice to increase the safety of our school community.

Lockers will not be in use for the time being until further notice and students will be issued with a pack of stationery for their personal use, including: pen, pencil, ruler, mini whiteboard and marker. Students are of course welcome to bring additional stationery items, however we ask that these are not shared and we will not be able to loan any items of stationery ourselves.

Desks wherever possible will be arranged in a forward-facing manner towards the teacher and board.

 

Lunch times and food ordering

 

Please see the letters below for guidance on the new pre-payment system.

Year 7 New Meal Ordering System Letter
Year 8-11 New Meal Ordering System Letter
Parent Guide to Ordering Meals
Parent Guide to Making Payments

Students will be asked to socialise within year groups and to only use the recreation areas allocated to their year group. We understand that this may reduce students ability to socialise with friends from other year groups within school, which is something that we would prefer not to ask, however we hope that students and parents/carers understand that this is again a measure that schools are using to try to keep school as safe as possible during a pandemic.

 

Visiting school

 

We ask that in person visits to school are kept to an absolute minimum. Any visit will need to be booked in advance so that an appropriate room can be allocated, the staff required notified and cleaning before and after the meeting will need to be carried out. This is the reason that the majority of meetings will be virtual or by telephone. Please do not visit without an appointment, as you will be asked to leave and call us to book a time and date.

 

Uniform and changing for PE/Dance

 

Students should wear full school uniform each day and students should bring their PE and Dance kit on the appropriate days. Changing for PE and Dance will happen in the usual way for the lesson with normal uniform being worn before and after these lessons. For more information regarding our uniform, please see the policies section of our website.

 

Behaviour

 

We will celebrate and recognise positive behaviours in the usual ways at Heathfield School with ePraise points being awarded across all aspects of school life.

As we are sure you will also appreciate, it is essential that good discipline is maintained when students are operating in this new year group 'bubble' context and that cooperation with the new measures in place to keep us all safe will be essential. We understand that some members of our school community, young and old, may be anxious at the idea of returning to school full time and it is particularly important, at this uncertain time that everyone demonstrates positive behaviour which will support a calm and safe environment conducive to successful teaching and learning.

Students will be supported to demonstrate this positive behaviour, but will also be expected to take responsibility for their actions when we return to school. However anyone who puts the safety of another member of our community at risk by not following government guidelines will be at risk of being sent home.

 

Attendance

 

The government has indicated that from September 2020 student attendance at school will be mandatory and the usual rules on attendance will apply, including the duty of parents to ensure that school age children attend regularly. School is also required to record attendance and follow up absences. In addition the government has indicated that it will expect schools to issue sanctions in line with local authority guidance on attendance in the usual way. This policy has recently been in the news and we will adjust our working to reflect any subsequent changes in government or local authority policy.

 

Parents evenings

 

Whilst the current social distancing guidelines are in place we will be unable to run parents or tutor evenings in the usual way. We are considering a range of possible alternatives and will update you later in the autumn term.

 

Remote learning

 

We sincerely hope that we do not have a further lockdown, either locally or nationally, however we will be working this term to register more students onto our Microsoft Teams home learning platform, which worked well for Year 10 during their time away from school. We will also continue to use ePraise to set homework online.

 

Year 7s First Morning

 

We really look forward to welcoming our new Year 7s, particularly because we could not run the usual transition process. Year 7 will spend their first day with their tutor and engage in a range of induction activities. We know that the first morning drop off can be a mixture of excitement and a few nerves! We will therefore have staff outside of school ready to welcome Year 7 who will escort them into the sports hall, where their tutors will be waiting to welcome them.

 

Support and Welfare

 

Thank you for letting us know about your lockdown experiences via the on line questionnaire, your child's tutor will have this information so that they can support your child on their return. For new Year 7s and anyone who didn't have an opportunity to complete the questionnaire previously, please pass on any information you feel is relevant to your child's tutor.

For the first week we are extending registration into period 1 to give students time to process the experience of lockdown and the return to school with their tutors. Activities such as a wellbeing session and what the 'Heathfield Way' means for students and their learning will take place.

 

School transport

 

As a school we do not coordinate school transport ourselves. If you have any questions regarding school transport they have a webpage and their contact number is 0300 123 2224. Health and Safety Ensuring the health and safety of all members of our school community is of the highest importance and risk assessments have been carried out in line with government guidance. These will be on our website before the start of term.

We are using a range of measures, many outlined above, to minimise the risk within our school, however these measures will only be effective if everyone works together during this challenging time. If any student displays symptoms of Covid 19 during their time in school they will be isolated in an identified area and parents/carers will be contacted immediately to collect the student. Students must be kept at home if they or a member of your household has Covid 19 symptoms. Please follow government guidance with regard to quarantine periods and testing.

We understand that you may have questions that are not answered within this letter. Please do send any queries to our askheathfield@heathfieldcommunityschool.co.uk address and we will do our best to answer them and if the question is a common one we will aim to share with a frequently asked questions area on our website.

Enjoy the remaining week of the holidays and we are excited about seeing everyone in smart uniform, ready for a fresh challenge and to take all of the opportunities offered in every subject.

#itscooltolearn
Yours sincerely

Ian Grant
Acting Head

 

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