I am writing to provide an update on your child’s learning over the next few weeks.
On Monday evening, the Prime Minister announced that schools will start to reopen from Monday 8th March onwards.
Over the next two weeks, pupils will follow their usual timetable from home (online via MS Teams).
The children of key workers and vulnerable learners will continue to attend school.
On Monday 8th March, all pupils in Year 10, Year 11, will return to school. All pupils in Year 7, 8 and 9 will continue with online lessons.
On Tuesday 9th March, Year 7, 8 and 9 will also return to school.
I will write to you again next week to outline the specific arrangements for your child’s return to school, including a reminder of the expectations of all pupils (due to COVID-19).
In the meantime, during their online lessons, please continue to encourage your child to participate fully. In particular, please ensure that they:
- Go to bed on time during school nights and have a good routine for learning, play, reflection and rest.
- Wake up on time, have breakfast, get dressed and are ready to learn by 8.15am each morning.
- Have a break and lunch at the allocated time on their timetable, stepping away from their device.
- Stay focused during their lessons and completes all of the activities given by the teacher.
- Complete all of the homework tasks given to them.
COVID-19 Testing in School
When your child returns to school, they will be offered a ‘lateral flow test’ for COVID-19.
The test will be supervised by trained school staff and there will be minimal disruption to lessons. The test is quick and easy using a swab of the nose and throat. Results are available within 30 minutes and will be shared directly with participating pupils and their parents.
We will be testing all participating pupils three times. After this initial testing, pupils will be provided with two rapid tests to use each week at home. For those students who have provided consent, test 1 will take place on Thursday 4th March for Year 10 and Year 11. Test 1 will take place on Friday 5th March for Year 7, 8 and 9 students. More detail with dates and times will follow on this once we have received your consent.
Along with the other protective measures we are taking, these tests will help pupils to remain in school safely. The test is voluntary, but I would encourage everyone to take it.
Please find additional information about the testing on page 3 of this letter. If you are happy for your child to be tested, please complete the electronic consent form by Tuesday 2nd March.
Please complete the electronic consent form here.
GCSE and BTEC Examinations
As you are aware, the Government has announced that GCSE exams would no longer go ahead this summer. Instead, teachers will be asked to issue grades based on tests completed in school and the exam boards will check that these grades have been issued correctly.
When your child returns to school, they will be asked to complete tests for each subject. Based on the final Ofqual guidance, these tests may be used by your child’s teachers to decide their grade.
The first set of tests are scheduled during week commencing 8th, 15th and potentially 22nd March. The timetable for these assessments will be shared with your child.
Please note that the tests completed in March will not be the final assessments – there will be more tests after Easter so that your child can continue to demonstrate their grade. Your child’s teachers will deliver revision lessons before each test and share information about the assessment so that they can prepare adequately. The aim is to give pupils the best possible chance to demonstrate their learning and maximise their grade.
It is understandable that pupils in exam classes will feel anxious and uncertain about their grades. However, please reassure your child that participating fully in lessons, completing all homework and trying their best in every assessment will help to improve their grade and achieve the best possible result in the summer. We are committed to working as hard as possible to ensure that none of our pupils are disadvantaged by the cancellation of exams.
If your child has borrowed a laptop, please return the device to the school reception office on their first day back at school.
If you have any queries or concerns, or need support in any way, please do not hesitate to contact the school.
Thank you for your ongoing support of the school and our efforts on behalf of your child.
Mr Gaetano Ferrante
Do these tests work?
In validation studies conducted by Oxford University and Public Health England, these tests were shown to be as accurate in identifying a case as a PCR test (99.68% specificity). The tests have lower sensitivity, but they are better at picking up cases when a person has higher viral load, hence the need to test frequently.
What if a pupil tests positive?
Participating staff and pupils who test positive will be informed about their results individually. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be notified. Guidance on safe travel and additional precautions will be provided along with test results.
If you test positive, you will need to self-isolate and follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace.
What happens if the test is negative?
A pupil testing negative will be able to stay in school and continue their learning as normal. A pupil will only be told if they test positive on a ‘lateral flow’ test, so if you do not hear you can assume it was negative. A small number of pupils may need to repeat the test if the first test was invalid or void for some reason.
What if a close contact at school/college tests positive?
A close contact of someone in school/college who has tested positive for COVID-19 will need to self-isolate as per the national guidelines.
What if my child develops symptoms?
This testing programme at school is for people with no symptoms. If your child develops symptoms at any time (such as a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste) they must immediately self-isolate, and book a test by calling 119 (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or 0300 303 2713 (Scotland) or visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.