Dear Parent/Guardian

I hope that you and your family are well and that your child is enjoying a restful summer.

We are really looking forward to welcoming your child to the school in a few days’ time.

I am writing to confirm arrangements for the start of the new academic year. Please read the information on the next few pages carefully.

School Opening for the new Academic Year

Following the summer holidays, school will re-open on the following days.

  • New Year 7s will have Summer School during week commencing Monday 23rd August.
  • All pupils in Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 will return to school as follows on Wednesday 1st September:
  • Year 7 – 8.10am
  • Year 11 – 9.30am
  • Year 10 – 10.00am
  • Year 9 – 10.30am
  • Year 8 – 11.00am

School timings will be as follows:

  • On Monday till Thursday, school will run from 8.20am till 3.10pm. Intervention classes will start at 3.10pm for identified pupils and groups.
  • On Friday, school will run from 8.20am till 12.05pm. Intervention classes will start at 12.05pm for identified pupils and groups.

 

COVID arrangements from September

As a result of the successful vaccination programme, the latest Government guidance means that many of the restrictions that applied last year will no longer be in place.  However, the school will continue to take steps to minimise the risk of infection.   This includes the following:

  • Rapid testing will be offered to all pupils before they return to school. Please read more details below.
  • There will be increased ventilation in classrooms and enhanced cleaning, including regular disinfection of frequently touched surfaces.
  • Pupils will be encouraged to wash hands and use sanitiser regularly.
  • Pupils will be allowed to wear a face covering in school.
  • If infection rates rise, the school may need to reintroduce restrictions in line with any further government guidance or local Public Health advice.

 

Pupils who test positive for COVID-19

  • Pupils who have one of the 3 main symptoms (persistent cough, high temperature, loss or change of taste/smell) must isolate at home and get a PCR test immediately. 
  • The result of the test should be shared with the school.
  • If a pupil tests positive, they will isolate in line with guidance from NHS Test and Trace.
  • Contact tracing will now be completed by NHS Test and Trace rather than the school.
  • Pupils identified as close contacts by NHS Test and Trace will not isolate and will continue to attend school as long as they have no symptoms. Instead of isolating, they will be encouraged to take a PCR test.  They will not need to isolate while waiting for the result (as long as they have no symptoms).

COVID-19 Testing in Schools

The Government has asked schools to offer all pupils two LFD tests when they return to lessons.

The tests will be carried out by the pupils themselves in school under the supervision of trained school staff. The results are available within 30 minutes and will be shared directly with participating pupils and their parents.  Testing is not mandatory, but I would strongly encourage all pupils to take part in order to help protect all of our learners, staff and families. Along with the other protective measures we are taking, these tests will help pupils to remain in school safely.

We will be testing all participating pupils twice. The first test will be on Thursday 26th August. The second test will be on Tuesday 31st August.  

If you are happy for your child to be tested, please complete the consent form
https://bit.ly/SB-SEC-190821-PCR by Monday 23rd August.

The privacy notice relating to information collected and retained as part of testing is available on the school website.

Ongoing Home Testing (Twice a Week)

After taking two tests in school at the start of term, the Government has asked that pupils continue with twice-weekly testing at home until at least the end of September.  At this point, the Government will review the situation and provide additional guidance.

Pupils who agree to home testing will be provided with testing kits for September.

Other Guidance

Please read the guidance on the next few pages and ensure that your child follows each of these expectations.  We will share more information with your child when they start school.

We really appreciate your support with this.  If you have any concerns or queries, or need support in any way, please contact the school.

Yours faithfully,

Gaetano Ferrante
Principal
Starbank School (Secondary)     

Important Guidance

Term Dates 2021-2022, Attendance and Punctuality

Please find enclosed a copy of the term dates for the new academic year.

Last year, many pupils missed a lot of learning due to the disruption caused by COVID-19.  As a result, pupils are behind in their studies.  The school has put in place plans to support all pupils to catch-up on missed learning. To support this effort, it is vital that all pupils aim for 100% attendance this year.  Pupils who attend school fully will receive additional rewards this year.

The school is not allowed to authorise any trips abroad during term time unless there are exceptional (emergency) circumstances specifically for the pupil. A trip abroad during term time will cause considerable harm to learning and may result in a penalty notice.  Thank you for your support with this.

Lateness to school is not acceptable as punctuality is an important expectation in life and lateness hurts learning.  Pupils arriving late to school without a valid reason will receive a detention.

Online Lessons

From September, all pupils are expected to be in school and there will be no online lessons.

  • However, if a pupil has tested positive and is isolating at home, they will be invited to lessons online.
  • In such circumstances, pupils will be taught online using Microsoft Teams by their normal teacher in their normal class groupings following their usual timetable. Pupils will be given training on this.

School Uniform

It is important to wear the correct uniform at all times. 

Must wear their full uniform at all times, including on the day when they have PE lessons.

  • Must only wear school-approved PE ‘hoodies’. All other hoodies must be removed on entering school.
  • Must wear plain, black shoes at all times. Trainers are not permitted.
  • Are not permitted to wear jewellery (unless otherwise agreed on grounds of faith) or smart watches.

All branded uniform items are available from the Stevenson website https://www.stevensons.co.uk/.

Parent Pay

If you have not done so, please log in and register as soon as possible https://www.parentpay.com/parent-account-faqs/#sectionactivate.  If you need any help logging in, please contact the school admin team.

Pupil ID Badge

From September, all pupils will be provided with a Pupil ID badge.  

  • Pupils must bring their ID badge to school each day.
  • The ID badge will be needed by pupils to confirm their identity, move around the building
  • Pupils must not damage, deface or lose their ID badge.

 

Good Behaviour

The school expects all pupils to behave well at all times, treat others with respect and ensure that they do not disrupt the learning of other pupils.

If a pupil uses foul or abusive language, is rude to members of staff or repeatedly disrupts lessons, the school will contact parents and ask that they complete a detention after school on the same day.  They may also be withdrawn from lessons and asked to learn separately from their classmates.

Recently, there have been concerns across the country about safety in schools (particularly with respect to knives and e-cigarettes).  To ensure the safety and wellbeing of all of our pupils and members of staff, any pupil found to have brought an item into school which could cause harm to others will face a permanent exclusion.  Please also note that high-energy drinks must not be brought into school.

Mobile Phones and Wellbeing

The school does not allow pupils to bring a mobile phone into school, unless there is an exceptional reason which is agreed in advance.   This is an important rule because having mobile phones in school often leads to considerable harm to welfare and disruption to learning. 

Pupils who bring a mobile phone into school without permission face serious consequences including being withdrawn from lessons. 

In addition, we have also seen that a few of our pupils are online at night when they should be asleep. This is causing tiredness in lessons and harm caused by unsupervised use of the internet. I would urge all parents to ensure that your child does not take a phone or other device to their bedroom at night.

Safety on the Internet

Each year, a small number of pupils use the internet at home in an unsafe or harmful way.  

Often, this is because parents have not taken steps to ensure that the internet is safe or that their child understands what they are allowed and not allowed to do. Sometimes, parents have wrongly assumed that their child understands the risks or that they are too sensible to put themselves and others at harm.

This puts your child and others at risk of great harm – and can cause a lot of upset and worry.   It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that they are aware of how their child uses the internet (and social networking) at home – and that they use it in a safe manner.  

Please:

  • Discuss the importance of safer internet use with your child.
  • Take steps to make your child is safe on the internet, by:
  • Thinking carefully whether your child is mature enough to have a device of their own.
  • Setting filters so that your child is not exposed to harmful content.
  • Making sure that your child does not have any devices in their bedroom overnight.
  • Only allowing your child to use the internet whilst under supervision.
  • Going through the rules about when and how your child may use the internet.
  • Contacting the school if you need advice and support in making the internet at home safer.

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