Arrangements For The New Term
Dear Parents & Carers,
I hope you and your families have been safe and well since my last update. We are very much looking forward to welcoming the children back and have gone to considerable lengths to make school as safe as possible. I hope you will find this letter provides you with some clarity and much useful information to help you prepare your child for their return to school.
Dates for Return
Wednesday 26 August 2020 Year 7 only – Full Induction Day - PE kit is to be worn all day
Thursday 27 August 2020 Year 7 and Year 10 only
Friday 28 August 2020 Year 7, Year 10 and Year 8
Monday 31 August 2020 BANK HOLIDAY
Tuesday 1 September 2020 All Year groups back.
It is crucial that you monitor your child’s health closely. You must not send your child in to school if they are unwell in any way. If they are experiencing a cough, a temperature or loss of taste or smell then you should inform the school immediately even if it is out of hours (email@example.com) and you should arrange a Covid test. We do not propose to inform parents and carers of every suspected case we encounter at school. As you can imagine, there will be a lot of coughs and sniffles as the winter season approaches and we will be quite proactive in our approach. We can assure you however, that if there is a confirmed case at any point, that we will follow all the guidance from the Local Authority and Public Health and keep you promptly and fully informed.
We would like you to check that the contact details we hold for you are up to date. You can do this on Go 4 Schools. It is crucial that we can contact you during the school day, if we need to.
Arrangements for the start of term
The school gates will open at 8.15am but there will be no staggering of arrival time. This is because it was felt this was more likely to cause ‘bunching’ and because some families have children in different year groups who prefer to arrive together. Instead, we will direct students on arrival to their year group zone. Each year group will enter the building by a different entrance. The zones are as follows:
Year 7: English block
Year 8: Maths area
Year 9: Science and Sports Hall (Entrance/Exit Front of school past dining hall)
Year 10: Humanities Area
Year 11: Art, DT, Language and Drama (Entrance/Exit Main Reception)
Students will be released at close of school from 2.55pm onwards.
All students will be expected to either wash hands or sanitise using alcohol spray on arrival and at various points throughout the day. We have had extra sinks installed on the outside walls of the building and every classroom entrance has sanitiser spray. Students will be expected to follow strict rules on respiratory hygiene also: the catch it, bin it, kill it, approach.
Toilet facilities will have to be shared (Year 7,8 and 9 Green toilets; Year 10 and 11 Blue toilets). Cleaners are on duty throughout the day, toilets will be cleaned much more regularly.
The wearing of face coverings will be permitted. There may be times when it is needed, (on public transport to school) and the guidance from the government may change. Please do note though, that students should bring a plastic bag in which to keep a face covering when it is not in use, even if it is of the disposable type. (Disposable surgical masks should go in special waste bins and we do not have those available everywhere.) Students must sanitise their hands after removing a face covering.
Extra arrangements are in place for more regular cleaning of surfaces, toilets facilities, door handles and frequently touched surfaces. However, we are also expecting students will take responsibility for keeping school and each other safe by being willing to wipe down items such as their own chair or I pad, before and after use. This is good hygiene protocol.
Teaching and Learning
Students will be located in year group ‘zones’ for all their lessons. Their social time will also happen in that same zone. External doors to classrooms will be in use where they are present, so a shower proof coat with a hood/umbrella will be useful. We must avoid using the internal corridors wherever possible.
We will be operating a two-week timetable starting on Week 1. This will be on Go 4 Schools. Each day students will get 3 double lessons. In Week 1 these will be lessons 1, 3 and 5 doubled up and in Week 2 these will be lessons 2, 4 and 6 doubled up. This will enable us to minimise movement and reduce the number of contacts in one day. Over the course of two weeks, each student will receive exactly the same amount of teaching in each subject, but in a slightly safer way.
As we move forward into the new term, I anticipate having to make some adjustments and improvements to the model for delivery. You will remember, we had about one week prior to the summer break, to come up with a design that met with government guidance. We already know for example, that on some days, some students might have four lessons of the same subject and then the following week, no lessons of that subject. Our teachers aim to think creatively to make that circumstance into an advantage
Break and Lunch
At lunch times, a reduced meal service will be on offer. We will still be providing a Free School Meal. Menus have not yet been finalised, but we aim to offer a meal deal alongside the usual baguettes, drinks and cookies. Students will not need to pre order. Exactly the same food will be offered to every year group. We aim to make it safer by separating the serving arrangements as follows:
Year 7 Dining hall first sitting
Years 8 Gym (From hot and cold servery trolley)
Year 9 dining hall second sitting
Year 10 ‘Grab and go’ in the ‘Pasta king/Deli’ part of the canteen – Take to Zone
Year 11 Lecture Theatre (From hot and cold servery trolley)
There will be no fingertip payment. Instead, we are introducing a contactless card payment system. Whilst we get that up and running we will administer ‘parent pay’ manually. Please always make sure your Parent Pay account is in credit. Students will not be able to cross ‘zones’ to get to the finance office.
At break times, using the same venues, snacks and drinks will be available to buy. Of course, students can bring packed lunches and snacks, which they will eat in their year group zones.
The use of changing facilities is not permitted under the new guidance. We do however want to continue to deliver ‘distanced’ PE lessons, so we expect students to arrive in their PE kit on the days when PE is on their timetable. Our PE team have a great number of creative ways in which students can still enjoy PE, including exam - based PE.
Please send your child in with all the correct equipment including pens, pencils, rulers rubbers and a few colouring pencils as cross contamination from sharing equipment must be carefully controlled. If your child has a set of inexpensive head phones these will be very useful for them.
All students are well behaved at Woodbrook Vale and we expect that situation to continue. On the rare occasions where a student might make a wrong choice we will be trialling same day detentions from 1 September. This is because we are unable to operate the behaviour policy in its previous format under the new ‘zoning’ restrictions. For any detention above 10 minutes we will make a phone call home. We will be publishing a behaviour addendum to explain this on the school website. I trust we will have your full support in this regard. We will continue to be kind and caring whilst maintaining our high standards. We will keep the behaviour policy under review.
Students should wear full school uniform including tie and blazer EXCEPT on the days when they have PE on their timetable. On PE days they should arrive in their PE kit (they may need a spare pair of trainers if it is a wet/muddy day.)
Some new pieces of uniform will be available at school and financial assistance continues to be available for families experiencing difficulties.
Schooling will be compulsory for everyone according to government guidance. Remote learning will be available if a child is self-isolating, in quarantine, or if a full or partial closure occurs. We will use Google Classroom for homework and for any catch up activities.
If your child has been shielding, either for their own health reasons or for reasons that someone in the family is extremely clinically vulnerable, we have been advised that this will be paused. We will however be willing to talk through your needs and personal circumstances.
SEND and Inclusion
Learning Support will continue with seating plans in lessons designed to allow LSAs to support SEND students in-class whilst being safely distanced. A learning support area will be available in each year zone for 1:1 work.
Room 16 will not be available for students at break and lunch. Instead, a member of support staff will be available in every year zone at lunchtime. We will do everything we can to help them to settle into the new routines.
Breakfast Club and After School Club ‘The Hub’
For the first few weeks, we will not be running Breakfast Club or The Hub. Once the school is running smoothly under the new arrangements, we will look to provide a solution for these vital services within the zones and I will write to you again to share the plans.
New building Works
The good news is that over the summer we have been able to convert two old changing rooms into classrooms and a new changing room block will be arriving at the end of September. This will mean much better facilities both for teaching and eventually for PE. It does mean there are still some building works taking place on campus. These are very carefully fenced off and full risk assessments are in place for contractors and site movements.
Final Points and people to Contact
We know there will be issues that will arise, that we have not planned for, so we do ask you to bear with us and communicate freely and regularly with any worries, problems and concerns. Your child’s tutor is usually your first port of call. You can email them via the office if you do not have their direct email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a concern regarding safeguarding or your child’s wellbeing, we have increased our services in this regard in preparation, so please contact the school with a very brief outline and your concern will be passed on to the correct person. Our safeguarding lead is Mrs Anderson. If you have a SEND or Inclusion concern, the lead is Mrs Moors. If your query relates to teaching and learning or remote learning, the lead is Mr Hayes and if you have a concern regarding the timetable, or subject choices the lead is Mr Hynes.
It only remains for me to wish you all well and send my warmest wishes for a safe and enjoyable new term here at Woodbrook Vale.