Dear Parents and Carers,
Last week we emailed an update on our plans for August telling you that we were waiting for the final guidance to be published before sending anything home. At this time, we are still waiting for that final guidance, but feel we need to share our plans with you (the latest guidance can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools). We hope that by doing so you will understand that we are doing everything that we can, to ensure everyone’s safety, when school re-starts. The first few days have been covered in a previous email and the timetable is below;
Year 7 – 8:25 – 3:00 on Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th of August
Year 8 – 9:15 – 12:15 on Thursday 27th August
Year 9 – 9:15 – 12:15 on Friday 28th August
Year 10 – 12:00 – 15:00 on Thursday 27th August
Year 11 – 12:00 – 15:00 on Friday 28th August
For these days lunch will only be available for year 7, other yeargroups will get either a morning or afternoon break during which time the canteen will be open.
During this time pupils will be with their form tutors and will go through all relevant information for the upcoming academic year and have opportunity to acclimatise to being back in school. Year 7 pupils will also complete their school induction which was condensed in July.
Hastings will fully re-open for all pupils from Tuesday 1st September. In order to prepare for this we have considered numerous models that both comply with government guidance and keep everyone in our Hastings family safe. As a school the vast majority of our classrooms are used in every lesson. This means that if we continue with a normal timetable, with pupils moving every lesson, we will introduce 5 chances of cross contamination between year groups over the course of a school day. It also is not possible to clean each room between groups at every class changeover. This has meant that in order to prevent, as far as possible, further whole school lockdowns and disruption to our pupils’ education, we have had to look at solutions that do not involve pupils moving around the school.
One solution is that pupils remain in the same place each day and teachers move to them. Whilst this counters the cleaning issue, it means that pupils will be in the same group all day, every day. As such setting and options would not be able to happen. On balance, we feel that this would compromise our curriculum offer, especially in later year groups where exams have tiered entry and pupils have selected options. A hybrid system would not work due to the restrictions of both rooming (we have some rooms that will only hold 20 pupils and as such couldn’t be used – this has been a focus of the school seeking additional funding over the past year) and staffing. This means that we have had to devise a system that both limits pupils movement, still allows for setting, enables pupil options to happen and still keeps everyone safe by adhering to current government guidance.
As such, for at least the first 50 days of the term, we will be adopting a timetable where each lesson on a pupil’s timetable becomes a whole day of teaching.
This system means that pupils will be based in the same room for a whole day with the same member of staff. We know that this will be challenging for both pupils and teachers and we will be investing a significant amount of time during our staff training days preparing for this. To help with pupil engagement, each day will be broken up into a series of different activities, including an assembly. Mrs Woodward and the SEN department will be working closely with our SEN pupils to ensure that individual needs can still be met. This will run for 50 days which allows the whole timetable to run through once. It also means that, at the end of this time, we should have much more information from the government about appropriate Covid-19 precautions required in school.
In classrooms, as per the guidance, there will be no social distancing between pupils. All rooms have been set up so that all pupils are facing forwards. Staff will remain at least 2m from all pupils. We have been told that should there be cases of Covid-19 in school that Public Health England will guide us to appropriate action through contact tracing. It is essential that anyone who has been contacted by the track and trace service, has been asked to self-isolate or has returned from a country with quarantine regulations in effect not only lets the school know but also follows the full advice given. We feel it is important to say that all of these eventualities are covered in the schools risk assessment that has been signed off by the governing body. In cases where individual pupils have to isolate, the brief outline of the work covered that day in class will be posted on google classroom. In the event that there are cases where a whole class has to self-isolate we have bought in the appropriate technology to enable us to deliver some form of live lessons using google classroom and google meet. We will be in a position to share these remote learning plans with parents and carers by the end of September, once all the technology has been tested and staff trained. It is for these reasons that pupils and staff must always remain 2m apart as this means that they will not impact on each other in terms of contact tracing.
We know that there may be individual questions, we would ask at this time that you please email firstname.lastname@example.org and once we have collated questions and answers we will send a subsequent ParentMail out with further information at the start of next week.
We will soon be in touch with staggered start and finish times (these will not run outside of our usual times of 8:25 – 15:00) including break and lunch times, guidance around face coverings, amendments to the Behaviour Policy, extra-curricular activities, arrangements for parents on site and hygiene.
We would like to remind all parents, carers and pupils that our uniform policy and equipment requirements that have been sent our previously are still in place. It is essential that pupils have all of the equipment that they need as we will be unable to lend any items to students during the day. Both documents are included in this Parentmail.
We are very much looking forwards to welcoming all of our pupils back next week and can assure you that we have taken every possible precaution to ensure that any further disruptions to your child’s education can be avoided.
Miss C Bradley and Mr S Shipman