Posted on: 16th July 2020
16 July 2020
Dear parents and carers,
On the 2nd July, the Government and the Department for Education (DfE) outlined their plans for the complete re-opening of all schools for all children in September 2020.
I know that many of you will be anxious about your child’s return and we hope we can offer you reassurance that as always, the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff is at
the heart of every decision we make.
Life at NEWA will be very different for all of us and we will need to adapt to a new way of working. This letter will outline these new systems and practices that will keep us all safe. In welcoming all children back in September, we have been asked to minimise the contact that students have during the school day with others to reduce the risk of transmission. We plan to achieve this by keeping year groups separate (in ‘bubbles’), using a one-way system to travel around the Academy site and staggering the times of break and lunches.
Maintaining ‘bubbles’ that do not mix makes it easier in the event of a positive case to identify those who need to self-isolate. Our usual first aid provision will continue and PPE will be used with any suspected COVID-19 cases. All students will be studying the full curriculum from September with only minor changes to certain practical activities.
Arrival and Dismissal
We have had to temporarily change the finish times of the school day to stagger the number of children leaving the Academy site at any one time. Year 7 and 10 will be dismissed ten minutes before the usual end of the school day, year 9 will be dismissed five minutes before the usual end of the school day and years 8, 11, 12 and 13 will leave as normal, except for a Friday when years 11, 12 and 13 will leave at 1pm. The start of the school day will remain 8.40am for all.
Everyone starts at 8.40am
Regrettably, we cannot meet requests for siblings to leave school at the same time as this will compromise the ‘bubble’ safety for other children.
Where possible, students should avoid using public transport and either walk or cycle to school. However, if you have to use public transport please ensure that you adhere to Government advice which can be found here: https://bit.ly/2WciwcA
September start dates
We have a training day on Tuesday 1st September. We will then have year 7, year 11 and year 12 return to us from Wednesday 2nd September, years 9 and 10 return from Thursday 3rd September and year 8 return from Friday 4th September. By Monday 7th September we will have everyone in.
This will enable us to have a gradual return to school, explain the new guidelines and settle year groups into school in an organised and orderly fashion.
Wednesday 2nd September – year 7, year 11 and year 12 only
Thursday 3rd September – years 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 only
Friday 4th September – everyone in
Full school uniform must be worn at all times with no exceptions. There is no need for further arrangements other than normal personal hygiene and washing of clothes following a day in a school. Uniforms do not need to be cleaned any more often or differently than usual. When your child has PE they will need to wear their full PE kit to school for the day as we will be unable to provide changing facilities but uniform should be worn by all on their first day back. We have the highest expectations in terms of our uniform standards which we will always maintain. We would also like to remind parents that this September we are launching our new Academy tie, this will be gifted to every child on their return to the Academy. Students will not be expected to wear the old tie to travel to school on their first day.
Our sports hall is currently undergoing a complete refurbishment, including a brand-new, state-of-the-art floor. Our flooring contractor has informed us that certain types of footwear can leave marks and can cause damage to our new floor. As a result, we are introducing new rules on the type of footwear that is permitted in the sports hall. From September 2020, students will only be able to gain access to the sports hall wearing trainers/ footwear with a non-marking sole. Please avoid purchasing trainers with a black sole and trainers that leave a mark. To help you to test this, use the edge of the sole to draw a line on a white piece of paper. If it leaves a mark, the trainers are not suitable.
It is vital for all children to return to school to minimise the longer-term impact of the pandemic on children’s education, wider development and well-being. Shielding advice for all students will pause on 1st August, subject to a continued decline in the rates of community transmission which means that all children can return to school.
Please be advised that we will operate our usual attendance policy that can be found on the website. All students will be expected to return in September. If you have any concerns regarding this, please make contact prior to the summer break so that staff can put in any required support to ensure full attendance.
Food and drink
There will be staggered breaks and lunch for all year groups. Students will be able to purchase limited items at break time so please send in suitable snacks with your child if possible. At lunchtime, only one year group will be in the canteen at any one time, a hot meal option and sandwiches will be available. Students will be able to top up their accounts in school. Regrettably, our water fountains will be out of use so please ensure that students are sent into the Academy with enough water to last them the day. Drinks will be available for purchase at lunch from the canteen.
Our conduct policy will continue to operate, this will include detentions. However, students will remain in their year group bubbles for detentions.
We recognise that students who are studying GCSE, A level or equivalent courses, but are not due to take exams until 2021, will have experienced disruption to their education this year. We are working with Ofqual and the exam boards to develop our approach to next year’s exams in light of this and will keep you updated.
It is vital that all students have a bag/rucksack big enough for their exercise books. They will be bringing some of their books home each night and must remember to bring the correct ones back in the morning. They will also need a pencil case with pen, pencil, eraser, ruler and calculator. Equipment will not be shared amongst different year groups, so each child must be fully organised.
Finally, we know that you will be apprehensive, but the safety of your children and our staff is at the forefront of all that we are doing. Therefore, we ask that:
● Where possible, children keep at a 2-metre distance from all staff including their teacher.
● Children maintain good hygiene and wash their hands regularly.
● Children adopt good respiratory hygiene: catch it, bin it, kill it.
● Children do not attend school if someone in the household has a confirmed case of COVID 19 or is showing symptoms.
● Parents make an appointment before visiting the Academy. Regrettably, we may have to turn away visitors who do not have an appointment.
● Once the Academy closes there should be no-one on the school site.
Please be assured that in addition to the measures stated above we have:
● A dedicated health and safety risk assessment for COVID which is available upon request.
● We will arrange meetings via Microsoft Teams wherever possible.
● We will limit the number of external agencies coming into school.
● By the end of August, a map of the one-way system will be available on the website, along with the new timetable. Hard copies will be available on request.
● Enhanced cleaning including cleaning frequently touched surfaces.
● A quarantine area for those displaying symptoms of COVID.
● Plans to fully engage with the NHS Test and Trace process. Please ensure your contact details are up to date, if your child shows symptoms, we MUST always be able to contact you. Should this happen, families will be instructed to get a test completed, the school must also contact local health protection officers.
We all appreciate that these are unique times and that September will be a very different start to the new academic year. It will be a challenge for all of us. Please keep up to date by checking your emails and text messages from the Academy and if you have any questions, please email us at [email protected]
Please have a wonderful and safe summer break, I look forward to working in partnership with you again in September. Thank you for your continued support.
Ormiston NEW Academy
Please follow Government advice by washing your hands frequently and reduce your social interactions – here is some Government guidance on staying alert and safe: https://bit.ly/2T0FT7j