I hope this email finds you well and that the new year is better than the current one!
Following the Secretary of State for Education’s announcement in parliament yesterday afternoon, the plans for the start of term have been amended. This is clearly a rapidly changing situation and whilst yesterday’s announcement provided further clarity, the situation could change again, and of course I will keep you fully informed.
At the start of the academic year we had assigned an INSET day on 4 January 2021 and have planned to review our remote learning on this day. The government have also allocated all schools an additional day to plan for the mass testing due to be implemented in the week commencing 11 January. This testing will focus on identifying asymptomatic cases, firstly for all students and staff, and subsequently for close contacts. Whilst this a huge challenge for schools to undertake, it will be a massive step forward in protecting our students, staff and their families and will greatly reduce the number of students having to self-isolate.
As such the new term will start for students on Wednesday 6 January.
The first week of term
Beginning on Wednesday 6 January, we will provide face-to-face education for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers where required, but all year groups will be taught remotely. It would be appreciated if key worker children only attended school if absolutely necessary. It is likely that children who attend school will be supervised in classrooms by school staff and will access lessons ‘remotely’ in the same way as students who are learning from home. If you are a key worker and it is not possible for your child to remain at home to access remote learning, please could you notify us of your intention to send your child into school next week by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information regarding where children should report on arrival to school will be made available in a letter to be sent out on Monday afternoon.
Students may wish to bring a packed lunch, though a grab bag will be available to buy for anyone who wants one. These will be £3 and will contain a sandwich (there will be a limited choice available), snacks and a drink. These will be provided for those who are eligible for free school meals who are in school that week. Grab bags must be ordered by any student who wants one, during form time each morning.
Further information on remote learning for all students will be provided in Monday’s letter.
Vocational exams scheduled for the new year will go ahead as planned but we will not be able to offer face to face sessions for these students in the first week in January; full support and guidance will be available however through remote learning. From Monday 11 January students in Year 12 who have an examination in either vocational sport, business, media or IT should attend their vocational lessons in school as directed by their teacher, but they must access other lessons remotely, either in school or at home if they have time to get home in between. Subject staff will email these students with additional information.
The second week of term
Beginning on 11 January, we hope to be able to start a programme of testing, with the aim of testing all staff and students for whom we have consent, twice within 6-9 days. We will be able to bring year 11 and 13 (and year 12 students mentioned above) back to face-to-face teaching as testing is rolled out and remote education will continue to be provided to all other students this week prior to return to school.
The third week of term
All students will return to school for face-to-face education by 18 January, however this is subject to review by the Department for Education, but we really hope all students will return on this date.
Students in receipt of free school meals
A parent with a child or children in receipt of a free school meal can request a food parcel for each child by emailing email@example.com. This should cover meals for a week for each child and can be collected from main reception by prior arrangement.
I appreciate your understanding as we try to manage this fast-moving situation as best we can. I would also like to thank the many parents who have emailed their support and best wishes, it is really appreciated by us all.