In addition to the following questions and answers, the government has also published information for parents and carers on the return of all children back to school in the autumn.
Will a specific and thorough risk assessment be carried out on all aspects of re-opening the academy to all students?
Yes. As a Trust we have established working groups to manage the safest way to re-open our academies to all students. This has included conducting a thorough risk assessment within each academy setting, which have been approved by the Board of Trustees. These risk assessments will continue to be reviewed and updated, with the safety of all students and staff in mind.
Under what circumstances should parents not send their child back to the academy? What is the academy’s position on non-attendance?
The government had stated that all students are expected to return to school from September. Our expectation is that your child should attend so long as they are well to do so and that the normal rules of attendance will continue to apply.
Shielding advice for all adults and children will pause on 1 August, subject to a continued decline in the rates of community transmission of Covid-19. This means that even the small number of students who will remain on the shielded patient list can also return to school, as can those who have family members who are shielding. Read the current advice on shielding.
Students MUST NOT attend if they, or any family member they live with is displaying symptoms of Covid-19. If a child becomes unwell during the session, they will be moved immediately to a nominated separate room and parents/carers will be contacted as soon as possible. Also see: ‘What happens if students become ill or have an accident whilst in the academy?’
There may be some exceptional circumstances which could result in your child not attending and the academy should be informed the reason at the earliest opportunity, for example:
- if a child is self-isolating and has had symptoms or a positive test result; or because they are a close contact of someone who has Covid-19
- if rates of the disease rise in local areas, children (or family members) from that area, and that area only, are advised to shield during a period where rates remain high and therefore they may be temporarily absent
- if a student remains under the care of a specialist health professional and may need to discuss their care with their health professional before returning to school (usually at their next planned clinical appointment). You can find more advice from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health at COVID-19 – ‘shielding’ guidance for children and young people’
Where a student is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical and/or public health advice, the academy will offer access to remote education. Where children are not able to attend school as parents are following clinical and/or public health advice, absence will not be penalised.
Do students need to wear their uniform?
Yes. It is our expectation that the normal academy uniform policy will apply from September. The government’s guidance states that uniforms do not need to be cleaned any more often than usual, nor do they need to be cleaned using methods which are different from normal. If you have any concerns about access to the correct uniform for your child, please contact the academy.
How will students get to and from the academy?
Please walk to the academy wherever possible and maintain social distancing. We understand this will be difficult for students when they see their friends, but it is very important that physical contact is prevented.
The Bestwood bus will be running for pupils who use it. (Please see section below on masks).
The academy car park at Hillcrest will only be available for cars transporting students with accessibility issues. All other students arriving by car should be dropped off at a safe location near to school but with consideration to social distancing.
Will all students start and finish at the same time?
Yes. On arrival, students will be directed to dedicated routes to reach the zone for their bubble for the rest of the day. Please note that the only entry and exit points from September will be Hillcrest Drive Main Entrance and Nabbs Lane Main Entrance. For some students this will mean using a different route to the academy.
Will you be offering extracurricular activities or clubs?
After school clubs will have to run in year group bubbles which will mean a reduced selection of clubs until guidance relaxes. No after school clubs will run for the first two weeks of term.
Where will students be based? Will their classroom(s) look different?
The DfE guidance is clear that students should be placed in bubbles of no more than 240 pupils. The bubbles will be based on year groups with the exception of a minority of students who are accessing bespoke curriculum. Each bubble will be based in an area of the academy on any particular day with the exception of lessons in specialist rooms when staff will escort students to ensure there is no contact with children from another bubble.
Will you operate a one-way system?
In some areas yes. Movement will be managed to ensure that social distancing is maintained throughout the academy.
How often do we expect students to wash their hands?
We will be encouraging students to wash their hands before starting the school day, before break times and before lunch as a minimum. We will also be reinforcing the ‘catch it, kill it, bin it’ message to help educate students to cough or sneeze into tissues, to place tissues in the bin and to wash hands after – we are supporting this with posters to remind our academy community about the importance of thorough handwashing. We would ask that you can support us by emphasising these messages at home too.
Will hand sanitisers be available?
Hand sanitiser will be available for use, in addition to, but not as a substitute for, frequent handwashing.
What toilet and washing facilities are being provided for students?
Nominated toilets will be provided with handwashing facilities – these will be the closest to the rooms being accessed by students.
Will food, water or other drinks be provided by the academy to purchase? Are students allowed to bring their own?
Students can bring a wrapped snack and their water bottle with them, but these should not be shared with their friends. The water fountains are turned off to prevent contamination and therefore students should ensure they bring with them all the drink they require. Please note that no fizzy drinks should be bought to the academy.
Will students get a break mid-session?
We will build appropriate breaks into the sessions, subject to the needs of students and staff.
Will students be allowed socialise?
Yes, but only if this is appropriate in the context of the session. Social distancing rules must always be adhered to.
How do we ensure that we support students who are upset and/or anxious?
The wellbeing of students remains of the greatest importance to us and we recognise that students will have experienced many different feelings during this time. For many students, returning to the academy will provide them with the routine and structure that they need. We will ensure that staff are well-trained and confident to provide the reassurance and emotional support that all our students need.
If your family has experienced bereavement during this time, please let us know so that we can support your child in the best way possible.
What PPE should students and staff wear?
In line with the government’s guidance, the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) should only be required in certain circumstances. Students will only be required to wear a face mask if travelling on public transport, they are not required to wear a mask in the academy. However, if they choose to provide and wear their own masks, this will be acceptable. Where a mask is worn by the students this must be a proper mask not an improvised alternative, for example a scarf or balaclava. The government has also stated that it is not necessary for adults to wear masks unless they are supporting a child with symptoms or carrying out personal care activities. There may therefore be times when adults in the academy will need to wear a mask and this will be explained to students.
What happens if students become ill or have an accident whilst in the academy?
If any student becomes ill with suspected Covid-19 symptoms they will be isolated immediately in a room provided by the academy, as per the government guidance. We will contact parents/carers to inform them to collect their child. We will then ask that the whole family follows the government advice and guidance around seeking medical help and isolating for the appropriate period of time. Anyone who displays symptoms of Covid-19 can and should book in for a test and engage in the NHS Test and Trace process.
It may be necessary to ask groups/bubbles and staff to isolate following a possible case. Please see question ‘What happens if a student or member of staff tests positive for Covid-19?’
For any illnesses or accidents not linked to Covid-19, the usual policy around health and safety and first aid applies. Suitable PPE will be provided and used in situations where it is not possible to maintain social distancing.
What happens if a student or member of staff tests positive for Covid-19?
If someone tests positive for Covid-19, they should follow the ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’ and must continue to self-isolate for at least 7 days from the onset of their symptoms and then return to the academy only if they do not have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste. This is because a cough or anosmia can last for several weeks once the infection has gone. The 7-day period starts from the day when they first became ill. If they still have a high temperature, they should keep self-isolating until their temperature returns to normal. Other members of their household should continue self-isolating for the full 14 days.
As soon as the academy is made aware that someone who has attended has tested positive for Covid-19, the academy will contact the Public Health England local health protection team. This team may also contact the academy directly if they become aware that someone who attended the academy has tested positive for Covid-19, as identified by NHS Test and Trace.
The health protection team will carry out a rapid risk assessment to confirm who has been in close contact with the person during the period that they were infectious, and ensure they are asked to self-isolate. The health protection team will work with the academy in this situation to determine the actions that we need to take. Based on the advice from the health protection team, we will send home those people who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive, advising them to self-isolate for 14 days since they were last in close contact with that person when they were infectious. Household members of those contacts who are sent home do not need to self-isolate themselves unless the child, young person or staff member who is self-isolating subsequently develops symptoms.
If someone in a class or group that has been asked to self-isolate develops symptoms themselves within their 14-day isolation period they should follow the ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’. They should get a test, and:
- if the test delivers a negative result, they must remain in isolation for the remainder of the 14-day isolation period. This is because they could still develop the coronavirus (COVID-19) within the remaining days.
- if the test result is positive, they should inform their academy immediately, and must isolate for at least 7 days from the onset of their symptoms (which could mean the self-isolation ends before or after the original 14-day isolation period). Their household should self-isolate for at least 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms, following ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’.
It is extremely important, to protect both students and staff, that social contact outside of the academy is kept strictly in line with the government guidance. Parents are advised to ensure that their child does not mix more widely with other students beyond the academy, as this places their group at the academy at increased risk.
Will a designated safeguarding lead and first aider be on site?
Yes, a first aider will be on site each day and a member of the safeguarding team will be on call, if not available on site as well.
Will there be any changes to the curriculum? How will you help my child catch-up if they have fallen behind their expected age-related targets?
The government has announced that additional funding will be provided to all schools in England to help put in place catch-up support for students where it is needed. We will be planning to ensure that this is used to the maximum benefit of students in the new academic year.
Food Technology Practicals
Food technology practicals will not take place in the first half term with the exception of Year 11.
Music tuition will not take place on site for the first half term but we are investigating the possibility of virtual tuition using Microsoft Teams.
PE curriculum will be adapted to enable the majority of lessons to be outside, with no-contact rules applying. Lessons will be split between theory and practical on rota, thus halving the number of students changing at any one time to enable greater social distancing. PE kit must be brought to school on days when a pupil has a practical lesson. When a pupil has PE period 1 they may wear their PE kit to school but will need to change into their uniform after the lesson. When a pupil has PE during period 6 they may go home in their PE kit if they wish to.
What equipment will my child need?
In relation to equipment, we will be supplying all students with the following items to enable our lessons to run in accordance with the September reopening guidance from the Government:
- A dedicated exercise book for all subjects called the day-to-day book
- Black pen
- Whiteboard/whiteboard pen/board wipe
- Green pen for marking
- Green folders and plastic pockets and labels – to put subject specific work in
These must be brought to the academy every day and cannot be shared with other students. The academy cannot replace items which are deliberately damaged or misplaced.
Calculators are a vital equipment item which we are asking parents to buy. To ensure that all students have the same opportunity we will be teaching using the Casio FX 83. We will purchase these for students who are registered as Pupil Premium. For those of you who are not eligible for a free calculator, this model can be bought at major supermarkets but can be purchased at a discounted price of £8.50 by logging into a sQuid account at www.squidcard.com
Can students use their mobile phones at the academy?
To support with engaging activities in class which require the use of mobile phones or devices students will be able to connect devices to a student network and therefore avoid using mobile data. Children must not use mobile phones without the permission of staff.