Letter sent 15th July 2020
I hope all are as safe and well as can be expected and you are looking ahead to some more normal times. This will be my last letter this side of September and I have included our Risk Assessment for you to have a look at. It is a working document and given how fluid the situation has been it may very well evolve depending on government advice as well as how things might need to change when all are back in September.
The aim of this letter is to set out our plans for September. All of our youngsters will be taken through the changes during the first week so it is as clear as it can be. I have tried to summarise the main points but I am sure you can appreciate there is a great deal to consider. Our plan is based on the Department for Education’s guidance released on 2nd July entitled ‘Guidance for full opening – schools’. The full details of which have been shared already but can be found here:
I have tried to highlight the main areas and the Risk Assessment will go into more detail but I wanted to share the salient points.
Firstly and most importantly our expectations on behaviour have not changed. They remain high and all need to be given every opportunity to access their education free from distraction, we are a place of learning. Poor and potentially dangerous behaviour given the new risks will not be tolerated.
All are to return in full school uniform. 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. Each item of uniform lent will be washed upon its return.
There will be a slightly staggered start and end to the school day. Each year group is to have a designated outdoor space; more detail is in the Risk Assessment. I understand that some of our youngsters will be required to come into school earlier but I feel sure all understand the reasons for. The guidance states that there is no need to temperature check pupils upon entry to the school beyond the summer term:
8.05am – Year 7 come in and go straight to their tutor base (this will be different on their first day as they will go straight to the Sports Hall on Thursday 3rd September for an 8.40am start with Year 11 prefects)
8.15am – Year 11 come in and go straight to Morning Enhancement
8.25am – Year 10 come in and go straight to Morning Enhancement or tutor base
8.35am – Year 9 come in and go to their tutor base
8.45am – Year 8 come in and go to their tutor base
This way morning enhancement and tutor time can still take place so we can implement the literacy and Oracy element of our recovery plan, a summary of which is also attached and is another working document.
If youngsters do come into school earlier breakfast will still be available in the atrium from 7.30am but they will have to take their food and eat it outside in their designated areas for each individual year group.
From September all of our youngsters will follow a normal timetable which will be issued to them in tutor time on their first day back.
Year groups will be separated as far as they can but may well come into contact when walking around the corridors; the guidance states the risk is minimal. A one way system is currently being put in place and we will only have stairs going one direction as in ‘up’ stairs and ‘down’ stairs. Direction of travel will be clearly marked on the floor and the walls. Certain doors will be designated as ‘out’ doors and ‘in’ doors. Where possible staff are to greet at the door before each lesson; even if not there our youngsters are to go straight in to the classrooms and sit down. Teachers are to stagger the leaving of classrooms by a few seconds overseen by the Head of Department or Head of Faculty in each corridor. Resilience Coaches will be at hotspots of toilets and general congregated areas for each lesson change over.
All should clean hands thoroughly more often than usual and we should have enough tissues and bins available in the school to support pupils and staff to follow the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach. Public Health England does not (based on current evidence) recommend the use of face coverings in schools. We have a few youngsters that when working closely with we will have to wear a face covering but they will have individual risk assessments.
For individual and very frequently used equipment, such as pencils and pens, it is recommended that all have their own items and are not shared. Classroom based resources, such as books and games, can be used and shared within the year group; these should be cleaned regularly, along with all frequently touched surfaces.
It is still recommended that pupils limit the amount of equipment they bring into school each day, to essentials such as lunch boxes, hats, coats, books, stationery and mobile phones. Bags are allowed. Our youngsters and teachers can take books and other shared resources home.
Each individual is to wash their hands before coming in to each class. They must also wipe down tables and equipment used each period. Staff will spray each desk and table and our youngsters will wipe down with disposable paper towels, this applies to all equipment they have used. Staff will also be expected to wipe down any computer or equipment they have used if going on to another room at the end of the period.
Teaching staff will stay at the front of the class ideally maintaining 2 metre distance. In particular, they should avoid close face to face contact and minimise time spent within 1 metre of anyone.
Similarly, it will not be possible when working with many pupils who have complex needs or who need close contact care. These pupils’ educational and care support should be provided as normal.
Within the class youngsters will be sat side by side and facing forwards, rather than face to face or side on, and might include moving unnecessary furniture out of classrooms to make more space. There will be classrooms such as technology and art where it will not be possible to rearrange desks so all pupils are facing the front but social distancing must still be observed where possible.
For breakfast, break and lunch the Atrium and Performance Hall will be set up to allow for a safer flow in and out. All food is to be taken outside and eaten unless it is wet then all pupils will go to their tutor bases with their forms tutors unless attending an organised and regular club. Hot food will still be served but from different areas. Breakfast will be served as usual given the small numbers but all food is to be eaten outside. At break each year group will be served food from a different area coming in and out via different doors.
Lunch will be as follows:
1.00pm Year 7 lunch
To line up in the courtyard between drama and maths. They will be directed in to both the usual queues A-side by the stairs near technology and R-side by the stairs leading to drama and P.E. They then leave down the middle of the atrium and out the door they came in up to the netball courts which is the Year 7 outside base.
1.10pm Year 8 lunch
A-side to line up outside by the apple along the humanities windows, R-side to line up outside the maths windows. Both will be served by two counters in the performance hall, collect food and then go out the performance hall middle doors leading back out to the apple. Then on to their Year 8 outside base.
1.20pm Year 9 lunch
A-side to line up outside by the apple along the humanities windows, R-side to line up outside the maths windows. Both will be served by two counters in the performance hall, collect food and then go out the performance hall middle doors leading back out to the apple. Then on to their Year 9 outside base.
1.30pm Year 10 lunch
A-side to line up outside by the apple along the humanities windows, R-side to line up outside the maths windows. Both will be served by two counters in the performance hall, collect food and then go out the performance hall middle doors leading back out to the apple. Then on to their Year 10 outside base.
1.20pm Year 11 lunch
To line up in the courtyard between drama and maths. They will be directed in to both the usual queues A-side by the stairs near technology and R-side by the stairs leading to drama and P.E. They then leave down the middle of the atrium and out the door they came in heading to the Year 11 outside base.
With regard to Physical Education we will use our outdoor spaces where possible. We will use the Sports Hall and Activity Studio to change, girls in one and boys in the other as directed by P.E staff. If P.E is period 1 on the timetable they are to come in their P.E kit and change after. If our youngsters have P.E period 5 they can change earlier at lunch and go home in their P.E kit. There is also a local agreement that there is to be no competitive sport between schools until October half term.
At the end of the school day members of the Pastoral Team will be releasing our youngsters class by class to limit the flow all leaving at 3.00pm.
As I said at the beginning of the letter we will have to see how this goes as there are a great many factors to consider; a working document. It will be much easier to show our youngsters when they are back in as we know how adaptable and resilient they all are.
On a lighter note a reminder that Friday 17th July is our last school day of the academic year; we will finish at 1.00pm apart from those working in the humanities corridor and it will be non-school uniform for all. Details on our summer of sport and challenges will follow.
I am more than happy to talk through any of the points and please do contact me if you have any concerns or questions. To say that I am excited and looking forward to seeing everyone back in September and finally being able to welcome our new Year 7s is somewhat of an understatement. I can’t say that I’ll miss writing to you all each week, nor will we I hear you cry. I will endeavour to keep you all updated and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your hard work and support since lock down. We are not there yet but I know together as a school community we will overcome anything.
The safest of summers and very kindest of wishes,
We are continuing to follow advice from Public Health England in respect of Coronavirus.
At Woodlands School, every pupil will have the foundations laid for a lifelong love of learning, through a fully inclusive and appropriately challenging curriculum, taught by outstanding and highly qualified teachers. Pupils will have all barriers to learning removed, ensuring a safe and stimulating learning environment where all make outstanding progress, allowing them the opportunity to be excellent.
Academic excellence for all is sought to allow each pupil to fully engage in Higher and Further Education. We expect every pupil to work hard and be focused on leading their own learning, motivated by high aspirations and being mentally and physically fit to learn, having built up the resilience to cope with anything.
Through our extensive extra-curricula program we provide opportunities for each young person to enrich and extend their learning, developing confidence through enjoyment.
Pupils are expected to listen, try their best and never give up in their pursuit of excellence. To thrive at Woodlands all must be hard-working, polite and self-disciplined. We have clear boundaries which support all pupils ensuring that they maintain the highest standards in their own behaviour for learning.
We are incredibly proud of our school and as a learning community we work with all stakeholders to allow our pupils to have the highest aspirations, be resilient and seek out all opportunities to be excellent.