Please see below for updates to some of our policies:
Update on the wearing of face coverings in school:
Following the government’s announcement in response to update World Health Organisation Guidance on the wearing of face coverings in school, we have had updated local guidance from Greg Fell, director of public health for Sheffield. He is advising that students and staff in Sheffield schools should wear face coverings when not in class, but inside buildings where it is hard to observe social distancing. In practice, this will mean wearing face coverings when moving through corridors between lessons. He is clear that this is guidance and is not mandatory and it is understood that with the beginning of term only days away, students, parents and staff are likely to need some time to implement this guidance in a workable way.
For now, I would ask that all students bring a face covering into school every day. I will ask teachers to remind students to put these on when they are leaving the classroom to move to other areas of the school. Local and national guidance makes it clear that face coverings are not required in classrooms because other measures make the risk of transmission much lower and the wearing of face masks in class is both uncomfortable and could get in the way of the communication that is so essential to learning.
Parents and students should not worry if they don’t have a face covering to bring in from the first day, or if they forget it. Students will not be in trouble for this and it will not be making a significant difference to either their safety or that of others in school. This is more about getting into good routines of simple things we can do to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus, while interfering as little as possible with all the other important parts of day to day life in school.
When sharing this guidance, the local public health team were very keen that, with the current focus on face coverings in national media, the other much more important measures to reduce the risk of virus transmission do not get lost. I therefore take this opportunity to remind you of the steps that individuals can take which will make the biggest difference in reducing risk of the virus spreading:
o Don’t come to school if you have symptoms or if you’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive. Engaging with testing, tracking and tracing is the top priority.
o Increased handwashing makes a big difference to the spread of the virus, so this remains very important as does following the ‘catch it, kill it, bin it approach.
o Wherever it is possible to do so, keep distance from other people, whether you are wearing a face covering or not. While it will not always be possible to keep distance in school, whenever there is an opportunity to space out, individuals should take it as each opportunity taken reduces the risk for everyone.
Heads of year have provided guidance for students which is being sent out today. This was done before this change in the guidance. Everything they are saying is still relevant, though now of course we are adding the request that all students bring a face covering with them to school each day, which they will be asked to wear when moving about corridors. School staff will be keeping a close eye on how this and other measures are working in practice and how local and national public health guidance changes. We will review and amend our own guidance and expectations including any further guidance on face coverings where it is clear that this is needed.
Mr S Davies
Summary of plans for September
- All students will be back full time from September (see notes below about the first week back)
- We will be able to run a full timetable, taught in normal teaching groups, with a few changes
- Staff will be supervising regular handwashing, when students arrive, before and after each break time and before students leave, just as we have been with the Y10 students who have been back in to school this term.
- We will continue with the extra cleaning in school through the day and at the end of every day as we have been this term.
- There will be changes to the timings of the school day (see information below). We will have a shorter lunch break, with each year group having lunch at a different time, to keep separation between year groups and reduce crowding.
- There will be no food available at break time. Break times will again be split, so that there are no more than two year groups on break at the same time and each year group will have their own areas where they can have their break.
- Lessons will, as far as possible, be timetabled so that each year group is in a different part of the school. This will help to stop mixing of year groups and will reduce movement and gathering of large groups of students between lessons. All students will have practical lessons in specialist classrooms, however, as this is needed to be able to deliver the full curriculum. There will be extra cleaning and handwashing around the use of these rooms.
- Y7 students will be taught in their form groups for all lessons to start with and, apart from practical lessons, will stay in the same room. Y8 students will be in taught in their form group for more of the time than would normally be the case, though they will be grouped differently for some lessons including Science. This helps to reduce mixing of students and will help with induction of Y7 students, when they have had such a different end to primary and start to secondary school.
- Where possible, classrooms will be set out facing forwards and teachers and other staff will need to maintain distancing from students as they will need to mix across year groups
- Form time will move to the start of the day, to help you get resettled into school and to check in.
Plan for the first week back
Tuesday 1st September
Training Day (no students in school) – this is an important time for staff to go back through plans for welcoming students back and to look at any updates that have come over the summer.
Wednesday 2nd September
All Y7 and Y12 students who are joining us from other schools only. This allows us to do some of the induction work with these students that we haven’t been able to do in the normal way.
Thursday 3rd September
All students return. On Thursday and Friday, students will spend time in form groups, where we will be working on activities to help us to catch-up with one another, get settled back into school and make sure that students know how things will be running in school. Lessons will begin again from Monday 7th September.
Timing of the school day
The start and finish times will not change, as a large number of our students will rely on public transport, making it impossible for some to start or finish at different times. However, we have changed the timings within the school day, as set out below:
Students met on the drive and directed to their ‘zone’ in school to wash hands and go to their form room.
We ask that students do not arrive before 8.45am
Form time – Form time at the start of the day will help to give time to check in with students. In the first couple of weeks, it will help to get students settled back into school and to remind them about the things they need to do which are different to normal.
Period 2; 10.20-11.20 for some year groups 10.40 to 11.40 for the others
Some students will have break from 10-20-10.40 & others would have break from 11.20 to 11.40.
Year groups will have designated areas across the site. As well as reducing the number of children out at any one time
11.40 – 1.40
Period 3 running for 1 hr 20 mins, at the following times, depending on when the given year group has lunch:
Year group A; Lunch 11.40-12.20, P3 12.20-1.40
Year group B; P3 11.40-12.00, Lunch 12.00-12.40, P3 12.40 – 1.40
Year group C; P3 11.40-12.20, Lunch 12.20-1.00, P3 1.00 – 1.40
Year group D; P3 11.40-12.40, Lunch 12.40-1.20, P3 1.20 – 1.40
Year group E; P3 11.40-1.00, Lunch 1.00-1.40
Y13 students in school for P3 will have their lunch break 11.40-12.20
Y12 students will have their lunch break 1pm to 1.40
1.40 – 2.30
3.20 – 3.35
Staggered dismissal from P5 rooms so that students are not all leaving at the same time.
Students waiting for school busses after 3.35 will be supervised in their P5 classrooms until the bus arrives, allowing them to get on with independent study.
Students will be directed to supervised hand washing areas at the start of school, before and after break time, before and after lunch time and before leaving school.
Travel to and from school
The guidance remains that students should walk, cycle or use private transport where possible. Local public health doctors have confirmed that this can include students from different families sharing lifts as this involves less mixing than use of public transport.We understand that for many of our families, students will rely on public transport and this has been confirmed by your responses to our survey. Sheffield City Council are looking at how they can support safe public transport for students from September. First Bus Company have been in touch with us to say that they are working hard to be able to publish plans for public transport and school bus services from September.I remind you that students who are using public transport will need to wear face coverings while on the bus. Students need to remove those coverings safely when they arrive at school. The link below takes you to a video, showing how to properly wear and remove face coverings.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMSqc9SpbJc
As students have to wear face coverings on public transport and others may feel reassured by wearing them, we are not banning face coverings in school. We also expect students and parents to respect the decisions of individuals whether to wear face coverings or not as wearing them is not advised under the current public health guidance for schools.
Summary of the key measures to keep everyone safe:
The biggest measure that will keep everyone safe is not having people in school who have Covid. You can’t catch it from people who don’t have it. With lower numbers of cases in the community and the track and trace programme, this is much more likely to be the case in September.The public health guidance that we are following are designed to keep those numbers low and reduce the chance that anyone in school has Covid. The steps are:
- Staff and students not coming in to school if they have Covid like symptoms. They should get tested as soon as possible and notify us if there has been a positive test, so that we can work with the track and trace teams.
- Students and staff must follow the advice of track and trace teams if they are advised to quarantine because they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid, (in or out of school).
- As you see from our plans, we will be building a routine of regular handwashing in school.
- We will maintain increased cleaning in school, during and after the day.
- Students traveling on public transport must wear face coverings, putting them on, wearing them and taking them off properly.
Many of the changes we are making to the running of the school day are to help us to engage with track and trace, by limiting the numbers of people that students and staff have close contact with so we can track them more easily if we need to.We are able to make these changes, while keeping many other key parts of the curriculum the same and allowing all students to be in school every day.Key messages to pass on to your children:
- We understand that they have all had different experiences of lockdown. Teachers are planning for that in the way we’ll help you to get settled back in to school life and the way we’re planning lessons. There will be lots of opportunities to check in with how students are getting on and lots of opportunities to recap learning covered during lockdown.
- We are making sure that we’re following the public health guidance to keep our community safe.
- We understand that somethings will be different and they may wish that it wasn’t the case. Arrangements at break and lunch times will be different and it won’t be so easy to run some extra-curricular activities. We will keep reviewing what we’re doing as a school, to try to strike the best balance between keeping everyone safe and school as normal.
- We will also be looking all the time for ways we can use the experience of lockdown to find new and better ways of doing things. Rather than returning to normal, it would be great if we can eventually do better than the ‘old normal’.
We need students to take responsibility for their part in all of this. We can make changes to the way we run school and teachers can remind and guide students, but no one can do their part for them. We need them to sensibly follow the guidance above and the guidance that they are given by teachers. I have every confidence that they will.