As you will be aware, the government has made it clear that it is their intention for all students to return to school in September. As promised, I am writing to give you some more information about the steps we are taking in school to ensure a safe re-opening to all students. Please do bear in mind that we will be refining our plans throughout the summer and I am also conscious that there may be some further guidance released by the government at a later date. This does mean that there may be some changes before we get to September. However, I believe that I am in a position to outline the key measures which we will be implementing, and this should give you a flavour of what life will be like in school. I will write a further letter to families towards the end of August outlining any changes and further details. We will also produce a video for families so that they can see the modifications which have been made in school, ready for September.
Two key factors are at the heart of the decision I have made in relation to measures to re- open the school. Firstly, the absolute priority for me is to ensure that the young people and staff working in our school are safe. We also have a responsibility to our neighbours in the community to take appropriate measures to minimise the spread of coronavirus. The second key factor is to ensure that we are able to provide a first-class education which offers the breadth and balance for which we are known. With these factors in mind, I have outlined below the key points in relation to the re-opening of Tytherington School in September.
Steps being taken to reduce the risk of transmission
Although the government has made it clear that all students should return to school, it is absolutely the case that we still need to remain vigilant to control the spread of Covid-19. Here is a list of steps we are taking to reduce the risk of transmission:
- We will be operating a year group “bubble” system and dramatically reducing the mixing of students in different year groups. Each year group will be provided with designated eating areas and outside areas for break time. The Sixth Form will be considered as one bubble, though we will keep Years 12 and 13 separate where we can.
- Students in key stage 3 will remain in class bubbles for almost all of their lessons. We will continue with the practice of placing students who join us in year 7 into mixed ability groupings. Students in years 8 and 9 will be arranged into attainment banded groups. These groups will be temporary until at least the half-term. Please do not worry about the groupings at this stage.
- We are encouraging students to bring in a packed lunch. For those who are unable to bring in a packed lunch, our caterers will be selling a “grab bag” which will be eaten in the designated year group No cash will be used in school and we will not operate the thumbprint biometric system. All payments for food will be made online. We will send you details of our updated cashless system in August.
- Cohorts of students in different year groups will have different entrances and exits.
- Students will need to come into school with the required equipment list to limit the exchange of items between youngsters.
- Extra-curricular activities will be kept to a minimum for the foreseeable future.
- Our electives programme will largely take place virtually for at least the first half-term.
- Large gatherings such as open evenings and whole school assemblies will not take place during the first term. We will need to change how we do large events.
- We will limit the number of outside visitors allowed to come to the school. This will mean that we will not be holding face-to-face meetings with parents for at least the first-half term unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Hand hygiene is of the utmost importance. Students will be expected to wash their hands regularly either using the many hand sanitiser stations around the school or with water and soap. We have also invested in a number of handwashing stations around the school. Please can you ensure that your son/daughter also brings in their own bottles of hand sanitiser with them to school every day.
- We will be implementing an enhanced cleaning regime. This will involve the regular cleaning of frequently handled or used surfaces such as toilets, door handles, stair rails and computer keyboards. Cleaning will take place regularly during the course of the day.
- As students move from one class to another, they will need to observe our one-way corridor This will reduce the opportunity for students from different year groups to interact with each other.
- We will continue to offer practical subjects although specialist equipment will require additional During the first week back, we will be talking to students about how they can play their part by wiping down equipment after use. Deep cleans will take place at the end of the day. We will also ensure that changing facilities are cleaned throughout the day.
To find out more about what we are doing, please click on our Tytherington School Coronavirus Autumn Planning checklist on: Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Autumn Term Planning Checklist
I understand that in a school setting it will never be possible to ensure that students remain in “bubbles” all of the time. I am also conscious that students will mix between bubbles when they travel to and from school. Having said this, the guidance suggests that every little bit we can do will play its part in reducing the spread of coronavirus.
Steps we are taking so we can continue to provide the very best education possible
I want to take the opportunity to reassure you that despite the dramatic changes outlined above, we will still be able to offer a broad and balanced curriculum. Here’s how we plan to make this happen:
- Heads of Department have identified the most important missed content and will put in place bespoke plans to ensure that students are able to catch-up on their learning.
- Our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator is working closely with teachers, teaching assistants and families to ensure that students with a Special Educational Need will have their learning needs met. Our LINKS special education provision, Pastoral Support and Bridges Provision will still operate as well as our teaching assistant support in lessons. We will work with students and staff to ensure that physical distancing is observed where possible.
- We will be operating our usual behaviour systems and will maintain our same high standards and expectations of student conduct. I need to make it clear that there will be serious consequences for students who behave in a silly fashion or attempt to deliberately take actions which might lead to the virus spreading g. coughing, spitting, etc.
- By allowing students to move from class to class it does mean that we can utilise our specialist teaching rooms for subjects such as Science and Technology. We will do our very best to provide practical learning opportunities where it is possible to do so.
- There will be no changes to our uniform policy which is in line with government guidance.
- More assemblies will be held virtually to keep students up to date with what is happening in school.
- The current guidance states that students should not have to wear masks in school. Should the guidance be updated in relation to the wearing of masks in school settings, I will inform you of the implications right away.
Term dates and the structure of the day
Our term dates remain unchanged. Please follow the link to find out what the term dates are: http://www.tytheringtonschool.co.uk/information/term-dates-202021/
In line with previous years, we will have a staggered start to the year:
- Monday 7th September – Years 7 and 13
- Tuesday 8th September – All year groups. Students will be in their tutor groups for the day re-socialising and learning about the new school
- Wednesday 9th September- Normal timetable
The structure of the day and week remains largely the same although the day will be slightly shorter because of the reduced lunch period:
Timetable – Mondays/Tuesdays/Wednesdays/Fridays
Registration – 8.45am-9.05am
Period 1 – 9.05am-10.05am
Period 2 – 10.05am-11.05am
Break – 11.05am-11.25am
Period 3 – 11.25am-12.25pm
Period 4 – 12.25pm-1.25pm
Lunch in year zones 1.25pm-2pm
Period 5 – 2pm-3pm
Registration – 8.45am-9.05am
Period 1 – 9.05am-10.05am
Break – 10.05am-10.30am
Period 2 – 10.30am-11.30am
Period 3 – 11.30am-12.30pm
Period 4 – 1pm-2pm
NB: Elective period – extended day for years 7 & 8. We will operate a virtual electives system for the first half-term but when things return back to normal, compulsory electives for years 7 & 8 will return between 2 and 3pm. Until that time, students will leave at 2pm on Thursdays.
When students arrive, they will be expected to go to their tutor rooms or designated year zone area. We will send a video to families in late August to explain how the zones will operate.
How can parents/carers help?
We are extremely grateful for all you are doing to support us in helping your children. Please do reassure your son/daughter that we have got this, and they will be fine in school. There are some specific things which we would like you to help us with. Please can you:
- Familiarise yourself with the symptoms of Covid-19. Refer to the latest government guidance so you know what to If your child has any symptoms, please do not send them into school and let us know immediately so we can alert Public Health England who will monitor the situation.
- If your child can, please encourage them to walk or cycle to school. If that is not possible and you need to use a car, please consider dropping your child off a bit further away from school than you might normally do so in order to reduce traffic around the school site.
- Please can you provide your child with their own hand sanitiser which can be used in school.
- We will be talking to your child about the government advice of ‘catch it, bin it kill it’. Please reinforce these messages at home.
- If they are taking a public bus, make sure your child has a face covering and knows how to use this properly.
- Encourage children to exercise physical distancing when they can.
- If your child is especially vulnerable to the effects of the virus, please complete the survey which we have sent home and we will make contact with you so that we can put together a bespoke risk Here’s the link to the survey: Return to School Parent Survey
- Please also ensure that your child comes to school with the appropriate equipment. Please follow the link for the required equipment: http://www.tytheringtonschool.co.uk/2020/07/16/equipment-essentials-for-every- lesson/
- Please keep checking the FAQs section of our website which I will update on a weekly basis.
- The Local Authority have written to parents who are provided with bus transport by Cheshire East. If any of their guidance is unclear, please contact us and we can look into things for you.
I am very excited about the reopening of schools in September. We have missed the students a great deal. I am extremely confident that the measures outlined above will keep our community safe and will ensure that youngsters are able to make rapid progress in their learning. Please do not hesitate to make contact with me directly if you have any questions or queries.
Mr Emmanuel Botwe