Head’s end of term letter
As the curtain comes down on a quite extraordinary term, I would like to record my sincere thanks to you all for your support for the school at this most challenging time. I am sure we would all like to think the lockdown period is over once and for all, but it is of course perfectly possible that we will be working remotely again at some point in the new school year. If that is the case, the experience of this term has shown that we will cope. We have been reminded, as if we needed to be, how strong we are as a community, how capable our students are and how creative we can be when we need to be.
As to our plans for September are about to publish our Risk Assessment on our website and we can now be a little more specific about our proposed re-start following the publication of detailed government guidance last week;
- Tuesday 1st September (i.e. Years 9, 10 & 12) New boarders return.
- Wednesday 2nd September: 2 – 4.30pm Year 12 Induction
- Thursday, 3rd September: Years 7,8,9,10 and 12 only attend school (includes Year 9 induction)
- Friday, 4th September: Years 7,8,9,11 and 13 only attend school
The reason for the phased return to school is our sense that after so many weeks out of school, the first day back will be a little more stressful than usual. We would therefore like to minimise some of the potential for anxiety and ensure a step by step approach to our distancing protocols by reducing the numbers of student onsite in the first instance.
I would like to draw your attention to some guiding principles we have adopted in putting together our Phase 3 Plan to get the school open:
- The start of term will be staggered over two days, as you can see, so that the process of coming back into school can be as organised, efficient and relaxed as possible.
- Each Year Group will constitute its own “bubble” and has been assigned its own “zone” in one area of the school. (This means that in the event of a confirmed positive COVID test, only the bubble has to isolate not the whole of the school.)
- Teachers will move to classrooms in these zones rather than students moving to traditional department areas.
- The handwashing regime will be strict and based primarily on the use of hand sanitiser at every available opportunity. (We have plentiful supplies of our own, but it is recommended that students bring in their own too.)
- Students must bring in all their own lesson equipment in their own pencil case. Bags should not be too big as they need to fit under the table in class.
- All teaching will be face-to-face, but teachers will follow the advice of keeping 2 metres distance where possible and minimise time spent within 1 metre of anyone.
- Remote Learning is available on Portal throughout the summer in the form of Summer work packages provided by all academic departments to ensure good continuity of learning over the summer in preparation for next year. (We will redeploy Remote Learning if the school is instructed to lock down or if a Year Group has to isolate.)
- There will be a slight staggering of drop-off and pick-up times for parents driving their children to school. This helps minimise large build-ups of students congregating before and after school, which may risk spreading infection.
- Students will all attend in regulation uniform (Years 7-11) or smart business wear (Sixth Form).
- Hot lunches only will be served in the Dining Hall at lunchtimes for day students and only in Year Group sittings. Packed lunches are allowed, but all students in a year group will have lunch together. Boarders will take lunch in their Houses, but receive a hot meal in the evenings in the Dining Hall.
We have had two very enjoyable End of Term Assemblies on the Class-In video system today. We chose to record them so that for parents and other students who like to hear some of the reports on student achievements this year and to see some of our musicians in action all you need to do is go to our website and follow the link on Announcements.
With apologies for the overtly business-like nature of this letter, but I am sure you and your children would rather know at least some of the detail about how next year will start. We will be writing to you again closer to the start of term to explain some of the finer detail. I will be working with other colleagues on a webinar about the start of term arrangements and the COVID-19 guidance later in the summer following expected updates from the government on August the 11th.
In the meantime have an excellent break, thank you for your superb support for all our students and, not least, for the truly heart-warming feedback we have received in recent weeks.
With my best wishes,