Update from the Headteacher- arrangements from 8 March 2021

26th February 2021

I want to make it clear that our prime focus is on keeping your children and the staff as safe as possible, as we transition back into school. To that end, I have taken the decision to start a programme of Lateral flow testing from 8 March for all year groups on a staggered basis, in order to complete 2 tests
before ALL students return to school on Monday 15 March. I have cleared this plan with North Yorkshire and the governors.
The DfE guidance states that we have flexibility in the week beginning 8 March to stagger the testing and students must have had a negative LFT in order to return to the classroom.   Therefore next week , we will be inviting students in Yr 7-13 to attend school for 2 x LFTests, 3 days apart during the week beginning 8 March. As parents you will be given a 30 minute time slot for students to be brought into school, have the lateral flow test and return home.  We have the capacity to test 150 students per day but that requires a great deal of planning and staffing.
All students will be tested one more time in school during the week of 15 March- one year group per day- in the afternoon to minimise impact on learning.
All school buses will run normally from 15 March. We cannot allow students to use school transport to get into school for the test, as if they were to test positive, it would require all students on that bus to self isolate for 10 days. It seems the most sensible precaution to test everyone first and then resume teaching. I understand that other schools are taking a different approach, but I am convinced that this will afford us the least disruption.  I don’t want a series of students isolating again, before being able to restart school.
You will have seen that the government has not made testing compulsory nor have they made the wearing of face masks compulsory in schools. I would strongly urge you to consent for your children to be tested. The tests are very quick and painless. All of our students who have been in school since January have committed to testing and we have not had any ‘void’ or positive tests. Thank you to all those who have returned consent forms, please keep them coming in. We are proposing to use the same regime as before Christmas, with students wearing masks in corridors, but not classrooms. We are advising staff to stay    2 m away from students in classrooms. Year bubbles will still be in  place, with separated lunch arrangements.
For the week of 8 March, teachers will prepare pre recorded live lesson content and material on google classrooms, that students can complete when not in for testing. This will help us to wind up the online learning and allow teachers time to assess and prepare a recovery curriculum to make up for any gaps in learning. The 2 weeks leading up to Easter will focus on wellbeing and supporting students to re-engage with school. School is compulsory from 15 March. Students will be coded as Y for week 8 March- not required to attend.
I have asked Uniform Direct to put our summer polo shirt on their website. I am aware of the cost implication in renewing uniform with only 1 term to effectively finish before summer. Therefore on 15 March either winter or summer uniform will be acceptable. If you are struggling to find the school summer polo shirt , any plain navy polo shirt will be fine. However, please be aware that for Health and safety reasons, as well as compliance with our uniform and behaviour expectations, FACIAL piercings, must be removed before 15 March and hair colour returned to ‘normal’ acceptable colours.
As to Yr11 and 13 exam grade arrangements, I shall email parents separately next week with information about how grades will be awarded.
I will email again, early next week with the allocated time slots and days for testing, but the outline plan is :
Yr 13+ 11+10  on Monday 8 March AND Thursday 11 March
Yr 9+8+7 Tuesday 9 March AND Friday 12 March
I would really appreciate it if you could pass the message on to parents who may not read their emails. I will post this email on our website and a link to the website on FB and twitter. I have attached the updated Risk assessment, all new or updated sectional s are in yellow.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.
I will send out further information later next week after the time slots have been allocated and keep you fully informed.
Kind regards
Stay safe

Julia Polley