Released On 3rd Sep 2020
Parent Update 3 September
3 September 2020
I hope this update finds you and your families well and starting to get excited about the return to school next week. This update hopefully answers any final questions you have and many points are in response to questions that have been raised through the website contact form. We have had a very productive INSET session in school today, hence the timing of this update. As you can imagine staff have raised lots of excellent questions about our plans and so we have timed this to hopefully have the answers to all your possible questions too though I am under no illusions there will still be things we need to address next week.
Entrance / Exits:
Just a reminder of where each year group will enter and exit next week.
Year 7 – gate to the far side of the sports centre that leads to the gardens (staff will be on hand to support this on Monday morning and throughout the first week).
Year 8 and Year 9 – main gate
Year 10 and Year 11 – library gate
All gates will be staffed and once on site students must go straight to their tutor room.
Please remember the sports centre car park has reduced in size due to the welfare units for the construction companies working on site. Please take extra care and allow extra time if using this car park.
A reminder that students should not be on site before 8am.
A reminder that students in all year groups will need to supply their own equipment. This was shared in the updates in July. We will not be able to lend out equipment and students must not lend one another equipment. At a very basic level this should include a pen, pencil, ruler, eraser and sharpener. As is always the case, students should have a scientific calculator, protractor and compass. We will review student’s maths equipment and it may be possible for us to complete an order in school from which students can then purchase items. We will keep you updated on this. Linked to equipment we have also discussed exercise books during today’s staff meetings. Students will keep all their books with them. They will not hand them to staff for marking but instead we will adopt a self-assessment marking policy and will utilize ‘Teams’ to provide feedback online to students.
The refectory will be open. Each year group has a different time to go to the refectory and has two break times a day in which they can purchase food and drink. Students will not be able to sit in the refectory and must leave once they have completed their purchase. All food will be sealed. The cashless system will be in operation but please remember students will not be able to top up their fobs using the machine as this will lead to indoor queuing and the crossing of ‘bubbles’. If you have any concerns with keeping your child’s fob up to date please speak to the finance team.
Bring Your Own Device:
A reminder that phones are not allowed in school and cannot be used as a ‘device’ in lessons. If you wish for your child to bring a phone for safety reasons for their journey to and from school it must be handed to their tutor at the start of the day. Phones are brought to school at the owners risk and we will not accept responsibility for them on the site. Devices (lap tops and tablets) will only be used in lessons when absolutely necessary and at the request of the teacher. We are seeking to purchase additional lap tops to support learning and through the course of the first two weeks we will ascertain which students do and don’t have their own device. Last term we were required to PAT test each charging cable that was brought into school. We have reviewed this with the Trust IT and Health and Safety leads and will not need to go through the process of PAT testing for personal devices this term.
Over the last few weeks there has been much media speculation and several changes in guidance related to face coverings in schools. At Stanchester Academy it remains the case that if a student or a member of staff wish to wear a face covering they can. Students may however be challenged if they either wear an inappropriate covering or if they are seen to be risking hygiene guidelines by constantly touching the mask or if the mask has been left and then put back on. Any face covering worn should ideally be disposable and kept in a sealed wrapper. If a member of staff is struggling to hear any student wearing a face covering they may ask them to lower it in order to hear them.
In July, you were sent the details of your child’s ‘bubble’. Through the timetabling process we have reduced as much as we possibly could, the need for students to move around within their bubble. Our largest ‘bubble’ is the Year 8 and Year 9 bubble. Within main block where these year groups will be taught we have separated the classrooms so that the two year groups have their own set of classes. We have also set up a one way system so students will not need to pass one another in any corridors.
The Year 10 and Year 11 toilet block has been installed this week ensuring they do not need to cross to any other bubble to use the toilet. We have also separated the field into specified areas for year groups. A reminder please that balls are NOT to be brought to school as ball games cannot be permitted under the guidelines and supervision available.
We have also changed our fire procedures to enable us to evacuate safely and wherever possible maintain distance, clearly though in the case of a fire the main priority is to get students out of the building as quickly as possible and this over-rides the Covid guidance.
This year we are introducing a new home learning policy. However, in the first two weeks we will not be setting any home learning. We expect many of our students (and staff) to be extremely tired with the return to a routine they will not have been used to for six months. Our priority is to ensure they settle well, feel safe and happy and are able to get used to the new routines. Only once we are certain we have achieved this will we introduce home learning – this is likely to be earliest for Years 10 and 11 who have the fewest subjects and changes. The way in which we set home learning and feedback on it will change in light of Covid guidelines – as with the marking of books we will not be handing work out to students or collecting it in and will utilize teams in order to provide feedback and mark work.
By the time you receive this update those of you who have children travelling on county transport should have heard from them. On their website www.somerset.gov.uk/schooltransport you should be able to find all the information you need including contact details for those organising transport. The website also explains why the use of face coverings on school transport will not be mandatory and why bus companies will not be setting seating plans. We have however agreed that we will set a seating plan for each bus to maintain our bubble structures on the way to and from school and to support the different entrances and exits from the site. Those of you whose children use the Yeovil bus should also have received a letter. I would like to reiterate that there will be space for all students next week regardless of whether you have been able to pay yet. The deadline for the first half term payment is not until later in October (as per the letter) and nobody will be penalised for not paying before the date. If you would like to discuss financial support of any kind please contact the finance team at school.
Attached to this update is the Covid Risk Assessment under which we will be operating. This has been shared with all staff and approved at a Trust Board level. Students will be going through many elements of this risk assessment during their first few days including practising the routines into and out of the refectory and in the case of Years 8 and 9 practising using the one way system through their bubble.
The over-riding feeling from staff today was excitement at having our students back in school and working face to face with them once more. Things will look and feel different but our priority is to provide the very best for your children in as ‘normal’ and safe an environment as we can possibly provide. We have not taken this responsibility lightly at all and the work we have put in to securing the ‘bubbles’ and reducing any possibility of those ‘bubbles’ being crossed is significant. We are very aware that there will be further changes that need to take place and that until we have all our students back on site we cannot possibly have pre-empted every possible scenario. However, the most important thing is that we believe we have made the site safe and have put a timetable and system in place that gives us the confidence we all need to operate a successful and full educational provision whilst adhering to guidelines and looking after our community.
Thank you for your continued support and positive feedback. We look forward to seeing your children next week and to working closely with you over the coming months.
Mrs A Joynes