FAQs

Key Priorities

We are determined to deliver a safe and compliant school experience for all of our students and staff. 

We want to achieve a school day that is as close to ‘normal’ as we can safely achieve. One key priority is to ensure that all of our students can access the full curriculum and that they are effectively supported pastorally and in their class learning.

We want to be able to provide opportunity for the review of prior learning, to ensure full coverage of the curriculum and to allow anyone who feels that they have fallen behind over the past months, the opportunity to ‘catch up’.

To help parents, staff and students to understand the changes that we have put in place to secure a safe learning environment in September, we have compiled some frequently asked questions and answers. This will be regularly updated in response to changes in guidance, the development of our approach and questions that are asked of us by parents, staff and students.

How will the School Day Work

  • How will the school day work? (Lessons)
    • We will continue to teach a 6-period day, 5 days a week and to have tutor and assembly time throughout the week as well
    • Students will be taught, and will remain, in their year group bubbles throughout each day
    • Year groups will remain apart from each other
    • Year groups will have an area of the school for their lessons and they will remain in this area for most of their lessons
    • The zoning of the school in this way allows us to minimise movement and to keep the different year groups apart
    • Some ‘specialist classrooms’ will be retained for specialist delivery – but this is not always possible
    • Teachers will be travelling to their classes, rather than the students
  • What time should my child get to school each day? (Start of Day)

    Start of the day[1]

    • Students will arrive at school directly on to the playgrounds where each year group will have a different section to use
      • Students can arrive after 8am, but preferably as close to their scheduled start of the day as possible
      • There will be a simple breakfast service in the canteens with designated seating areas for each year group
    • When the bell goes at students will line up in their form groups in specific places and will be taken in to the buildings by their form teacher
    • Each year group will have a different entrance to the building[2]
     

    [1] The Sixth Form arrangements will be slightly different: they will register in the 6th Form Centre at Maze Hill

    [2] These are shown on the maps of the school

  • How will the school day work? (End of Day)
    • The end of the day will be slightly staggered to enable a safe departure (students will be dismissed between 2.50 and 3.10pm)
    • We ask parents to encourage their children to go home directly and to walk or cycle where possible, rather than gathering at bus stops
    • There will be no after school clubs for the first couple of weeks of term whilst we settle to this new routine
  • How will the school day work? (Break and Lunch)
    • There will be a break of 20 minutes during periods 1 and 2.  Different year groups will have break at different times.  A canteen service will be available.
    • There will be a lunch break of 30 minutes during periods 3 and 4.  Different year groups will have lunch at different times.  A canteen service will be available.
    • Students will be allowed to eat in designated areas of the playgrounds as well as in the canteens, to allow for greater social distancing.
    • The canteen will be cleaned between each year group use.
    • Only one year group on each site[1] will have lunch or break at any one time
     

    [1] Sixth Form excepted

  • How will the school day work? (Form time and assembly)

    In order to stagger the arrival time of students, thus minimising the numbers in the playgrounds at one point, or needing to be on the same buses etc, students in different year groups will be expected to arrive at school for different start times each day.  These times will be shared with students and parents and we ask that if at all possible, students try to keep to these times and not to arrive too early on any one day.

    On days where there is an 8.25am start:

    • The bell will ring for students to line up in tutor groups on the playground at 8.25am
    • Each group will be taken in to the building via their designated entrance by their form tutor where they will either
      • Be taken to assembly, or
      • Go to their form room for PHSE activities
    • Registers will be taken by the form tutor either in the assembly hall or in the form room, depending on the activity of the day

    On days where there is an 8.40am start:

    • The bell will ring for students to line up on the playground at 8.40am
    • Each group will be taken in to the building via their designated entrance by their form tutor where they will go to their form room for the register to be taken and for important messages and administrative activities

    On Wednesdays all students should be in school for an 8.45am start:

    • The bell will ring for students to line up on the playground at 8.45am
    • Each group will be taken in to the building via their designated entrance by their subject teacher for period 1
    • The register will be taken in the lesson by the subject teacher
  • How will the school day work? (Overview of the day)

    Lessons will still be either 50 or 100 minutes long, but the structure of the day has needed to be altered in order to accommodate staggered use of the canteen and playground areas to minimise contact between year groups.

    Between each couple of lessons, there will be 15 minutes designated to allow teachers to move between their classes.  Although students will remain on one floor for the majority of their lessons, teachers will need to move between the floors and also across the sites.  Transition points will allow time for this movement.

    During transition periods, students are expected to remain where they are and to read silently in class.  There will be two points each day when this is expected.  These are what is referred to as DEAR times (Drop Everything And Read).

    Transition periods are scheduled for 10.50 – 11.05 and 1.15 – 1.30.

    The last 5 minutes of each transition period will allow students to move to their next room, and to get ready for their next lesson.

    Bells will be rung at the beginning, after 10 minutes and at the end of the transition period.

  • How will the school day work? (Specialist teaching areas)

    For some subjects we have been able to work out how to enable them to teach in their subject specific spaces. This will apply to most Drama, Music, Art and Technology lessons. The spaces will be cleaned thoroughly between being used by different year groups and this will allow teachers of these subject to use their specialist spaces.

    It has not been possible to do this for all subjects and in particular, Science lessons will not all be taught in Science labs.  Where possible, students will be able to do practical work in the rooms where they are taught Science, but will not have access to gas or water for some experiments. The Science staff, including technicians, will work hard to ensure that this does not overly restrict the delivery of the curriculum.

    PE will largely be taught outside. At first it will also largely be on site in order to avoid the need to use the minibuses to transport the students to the playing fields.

    We are also asking students to come to school in their PE kits on days when they have PE. This will minimise the use of the changing rooms, although we will review this request regularly to see if we can allow the use of the changing rooms. 

    Currently the advice is to avoid using computers because it is difficult to ensure that the keyboards and mice can be adequately cleaned between users. We are reviewing this advice and hope to reach a point soon that will allow the use of computers for the teaching of Computer Science as well as for more general curriculum support.

  • What time does school start for each year group?

  • What time does school finish for each year group?

  • When will the children be able to use the libraries?

    At the moment we are planning to develop pop up libraries that will allow students in all year groups to have access to books and library resources.  Ms Allen is working out her plans around this and will publicise them as soon as we have settled into our new routines.

General Information

  • What should my child bring to school? (Equipment)

    Students are asked to ensure that they bring their own equipment to school each day.  A full pencil case with pens, pencils etc for each student will eliminate the need for students to share equipment.  Everyone must have a current reading book with them each day and there will be the opportunity to read this at each of the transition points every day.

  • Will my child have the use of a locker?

    Years 9 – 11 would usually expect to be able to use the lockers that are in the Westcombe Park building.  These will not be available whilst we are zoning the school as it is not possible to provide sufficient lockers on each floor. 

    Students will need to carry all of their equipment, books etc with them in their bags during the day.  However, please note that student movement around the buildings each day will be limited to the floor that is their base.

    The exception to this is the Sixth Form who will be able to use the lockers assigned to them.

  • What about rewards?
    • We will continue to reward our students for the great things that they do and achieve
    • We expect all students to come to school in full school uniform [1]– including wearing the correct school tie for their year group and their school badge on the correct lanyard.  This colour coding will be especially important as we work to ensure that there is no overlap between year group bubbles.
    • On PE days, in the first instance, we expect students to attend school wearing their full school PE kit
    • Students should ensure that they have all of the books and equipment that they need for the day in their school bags
    • The Behaviour Policy will be updated to reflect new guidance in time for September.  It will still be driven by our strong school PRIDE values and will ensure the health and safety of everyone.
     

    [1] Sixth Form students are expected to adhere to the Dress Code

  • Does my child need to wear school uniform?
    • We will continue to reward our students for the great things that they do and achieve
    • We expect all students to come to school in full school uniform [1]– including wearing the correct school tie for their year group and their school badge on the correct lanyard.  This colour coding will be especially important as we work to ensure that there is no overlap between year group bubbles.
    • On PE days, in the first instance, we expect students to attend school wearing their full school PE kit
    • Students should ensure that they have all of the books and equipment that they need for the day in their school bags
    • The Behaviour Policy will be updated to reflect new guidance in time for September.  It will still be driven by our strong school PRIDE values and will ensure the health and safety of everyone.
     

    [1] Sixth Form students are expected to adhere to the Dress Code

  • How will the Behaviour Policy Work?
    • We will continue to reward our students for the great things that they do and achieve
    • We expect all students to come to school in full school uniform [1]– including wearing the correct school tie for their year group and their school badge on the correct lanyard.  This colour coding will be especially important as we work to ensure that there is no overlap between year group bubbles.
    • On PE days, in the first instance, we expect students to attend school wearing their full school PE kit
    • Students should ensure that they have all of the books and equipment that they need for the day in their school bags
    • The Behaviour Policy will be updated to reflect new guidance in time for September.  It will still be driven by our strong school PRIDE values and will ensure the health and safety of everyone.
     

    [1] Sixth Form students are expected to adhere to the Dress Code

  • Will students still get detentions?
    • We will continue to reward our students for the great things that they do and achieve
    • We expect all students to come to school in full school uniform [1]– including wearing the correct school tie for their year group and their school badge on the correct lanyard.  This colour coding will be especially important as we work to ensure that there is no overlap between year group bubbles.
    • On PE days, in the first instance, we expect students to attend school wearing their full school PE kit
    • Students should ensure that they have all of the books and equipment that they need for the day in their school bags
    • The Behaviour Policy will be updated to reflect new guidance in time for September.  It will still be driven by our strong school PRIDE values and will ensure the health and safety of everyone.
     

    [1] Sixth Form students are expected to adhere to the Dress Code

  • Can my child use a locker?

    No lockers are available for years 7 & 8 in Maze Hill.  Those for Years 9, 10 and 11 at Westcombe Park are not currently in use because of the challenge of keeping year group bubbles apart from each other.  Once we get back to normal, students will again be able to use lockers.  The Sixth Form do have access to lockers because their zones include their locker areas.

  • Can my child cycle to school?

    Yes, we are keen for students to cycle in and there are racks on both sites for them to secure the bike during the day.

  • My child has a school laptop, when does this need to be returned?

    We are currently happy for the students with these laptops to keep them as we think it will help with the online homework tasks that they are going to be set.  As the year progresses, we will be in contact with you to arrange the return of these.

  • Will we be able to meet the teachers soon?

    There are no plans in place to run face to face parent meetings because of the current restrictions.  We will explore online options.

  • I missed the Parent Information Evenings. How can I find out what I have missed?

Curriculum Information

How will my child know what to do?

  • When does term start?

    In order to ensure that everyone is clear about the new expectations around the school and is familiar with their timetable and changed routines, we will have a staggered start to the term with each year group having a day of orientation and induction prior to the full start of the term.  On this day, students will

    • Be briefed about the essential health and safety regulations in place
    • Provided with a timetable that puts the majority of their lessons in their year group zone
    • Be set some home learning tasks to undertake prior to the full start of the term
    • Be walked through how to transition between lessons and where to line up for fire evacuations
    • Be able to use the canteen for break and lunch

    At the end of the Year Group Induction Day, there will be an online meeting for the parents of this year group where the safety measures in place will be explained and the Head of Year will speak to parents about the priorities for the year group and any particular information that will support parents in working with their child.

     

     

    Year 7

    Year 8

    Year 9

    Year 10

    Year 11

    Year 12

    Year 13

    Friday 4th September

     

     

     

     

     

    10 – 12 noon

     

    Monday 7th September

    9 – 2pm

     

     

     

    9 – 2pm

    10 – 1pm

     

    Tuesday 8th September

     

    9 – 2pm

    9 – 2pm

     

     

     

    10 – 1pm

    Wednesday 9th September

     

     

     

    9 – 2pm

     

     

     

    Thursday 10th September

    All students will be back at school and following their full timetable

    Friday 11th September

     

  • How will my child know what to do? (Physical changes)
    • Signage around the school buildings will support safe movement and the separation of year groups
    • The fire stairs in Westcombe Park will be put into main usage to all for the separation of year groups
    • Classroom doors will be propped open to increase the circulation of air in classrooms
    • Windows will be opened wherever this is possible to increase the circulation of air around the buildings and in classrooms in particular
    • Movement around the buildings will be minimised by maintaining year groups zones
    • ID cards for our cashless catering are now fully introduced
    • An additional service point for catering will be placed in the playground at Westcombe Park
    • Changes to the air handling and air conditioning systems will be made – to place the systems on fresh air modes and to adjust the temperatures
  • Will the students still be set into different ability groups for some subjects?

    Groupings

    • The school’s planning combines the need to maintain separation between year groups and the desire to deliver the full curriculum in the groupings that the Heads of Department want and in as many specialist areas as possible. 
    • Each year group will be assigned a floor of the school where the vast majority of their lessons will take place.  Movement away from this year group zone will be carefully controlled and distance from other year groups will be maintained.
    • Year groups will have separate entrances to the school buildings and will have different break and lunch times.
    • Where rooms are being used by more than one year group, the frequency of cleaning will be increased.
    • Whilst students within a year group are allowed to mix, they will be encouraged to keep their distance and the school will operate a no touching policy.
    • All staff are able to move between year groups in order to teach their subjects.  However, they must practice social distancing as much as possible and aim to maintain 2m distancing.

Safety within the school

  • What does the government guidance say?
    • Avoid contact with anyone with symptoms
    • Clean hands thoroughly more often than usual
    • Introduce enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often
    • Good respiratory hygiene practices
    • Minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing wherever possible
    • Minimise the mixing of groups
    • Engage with the NHS Test and Trace process
    • Manage confirmed cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) amongst the school community
    • Contain any outbreak by following local health protection team advice
  • How will the school keep my child safe? (Infection Control)
    • Our planning is designed in order to support and manage any possible Covid-19 related staff issues
    • We will fully engage with the National Test and Trace Programme and expect our families to do so as well
    • Any student with symptoms should not attend for 10 days and should take a test under the NHS Test and Trace Programme
      • The school must be informed of positive and negative results
    • Where a student indicates an individual in their household is unwell with symptoms compatible with Covid-19, they must self-isolate for up to 14 days
      • If the symptomatic household member tests negative they can return to school
    • All visitors to site will be carefully managed and identification details held for 21 days, although there are still likely to be restrictions on visitors in place in September
    • Our Risk Assessment will provide full details for procedures for dealing with suspected and confirmed cases
  • How will the school keep my child safe? (Hand and Respiratory Hygiene)
    • Hand sanitiser will be available in all classrooms and throughout the school.  Staff and students will be expected to use this thoroughly on entry and exit of any room.
    • Regular and thorough hand washing is important and wherever possible, students will be encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water, but to minimise queues, there will be a large number of sanitising stations around the school
    • Additional bins will be around the school to promote ‘Catch it, bin-it, kill-it’
    • Tissues will be available in all rooms
    • Signage throughout the school will reinforce the messages of hand and respiratory hygiene
    • All staff will regularly remind students.
  • What about wearing a face mask?
    • The Department for Education and Public Health England continue to advise that masks are not necessary in a school setting, however, we know that for some people the wearing of a mask will provide additional confidence and support them in returning to school
    • Where worn, masks must be worn properly – covering the nose and mouth and kept on throughout the day.  The wearer should avoid touching the mask too much.
  • How will the classrooms be arranged to make it safe?
    • Rooms will be arranged so that students are sitting side by side and facing forwards where possible
    • Any surplus furniture in rooms will be removed to allow for ease of movement around the room
    • Students will primarily use the same desk space for each lesson. 
    • All classrooms will have cleaning materials and antibacterial wipes available for equipment and surfaces
    • All students will be issued with a mini whiteboard to assist with maintaining social distancing in the classrooms
  • How will the school be kept clean enough?
    • There will be more cleaning throughout the day with the introduction of a second Day Cleaner on each site
    • Cleaning will be aligned with timetable demands, ensuring that specialist rooms are cleaned between different year group usage
  • Has the school undertaken a full risk assessment? (Subject Specific Roles)
    • Heads of Department will review their risk assessments for the planned activities and will update measures in place as required
    • Heads of Department will be able to refer to national subject specific guidance for the latest advice on controls to put in place
  • Has the school undertaken a full risk assessment? (Risk Assessment)

    The school has undertaken a full risk assessment and this can be found on our website.  The Risk Assessment follows government guidance and is on a template that was provided by United Learning.  Throughout the summer, the school’s Health and Safety Committee has met weekly to review the progress that the school is making towards putting new measures in place.  The school has addressed all of the areas in the guidance. 

    The Risk Assessment has been reviewed and developed by the Health and Safety Committee which is a group that is representative of the staff (Senior Leadership, Premises Team, Union Representatives) and is chaired by Linda Karlsen the Governor with oversight of Health and Safety.

    The Risk Assessment has been reviewed and signed off by United Learning.

    The Risk Assessment is under constant review and will be updated regularly as required.

  • What will happen if my child forgets their face mask or loses it during the day?

    We do have a supply of face masks – although this is not an infinite supply and so we do ask parents to help their child to remember their mask each day and to seek out masks that are not going to break too easily.

  • Can my child wear a face mask in class?

    Ideally we would like everyone to take off their mask in class as communication is so much easier without a face covering.

  • What should I do if my child just has a cold?

    If it isn’t too bad, please send them in with plenty of tissues to use.  If they are sneezing and coughing then they are likely to be best at home to rest and recover.  If they symptoms of the cold seem to be closer to those of coronavirus, please go through the process of letting us know and organising a test. Please see the attached flow chart

Returning to School

  • Does my child have to come to school?
    • All students must now attend school if they are able to do so.  From September 1st 2020, the usual rules on school attendance will apply including:
      • parents’ duty to secure that their child attends regularly at school where the child is a registered pupil at school and they are of compulsory school age;
      • schools’ responsibilities to record attendance and follow up absence
      • the availability to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices in line with local authorities’ codes of conduct
  • What if my child is shielding or self-isolating?
    • a small number of students will still be unable to attend in line with public health advice because they are self-isolating and have had symptoms or a positive test result themselves; or because they are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19)
    • shielding advice for all adults and children paused on 1 August.  This means that even the small number of students who will remain on the shielded patient list can also return to school, as can those who have family members who are shielding. (Read the current advice on shielding)
    • if rates of the disease rise in local areas, children (or family members) from that area, and that area only, will be advised to shield during the period where rates remain high and therefore they may be temporarily absent.
    • some students no longer required to shield but who generally remain under the care of a specialist health professional may need to discuss their care with their health professional before returning to school (usually at their next planned clinical appointment). You can find more advice from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health at COVID-19 - ‘shielding’ guidance for children and young people

    Where a student is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical and/or public health advice, the DfE expects schools to be able to immediately offer them access to remote education. Schools must monitor engagement with this activity and we will keep in touch with the families of students in this position.

    Where children are not able to attend school as parents are following clinical and/or public health advice, absence will not be penalised.

  • I am very anxious about my child returning to school.

    If you are particularly anxious about your child returning to school, perhaps because they, or someone in the family, has significant risk factors to be considered, please get in touch with the school as soon as you can.  We will spend time with you explaining the measures that we have put in place and work with you to find a way to support your child’s return to school.

  • What will happen if my child feels unwell at school?

    If any child feels unwell at school, we will contact their family to collect them and take them home as soon as they possibly can. They will be isolated from others whilst awaiting collection.

    Where the child is displaying symptoms linked to the coronavirus, you will be asked to take them for a test and to let us know the result of this test immediately. If the test is negative for coronavirus, then the child can return to school as soon as they feel well enough. If it is positive, the child and the family will need to follow the current guidance for quarantine.

    Following a positive test, the school will follow all of the current public health guidance on reporting and cleaning.

    It is expected that all families and staff follow the Test and Trace protocols.

The school is part of United Learning. United Learning comprises: UCST (Registered in England No: 2780748. Charity No. 1016538) and ULT (Registered in England No. 4439859. An Exempt Charity). Companies limited by guarantee. VAT number 834 8515 12.
Registered address: United Learning, Worldwide House, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough, PE3 6SB. Tel: 01832 864 444

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