CHECK IN, CATCH UP, PREPARE

Check In, Catch Up, Prepare

As you will now be aware, Lindsay Harvey, Director of Education, wrote to all parents in Bridgend to confirm that all children (in every year group including year 12) will be invited to check in at school on exactly two occasions in the final 4 weeks of the summer term.  I can confirm that our current intention is to offer these ‘occasions’ as ‘full days’.

We are dealing with a rapidly changing situation. The various communications we receive require flexibility and adaptability, and this plan is the latest iteration of many. So please be mindful that the information we provide today is subject to change.

Hub provision will now operate from within school, and I will share details with the families of those attending later this week. Please note that admission to the hubs is administered by the local authority.

Covid-19 has inevitably had a huge impact in the way we have led our lives in recent weeks and months. In our school, it has presented us with a very different environment, and we have had to learn and develop new methods of teaching and learning. I would like to thank all our staff and students who have adapted to this strange new world that we have suddenly found ourselves in.

At the present time, we are looking forward to welcoming students back for “catch up and check in” sessions prior to the summer holidays. In these 4 weeks, this will mean checking in on their wellbeing, catching up on their news and how they are, and preparing them for the immediate changes in school, our environment, and helping them to prepare for blended learning, and organising their distance learning. The over-riding principle continues to be the safety and wellbeing of all members of our school community. We will try to use the very limited time we have to re-establish relationships, rediscover routines and support, as well as reinforcing the learning required for continued blended learning now and into the future.

I wrote to you last week to ask your intention in terms of permitting your children to return to school. Most of you have kindly responded, and I am very grateful for the comments and suggestions you have made. I have read them all. My aim in this communication is to provide families with an understanding of our plan to reopen school from June 29th so that you have at least some of the information you need to make the most appropriate decision for your child or context. We understand that parents need to have sufficient understanding of our planning in order to make an informed decision about whether to send their children back to school.

Please do not feel any pressure for your child to attend school until you feel confident in their safely. We will continue to deliver online learning and wellbeing provision, and we are here to support in whatever way we can. Our intention is to offer a meaningful and supportive experience for those students who return, whilst not disadvantaging those who are unable to do so.

How will we organise the groups, and when will children be invited to attend?

From Monday 29th June, we intend to reopen the school for one-year group each day in years 7 to 12.  Year groups will be divided into two cohorts (X and Y) and operate on a week A / week B format, with children invited into school either in Week A or Week B. Children will be organised into  groups of between 6-8 pupils in order to ensure social distancing, as our classrooms are relatively small in size. The groups will be mixed ability and we will pay very close attention to the makeup of each group to support children’s wellbeing.

Each group will have a designated room and designated teachers when they are in school, with designated toilets, outdoor and indoor space. This is again designed to reflect operational guidance recently published by Public Health Wales. The group, the block the classroom, and the teachers, will remain the same for each of these four weeks – where possible.

  • Week A1 – June 29th – July 3rd
  • Week A2 – July 13th – July 17th

MONDAY A - YEAR 12*

TUESDAY A - YEAR 10X

WEDNESDAY A - YEAR 9X

THURSDAY A - YEAR 8X

FRIDAY A - YEAR 7X

  • Week B1 – July 6th – July 10th
  • Week B2 – July 20th – July 24th

MONDAY B - YEAR 12*

TUESDAY B - YEAR 10Y

WEDNESDAY B - YEAR 9Y

THURSDAY B - YEAR 8Y

FRIDAY B - YEAR 7Y

*The schedule and arrangements for Year 12 will be published separately.

We are determining the groups this week and will let you know which cohort your child has been placed in, along with arrangements for registration on the first day as soon as we have completed compilation.

This basic schedule shown above will run until Friday 24th July, a week later than usual. We know that Welsh Government intend to extend the October half-term break by 1 week. As soon as the additional week is announced we will inform everyone and update our school calendar.

Risk assessment and safety

A robust range of pre-opening building checks will be carried out by our site staff in consultation with the local authority’s Health and Safety team. This will include a comprehensive assessment of the spatial capacity of every teaching space that will be used. It will ensure that our plans for circulation routes around the school as well as our routes into and out of the school (including staggered timings) are fit for purpose.  Rest and toilet breaks will be carefully organised. Hygiene and cleaning will be ongoing, and enhanced with daily cleans supported by ongoing cleaning of key surfaces throughout the day.

Social distancing will be in place in every part of the school, and both staff and students will be encouraged to take responsibility for their own social distancing. Signage will be clear throughout the school and will be used where necessary to reinforce protocols rather than to create additional anxiety.

Each classroom has been set up to meet stringent social distancing of 2 metres. Each ‘block’ will have controlled entrances and exits, and signage will be in place to help manage movement on the site. Appropriate handwashing facilities will be available, with all pupils required to wash hands upon entering in the morning and leaving in the afternoon. (Some parents have asked whether or not children can bring their own sanitiser to school, and we are seeking clarification on this) A handwashing timetable and protocol will be published in advance of opening. Staggered starts, break times, lunchtimes and leaving times will be employed to comply with social distancing. Registration and attendance procedures will be published next week in advance of opening, along with clear and sensible toilet protocols.

The local authority intends to offer operational guidance to schools on matters such as equipment and resources, catering, and transport, and we will shall share this with you when we have received it.  On arrival and exit from the school site, staff will be at key points to ensure students walk in a socially distanced manner and follow the pathway markers we put in place. Once in the classroom, no exit from this classroom will be permitted except to go to the toilet, the canteen or for supervised activities outside. Entry to toilets and corridors will be supervised by our site staff in order to clean touch surfaces and ensure students remain 2 metres away from each other at all times. All other classrooms and offices on site may be locked so that entry into any other area does not happen. This is for staff as well as pupils and to enable us to maintain high standards of hygiene.

To help parents, there will be no school uniform this term. Students should be dressed appropriately for comfort and safety. PE kit would be an ideal dress in dry weather. Other rules concerning hairstyles, jewellery and mobile phones will not change. No visitors will be permitted on site.

Learners or staff showing symptoms on site

We have clear procedures for learners or staff who show symptoms on site. All staff will be fully trained in our protocols during the week commencing June 22nd. Those showing symptoms will be isolated until they can be collected and taken home. Anyone displaying symptoms should stay at home for 7 days and should arrange to be tested. Anyone who lives with someone displaying symptoms but remains well should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person became ill.

Who should come to school?

If any student or a member of your family has received a shielding letter from the government, the student should not come to school. Equally, there may be other health conditions that may be of worry to you. In these instances, please consult the following guidance in making the decision to send your child to school:

 Under no circumstances should students attend school if they:

  • feel unwell, have any of the three identified COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or loss of taste or smell) or they have tested positive to COVID-19 in the past 14 days

live in a household (or to your best knowledge come into contact) with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive to COVID-19 in the past 14 days

What is the rationale for returning to school, and what will the children be doing?

The Welsh government set out in its guidance on learning during this summer term and there is a clear focus on wellbeing. The time before the summer break is limited and we will have restricted opportunities to engage with your children. It is, therefore, important to put this time to best use and to focus of what is most important to support all of our learners. This time will therefore be used to:

  • spend time undertaking activities which support their health and well-being;
  • develop their readiness for learning and begin to reintroduce in school learning as appropriate;
  • test operations for partial reopening under social distancing;
  • engage with everyone to build confidence in the careful approach we are taking.

Our developing plans for all year groups will therefore focus on health and wellbeing activities, and other learning challenges around a theme. This will complement blended learning at home. For children in Years 9 and 10, this work will also support their achievement in Skills Challenge Certificate, as well as clarify the arrangements and expectations for ongoing home learning in subjects in readiness for the Autumn Term. Arrangements for Year 12 will be published separately.

We are planning an integrated approach to in-school and home learning for the final 4 weeks of term. This will mean that there will be no new learning plans issued for the week commencing June 22nd to June 26th. This time should be used to ‘catch-up’ on any work not yet undertaken in current learning plans. We will issue new homeworking plans for Years 7-10 for the week commencing June 29th.

We have a ‘roadmap for reopening’ and plans are now developing quickly, but we have so much more to do over the next two weeks. I know you will still have many questions; we will try to answer them as soon as we have them. In the meantime, we are, as always, very grateful for your support and patience.

We will be in touch with any new information shortly and are very much looking forward to seeing your children again this summer term.

Diolch,

Cymerwch ofal

Mr Pawar - Headteacher