Arrangements for Returning to School

On Thursday 4th March, BCBC Director of Education, Lindsay Harvey wrote to parents of children in Bridgend schools to confirm the expansion of on-site provision in Bridgend schools. The priority for on-site learning will be:

  • vulnerable learners;
  • learners undertaking essential examinations or assessments; and
  • learners in Years 11 and 13.

In addition, secondary schools will aim to provide:

  • some access to on-site education provision for learners in Years 10 and 12 (especially those involved in examinations and/or assessments); and
  • opportunities for learners in Years 7, 8 and 9 to ‘check in’ with a view to supporting their wellbeing and readiness for return to school.

On-site provision will also be in place for all Year 7 and Year 8 children of critical workers (as defined by Welsh Government).

Remote learning will continue to be provided for self-isolating learners and those year groups not accessing face-to-face learning in school.

I would like to confirm the arrangements for pupils at Bryntirion Comprehensive School from Monday 15th March to Friday 26th March. We will be gradually increasing provision throughout the two weeks, and will amend these arrangements if necessary, and base decisions on daily observations and management of risk.

Years 11, 12 and 13

All pupils in Years 11, 12 and 13 will return on Monday 15th March on a full time basis, following their normal timetable. We will prioritise on-site provision for pupils who will receive Centre Determined Grades this summer so that they have as much time in school as possible to be prepared for this process.

Year 11 pupils should report to their form class on Monday at 8.45 for registration. They will then follow their timetable. Please note that Year 11 pupils will not be permitted to leave the school site during the school day. Years 12 & 13 will follow their timetables, but will only be required in school to attend lessons. The existing operational arrangements for pupils in Years 12 and 13, such as the signing in process, will remain in place.

Year 10

We want to provide some access to on-site education provision for pupils in Years 10 during these two weeks. All pupils in Year 10 will be invited to attend school on 2 days in this period as follows:

  • Thursday 18th March
  • Thursday 25th March

Year 10 pupils should report to their form class at 8.40 for registration. They will then follow their timetable. Please note that Year 10 pupils will not be permitted to leave the school site during the school day.

We are looking to provide additional time in school for Year 10 pupils who have been entered for GSCE Mathematics and Numeracy in the summer series. These pupils will receive ‘centre determined grades’ this summer and will therefore be prioritised for additional time in school with their teachers as follows:

  • Wednesday 17th March (9.00 - 11.00)
  • Friday 19th March (10.00 - 12.00)
  • Tuesday 23rd March (1.00 - 3.00)
  • Friday 26th March (9.00 - 11.00)

These pupils will be expected to attend school for the maths session only. On these days they will go directly to the classroom allocated for them. They will leave the school site following the session.

Years 7 – 9

In order to provide opportunities for all pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 to ‘check in’ with a view to supporting their wellbeing and readiness for return to school we will invite each pupil to attend school for one full day as follows:

  • Year 9 – Monday 22nd March
  • Year 8 – Tuesday 23rd March
  • Year 7 – Wednesday 24th March

All pupils in Years 7 – 9 should report to their form class at 8.40 for registration. They will then follow their timetable. Please note that pupils will not be permitted to leave the school site during the school day.

The purpose of this day is to support pupils with the routines of school life. We want them to socialise with their friends in class, attend lessons, and re-engage with learning.

Other on-site provision

We will continue to provide support for vulnerable pupils, and children of eligible critical workers in Years 7 & 8. Please note that on-site, in-school provision is available to support those critical works who are required to attend their work site and should only be used where no one is working from home who can care for their child/children. Provision for the children of critical workers will be based, as usual in E Block.

Home learning provision

Pupils in Years 7-10 working from home during this period will still be advised to follow their timetable. However, we will now have to revert back to the Autumn Term timetable for each year group (see above). This is to enable the functioning of operational practices, such as staggered breaks and lunches, cleaning and the use of the canteens.

A blend of live, independent and consolidation lessons will continue to be provided, as determined by your child’s subject teacher. Please be patient with us during this period, as it is more complex for teachers to provide blended learning when also dealing with pupils in school.

Control measures

In consultation with BCBC Corporate Health and Safety team, we have updated the risk assessment for our school and its context. This is in line with most recently reviewed Welsh government operational guidance. It can be found on the school’s website and is available on request from the school. In most respects, the operational practices in place during the Autumn Term will remain in place. Pupils are familiar with these practices and will be reminded of these on their return to school in their first registration session.

The measures we have undertaken following the guidance from Welsh government include:

  • a requirement that people who are unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 stay at home
  • robust hand and respiratory hygiene including ventilation
  • continuation of increased cleaning arrangements
  • active engagement with Test, Trace, Protect
  • limiting contact between students wherever possible, focusing on distancing, classroom layout, zoned breaks and lunchtimes and controlled systems for one-way movement
  • promoting good respiratory hygiene will be via the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach. We will ensure that we have enough tissues and bins available in the school to support learners and staff to follow this routine.
  • Classrooms have been arranged so that pupils are seated side by side and facing forwards, rather than face to face or side on.

Please note, that due to the nature of our accommodation, and the need to increase on-site provision to more pupils before Easter, it is not possible for pupils to be socially distanced from each other in classrooms, school canteens and other communal spaces.

The Welsh Government has recently announced its intention to make available LFT (Lateral Flow Tests) for secondary school students in Years 10 – 13. We await further information on this.

Face Coverings

In a letter to you last week Lindsay Harvey, Director of Education, has informed parents that all secondary school-aged learners will continue to require a face covering for use in school where social distancing cannot be maintained (including within the classroom).

Welsh Government have strengthened their recommendations on the use of face coverings.  These are now required for all students throughout the day in all communal areas and in the classroom where it’s not possible to socially distance. They can be removed when eating and exercising.

Students with a medical condition are exempt.  Parents will need to contact their child’s Head of Year (prior to their child returning) with the details of the exemption so that we can arrange communication with staff.

Movement to and around the school:

We will continue with one-way systems and all members of the school community will be required to follow designated routes. It is therefore important that we bring each year group back carefully in order to build confidence and understanding.

On their return, students should arrive in sufficient time to ensure that they reach their registration period in readiness for their allocated start time. We will continue with our staggered lunch sittings and staggered dismissal at the end of the day, with all students departing by 3.00 pm.

Please reinforce the message that students must follow the current COVID rules and restrictions when traveling to and from school and must not congregate in groups in the local community. All students travelling on public transport or BCBC transport will be required to follow the national guidance around the use of transport and will be required to wear a face mask while travelling.

Catering and canteen service

We are working with our partners in BCBC catering to offer a catering service at break and lunch time throughout this period. Hot food will be available, but this will mainly be through a ‘Grab and Go’ or ‘Takeaway’ option similar to that provided in the Autumn Term. Children will be permitted to bring a packed lunch to school.

Cashless payment systems will be in operation as usual. However, parents/carers will need to ensure there is sufficient balance on their child’s account. Payment machines in school will be inaccessible during this period so parents/carers are advised of the need to credit school meal accounts via the ‘Pay it’ function on the Bridgend County Borough Council website. This is the usual method for adding credits to accounts for school meals.

Pupils in Years 7 to 11 are not permitted to leave the school site during the school day.

School Uniform and equipment for March 15th – 26th – all pupils

Pupils will wear school uniform during this period. They are permitted to wear their summer uniform with polo shirt (or white shirt). We are very mindful, however, that children will have grown in recent months and that non-essential retail remains closed. We will be flexible regarding uniform following a specific parental request to do so; if you have difficulty obtaining uniform for your child please e-mail your head of year. In these circumstances, pupils will still need to dress appropriately for a school environment. 

For individual and very frequently used equipment, such as pencils and pens, it is recommended that pupils have their own items that are not shared. Classroom based resources, such as books and games, can be used and shared within the contact group. In line with Welsh Government guidance, students and staff can take books and other shared resources home, although unnecessary sharing should be avoided.

Pupils should limit the amount of equipment they bring into school each day, to essentials such as lunch boxes, bags, hats, coats, books, stationery, and mobile phones (kept in bags). The basic equipment needed each day is as follows:

  1. Pens and pencil case
  2. Geometry set
  3. Notebook
  4. Calculator
  5. Planner (new planners will be available in school if necessary)
  6. Bag

Attendance

All pupils should return to school for their designated days unless they have a medical reason not to do so. We will keep a daily record of attendance and request that parents notify us daily if their child is unable to attend, explaining the reason for this. We will be working proactively to engage with families to identify any barriers to students returning to school and will offer further support needed. If you are in doubt about a health condition, parents and carers should take advice from their GP or hospital doctor. Please contact us if you have any concerns about your child’s return to school.

Visitors

Please note that parents will only be able to come onto the school site for a pre-arranged appointment. Social distancing and hand sanitising will be in place in our reception area and all meetings will take place in the school’s conference room for ease of cleaning. I apologise that we are required to remove the seating from our reception area at this time but can assure you that you will be met promptly for any appointment.

We will not permit any other visitors onto the school site without a pre-booked appointment.

And finally, I am very grateful for your support in ensuring your child is fully prepared for a return to school from March 15th. It will be wonderful to welcome back our students to school. We have missed them enormously and look forward to seeing them in school once again.