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Arrangements for the start of term

Please see below for information about the return to school in September.

24th August 2020 

As we approach the end of the school holidays, I wanted to update you on arrangements for next term here at Greenshaw. Some of this will be repetition of messages I have already shared, but as a parent myself I know I always appreciate clarification from the schools my children attend. 

So why are schools opening fully? 
I am very aware that some families may have concerns about a return to school that is so different to the very controlled return of small groups of students in the summer term. The reason for this different approach from schools is that the background health situation is different. The rate of Covid-19 transmission is hugely reduced from when schools had to close to all but the most vulnerable and children of key workers in March. 

Opened safely, schools definitely offer the best place for young people to be in terms of their academic and social education. We worked really hard to support our students when they were at home, but being in school is the best place for children. 

What measures are being taken? 
We have applied the control measures outlined in the DfE guidance published at the end of the summer term. Following this, we have conducted a rigorous risk assessment. This has been reviewed by union representatives, school governors and members of the Greenshaw Learning Trust. 

In summary, some of the measures include: year groups arranged in bubbles with their own areas, including separate entry points, onto the site; student arrival and departure times staggered to minimise contact across bubbles; break and lunch times staggered to minimise contact across bubbles; additional hand washing stations and foot operated hand sanitiser dispensers across the site; enhanced cleaning in place throughout with commonly touched surfaces cleaned regularly throughout the day; hand sanitiser in every classroom; staff who move between classrooms issued with individual hand sanitiser, replenished as needed; investment in mobile devices so teachers moving between classrooms have reduced contact with computer mouse or keyboard; windows and doors kept open in classrooms where possible, to maintain a circulation of fresh air and reduce touchpoints; students maintaining a social distance from adults in the classroom; students washing/sanitising their hands on entering and leaving the building, and at regular points during the day. 

The most important measure is that any student displaying Covid-19 symptoms themselves, or in a household where someone is displaying symptoms, (a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change of smell or taste) should not attend school. They should book a test for Covid-19 and let us know the outcome. 

So when we open, we will be open for all students for all of the week. However, it will not be business as usual. For the first half term at least, we will not be running assemblies in the school hall and extra-curricular activities before and after school will not be taking place. We have scheduled parents’ evenings, but we will consider exactly how to deliver these nearer the time, depending on the health situation. 

What would happen if there was a future school closure? 
It is unknown if school closures will happen in the future. What we do know as a school is that we have a clear structure for learning, hosted on our online platform (Frog), that all of our students were able to log on to and use on a daily basis this year. In addition, staff from a number of schools across the Greenshaw Learning Trust have been creating learning resources over the summer that will be available for us if needed at any point next year. 

My absolute hope is that there is no need for future school closures, but should these happen then we have learning resources in place. 

What will learning be like when my child returns? 
There will be a restriction on some of the activities at the start of the year. For example, science practicals that need quantities of equipment wiping down will not be able to be run in all year groups. The same is true of PE lessons where the focus will be more on exercise, rather than sports needing lots of equipment. Importantly, we have not narrowed the curriculum that our students will receive. All subjects remain, even if, for example, drama is more script based in a classroom than physical performance in a studio space. 

What does my child need to bring to school? 
When term starts, all students in Years 7 to 11 should be in full uniform (click here), as normal. They should also have the full equipment for learning as outlined on our website (here). 

I have tried to outline below the most important information about returning to school. It may be that this does not cover everything, so bear in mind that staff will return to school from Tuesday 1st September and be able to respond to queries. 

It is possible that we will adapt some of the arrangements we have made. At the time of their creation these were the best solutions, but we will amend as needed. 

Nick House, Headteacher 

Important information for the start of school, September 2020

Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 2nd September – INSET days 1 and 2
(school closed to all students)

Thursday 3rd September – Year 7, 11, 12 and 13

Friday 4th September – all year groups

Monday 7th September onwards – Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays

Monday 7th September onwards – Wednesdays only

Please click here to download a copy of the timings of the day for each year group.

Hand hygiene remains key 
We will continue to remind students about the key actions around hand hygiene. It is very important that families reinforce these messages with their children. 

  1. Frequent hand cleaning should happen, including on arrival, before and after eating and after sneezing or coughing. 
  2. It is important to use a tissue or elbow to cough or sneeze into, and use bins for disposal of used tissues. 

Avoid dropping students off at school 
We have staggered arrival times to ensure that there is as little gathering around the pavements and spaces outside of school. Where families want to come to school with their child, especially in the first days for Year 7, we are asking that this is done a good distance away from the school gates and that families do not add to the numbers of people around school. 

Ensure that students walk or cycle to school where possible 
The government have asked all members of the public to avoid public transport where possible. Interiors of buses and trains are more likely to allow virus transmission than being in the open air. This means for schools that students should walk or cycle to school unless it is absolutely essential to take public transport, such as buses. We have provided additional bicycle storage at the front of the school next to the main entrance.