College Update

College Update

Dear Parents/Carers,

You will have heard, no doubt, of the Government’s ambition to get all students back into school, full-time from September. This is something I fully support, however, the guidance from the Department for Education only came out last Thursday and there is much for us to consider to ensure we can do this safely.

Detailed planning for the College’s full reopening is essential and I can assure you that we are working very hard on this. We are having to make judgements about how to balance and minimise any risks from coronavirus (COVID-19) with reinstating a full educational experience for all our year groups. There is a requirement to minimise the number of contacts that students have during the school day when they return in the Autumn to reduce the risk of transmission. This is likely to be achieved by creating year group “bubbles”. This concept presents significant difficulties as it restricts the normal operation of the College and creates both educational and logistical challenges.

As shared with you previously the health, safety and wellbeing of our College community is of paramount importance. This, balanced with delivering a full range of curriculum subjects and maximising students time in the classroom, provide the basis upon which our plans for September and beyond are being developed. Please also note the government’s recent announcement that attendance from September will be mandatory. I understand the concerns many parents and students may have about the return to school and we will work with you as best we can to try and make the transition as smooth as possible.

The majority of Year 10s and Year 12s have been attending school part-time over the last few weeks. We are only allowed to have a quarter of the year group in at any one time and it has been a real pleasure to see so many of the students during this face to face provision. The skeleton school continues to provide provision for a very small number of students in our sixth form block.

The week of the 13th July has been devoted to staff training to ensure we are prepared as best we can for the full opening of the College in September. During this week there will be no face to face provision for Year 10 or 12 students and there will be a reduced level of remote learning for all year groups involving an array of end of year remote challenges. The skeleton school will continue until Tuesday 21st July.

The next academic year doesn’t officially start until Thursday 3rd September and on this day only College staff will be present on site. On Friday 4th September only Year 7 and 12 will be in College. The week beginning 7th September different years groups will be invited into College for a phased reopening and an introduction to the “new normal”. It is essential that we ensure that this is conducted in such a precise and phased manner to ensure the safety of students, staff and their parents. We hope that the full College timetable will then commence for all Year groups on Monday 14th September.

Finally, there will be a ‘new normal’ in September in the way the College will have to operate. We are absolutely clear that we must remain flexible and adaptable to an uncertain and dynamic environment and be prepared for the potential self-isolation of multiple students or staff or local outbreaks. We are very clear about the measures that need to be put in place to help manage the risk of coronavirus (COVIDS-19) transmission and to create as safe an environment as possible for our College community. Thank you for your continued support and I will be writing to you again shortly to share our plans for a full reopening of the College in September, and to give you as much information as I can so your child is prepared for their return to the classroom which we are very much looking forward to.

Dr Jeremy Plumb