Dear Parent/Carer, This Friday, the 17th of July, will be the end of what has been one of the most tumultuous and challenging years I have known in my 24 years of teaching. I am both incredibly proud and extremely grateful for how everyone has pulled together during this time. With the exception of three bank holidays, Frederick Gent has been open since the 23rd March. From the many messages of support and thanks I know how much the work of my staff has been appreciated by you. Equally I want to, once again, express my gratitude to you for the way you have supported us and your children through this difficult period. As one academic year ends we inevitably turn our attention to the new term that will start in September. Both myself, and all of the staff at Frederick Gent School, look forward to welcoming back all pupils from the start of the new academic year. Following my message last week on what this might look like I now want to inform you of what the return in September will involve. Firstly, in my last letter, I suggested that I would like to give our new cohort of Year 7 one day to acclimatise to their new school without other year groups on-site. As well as allowing Year 7 a chance to orientate themselves this will also give us, as a school, a day to run through the systems we have put in place with 160 rather than 800 pupils on site. I can now confirm that the return date for Year 7 will be Monday 7th September. Although I was keen to give Year 7 this one day I am also very keen to get everyone back as soon as possible. Based on this I can confirm that the return date for Years 8-11 will be Tuesday 8th September. Whilst I am sure that you are as anxious as I am to get your child back into school I am also conscious that you may have concerns around safety at a time when the Covid-19 virus still remains in our community. The planning that has been done for the opening in September has now been ongoing for quite a while. It has been informed by the latest government guidance and has also been supported by the Two Counties Trust and in particular the Trust’s Health and Safety department. Plans have been reviewed by the Trades Union representatives within the school and staff, more widely, have had the opportunity to review and feedback on what is planned. So what is the plan and how will it keep your children safe? One element of protection is that we will, in accordance with latest guidance, keep year groups in protective ‘bubbles’. Each year group will have designated areas of the school for lessons, breaks and lunches. To avoid these ‘bubbles’ coming into contact pupils will remain in these areas for lessons with teaching staff moving to them. Within these ‘bubbles’ there is no need for social distancing and this is what will allow us to increase numbers back to a full return. As teaching staff will be moving between ‘bubbles’ they will be expected to maintain the 2 metre social distancing as per current guidance. The only exception to this will be certain staff who, as a result of their role, need to work more closely with pupils. These staff will be included in the year group bubble. A second element of protection is that we will be instigating staggered starts and staggered finishes, again as per government guidance, to avoid mixing of pupils as they pass through the school gates. There will also be a designated area of the school for pupils to go to when they arrive to ensure that the ‘bubbles’ are established from the start of the day. Details on when different year groups will arrive and leave and where they are to go to is given in the table below. Year group Arrival time Designated area on arrival Departure time 7 7.50-8am Multi Utility Games Area (MUGA) 2.50pm 8 8-8.10am Main school yard 2.55pm 9 8.10-8.25am Tennis courts 3pm 10 8.25-8.35am Small yard 3.05pm 11 8.35-8.45am Junior Science 3.10pm There will be staff on hand to direct pupils to these areas and most year groups, once through the gate, will use different routes to get to their designated area. Similarly, at the end of the day, teaching staff will escort pupils off-site to ensure we stick to the departure times as described above. The exception to these times will be pupils, particularly Year 11, who may want to stay behind for extra support in preparation for their GCSEs. There will also be staggered breaks and lunch times; Years 10 and 11 will have an early break between 9.45-10.05am while Years 7-9 have a later break 10.45-11.05am. There will initially be no food offered at break so, if your child wants food at break, please send them with a snack. Lunch will also be staggered with Years 10 and 11 having lunch at 12.05-1.05pm and Years 7-9 eating 1.05-2.05pm. It would be really appreciated if, at least to begin with, pupils brought packed lunches with them. As an alternative grab bags will be provided by the restaurant. A final element of precaution will be the continuation of many of the current hierarchy of protective steps. These are; Avoid contact with anyone with symptoms. Do not come into school if you suspect that you, or someone in your household, may have Covid-19. Frequent hand cleaning and good respiratory hygiene practices (catch it, bin it, kill it). Regular cleaning of settings (Including throughout the school day). Minimising contact and mixing through protective ‘bubbles’. I hope what I have described re-assures you and allays any concerns you may have about our return in September. If there are issues you would like to raise please do so by either phoning the school, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the contact us link on our new website. I want to finish, as I started, by thanking you all for your support during this very difficult period. I also want to wish you a safe and enjoyable summer. All the best to you and your family. Yours sincerely Chris Woollard – Head Teacher – Frederick Gent School.