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Further information of reopening

Further information of reopening

Dear Parents and Carers,

A response to Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson’s, announcement on the January return to education

As you will already know the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, has announced he will push back the staggered return for secondary schools by an additional week.  The information below is based on the latest government guidance; however, as I stated when I wrote to you before the start of the holidays, the government position may change yet again and I would ask that you continue to regularly monitor communication from school.

The Spring Term begins on Tuesday 5th January.  In that week, we will only provide face-to-face education in school for vulnerable children and the children of critical workersAll other students must remain at home and access their learning remotely for that week.

During the second week of term, beginning on 11th January, we will welcome back students in Year 11 only. When Year 11 return it will be to lessons rather than to the mock examinations that were scheduled. The mock examinations will be re-scheduled and details on this will be sent out shortly.  All other students must remain at home and continue to access their learning remotely for that second week of term.

Currently, it is expected that the full return of all students will be from the 18th January.  Precise details on how remote learning will be accessed up until this point will be issued separately by Mrs Skelton.

Vocational exams scheduled for the 11th January will go ahead as planned. Year 11 will be in-school by this point. Year 10 pupils who are due to sit these exams will need to attend. Mr Bradshaw and Mrs Jenkinson will be in touch with details subsequently.

Students who fall into any of the following categories will be expected in school in the first week of January:

  • Children with an EHCP (Education Health Care Plan)
  • Children with social worker involvement
  • Vulnerable students
  • Children of Critical Workers may also attend school. However, in light of the current situation with record numbers of infections and a daily death toll back to April levels I would ask that to protect the school and wider community the children of critical workers work from home if it is possible.

The young people who do attend school will be expected to complete the same work that has been set remotely for those not in school. To begin, this will be by following their usual school timetable. If numbers are low we will create a temporary vulnerable and critical workers bubble for the week.

All previously arranged Covid precautions will remain in place specifically;

  • No child with symptoms or a member of immediate family displaying symptoms should attend.
  • Social distancing will be maintained.
  • There will be regular washing of hands
  • There will be maintenance of good respiratory hygiene (catch it, bin it kill it)
  • Masks will be worn at all times on corridors and whenever social distancing may be compromised.
  • Good ventilation will be ensured.

Parents and carers of children who are in receipt of free school meals (FSM) will have already received information regarding provision over the Christmas break. Information detailing the provision of Free School Meals during the period of staggered return will shortly be issued by Mrs Skelton. For non-FSM pupils attending school in the first week we would request that they are sent with a packed lunch. If you have any concerns regarding computing facilities or internet access, we are here to help, but please contact rskelton@fgs.derbyshire.sch.uk by email, so that we can try to find a solution as soon as possible.

Asymptomatic Testing

It was announced that secondary schools would be rolling out asymptomatic testing using lateral flow tests on Thursday 17th December. We continue to receive new and changing information about how this will operate.  It is our intention to engage fully with this programme. Students taking part will swab themselves under supervision, and consent will be required before testing takes place. We will send out further information about this over the coming days.

As part of our planning we are interested in hearing from members of our school community who would be able to support our testing programme in a voluntary or paid capacity; support from anyone with experience of lateral flow tests and/or with a portable DBS certificate would be particularly appreciated. Please contact office@fgs.derbyshire.sch.uk  to let us know your details, your suitability to this role and your availability to support our testing programme.  We will be back in contact with you in due course on receipt of further information.

I know that after a difficult and challenging year with coronavirus, this latest announcement will cause further disruption particularly for those of you with children in younger year groups who need supervision. However, with Covid cases at a record high and a new variant of the virus spreading at a faster rate, the new plans will help to keep our community safe. Working together has, so far, allowed us as a community to weather this storm better than many.  As ever, I am extremely grateful for your support on which our continued success relies. To help everyone do their bit we have published on our school website a simple, but very useful guide to what living in Tier 4 means. Please ensure you observe the Tier 4 restrictions, which mean that you must minimise time spent outside your home and must not meet socially with others. I know what is being asked is not easy. Like all of you there is nothing I want more than a return to normality. This will come and it will come all the more quickly with all of us continuing to play our part. As ever, I thank you for your cooperation.

Yours faithfully

Mr C Woollard

Head Teacher

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