About this plan

This plan outlines how Tower College will operate with all pupils in attendance, including the infection control measures that will be in place to ensure our school community is safe and supported. We will also use this plan to outline some of the particular considerations we will be foregrounding during the initial return period following the partial school closure.

Preparation for welcoming all pupils back to full on-site provision has been undertaken by the Principal and other senior members of staff.

The school will continue to work closely with parents and staff and the ISA when agreeing the best approaches for the school’s circumstances.

This is a live document that will be reviewed by the Principal in conjunction with other key stakeholders as and when public health and government guidance changes.

 Please note: This plan operates in conjunction with the following school documents, which we will maintain up-to-date at all times:

  • Covid-19 Secure Risk Assessment for full Reopening March 8th 2021
  • Covid-19 Contingency Plan
  • Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy
  • Pupil Remote Learning Policy

Key terms for readers of this plan

The following acronyms, some of which are new or highly specific to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) circumstances, have been outlined here to support readers using this plan.

All pupils are to return to full-time on-site provision on Monday 8th March. Attendance is mandatory in line with the usual rules, i.e. parents have a legal duty to secure their child’s regular attendance at school.

Recording attendance

We will record attendance in line with the following requirements, in addition to the usual duties for recording attendance:

  • Pupils who are self-isolating or quarantining in line with public health advice will be recorded with code X

Clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) individuals

We will follow any changes to public health advice regarding the attendance of clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) individuals, ensuring we offer all possible support to learn or work remotely where CEV members of the school community are unable to attend the school site.

CEV individuals are currently on the shielding patient list (SPL) and, therefore, under national public advice to stay at home, meaning we will not expect them to attend the school site. Pupil absences due to such public health advice will not be penalised. Pupils will receive remote education in line with our Pupil Remote Learning Policy, and we will ensure staff are supported to work from home where possible.

We may request a copy of the shielding letter received by CEV pupils or staff to confirm their attendance status.

Clinically vulnerable (CV) individuals, including pregnant staff, as well as those who were previously but no longer CEV and those who live with CEV individuals can, and are expected to, attend the school site.

Anxiety about attending school

We recognise that it is very possible that some staff members, pupils and their families, may feel reluctant or anxious about returning to school following the partial closure. Although we will impress the importance of attending the school site, we will also be sensitive to these worries, particularly where staff or pupils may be at increased risk from coronavirus.

We will encourage staff members to raise any concerns with their line manager, and for pupils or their parents to get in touch with the Principal to talk through the health and safety measures in place at the school. We will endeavour to accommodate any additional requirements to support the full attendance of these individuals at school where possible.

Engaging vulnerable pupils

Where a vulnerable pupil does not attend school, including if they are following public health advice, e.g. self-isolating, the school will:

  • Notify their social worker immediately, if they have one.
  • Check the pupil has access to remote education, if they are absent on public health advice.
  • Agree with the parent, or social worker where appropriate, the best way to maintain contact and offer support to the pupil.
  • Work with the family, social worker or other relevant authority, to re-engage the pupil in their education.

Elective home education (EHE)

The school will be aware that there may be increased numbers of parents seeking to commence elective home education (EHE) for their children following the partial school closure. Although EHE will not be immediately considered as posing a high risk to pupil safety, staff will be aware that if they have any concerns regarding a pupil whose parent is opting for them to begin EHE, they should raise these with the DSL immediately. The DSL will coordinate with the LA and other relevant authorities as necessary. ????

Supporting attendance

The school will issue sanctions where appropriate for unauthorised absences, in line with usual attendance procedure. The school will ensure it meets all its attendance duties – recording attendance and following up any absences, including reporting incidents of children missing education (CME) to the LA, where necessary.

We will also ensure we identify those pupils at risk of persistent absence and disengagement prior to fully opening, including vulnerable pupils, potential newly vulnerable pupils, pupils with a record of persistent absence and pupils who have struggled to engage with school during the period of partial closure.

Our risk assessment has been completely rewritten in line with the latest guidance issued by the government. And, this will be revisited and updated before the school reopens fully to all pupils, to consider additional risks and control measures and ensure the safety of all pupils and staff. We will continue to consult with staff as part of the assessment, to ensure everyone’s needs are understood and accounted for, and ensure all staff receive a copy of the updated risk assessment. A copy of this updated risk assessment will be held and available to view via the Tower College website.

Our Covid-19 Secure Risk Assessment for full Reopening March 8th, 2021 identifies the risks from Covid-19 transmission on the school site along with the control measures we have implemented to mitigate these risks.

The relevant health and safety measures outlined in the school’s Infection Control Policy will be implemented at all times as the school opens fully. Our Infection Control Policy contains an annex with infection control provisions to implement during the coronavirus pandemic and as school opens fully.

Social distancing

To reduce the risk of transmitting coronavirus in our school, we expect staff, pupils and visitors to follow the social distancing measures in place. We do expect pupils to follow these rules where they apply; however, we recognise that some pupils may be unable to fully understand or enact social distancing principles, e.g. because they are very young or have complex needs. The school will continue to work with all pupils to ensure their safety and positively reinforce good social distancing behaviour.

Pupil group arrangements

EYFS under 5s only BB and Reception are one class and we have more than 15 pupils in at a time. All other control measures remain in place. Staff do not need to maintain a two-metre distance from pupils, nor do staff need to keep pupils at a two-metre distance from one another. Staff will aim, however, to keep a two-metre distance from other staff members where possible.

Lower School To maximise the effectiveness of social distancing with all staff and pupils attending school, pupils are in set consistent class groups, or bubbles. The school will operate with one classroom teacher in each bubble, alongside any required TAs or SEND support staff. If it becomes necessary, however, all members of teaching staff are able to operate across all bubbles in order to facilitate the delivery of the full school curriculum. We will communicate any changes in bubble arrangements to staff as soon as practicable.

Within the bubble:

  • Staff are not required to maintain a two-metre distance between themselves and pupils, but they should aim to minimise close face-to-face contact, where possible.
  • Staff should aim to encourage older pupils, i.e. in upper KS2 to maintain distance and not touch staff and peers, where possible.
  • Staff should aim to maintain a two-metre distance between themselves and other staff members where possible.
  • Staff working with pupils who cannot maintain social distancing, e.g. very young pupils, are expected to deliver their duties as normal, with no distancing required.

Middle and Upper School – To maximise the effectiveness of social distancing with all staff and pupils attending school, pupils are set in year group bubbles. All teaching staff are able to operate across all bubbles in order to facilitate the delivery of the full school curriculum.

Within a bubble:

  • Social distancing remains in place where possible, including between pupils.
  • Staff who are teaching pupils are strongly recommended to stay at the front of the classroom and maintain a two-metre distance between themselves, pupils and other staff members, where possible.
  • Support staff are strongly recommended to maintain a two-metre distance between themselves, pupils and other staff members, where possible.
  • Staff working with pupils who cannot maintain social distancing, e.g. pupils with complex needs, are expected to deliver their duties as normal, with no distancing required.

Pupil bubbles may be relaxed in order to facilitate specialist teaching, wraparound care and transport to the school site.

Middle and Upper School Arrangements – Mr Wells

We are looking forward to seeing all of our Middle and Upper Pupils back on Monday 8th March.

We kindly request that pupils come into school at 8:50 via the car park and walk up to the school socially distancing from their peers. Pupils are then required to head straight to their form rooms where they will be greeted by their form teacher. All pupils are required to wear face masks upon entry to any building. This allows pupils a safe and warm area prior to testing commencing. We request that all pupils go straight to their form rooms for the first full week.

Pupils will be tested from Years 7 – 11 in a sequence keeping their bubbles from mixing with any other year groups. Results will be recorded by the school onto the government website.

Please view the video COVID-19 self-swab for healthcare staff on how to conduct a Lateral flow test. This video is mainly for health care professionals, but the context of the testing is accurate for our school pupils. We have appointed some trained nursing staff for testing beginning Monday. The trained nursing staff will help pupils with testing and record results.

Pupils are allowed to bring in their blue school rucksacks for their belongings. This must only include essential items such as pens, pencils, water bottles, gloves, scalf, colouring pens.  To minimise the crossing of bubbles, pupils will be required to carry their bags with them over the school day. Pupils will not be bringing books home, which will make their bags lighter. On PE days, pupils should only bring one bag in – putting all of their PE kit and equipment together. Year 11 booster sessions will not take place for the first week but will resume on Monday 15th March.

If you have any queries or concerns, please contact Mr Wells.

Pre-Prep and Lower School – Mrs Wright

PP and LS pupils will be welcomed back by staff on Monday 8th March from 8:30. PP pupils will continue to use the boardroom door as usual and a member of staff will be on the crossing to greet them.

Lower School and Year 1 pupils will use the red door, just past the PP entrance, where a member of staff will be there to greet them. The pupils will then go to their classrooms where their teachers will be waiting for them.

The school day will run as normal, and pupils will be taken down to the car park for home time.

  • Bluebird and Reception will be at the car park for 3:20
  • Year 1 will be at the car park for 3:25
  • Year 2,3 and 4 will be at the car park for 3:30 (socially distanced)

PP and LS children can bring in their school bags. Items brought in from home should be limited. Pupils will need their water bottle and should wear full school uniform.

At the moment, there will be no homework as we are aware that our pupils have spent long hours at their screens. Spellings will be sent out via Teams and reading will continue as it did last term. Your child will bring home a book of their choice and when it is returned to school, it will be ‘quarantined’ and they will be able to select another book.

We have assemblies planned to learn about having a Healthy Mind and lots of fun activities in our last week of the term. The teachers have also been busy planning lots of wellbeing lessons to help support our children coming back into school.

If you have any queries or concerns, please contact Mrs Wright

Moving around the school

Movement around the school will be restricted in most circumstances to minimise the risk of bubbles mixing or coming into contact with one another. When moving around the school, pupils will be expected to remain within their bubbles except to use certain facilities, e.g. toilets.

Unless exempt, staff and visitors are required to wear face coverings when moving around communal areas of the school where it is particularly difficult to maintain social distancing, e.g. corridors and staircases. More information is available in the Face coverings section below.

Staff areas

Staff should maintain a two-metre distance from one another whilst in the staff room. They may continue to use the staff room in line with their breaktimes and lunchtimes.

Increased hygiene practices

We will be enforcing increased hygiene measures across the school site to ensure that good hand and respiratory hygiene are consistently maintained. We expect all individuals on the school site to follow these rules; however, we recognise that some pupils may be unable to fully understand infection control principles, e.g. if they are very young or have complex needs. The school will work with all pupils to ensure their safety and positively reinforce good infection control behaviour where necessary.

Staff, pupils and visitors are expected to adhere to the following key measures:

  • All individuals wash their hands at various points throughout the day, including upon entering school, when they change rooms, before and after eating, before and after breaktimes, after using the toilet, and after coughing or sneezing.
  • All individuals wash their hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Younger pupils and pupils with complex needs are supervised when washing their hands.
  • The school enforces the ‘catch it, kill it, bin it’ approach to containing coughs and sneezes.

In order to support the consistent adherence to the above, the school will ensure:

  • Handwashing and hand sanitiser stations are available across the school.
  • Pupils are supported with the use of hand sanitiser, handwashing and the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach if required, e.g. if they are very young or have complex needs.
  • There are enough tissues and lidded bins available to support staff and pupils to follow this routine.
  • These routines are built into school culture and supported through behavioural expectations – pupils understanding why they must follow good hygiene practices.
  • These routines are well aligned with the school timetable.

Enhanced cleaning measures

An enhanced cleaning schedule will remain in place to ensure more frequent cleaning of rooms, shared areas, frequently touched surfaces and resources, and resources used for the delivery of therapies where possible.

Where cleaning resources is not possible in between uses, resources may be restricted to one user or will be left unused for a period of 48 hours (72 hours for plastics) between use by different individuals.

Pupil groups will not be allocated their own toilets; however, all toilets will be cleaned more frequently.

Please see our separate Cleaning Regimen employed by our site manager, Mr Barr.

Bringing items into school – see departmental arrangements.

Increased ventilation

To help reduce the spread of coronavirus in school, we will ensure it is well ventilated whilst maintaining a comfortable temperature.

Where possible, we will:

  • Adjust our mechanical ventilation systems to increase the ventilation rate and check to confirm that normal operation meets current guidance.
  • Open windows – in cooler weather, windows will be opened just enough to provide constant background ventilation and opened more fully during breaks to purge the air in the space.
  • Open internal doors to help create a flow of air. (Fire doors will remain closed unless fitted with an automatic closer.)
  • Open external opening doors, where necessary and where safe.

To balance the need for increased ventilation while maintaining a comfortable temperature, we will also:

  • Open high-level windows, in preference to low-level, to reduce draughts.
  • Increase the ventilation while spaces are unoccupied, e.g. between classes.
  • Provide flexibility to allow additional, suitable indoor clothing for staff and pupils.
  • Rearrange furniture to avoid direct draughts, where possible.

Face coverings and PPE

Face coverings

Pre-Prep and Lower School

We expect all staff and adult visitors, other than those exempt, to wear face coverings when in areas of the school site where social distancing between adults cannot be maintained, e.g. in corridors and communal areas. Pupils will not be required to wear a face covering at any time when on the school site. If they wish to wear a mask then this is allowed at all times and in all places.

In Middle and Upper Schools

As was the case prior to the third national lockdown commencing in January 2021, pupils in Year 7 and above should wear a face covering when moving around the school premises, e.g. in corridors where social distancing cannot be easily maintained. The government also now recommends that pupils and staff wear face coverings in classrooms where social distancing cannot be maintained. Pupils exempt from wearing face coverings will not be required to wear one.

We expect pupils and staff to wear face coverings when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained. Face coverings do not need to be worn by pupils and students when outdoors on the premises. We also recommend that pupils in year 7 and above face coverings should be worn in classrooms and during activities unless social distancing can be maintained. This does not apply in situations where wearing a face covering would impact on the ability to take part in exercise or strenuous activity, for example in PE lessons. Children in primary school do not need to wear a face covering. (DfE Guidance)

Please ensure your child has access to a face covering where they are not exempt from wearing one. The school will maintain a supply of face coverings in the case that pupils cannot access a face covering, their face covering becomes soiled or damp, or they forget to bring one to school.

We welcome members of our school community in wearing transparent face coverings, as these will better support those who rely on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate. For those who rely on visual signs for communication, or who provide direct support to those individuals, we will not expect them to wear face coverings, in line with public health advice.

We will remind our staff and pupils that face visors or shields should not be worn in place of face coverings, as the government believes they are of reduced efficacy in terms of limiting aerosol transmission of coronavirus. Where a face visor is required in place of a face covering, e.g. to support lip reading, the school will complete a specific risk assessment for its use, and ensure the visor is cleaned thoroughly and regularly.

The school will provide clear instructions on how to put on, remove, store and dispose of face coverings. This includes:

  • Cleaning hands before and after touching a face covering.
  • Storing face coverings in individual, sealable plastic bags.
  • Not wearing damp or soiled face coverings.
  • Adjusting the above requirements for pupils with complex needs, where necessary.
  • The school will have a contingency supply of face coverings available.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Staff will use PPE if:

  • A pupil shows symptoms of, or tests positive for, coronavirus, and a distance of two metres cannot be maintained.
  • They are performing aerosol generating procedures (AGPS).

They would normally wear it to carry out their role, e.g. where a pupil requires intimate care or is receiving first aid following an accident or injury.

The school will inform all members of the school community, including visitors, that they must not enter the school premises if:

  • They display symptoms of, or tests positive for, coronavirus.
  • Anyone with whom they are in a household, support, or childcare bubble displays symptom of, or tests positive for, coronavirus.
  • They are required to quarantine following a visit to a country outside the UK’s current travel corridors.

 We will also ensure all members of the school understand that if they are instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the PHE local health protection team, they have a legal obligation to comply.

The symptoms of coronavirus will be reiterated to all members of the school community, including:

  • A high temperature – this means feeling hot to touch on the chest or back
  • A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if an individual usually has a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • A loss of, or change in, normal sense of smell or taste – this means the individual cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

If a staff member starts to display symptoms of coronavirus at school, the school will take the following immediate actions:

  • They will be asked to go home immediately.
  • They will be strongly advised to get tested for coronavirus.
  • They will be strongly advised to engage with the NHS Test and Trace programme.
  • Areas they have occupied will be disinfected as soon as possible.

If a pupil starts to display symptoms of coronavirus at school, the school will take the following immediate actions:

  • The pupil will be asked to self-isolate in school using a designated area.
  • The pupil will be supervised while waiting for collection, where required.
  • The pupil’s emergency contact will be notified that they must be picked up as soon as possible.
  • The pupil’s parents will be strongly encouraged to get their child tested for coronavirus.
  • The pupil’s parents will be strongly encouraged to engage with the NHS Test and Trace programme.
  • Areas the pupil has occupied will be disinfected as soon as possible.

Where staff and pupils are not at school, we will ask that individuals please notify the school office via telephone as soon as possible if:

  • They, or somebody in their household, have tested positive for coronavirus (including from their routine lateral flow device (LFD) tests where appropriate).
  • They, or somebody in their household, support, or childcare bubbles, have symptoms of coronavirus.
  • They have been identified as a close contact of a positive case of coronavirus through the NHS Test and Trace system and cannot come into school.

Individuals who display symptoms, or who receive a positive result from an LFD test, will be instructed to begin self-isolating immediately, will be advised to book a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and to notify the school of the result as soon as possible. See the Testing section of this plan for information on accessing a test.

If an individual is sent home from school to self-isolate and receives a positive PCR test result, they must self-isolate for a full 10 days after the day their symptoms began. If they receive a negative test result, they may return to school, provided they are well and no-one else in their household is displaying coronavirus symptoms.

It is also important that if someone in an individual’s household tests positive for coronavirus, the individual self-isolates for a full 10 days following the day of the onset of the symptomatic person’s symptoms, or of the day of the positive test result if they are asymptomatic. The individual must complete this 10-day period of self-isolation, even if they themselves receive a negative test result during this period.

The school will report any confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus to the government through the education setting status form.

To meet our duty to engage with the NHS Test and Trace process, we will ask that all members of our school understand that they should be ready and willing to:

  • Book a PCR test if they are displaying symptoms of coronavirus.
  • Provide details of anyone they have been in close contact with if they test positive or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
  • Self-isolate for a full 10 days if they test positive for coronavirus.

All testing will be conducted in line with the school’s Rapid Testing Policy.

Asymptomatic testing

The school will ensure that all relevant individuals are informed of and understand the rapid-result asymptomatic programme. Participation in the rapid-result testing scheme is strictly voluntary, although the government strongly encourages eligible individuals to participate where possible. The school will require formal, prior consent from any individual participating in the programme, both to conduct the tests and for the school to record their data. If any individuals are concerned about their participation in the scheme, we ask that they discuss this with the Principal. No individual will be required to undertake a rapid-result test in order to attend school.

In Pre-Prep and Lower School, staff will continue to self-test with LFD tests twice per week at home, and must report their results to NHS Test and Trace as soon as each test is completed, either online or by telephone as per the instructions in the test kit. This applies whether the result is positive, negative or void. Staff will also be asked to share their results with their school to help with contact tracing. No pupils will undertake LFD testing.

In Middle and Upper Schools, staff will self-test with LFD tests twice per week at home from 8 March and must report their results to NHS Test and Trace as soon as each test is completed, either online or by telephone as per the instructions in the test kit. This applies whether the result is positive, negative or void. Staff will also be asked to share their results with their school to help with contact tracing.

Pupils in Year 7 and upwards will be offered rapid-result lateral flow device (LFD) tests to check for asymptomatic cases of coronavirus (COVID-19). They will be offered three on-site LFD tests, three- to- five days apart when they initially return from 8 March. After this, if parents would like to continue with the testing, kits are available here:

COVID Test Finder (test-and-trace.nhs.uk)

Pupils who are following public health advice should remain at home, e.g. if they are required to self-isolate or shield.

Testing is not mandatory but is strongly recommended by the government. Consent will need to be obtained prior to these tests being carried out – this is to be given by completing the online consent form. Shortly, we will be sending out a follow-up ParentMail regarding the consent.

Symptomatic testing

Access to home testing kits

The school has also received a supply of home testing PCR kits from the DfE. These will only be offered to individuals in the exceptional circumstance that we believe they may have barriers to accessing PCR testing elsewhere. For example, if we believe a self-isolating staff member is unable to access a test quickly, we will consider offering them a testing kit in order to facilitate their quick return to school – this return will depend on them testing negative and not having been in close contact with a confirmed positive case. We will ensure this testing kit is delivered to the self-isolating staff member in a manner which observes government health guidance on self-isolation, e.g. we may deliver the kit via post.

Additional testing kits will be ordered to the school if our supply is running low to ensure we always have emergency reserves, although our use of them will remain sparing. Testing kits will only be provided to adults over the age of 18, either for their own use or on behalf of their child. The kits will be stored securely at ambient room temperature (5-22°C).

Pupils and staff will be encouraged to access a PCR test themselves by visiting a testing site, ordering a test online or calling 119.

Test results

For tests conducted outside of school, e.g. at testing centres, we will ask staff to inform us immediately of their test results. If a staff member tests negative, they feel well and no longer have symptoms, they may return to school. If they test positive, they will be asked to self-isolate for 10 days and return to school only once they do not have symptoms other than a cough, or a loss of or change in their sense of smell or taste.

If we are informed of a positive test result, we will contact the dedicated NHS advice service via the DfE Helpline on 0800 046 8687 as soon as possible. We will work with the NHS team of advisers to understand the action we need to take – including working with the local health protection team (HPT) if the situation is escalated. The situation will be monitored closely, and staff will be advised of our plans via email.

To prepare for this possibility, we will be keeping a record of all pupils and staff members in each group, and any close contact that takes place between pupils and staff in other groups.

If we have two or more confirmed cases within 14 days, or experience an overall increase in symptom-related absences, we will work closely with the local HPT, which may result in larger numbers of pupils isolating at home as a precautionary measure.

In EYFS, any confirmed cases of coronavirus, and/or any closure of the setting as a result of an outbreak, will be reported to Ofsted through the Report a serious childcare incident’ service within 14 days of a positive test result.

NHS COVID-19 app

The NHS COVID-19 app will be available to download for staff and for pupils aged 16 and over. The app alerts people who may have been exposed to coronavirus that they will need to either begin rapid-result testing or self-isolate.

The school has not changed its existing mobile phone policies as a result of the app.

The school asks that staff familiarise themselves with the six key features of the app, which are explained in government guidance on the app. It is possible that the app could notify a pupil that they are a close contact of positive case while they are present on school premises and as a result, we ask all staff members to ensure that pupils are aware that they must inform a member of staff should they receive such a notification. As it is also possible that the app could notify a member of staff that they are a close contact of a positive case while they are present on school premises, we ask all staff to be aware that in such an instance they are to inform their line manager immediately.

We will consider what action to take in order to ensure continuity of education in the instance that several staff members are informed at the same time and begin self-isolating.

Deployment

The school will ensure that any alterations to staffing deployment are communicated to all affected individuals in a timely manner. Any proposed changes in role or responsibility will be carried out in line with the school’s safeguarding obligations to ensure that staff members have undergone the appropriate checks for the activity in question.

Supply staff and other temporary workers will be able to move between schools, but we will be considering ways to minimise the number of visits to school. If it is necessary to use supply staff and welcome visitors to the school, these individuals will be expected to comply with our arrangements for managing and minimising risk.

We will consider using longer assignments with supply teachers and the possibility of establishing a minimum number of hours across the academic year for supply and support staff.

To support NQTs and ensure they can settle in quickly, we have planned suitable monitoring and support programmes.

Leave

All staff will need to be available to work in school during term-time.

We are aware that if staff choose to travel abroad over the school holidays, their return travel arrangements could be disrupted due to factors beyond their control in relation to coronavirus. We will take steps to establish whether any members of staff have pre-booked holiday which may lead to a need to quarantine.

Where is it not possible to avoid a member of staff having to quarantine during term-time, we will consider if it is possible to amend their working arrangements temporarily and enable them to work from home. If we are not able to amend working arrangements, we will make the necessary considerations surrounding pay.

Recruitment

We will continue with our usual recruitment processes, carrying out all pre-appointment checks and interviews in line with public health advice.

Staff training

Training that was given to the staff prior to the school fully opening regarding the additional infection control measures, e.g. in relation to social distancing or remote learning, will be refreshed and updated when necessary.

Staff will be made aware of any changes to government guidance in all relevant areas as soon as possible.

The school will ensure all pupils are given the support needed to make good academic progress, focussing in particular on pupils who may have been at increased risk of lost learning during the pandemic, e.g. pupils with SEND, vulnerable pupils or otherwise disadvantaged pupils.

EYFS

Where coronavirus restrictions prevent us from delivering the EYFS in full, we will refer to the government’s disapplications of specific EYFS requirements.

EYFS staff will be encouraged to focus on identifying and addressing gaps in learning, particularly in key skills, e.g. language, early reading, phonic knowledge and mathematics. Personal, social, emotional and physical development may also be prioritised, to address areas of pupils’ development that may have been most affected by partial closures.

In Lower School

Staff will be encouraged to focus on identifying and addressing gaps in learning, particularly in key skills, e.g. phonics, reading, vocabulary acquisition, writing and mathematics. The curricula, however, will remain broad and ambitious, in line with our usual curricula planning.

In Middle and Upper Schools

The school will consider whether we need to modify our curriculum to address any particular and significant gaps in learning in the core subjects, namely English and mathematics. The curricula, however, will remain broad and ambitious, in line with our usual curricula planning. For pupils in KS4, they will continue learning in all their assessed and non-assessed subjects.

Relationships education, RSE and health education

We will begin delivering the appropriate statutory RSE and health education from the autumn term 2021, in line with our RSE and Health Education Policy which is now at governor approval stage.

Teachers will be trained to deliver content on mental health and wellbeing, and we will continue to support teachers in this delivery.

Music, dance and drama

The school’s music, dance and drama provision will continue, in line with the school-wide infection control and social distancing measures, and with appropriate additional mitigations in place.

Additional mitigations for these subjects include:

  • Keeping accompanying music to levels which do not encourage staff or pupils to raise their voices unduly.
  • Using microphones to reduce the need for shouting.
  • Minimising the number of peripatetic teachers visiting the site at any one time.
  • Playing instruments and singing in groups outdoors where possible.
  • Using a sufficiently large room with good ventilation for playing instruments and singing in groups, if indoors.
  • Only singing or playing wind and brass instruments in small groups.
  • Using seating arrangements to position players and singers back-to-back or side-to-side where possible.
  • Avoiding sharing equipment, including instruments and scores or scripts, where possible.
  • Ensuring the cleaning of hired equipment is arranged with the supplier.

PE and sport

PE and sport provision will continue, in line with the school-wide infection control and social distancing measures, and with appropriate additional mitigations in place. We will only provide team sports listed on the government’s ‘Return to recreational team sport framework’.

Additional mitigations include:

  • Thoroughly cleaning equipment between uses by different groups.
  • Prioritising outdoor sports where possible.
  • Maximising ventilation in areas where PE is taking place indoors.
  • Only working with external coaches, clubs and organisations where we deem it safe to do so.

Any pupils unable to attend the school site when following public health advice, either shielding or self-isolating, will receive high-quality remote education in line with all the requirements set out in the school’s Remote Learning Policy.

Pupil behaviour

The Behaviour Management Policy will account for social distancing rules and other expectations of pupils. The policy will also detail how these rules and expectations will be enforced, and the consequences for deliberate and persistent breaking of these rules, bearing in mind that some pupils will not understand the need for social distancing and may find the rules difficult to adhere to. Pupils and their parents will be informed about any changes to the Behaviour Management Policy.

Our Behaviour Management Policy has an annex that includes provisions related to the return to full provision.

We will work with any pupils who struggle to re-engage in school and are at risk of being persistently disruptive by providing support for overcoming barriers to behaviour and to help them reintegrate back into school life.

Mrs Grocutt will also ensure our provision for pupils with SEND supports them to have a smooth transition through the school’s resumption of full provision, minimising any disruption where possible. Where pupils with complex needs are disrupted and this impacts on their behaviour, however, we will manage this with due sensitivity and use the behaviour to inform an improved support structure for these pupils during this time.

Expectations of staff

Staff will be asked to make sure they have read the school’s updated Behavioural Management Policy and know what role in it they are being asked to take.

We understand that following some of the infection control principles will be extremely challenging to follow and to enforce, so staff will not face any stringent action if they are unable to follow or enforce them at all times. If a staff member is unable to follow these principles, they should speak to their line manager.

Ensuring safeguarding arrangements remain effective and updated in response to changes while the school transitions to opening fully is a key priority.

Our Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy will be updated determine whether it reflects the considerations relevant to the return of more pupils.

We will continue to ensure that:

  • The best interests of pupils always come first.
  • If anyone in the school has a safeguarding concern about a pupil, they act immediately.
  • A DSL or deputy DSL is always available.
  • Pupils who remain at home, e.g. due to self-isolation, are protected in line with the school’s safeguarding obligations.
  • The DSL and their deputies are given enough time to support pupils with new safeguarding concerns.
  • The DSL coordinates referrals to children’s social care and other relevant authorities where required.

Identifying and supporting newly vulnerable pupils

We are aware that some pupils may have been at an increased risk of experiencing harm during the lockdown period, particularly as they may not have been seen by staff at the school or other agencies. Others may not have provided cause for concern before the lockdown period but have since experienced significant harm during their time at home – these pupils will form part of a newly vulnerable group.

We will continue to take steps to identify and support these pupils as they return to school, accounting for the fact that these pupils may include those that would not usually be considered ‘at risk’.

The DSL and their team will be given time and support to enable them to organise and manage their workload effectively. This will include re-engaging with external agencies and ensuring staff, pupils and pupils’ families are informed of any services whose work practices may have changed due to the lockdown period.

KCSIE includes a particular emphasis on mental health, which will be key to support for pupils at this time. The definition of safeguarding includes mental health explicitly. We will ensure staff are aware that it will take time for pupils to re-establish their relationships with staff and to process their experiences of lockdown. This means that it may take time before pupils are able to share their experiences. Staff will be reminded that just because a disclosure is not immediate, it does not make it less valid or important.

Pupils may also express any trauma they have experienced through their behaviour. We will ensure staff are aware of the link between safeguarding and mental health, emphasising that mental health issues can sometimes be indicators of abuse, neglect or exploitation.

A safe place will be provided for pupils to discuss concerns about their experiences of lockdown and make disclosures where necessary.

The school will be aware that members of the school community may have experienced overwhelming emotions during the coronavirus pandemic, potentially to a particularly sharp degree during the period of national lockdown.

One of the school’s key priorities is ensuring the school community feels safe and supported.

Mr Wells, Mrs Wright, Mrs Melling (DSL) and Mrs Grocutt (SENCO) lead will receive training as part of the government’s Wellbeing for Education Return programme. They will thereafter disseminate the learning and practice to staff and pupils within the school.

Establishing routines

All staff will work together as a team to help pupils feel safe, understand the school’s expectations and give them a sense of control.

Clear guidelines and expectations will be given to pupils for any routines in place at school. These will be adapted as required and any adaptations will be fully communicated to all members of the school community to ensure they know exactly what is expected of them and have a sense of control.

We understand the importance of positivity during this time and will ensure pupils leave the school every day with a positive mindset. This approach will help them to feel safe and look forward to being at school.

The environment

Pupils may likely be experiencing a range of emotions, whether this is excitement or anxiety, so we will ensure they feel safe both physically and emotionally. Staff are working together to create a warm and welcoming environment which builds a sense of belonging despite the necessity of social distancing measures. Safe areas have been created where pupils can spend time if they are feeling overwhelmed.

We understand that pupils will have experienced many overwhelming emotions during the coronavirus pandemic, and some may have faced loss and trauma. We will ensure that an emotionally safe environment is fostered that nurtures and supports pupils and focusses on rebuilding and reconnecting.

Communication

We promote a culture of communication and openness with all staff. All staff will be updated with any changes to the school’s plans and what is expected of them, to ensure they feel well-informed, involved and valued.

As staff may not be able to connect in the staff room or have informal conversations in corridors or their colleagues’ classrooms due to social distancing measures, we will continue to consider ways staff can stay connected with one another to avoid any feelings of isolation, e.g. through virtual catchups.

We would like to encourage staff to first approach their line manager to discuss any mental health concerns or wellbeing issues they may be experiencing. This may then be taken to the Principal for further support, if required.

The school also promotes an ‘open-door policy’ amongst its senior members of staff, meaning we aim for all staff members to feel able and comfortable to approach members of the SLT to discuss their concerns.

SMT, Admin and some middle leaders are expected to continue to keep in touch with parents and make sure we know about any other relevant information about pupils’ circumstances, e.g. bereavements, illnesses and family challenges.

Staff wellbeing and workload

The SMT will continue to have regard to staff work-life balance and wellbeing, understanding that some staff members may be particularly anxious during this time. We will ensure staff are aware of the measures we are putting in place to support them and that they are involved in this process.

Wellbeing surveys will continue to be conducted throughout the year to identify how staff are coping, concerns they have and any support they require from the school. These surveys will also be an opportunity for us to ask staff to raise any concerns with the current wellbeing support, and for them to offer any suggestions for improvement. School leaders will ensure they keep connected with staff, ensuring regular catchups are organised and utilised to understand how staff are coping.

Staff should be aware of the wellbeing sessions taking place to give staff strategies to deal with issues that may be affecting them. External support may form part of these sessions. Any sessions that take place will be made available online to ensure all members of staff can access them.

Weekly staff meetings will be held in teams, while adhering to social distancing measures. If this is not possible, briefings will be conducted via video call instead, allowing staff to remain in separate rooms. These briefings will be used to check in with each other, build the understanding of the team, share what is working, and discuss what practices may need adapting.

Bereavement

Our school understands that some members of our community may have experienced loss due to coronavirus. We will ensure we have provisions in place to support these members of our school community.

The Bereavement Policy contains information regarding how bereavement support will be delivered. For pupils that remain at home because they are following public health or medical advice, the provisions outlined in the amendment to this policy will continue to be followed.

The SMT and DSL are responsible for coordinating the school’s bereavement support approach. They will meet to discuss how best to support individuals that have been affected. The Principal will talk to the individual about the following:

  • Who they can go to for support both within the school and externally
  • Who within the school community has been informed about the death
  • Whether they would like a memorial to be set up within the school

Wellbeing team

The Principal has established a wellbeing team that will coordinate support. This includes the SMT, SENCO and DSL, and other key members of staff.

External support

The following external agencies can provide extra support if required:

We will maintain our usual School Uniform Policy during the period of return to full provision. We will inform all parents of this arrangement, and ensure they are aware that school uniforms do not need to be cleaned more often than usual, nor do they need to be cleaned with any different methods to usual.

Where the weather is cooler over the Winter and early Spring months, we will permit pupils to bring additional warm clothing to school, which they can wear in classrooms that have become chilly as a result of increased ventilation.

School meals will return to full operation. Holroyd-Howe have their own risk assessment for lunchtime arrangements.

Breakfast club and Twilight will begin on Monday 8th March. However, pupils in Years 7 – 11 may only attend once they have had a negative test.

We are finalising our extra-curricular provision and will confirm these with you as soon as possible.

The school will encourage staff and pupils to walk to school, or be dropped off by a member of their household, where possible. We will encourage our school community to avoid public transport; however, if individuals need to use public transport to get to school, we will advise them to avoid peak times and follow guidelines on social distancing and wearing protective clothing, e.g. face coverings.

The school will contact Ark Travel for the school’s dedicated transport service, ensuring they provide a risk assessment that underpins the appropriate infection control measures onboard the service.

Pupils in Year 7 and above are required to wear a face covering onboard both public and dedicated school transport services, unless they are exempt. Any issues of non-compliance with this requirement will be managed in coordination with the transport provider.

The school will only resume educational visits once government advice changes, and only in accordance with our insurer’s requirements.

Reactivating the full premises

Some areas of the school have been closed or put on reduced occupancy during the coronavirus pandemic. All critical services (e.g. the alarm system) were maintained in line with their planned preventative maintenance schedule.

Prior to opening and resuming full operation of the premises, the site manager will have arranged for the following to take place:

  • Ensuring the usual water system building management procedures are followed ahead of opening
  • Recommissioning of all systems before the school fully opens – this includes gas, heating, water supply, access control and intruder alarm systems, ventilation, mechanical and electrical systems, and catering equipment
  • Checking of the fire safety systems, including making sure the fire alarm system, fire doors and emergency lights are operational
  • Cleaning and disinfecting of all areas and surfaces in line with coronavirus cleaning arrangements
  • Checking traps had not dried out on drainage systems and that water seals are in place, and that toilet ventilation systems are working
  • Organising pest control for any infestation, where appropriate, particularly in food preparation areas

Ventilation

To help reduce the spread of coronavirus, focus will be placed on maintaining general ventilation in the school in line with the HSE’s guidance. We will consider ways to maintain and increase the supply of fresh air, e.g. by opening windows and doors.

In the interests of safety, fire doors will not be propped open.

The site manager’s responsibility

The site manager will be responsible for ensuring that all necessary actions were taken in advance of the school opening.

Insurers will be notified of any changes that are made to the premises that they need to be aware of.

 

 

The school will ensure that teachers prepare a mixture of formal and informal assessment of pupils for the Summer term, in order to monitor pupils’ progress, identify any issues and support transitions where applicable. The Principal will ensure the school staff are informed of any announcements made concerning the alternative arrangements for GCSE exams for Summer 2021, following their cancellation earlier this year. The school will also ensure it supports exam-year pupils through this disruptive and potentially worrying time, and inform them of what they need to know about the arrangements as soon as possible.

The school will ensure it is prepared for an ISI inspection of any form, including a remote monitoring inspection if applicable. Whilst routine, graded inspections are not expected to resume until the Summer term, we will continue to review our practices and policies to make sure we are prepared for that time. We will also ensure all staff are informed as soon as possible in the event that a monitoring inspection is planned at the school, or in the event that ISI updates its inspection expectations.

The school has a Contingency Plan in place in preparation for the event that further coronavirus restrictions are brought in for schools. This document will be kept up-to-date with any relevant changes in government guidance, and shared with all relevant stakeholders. The plan will operate in conjunction with the school’s Pupil Remote Learning Policy.

Our plans for the return to full provision and all associated procedures will be communicated to all relevant stakeholders, including pupils, parents, staff, visitors, suppliers and contractors.

Parents will be informed of:

  • The protective steps the school is taking to ensure pupils are safe.
  • New timetable arrangements, including start and finish times.
  • The processes for drop-off and collection.
  • Recommendations in terms of transport to and from the school.
  • Safety measures that will be in place, e.g. social distancing.
  • Expectations of pupils in terms of behaviour and attendance.

These arrangements will be communicated via ParentMail. Parents will be expected to share this information with their children.

Staff will be informed of all relevant plans, including infection control measures, timetable changes or changes to their role and expectations of them, and will be given the opportunity to address any specific concerns. Staff meetings or training days will take place before the school opens, to take staff through all of the arrangements. Staff will be engaged regularly to get their feedback on the arrangements that are in place.

 We will ensure that all contractors and suppliers are prepared to support our plans.

Cleaning staff and contractors will be informed of the new infection control requirements and additional time for these to be completed will be agreed.

This plan will be reviewed continually by the Principal and other relevant members of staff in line with guidance from the government and PHE.

Any changes to the plan will be communicated to all relevant stakeholders.

DOWNLOAD Covid19 Reopening Plan March 8th 2021