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.
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 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.
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
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.