Thank you to all those parents and carers that responded to the draft Return to school plan. Your feedback has been invaluable. I would also like to thank parents for their ideas , some of which are now included as part of the plans.
The return to school plan, which you can find below, is the plan we will be proceeding with. The plan has been approved by the Trust board and union representatives. Our phased approach is there to help mitigate against some of the unknown scenarios we may face. In the current circumstances we may need to adjust plans to allow us to respond to further direction from local Public Health teams and central government. We will keep parents updated at all times regarding this.
Can I thank parents and carers once more for their contributions to the plan. There have been some excellent points raised and many creative ideas shared.
The section below aims to answer some of the commonly asked questions by parents and carers.
Can my child wear a face mask in school?
Yes. Government guidance on face coverings has changed recently. In conjunction with local health protection teams, taking into account current infection rates in Bolton it will be necessary for all students and staff to wear a face covering when they are on corridors or in the canteen and/or conservatory. These are areas that are communal and students will potentially pass other students outside of their Year group bubble. While the guidance states that this is still relatively low risk we are taking the advice of medical professionals who have clearly stated that wearing a face covering in these areas will help reduce the spread of the virus. Students will be allowed to remove their face covering while they eat but must put their face covering back on once they have finished eating.
We would strongly recommend that parents and carers purchase a washable face covering as opposed to a disposable face covering. The school will provide face coverings for students who do not bring one but these will be disposable. Disposable face masks are not meant for long term use and therefore will need to be disposed of at some point.
Students do not need to wear a face covering in lessons or when they are outside.
If students want to wear a face covering in these areas we will not challenge this. We will take a common sense approach and work with our young people and families to ensure they feel safe and comfortable. However, if face coverings are used inappropriately or pose a health and safety concern in these areas students will be asked to remove them.
Will my child know their timetable before they start in September?
Yes. We will be sharing student timetables with parents and carers before students return to school via our Parent Portal. There will be video guidance to support this.
Please visit our Remote Learning webpage to see video guidance on how to interpret the timetable and how these will be used should we go into a Local Lockdown scenario.
What time will the school buses arrive and depart?
The normal school bus service will be operational. We have negotiated with the bus companies but due to their capacity it will not be possible to put on extra buses to school. We are still talking to the bus company to ascertain the number of children they will allow on the bus and we will confirm this as soon as we have a response.
What we do know is that students will need to wear a face mask on the bus as legally it is still classified as a ‘public bus.’ As students from different cohorts and year group bubbles will be mixing on the bus we will need to confirm the distancing arrangements the bus company is putting in place. We are still awaiting this guidance and will communicate this with parents and carers once it has been confirmed.
We would still advise if students can walk or cycle to school that they do this until restrictions are eased further.
The school bus will arrive at 8.40am and will depart at 3.20pm. We will publish an updated timetable for each bus stop once it has been confirmed.
Students in Year 7 -10 who catch the school bus will wait on the bus at the end of the day supervised by a member of the leadership team until 3.20pm.
What provision will be in place for those students who arrive early to school?
We would advise parents and carers to time the journey to school carefully. While we can accommodate those students who arrive early we cannot accommodate large volumes of students arriving too early before their year group arrival timeparticularly if it is raining.
Students arriving 5 mins before their arrival time will not pose a problem and these students will be able to make their way straight to the back of school and begin to line up in their yellow zones. Staff will be on duty at the front of school from 7.30am. The number of staff on duty in the canteen and at the front of school will increase from 8am.
Those students who are travelling to school on the school bus who are in Year 7-10 will have to wait at the front of school or in the canteen/conservatory until their Year group is called to the back yard.
Students who arrive early will have the opportunity to sit in the canteen or conservatory where a hot breakfast will be served from 8am. This will be prioritised for those students in Year 7 and 8. Students will be given an allocated seat which they must not move from until instructed to do so from a member of staff. As cohorts and year groups may mix in the canteen we will be maintaining social distancing in the canteen and conservatory. There will be a capacity limit in the canteen and conservatory. Staff will maintain a ‘flow of traffic’ in the canteen and conservatory to ensure students remain outside as much as possible.
We will try to keep students outside as much as possible if they do arrive early.
Can parents still use parent pay?
Yes. Parents can still use the features of parent pay. This will not change.
What equipment can students bring into school?
Students can now follow our normal expectations on bringing equipment into school. Students will need to bring:
• A Bag
• A Reading Book
• A Pencil Case with a pen, pencil, ruler (minimum)
• Their Planner (will be issued to them when they arrive to school)
We must emphasise that the sharing of equipment between students will not be allowed. Therefore, it is essential that students take care of their belongings and ensure they always have the right equipment.
Equipment checks will take place every morning in EDGE time or at the start of session 1.
Will my child know their timetable before they start in September?
We are hoping to share all student timetables with parents and carers before students return to school via our Parent Portal. This is a complicated logistical process which we cannot guarantee at this stage but we are working hard to do this so students and parents/carers are clear on their timetables before we arrive back in school. Part of the student induction programme will be to share timetables with each student as well as the Remote Learning Contingency Plan should we ever have to go into a local or national lockdown.
How many children will be in each class?
We will be running a normal timetable which will cover the full curriculum for students. It is impossible to reduce class sizes under the current government guidelines without having more teachers and more rooms in the school. We simply cannot recruit more teachers or expand the school. Therefore, class sizes will be their normal size. Every class will be organised in rows so students are facing the front and there will be a strict seating plan in place. Movement in classrooms will be kept to a minimum and students will only ever be in classrooms within the same Year group bubble.
What will remote learning look like should we have to go into lockdown again?
Should we ever go into a partial lock down or full lockdown students will simply follow their timetabled sessions. Sessions will be delivered live at the same time students would normally attend their session. We would remain on the 3 session per day timetable and it is likely we will remain on this timetable for the vast majority of the year until government guidance changes significantly. We will be sharing more details on this when we return in September.
Do I need to wash uniform more frequently?
No. Following the latest government guidance:
Uniforms do not need to be cleaned any more often than usual, nor do they need to be cleaned using methods which are different from normal.
We will expect full school uniform in September in line with our school uniform policy. Please see the uniform section of the Return to school plan for more details on this.