During these challenging times, we are committed to providing an outstanding educational provision whilst minimising the risk of transmitting the Covid-19 virus within our school community.
While our Junior School returns for face-to-face teaching from 5 January, those in the Senior School will be learning remotely for the start of term. As per the Department for Education's announcement, exam years will return to school from 11 January and the remaining year groups from 18 January. Our teaching staff delivered exceptional remote learning and enrichment programmes during the lockdown of 2020 and with their experience and commitment to our pupils' learning and development, we are confident of delivering an outstanding remote provision once again.
The safety and well-being of our community is our priority and we have outlined below the steps we are taking in order to open our settings safely. Along with the other protective measures we are taking, testing for those without coronavirus symptoms in secondary schools is beginning across the country this month using new, quicker COVID-19 tests known as ‘lateral flow tests’. You can find out more about these here.
What to do if your child is unwell
This should include regular hand-washing (including at home before departure for school and on arrival home at the end of the day), regular use of hand sanitiser and avoiding touching one's face. Hand sanitiser is provided at entry points to buildings and in every classroom.
Everyone must also ensure good respiratory hygiene by following the 'catch it, bin it, kill it' approach, and we ask that parents review the information below from the HSC.
In order to minimise the mixing of pupils, year groups will be operating in 'bubbles'.
Each year group 'bubble' is based in one particular area or building and a majority of their lessons take place in designated rooms. One-way systems through buildings and separate access points and staircases are used for different year groups where there is a benefit in doing so.
To minimise the need for pupils to change in confined spaces, pupils wear the appropriate kit to school for the day's activities. For after-school clubs, pupils change in designated changing areas for their year group bubble.
School lunches are provided as normal, but with a simplified range of choice and pupils eat lunch in their year group bubbles in the Dining Hall. Two year groups at a time are permitted to queue separately and tables are cleaned thoroughly between year groups.
All pupils ensure they are well prepared with stationery, their own small bottle of sanitiser and a packet of tissues. Teachers are unable to hand out or share stationery. Other equipment, such as the apparatus in Science labs, is cleaned between use by different year groups.
Internal doors and windows are kept open where possible to ensure good ventilation and to reduce unnecessary touching of surfaces.
Our extra-curricular activities programme operates in year group bubbles.
School minibus drivers wear face coverings and all pupils are expected to use hand sanitiser when getting on and off buses. Pupils in Year 7 and above also need to wear face coverings. Good ventilation is ensured and vehicles are cleaned on a daily basis.
Individual music lessons are taking place as normal. Choirs, orchestras and ensembles will be adapted to involve a limited number of pupils with social distancing where practical when singing and playing instruments.
Classrooms have been cleared of unnecessary items and surfaces cleared to allow for enhanced cleaning. Classrooms have been set up with forward facing desks and utilising space between desks as much as it possible. Each classroom has a marked 'staff safe zone'.
While we are not permitted to use the Cathedral for school chapels and assemblies, some year group assemblies may be held in our other large spaces, while others are delivered through Teams and Firefly.
Breakfast and after-school care will be operating as usual in the Junior School.
Supervision of pupils in Years 7-9 is available in the School Library until 5.30pm as usual, with areas allocated to each year group bubble.
Frequently touched surfaces are regularly cleaned and rooms are 'fogged' where there is a requirement to do so. Desks and other surfaces are wiped down between lessons where the rooms are used by different year groups (such as science labs).
While it is not be possible to run a school with social distancing in place for all pupils, staff will socially distance from each other and from the pupils and pupils should also socially distance from their teachers and, where possible, from each other.
A timetable of arrival and departure times is in place for pupils from Nursery to Year 6. Parents are asked to strictly adhere to social distancing rules when waiting outside school and parents should not cross the hashed line.
With multiple entry points to the Senior School, there is less need to stagger the start and end of the school day.
Outdoor spaces and playgrounds have been allocated to specific year groups. Where two year groups are sharing a playground, the area is divided into two sections and pupils are required to keep to their year group area.
Our pupils' happiness and well-being in school remains our top priority. Our staff take time to explain the systems and adaptations to the pupils so that they can focus on enjoying their time back at school.