Headteacher Letter 24 November 2020
Dear parents and carers
Thank you for your commitment to supporting your child during the time that the academy site has been closed. And thank you for your feedback about the way the remote learning programme has been going – it has been really positive to see so much engagement from our pupils (and their families) and we have valued the individual contact we have had with each family.
I am pleased to say that, as expected, we will be reopening the school building to all pupils on Thursday 26 November. Your child should attend school as they would do normally on a Thursday – we will ensure that your child’s taxi will be ordered as usual from this day onwards.
I wanted to take this opportunity to reassure you about the measures we have been taking and will continue to take, to ensure all children remain safe and continue to thrive when they return on Thursday.
The school site has been intensively cleaned including all communal, staff and catering areas. Any resources that we would use have been quarantined and cleaned as appropriate. The Senior Leadership Team and staff have been meeting daily to discuss what must be done to reduce the risk of infection even further within our school and community. We have reviewed our risk assessment and will be ensuring all staff are aware of this update before we reopen. with all staff. We will continue to encourage all pupils to wear their face masks in their transport and the small number of visitors to the site will be wearing face coverings. As a staff team, we will be employing more remote forms of communication with one another in an attempt to be Covid secure.
Can we politely request that, if you provide transport into school for your child or need to attend the school for any reason, you too wear a face covering when on the school premises. Can we also ask for vigilance each day when you send you child into school ensuring that if your child is experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms (i.e. raised temperature, lack of or change in taste or a new continuous cough) you do not send them into school. Instead they must remain at home and, recommended advice is, for them (or anyone experiencing symptoms) to seek a test. Please also let us know should this be the situation so we can manage risks within the academy.
We know how challenging this situation is for everyone but hope that if everyone can follow these simple steps, whilst continuing with frequent hand washing and cleaning and maintaining social distance, we have a greater chance of keeping the virus out of the school. None of us wish to be in a similar position again and we hope that will not be the case. However, many schools have experienced some form of school closure and we all need to work together to manage the number of positive cases in our schools and wider communities.
Thank you for your continued support during these trying times. We do not underestimate how difficult this situation has been for families. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 07790 040394 if you have any queries. We look forward to seeing the pupils back in school from Thursday 26 November and working together to create a safe and supportive environment for all.
Mr M Piper, Headteacher
Headteacher Letter – 13 November 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
As you will be aware from our contact with you via phone yesterday, an individual within our school community has tested positive for COVID-19. Following Public Health England guidance, my senior leadership team, OA’s CEO and Chair of Trustees and I have now taken the difficult decision that we will need to close the academy until Wednesday 25 November expected to open again on 26 November. This is owing to the numbers of staff that are required to self-isolate and our reduced capacity to be able to provide education on site.
The small number of children who have been in close contact with the confirmed case were contacted by phone and received an individual letter by email yesterday. These children will be required to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of contact. If you are not contacted by phone again, your child is not a direct contact.
However, given we are also now in a national lockdown, we would once again like to reinforce how important it is that everyone abides by the Government’s guidance and takes all precautionary measures including regularly washing hands, wearing a face-covering and keeping a 2 metre social distance from those outside your household, and staying at home where possible. At the end of this letter, I have provided you with a reminder of the guidance from Public Health England about what do to, should you or your child develop symptoms of coronavirus and ways to prevent transmission. I also ask that you inform us immediately if your child develops symptoms of COVID-19 or receives a positive test result in the next two weeks, so that we can support you, and can record and assess any further transmission during this period.
We know that you will find this concerning and completely appreciate the inconvenience that the temporary closure of our academy will cause for many families, and it is of course not a decision that has been taken lightly. However, it is critical that we follow the advice of the experts in order to safeguard our students, staff and importantly the wider academy community.
Whilst ensuring everyone’s health and safety is our absolute priority, we are also committed to limiting disruption to your child’s education as best we can through our remote learning programme. Outlined below are details of what we have put in place for your child starting on Monday – as you will see we will be on hand to support you and you child from 9am on Monday.
Our online learning plan
Our online learning plan has been made with our pupils and their families in mind. We believe that this strategy will work best for the children at our school. The online learning timetable is:
|09:00 – 10:30||Break||11:00 – 12:00||Lunch||12:30 – 13:30||13:30 – 14:30|
|Online lesson 1
|Online lesson 2||Online lesson 3||Learning reflection and the Olive Way|
Pupils will have access to directed online learning every day in line with the timings displayed above. It is our expectation that all pupils:
- register for classroom Dojo on Monday 16th November
- be prepared for online lessons in smart attire in a sensible location
- engage with the delivered content by being respectful, safe and ready to learn
Online learning registration
Staff will assist pupils with registration on Monday 16th November between 9am and 11am. Pupils must follow the outlined registration procedure:
- visit classdojo.com at 9am
- follow the student login details to access their class – these will be provided in the coaching call on Monday morning
- login for online lesson 3 at 12:30pm.
Safeguarding pupils and staff
The safeguarding of our pupils and staff is our upmost priority. All online lessons will meet the following expectations:
- All online lessons are recorded so that if any issues were to arise, the video can be reviewed.
- Staff and pupil language must be professional and appropriate, including family members in the background.
- All online lessons are attended by at least two members of staff.
- Staff and pupils must only use the platforms provided by Olive Academies to communicate with each other.
I hope the information above reassures you about what will happen on Monday morning in relation to your child’s learning plan. Please email email@example.com or call me on 07790 040394 if this is the case and if you have any queries – rest assured we are here to support you and your child during this time
Mr M Piper, Headteacher
What to do if your child develops symptoms of COVID 19
If your child develops symptoms of COVID-19, they must not come to school and should remain at home for at least 10 days from the date when their symptoms appeared. Anyone with symptoms will be eligible for testing and this can be arranged via https://www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.
All other household members who remain well, must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. This includes anyone in your ‘Support Bubble’.
The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
Household members should not go to work, school or public areas and exercise should be taken within the home.
If you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, or walking a dog, you should ask friends or family. Alternatively, you can order your shopping online and medication by phone or online.
Household members staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
If you are able, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period.
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:
- a new continuous cough
- a high temperature
- a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.
If your child does develop symptoms, you can seek advice from the nhs.uk website at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/check-if-you-have-coronavirus-symptoms/. If you are concerned about your child’s symptoms, or they are worsening you can seek advice from NHS 111 at https://111.nhs.uk/ or by phoning 111.
How to stop COVID-19 spreading
There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with COVID-19
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- wash your hands as soon as you get home
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
Further information is available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Headteacher Letter 6 – 2 November 2020
Dear parents and carers
I hope you and your children managed to have a restful half term despite the difficulties and uncertainties arising because of COVID-19.
As you will know, the Prime Minister has announced that there will be new national restrictions coming into force on the 5th November. These are similar to the national lockdown before the summer but crucially, all schools are to remain open during this period which is expected to be in place for four weeks.
I am writing to remind you of the importance of supporting your child to come to school and reassure you that I and my staff will continue to do what they can do keep everyone safe. We review our risk assessment regularly to make sure that we are addressing any changes in guidance and any concerns raised by staff or children.
As always, please keep in touch with us and please do not sent your child to school:
- if they are displaying any of the following symptoms: a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; a loss or change to their sense of taste or smell
- if: they are waiting for a test result; any member of your family is awaiting a test result, has received a positive test and/or is showing one of the symptoms of coronavirus – in this situation, your family should be self-isolating for 14 days
- if they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive and have been asked to self-isolate
Further information and links to guidance are available on our school website here: https://apsuffolk.oliveacademies.org.uk/covid-19/
Information about the new national restrictions coming into force on the 5th November are available here. It is important that pupils return home directly as the guidance states that all must stay at home or be outside of home except for specific purposes such as attending school and exercise.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do get in touch with me via the school office.
Mr M Piper
Newsletter 5 – October 2020
19th October, 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
Thank you for your continued help with supporting your child to attend school and follow the guidelines on reducing the transmission of coronavirus. Within school our staff are working hard to remind students of the expectations and we have regular reviews of our practice to make sure we address any concerns raised by staff or pupils. We have a risk assessment for our school opening which we keep under regular review in line with government guidance.
You will be aware that the government has recently announced a system of three ‘tiers’ to identify COVID alert levels. Suffolk is currently at the medium alert level which is the lowest that exists within the country. Details of what this alert level means generally are summarised in this poster.
It is the case with all alert levels (even the very high) that schools remain open for pupils and so I wanted to emphasise to you the importance of continuing to send your child to school – we know how important it is for their wellbeing, their educational progress and their wider development that they continue to attend regularly.
Please do email or call me if you have any concerns, questions or ideas you would like to share.
Mr M Piper
Newsletter 4 – September 2020
Friday 18th September 2020
Dear Parent and Carers
Welcome back to the academy.
It has been great to see so many children at school since we opened on the 7th September – my staff and I are so pleased to be able to welcome them into the building and be able to get going with teaching and supporting them in school.
It has also been nice to see how good our students have been at keeping to the expectations around hygiene and social distancing to reduce the risk of transmitting coronavirus. Please do get in touch if you have any queries or concerns about these and we can discuss what we can do to reassure you.
I would like to remind you of the importance of ensuring your child attends school unless they are unwell and/or showing coronavirus symptoms. You will have heard them many times before, but just as a reminder, they are:
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new continuous cough – this means coughing a lot more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.
Many of us have questions about other instances when a child should stay at home and self-isolate. We have updated the guide we sent you at the beginning of September to give more guidance on when you should keep your child at home and when you should send them to school. As always, our staff are happy to talk through any concerns you have about whether your child should be attending, so please do give us a call or email if you have any queries.
Should your child be off school, we will be in touch on a regular basis to check on their wellbeing and support them with learning at home if they are well.
Newsletter 3 – September 2020
Wednesday 2nd September 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
I am writing to let you know how much we are looking forward to seeing your child back at school at the start of term and to tell you a few things about how we plan to make our academy as safe as possible to reduce risks around the transmission of coronavirus.
As you know, the government guidance is clear that all schools will be open in as normal a way as possible and all children and young people are expected to attend school. The guidance for parents is available here. As always, my staff will be working with you and your child to support them with any concerns or challenges that might arise and to make sure your child comes into school to get their education.
This letter gives you an outline of what we are doing to prepare the school for opening and of the expectations and rules that will be in place for staff and pupils when onsite.
What have we done to prepare the school for opening?
To get ready for opening, we have completed a risk assessment for the academy which covers all areas of managing a school and makes sure that we are able to put in place the essential measures that are recommended. These include:
- facilities for hand washing and respiratory hygiene – hand sanitizers, regular reminders to wash hands, guidance on ‘catch it, bag it, bin it’ procedures
- increased cleaning arrangements
- a requirement that people who are ill stay at home
- active engagement with NHS Test and Trace
- considering ways in which we can reduce contacts and maximizing distancing between those in school and minimizing potential for contamination as far as is reasonably practical
In our two staff training days on the 3rd and 4th September, all our staff will have training to make sure they are ready and understand the measures that need to be put in place so they can support your child. The majority of our staff have been working on site over lockdown at various times and are used to the requirements and focus on increased hygiene and avoiding physical contact.
Supporting your child as they return to school
As you know, we have produced a personal plan for your child to help them with transition back into academy life. This plan and timetable has been shared with you and I hope you have had a chance to discuss this with a member of the teaching team. If you are not sure of the day and time your child needs to come into school for the first time, please ring the school office on 01449 613931.
When your child comes to school for the first time, we will spend time with them making sure they understand the expectations and how things might be different – your child’s Form Tutor will spend time with your child taking to them, seeing how they are and how they feel about starting school and answering any questions they have. We will continue to remind them of the expectations on a regular basis.
Information about the return to school
Minimizing contact and encouraging maintaining distance
You will have heard about ‘bubbles’ being created in schools to keep groups separate as far as possible, for example in a large secondary school it is suggested that a year group might be a ‘bubble’. In our academy, because of the relatively small numbers, our small class sizes (never more than 10), and the fact that pupils are not always split into year groups, we have decided that the whole school will be a bubble. This is suggested in the government guidance for alternative provision schools such as ours and we feel it will mean we can give the best education possible to our pupils
What happens if a child or member of staff shows symptoms of coronavirus?
If your child or a member in your household is showing coronavirus symptoms (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste), do not send them to school and arrange a test. Please let us know and keep in touch with how your family are doing. We can support you with getting a test if you need help. At the end of this letter is a table which gives you more details about what you should do and how long you should isolate for.
If your child shows symptoms of coronavirus whilst at school, we will contact you immediately and ask you to pick them up to arrange for them to be sent home. We have a designated medical room and a member of staff will be with your child until this time.
Government guidance is that if there are two or more confirmed cases within 14 days, or an overall rise in sickness absence where coronavirus is suspected, there may be an outbreak – if this happens we will work with the local health protection team who will advise us on what action we need to take – in some cases they might recommend that a larger number of other pupils self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure.
What happens if there is a spike in infections in our local community area?
The most recent guidance from government on planning for outbreaks is that alternative provision providers such as our academy will continue to allow all pupils to attend on site what the level of restrictions placed on a local community. We will make sure we keep you informed and answer questions you may have should government restrictions be placed on our community area – your child should continue to attend school if they are well and not self-isolating.
If my child is self-isolating or shielding what plans are in place to remote learning?
Throughout lockdown, we provided our pupils with learning packs and online lessons. We are putting in place a comprehensive remote learning programme which your child will be expected to access from home providing they are not ill. Should this happen we will support you to make sure you have the IT equipment you need and are set up so that your child can access this – we will be contacting them daily to make sure they are logging in and learning.
This programme will be available to all children should there ever be a case of a local ‘lockdown’ and should schools be asked to limit the numbers of children who can attend.
Face coverings have become a normal part of life during the coronavirus pandemic and most children over the age of 11 will be used to using them. Government guidance on the use of face coverings in schools is that they are not necessary because of all the other controls that are in place. However, they understand that in some cases the use of face coverings can bring additional confidence to parents and children to support a return to school.
Within our academy the guidance is as follows:
- If you wish your child to wear a face covering in communal areas, e.g. corridors then we will respect this but you should take responsibility for ensuring that your child knows about the safe wearing of face coverings – cleaning hands before and after touching them, and storing in an individual, sealable plastic bag, and regular washing of a reusable face covering. Any face covering should be plain in colour and design, black, blue or grey, and bandanas or hoodies cannot be used as substitutes
- Within the classroom, government guidance is that use of face coverings is not generally necessary and can have a negative impact on teaching and learning and expects that face coverings are not worn in classrooms. If you have a particular reason you wish your child to wear a face covering or visor within the classroom, please let us know and we will arrange a meeting with you to discuss this and agree next steps which we will review with you regularly.
We will never exclude a child based on the decision to wear a face covering.
Should there ever be a local ‘lockdown’ we might be asked to review this guidance and will let you know what is expected.
This guidance only applies to children in year 7 and above – if your child is in the primary school, they should not be wearing a face covering.
Please encourage your child to bring as few belongings as possible to school. As always, they will be asked to hand in their mobile phones and any valuables when they get to school, which will be stored in a named plastic bag.
All pupils should wear their OA school uniform as usual.
Support for everyone’s mental health
This has been and continues to be a challenging time for everyone and we understand that children and their families may experience feelings such as anxiety and stress as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. As we have done throughout lockdown, we will continue to call you to check how you are doing and provide your child with access to mental health support, including counselling should they need it.
I hope this gives you some idea of how much work and energy we are putting into making sure you and your child feel confident about returning to school and reassures you that we have put clear measures in place to manage the risk of coronavirus. However, if you have any further questions, please do call the school office on 01449 613931 or email me via firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to seeing your child at the start of term.
Mr M Piper