Headteachers Letter -24th February 2021

Dear Parents and Carers,

A warm welcome to the second half of the Spring Term and I hope that you and your loved ones remain safe and well.  Following Boris Johnson’s announcement and the publication of Department for Education guidance on Monday night, I am pleased to confirm the following arrangements for the full return of all students to Wollaston School  from the 8th March 2021. We are certainly looking forward to having all of our students back with us in person!

One aspect of the Government’s announcement which was not given particularly high prominence was that Secondary Schools will operate a phased return for students during the week of the 8th March.  This is to facilitate a mass testing of students on their return to school and I have provided details of dates below in order that parents and carers can plan for the full return.  I will provide further information in my letter on Friday, but I trust it is helpful for parents to have the dates below at the earliest opportunity.  As per Government guidance, we have prioritised Year groups studying for formal qualifications, followed by other year groups in age order, to recognise that younger students may be less well able to work independently at home.

Once students have their date for return, they are then expected to attend full  time from that day onwards. All students will have a Lateral Flow Coronavirus test on the date of their return and some further details on the testing programme can be found below, with more information to follow on Friday.


Dates for Year Groups to Return to School

Monday 8th March 2021:  Years, 11, 12 and 13.

Tuesday 9th March 2021: Year 10.

Wednesday 10th March 2021: Year 7

Thursday 11th March 2021: Year 8

Friday 12th March 2021: Year 9

This schedule will see a full school return by the Friday of the first week, alongside a full testing schedule. Please also note that our LAW school provision for children of key workers and those requiring additional support will remain open throughout this week and is available for students who need this, prior to the return of their year group.


Arrangements for Mass Testing   

Central to the return to school for all students in the provision of a mass testing programme in secondary schools alongside the existing staff testing programme. Whilst this will eventually move to “at home” testing, a pre-requisite is for all students to have 3 tests at the school’s testing centre, prior to the commencement of home testing. These must be spaced at intervals of between 3 and 5 days apart. Naturally, this is a significant undertaking and an enormous logistical challenge, however, it is a challenge that we believe we can meet with your help and support.

In order to facilitate the testing schedule as above and ensure a return of Year 11, 12 and 13 on the 8th March 2021, we will begin our testing programme for these year groups next week.

For students in Years 11, 12 and 13, they will be given 1 test appointment during the week of the 1st March 2021. Please treat this as you would a medical appointment, as we are not able to arrange alternative times. These testing appointments will be drop off and wait appointments and the maximum time we anticipate any student needing to be on site is for 45 minutes. However in most cases, we will be able to administer the test within around 15 minutes.  Students will need to bring with them a face covering and smart phone in order to register the test and receive the result.

For students in all other year groups, testing will begin on their return to school.

Further details in testing will follow in due course, in addition to appointment times for eligible students for the week of the 1st March 2021.  We will also be sending out an electronic consent form for completion over the weekend, and thank you in advance for returning this so promptly.  Consent needs to be given by parents for students aged under 16.  For students aged 16 and over, they are able to give consent themselves.

Thank you as always for your continued support. This is once again a time of significant change and challenge, but changes and challenges that I know we will once again rise to as a school community.

Kind Regards

Mr James Birkett