Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope that this letter finds you, your families and loved ones safe and healthy. I also hope that you and your family were able to make the most of the good weather over recent weeks, especially now that the weather seems to have turned! A warm welcome back to the final half term of an academic year which I think we will never forget.
Although I will detail below some of the plans for a wider re-opening to students in Years 10 and 12, I do recognise that for most students, this will remain a term of learning at home, with all of the challenges that this brings. We remain committed to facilitating a remote education in the most effective way possible, and now that more staff are able to come onto the school site, we are aiming to increase the interactivity and personalisation of some of the remote learning experiences.
As you will be aware, Primary Schools have begun to re-open to some year groups from 1st June 2020. Our two Nene Valley Partnership Schools, Irchester Community Primary School and Bozeat Community Primary School and Nursery have been able to open to all eligible students from Monday 1st June. This is testament to the incredible efforts of all those who learn and work at both schools and the comprehensive and thorough risk assessment processes undertaken. As Chief Executive of the trust, I would like to pay tribute and give my personal thanks to the staff, students and wider school communities at Bozeat and Irchester for their calm and positive approach to providing education on site for an increased number of children. I do recognise that the wider re-opening of schools is a polarising issue and it is important to mention that whilst children are encouraged to attend, there are no penalties for parents who choose for their children to continue to learn from home.
Wider Opening of Wollaston School from 15th June 2020
Although we were confident of being ready to re-open by the end of this week, during half term the Government announced that on-site education for Years 10 and 12 could not begin before 15th June 2020. This is now the date that we will begin provision for up to 25% of each year group on any single day, but of course ensuring that every student in each year group has equal access to on-site provision.
The models that we are using differ slightly for each year group.
In Year 10, students will be allocated a single day each week (From Monday to Thursday). They will be taught in a group of no more than 15 and remain in the same room for the day, receiving inputs in English, Maths and Science.
In Year 12, students will have a full day’s provision for each of their chosen subjects. They will be taught in a group of no more than 15 and remain in the same room for the day. Students will be advised individually of their allocated days for each subject.
In both cases, there will be a staggered start and finish time for students and it is important that students only arrive at the scheduled time. They should not use school transport as this is prioritised for children who need additional support or those who are the children of critical workers. These are the students who attend full time as part of our LAW (Learning at Wollaston) School provision. LAW school will of course continue to offer full time provision to eligible students, and is now housed in three separate “bubbles”, in areas of the school which will be inaccessible to the Year 10 and 12 students who are attending.
Further, personalised detail will be sent out to parents and students in Years 10 and 12 on Monday 8th June 2020. There will be a lot of information, which we would be grateful for you to talk through with your children in advance of them attending. It is important to note that days at Wollaston will be structured and organised in a totally different way to our normal ways of working. The concept is of staff and students operating in “bubbles” which have their own discrete rooms, staffing, breaks and arrival / departure times. Although there will be slightly more detailed instructions for students in different year groups and those in LAW school provision, the general guidance to students can be found HERE if your child will be attending school in year 10, 12 or as part of LAW school, please can you ensure that they are clear on these guidelines in advance of their first day at school.
Risk Assessment Planning
As you would expect, we have completed a full risk assessment process in preparation for wider opening. This has been scrutinised by staff, Governors, Trustees and our own Health and Safety consultants. In the interests of transparency, and because I know that parents will want to know the measures that we are taking to mitigate risk – this can now be found on the school website and through the link HERE
Positive Coronavirus Test
Unfortunately we learnt during half term that a member of staff has tested positive for coronavirus and has become very unwell. Our thoughts and best wishes are with this member of our school community and their family as they battle the virus and we are of course sending all love and hope for a full recovery.
Once we learnt of the test outcome, we followed all precautionary advice, over and above that recommended by the Department for Education. Those staff and students who have had tests as a result (as they may have had contact – although this contact was always socially distanced) have returned negative coronavirus test results. We have also had subsequent liaison with Public Health England who have fully endorsed all of our actions and decision making in managing this situation.
It is of course vitally important for all of us remember to follow all social distancing guidelines, including the need for regular handwashing, at all times. Clearly this does work effectively in reducing the risk of transmission of the virus.
Whilst there is not a requirement for us as a school to share with parents, students or staff the results of confirmed coronavirus cases, I believe that it is the right thing to be fully transparent and honest as we have been throughout. As negative test results have been returned, there is no further action required as a school, apart from sending good wishes and all of our love to the member of staff who is currently suffering with the virus.
Thank you as always for all of your support of our school. Although normality seems to remain some way in the distance, we remain absolutely committed to providing the best education possible, in the safest way possible.
Mr J Birkett