The following COVID message was sent out to parents on Friday 18 December 2020:

Rather stupidly we emailed you earlier in the week to say it would be our last COVID email of the term and then yesterday afternoon it began to leak out that one or two things were going to change for us all. Despite being the last day of term, things remain very murky, but what it does look like is:

Headlines:

  • Only Year 11 & 13 will return to school for the first week after the Xmas Break (W/B Monday 4 January).
  • Years 7-10 & Year 12 will remain at home for remote learning for the first week (so return to school on Monday 11 January).
  • A small proportion of designated Year 7-10 children will have the option to come into school for the first week (details below).
  • Schools will need to plan and implement a COVID testing regime for all students.
  • School-led ‘Track & Trace’ runs for the first week of the Xmas Break.

Year 11 & 13 Return – Monday 4 January:

All Year 11 & Year 13 students will return as normal on Monday 4 January. They will have normal lessons with their teachers and will run with full school days. There may be some reductions in the range of canteen services but life will pretty much carry on as normal.

Years 7-10 & Year 12 Return – Monday 11 January:

All Year 7-10 and Year 12 students are scheduled to return to school on Monday 11 January. At that moment this will mean the return of ‘normal’ school for all secondary-aged children.

Years 7-10 & Year 12 Remote Learning Week (Monday 4 January – Friday 8 January)

All Year 7-10 and Year 12 students will follow the remote learning approach we have mapped out many times over the last term. Indeed, students in Year 8 upwards will be very familiar with this model from last Summer Term.

All work will be set via Show My Homework and your child should log on each day. When your child logs in they should choose the option to log in with Office 365. The log-in details are exactly the same as what your child logs in with at school. This will mean your child can access Show My Homework, Word, PowerPoint, Teams, etc.

The classwork will be set on Show My Homework and your child should work to follow their normal timetable. Some lessons will also include a Teams invitation. These match with timetabled lessons and give your child the chance to meet with their teacher and talk through the work they need to do. This will not be in place for every lesson, but it will be for many of them. The Teams schedule is mapped out and the sessions are personally laid out on Show My Homework.

All Year 10 students will get a Teams session for English, Maths, each of the Sciences, and every option subject through the week.

All Year 12 students will get a Teams session for every subject through the week.

All Year 7-9 students will get a Teams session for their E-Bacc subjects; Ie – English, Maths, Science, French, History & Geography.

The Teams sessions can be accessed via any device and can be done so either by being on screen, speaking and listening, just speaking and listening, or even just listening. There may be a slight lag on starting times as staff see one class depart, maybe have to move rooms, and then have to initiate the session.

Your child’s teachers will re-draft the work they have planned for the first week back over the Christmas Holiday and things will be ready to roll from Monday 4 January.

We have asked our teachers to be realistic with the quantity of work set as we know what it is like to face a tidal wave of materials that seem unachievable. We want your children to be busy, but not to be swamped.

Year 7-10 Vulnerable / Key Worker Children:

The government has stated that ‘Vulnerable’ children should be given the opportunity to attend school during this extra lock-down week. Any child that falls into this officially defined category will be called by our pastoral teams directly.

Elsewhere, any Key Worker children – where both parents are Key Workers – who cannot safely remain at home to work online, and whose parents cannot supervise them at home, can arrange for their child to come into school. Nonetheless, we do not expect this to be the default for such parents as the point of the week is to reduce contacts and prevent the likelihood of a major post-Xmas peak which closes the school for  much longer.

In this Key Worker case, please complete the following survey so that we can manage numbers for the week: https://forms.gle/jrwnditwBf6X9KBJ9

All Year 7-10 children in school during this week will complete the same activities as those working at home. For the small group that do come into school they should report to their tutor room as normal and initially will follow their usual timetable.

Naturally, we  will be operating under normal COVID measures throughout the week as we will still have over 300 Year 11 & 13 students in school.

Vocational Exams:

All vocational exams scheduled for this week will run as planned. All students (Year 10-13) involved should attend school as normal and sit these exams.

These exam are external ones and are critical to your child obtaining their final grade.

Testing in Schools:

We are aware that there will be an expectation that schools will run a COVID testing regime in the new term.

However, as the term ends, this DfE instruction is not backed with any explanation, detail or system. This means it is practically impossible to have it running for the start date of Monday 4 January.

Naturally, along with the Track & Trace, we will work on whatever eventually emerges through Xmas period.

Even so,  we can guarantee you that we will not test any child without details being circulated in advance regardless of any government direction.

 School Track & Trace:

You will be aware that school’s are now required to run their own ‘Track & Trace’ system up until Christmas Eve.

This means if your child tests positive for COVID from Saturday 19 December to Thursday 24 December then  please email office@friaryschool.co.uk and I will be available to notify anyone affected.

If you wish to learn more about this system please view the following news article on our website: https://www.friaryschool.com/2020/12/14/friary-covid-track-trace-over-xmas/

To Finalise…

Thank you for your patience with yet another message and apologies for the last minute approach to all of this. We promise we find it as lousy as you do.

Take care and once more have a lovely Xmas.