The following COVID message was sent out to parents on Thursday 31 December:

You may well be aware that we have another change of plan for the start of term following Gavin Williamson’s announcements yesterday afternoon, and though the picture remains very unclear, we will try and map out what we think is happening.

Return to School:

The current arrangements are subject to change as and when the DfE make their alterations:

 

W/B Monday 4 January:

The overall position is that the school is closed to all students.

Those students called by our Pastoral Team or those registered (https://forms.gle/jrwnditwBf6X9KBJ9) by their Key Worker parents can attend.

The number are likely to be very low which is a positive in terms of reducing the spread of the virus.

NB – See Year 11 / Sixth Form Exams section.

 

W/B Monday 11 January:

The school will remain closed for Year 7, Year 8, Year 9, Year 10 & Year 12 students.

The school will be open as usual for Year 11 and Year 13 students.

Again, those students called by our Pastoral Team or registered Key Worker children can attend.

NB – See Year 11 / Sixth Form Exams section.

 

W/B Monday 18 January:

The school will be open for all students.

 

Year 11 / Sixth Form Exams

All planned exams will go ahead as scheduled from Monday 4 January – all students should attend as this may be their one last shot at it.

This includes students in Year 11, Year 12 and Year 13 – your child will be aware if they are due to undertake one of these exams / assessments.

This includes attendance at scheduled pre-exam sessions as many of these form part of the formal exam arrangements so attendance is non-negotiable.

All students involved should regularly check their school email accounts in case their subject teachers have been in touch.

 

Partial Closure Arrangements in School:

All students attending school in W/B Monday 4 January and W/B Monday 11 January will have normal length days and will be expected to attend in school uniform.

The canteen will be open at break and lunch – though there may be a reduced range of items available.

All COVID measures will remain in place and should be adhered to as usual.

All students should report to the canteen in the morning and sit in their Year group zones.

Subsequently, students will be based in Year group rooms and follow the same lessons as those working remotely at home.

 

Remote Learning Arrangements:

All previous remote learning plans will run as scheduled for the Year 7, Year 8, Year 9, Year 10 & Year 12 students.

We are now adding Year 11 and Year 13 to the schedule today and it will appear on the school website by Monday 4 January (at the latest) and online sessions start from Monday lunch-time.

Full details can be seen on the previous COVID Update (W/B 14 December): https://www.friaryschool.com/2020/12/18/covid-update-2-w-b-14-december/

 

COVID Testing in Schools:

It does seem that this is going ahead, and we are expecting delivery of 1,000 testing kits on Monday, though as there has been very little DfE guidance it is very much a focus for next week.

The only clear information seems to be that there are to be 1,500 army personnel available via a helpline and webinars but we expect them to be very busy with over 4,000+ secondary schools, never mind private schools, special schools, PRUs, etc.

It does seem that the testing will only be for those children / staff who have “been a close contact of a confirmed case” and rest assured when we have a plan we will let you know.

We appreciate your patience in setting this up – we will not be testing anyone until we let you know how this is going to work.

If you want to read what the DfE have said about these most recent changes you can read it here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/school-contingency-plans-to-be-implemented-as-cases-rise

 

Looking to the Future:

It appears that things may well change again in the weeks ahead so all of us will recognise that these arrangements are not set in stone.

We do not hear anything ahead of what appears in the press – so you will likely know about things when we do – and in turn all we can do is hope to clarify how things are panning out at our school via these messages.

Matt Allman, Headteacher, added: “We can only hope that our New Year celebrations herald a much better year in 2020 than we had in 2021. Thank you to everyone who has supported us through this crisis this year and it is good to know we can rely on parents to back us in the months ahead.”