9th September Update from Mr Mirams
9th September 2020
I would like to take this opportunity to thank both yourselves and the children for the way in which they have embraced the changes that have had to be implemented at the school since our return a couple of weeks ago. As I stated in a number of letters throughout lockdown it is a less than ideal situation for any of us and an almost impossible task to make sure that we are covering all eventualities and meeting the demands of all in our community. As a school we are constantly reviewing our protocols in line with ever changing guidance and information from the Government, the Local Authority and Public Health England. I am aware that these guidelines and the implementation of them does not make life particularly easy for any of us but my main priority, as the Headteacher of the school, is to reduce the risk of arising infection rates and to ensure that we have enough human resources to keep the school working effectively. As I stated earlier the children have been fantastic and are a credit to all of you in the way they have adapted at both schools.
I would like to outline some clear points as we continue through the term to keep you all fully updated with the current situation.
All schools are now having to liaise or follow protocols set out by a range of organisations, including the DFE, Local Authority, Health & Safety Executive, Ofsted and Public Health England. There are many new things to learn, adhere to and obviously the situation in regard to Covid is changing on an almost daily basis. At present infection rates in Kent and in the local area appear to be very low but we have a very strict protocol which we follow in regard to any infection or testing. I would like to reiterate again that Public Health England are emphasising the following 3 symptoms in regard to Covid 19 case definition:
- A high temperature
- A new continuous cough
- A loss of or change to your sense of taste or smell.
If these are experienced by any child then they should not be sent to school and a test should be requested through the following website:
Please inform us if this is the case and particularly if test results come back positive because this has huge implications for the school and the need for Public Health England intervention. Please do not send siblings in if one of your children has Covid 19 symptoms. All can return if test results are negative.
STAFF, SIXTH FORM AND FACE COVERINGS:
I would like to welcome all of the Sixth Form back into school and to commend them on the way in which they have accepted the new ways of working and the mature way in which they have conducted themselves as they move around the school. Following discussions with some Sixth Form and staff we will now be making it mandatory for Sixth Formers to wear face coverings as they move between lessons and when they are not in Sixth Form areas or in class. This rule will also be followed by all staff to ensure that we reduce the need for large numbers of adults to self isolate. Obviously where there is a medical reason not to wear a face covering then this will be taken into consideration. The wearing of face coverings by staff and Sixth Form is not an indication of increased infection rates but are simply precautions in the best interests of our adult community.
VISITORS ON SITE:
You will be aware that we are limiting any visitors or any vehicle access on our site and this has been the case since we returned. I am aware that this is inconvenient for individuals, however, our risk assessments in regard to safety onsite due to excess traffic or increased infection risk must be adhered to. As of Monday our Reception areas will not be able to accept any forgotten items, such as PE kits, musical instruments or packed lunches into the school site. Please ensure your child has everything they need with them for the day before they leave for school. If your child does forget their packed lunch at Primary they will be provided with a school meal and the charge will be added to your ParentPay account (please make payment straight away) and at Secondary parents can load money onto their ParentPay account remotely or in an emergency we can lend money but this must be paid back to the Finance Office on the next school day.
I have included our Visitor Procedure Protocol for Covid 19 in the Policies and Important Documents area. The Covid 19 RISK ASSESSMENT has been briefly removed for updating, following new givernment information (10th September)
Thank you to those of you who have created and are using our online payment system ParentPay. If you have not created your ParentPay account please make contact via email to the following email address, for Primary – firstname.lastname@example.org and for Secondary - email@example.com stating your child’s name and they will provide you with the relevant information to create the account.
We have obviously taken the decision that in the majority of occasions whole school events will not be taking place in term 1 and we will be looking at alternative arrangements for the organisation of parent’s consultation evenings, information evenings and the open events later this month, as these normally attract huge numbers of people. Once again none of this is ideal but we will be in touch in the near future to keep you appraised of the decisions we will be making in regard to these activities. As I have stated earlier the situation continues to change daily and so obviously we are continually reviewing every situation and every event.
We will be doing a virtual open evening for the Secondary and will be reviewing the Primary and Sixth Form open events nearer the time. In regard to Year 7 places for next year we will be delivering an application pack to all Primary Schools by the end of this month, with as much information as we can possibly provide. I cannot emphasise enough the need for people to be aware that our own application form needs to be completed alongside the Common Application Form for the Local Authority (this includes our Primary Year 6 pupils).
OUR LOCAL COMMUNITY:
None of this situation is particularly easy for any of us and trying to ensure that 1600 children arrive and leave the 2 schools on a daily basis is not an easy task. I would also ask and urge all of you to show compassion to our neighbours in regard to parking and make sure we do all we can to adhere to traffic regulations. As I said in my previous letters the school’s main priority is to ensure that once within our school grounds and buildings we are adhering to all the requirements placed upon us. It is impossible for any of our school staff to solve local traffic, parking and domestic issues. It is each parent’s responsibility to get their child to our school gates and to collect them at the end of the day.
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE TIMES:
You will be aware that at both schools the systems on arrival and departure are becoming more efficient in regard to time and a large number of you have commended us on how quickly we are now able to get children in and out of school. We are continually reviewing these protocols but at present it is clear that there will be no changes to the current arrangements as outlined by the Government in regard to staggered starts and finish times.
RECEPTION AND YEAR 7:
I would like to make a special mention for our new pupils in Year R and Year 7 who have generally had a fantastic start to the year and have also embraced the procedures at both schools. How strange it will be for both groups to experience some normality once we arrive at that point. I would also like to thank the parents for their support in what have been very challenging times.
We will continue to use email as our main communication method and I would like to draw your attention to the Communication Page
The current situation continues to be a very difficult time for all in our school community and we acknowledge that we are never going to get everything right. We are extremely lucky to have such a supportive staff who on a daily basis are showing their commitment to our children and who are passionate about doing what they can to provide the best education in these difficult times. I would like to thank the large number of you who have sent such positive comments about our school and our staff and I cannot emphasise enough the huge positive impact this has on groups of people who are having to work on a daily basis outside of their comfort zone. You have incredible children and as parents you should be extremely proud of the way that they have conducted themselves over the last few days and we will continue to do our best as a school to make life as bearable as possible, despite the many challenges.
God Bless You All