Start of day, isolation and testing
We'd like to inform parents of a few practical changes and other reminders to help with the smooth running of school.
1. Start of school day
As before, school begins at 8.45am when the whistle is blown on the yard. Years 1 to 8 line up, years 9 to 11 enter the school building themselves, and Reception go straight into their class through the side entrance door, led by their parents. The side gate remains open until 8.50am. This is 5 minutes earlier than before as we return to our pre-covid timetable for the start of school. The gates are usually opened at 8.25am, and as a precautionary safety and security measure, we advise parents not to drop off their children before this. Ideally children should arrive on to the yard between 8.30am and shortly before 8.45am.
If children arrive after 8.50am, they must enter via the main office and give their name to the office. This generally means that they are marked late for that day unless they manage to get to their classes very quickly and the teacher is still taking the register. This is usually completed before 8.55am, so that assemblies can begin at 8.55am. If children are late more than twice in one week, or late very regularly throughout the term, form teachers will be contacting parents to highlight the situation. The main reason for being punctual is that it really helps everyone feel settled and ready to start the school day together, which in turn has a noticeable impact on how well the children and young people respond to their learning.
We also appreciate prompt collection at the end of the school day: Reception at 3.25pm, Years 1 to 8 at 3.30pm and years 9 to 11 at 3.45pm. Parents with a child in both Middle School and Upper School are asked to collect the younger child at the above mentioned time rather than at 3.45pm. Prompt collection helps the teaching staff enormously as they are then able to tidy their classrooms and make preparations for the next day, and attend staff meetings and leadership meetings on time. All children are encouraged to leave school via the yard.
As a staff, we value our close partnership with parents, on whom we rely on in lots of ways. Punctual drop-off and collection is one way that you can make a significant difference to creating and maintaining a thriving and effective learning environment
2. Covid Isolation and Testing
As you are aware, the government guidance for schools around this issue has changed. Face coverings are no longer recommended in classrooms now and from Thursday 27th January, they are no longer expected to be worn in communal places either. Some pupils may wish to continue to wear masks for a while longer. Upper School pupils may request permission from their form teacher and for Middle School pupils, we would ask for a parental request (in writing or on the yard).
We continue to recommend twice weekly Lateral Flow Testing (LFT) for secondary pupils to report at registration on Mondays and Thursdays. Please do continue with this regime. Staff are also asked to test twice weekly. If a child tests positive on an LFT, they should stay home and inform school. If they are symptomatic, they should have a confirmatory PCR test. Please note that symptoms might be mild, but a PCR is still recommended.
There has been a change to government guidance and school procedure:
After testing positive, the child can return to school after 5 full days at home, if they have a negative LFT on day 5 and again before school on day 6. If there is a second line on the LFT, even a faint one, they need to continue to stay home until they have two negative lateral flow tests on 2 consecutive days.
If another member of the household tests positive, we would still like children to stay home until we have spoken to you. In many cases it may be possible for the child or young person to return to school, but this will depend on their age and how much contact and care they may need to receive from the infected person. As you can see, we are trying to be as cautious as possible to prevent a possible spread of infection, but at the same time we are keen to work with families to get the children back to school if their home environment provides sufficient mitigations, hence our case-by-case approach.