Preparing for the return to school in September 2020
I write in the detail below to allow you to have confidence in your child’s return to Braunton Academy: it is important that you are clear and assured in all we have done to present the school as a safe and agreeable environment for the children (and staff) to attend each day.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you might have in regard to the detail presented here.
HEALTH AND SAFETY IS PARAMOUNT TO ALL AT BRAUNTON ACADEMY
You will be pleased to know that all aspects of Health and Safety measures and statutory compliance have been covered extensively across the Academy: meaning that hot and cold-water systems, gas safety, fire safety, kitchen equipment, security including access control and intruder alarm systems and ventilation have all been thoroughly checked ready for your child’s return to the Academy. This includes, of course, a detailed Risk Assessment to ensure the Academy is a “Covid-19 Safe environment” for all.
We will be carefully following PHE’s ‘COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings’ guidance. This has led to us:
• Introducing a new and enhanced cleaning schedule across the Academy, particularly focused on those most frequently used areas of the school, such as bathrooms/toilets, classrooms and communal areas.
• Additional cleaning staff have been recruited for the daily cleaning routines, the removal and safe disposal of rubbish.
• Classroom-based resources, such as sports, art and science equipment, can be used and shared within a Year Group. The schedule for frequent cleaning of resources/equipment (e.g. books, calculators) shared within the groups is the responsibility of the students and staff/ teachers at the time.
• Classroom-based resources shared across Year groups will be cleaned frequently and meticulously and always rotated to allow them to be left unused and out of reach for a period of 48 hours (72 hours for plastics) between use by different Year Groups. The schedule for the isolation or cleaning of resources/equipment (e.g. Technology and, science equipment) shared across Year groups is the responsibility of students and teachers supported by subject specialist Technicians and cleaners.
IMPLEMENTING SOCIAL DISTANCING AND HYGIENE PRACTICE ACROSS THE ACADEMY
I list here the adjustments we have made across the Academy to ensure SD and hygiene is maintained wherever and whenever it is possible:
• The Academy is operating under the present instruction: “Stay apart – No Contact”
• Seating plans for classrooms ensure desks are most commonly in rows and students are forward-facing;
• Rooms have been completely de-cluttered to allow for simple and effective cleaning/sanitising throughout the school-day;
Sanitising and handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds will be extensively promoted and encouraged across the school-day. Sanitisers are situated in every classroom and at every entrance to the Academy.
All will be expected to sanitise their hands, particularly when:
o entering the school site
o whenever moving from one room to another
o after sneezing or coughing
o before and after handling or eating food
o after going to the toilet
• The ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ approach will be continually promoted and supported by the Academy in providing tissues, closed-top bins, and posters.
• All visitors will be fully informed as to expectations
• Staff and students will be encouraged to utilise natural ventilation via external doors and windows where possible and safe to so.
ARRANGEMENTS TO REDUCE MIXING BETWEEN GROUPS
The government guidance advises that the approaches suggested of separating groups and maintaining distance are not ‘all or nothing’ options and will bring benefits even if partially used.
• Staggered starts and finish times at the Academy are not possible due to the variety of travel challenges and restrictions presenting to our students.
• Students will enter through separate Year Group gateways (Please see the attached map)
• Students will be studying in Year Group ‘bubbles’: they will be hosted, therefore, in five separate ‘Zoned areas’ within the school – Contact will be minimised around the Academy site through the use of separate entrance/exit gates (clearly signed), one-way systems, clear signage, staff on duty to direct students, visible ground and floor markings - arrows, safety barriers and tape/signs.
As from Wednesday 6th January the zones will be:-
• We have revised room timetables to accommodate groups/classes within their own ‘Zoned areas’ to minimise whole-classes moving between classrooms:
o Key Stage 3 classes will be assigned a teaching room where the majority of their lessons will take place. Other lessons will either take place in their Teaching Zone or in specialist teaching areas.
o Key Stage 4 classes will take place in the rooms within the Teaching Zone or in specialist teaching areas.
• Students will be seated side by side and facing front and unnecessary furniture has been removed.
• Teachers and support staff will move between classes and Year Zones: keeping 2 metres distance from students and remaining at the front of the class at all times.
• Breaks and Lunchtimes will be accommodated within the separate ‘Zones’ and all will bring in ‘packed-lunches’/snacks/drinks to avoid gathering in the canteen and queueing areas. The size and movement limitations of key areas (pinch-points and queuing restrictions) of the canteen make it unsafe to operate under the present guidance.
• Playgrounds and outdoor spaces are divided to minimise mixing between groups – we will consider using ‘Tweedies’ playing field for Years 9, 10 and 11 during good weather.
• Well-ventilated shelters are being purchased to extend the covered areas available for students, particularly during wet Breaks and Lunchtimes.
• I would ask that parents/carers minimise waiting times and avoid stopping/chatting when dropping off/collecting your children: it is important to keep routes to and from the Academy as clear as possible at all times, please.
The government guidance sets out a number of key expectations for us to consider:
• Teach an ambitious and broad curriculum in all subjects from the start of the autumn term, but make use of existing flexibilities to create time to cover the most important missed content.
• Aim to return to the Academy’s normal curriculum in all subjects by summer term 2021.
• Plan our curriculum offer on the basis of the educational needs of students.
• Continue to develop our remote learning programme so that it is integrated into our curriculum planning.
• Braunton Academy is committed to providing our children with as normal and as broad a timetable of studies as possible, hence the students will be following their ‘normal’ timetable but studying the different subjects in the same suite of rooms (their ‘zone’). This decision is primarily based on our belief that this return to ‘normality’ will support the children’s mental health and well-being.
• Teaching groups in Years 8 and 9 will remain the same for the next academic year (2020-21) to provide the students with a clear sense of continuity to their learning.
• Teachers will be engaging the children in new areas of study on their return to class – it is important that students are not unduly worrying about any aspect of all they did, or did not do, over the lockdown period; there will be opportunities for all students to continue to make good progress in all subject areas as we move through the new academic year.
• Teachers will identify the most important missed content and, over the coming months, look to ensure these areas of study are revisited to further cement the learning required.
• Students must carry all they need for their day’s schooling in their bag: they must have their own stationery equipment (See the ‘Student’s Equipment List’ on the web-site) since it is not possible for equipment to be shared.
• Music concerns: we are advised that there is an additional risk of infection in environments where singing, chanting, playing wind or brass instruments or shouting is taking place. This applies even if individuals are at a distance, so Mr Street is working hard to come up with a whole host of different ways of making music in the usual fun lessons.
• Likewise, Mr Frickleton has been spending hours on considering how physical education, sport and physical activity will be provided whilst following the government’s control measures: rest assured, he has a plan…well, several actually!
• Other ‘practical’ lessons, such as art, technology, computing and science experiments will be able to take place as we have put into place a detailed cleaning programme, as listed above (- that’s why I included that section of my Risk Assessment, you see!)
Physical Education arrangements for September
Students will return to 'normal' PE lessons as of September and will follow our traditional summer term programme of study having missed out on this last term. This means that all students in Key Stage 3 will be taught Athletics, Tennis, Rounders or Cricket on a rotation basis. In key stage 4, students will be taught a mixture of Athletics, Badminton, Cycling, Rounders or Cricket and health and fitness lessons.
On the days that students have PE, they must come to school dressed in their PE kit, and will stay in their PE kit for the duration of the day.
Girls PE kit required for every lesson
• White socks
• Plain black shorts or sports leggings
• Maroon polo shirt
• Maroon 1/4 zip fleece
• Suitable sports trainers
• Waterproof coat
Boys PE kit required for every lesson
• White socks
• Plain black shorts or sports leggings
• Maroon polo shirt
• Maroon Rugby top
• Suitable sports trainers
• Waterproof coat
All lessons will be predominantly outside at all times, even during adverse weather conditions, unless this poses a risk to students and staff. It is therefore essential that ALL students come to school with a waterproof coat on the days that they have PE, and they must bring it with them to their PE lesson. This is so that they can stay as dry as possible during their lesson to avoid them being wet for further lessons in the day. It is also important that all students bring a spare pair of shorts/sports leggings, trainers and socks that they can change into afterwards if necessary. They must keep this in a small bag and bring this with them to their PE lesson.
Spare PE kit required for every lesson
• Plain black shorts
• Small separate bag in which to store spare kit.
If in the event that students will need to change into dry clothes, all boys will change in the existing 'boys' and 'girls changing rooms which will be opened up into one changing room. The girls will then change if needed, in the dance studio. To keep staff safe and to ensure that they can keep 2 metres away from all students, staff will be asked to remotely supervise the changing rooms from outside and will therefore not be present in the changing rooms as they normally would. They will however, be in close proximity in the event of an emergency.
BEHAVIOUR AND ATTENDANCE
• Students will return to wearing their usual Academy uniform, please. If students are timetabled for PE lessons on any particular day, they are encouraged to attend in their PE kit on these days since it is not possible for us to safely use the school changing rooms.
It is vital for all children to return to school to minimise as far as possible the longer-term impact of the pandemic on children’s education, wellbeing and wider development. Missing out on more time in the classroom risks students falling further behind. Those with higher overall absence tend to achieve less well in school.
• School attendance is mandatory from the beginning of the autumn term. This means from that point, the usual rules on school attendance will apply, including:
o It is the parents’/carers’ duty to ensure their child attends regularly at school;
o It is the schools’ responsibilities to record attendance and follow up absence
o The Academy is expected to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices in line with local authorities’ codes of conduct.
Braunton Academy will work sympathetically with all parents, carers, and children in securing their attendance at the school; we will consider each family situation according to individual circumstance and the provided evidence.
• Please remember that we prefer for mobile phones not to be brought into the Academy: please remind your children that we will be returning to our normal school policy in regard to phone usage – phones must not be seen or heard on the school premises during the school-day.
• We have reviewed the Academy’s ‘Behaviour and Relationships Policy’ to create the right conditions to positively re-engage students in their learning and reintegrate them back into ‘school life’, however, it is important to reassure all families that repeated disruption to children’s learning will not be tolerated and normal disciplinary policies will apply throughout the school-day to support the high standards of behaviour expected across the Academy and provision of quality care and support.
Please click on the attached link for the Behaviour & Relationships Policy, Covid-19 Appendix
STUDENT WELL-BEING AND SUPPORT
We recognise that our students will be experiencing a variety of emotions in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: some students may be suffering from anxiety, stress or low mood and it is important to contextualise these feelings as normal responses to an abnormal situation; some may need support to re-adjust to school; others may have enjoyed being at home and be reluctant to return; a few may be showing signs of more severe anxiety or depression, whilst most will not be experiencing any challenges and will be keen and ready to return to school.
• The Academy’s Heads of Year and Pastoral teams will be working to identify, support any of those students who are struggling with the return to school and will be looking to devise a plan to provide specific support as it is needed.
• Our intended provision of pastoral and extra-curricular activities for students is designed to:
o support the rebuilding of friendships and social engagement
o address and equip students to respond to issues linked to coronavirus
o support students with approaches to improving their physical and mental wellbeing
TRANSPORT TO SCHOOL
Where possible, all students are encouraged to either walk or cycle to school.
(Cycle racks: Y7 front of Canteen; Y8 - Barton Lane (West); Y9 AWP; Y10 - Bottom of Isaac’s Yard; Y11 – Barton Lane (East))
Alternatively, you should ask parents/carers to privately drive you to school.
The usual school transport provision will be provided by Devon County Council on our return to school: Students who are travelling on dedicated school buses or public transport are required to wear a face covering for the whole journey, placing it in a sealed (sandwich?) bag and then in their school bag before entering the Academy site.
• All planned Academy trips/Educational visits have been cancelled in line with government guidance.
PARENTS/CARERS ATTENDING THE ACADEMY SITE
• All parent/carers and visitors are unable to enter the Academy site, unless by appointment, unless it is deemed absolutely necessary. Only pre-arranged meetings will be allowed on site.
• All parent/carers and visitors, must use the hand sanitiser on the main gate and in the Main Reception Area before entering the Academy site.
• All parent/carers and visitors who are invited onto the premises must confirm if they are displaying any symptoms of coronavirus and the meeting will then be re-arranged.
The Risk Assessment for the Academy can be found here:
Map of Bubbles from Wednesday 6th January 2021