31-12-20 – Plans for schools returning after Christmas

Dear parents, carers, students, Governors and Directors

We hope you had a restful and peaceful Christmas.

The purpose of this communication is to update you now that the Government has announced its plans for schools returning after Christmas, about which you will probably have heard; we would like to outline how this is going to impact our students and their families. Following the Secretary of State’s announcement yesterday evening and subsequent information after 7pm last night, there will, once again, be changes to the return of our students next week.

Monday January 4th will remain as an INSET day, which staff will need for briefing about the mass testing and to continue to prepare remote lessons. The guidance last night included the following very important paragraphs:

Secondary schools and colleges will extend the staggered return of their students to give more time for the rollout of testing. This will help find asymptomatic cases and break chains of transmission, making it as safe as possible to return to face-to-face education.

  • During the first week of term, beginning on or just after 4 January (January 5th in our case), secondary schools and colleges will focus on the rollout of testing to help find asymptomatic cases. They will provide face-to-face education for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers, and prioritise resources for remote education for exam year groups in line with what they would receive in class and to all other years as resources permit (We will ensure work will be available on the VLE for Years 7, 8, 9 10 and 12. Students in Years 11 and 13 will have more detailed lessons – their teachers will advise them on these).
  • During the second week of term, beginning on 11 January, secondary schools and colleges will start their programme of testing, prioritising staff, those students in schools and colleges and the exam cohorts. Schools and colleges will be able to bring students back to face-to-face tuition as testing is rolled out. Remote education will be provided to all pupils this week prior to return to school or college.
  • All students will return to secondary schools and colleges for face-to-face education by 18 January.
  • Vocational exams scheduled for January will go ahead as planned (we will be in touch with those students separately).

In light of this not unexpected news, we will only be open to vulnerable children and the children of critical/key workers from Tuesday January 5th. For these students, the school day will begin as follows (students to make their way to their usual bubble area): 8.30am (Year 7), 8.35am (Year 8), 8.40am (Year 9) and 8.45am (any other year group) and finish at 3.15pm for all students. Lunches will be provided and the children are expected to wear school uniform. From the 5 January, the scholars’ bus service will run, but this may change. We will update you if this service is to be postponed.

Parents or carers of key worker or vulnerable children are requested to e-mail us on Covid@hartonacademy.co.uk, should they wish their children to attend school from January 5th 2021.

Further information regarding the roll out of the mass testing will be shared next week once we return to school and a letter, consent form and information leaflet will be distributed accordingly.

In the meantime, staff will be providing remote learning from January 5th, as outlined above.

Many thanks for your continued support and understanding. We wish you all a very happy New Year and hope that 2021 sees a return to normality by the spring or the summer months.

Take care and stay safe.

Very best wishes,

Sir Ken
Mr Amos