Information for Parents: Changes to School Protocols from September 2020
This letter outlines some of the changes that will be made on a temporary basis at the start of the new academic year. These changes are in line with government guidance and are due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Arrangements for the Start of Autumn Term 2020
Tuesday 1st September Staff INSET – no students in school
Wednesday 2nd September Year 7, Year 8 and Year 12 in school (no Year 9, 10, 11 or 13 students)
Arrival Time: Year 7 – 8.50am; Year 8 – 9.30am; Year 12 – from 8.30am (8.50am start for Year 12)
Thursday 3rd September Years 7, 9, 10, 12 and 13 in school (no Year 8 or 11 students)
Arrival Time: Years 9 & 10 – 9.30am; Year 12 – 8.50am start; Year 13 – 9.30am start
Time will be spent on Wednesday and Thursday helping students to reconnect with school, staff and peers. The day will be spent in tutor groups where there will be some structured activities but also an opportunity for the students to catch up with each other, find out more about how school will run and relax in each other’s company again.
Friday 4th September All Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 year groups (no 6th form students) from 8.30am onwards.
All students to be on site by 8.50am.
Lessons begin period 2.
Some time will be spent in the morning ensuring the students are aware of what the new protocols are for lessons and break/lunch time.
Monday 7th September All students in school from 8.30am onwards and 8.50am at the latest.
6th form lessons begin.
The School Day
Arrival at School
Please note that from Friday 4th September, students will only be permitted on site from 8.30am. We appreciate this will cause logistical issues for some families, but we must be able to implement our safety protocols for your children and to have them on site before this time makes this very difficult. As and when the situation allows, we will lift this restriction.
On your child’s arrival at school there will be outside zones marked out for them to gather in their year group bubbles. Students are permitted to mix within their year group bubbles, but we must minimise contact between year groups and there is a strong expectation that students comply with this.
Year 7 and the 6th form will enter school through reception; Year 8 and 9 through a side gate next to reception; and Years 10 and 11 through the large green gates next to PE.
Please note that there will no free breakfast provision at the start of term and students must hand their phones in to their tutors rather than centrally in the café.
Key Stage 3 classes will principally be taught in a base room, with members of staff moving to them rather than the students moving around school. There is a small number of subjects where students will need to move out of their base room to specialist rooms for teaching. Where this system restricts our ability to ‘set’ children, our staff will plan and differentiate accordingly to meet your child’s individual needs.
Key Stage 4 classes will move around school to different classrooms for the majority of their timetable.
In between KS3 lessons, classes will be brought to their year group outside zones to be lined up ready for the next teacher. This is to give students a chance to stretch their legs and get some fresh air outside their classroom.
The end of period 5 will be staggered to allow students off site in a safe manner. Those who need to can remain in their classroom until 3.30pm. The earliest that students will leave site is 3.15pm.
To enable all students to access the café at break time in a safe way, we will use a staggered break time. At lunch, only one year group at a time will be permitted to enter the café to get food and students will be asked to stick to this. Outside spaces will be sectioned off to keep year groups apart.
In the early weeks of term, to facilitate slick running of the café, we will reduce the menu offering and try to provide as much ‘grab and go’ food as possible. We will look to use disposable cardboard boxes and wooden cutlery where needed.
The Government has made it clear that all students are expected to return to school in September. We appreciate that there may be ongoing anxieties about the return to school and the impact that Covid-19 has had on some of our families. To that end, where a child’s attendance is not reaching the standards that we would expect, we will seek to understand if these sorts of issues related to coronavirus apply. In such circumstances we will put in place what support we can, but always encourage families to return their children to school. Should we feel an absence is persisting for too long or that there is no other valid reason for prolonged absence, we will revert to the usual warning and fining system. Please make sure your communication with us regarding any absences is prompt. Our school target for attendance is 96% – this is equivalent to one day off per half term.
If any families have already booked holidays that mean their child is absent between 2nd and 4th September, these absences will be authorised.
Medical Care Plans
If your child has a new or changed medical condition that we need to be aware of, please contact us as soon as possible with the details.
The behaviour for learning and wider school behaviour that our students demonstrate is almost always outstanding. As with all schools however, we experience a small number of incidents that present us with a challenge and we anticipate that after six months of absence from the routines of school life, there may be some students whose frustrations manifest themselves in poor behaviour.
We will again therefore apply compassion and understanding and make reasonable adjustments for those students who are finding it difficult to return to school life and the expectations that we have. However, our students are here to learn and progress and we cannot allow poor behaviour to prevent this. We have the added complexity of not allowing students to mix ‘across bubbles’ in the school, which makes some of our behaviour support mechanisms difficult to deploy.
As such, we will not be using our internal exclusion unit (the EU) in the normal way. Where students’ behaviour is challenging and students will not follow direction to settle back into their learning, it may well be necessary to exclude them from school and for them to go home. We anticipate that this would be the exception rather than the rule and we never seek to exclude children, but in the current climate our options are more limited.
Students who do not respect the requirements to avoid ‘cross-bubble mixing’ will be sanctioned.
At the start of term, detentions will be taking place on a specific night for each year group, again to avoid mixing of students.
We will be expecting students to meet our usual high standards with uniform in September. As a reminder, this means appropriately coloured hair, proper school shoes and no jewellery of any description. Some students return from holidays with newly pierced ears – they will be asked to remove their earrings if this is the case. Specific changes to the behaviour policy will be communicated to students and parents at the start of term.
Summer Learning Options
We have made the decision to continue to support our students with their learning throughout the holidays. Having already had a long stretch of time away from school and a time where their day-to-day routine has probably been quite different to ‘normal’, we are offering them the chance to continue to broaden their minds and knowledge over the next six weeks. We have put together a range of different activities to broaden their engagement with different subjects and continue to ignite their passion for learning beyond the classroom. These activities can be found here:
Keeping busy during the summer holidays can sometimes be a challenge and many of us may not be able to do some of the activities we would normally do over the summer break. The activities we have planned are designed to give our students something interesting to do to fill their time while learning some valuable knowledge and skills too.
Of course, these activities are optional; students can complete as many as they like, when they like. We will be setting up a Google Classroom for students to upload any ‘evidence’ of the work they have been doing and (just like the VE Day project and Diversity & Equality project) there will be reward points attached to the different activities that they do. We will aim to promote the best examples via Twitter (with permission, of course).
Homework Next Year
For a number of years now we have used the Show My Homework online platform to set homework across all year groups. From September we will be migrating across to Google Classroom to set all homework. Each teacher will have a Classroom set up and this will be the place that students will find all their set homework, any resources needed, as well as due dates. Google Classroom also allows students to submit their work on this platform. Students will be automatically added to teachers’ Classrooms in September and do not need to do anything to prepare for this move from the old platform.
Parents and guardians will be able to receive updates regarding the work that has been set as well as which work has been turned in. In September we will provide further details about how this will work.
In September, in order to ensure that students remain in their year group “bubbles”, the wellbeing base will not be offering any drop-in sessions and the base will be closed during break and lunch time. If students wish to see a member of the wellbeing team they will be able to make an appointment using the online booking system on the tpsQUAD landing page. We will resume the usual drop-in service and group work as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.
May we take this opportunity to wish you all a lovely summer. Many of your children have worked incredibly hard over the lockdown period and are richly deserving of a break. We look forward to seeing them all in September.
From all of the TPS Senior Leadership Team