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Parent news

 August 4th

Dear all,

I hope you are well and having a good Summer. Given the updates in the national news, I felt it was important to offer you an update from school.

Ongoing work in school:

We have increased the number of staff working on site during the Summer and are now able to put in place a one-way system inside most of our buildings. The Theatre and Ede studio will be additional lunch time venue, along with the canteen. Rooms have been altered as per government guidance so that students will sit facing the front to avoid face to face contact. In order to ensure all students can return to school they will sit, as they usually do, 2 students per desk. Students will be asked to socially distance from staff by 2m wherever possible.

Consultation examinations:

Thank you to everyone who responded to the consultation on examinations. I am pleased that OFQUAL adjusted their proposals considering feedback from the consultation and have reduced the content that students in Year 11 and 12 (from September) will need to cover in some subjects. Some subjects have had no changes made. There will be a further update for BTECS later this month once the consultation has been completed.

Our Heads of department are looking closely at the guidance so that we can inform students at the earliest opportunity, of changes to courses. For instance, in English Literature the students in Year 11 may not be asked to answer questions on all their texts.

Results days:

We still plan to go ahead with our plans for results days. Details are on our website.

UCAS will not open until 8am. If students are scheduled to come in later and would like their results emailed, please let us know.  We ask that wherever possible, parents are with students if they choose to open their results at home. We want to offer face to face contact during the process rather than email to all students as we will support students with decisions they may need to make. However, if this is not convenient and you would prefer the results sent to students please contact  exams@tahs.org.uk

Student loans – Year 13 going to University this year.

Please see the link below for updated guidance for prospective students to include information on student finance whilst working from home during the 2020-2021 academic year.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/guidance-for-prospective-students?utm_source=3%20August%202020%20C19&utm_medium=Daily%20email%20C19&utm_campaign=DfE%20C19

Return to school:

Reminder that we will be staggering return dates in order to ensure students fully understand the changes these are detailed for you below:

Year group induction dates:

Wednesday September 2nd Year 9 students only

Thursday September 3rd Year 11 and 13 only

Friday September 4th will be Year 10 and 12 only

We will look forward to opening to all students on Monday September 7th.

Where students are not in school for the first week lessons will be set via insight by staff who were due to teach periods 2 and 3 on each day and for period 1 where they are not delivering induction.

Local outbreak update:

As you may have seen from the local news there has been an outbreak in Burton on Trent. We have been asked to remind families about the key things that we can do to reduce transmission:

The guidance is to:

  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Limit your contact with people not in your household
  • Stay at home when you can. If you do need to go out keep your distance – 2m ideally
  • Wear face coverings on public transport now and in shops from July 24
  • Self-isolate for ten days and book a test if you have symptoms
  • Self-isolate for 14 days if you have been contacted by the NHS Test & Trace Service and told you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive

 

Testing centre at the Pirelli Stadium

If you have symptoms of Covid-19, you must self-isolate for seven days and book a test.

A drive through mobile testing centre is now open at the Pirelli Stadium in Burton and people can book a test:

  • online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus,
  • call 119,
  • if you live in an affected area only and can’t travel to a testing centre, the county council may be able to offer you and your household a test at home. Telephone 0300 111 8050 to see if you are eligible

More information

Staffordshire County Council's website has further information and resources to help communities stay safe and well, including:

Coronavirus information in other languages

Stay Alert advice

 

 
 
 

We will continue to keep our website updated. http://www.thomasalleynes.uk/page/?title=Covid%2D19+Information&pid=210

Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions at headteacher@tahs.org.uk

Best wishes,

Mrs Rudge

Previous News:

The information below has not changed since our last update:

We continue to work to ensure everything is in place for students to return full time to school in September. We are fully staffed and wherever possible, your daughters and sons will have specialist teachers for all subjects. We have appointed additional cleaners, site staff and teachers to support us if needed.

As has been described in previous newsletters, we have put in place new systems to allow the school to run smoothly and to comply with the guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

We will be running with an amended timetable for September and have the original timetable prepared. We will review the new timetable.

The timetable we have planned for students, allows us to maintain our broad and balanced curriculum. Teachers have been preparing for how to use the longer lessons effectively and individual curriculum areas are adjusting how they deliver their subject according to government guidance.

We will not be doing any practical activities prior to 5th October unless these are essential.

Lunches and Breaktimes

These must be staggered to reduce students mixing across year groups and therefore our school day has changed from September. Students will be taught for three 110-minute lessons. We will have 2 breaks during the day and a canteen menu will be available.

Free school meals will be provided as usual for those students entitled to FSM funding. Students may spend their break in the canteen, theatre, Ede Studio or outside on the basketball court. They must not be on corridors during their breaks. When returning to their classrooms on corridors they must be silent to prevent disruption to learning for others.

8.40 

Lesson 1 including a 20-minute break.

11.05

Lesson 2 including a 40-minute break

1.20

Lesson 3

3.05

End of school day

Transport

All parents will have received a letter from Staffordshire LA regarding school transport. Buses will operate their normal timetable.  If students wish to cycle to school, we will be providing areas where they can lock their bikes in school. If you are needing to use public transport you must follow guidance in wearing a face covering.

Changes to curriculum PE

We are unable to have our normal practical PE lessons at the outset of the year. We value and understand the importance of sport for young people and will reinstate practical lessons as soon as we are able to. We hope to do this on 28th September. Please ensure you have purchased a PE kit for your daughter/son ready for the re-introduction of practical PE on this date. The PE department will be sending out further guidance at the start of the academic year.

During the time allocated to core PE, the department will be providing theory lessons and students will be encouraged to use the time for independent study. Students completing GCSE/BTEC or A level PE will have appropriate practical sessions planned into the year to meet the demands of the course. No PE kit is required in school prior to 28th September.

Marking

Teachers will be making early assessments on students’ progress during lockdown. They are recommended to leave 48 hours between students using their books and teachers marking them. We have learnt a lot during lock down, and therefore will continue to use Office teams to mark work where feasible.

Online learning

All staff will be using Microsoft Office Teams in the event of a further lockdown. Students in Year 9 will be trained in how to access this provision to ensure this runs smoothly if required.

Communication

Due to the guidance to reduce contact we are unable to meet parents without notice as the meeting rooms must be vacant and cleaned prior to use. We encourage you to communicate via telephone or email. Where this is not possible, we are also able to communicate with families via Microsoft office. Plans for parents’ evenings are under review. The carpark at the front of the school will be part of the one way system for students and therefore will not be accessible to visitors.

Bubbles

Students must be kept in year group bubbles and should minimise mixing with other year groups. Assemblies will be delivered remotely. Students will only move classrooms twice in a day.

September return

On Tuesday September 1st we will hold staff inset day to complete final preparations to site and to complete induction to the revised site for staff.

We will be conducting a phased opening by year group. Students will be informed of their form rooms via insight or through parent mail. Year 9 students will be met by staff and guided to their form rooms on arrival. Students will not be able to enter the building until 8.30am but are able to wait on the basketball court until the day starts.

Year group induction dates

Wednesday September 2nd Year 9 students

Thursday September 3rd Year 11 and 13 induction

Friday September 4th will be Year 10 and 12 induction

We will look forward to opening to all students on Monday September 7th.

Where students are not in school for the first week lessons will be set via insight by staff who were due to teach periods 2 and 3 on each day and for period 1 where they are not delivering induction.

Illness

Students who have symptoms of Coronavirus must not attend school. They must self-isolate, inform the school and arrange a test. If other members of the household have Coronavirus all members of the household must self-isolate for 14 days. If anyone in the academy becomes unwell during the day and shows any symptoms of Corona virus you will eb contacted to collect them from school and given guidance.

Mentoring

With the wider reopening of schools in September, the mentoring system we have in place will be paused at the end of this week.  The pastoral team look forward to supporting students in September. As part of our plans to be flexible and to readily respond to any emerging needs in September, the system would be returned to if schools had extended periods of closures again.  I thank the staff for providing a bridge of communication between students, parents and school through mentoring.

Lockers

On your induction days you will be given the opportunity to collect any items that have been left in your lockers. If you are currently in year 11 or 13 this can be done on Thursday or Friday of this week or after the Summer. All items will be kept in a safe space for you.

Section B

Frequently asked questions:

How have you created a one-way system round school? For instance, the Science staircase has a narrow staircase leading up to it?

As far as possible we are hoping to have a one-way system across the school site especially indoors. This is required because we have some very narrow corridors. We will be creating a new corridor across the top floor of the Science corridor to improve circulation. We will walk you through it on your induction days.

I usually have my drama lessons in Ede but it is being used for lunches where should I go?

We are creating a new space for drama lessons and will update you during your induction.

Where should I go when I arrive in school?

When you arrive through your nominated entrance, you should go to your form tutor base. Staff will be on hand to tell you where this is and we will share this information with you prior to reopening via insight.

Entrances:

Year 11 JCB

Year 10 Back Lane

Year 9 Front gates

Post 16 socially distanced through any entrance.

How do I know what lessons I have?

We will be sharing your timetable with you via insight at the end of the holidays but will have a paper copy ready for you when you arrive on your first day.

I have collected my exercise books should I bring these with me?

Yes, we need you to be responsible with the exercise books we have provided you with. These are for next year and must be brought into school. Teachers are not able to give out exercise books. Please check insight each day and bring the correct exercise books and the equipment listed below with you.

How will I find my way round the new layout?

During your induction day your teacher will walk you through the one way system. You will also practice a socially distanced fire drill.

Will students need to arrive at different times?

Because of the number of students who travel by bus, we will not be staggering the start and end times of school.

Has the time of the day changed?

The start and the end of the day will remain the same. We will start lessons at 8.40am and finish at 3.05pm.

How will my child wash their hands more frequently?

Sanitisers will be in each classroom for students to use on entry and exit.

When will they see their form tutor?

For year 9, 10 and 11 they will have 3 extended sessions with their form tutor over 4 weeks.

When will they have their breaks and lunchtimes and have these changed in length?

Their breaks remain 20 minutes long and lunch is 40 minutes. The breaks and lunch times will be staggered across the day for different year groups.

Where can they go at break and lunchtime?

We are planning to serve food in our school canteen for Year 9, 10 and 11. The canteen has been adapted in light of guidance. For instance, all cutlery will be removed, and meals will be served in disposable boxes rather than on plates. The canteen space is only for students who are buying food from the canteen. The Theatre and Ede studio will also be set out so that students bringing sandwiches can eat indoors if they wish. The basketball court will be available as an outside space for students.

Won’t having staggered breaks cause noise when others are in lessons?

We will be insisting that students make their way quietly from their classrooms to their social space, be that the theatre, Ede, the canteen or basketball court, to prevent disturbing others who are in lessons.

Will students mix on buses?

The advice is that students should avoid public transport wherever possible. The school buses will be running, and we will share guidance from the Local Authority with you when we have it. The expectation currently is that students wear masks on the bus.

Will classes be different?

Classes will remain the same. Schools are asked to welcome all students back to school fulltime and therefore we cannot create smaller groups.

Can my child wear a mask in school?

Current guidance from the government is these must not be worn in school. Guidance continues to change and we will let you know if there are further updates.

What is the school uniform?

School uniform is our usual uniform without a blazer. We ask that students replace the blazer with a plain black sweatshirt.

My child is shielding: what should I do?

Please contact us at school to discuss a risk assessment for your child. Please email Mrs Maingay at maingay@tahs.org.uk

How will you reduce congestion?

We have allocated separate entrances/exits for each year group.

Year 11 will be asked to use the entrance opposite the bus station and near our JCB/Maths/Science blocks.

Year 10 will use the entrance from Back Lane.

Year 9 will come through the front gates.

The school will operate a one-way system inside the building.

Will my son or daughter receive their normal curriculum, or will the curriculum be narrowed?

As a 14 – 19 school, it is crucial that the provision we put in place allows students to receive teaching from their specialist teachers in preparation for their GCSEs and A levels. For this reason, we decided to keep the curriculum our students study the same. We will still offer all subjects to our students.

Will you be cleaning school more often?

Yes. We previously employed cleaners only at the start and end of the day. We will now be having 4 cleaners working throughout the day in addition to the cleaning at the start and end of the day.

What equipment does my child need?

In addition to the exercise books we have provided student with. We are advised to minimise sharing of equipment and so where families are able to we ask that all students arrive in school with:

Pencil

Ruler

Rubber

Sharpener

Scissors

Glue stick

Protractor

Set square

Calculator

Compass

2 Black biros

1 green biro

Black fine-liner

Pencil crayons (ideally Crayola).

If you need support purchasing this equipment, please email Mr Godwin at godwin@tahs.org.uk

Do I need to wear my full sixth form uniform when we return?

 During September, sixth form students will not need to wear a blazer unless they wish to do so. It is a safeguarding requirement that all post-16 students always wear their sixth form lanyard/ID card.

What about my study and Sixth Form 7 periods?

Students are welcome to remain on site during these times and will have dedicated areas for their personal study. To support the safety of our school community, we will temporarily allow sixth form students to work at home when they do not have timetabled lessons.

Can I do paid work if I am not in school for a lesson?

No. School hours will remain 8.40am – 3.05pm and therefore, completion of paid part-time work during this time is not permitted. If students are not on site during this time, it is expected that they will continue to develop and expand on their independent learning skills by completing school activities e.g. sixth form 7 whilst at home.  All sixth form students will be asked to sign a sixth form code of conduct to show that they understand this.

What about food – will I still be able to go into town?

Our priority is to make the school as safe as possible, and therefore upon return we request that the sixth form do not go into town to purchase food or other items. However, we will be providing a sixth form servery where students can purchase food which will prevent the need to leave site. As always, students are welcome to bring their own food with them to school. 

Can we use the common room?

Yes, the common room will continue to be a dedicated study space for sixth form students. Initially we ask that students do not use the kitchen area, and that they ensure the space is kept tidy without clutter to reduce the likelihood of infection and to support our cleaning team. In addition, we will be changing the seating to ensure that the area is as clean and safe as possible.

Where will we go at break and lunch time if year groups must stay in bubbles?

When we return, we ask that sixth form students stay in the sixth form area during this time, including the lawn area in front of the sixth form block. They must socially distance from all other year groups.

Take care and stay safe.

Mrs Rudge