04 January 2022: Message from the Principal
On behalf of everyone here at the School we wish you and your family a healthy and happy new year ahead.
We look forward to welcoming our children back to site across the coming days with a staggered programme – and the plans communicated at the end of December remain in place. This will allow that we undertake Covid-19 lateral flow testing, if appropriate permissions have been priovided by you.
You will be aware that guidance from the Department for Education issued in recent days requires pupils and students to wear a face covering not only in communal areas of the School, but also in classrooms and learning spaces – as a current precaution against virus transmission. This is unless your child is exempt from wearing one. This guidance is to be reviewed nationally at the end of January. Please therefore ensure that your child is provided with a plain face covering for use in School across coming weeks.
If your child is unwell, please do not send them to School until they feel better and report their absence to our Attendance Officer in the normal way – and if they have Covid-19 related symptoms, please arrange a PCR test for them with isolation away from School until a result is known.
Thank you for your continued support and partnership as we get our new term underway.
13 January 2022: Message from the Principal
Dear Parents and Carers,
Now approximately a week since the start of term I write to provide some updates and reminders about Covid-19 control measures.
We continue to promote good hand and respiratory hygiene – and we ensure natural air ventilation where possible to supplement the School’s engineered ventilation which we benefit from as a relatively modern building. We have maintained enhanced cleaning throughout the School day.
I wrote to you on 04 January advising of the School’s stepped-up practice at this time to wear face coverings not only in communal spaces but in classrooms and learning spaces – in line with national guidance. Where children are able to do so I thank them for the consideration they show towards others and the part they are playing to reduce virus transmission in School. Thank you also to you as parents and carers for ensuring that a plain face covering remains a part of daily kit. This policy and practice is due for review at the end of January.
You may be aware that there are some changes announced today nationally to Covid-19 LFD (lateral flow device) tests and PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests – LFD tests being the ones we ask to be undertaken at home. Please therefore note the points below:
- If your child becomes unwell (with Covid-19 symptoms or indeed other illness) please keep them at home – and report all absences to School in the normal manner to our Attendance Officer: email@example.com or by telephoning the School.
- We are asking that children routinely undertake two LFD tests every week at home – each three to four days apart. Test kits have been supplied to your child to bring home.
- If your child undertakes a home test (LFD) with a positive result, there is no longer a need to seek a separate PCR test if they are not symptomatic. Your child should continue to self-isolate at home. From Monday 17th January they may return to School on day 6 if on both day 4 and day 5 (after the date of the initial positive test) they generate negative results on LFD tests – and provided they do not have a high temperature. If LFD tests remain positive self-isolation away from School should continue up to 10 full days.
- If your child develops Covid-19 symptoms (still recognised at this time as a continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of taste or smell) please arrange for a PCR test. Your child should stay at home until the result in known.
- If the PCR test is positive, your child should continue to self-isolate at home. They may return to School on day 6 if on both day 4 and day 5 after the start of symptoms (or the date of the test) they generate negative results on LFD tests – and provided they do not have a high temperature. If LFD tests remain positive self-isolation away from School should continue up to 10 full days.
- If your child is identified as a close contact of a person who has tested positive for Covid-19 (this will be notified through NHS Test and Trace – not the School) or someone in your household tests positive – they should continue to attend School as long as they feel well and they should take a LFD test. At the time of writing this is for 7 consecutive days. Additional kits are available from School Reception.
- Please continue to report positive LFD test of positive PCR test outcomes to the School using our Covid-19 reporting channel: firstname.lastname@example.org,uk.
If your child is self-isolating as a result of a positive LFD or PCR test, they may be unwell and not able to undertake School work at home. If however, they feel well enough and are able to engage with School work – perhaps because their Covid-19 result has been positive but they have not developed symptoms – then they can access work as outlined here:
- Pupils in Years 7-10 will be sent a copy of the home learning schedule for the term by Mx Bloomfield when the School is contacted to report their positive test result. This work aligns with the curriculum covered in School for the term, and can be completed independently.
- Pupils in Year 11 and students in Years 12 & 13 will be contacted by Mx Bloomfield when their positive test is reported, and encouraged to contact their teachers using ClassCharts or email, only if and when they feel well enough to do so.
This approach has been taken so that pupils and students do not feel under undue pressure to complete work if they are feeling unwell.
Senior leaders at the School will do everything possible moving forward to allow all pupils and students to attend onsite education when children are well. I ask for your understanding that we are additionally monitoring the circumstances for our staff at this time, and supporting them should they fall ill or need to self-isolate. The School has developed a range of contingencies to provide staff cover as best possible, so that as Principal I can be satisfied on a day-by-day basis that we have sufficient and safe capacity to teach, care for, and supervise the children onsite. Should we find – possibly at short notice on any given day – that this cannot be put in place I shall liaise with our Governors and Public Health England and I may need to instruct a year group(s) to undertake a period of home-learning.
Please be assured that this would only occur as a last resort and for the shortest period of time necessary whilst we work to stabilise staff capacity. To prioritise face to face learning for our older pupils and students and their preparations for public examinations the soonest, it is probable that this course of action should it be necessary would be directed at and affect our pupils and families in years 7, 8, and 9 – and remote learning would be actioned.
We would aim for communication to be swift through our text message and email channels – so if you have had a recent change of ‘phone number and have yet to let the School know, please contact us so we can update records: email@example.com.
I send my wishes for your family’s wellbeing – and thank you for your continued support and partnership at this time.
17 January 2022: Message from the Principal
Dear Parents and Carers,
Further to my correspondence on 13 January about changes to lateral flow testing and associated self-isolation, the Department for Education has issued tighter clarification about the two consecutive days of testing that can lead to an earlier return to School if your child has tested positive.
The other details in my correspondence from last week remain unaltered.
From today, people who are self-isolating with Covid-19 because they have received a positive result, will have the option to reduce their isolation period after 5 full days if they test negative with a lateral flow device (LFD) test on both day 5 and day 6 – and they do not have a temperature. For example, if they test negative on the morning of day 5 and the morning of day 6, they can return to School immediately on day 6 (if they also feel well enough to do so).
If the result of either of their tests is positive, your child should continue to self-isolate until they get negative results from two LFD tests on consecutive days or until they have completed 10 full days of self-isolation, whichever is soonest. In any event, your child should only return if they do not have a temperature – otherwise self-isolation should continue.
Anyone unable to take LFD tests needs to complete the full 10 day period of self-isolation.
Thank you for noting this detail.
19 January 2022: Message from the Principal
Dear Parents and Carers,
There has been a Government announcement today that with effect from 20 January 2022, Department for Education guidance will be updated to state that the wearing of face coverings in classrooms is no longer required.
The Department for Education requires School leaders to have regard for Covid-19 contingency framework – to step up control measures including where local indicators suggest that would be prudent. Data for Birmingham shows that many areas of the city are experiencing levels of Covid-19 infection above the national average.
I have today spoken with our School Governors to recommend that at this time the School strongly encourages the continued use of face coverings in classrooms and communal areas for an extended fixed-term period.
In my correspondence to you on 13 January I outlined that the School’s leaders will do everything possible to put in place safe onsite learning for all, to the highest possible standard. We monitor this daily, and whilst we are currently noting an increased number of positive Covid-19 cases we are able to meet that education commitment. This is only possible because of our overall staffing capacity.
Governors have supported the recommendation – with the School reviewing and where appropriate updating its position on a weekly basis. I have therefore undertaken to do this each Friday moving forward commencing 28 January. That way we can appraise the situation within and affecting our School, alongside any proportionate measures.
I continue to be impressed by the levels of maturity and consideration shown by pupils and students, and am grateful for their and your ongoing understanding and collaboration at this time.
28 January 2022: Message from the Principal
Dear Parents and Carers,
School update – face coverings.
Further to my communication on 19 January 2022 I undertook to review the School’s position about face coverings on a weekly basis, based on our School and local context – starting today.
Encouragingly, positive Covid-19 cases have stabilised across this week, although they are still higher than averages we have typically seen. It has been possible to offer face-to-face onsite learning for all pupils and students.
Having liaised with our Governors today in relation to our risk assessment and control measures, for the week commencing 31 January we strongly encourage the wearing of face coverings in communal areas of the School (for example at lesson changeover), but will step-down our classroom (and learning spaces) expectations so that in those settings face coverings become optional.
I undertake to further review the School’s position on 04 February to assess whether it is prudent to step-up, or possible to further step-down our arrangements.