We are delighted that we will soon be welcoming our students back to the academy and have been finalising plans to do this in a safe and controlled manner. We have been asked to facilitate approximately 5,000 Covid-19 lateral flow tests for students and staff over the coming two to three-week period. As you can appreciate, the logistics of running the testing programme whilst continuing to deliver remote education for students at home, and face to face teaching for year groups as they return, is not straightforward.
The majority of students and their families will be looking forward to the academy opening and getting back a little bit of normality in our day to day lives. However, we understand some will be anxious about returning to school. Please be assured that the Covid-19 safety measures introduced last year remain in place and we will provide pastoral support to all students.
Please note that the government has stated that attendance, in line with the return dates listed below, is mandatory for all students. Your child should continue remote learning until their return to school date listed in the ‘return to the academy’ column of the table below.
Test-only appointment and return to school date
|Year group||Test-only (students arriving for pre-booked appointments for testing – no onsite education)||Return to the academy|
|Year 7||Wednesday 10 March||Friday 12 March|
|Year 8||Thursday 11 March||Friday 12 March|
|Year 9||Wednesday 10 March||Friday 12 March|
|Year 10||Tuesday 9 March||Thursday 11 March|
|Year 11||Monday 8 March||Tuesday 9 March|
|Year 12||Friday 5 March||Tuesday 9 March|
|Year 13/14||Friday 5 March||Monday 8 March|
Testing is voluntary but strongly recommended by both the government and the academy, as it gives us the best chance of maintaining uninterrupted education for all of our students in as safe an environment as possible.
The government advises that up to one third of people who have coronavirus do not experience any symptoms. By testing staff and students in schools across the country we will help to reduce the spread of the virus.
Students will be tested three times in the academy, three to five days apart, before home testing kits will be offered to all students who have consented to in-academy testing. Testing in the academy is part of the process to train students on how to take a reliable test.
We appreciate that some of you will have children in different year groups and you may have work commitments to plan around.
However, to ensure we get through the amount of tests required to return students to the academy as quickly as possible, we are asking for your support in ensuring your child is able to attend their first test-only appointment on the day listed (as identified in the ‘test only’ column of the above table – attending for a short test appointment only).
Students are unable to travel into the academy on the bus for testing as there is no provision for them to remain on site throughout the day.
Please book an appointment for your child’s first test (see ‘how to book appointments’ below). When arriving at the academy, parents and carers must remain in cars, or socially distanced in the car park if accompanying a child to school on foot.
Students should enter for the ‘test-only’ appointment via main reception no more than two minutes prior to their appointment time. Staff will be on hand to meet them, show them where to go and reassure them if needed. We have put measures in place to control numbers on site during the first testing sessions and students should observe social distancing and wear face coverings at all times.
Our college teams will share information about the testing process with students during CCT next week. A short video will be available to demonstrate how simple and straightforward the process is. Further information on completing a test is found within the FAQ document below. We will also have trained staff on hand to support students through the process that is completed entirely by themselves.
Testing during the academy day
After students return to the academy, there will be two further tests before home testing will commence. Further information on home testing will be shared in due course. Test appointments when students have returned to the academy will be scheduled by us in conjunction with the timetable.
Students will be given appointment times and staff will ensure they turn up at the relevant times. Dates for the second and third test scheduled by us are listed below for each year group. You are not required to book appointment times on the dates below.
- Year 7 – Monday 15 March and Thursday 18 March
- Year 8 – Tuesday 16 March and Friday 19 March
- Year 9 – Monday 15 March and Thursday 18 March
- Year 10 – Friday 15 March and Wednesday 17 March
- Year 11 – Thursday 11 March and Tuesday 16 March
- Year 12 – Tuesday 9 March and Friday 12 March
- Year 13/14 – Monday 8 March and Friday 12 March
Consent for testing
We need to have received a completed online consent form prior to testing. We have updated the form with a ‘do not consent to testing’ option. Please ensure you have completed the form even if you do not consent to testing. This will mean we will not contact you regarding non-completion of the form – click here to complete the online form.
If you have any issues with validating the form, please ensure the date of birth is in the DD/MM/YYYY format and a web browser such as Chrome is used (not Internet Explorer). If on the day your child does not feel comfortable in having the test, they can withdraw themselves from the process and we will sensitively support their decision.
Results, which take around half an hour from testing, will be sent to the parent or carer who completed the consent form via text to the mobile number provided. Students aged 16 and over who completed the form themselves and provided their mobile contact number will receive their own results. Any students who test positive will be told, privately in person by a member of academy staff, and parents/carers will be contacted to arrange pick up from the academy.
How to book an appointment for your first test
We have introduced a new, intuitive and easy to use online booking system for appointments. Some parents and carers may have already used this for booking video calls with teachers for progress evening events. The system allows you to book a time slot on the relevant date of testing for your child’s year group. It will also help us manage a safe number and flow of students through the testing process.
A short guide on how to book and appointments is attached to this email. The system is being used to book appointments only (not for joining appointments for those that have used it before).
Appointments will be made live and available for parents and carers to book at 4pm on Monday 1 March and will close at noon on the school day prior to the ‘test only’ date for each year group (column 1). All appointments must be booked in advance and students must not turn up without an appointment. For example, all year 11 test appointments must be made online before noon on Friday 5 March.
You can access the online booking system either by clicking on the ‘Hub’ then ‘Parents Evening’ section on Weduc, or by clicking here. If you do not have access to the internet, please contact the academy.
Returning to face-to-face teaching
Each year group’s return date for face-to-face teaching to resume is listed in the table above. Students are required to be in full uniform from this point forwards, unless they have timetabled PE, where they may wear their PE kit to school as previously communicated.
Our remote learning provision will continue for your child until their year group returns to school for their first day of lessons as listed in the table above. This provision may be somewhat compromised as teachers will be needed to support testing and the reopening of the academy.
Therefore your child may receive less virtual live lessons during the week beginning 8 March than in a typical week. On the days when your child’s year group is coming to the academy for their ‘test-only’ appointment, no live lessons will be held and shorter assignments will be set.
In preparation for their return to the academy, we would appreciate your support in helping your child gather the work they have completed at home for each of their subjects. They can either glue work completed on paper into the relevant workbooks or organise it into files.
Face coverings and other control measures
The safety of our students and staff remains our highest priority. We will continue to adhere to all control measures in place, in line with our regularly reviewed risk assessments. It is important that everyone continues to observe these, in particular: regular hand washing or using hand sanitiser, wearing face coverings and social distancing.
The government strongly recommends that secondary students wear a face covering in all areas of the academy where social distancing cannot be maintained, including in classrooms. We expect this will be a temporary additional control measure and hope that you can support us in implementing this. If your child has a valid exemption from wearing a face covering, please let us know via email to email@example.com and exemption lanyards will be issued. Academy staff will also be expected to wear a face covering where a two-metre social distance cannot be maintained.
All bus services will return as normal from Monday 8 March. As mentioned above, students are unable to be on site before or after testing on their ‘test-only’ date in column 1 and should not use the bus services until their return to school date. Face coverings are mandatory on all academy transport services.
Catering and access to free school meals
From 8 March, our academy kitchen will be open and offering meals, snacks and refreshments as normal for students returning to face-to-face teaching. This includes provision for those in receipt of free school meals. If your child is not returning on the 8th March and would normally receive a free school meal, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss alternative arrangements.
We look forward to welcoming your child back to the academy. Here are some quotes from students, who have been attending school regularly in the Hub and have completed tests on-site, that you may wish to share with your child to reassure them.
Year 7 students
- “I was a little worried when I first had a COVID test in school, but once I had done the first one I realised it was nothing to worry about. The teachers make you feel really welcome and talk you through what you need to do, so you’ll be ok.”
- “I wasn’t sure where my tonsils were, but the lady showed me, so I also learnt something too!”
- “I had a Covid test and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”
Year 8 and 9 students
- “Putting the test in your mouth and up your nose it a bit strange, but it doesn’t hurt. I have had 5 now and it is really quick and easy to do.”
- “I was nervous when I had to do the test as I was worried that I would mess up somehow, but after the first time it’s just become part of my weekly routine.”
- “I was really pleased to have the opportunity to do a test in school as it put my mind at rest as I don’t want to pass Covid-19 on to others.”
Year 10 and 11 students
- “When you realise it’s for the better and it’s for everyone’s safety I wanted to do it.”
- “I wasn’t even nervous in the beginning as I knew I was doing it for the right reasons. You get used to doing the test yourself after you have completed it a few times.”
- “There is nothing to worry about! The staff are really helpful and answer all your questions.”
As ever, if you do have queries, please contact us at the academy and we will do our best to help.