Dear Parents and Carers
Re: The start of the Spring Term - January 2021 – what can we tell you so far?
First, a huge thank you to the many of you who have been in touch with us, offering your support and thoughts since the end of term regarding the new Government guidance for schools in response to the pandemic that hit us precisely as term ended.
By now, you will be familiar with the idea that the Government announced the staggering of the return of secondary school students after the Christmas vacation. You will also know that, since Thursday December 17th, schools have been strongly encouraged to develop and run a programme of asymptomatic lateral flow testing, which we are working on carefully as information is released to us – full guidance is yet to come but we are making plans gradually, and in line with the information we do have thus far (click link)
We will continue with this work as further information comes to us, involving other key colleagues at Noadswood after the break, as well as those of you who have offered your support and time, and in discussion with our Trustees and other local schools.
What we want to share with you now is the outline plan for the first week back after Christmas, as things currently stand:
Monday 4th January
INSET Day - closed to students as already scheduled - this will either be our already planned professional development day for colleagues or a logistical planning day for the safe roll out of the DfE strongly recommended rapid testing programme (don’t forget to complete your consent form about the testing!). Whether we can use this date for logistical planning depends on when guidance, supplies and equipment are to be made available to us. (If we are able to use Monday 4th January for the testing logistical planning day, we will be putting this previously planned INSET day in for colleagues at a later date in 2021 to be confirmed to you all with plenty of notice.)
Tuesday 5th January - Friday 8th January
Year 11 students will be in school as normal and keyworker/vulnerable children/children with EHCPs will be able to be in school according to a programme we will share nearer the time – these groups will be in year group bubbles . Everyone else will be learning remotely this week, very quickly moving to live lessons.
NB It is also possible we will need to be closed to all students for the logistical planning day on Friday 8th January (if we cannot use Monday 4th January for this purpose for the reasons given above). We will confirm this to parents as soon as we can and no later than Friday 2nd January.
The Government have stated we can and should take an additional closure day for this logistical planning for the testing programme, you see, which we definitely agree schools need!
So for us, it comes down to when the best time to take it is: on the Monday when we were already due to be closed, bumping our INSET to the right, or on the Friday if that is when we have the information/supplies/guidance needed to make it useful the way it needs to be. Watch this space.
Obviously, all of this is subject to change if announcements from the Prime Minister and the DfE instruct schools differently in line with advice around the spread of the virus after the Christmas break. We will alert you to this the moment we can, as always we do.
If you have any questions about the contents of this letter, or you would like to join the working party about the testing programme for Noadswood, or volunteer your time with administering it, just drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org
Take best care out there everyone, and we wish you all a happy, safe and peaceful Christmas, with plenty of your favourite treats,
Kathryn Marshall and the Noadswood Leadership Team