Wishing everyone in our Noadswood community, present and past, a happy, successful year ahead. As I said in our socials post, let’s make it about love, happiness and a splash of humour – words courtesy of the mighty Mrs Lancaster. I couldn’t agree more with her and wish that for you all. I am excited to see everyone for the first day back ‘proper’ on Thursday 6th January.
Lateral Flow Testing Day: Wednesday 5th January.
As you know, schools have been asked to ensure students provide a negative LFD test outcome before returning to school, and we are carrying this out on Wednesday 5th January. You will have received the schedule of times from Mr Hewitt as well as some key logistics he mentioned:
Testing will take place in the school hall
Please remember your face covering
Enter the hall through the entrance by the music block – exit through the small dining hall
Please avoid gathering in large groups and maintain social distancing
You should arrive in time for your test and leave site immediately afterwards – we will contact home if you test positive. You will then need to book a PCR test and wait for the result before you are able to return to school. You are strongly encouraged to attend even if you have had Covid in the last 90 days, as per the updated Government guidance (click link).
If you do not consent to testing, you should not attend
Bring a pen!
If the time allocated is impossible for you or you have another question about this, please email firstname.lastname@example.org as people have been doing over the past few days – thank you - and we will sort a solution that works for you. If you have not let us know that you do not give permission for your child(ren) to test, please drop health@ a line about that, too.
What if my child(ren) have had Covid in the past 90 days? Doesn’t that mean they don’t need to test yet?
The guidance did used to state this, yes, but it changed in what has been put out to schools over the weekend: "Even if someone has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days, they are strongly encouraged to take part in LFD testing on-site through ATS or at home once they have completed their isolation period for their prior infection." (click link). So, even if your child has had Covid in the last 90 days, we would ask them still to attend their test slot on Wednesday 5th January.
What is the guidance now on isolation length if my child(ren) test positive for C-19?
Again, there has been updated guidance on this in recent days. Nothing has changed with respect to the following:
Positive Lateral Flow outcome = isolate until a PCR test outcome is acquired. Let the school know on health@ as soon as the positive LFD outcome is known about.
(For non-Covid absence reasons, please use our usual attendance processes – health@ is for all things Covid, only)
If your child then gains a positive PCR outcome, the following is now what they must do:
- Since 22/12/2021 the 10 day self-isolation has been reduced to 7 days in most circumstances
- Students (and double vaccinated staff) should take a LFT on day 6 (at the earliest) and day 7 of their self-isolation period. Those who receive two negative test results no longer need to self-isolate for the full 10 days.
- If the lateral flow tests are positive then the individual needs to wait until two LFT tests are negative (taken 24 hours apart). Failing this, the individual can then return after day 10 as previous (assuming no temperature remains and the individual is feeling well).
- Please let email@example.com know when two LFTs are negative (day 6 and day 7 or later), and as such the individual will be returning to Noadswood before the 10 days self-isolation.
- Anyone unable to take LFT tests will need to complete the full 10 days of self-isolation.
- Staff should take a daily LFT test if they have come out of self-isolation early, until day 10 is reached.
An example of this:
Individual has symptoms or no symptoms but positive PCR on 15th of the month. They must now self-isolate for 10 days, which ends at 23:59hrs on the 25th of the month. This isolation can be cut to a minimum of 7 days if 2x LFT give a negative result – one should be taken on day 6 at the earliest and then 24 hours later on day 7. If day 6 and 7 LFT tests, taken at 8.30am each day, are negative, self-isolation ends at 8.30am on the 22nd of the month. If these are positive, these should be repeated with 2x LFT 24 hours apart until both are negative, or the 10 day isolation period is reached. If the individual still has a high temperature after 10 days or are otherwise unwell, they should stay at home and seek medical advice.
What do I do if I know that my child(ren) are the close contact of someone who has tested positive for C-19?
The guidance continues to state that, in that situation, your child(ren) should take a daily LFD test, and while ever they test negative, they can come to school as normal - this applies even if you have had it within 90 days.
As last term, though, if you have a specific worry about this, or a concern regarding the circumstances/proximity of contact etc, all you have to do is email us at health@ - we will work through your particular circumstances with you and make a sensible decision together.
What will we do if we hit the levels of colleague absence owing purely to C-19 only, that we experienced in the final month of term?
The guidance now includes the measures we already take, and will continue to do so, should this happen:
- We will bring in all supply cover that we can source of a quality that we believe in for our children,
- We will combine classes in large spaces with doors/windows open when to do so does not merely ramp up transmission of Covid and make worse the challenges we’re facing,
- As a last resort, and only when our Risk Assessment cannot be ensured, and if we cannot staff the site safely at social times, we would rotate year groups to remote learning. The rotation order would be Year 9, Year 10, Year 8 (avoiding Years 7 (our youngest) and 11 (our closest to public examinations) at all costs.) I’ll reiterate – this would be a very last resort measure.
These measures are in line with what the guidance from the DfE now states.
What is the guidance stating about face coverings this term?
The guidance issued yesterday continues, as at the very end of last term, to request face coverings to be worn by all eligible students and colleagues in classrooms as well as stating they should be worn in communal areas of schools. Thank you to everyone who made this work without fuss, as we have managed before, in the final days of last term.
Thank you in advance for doing so again – we depend on each other on this one. It isn’t something any school would want to or have the right to enforce as part of our behaviour policy. But it is something regarded as an important Public Health measure at times of high spread of the virus.
We will continue to provide a small supply of masks in school, and the DfE have informed us there will also be a delivery from Gov.UK imminently, but if you can help us by reminding students to bring their own, that would be extremely helpful. You may also wish to provide your child with their own hand sanitiser.
If you have not let us know that your child is not eligible to wear a face covering, and you wish to do so, just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are visiting our school, we would like to remind you to wear a face covering, unless you are not eligible.
How often should our child(ren) take an LFD test in the usual scheme of things?
We would like to maintain our testing routine of twice weekly – Wednesdays and Sundays, please.
If you are visiting our school, we would be very grateful if you would test just before your visit, as we do when we go to other schools or other meetings. Thank you in advance.
Lateral Flow Testing and Notification
- When an individual has a positive LFT please let email@example.com know as soon as possible as well as log this with the national website
- Any individual with a positive LFT should book a PCR straight away and not attend Noadswood until a negative PCR result comes through / the isolation period is completed if the PCR was positive
- Please update firstname.lastname@example.org with the outcome of the PCR
- Remote learning will be made available to students via the FROG learning portal. If you have any issues or concerns about work, please do contact your child's Year Leader
- Staff - please also inform HR and your line manager
- *If you are identified as a close contact you must LFT for 7 days since notification, informing email@example.com of this
Areas of focus we are excited about:
I think it’s important, in a new year, to focus our minds on school developments that are not about Covid-19. Your child’s educational experience must not be all about surviving despite Covid measures – we’re so proud of what they and the whole staff team have achieved and excited for what we want to do next, as an educational community, and not simply as a community of risk mitigators.
So, for this term, we’re putting our focus on to the following areas, in addition to managing C-19 measures within the guidance issued to us:
- Continuing a really thorough, objective look into our curriculum, subject by subject, and as a whole, really considering its richness, its breadth, its ambition and its impact for your children. We understand the importance of looking at this dispassionately after a period of so much turbulence, and of being prepared to reflect and adjust if needed.
Perhaps you’d like to join a conversation with us about this? If you would, please don’t hesitate to send me your view or question to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will share thoughts with Mr Hewitt, Mr Crowley and relevant year/curriculum leaders.
- Providing a menu of whole year group and targeted support and interventions for our Year 11 students, following their pre-public exams (their mocks) taken before the break.
- The DfE guidance includes nothing new regarding the Summer 2022 exam series, so our work is to prepare the students, educationally and emotionally, for a set of exams as per pre-Covid times, whilst also keeping sufficient formally assessed work, should there be a late shift back to a Centre Assessed model, as in the preceding two years.
It’s important that all the key adults in our Year 11s’ lives are clear with them that the most likely scenario at present is that exams will run in a pre-Covid way this year, and that is what our menu of support will prepare them for. A separate communication about this will come before the end of this week.
- Ensuring our Year 11 students continue to prepare for their upcoming examinations both internal throughout the year and real for some students studying Child Development, Digital iMedia, Health and Social Care and Travel and Tourism in January and February. Year 10 will also begin to prepare for their mock examinations, which take place in June/July alongside the nationally planned examinations for Year 11.
- Deepening our work around whole community emotional health and wellbeing, by providing additional provision/approaches for all students/staff and for the most vulnerable young people. We are working to an action plan supported by internationally respected expert in this field, Mike Armiger, who has been working with our school since September. We are also pleased to be part of the CAMHS Wave 6 Mental Health project, which will lead to us having access to a trained CAMHS Mental Health nurse who will be able to work with us on site. We want to deepen our resilience and consistency around emotional health and wellbeing support right across Noadswood this year.
- Strengthening further and exploring afresh partnerships with schools – primary and secondary alike – across the Waterside in the interests of forging a cohesive educational experience for the children, less bumpy at points of transition than when schools work alone, and one that builds on the best of knowledge, values and experience across the local area we all serve. We are proud of the distinctiveness of Noadswood, and this is something we would never jettison, but we are wise enough to know that there is much we can offer to other partnerships and much we can learn from them, whether that’s local schools or other community organisations/businesses.
Perhaps you have a view on this, or you work in a local school or business that you’d like to hook up more closely with Noadswood? If so, why not drop me a line at email@example.com
If you would like to suggest another specific area for focus that I have not included here, from your perspective or that of your child(ren), again, please don’t hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org
If I don’t get back to you within a timely way, please do resend! It will never be my intention not to do so – volume of emails sometimes trips me up despite my best endeavours, but a resend will be nothing but helpful.
I look forward so much to the year ahead with all your children, all my colleagues, our Trustees and all of you,
All our best,
Kathryn Marshall and the Noadswood Leadership Team