Staggered Starts, Facemasks, Buses

Firstly, thank you! It has been so lovely to have the students back this week and they have been an absolute credit to you. It was always going to be hard coming back after so long away but with all the new changes and routines, it was potentially even more tricky than usual! We have been so impressed by their attitudes, cooperation and willingness to change.

After our first full week, we are in a position to reflect on what has gone well and what we need to review and adapt. On the whole, the year group social areas and lanyards have worked really well and it has been lovely to see year groups sitting and eating together. The students have adapted well to the one way system and everyday things are running more smoothly as staff and students get used to the routes they can and can’t do.

There are some areas that we need to tweak. I would be really grateful if you could support us in making these changes:

  • The staggered start and different entry gates are working to a point. However, we are finding that students are arriving too early and so are spending too much unnecessary time in their year group bubbles at the start of the day. We would like to amend this slightly to the times below. We do realise that students on the buses and other exceptional cases cannot always follow these times, but as a general principle we feel it would be safer if we move the staggers back.

    8.45: Y7/Y9

    8.50: Y8/Y10

    8.55: Y11/KS5
  • Year 7 is a very big year group. We have decided to move their before school holding area to the Sports Hall to give more space.

  • On reflection, we feel that in order to keep everyone safe, we need to make the wearing of facemasks in corridors compulsory when moving between lessons. This is because movement time is where we are finding distancing between year groups the most difficult to achieve. We understand that some students will have exemptions and we can deal with these individually. However, we feel the clearest and safest message is to say that students must wear masks at these higher risk times. They do not need to wear masks over lunch/break and on the field with their year group, but they need to put them on during movement time.

  • We have already adapted procedures at the end of the day to make sure that students leave by the gate that they arrive in. We have had some issues with students gathering at the gate and also going in large groups to the Co-op. We do have staff on the gate who will be dispersing students but it will help us if you could reiterate this message.

  • Buses: Please could parents of students using the buses please remind them that they must wear their facemasks at all times on the bus and they must sit in their year group. We will support this from our end.

We are hoping to reach an “equilibrium” soon where we have the best model we can have- in the meantime, we really appreciate your patience and support. It is so good to be back at school, we just want to make it as safe and effective as we possibly can.

Take care and have a great weekend, Liz