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6th July 2020

Dear Parent/Carers,

I do hope that we are all keeping safe and enjoying some of our new found freedom, hopefully we are all beginning to get there.

On Thursday the government released their guidance on having all schools back open, full time from September.  I have included the full details below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools

In the document it puts a great deal of emphasis on all being back, catching up on missed learning, a full curriculum offer and of course, putting in place practical measures to keep all as safe as possible. The document does say that the risk to children themselves of becoming ill from COVID-19 is very low but we still need to be cautious and put in place appropriate measures.

There are some obvious challenges with the guidance and changes will have to be made to ensure the development of our youngsters can continue safely and as normally as possible.  I cannot imagine how each and every one of all connected to Woodlands School has been impacted by this terrible virus, but what I do know is that we will work together to get us all back doing what we do best, being aspirational, relentless, making the most of all opportunities and being excellent.  We’ll achieve this as a family because we care about each other and will continue look after each other. There will of course be mistakes along the way as all of this is not without its difficulties, but we will work as one with our Woodlands community’s best interests at the forefront of all we do.

More detail on our Recovery Plan will be shared with all as soon as it is finalised; it is a working document which we will amend as we go along to meet the needs of all our youngsters.  The government expects all schools to have a recovery plan showing where we can catch up on all the missed learning in class and beyond due to COVID-19.  It will, of course, not be possible to catch up on every single minute of all the learning that has been missed, but we will endeavour to put in place measures to negate the impact as best we can.

We have also been working hard on making our school as safe as we can, driven by common sense, in time for a full return for all in September.  Things will look a little different but we’ll try to make it as normal as possible.  The details will follow next week but some of the measures that are to be put in place are as follows:

Staggered start times to the school day with Year 7 potentially having to be in their form bases, or in a designated Year 7 outside space for 8.05am.  Other year groups to come into school in 10 minute intervals after that; all will enter the school through separate entrances.  Each year group will have their own designated outdoor area to reduce any cross-contamination with other year groups.  I know they will pass each other in corridors as lesson changeover but that is only for a few seconds and the guidance states that the risk is minimal.

Breakfast, break and lunch times will be the same, however each year group will have to get their food from their own separate areas i.e. from five different areas in the school.  Again, all will have their own outside space for each different year group.

Lessons will follow a normal school timetable and all are to wash their hands with antibacterial gel, which will be available, before entering each classroom.  They will not be expected to line up outside the classrooms but to go straight in and sit down at the seat allocated and remain there.  All classes must face the front, a clear government stipulation; the layout of all tables will be adjusted accordingly.  Youngsters will be able to sit next to each other as normal in each classroom.  At the end of each lesson each pupil will be expected to wipe down where they have been sat and all equipment used or touched; ideally they will need to bring in their own writing equipment and keep it clean.  The reason that this will be an expectation for our youngsters to do this is because there will not be enough time to clean each class after each lesson and I do not want to extend the school day as a result.  Full school uniform is to be worn and the guidance states that it is only necessary to wash the uniform as many times as you normally would.  We will lend uniform if we need to, but better if our youngsters remember to put their ties on, which can be an item some forget.

There are to be one-way systems to ensure safe travel around the school and all will be clearly laid out to make it as easy as possible to follow.  The advice is against large gatherings of more than a year group and so it may be that there are no assemblies but we will have to wait and see.  If we are unable to deliver assemblies in the usual way they can still be delivered through being pre-recorded and shared in the form bases.

For those who will be in Year 11 come September it is still expected that all GCSE exams are to be taken in the summer of 2021.  Exactly when the exam season will start and what exams will actually look like is unclear at present.  We will prepare, as always, all for their Year 11 exams as if business as usual.  Ofqual is currently consulting on a number of possible amendments to certain subjects and the close of the consultation period is helpfully 17th July; I will keep you updated.

Physical Education can continue but with less contact and with all potentially changing in the Sports Hall with a screen separating the boys and girls; if P.E is period one then come to school in P.E kit and change at the end of the lesson.

With regard to travel to and from school we advise that if travelling by car to please only give lifts to those in the same year group or if living in the same household.  Where public transport is used then follow all government guidelines to ensure safety.  I know that the vast majority of our youngsters walk or cycle which is great.

We are also training and preparing staff for the potential of there being some blended learning, in case of a local lockdown like what is currently happening in Leicester.  If we do have to have some lessons at home and some in school, or indeed all at home we will be teaching through Microsoft Teams.

As I’m sure you can appreciate there is much work to be done here and what I have outlined does not go through every single detail and consideration.  I will share the full plan with you once we have it completed and when it has been through our Governing Body for approval.  I wanted to give you a flavour as early as I could as I know many of you are thinking ahead to what September might look like.

I know many will be anxious and hopefully quite a few will be excited about September and there will be a great many questions.  The Risk Assessment aims to allay as many fears as possible and answer all questions; it will be a working document as the plan will evolve as we see it in action. More details will be provided next week with plenty of time for you to come back to me with any questions.

The very best wishes and kindest of regards to you all.

Yours sincerely,

Mr D Wright

Head Teacher

 

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We are continuing to follow advice from Public Health England in respect of Coronavirus.

At Woodlands School, every pupil will have the foundations laid for a lifelong love of learning, through a fully inclusive and appropriately challenging curriculum, taught by outstanding and highly qualified teachers. Pupils will have all barriers to learning removed, ensuring a safe and stimulating learning environment where all make outstanding progress, allowing them the opportunity to be excellent.

Academic excellence for all is sought to allow each pupil to fully engage in Higher and Further Education. We expect every pupil to work hard and be focused on leading their own learning, motivated by high aspirations and being mentally and physically fit to learn, having built up the resilience to cope with anything.

Through our extensive extra-curricula program we provide opportunities for each young person to enrich and extend their learning, developing confidence through enjoyment.

Pupils are expected to listen, try their best and never give up in their pursuit of excellence. To thrive at Woodlands all must be hard-working, polite and self-disciplined. We have clear boundaries which support all pupils ensuring that they maintain the highest standards in their own behaviour for learning.

We are incredibly proud of our school and as a learning community we work with all stakeholders to allow our pupils to have the highest aspirations, be resilient and seek out all opportunities to be excellent.

David Wright – Head Teacher

 

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