Return to School: September 2020

Information and guidance as school re-opens

You are probably aware that Ripley has been open throughout the lockdown period, including over Easter and half term, providing for children of key workers, vulnerable children and for groups of pupils in Years 10 and 12. We now have around 140 young people in school each day. Since the publication of the Government guidance on 2 July we have been working on how we can bring all our young people back into school safely. The main issues we have had to consider are:

  • grouping children together
  • avoiding contact between groups
  • arranging classrooms
  • staff maintaining distance from pupils and other staff as much as possible

We have now completed our Risk Assessment; it has been considered by the whole staff, by the Trade Unions, by the Governors of Ripley and the Trustees of The Bay Learning Trust and it has been checked by an external Health and Safety company. The Risk Assessment [Coronavirus (COVID-19): risk assessment for pupils at school] is available for you to read on the Policies page of our website.

There is significant detail in the risk assessment, the main aspects to highlight are:

  • The “groups” will be year groups; each year group will be assigned to a particular area of school and a particular outside area at breaks and lunchtimes. The groups will not mix in school.
  • Pupils and students will all be following their normal school timetables and will be taught by the teachers assigned on that timetable; there will be no narrowing of the curriculum.
  • Groups will remain in their assigned rooms for the majority of their subjects and will move only where specialist rooms are needed.
  • Enhanced cleaning routines are and will be in place; the emphasis on hand washing and using sanitisers on entry and exit, alongside the “catch it, bin it, kill it” routine remains high profile.
  • Entry and exit to the school will be supervised and managed to avoid mixing; lunch and break times will be staggered to avoid long queues.

Separate risk assessments are in place for all specialist areas.

I would be grateful if you could please note the following important points regarding returning to school:

  • We will be restricting the use of corridors as much as possible; students will walk round the exterior of the buildings to access rooms. Please could you ensure that your child has a waterproof coat with a hood.
  • The end of the day will be slightly staggered to avoid large groups of students mixing. Students who walk home, or are being collected, will be released at 3pm. Students catching the first wave buses will be released at 3.05pm and the remainder, catching second wave buses, will exit at 3.15pm.
  • Students travelling on buses – both school buses and service buses – will be required to wear face coverings. Please could you ensure that students travelling by bus are provided with either re-usable face coverings or, if using disposable coverings, a second one for the journey home.
  • Government guidance is clear that face coverings should not be worn in school.
  • Full school uniform will be required in September. The Uniform and Appearance policy is on the Policies page of our website. Normal school rules will apply.
  • Please could you ensure you are familiar with the Mobile Devices policy which is also on the Policies page of the website.
  • Please ensure students have their own basic equipment – blue or black pen, pencil, green pen, ruler, rubber, whiteboard pen, calculator (CASIO fx-85GT PLUS), a pair of compasses and a protractor.
  • Parents should only come to school by appointment. We will not be able to accept forgotten kit/lunches/equipment etc. As has been the case over the last year, parents will not be able to drive onto the premises either to drop children off between 8.45 and 9.15am or to pick up children at the end of school.
  • There will be no canteen service either before school or at break time – please do ensure your child has a snack for break if they need one and that he/she has water to drink. Students will be able to fill water bottles at school.
  • School attendance will be mandatory again from the beginning of the autumn term. The only exceptions will be where a pupil is unable to attend in line with public health advice because they are self-isolating and have had symptoms or a positive test result, or because they are a close contact of someone who has the virus.
  • Please do not send your child into school if he/she is unwell. If your child has symptoms of Covid-19 (a new, continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell) you should order a test immediately at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119 if you have no internet access.

Examination results and start of term arrangements

A level results will be released on 13 August and GCSE results on 20 August; letters have been sent to all parents in Years 11 and 13 with arrangements for those days.

We will be following our normal pattern at the start of next term. Year 7 and Year 12 will return on Wednesday 2 September, all other years return on Thursday 3 September.

Mrs Casson and Mr Wilson will be making a PowerPoint with voiceover instructions for all our pupils to let them know where they need to go when they arrive on the first day.

We do not normally write to parents over the summer, however, due to these exceptional times we will be sending out some reminders and any new information as a result of changed guidance in the last two weeks of the term. Please do keep an eye on the website and check for school emails for these updates.