September return and the reopening of schools

I am sure that you will be aware of details continuously published in the media suggesting a more normal return of all primary and secondary students to school in September.

However, as detailed in the media, our return to school includes the voluntary testing of all secondary age students Years 7-13. Students will be strongly encouraged to test twice during their first week back to school and from there on to test twice weekly at home until the end of September at which point Central Government will review this practice and inform schools as to whether this will continue or not. Twice weekly testing at home will also apply to all staff at school regardless of their role.

Schools have also been granted permission to stagger the starting of return to school dates of their children to support the efficient and smooth running of this on site testing process. Consequently, our timetable for our students’ return to school and subsequent testing is as follows:-

Monday September 6th

                                    Arrive             1st Test          2nd Test        

•           Year 7             8.30am            06.09.2021      09.09.2021

•           Year 12/13      12:00pm          06.09.2021      09.09.2021

Tuesday September 7th

                                    Arrive             1st Test          2nd Test        

•           Year 11           8.30am            07.09.2021      10.09.2021

•           Year 10           11:30am          07.09.2021      10.09.2021

Wednesday September 8th

                                    Arrive             1st Test          2nd Test        

•           Year 8             8.30am            08.09.2021      13.09.2021

•           Year 9             11:30am          08.09.2021      13.09.2021

We would ask that students in Years 12/13, 10 and 9 do not arrive before their allotted time. Our reason for asking this is due to the guidance issued requesting that we hold students separate to the rest of the school community until their first test has been taken and the result verified.

As we already hold signed consent for the vast majority of our students in current Year 7-12, we do not need to receive fresh permission.  However, should parents and carers feel that they wish to support their child’s participation in this process and provide new permission for this round of testing, the necessary link which will direct you to our online permission form is enclosed.

Please note that whilst specialist agency staff will oversee the testing process, students self-administer the test and will not be forced to do so, especially if we do not have signed consent.

In addition to the above, both staff and students will be both supported and actively encouraged to continue to wear face masks during the month of September. Our reasons for doing so is to protect us upon our return whilst this initial period of testing takes place and to support a continued and smooth settling in process after an academic year to date that had brought tremendous disruption to our school.

Students will access our school building by the usual gates and will return to the normal use of our building. We will therefore move away from individual Year Group Learning Hubs. However, should guidance change, we will adhere to any regulations put in place by Public Health and Central Government.

In order to ensure a productive, positive and engaging lesson environment it is essential that:

  • All students must attend school, fully equipped for the day and in full school uniform.  (Given recent circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact either myself, Mrs Weighell, Mr O’Connor (KS3), Mr Dawson (KS4) or Miss Simmonds (KS5) if this is problematic in any way whatsoever).
  • All students must sit in the seat allocated.
  • All students must adhere to and comply with our behaviour code.
  • As there will be a great deal of learning to be done and ‘gaps to be filled’ students engagement with all aspects of the lesson is non-negotiable. Disruption to the teachers ability to teach and their peers right to learn will not be tolerated. Should any blatant disregard for the entitlement of others to learn and make progress occur parents/carers will be called to school to discuss relevant sanctions.
Headteacher | + posts

Mrs S Bowen is the Headteacher of St Thomas More Catholic School.