Sadly, we find ourselves once again facing a national lockdown with school closures for the remainder of this half term, however we are delighted to announce our virtual school is up and running!
We continue to follow guidance provided by daily updates from the Department for Education and Public Health England to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Please find the latest updates for parents/carers from Miss Watterson (Headteacher) below:
Letter to Parents/Carers 05.01.2021
Dear Parents and Carers,
Well, what can I say……this time last year we had just had the phone call that Ofsted were due to come in and pay us a little visit – in many ways, thank goodness it happened then!
2021 has equally started with a vengeance and may be another one for us to look back upon in time based upon the challenges that it is already presenting. Sadly, we find ourselves once again facing a national lockdown with school closures for the remainder of this half term and very little information to support our exam cohorts who have just been informed that their exams will not be taking place ‘as normal’ next summer.
As I have said before in some of my communications, unfortunately we only find out the information via the news at the same time as you do, something which I find incredibly frustrating as it means we are frequently on the back foot in our response and often unable to answer your questions due to the lack of detail provided by the government. I have been made aware today that the Secretary of State for Education will be speaking in the House of Commons tomorrow and I can only hope that this will bring some further clarity for us all, particularly in relation to exams. I will of course keep you updated in due course.
As you are aware our virtual school is up and running and hopefully working well for you. Mrs Scanlon will be writing to you later this week to confirm the expectations on both staff and students of on-line learning. We are conscious of the need to ensure that there is a combination of both screen time and independent learning for all our students and want to try and keep a healthy balance between the two. Teaching staff will be working really hard to support students over the coming weeks so that we can ensure that there is minimal disruption to the progress students are able to make whilst at home. Our students are our absolute priority!
We will also be writing to you shortly seeking your consent for your child to be tested upon returning to school through our mass testing programme which seeks to identify asymptomatic cases. Please look out for this communication and respond on the link provided should you wish to consent to your child being included. Hopefully this programme will enable us to ensure that school is as safe as possible for our students upon their return and will assist us in minimising any further disruption to learning.
Please look after yourselves and your families during this difficult time and equally please do not hesitate to contact us should you need any assistance going forwards.
Miss L Watterson
covid-19 testing in schools 05.01.21
NHS Test & Trace: COVID-19 testing for staff and students
We are currently in the process of preparing for a safe return for all our students once we come to the end of this new national lockdown. You will have heard that testing for those without coronavirus symptoms is to begin in schools across the country using new, quicker COVID-19 tests known as ‘lateral flow tests’.
Along with the other protective measures we are taking, these tests will help staff and students to remain in school safely. Up to one third of people who have coronavirus experience no symptoms. By testing, we will help to stop the virus spread, keep our school open as safely as possible and reduce the need for students to self-isolate. The test is voluntary, but I would encourage everyone to take it.
We will be starting to test staff this week along with any students who are currently in attendance (children of critical workers and vulnerable students). We will then roll out our testing programme for all other students once we have a return date in place.
Below is an instructional leaflet with some more information about the test itself, which you may find useful.
If you are happy for your child to be tested, it is vitally important that you fill in the form using the link below. Please note that you will need to complete separate forms if you have more than one child. We would very much appreciate it if you could complete the form as soon as possible and no later than Monday 11th January so that we can begin the registration process.
Those taking the test will be supervised by trained staff. The ‘lateral flow’ tests are quick and easy using a swab of your nose and throat. For under 18s, staff can oversee the swab process.
Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with staff and students participating. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be informed of a positive test result.
We know these tests work - in validation studies conducted by Oxford University and Public Health England, they were shown to be as accurate in identifying a case as a PCR test (99.68% specificity). The tests have lower sensitivity but they are better at picking up cases when a person has higher viral load, hence the need to test frequently.
What if a student tests positive?
Participating staff and students who test positive will be informed about their results individually. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be notified. Guidance on safe travel and additional precautions will be provided along with test results.
Students will need to take a further ‘PCR test’ (similar to those done in local and regional testing sites) on the same day (or as soon as possible). School will be able to provide these PCR test kits to perform at home or you can go to https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119 to book a follow-up test. You should choose to visit a drive-through test site if possible, as it is faster than requesting a home test.
During this time while the student waits for the PCR result (via text / email) they will need to self-isolate.
If the PCR test returns a positive result you will have to self-isolate and follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace.
What happens if the test is negative?
The student will be able to stay in school and resume their activities as normal. Students will only be told if they test positive on a ‘lateral flow’ test, so if you do not hear you can assume it was negative. A small number of students may need to repeat the test if the first test was invalid or void for some reason.
What if a close contact at school/college tests positive?
A close contact of someone in school who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be able to return to school if they agree to be tested once a day for 7 days and the test is negative. If they do not want to take the test, they will need to self-isolate as per the national guidelines. This does not apply to household members or close contacts outside of school who will still need to self-isolate. Further details will be provided at the time, but if you would prefer to self-isolate instead of doing daily testing, you can.
What if my child develops symptoms?
This testing programme at school is for people with no symptoms. If your child develops symptoms at any time (such as a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste) they must immediately self-isolate, and book a test by calling 119 (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or 0300 303 2713 (Scotland) or visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
We will support our staff and students throughout, but please contact us if you need this information in any other format or if you have any questions. You can call school on Tel: 01244 257088 or email: email@example.com
Miss L Watterson
vouchers for free school meals - spring term 2021
If your child is entitled to Free School Meals and not attending school due to the current National Lockdown, we have arranged to send you supermarket vouchers for the week ending 8th January 2021. If you are issued a supermarket voucher for a day where your child actually attends school and receives a meal, this will be reflected in the value of your voucher allocation in the following or future weeks.
You will receive either a text or an e-mail from Wonde, our voucher provider. Please respond to this by making your choice of supermarket. Once you have made your selection, you will then receive your voucher up to 48 hours following your response.
We will be aiming to issue the vouchers in advance every Friday for the following week until the school re-opens.
If you have any queries regarding this process, please see below the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ or, if these do not help, please contact the school at firstname.lastname@example.org
additional data for children's mobile devices
The Department for Education (DfE) have created a scheme that temporarily increases data allowances for mobile phone users on certain networks. This is so that children and young people can access remote education if their face-to-face education is disrupted.
Help is available if you:
- do not have fixed broadband at home
- cannot afford additional data for children’s devices
- children are experiencing disruption to their face-to-face education
For more information on the scheme and to access the application form for applying for additional data, please click on the link below.
further guidance & helpful links
At Queen’s Park, we will continue to provide a complete home learning package during the current school closure period, which balances time spent on a screen with time to complete work more independently as well. Should you need to supplement this in any way or want to find some alternative resources, should your child be struggling with this model (or some of the learning) then you may wish to explore the following provisions:
The BBC has launched its own education package as part of their charter across TV and online – helping to keep children learning and supporting parents. You can find more information about this here.
An online classroom and resource hub, which has launched to support teachers, parents and students until schools re-open. The online classroom provides free lessons and resources for pupils from reception through to Year 10. All resources, lessons and more information can be accessed here.
Guidance for parents
Please find below further guidance for parents/carers from the Department of Education and the
Local Authority which may be helpful through this challenging time:
|Government updates on COVID-19:
|Learning Resources from BBC Bitesize
|Oak National Academy (online classroom & resource hub)
|Joe Wicks YouTube PE Lessons (9am every morning)
|2020 Memory Maker
|Internet Safety - keep children safe online
|Talking to children about Coronavirus
|Tips to help parents cope whilst school is closed
|NHS Mental Health Helpline (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
||0300 303 3972
|Supporting young people's mental health during periods of disruption
|Kooth (Free, safe & Anonymous online support for young people)
Please find below the latest letters to parents/carers in relation to remote learning and the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19).