A Safe September Return to School

Throughout our enforced closure due to COVID-19, we have been determined to enable an effective and safe re-opening of HGS. Indeed, our commitment to return to educational provision in a setting we value has enabled us to determine the priorities and processes to inform and shape each stage of our plans.

We will continue to put the health, safety and well-being of our community at the forefront of our plans as we consider how students can best access lessons, pastoral care and activities in September. Whilst there still remains much uncertainty on what government guidelines will be in place in September, we are developing appropriate contingency arrangements and protocols which will allow us to carefully but confidently move towards welcoming students back to School. At this time the updated government guidelines have not been produced and circulated to schools.

Please rest assured that we will continue to follow the same cautious and measured approach as we have done to date. All DfE and Public Health England guidance is being followed to ensure that the health and safety and wellbeing of our students and staff is and will remain our primary concern.

You will notice that some details which follow assert a definite action which we have undertaken or will be taking; others remain provisional at this stage. By having the facility to employ measures, perhaps in advance of requiring them, we will be better able to adapt to what is likely to be the evolving situation.

We know that you will have many questions about how the school will look in September and we thought it would be useful to summarise the key information for ease of reference. As the summer progresses, we will update these pages so as to keep all members of the School community informed. This is the most up to date information that we have to share with you.

Health and Hygiene

  • We will undertake individual temperature checks during the day if a student or member of staff appears unwell and is presenting with COVID symptoms.
  • We will ensure that staff do not work, or have contact with, students if they have symptoms, have tested positive or have been in contact with anyone who has. This will be in line with the government guidelines as they stand at the time.
  • We will ask that students not be sent to school if they have symptoms, have tested positive or have been in contact with anyone who has. This will be in line with the government guidelines as they stand at the time. It is imperative that any student displaying coronavirus symptoms has a test immediately.
  • Students and staff will use hand sanitiser on arrival in each classroom and upon departure. Please would students bring with them to school a personal hand sanitiser.
  • If students wish to wear a mask around the site they should bring their own for personal use. Generally, masks will not be worn in classrooms – but this will remain optional. Masks should be worn on the bus, to and from the playing fields. Please remember it is mandatory to wear masks on all public transport.
  • We will keep classrooms well-ventilated and where possible and safe to do so, prop open doors both to aid ventilation and reduce the need to use door handles.
  • Students will need to bring a water bottle with them to school.
  • There will be regular cleaning of classrooms, toilets, furniture and common touchpoints.
  • We will provide students  and staff with the opportunity to raise any concerns.

 

 

Teaching and Learning

  • We will be offering our full curriculum to all students. Online learning will continue to be available and may be delivered alongside lessons in classrooms.
  • We will focus on providing blended learning from September onwards and we will increasingly be using Microsoft Teams and OneNote to enhance our remote learning provision.
  • We will plan for the contingency of a local lockdown where by remote learning will take place so that no student is at a disadvantage.

Resources

  • We will ensure equipment is not shared between students, other than when appropriate cleaning has taken place.
  • We will continue to use Show My Homework to set homework tasks and we will use Microsoft Teams to collect work in and mark online.
  • We will make increased use of online textbooks.
  • In order to not share items of stationery, we ask that every student attend School each day with the following items:
    • Pens
    • Pencils
    • Ruler
    • Rubber
    • Pencil sharpener
    • Calculator
  • For all students in Key Stage 3 as well as those studying Art for GCSE or A level;
    • Black fine liner pens (a pack of three for £1 from The Works would be ideal)
    • 2B, 4B, 6B graphite drawing pencils
    • An additional rubber

Use of Devices

  • To enable continuity in teaching and learning as well as facilitate the limited need for papers and materials to pass between student and teacher, we are currently looking to further extend our WIFI connectivity. Students may wish to bring with them to School their own device. Please note that a WIFI enabled smartphone should suffice. The use of individual devices will be at the sole discretion of the teacher. Headphones for this device will also be required. Families should ensure that they have insurance cover for the device for loss or damage whilst in School. The School will not accept any liability for loss or damage to personal devices.
  • The use of a device in any lesson will be at the direction of the teacher. We would like to remind students of the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) when using their own devices.
  • In order for a student device to be used in any lesson within the school day, students must manage their devices to ensure the battery will last through the whole day.
    • Students should be familiar with settings on their device to prolong battery life such as screen dimming.
    • The device must be fully charged at the start of the school day.
    • Students may need to alter their online habits on the way to School to maintain a full battery.

Supporting Students’ Wellbeing

We appreciate that the changes to the 2019/2020 Spring and Summer Term, as well as the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, have been challenging for students’ wellbeing and mental health. Please watch the short video below where we offer insight into likely behaviour, feelings and how to deal with the anxiety which students may face. We hope you find it both useful and informative.

Use of Spaces and Places

  • We will ask all students and staff, as well as visitors to the site, to observe the government guidelines as they stand at any point on their way to and from the School.
  • We will ensure safe occupancy levels of all facilities and areas.
  • Where possible we will create year group bubbles and stagger the end of the school day, we will make the necessary adaptations and revisions to enable this.
  • We will revise seating arrangements in lessons to maximise the distance between students.
  • We will make enhanced use of outdoor spaces.
  • We will introduce one-way systems where these are possible and practical and we may make use of rotas to enter and leave buildings.
  • By protecting areas of the site for specific year groups, we would be able to comply with any need to minimise mixing between different year groups.
  • Large gatherings in communal areas will not take place: We will make use of Microsoft Teams for briefings, assemblies and some activities, such as Open Evening, Prizegiving and the Year 7 Introduction Evening.
  • We may suspend the use of changing rooms.
  • Although there are reports that schools will not need to observe social distancing, we judge that it is most sensible for us to ensure that no-one feels that their safety is compromised by being in locations in which particularly close person to person contact is inevitable. Therefore, our changing rooms may well not be operational at the start of term. For more information on this please see our PE and Sports section.

Catering

  • We will continue to provide break and lunchtime food in the dining room, but we will reduce the level of choice provided. It will be a grab and go service, which will provide sandwiches, wraps, baguettes, and limited hot food. It will not involve the use of cutlery and plates.
  • Those students who bring a packed lunch to school will be asked to eat their meals in the covered area of the playground.
  • As a result, students are encouraged to bring any breaktime snacks with them to School.
  • Should we be unable to offer catering at break and lunch, we will ask that students bring their own packed lunch. We will give as much notice as possible if we have to limit our provision.

Uniform

  • We may suspend temporarily the need for blazers and jackets as such items are those which are more likely to come into contact with touch points on door handles or chair tops. Should this measure be needed, students would not be able to wear coats in lessons and so would need to have jumpers.
  • As it stands at the moment when students return to school in September they should do so in full school uniform.
  • We may not be able to invite students to borrow Art and Science overalls or lab coats. It might be that practical work is suspended.
  • We may ask that clothing, such as shirts and blouses, which is worn one day should not be worn again before washing within a specific time-frame.

The Learning Hub

Planning is underway to enable us to continue to use the Learning Hub and the wonderful services and resources that it offers:

  • We will promote a range of online resources and explore digital alternatives to printed books and magazines.

 

PE and Sport

We judge PE and Games to be essential components of our educational provision at HGS and we are developing a plan so as to have in place a PE and Games programme for the start of term in September.

  • As a result of the likelihood that our changing rooms will not be in use, we request that students attend school at the start of next term wearing their PE kit on days they have PE and Games. Kit must be full HGS kit and we will not be able to grant exceptions, unless in exceptional circumstances.
  • We are looking at our PE curriculum so that it focuses upon eye-hand coordination skills and fundamental movement. The programme is being designed to be at a suitable intensity to account for the fact that students will remain in their PE kit throughout the day. The programme will comprise of non contact sports.
  • Games lessons will be adapted so as to observe government recommendations and the relevant guidelines set out by the different sports’ governing bodies for return to play.