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Headmaster’s Letter 23rd December

Posted on 23rd December 2020

Dear Parent,

I am writing to you to make you aware of our current plans for a January 4 return. You will know that Schools received the information about the staggered return on the afternoon of Thursday 17 December, our final day of term. I am aware that further Department for Education/ UK Government communications may mean we will need to revise our plans.

Return to School w/c 4 January

  1. Students in Years 11 and 13 will return to School as normal on Monday 4 January. Mock exams for Year 13 (w/c 11 January) will take place as planned. We will only stream Y11 and Y13 lessons if students are self-isolating.
  2. Students of critical workers in all other years can attend as normal – please complete the form [link] by midday on Wednesday December 30 if you wish your child to attend. You must complete one form per child. If you are unsure if you qualify, you can see the list of critical workers here [link]. Only one parent needs to be a ‘critical worker’ for their child to be able to attend. Proof of employment is not required.
  3. Vulnerable students, based on DfE guidance or our School’s definition (referred to as ‘otherwise vulnerable’), will be invited to attend by separate letter. That letter will be sent shortly. Please ensure you respond to the letter by midday on Wednesday 30 December. I would be grateful if we receive confirmation abut attendance or otherwise.
  4. Core PE lessons will not begin, based on the guidance, until w/c 11 January. (Students will receive activities they can undertake to maintain their physical and emotional well-being during their week away.)
  5. Students in Years 7-10 and 12 who are not attending should remain at home, accessing their timetabled lessons via Teams/ SharePoint. You do not need to confirm if your child is staying at home.

Teaching and Learning

  1. We will be running a normal timetable for all year groups in School. There will be an audio stream of the opening and close of the lessons. Resources will be accessible via Teams/ SharePoint. There might be a delay getting resources onto SharePoint for Monday morning lessons on 4 January. Please be patient.
  2. Students who are children of critical workers, or who are vulnerable, will follow their normal timetable in School if attending and should report to their normal registration room at the start of the day.
  3. All students working from home must attend remote lessons – Teams will record attendance. Lessons are not optional.
  4. If students cannot access remote learning (infrastructure/ IT issues, etc.) then please contact Mr Croft ( by midday on Wednesday 30 December for additional support/ guidance.

Health and Safety

While on site, students will continue to be bubbled in their year groups. We will continue to implement routines that stress the importance of hand sanitation, wiping down desks, etc. Students should continue to wear a mask in all communal areas around school. There are no changes to our Risk Assessment. [link]


We want to support the aspiration of frequent testing in Schools but information about how this will work is scarce. The benefit of daily/ weekly testing (when it happens) is that any student identified as a ‘close contact’ of a positive student can remain in School and will not have to self-isolate, if they return a negative test each day. Once we have more information, I will write again. Testing is optional and will require parental permission for students under 16.


School buses will run as normal. However, in the event of a positive test/ student displaying symptoms, students will be isolated on the school site and must be collected as soon as possible by an adult. The student will not be allowed to use school transport services, etc.


Our tracing role ends this evening. Please only contact the enquiries email address if your child is going to miss the start of term because he/ she is self-isolating.

General points

You will appreciate that this is an evolving situation. We may need to call upon the help of volunteers so if you have a medical background and would be willing to support the School once we can test students and staff. Please email Mrs Anna Sharp if you would like to volunteer. (

Further questions

If you have any questions, please email the enquiries address. It is monitored but responses will be limited due to the Christmas break.

I plan to write again with any updates by December 30.

Closing comments

I would like to see as many students in School as possible on 4 January who match the criteria above. I ask that you do all you can to keep safe over the festive period, limiting contacts and continuing to follow the guidance. I anticipate there will be more COVID-related absences in the first few weeks back. No matter how hard we try, this is inevitable.

I do hope we can keep absences to a minimum by doing all that we can to ensure that students can attend School. Staying open to deliver face-to-face teaching in a COVID-safe environment remains our ambition.

With best regards for a peaceful, restful, and safe Christmas,

Alistair Hopkins