Arrangements for Return to School
All pupils back to school on Monday 6 September 2021
We are looking forward to reopening our school and welcoming all pupils back to Deer Park for 8:50am on Monday 6 September 2021. All pupils should make their way directly to their Tutor Rooms for registration, when timetables will be handed out and important information shared in an extended Tutor Time, before lessons formally commence.
Our onsite COVID Test Centre will be open on Thursday 2 and Friday 3 September for pupils to come in for their first pre-booked Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test before school reopens (see below).
There is a lot of information below - please check it carefully.
While we aim to get things as closely back to normal as we can, in line with the guidance we receive from the Department for Education (see Schools COVID-19 operational guidance, updated 17 August 2021), we plan to continue with some of the measures we have had in place to help keep everyone safe over the past 18 months and, in the spirt of our School Standards, we expect everyone to cooperate with us and follow these simple steps.
Pupils and staff will be expected to:
- Practise good hand and respiratory hygiene throughout the school day. They should routinely wash their hands on arrival and sanitise them in lessons. We have external sinks and hand sanitiser dispensers in each classroom for this purpose;
- Sit and remain in their designated places in each classroom;
- Keep all classrooms and work areas well ventilated;
- Make their way around the school using external routes wherever possible and follow our internal one way systems;
- Report any potential COVID-19 related symptoms immediately.
For this year, we have retained our staggered breaks and lunchtimes, with designated areas for each year group to eat and play. This is a part of our ‘Outbreak Management Plan’, which each school is required to have. It will enable us to take further steps, such as reintroducing year group ‘bubbles’ should they be necessary, swiftly and with the minimum of disruption.
On their return to school, pupils and staff will not need to wear face coverings in our classrooms or corridors unless they choose to do so and, as long as routine hand hygiene is carried out, we will not be asking pupils to wipe down their own work areas. Again, these measures may be reintroduced as a part of our ‘Outbreak Management Plan’.
From September 2021, should we have a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the school, pupils will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. Instead, we understand pupils will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed they have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a PCR test. We would encourage all individuals to take a PCR test if advised to do so. We will continue to monitor the number of cases and liaise with the local health protection team, parents and staff.
LATERAL FLOW TESTS
As mentioned in our End of Summer Term 2021 article, all secondary school pupils are to be offered two lateral flow tests on their return to school. We will be re-opening our onsite COVID Test Centre in Monkscroft to ensure that all pupils for whom we have consent can have two COVID tests, 3-5 days apart, at the beginning of the new school year. To facilitate this, parents can make appointments through our Parents’ Evening booking system, to bring their child/children into school on either Thursday 2 or Friday 3 September 2021 so that they can have their first test before school starts. More information about this will follow by email, on or after Wednesday 25 August, and no appointments can be booked before this. Their second supervised test will take place in school in the week beginning Monday 6 September and then pupils will be asked to continue to self-test twice a week until the end of September when the practice will be reviewed by the government.
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UNIFORM and EQUIPMENT
All pupils should attend in correct school uniform and ensure they are fully equipped for school as it will not be possible for them to share or borrow pens or pencils from their peers.
Our classrooms will remain well ventilated throughout the year. However, this year as we get back to normal, pupils will not be allowed to wear coats or other additional layers of clothing during their lessons as an additional item of school uniform (the ¼ zip top) is now available for this purpose.
All pupils should consistently wear our school uniform correctly - this means wearing a school jumper over a school shirt as the weather cools - and make sure they have the appropriate PE Kit. All items of uniform, including the optional new ¼ zip top, prescribed skirts and trousers, can be obtained physically through D&J Sports in Cirencester or online via both D&J Sports and Trutex Direct (see Uniform and Equipment). All items of school clothing and equipment should be named clearly. Anything found in school which is named is automatically returned to its owner. Anything not named is held to be collected and then if unclaimed, is disposed of to charity at the end of each term.
FORMAL SCHOOL PHOTOGRAPHS
Pupils in Years 7 and 10 will have formal school photographs taken on Thursday 9 September 2021.
Our canteen will be open as usual in September, serving hot and cold food during morning break and lunch times. Food is purchased in school through the use of a smartcard, and this same card is used to store the daily Free School Meal allowance for eligible pupils. Please be aware that our tills do not accept cash, so use of a smartcard is the only way to purchase food in school.
School attendance is mandatory. Our attendance policy is very clear. We request that you telephone school before 8:50am if your child is going to be absent for any reason or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Parents/carers should phone in or email on each day of an absence. Please notify us of any medical or dental appointments in advance, for which pupils should sign in/out via Reception for appointments during the school day. Pupils who miss registration for any reason must sign in at Reception otherwise they will appear on our list as absent. We operate an 'absence alert system' and parents will receive an automated telephone call informing them of their child’s absence until we receive notification from you of the reason for their absence.
Pupils are expected to arrive promptly and ideally not more than 15 minutes before their school day starts at 08:50. Parents can drop pupils off at the rear of the school. However, all pupils, including those who arrive on foot, by bike or by bus, should make their way to their tutor rooms following external routes and our internal one way system. Pupils arriving by bus are expected to follow the procedures set out by Gloucestershire County Council and for public transport. We appreciate pupils travelling by bus may arrive a little earlier than their peers. If pupils wish to bring a bike into school, they must collect a permission form from the Pastoral Office.
As you are aware, like those across the country, our pupils’ education has been disrupted since March 2020 due to Covid-19, so it will be important for them to attend school regularly from September to ensure they can learn and achieve well. There is a direct correlation between good attendance and high achievement and therefore we encourage all pupils to be punctual, aim for 100% attendance and develop their resilience. The headteacher is unable to grant any leave of absence during term time, unless there are exceptional circumstances. Consequently, parents taking their children out of school during term time risk facing fixed penalty fines and, ultimately, prosecution from the Local Authority.
The start of a new school year, and the integration of our new pupils, is a time of excitement, energy and new learning for young people, their parents/carers and our staff alike. We look forward to seeing everyone back in school on Monday 6 September 2021 and to the journey ahead in 2021-2022.
- NHS Coronavirus, includes information about symptoms, testing and vaccination
- Department for Education Guidance: What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges