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Cirencester Deer Park School

Cirencester Deer Park School

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Pupils in 9A to learn remotely

Confirmed single Covid case in Year 9

Unfortunately, late on Saturday 12 December 2020 we received confirmation that a pupil in Year 9 had had a positive COVID test. She was last in school on Wednesday 9 December 2020 and is the sibling of our Year 11 case on Friday 11 December.

We are following the guidance from Public Health England and on Sunday 13 December we identified and advised her ‘close contacts’ in school and asked them to self-isolate for a period of 14 days from their last contact with the pupil.

We know that members of our school community will find this concerning but we are continuing to monitor the situation and are working closely with the Department of Education, Public Health England and Gloucestershire County Council.

Please be reassured that for most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness. If your child develops symptoms of COVID-19, they must not come to school and should remain at home for at least 10 days from the date when their symptoms appeared.  Anyone with symptoms will be eligible for testing and you can seek advice from the website.

Parents and carers of the 51 pupils identified as close contacts in Year 9 were advised by text and email on Sunday 13 December of the need for these 51 pupils to self-isolate and they will be able to access work via Show My Homework and MS Teams in line with our Remote Learning Plan.

However, the number of pupils asked to self-isolate equates to over 50% of the half year group who are treated as a bubble and currently share the same home base within our Languages Faculty. Because pupils move within the bubble to take part in set and mixed ability groups across our curriculum, every class will be affected by these absences.

Therefore, having reviewed the timetable and the provision we can make for our pupils in Year 9 required to learn both at home and/or in school, we have taken the decision to ask ALL PUPILS IN 9A TO WORK FROM HOME from Monday 14 December until Friday 18 December. This is in line with our remote learning plan.

All pupils in 9B are expected to attend school as normal.

With effect from Monday 14 December, pupils in 9A will be expected to continue to engage with us remotely and attend some live lessons in MS Teams and complete assignments and tasks set by their teachers in MS Teams and Show My Homework in line with the timetable below. This will enable our staff to teach all pupils within 9A and will ensure they can all access the same opportunities for learning.

We are very grateful to pupils, parents and staff for their cooperation and understanding over what turned out to be a very busy weekend. If pupils and/parents have any questions about this provision, please do not hesitate to  contact Mrs Burfoot our Year 9 Year Leader, or Mrs Lang, Deputy Head.

In making our decision to ask pupils in 9A to learn remotely for the next 4½ school days, we have carefully considered:

  • The number of close contacts (pupils) identified through track and trace. This exceeded just over 50% of the half year group. A close contact is defined as contact within 1 metre, which would include:
    • Face-to-face conversation or contact within 1 metre for 1 minute
    • Contact within 1 metre for 1 minute or longer without face-to-face contact
    • Contact within 2 metres of someone who has tested positive for more than 15 minutes;
  • The number of close contacts (staff) of both this confirmed case and the case in Year 11, alongside known staff absences as a result of track and trace inside and outside of the school and our ability to cover all lessons across our timetable. This already exceeds 4 the minimum number of teachers required to teach the half year group each hour of the school day;
  • The quality of the provision we can make for our learners in Year 9 if some pupils are in and some are out and the impact the fragmentation of classes and cover might have on teaching and learning. We cannot ask our teachers to double their workload by teaching the pupils in school and those at home at the same time. This would not be sustainable;
  • The robustness of our remote learning plan. We have planned for this eventuality and our experience of using blended learning in MS Teams and on Show My Homework during the previous lockdown and more recently, periods of self-isolation and partial closure, enabled the majority of our pupils to stay connected, keep up with their learning and make progress. Therefore, we feel we are able to offer a continuous and sustainable provision for all pupils in 9A in the short term;
  • The wider restrictions imposed by being in Tier 2 in Gloucestershire. Our pupils working and learning remotely can only be at home during the school day and should, therefore, commit to learning online during this short period of self-isolation and school closure. We expect all pupils to continue to engage with and participate in the activities planned for them by their teachers.


We are very sorry to have to ask pupils in 9A to work remotely again. The decision has not been taken lightly as we know many of our pupils look forward to the last week of term especially just before Christmas, but we have had to consider carefully how best to ensure learning for all can continue. Teachers and pupils are very familiar with our expectations around remote learning and we expect all pupils in 9A to stay connected with us, and to participate in the learning that has been planned for them in MS Teams and SMHW. It would be great to see them all take part and contribute to our Christmas Jumper Day on Thursday 17 December by each wearing one at home!’

Chiquita Henson, Headteacher

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