Dear Parents and Carers
Apologies for this lengthy letter. There is quite a bit of ground to cover now that our planning for September is much clearer than it was just one week ago. I shall begin with those plans for September and then return to other matters towards the end of this letter.
Asymptomatic Testing In September
Families will be aware that the government announced that asymptomatic testing will resume across all secondary schools in September. In their words: “Students will have potentially been mixing with lots of people over the summer holidays and we know that testing participation rates amongst students via ATS [in schools] are much higher than when testing at home, so it is essential that we encourage schools and colleges to do everything possible to prevent significant transmission in education settings at the start of the new term.”
We have been through this in March but there are several key differences this time around:
- There will be two tests, instead of three.
- There will be no tonsil / throat swabbing. All swabbing will be nostrils only.
- Students will not return to school until after both tests have been undertaken.
- We have close to 180 year 7s who will not have taken a lateral flow test before. We shall be particularly sensitive to this fact by offering a small number of tests for students to undertake alongside a parent or carer present on Wednesday 1 September, between 2:30pm and 4:00pm. Please email [email protected] if this would help.
- Families will be asked to book an appointment for each child (we shall email / In Touch all families in August with instructions and a link to the booking system).
However, there are important similarities:
- The tests will be supervised by adults known to your children.
- Fresh consent must be obtained before any test can be carried out.
- If you are a parent or carer of a student years 7 to 11 then click here to complete the consent form on your child’s behalf. You will not be able to book a test until you have completed the consent form.
- If you are going to be a sixth former from September 2021, then click here to complete your own consent form. Again, please complete the consent form first so that you will able to select a suitable time for the tests.
- The tests are not mandatory, however we believe that they are in the best interests of the community – last time over 95% participated.
The government continue to provide us all with the evidence on which this second round of testing is based – please follow this link to view the evidence summary.
When will the tests take place and how will this affect the start of the new term?
The table below summarises our plans. In short, your children will need to visit the sports hall on two occasions either side of the first weekend in September. Our testing centre will open between 8:30am and 4:30pm each day.
|All staff and students asked to resume home testing.
Small number of year 7 lateral flow tests with parents and carers (1430-1600)
|1st KS3 testing in the sports hall between 0830 and 1630.|
|1st KS4 and Sixth Form testing in the sports hall between 0830 and 1630.|
|All staff and students asked to continue home testing.|
|2nd KS3 testing in the sports hall between 0830 and 1630.|
|First day of term for all students in years 7, 8 and 9. Start at 8:40am.
2nd KS4 and Sixth Form testing in the sports hall between 0830 and 1630.
|First day of term for all students in years 10, 11, 12 and 13. Start at 8:40am.|
And so to be clear:
- If you have a son or daughter in years 7, 8 or 9 (key stage 3), then their first day of term will be Tuesday 7 September.
- All other students will start the day after, on Wednesday 8 September 2021.
Your School Needs You
We are confident that we can test approximately 500 students per day in September. However, we are grateful for the additional assistance from the Department for Education that enables us to employ additional staff to support the testing programme.
We seek between eight and ten adults over a period of 4.5 days. We welcome (and strongly encourage) expressions of interest from former year 13s from 2021 and 2020, plus parents and carers who might be keen to help. There is a flat rate of £10.21 per hour, for up to 36 hours in total. We shall provide all the training and supervision.
If this is something that interests you then please follow this link to express your interest. Or feel free to forward this letter to a trusted friend or relative.
Will there be any other adjustments in September?
The government are supportive of schools staggering the start of term. We welcome this opportunity because it creates a perfect opportunity for us to reintroduce the entire school site and facilities for our youngest students in a less noisy or crowded environment. This is because we do not expect to continue with our zones in September.
However, it is highly likely that we shall ask (but not compel) all students and staff to wear a face covering in all communal areas up to and including Friday 17 September. We shall look at our lateral flow test results at the time and reassess the risk factors based on that information.
Although we will not be in zones, we shall be maintaining the separate entrances in September:
- All sixth formers will continue to arrive via their own sixth form centre reception.
- All KS4 (years 10 and 11) students will enter via the Science Courtyard.
- All KS3 (years 7, 8 and 9) students will enter via the Old Entrance.
- All late arrivals (i.e. after 8:40am) may only enter via the Main Reception.
In contrast, students will once more leave school each day via the most convenient exit.
As far as PE kits are concerned, we shall be back in the PE changing rooms and therefore the practice of wearing PE kits to and from school will end this month. All other specialist areas (e.g. tech, music, drama, dance, computing and science laboratories) will be back to normal as well.
The school day will continue to start at 8:40am and end at 3:15pm. We shall go back to two breaks per day and maintain five minutes movement time between lessons to assist with punctuality, water refills and toilet stops – acknowledging the size of the site when moving between lessons.
Noting that the ‘Back To School’ marketing campaigns have already begun, may I take this opportunity to remind you that every child needs to have the following items in their bag every day:
Black or blue pens (x2), pencils (x2), highlighters (x2), green pens (x2), rubber, ruler (30cm), glue stick, scissors, protractor, a pair of compasses, calculator, reading book and a scribble / note pad. Students are also encouraged to carry blank flash cards and sticky notes.
Whether its equipment, uniform or trips and visits, if you are in need of financial assistance please do get in touch with any member of staff or our family support worker, Mrs Claire Budd, on [email protected].
If you believe that your son or daughter may be entitled to a free school meal (and therefore other types of support) then you can find out more by following this link or speaking directly to Mrs Budd.
They SHALL Go To The Ball Prom
It has been a busy few weeks and some late nights that have included the Year 7 Transition Evening that welcomed close to 180 new students to our school for September.
Meanwhile, we said farewells and some goodbyes to the 140 year 11s whose prom took place at Heythrop last Friday night. The sun shone and then set beautifully for their arrival and so it was a fitting and deserved end to their first five years at CNS. There were plenty of Mustangs on view, plus several Rollers, a Renault Clio, and three tractors that delivered our guests in style. More in the CNS Newsletter next week.
A big thank you to Mrs Cottrell, Mr Robinson, Mrs Armistead and Mrs Watson (Finance) for going the extra mile to ensure it took place.
So Long, Farewell…
And so to farewells to colleagues… Our geography department will undergo its own transformation with the departures of both Mr Johnson and Miss Bigland-Coles. They will be replaced by Mrs Jones and Mr Hood. Meanwhile, Mr McGibbon will be leaving us also, and this coincides with the retirement of Mr McPhillips, who has served this school since 1989. I wish these great colleagues happiness in the next stages of their careers and lives, and publically thank them for their years of services and commitment to our school and its students.
Summer School 2021
We have been blown away by the response to the brand new summer school, with over 130 students having been signed up to join us for the week in late August. We shall provide a report on this next year but do look out for some images on Facebook.
I am sure you will all be thinking of our Year 13s and Year 11s when their results become available on 10 and 12 August. We shall be in touch with them all before those dates.
School ends on Thursday, shortly after midday, and will draw the curtain on a truly exceptional year. Your children have been more engaged and better behaved than ever before, my colleagues have gone the mile week after week, and you have been incredibly supportive and motivating for so many of us with the kind and thoughtful emails, calls or cards that have seen us all through.
Thank you and have a fab summer break.