Message from Headteacher Mrs Bellis

Dear Parents / Carers

As the summer holiday draws to a close, I thought it might be useful to provide you with a reminder of when each year group will be returning to school, and also provide answers to some ‘frequently asked questions’.

Like most schools, we are operating a ‘staggered start’ so that we can comply with the government request for us to provide on-site testing for all returning staff and students. Two tests will be performed on site for each person, with the programme scheduled to be completed by Friday September 10th.  After that, twice weekly home testing will resume for the rest of the month.

On Friday 3rd September, Year 7 will start school. Their day will include the induction activities that they missed in July, as well as their first Covid test.

Members of staff will be on hand to welcome the new 7s as they arrive on buses, taxis and on foot. There will be many of us located at the bottom of the drive, so if you are a parent/carer of a new Year 7, please tell them not to worry (and try not to be too anxious yourself, too!) All they have to do on Friday morning is get to the front gate at the bottom of the school drive. We will take it from there, and make sure they get to all the right places and have everything they need. We’re very aware that for some it may be their first time at Lakelands, and that our most important job on Day 1 will be to make everyone feel happy, welcomed and safe.

No other year groups will be in school on Friday 3rd September.

Monday 6th September

Years 7, 10 and 11 will be expected back in school.

Tuesday 7th September

Years 8 and 9 return so that all five year groups will be in, and on all days after this.

The timetable (please note this is different from last year to reflect changes in the Covid guidance)

Morning registration

8:55 – 9:20 am

Lesson 1

9:20 – 10:20 am

Lesson 2

10:20 – 11:20 am

Break

11:20 – 11:40 am

Lesson 3

11:40 – 12:40 pm

Lunchtime

12:40  – 1:25 pm

Afternoon Registration

1:25 – 1:30 pm

Lesson 4

1:30 – 2:30 pm

Lesson 5

2:30 – 3:30pm

 

Outside gathering spaces and handwashing on arrival

The inside gathering spaces used throughout last year have been returned to their former use.

We are retaining the outside gathering spaces in the morning only.

7 and 8 will gather on top yard, 9 on the tennis courts, 10 on the old astroturf and Year 11 will retain the privilege of being able to come straight into school to the canteen (though it will not be their exclusive space at break and lunchtime anymore.) On the first days back in school, staff will be directing pupils to their correct locations.

At the start of term, when the risk of a Covid outbreak might be quite high as people come back together, we will still be asking pupils to wash their hands at the start of the day. Duty staff will tell pupils where to do this. There will still be hand sanitiser in all classrooms.

‘Bubbles’ and social distancing.

Pupils will no longer be required to stay in year group bubbles, and will have more freedom to move round the site at break and lunchtime. All food will once again be served from the main canteen at break and lunchtime, with a rota re-introduced to allow for the smooth throughput of all year groups. Form tutors will be explaining the post Covid rules to their tutees, but will also be emphasising that the emphasis will now be on personal responsibility, with all members of Team Lakelands required to act sensibly to reduce the risk of Covid transmission in our community.

Changes to government instructions re suspected Covid cases

From September, individuals are not expected to self-isolate if they live in the same household as someone with Covid 19 or are a close contact of someone with Covid 19 if:-

  • They are fully vaccinated
  • They are below 18 yrs and 6mths old
  • They are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

Instead they will be contacted by NHS test and trace, and asked to take a PCR test. The government say that staff and students in this situation should continue to attend school as normal. Staff who have not been vaccinated will still have to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact.

We will still be working with Shropshire Public Health, and if there is a “substantial increase in the number of positive cases in a setting” we might be instructed to bring back some more of the control measures. 

Positive cases

Staff and students should not come into school if:-

  • They have Covid symptoms
  • Have had a positive test result

Even if symptoms are only mild, staff/ students must not come into school. Any pupil developing Covid symptoms during the day should be set home. While waiting to be collected they should be in a well ventilated room.

Self-isolation still lasts for 10 days.

Anyone who has a positive LFT test should self-isolate and get a PCR test. If the PCR is taken within 2 days of the positive LFT and is negative, it overrides the self-test LFT and the pupil / member of staff can return to school, as long as they do not have Covid symptoms.

Clinically vulnerable children are now being told, by the government, to return to school. Their parents will be receiving a letter.

Masks

Pupils will be allowed to wear face masks in school if they wish to. Staff will be allowed to wear masks in school if they wish to. They are no longer mandatory though.  There may be exceptional circumstances where staff will request that no masks are worn in their lessons, but these will be extremely rare, and for particular reasons.

Masks on buses

These are no longer a legal requirement but the government ‘recommends’ that they be worn. We would like to encourage pupils to wear masks on buses.

Coats in lessons

Coats in lessons should not now routinely be worn. Teachers will always use their discretion where classrooms are particularly cold, but permission to wear a coat in class can no longer be assumed by pupils. Coats can be worn at lesson changeover times as some pupils will be going outside to get to their next classes. Coats must NOT be worn in the canteen at break or lunchtime. During break and lunchtime, pupils should remove coats if they are inside the building, but may, of course, wear them outside.

Uniform in general

Please refer to the information sent out by Mr Parkhurst before the end of term, which explains our expectations regarding uniform and appearance. Uniform checks will be made at the start of term, so that any misunderstanding of the rules can be addressed. I know that many families have been financially impacted by the pandemic, so please feel that you can contact me, confidentially, if you are worried about this.  

PE kit

For the first few weeks, on a day when pupils have PE, they will still wear their PE kit to school, and be asked to bring uniform items in their bag (in case their kit gets wet/muddy). The PE team will be providing all form tutors with details of when their tutees have PE, and checks will be done.

After a few weeks, we may revert to the former system of changing into kit at school. Notice will be given of this.

Toilets

The Covid toilet arrangements (with a rota for different year groups) now end. This means that the expectation is that pupils take responsibility for deciding to use the toilet before school or at break or lunchtime. Of course staff will still allow pupils to ‘go’ where there is an urgent need (as we did pre-Covid) but this will revert to being the exception not the norm. This is likely to be one of the biggest re-adjustments for some pupils, and we would be grateful if you could emphasise this at home. 

We look forward to welcoming our community back to what we hope will be a less disrupted Lakelands year, and I thank you all for your support. If you have any urgent questions, please contact reception on 01691 622543, or email admin@lakelandsacademy.org.uk.

Kind regards, and enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend

Mrs Bellis