School Messages

15 July 2020 – September reopening

Dear Parents, Carers and Students

This has unquestionably been the most unusual term of my teaching career.  As the academic year draws to a close, I am left with a feeling of overwhelming pride in our school community.  Our students have responded to this unprecedented situation with admirable tenacity as they have approached their home learning each day with great determination.  I have been so impressed with their self-motivation and desire to keep improving themselves.  I cannot underestimate how difficult this must have been.  It has also been very pleasing to see our new Year 7 students engaging with their weekly activities helping them to get to know TA in more depth before they have started.  I feel so disappointed for so many of our current and new students who have not been able to do so many of the things that were part of their rites of passage this year.

I would like to thank all of our parents and carers for their support during these most difficult of months.  Your support and positive messages have been sincerely appreciated as we have done our best to try and support our students.  I know how challenging this period has been for parents and carers as we have all tried to juggle so many different things against an uncertain backdrop.

I am indebted to our incredible staff who have really gone above and beyond during this time.  We have tried to ensure students have received a varied diet of learning at home and in school.  They have also made frequent contact with parents and carers as we want to check on our students’ wellbeing and progress.  They have also been working incredibly hard to ensure that TA becomes an even better school when our students return.  Every lesson for the new academic year has been rewritten and bespoke workbooks have been produced for every subject.  Tens of thousands of questions have been written to improve the homework books and we have worked with a software publisher to create a bespoke Tassomai revision tool for every year group.   We have used every second of the time we have not been teaching to improve the quality of education we can offer.

In this letter, I want to outline how we plan to reopen in September along with a few other key pieces of information I would like you to take note of.

 

School uniform

From September full school uniform must be worn.  I would like to highlight a couple of areas where we will be paying particularly close attention:

  • For boys and girls socks must be plain black.  It is not acceptable for socks to have white or coloured logos on them.
  • If a belt is worn it must be of a simple design with a plain rectangular buckle.
  • In Years 7-11 piercings may only be worn in the ears and they should be a single pair of studs.  Students can not wear clear retainers in other piercings.
  • Hair must be of a natural colour.

 

Our full uniform policy can be found here: https://www.tqacademy.co.uk/info/uniform/

 

Riding bikes to school

Students who wish to ride a bike to school must obtain a permit from their Pastoral Leader.  They will need to complete a form and return it to school which both the student and parent/carer must have signed it.  Students will not be allowed to bring their bike onto the school site unless they are wearing a helmet.

 

September full reopening

The government has stated that school attendance is set to be mandatory from September 2020.  We will be open for every student, every day from September.  Year 7 and 12 will return on Thursday 3rd September with all other year groups returning on Friday 4th September.

 

Each year group will operate in their own hub within the school.  Students will have the majority of lessons in this hub, and will only be escorted to other parts of the school when the specialist facilities are required for:

  • PE and games
  • Science
  • Creative Arts
  • Technology and enterprise

 

The government makes the following recommendations to reduce contacts and maximise distancing:

  1. grouping children together (for example in year groups)
  2. avoiding contact between groups
  3. arranging classrooms with forward facing desks
  4. staff maintaining distance from pupils and other staff as much as possible
  5. large gatherings, such as assemblies or collective worship with more than one group should be avoided

 

We have taken the following steps to ensure we meet these recommendations:

  1. Students will be placed in year group hubs where they can socialise with friends and they may be taught in different groups.  
  2. Each hub will enter the building via a different route and they have their own classrooms, dining facilities, toilets and outside space.  There will be a rota in place for the astroturf and MUGA play areas.
  3. Our classrooms have always been arranged with forward facing desks.
  4. The lectern at the front of the classroom enables staff to maintain a distance from students. 
  5. We will only be holding year group assemblies.

 

In order to maintain everyone’s safety and wellbeing it is important that students stay in their hubs throughout their time in school.  This will mean when they arrive they must enter the school site in a particular way.  It is essential that all students are on-site by 8.20am at the latest.  I suggest students aim to be here by 8.10am.  Failure to be here on time not only damages their education but increases the risk of infection to the whole school community as they will have to move between different areas.  


Year 7

When Year 7 arrive they must only use the Barton Road entrance.  This entrance is located just down from the Co-op funeral building, opposite Brewers Paint Shop.  They will immediately be in their Year 7 playground.  Their lessons will take place in the rooms that will be their tutor rooms – these are the classrooms adjacent to the Year 7 playground.  Their dining area will be located next to the playground and their classrooms.

On their first day, they will be taken by our staff to The Platform where I will meet them for the start of their exciting seven year journey with us.  Please can they use the Barton Road entrance on Thursday 3rd September.

As students were unable to attend an induction day, all students will receive a free break snack and lunch on Thursday 3rd September.  From Friday 4th September all hot food will need to be ordered in advance, see catering below, although cold food and drinks will be available on the day without ordering.

All students will be required to have a pencil case. These can be ordered online with the school through Parentpay. You will receive instructions on how to register within the next 10 days. Once ordered, the pencil cases will be delivered to your child on the first day of term.

Year 7 – First full week back

From Monday 7th September to Thursday 10th September all students will take part in our homework familiarisation sessions from 3 – 4pm.  During these sessions, we will explicitly explain to your child how to complete their homework. In the initial session, Mr Pugh (one of our Vice Principals) will explain our homework system to the whole year group; he will model excellent homework and demonstrate how to complete it most effectively.  Your child will then spend the other three sessions with their Head of House who will check their understanding throughout the week. These sessions are invaluable to the children to enable them to understand what is expected of them each day and establish good homework habits.


Year 8

When Year 8 arrive they must only use the Barton Road entrance.  This entrance is located just down from the Co-op funeral building, opposite Brewers Paint Shop.  They will be greeted by staff who will show them the entrance they must use into the building.  They will be based in Upper E, which are the classrooms above the Year 7 tutor rooms.  Their dining area will be the space in front of the effort boards and their outdoor space will be behind the creative arts block around the bandstand.

 

Year 9

When Year 9 arrive they must only use the main Cricketfield Road entrance.  They will be greeted by staff who will show them the entrance they must use into the building.  They will enter the building using the normal student entrance next to the Sports Hall and they will then make their way between The Platform and the girls’ changing rooms.  This takes them to their outside space, which is the area outside of the MUGA and the second of the outside shelters.  Their hub will be based in Lower H and their dining facilities will be part of the main dining area.

 

Year 10

When Year 10 arrive they must only use the main Cricketfield Road entrance.  They will be greeted by staff who will show them the entrance they must use into the building.  They will enter the building using the Sixth Form entrance which is located at the top level of the car park close to the main reception.  Their hub will be located in C block.  These are the rooms that are located in the enterprise and SEN area of the school.  Their dining facilities will be part of the main dining room.  They will have access to outside space in the garden next to the Sixth Form common room and an area they won’t have used before in our service yard.

 

Year 11

When Year 11 arrive they must only use the main Cricketfield Road entrance.  They will be greeted by staff who will show them the entrance they must use into the building.  They will enter the building using the normal student entrance next to the Sports Hall and they will then make their way into the building using the steps next to the Study Centre.  From there they will then go straight up the stairs into Upper H which is where their hub is located.  Their dining area will be the new dining room and they will have the outside space at the back of that area including the shelter located there.


6th Form

When the Sixth Form arrive they must only use the main Cricketfield Road entrance.  They will be greeted by staff who will show them the entrance they must use into the building.  Their classrooms and relaxation areas will be based around the Study Centre.  They will enter the Study Centre via the doors opposite The Platform.

 

Preventing the spread of the virus

The government identifies four ways of preventing the spread of coronavirus:

  1. minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school
  2. clean hands thoroughly more often than usual
  3. ensure good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach
  4. introduce enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often, using standard products such as detergents and bleach

 

Our approach to each of these is as follows:

  1. Students and staff must not come into the school if they have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or have tested positive in the last 7 days.  Any student or staff member who develops those symptoms during the school day will be sent home.  This is part of the government’s measure to reduce the risk in schools and further drive down transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). If any member of staff or student develops coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms they must self-isolate for at least 7 days and should arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus (COVID-19). Other members of their household (including any siblings) should self-isolate for 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms.
  2. We have purchased over 100 automatic hand sanitisers so that there is one placed outside of each classroom and at every entrance to the school.  Students will sanitise their hands each time they enter and exit the classroom.  Pupils will clean their hands thoroughly after using the toilet.  There are also hand sanitising stations next to food areas.  It is also important that students wash their hands before leaving home in the morning and again when they return.
  3. In addition to educating all students about the importance of ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’, tissues will be available in each classroom.
  4. We have extended cleaners’ hours since March and they work continuously around the school. Our cleaning schedule for September ensures cleaning is enhanced and includes:
    1. more frequent cleaning of rooms / shared areas that are used by different groups
    2. frequently touched surfaces being cleaned more often than normal
    3. each year group have been allocated their own toilet and these will be cleaned regularly 

 

Attendance

From September your son/daughter needs to attend school every single day.

If your child cannot attend school due to a valid reason, such as a medical issue, you must contact the school on the main school number 329351, selecting option 1 to report a student absence or email the name of your child and the reason to attendance@tqacademy.co.uk as soon as possible. We will also endeavour to contact every single parent/carer of any students who are not at their year line up in school. Because we place such high importance on our students’ welfare and we try to intervene at the earliest possible point, therefore, in some cases you may have left a message/email with the school but you also may receive a telephone call home as well. Please understand this is done with your child’s safety and education in mind.  

 

School day timings

In order to facilitate the new arrangements, we have made the decision to change the timings and length of lessons.  Following a 30 minute tutor period, we will have three 100 minute lessons.  There will be a 30 minute break between each of the 100 minute lessons.  The 3.00 – 4.00pm lesson will be period 5, this is for students in Year 11-13 and for those taking part in clubs and societies.

 

P1 8:30-9:00

P2 9:00-10:40

Break 1 10:40-11:10

P3 11:10-12:50

Break 2 12:50-13:20

P4 13:20-15:00

P5 15:00-16:00

 

Visiting the school site

The government’s guidelines for schools will mean that it will not be possible for parents and carers to come onto the school site without an appointment.  This includes the main school buildings, car park and sports areas.  Please call the school reception to arrange to come into school.

 

Can I also remind you not to bring your car onto the school site for drop-offs and pick-ups – this is for our students’ safety.  If you need to bring your child onto the site due to medical needs please contact the school so a pass can be issued.

 

Breakfast and homework clubs

We will continue to offer a free breakfast to all students every morning.  We open for breakfast from 7.30am.  Homework club will run from 3.00-4.00pm.  Both of these clubs will be run in the year group hubs.  Students will need to arrive and leave via their assigned entrances.

 

Ordering and paying for food and drinks

It will not be possible for us to accept cash payments in school. All payments will need to be made via Parent Pay.   

All hot food for break and lunch will need to be ordered in advance. A weekly menu will be uploaded onto Parentpay. Food can be ordered for each day once the menu is available and must be ordered by 8.20am on the day the food is required.

Cold food and drinks will be available for purchase on the day and will be the only options available if hot food is not ordered in advance. A credit balance on Parentpay will be required for food to be purchased in school. If your child is entitled to Free School Meals they will not be allowed to spend more than their entitlement unless there is a credit balance on Parentpay.

The system for ordering food on Parentpay is currently being set up. We will write to you with further details once the system is fully up and running.

I would like to wish you a safe and happy summer break.

 

Best wishes

 

S R Margetts

Principal

 

 

24th June 2020 – Year 7-9 Touching Base Morning Invitation

Dear parents and carers,

You will be aware that for Years 7-9 over the last term, our in-school provision has been limited to children of critical workers and vulnerable children, according to Government guidance.

Recently updated guidance from the Department for Education now gives us the opportunity to invite into school pupils who are not currently attending school to come in for a face-to-face meeting with our staff.

It is our aim to ensure that every student has the opportunity to come into school to ‘touch base’ before the end of term. As part of this effort, we would like to invite your son/daughter in for one morning. These sessions are only for children who are not attending the Year 7-9 All Day School. The session will start at 9.00am and will end at 11.30am. The day assigned will be based upon their tutor group, please see the table below to see which day they will be in school.

Dates Year group Tutor groups
Monday 29th June 7 7B, 7C, 7D
Tuesday 30th June 9 9B, 9C
Wednesday 1st July 7 7F, 7H, 7K
Thursday 2nd July 9 9D, 9F
Monday 6th July 7 7N, 7P
Tuesday 7th July 9 9H, 9K
Wednesday 8th July 8 8B, 8C, 8D
Thursday 9th July 9 9N, 9P
Monday 13th July 8 8F, 8H, 8K
Wednesday 15th July 8 8N, 8P

What will the morning look like?

Students attending these Touching Base Mornings will have the opportunity to hear an update on our plans for their education from myself. Lead teachers from English, Maths and Science will also talk to students about the work they have been doing from home and how we will ensure they will be ready to start their studies in September. In addition, we will be offering some welfare advice and pastoral support.

Most importantly, we hope that this will reinforce to students how important they are to us, that they are still a part of the school community and to feel less anxious about returning in September.

Location and arrival of Year 7-9 Touching Base Mornings

The Touching Base Mornings will be held in The Platform. Students will enter from the Cricketfield Road entrance only and then go directly to The Platform.

The Cricketfield Road gate will be open for arrival from 8.50am – students must not enter the school via Cricketfield Road. Please ensure students arrive promptly as the gates will close at 9.10am. It will not be possible for students to arrive outside of these times as we need to safeguard the site and it will not be possible for students to be in parts of the school that are not assigned to their year group. The students’ departure time will be staggered around 11.30am to help with social distancing.

Every effort has been made to ensure that students can attend these mornings safely. Students will enter via the student entrance at a different time to other students accessing via that area. They will make their way directly to the theatre in The Platform, using the hand sanitiser station on their way in. Staff will be on hand to supervise appropriate social distancing as they come in. The room has a capacity of 320, but we will be inviting no more than 70 students to attend any one session in order to facilitate distancing measures. The theatre will be well ventilated at all times. The Platform will be thoroughly cleaned after each session.

Other information

Please take note of the following:

  • Students do not need to wear uniform.
  • Students will not need to bring in any equipment.
  • We ask that students socially distance from others if walking to and from school.
  • We will have our pastoral team on site if students wish to see them outside of the prescribed session times.
  • They should bring in a water bottle.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you for your continued support and I look forward to welcoming your sons and daughters back to school for the morning, albeit, a very different type of school to the one they were last in. I hope this is an opportunity that they feel will help prepare them for a planned reopening in September.

My very best wishes to you all.

Steve Margetts

Principal

 

15th June 2020 – Year 7-9 All Day School Update

Dear Parents and carers

Our All Day School has now been running very successfully for two weeks. I am delighted that we have been able to offer a consistent education for those children who require it and are eligible to come into school. As increasing numbers of critical workers are returning to work, we are having more requests for children to come into the All Day School.

When I initially wrote to you about how we would organise the classrooms, it was based upon having 12 children in classrooms designed for 32. Given the growing demand, I am going to increase the number of children in each classroom to 15. This still meets the government guidelines and enables social distancing to take place within the classroom. The other alternative would be to introduce a rota system for children coming into school and reducing the consistent education we are able to provide with the specialist teachers. I believe by adding children to the classes, where required, is the most sensible way of supporting all of our families at this time.

As always, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.

Kind regards

Mr S Margetts
Principal

8th June 2020 – Wider reopening of the school Year 10

Dear Parents and Carers

Please forgive the length of this letter, but it contains a great deal of information that is important that you have regarding the wider reopening of our school for Year 10 from Monday 15th June.

You and your children are fully aware of how important this time is in our students’ education as they will be sitting their final examinations in less than a year. Each day missed has a detrimental impact upon a child’s education and therefore final grades irrespective of the reason for the absence. I am very proud of the home learning materials we have been able to put together and the fact we have been in such regular contact with you; staff have been very appreciative of the very positive feedback we have received – thank you.

The vast majority of work that students have been carrying out to date has been consolidating knowledge and skills that they have already been given by their teachers. Whilst we have been trying to expose the students to some new learning it is very difficult to do this without the presence of the qualified teacher working directly with them in order to help them overcome any potential misunderstanding and difficulties.

Whilst the absence from school is not the fault of our boys and girls, and they are doing home learning, they are still missing out on lessons and this will have a detrimental impact upon their final grades unless we are able to enhance the support we are able to offer them. Whilst their grades are important to their futures, all planning we have done has been carried out to minimise the risk to all of our students and staff as well as everyone’s families. This is a responsibility that I feel greatly.

We are offering two provisions for students in Year 10:

  • Year 10 Full Time School (for children whose parents are critical workers and vulnerable children). This what I have written to you about previously.
  • Year 10 School with rota. It is this provision that this letter is referring to.

Our plan for the Year 10 school is based upon overcoming the gaps in knowledge from missing the last eight weeks of education and ensuring all children are taught the required curriculum content for the final five weeks of the half term. Our subject leaders have been working with their teams to produce a new curriculum that will be taught over the next half term that will enable all of our boys and girls to be ready for Year 11 in September. It must be noted, however, that this will still require some work to be done at home over the summer holidays.

Students who are not attending the Year 10 Full Time School (for children whose parents are critical workers and vulnerable children) will attend school on a rota from Monday 15th June. Year 10 lessons will run from 8.30am to 4.00pm. Students will be assigned to one of three groups and they will be on a three-week rota of being in school two days a week for two weeks and then in one day for the final week. I will send a hard copy of this letter with a bespoke timetable for your child showing which group they are in and the days they will need to come into school. The following table shows how this will work.

Group A Group B Group C
15th June Monday & Tuesday Wednesday & Thursday Friday
22nd June Monday & Tuesday Wednesday Thursday & Friday
29th June Monday Wednesday & Thursday Thursday & Friday

Students will study Maths and English on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and Science and History/Geography/French on Tuesday and Thursday.

If you are classified as a critical worker or your child is deemed vulnerable and you would like to take up the offer of the Year 10 Full Time School (for children whose parents are critical workers and vulnerable children) please reply with your child’s name to admin@TQacademy.co.uk or call us.

If your child starts the new Year 10 School on a rota from 15th June, it will not be possible to move from the Year 10 school on a rota to the Full Time provision (for children whose parents are critical workers and vulnerable children). There is also a limited amount of space in our Full Time School.

Location and arrival of Year 10 School with rota

Year 10 school will be in upper E block – that is our Maths rooms (these are the rooms upstairs next to the Year 7 playground). Students will enter from the Barton Road entrance and then go directly to the classroom and desk that they have been assigned. There are specific routes that students will need to take to their classroom.

The Barton Road gate will be open for arrival from 8.20am – students must not enter the school via Cricketfield Road. Please ensure students arrive promptly as the gates will close at 8.40am. It will not be possible for students to arrive outside of these times as we need to safeguard the site and it will not be possible for students to be in parts of the school that are not assigned to their year group. The students’ departure time will be staggered around 4.00pm to help with social distancing.

Classes

Each student will be assigned to a class in which they will remain in for the duration of their time in school.

Absence

If for any reason your child is unable to attend on a particular day please contact the school as you normally would do by calling 01803 329351 and choose option 1, or email attendance@TQacademy.co.uk

Food and Catering

  • Students are encouraged to bring in their own packed lunches if possible.
  • The canteen will be serving food at lunchtime.
  • During tutor time each morning, a canteen order form will be completed so catering staff can have the food ready for students prior to the break. Cold food and snacks will be placed on trolleys and taken to the classrooms to minimise student movement and encourage social distancing.
  • At lunchtime students will have the food brought to them, again to minimise movement in the school and ensure social distancing is managed.
  • Students will need to bring in water bottles daily as the water dispensers will be turned off for hygiene purposes. (Bottles of water are available to purchase if needed).

Other information

Please take note of the following points:

  • Students will only need to bring their calculator in with them. They do not need to bring their pencil case with all equipment. We will have all equipment available for students to have their own set.
  • We will have our pastoral team on site if students wish to see them outside of the prescribed session times.
  • We ask that students socially distance from others if walking to and from school.

Additional information for all parents of children in Year 10

Much has been written over the past couple of weeks about the concerns teachers and parents have about returning to schools. A large portion of these concerns have been due to worries around social distancing – this is something that simply can not happen in nursery, reception and Year 1 classes due to the age of the children.

The maturity of our children allows us to follow far more stringent rules in school. In primary schools, the government has recommended halving class sizes and having 15 students per room. We have set up the school so there will be 12 children in a classroom designed for 32.

In some cases, two groups may be taught at the same time by one teacher. This is able to happen as some of our classrooms have a partition wall between them that can be opened up to double the size of the room. In these rooms, there will be twice the number of children, desks and chairs, but these spaces are twice the size of regular classrooms. The same social distancing that will take place in all rooms will also apply in this room.

Each room will be thoroughly cleaned each evening. There will be a cleaner present in the area to constantly wipe down and clean throughout the day.

We ask that children wash their hands before leaving home and then they will be provided with hand sanitiser upon entering the school building.

If a student needs to go to the toilet they will be expected to wash their hands in the cubicle and then use hand sanitiser before coming back into the classroom.

The same protocols will be followed by staff as they move into and around the building and classrooms.

We have sourced enough hand sanitiser, soap and cleaning products for the next half term.

All doors will be wedged open to reduce the number of surfaces that need to be touched.

Students will not be expected to wear uniform to Year 10 school. Face masks should not be worn (See the end of the letter for detailed government advice).

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us. We are trying to do our very best to support all members of our large school community during these very challenging and difficult times. Thank you for your continued support and I look forward to welcoming your sons and daughters back to school, albeit, a very different type of school to the one they were last in.

My very best wishes to you all.

**************

Definitions and further information

Vulnerable children

Vulnerable children are those across all year groups who:

  • are assessed as being in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, including children and young people who have a child in need plan, a child protection plan or who are a looked-after child. These students have an assigned social worker.
  • have an education, health and care (EHC) plan and it is determined, following risk assessment, that their needs can be as safely or more safely met in the educational environment

Face masks

Wearing a face covering or face mask in schools or other education settings is not recommended. Face coverings may be beneficial for short periods indoors where there is a risk of close social contact with people you do not usually meet and where social distancing and other measures cannot be maintained, for example on public transport or in some shops. This does not apply to schools or other education settings. Schools and other education or childcare settings should therefore not require staff, children and learners to wear face coverings.

Children who should not attend Year 10 school

Shielded and clinically vulnerable children and young people

For the vast majority of children and young people, coronavirus is a mild illness. Children and young people (0 to 18 years of age) who have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable due to pre-existing medical conditions have been advised to shield. We do not expect these children to be attending school or college, and they should continue to be supported at home as much as possible. Clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) people are those considered to be at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. A small minority of children will fall into this category, and parents should follow medical advice if their child is in this category.

Living with a shielded or clinically vulnerable person

If a child lives with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable), including those who are pregnant, they can attend their education or childcare setting.

If a child, young person or staff member lives in a household with someone who is extremely clinically vulnerable, as set out in the COVID-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable guidance, it is advised they only attend an education or childcare setting if stringent social distancing can be adhered to and, in the case of children, they are able to understand and follow those instructions. This may not be possible for very young children and older children without the capacity to adhere to the instructions on social distancing. If stringent social distancing cannot be adhered to, we do not expect those individuals to attend. They should be supported to learn or work at home.

We feel that our students are able to follow social distancing, especially if they are understanding of the impact of doing so for their family members. I do, of course, understand that this is a decision for each family to make knowing their own circumstances.

Critical workers

The definition of critical workers are those whose jobs fall under the following categories

Health and social care

This includes, but is not limited to, doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

Education and childcare

This includes:

  • childcare
  • support and teaching staff
  • social workers
  • specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach

Key public services

This includes:

  • those essential to the running of the justice system
  • religious staff
  • charities and workers delivering key frontline services
  • those responsible for the management of the deceased
  • journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting

Local and national government

This only includes:

  • those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response
  • or delivering essential public services, such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies

Food and other necessary goods

This includes those involved in food:

  • production
  • processing
  • distribution
  • sale and delivery
  • as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines)

Public safety and national security

This includes:

  • police and support staff
  • Ministry of Defence civilians
  • contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 outbreak)
  • fire and rescue service employees (including support staff)
  • National Crime Agency staff
  • those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas

Transport

This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

Utilities, communication and financial services

This includes:

  • staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure)
  • the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage)
  • information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response
  • key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services)
  • postal services and delivery
  • payments providers
  • waste disposal sectors

8th June 2020 – Wider reopening of the school Year 12

Please forgive the length of this letter, but it contains a great deal of information that is important that you have regarding the reopening of our school for Year 12 from Monday 15th June.

We have been told that we will be allowed a maximum of a quarter of the year group in school on any particular day (plus students whose parents are critical workers). This has meant we have made the decision to offer face-to-face support for the majority of A-level subjects. However, it has not been possible to do this for every subject. We have chosen to provide the face-to-face support in those subjects where there is a critical volume of knowledge that must be taught; for students in these subjects, each day missed is inevitably going to have a negative impact on their final result.

Subjects where home learning will continue

For the A level subjects where face-to-face support will not take place and the BTECs, we will continue to build upon the exemplary home learning support that has been in place for the past six weeks. Subject leads will still be setting work and monitoring progress to ensure that every student is still able to attain their best potential grade. We will be supporting students this way in the following subjects:

  • Art
  • Photography
  • Business Studies
  • Health and Social Care
  • Sport
  • IT
  • Music Technology
  • Music Performance

Students should still maintain regular contact with their teachers and please do speak to us if you have any questions or concerns.

Subjects with face-to-face support

Subjects, where face-to-face support can be provided, are as follows:

  • Maths
  • Further Maths
  • English Literature
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Media Studies
  • Product Design
  • History (via Google Meet)
  • Geography (via Google Meet)

You and your children are fully aware of how important this time is in our students’ education as they will be sitting their final examinations in less than a year. Each day missed has a detrimental impact upon a child’s education and therefore final grades irrespective of the reason for the absence. I am very proud of the home learning materials we have been able to put together and the fact we have been in such regular contact with you; staff have been very appreciative of the very positive feedback we have received – thank you.

The vast majority of work that students have been carrying out to date has been consolidating knowledge and skills that they have already been given by their teachers. Whilst we have been trying to expose the students to some new learning it is very difficult to do this without the presence of the qualified teacher working directly with them in order to help them overcome any potential misunderstanding and difficulties.

Whilst the absence from school is not the fault of our boys and girls, and they are doing home learning, they are still missing out on lessons and this will have a detrimental impact upon their final grades unless we are able to enhance the support we are able to offer them. Whilst their grades are important to their futures, all planning we have done has been carried out to minimise the risk to all of our students and staff as well as everyone’s families. This is a responsibility that I feel greatly.

Our plan for the Year 12 school is based upon overcoming the gaps in knowledge from missing the last six weeks of education and ensuring all children are taught the required curriculum content for the final five weeks of the half term. Our subject leaders have been working with their teams to produce a new curriculum that will be taught over the next half term that will enable all of our boys and girls to be ready for Year 13 in September. It must be noted, however, that this will still require some work to be done at home over the summer holidays.

Year 12 lessons will run from 9.00am to 4.30pm. I will send a hard copy of this letter with a bespoke timetable for your child showing which days they will need to come into school.

We have been open every day, including over the holidays, for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children since the government introduced the national social distancing measures to limit the spread of coronavirus. This has enabled us to ensure that our detailed risk assessments are based upon existing working practices that we have been using to ensure the safety of the whole school community.

We have made plans so that we are able to open three separate schools on the site, the three schools will be:

  • Year 10 school – to include a Full Time School for eligible students and a rota for all others.
  • Year 12 school
  • All Day school (for children in Years 7-9 who are either defined as vulnerable or whose parents are key workers).

Each of these three schools will be:

  • separately staffed
  • located in different parts of the school
  • accessed from separate entrances
  • operate at different times ensuring pupils don’t cross

Year 12 School will be in C block – that is our 6th Form Common Room and the classes in that area. Students can only enter the site via the Cricketfield Road entrance. They will then enter the building through the 6th Form entrance and then go directly to the classroom and desk that they have been assigned to.

It will run between 9.00am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday. The 6th Form entrance will be open for arrival from 8.45 – 9.10 It will not be possible for students to arrive outside of this time as we need to safeguard the site and it will not be possible for students to be in parts of the school that are not assigned to their year group.

The students’ departure time will be staggered to help with social distancing.

Social distancing and hygiene

Much has been written about the concerns teachers and parents have about returning to schools. A large portion of these concerns have been due to worries around social distancing – this is something that simply can not happen in nursery, reception and Year 1 classes due to the age of the children.

The maturity of our children, especially in the 6th Form, allows us to follow far more stringent rules in school. The government has recommended halving class sizes and having 15 students per room. We have set up the school so there will be 12 children in a classroom designed for 32. There are some slightly larger classes, but these will be taught in rooms which are significantly bigger than a regular classroom.

Each room will be thoroughly cleaned each evening. There will be a cleaner present in the area to constantly wipe down and clean throughout the day.

We ask that students wash their hands before leaving home and then they will be provided with hand sanitiser upon entering the school building.

If a student needs to go to the toilet they will be expected to wash their hands in the cubicle and then use hand sanitiser before coming back into the classroom.

The same protocols will be followed by staff as they move into and around the building and classrooms.

We have sourced enough hand sanitiser, soap and cleaning products for the next half term.

All doors will be wedged open to reduce the number of surfaces that need to be touched.

Students will not be expected to wear uniform to Year 12 school. Face masks should not be worn (See the end of the letter for detailed government advice).

Absence

If for any reason your child is unable to attend on a particular day please contact the school as you normally would do by calling 01803 317129 or email sixthform@TQacademy.co.uk

Food and Catering

  • Students will not be allowed to leave the site during the day.
  • Students are encouraged to bring in their own packed lunches if possible.
  • The canteen will be serving food at lunchtime.
  • Each morning, a canteen order form will be completed so catering staff can have the food ready for students prior to the break. Cold food and snacks will be placed on trolleys and taken to the classrooms to minimise student movement and encourage social distancing.
  • At lunchtime, students will have the food brought to them, again to minimise movement in the school and ensure social distancing is managed.
  • Students will need to bring in water bottles daily as the water dispensers will be turned off for hygiene purposes. (Bottles of water are available to purchase if needed).

Other information

Please take note of the following points:

  • Students will only need to bring their calculator in with them. They do not need to bring their pencil case with all equipment. We will have all equipment available for students to have their own set.
  • We will have our pastoral team on site if students wish to see them outside of the prescribed session times.
  • We ask that students socially distance from others if walking to and from school.

Home learning

It will still be necessary for our students to undertake home learning in addition to their Year 12 School lessons. This is to support what they do in class and to help them with topic areas that they may not have covered in depth. This will be for 2hrs per day.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us. We are trying to do our very best to support all members of our large school community during these very challenging and difficult times. Thank you for your continued support and I look forward to welcoming your sons and daughters back to school, albeit, a very different type of school to the one they were last in.

My very best wishes to you all

*****************

Government definitions and further information

Face masks

Wearing a face covering or face mask in schools or other education settings is not recommended. Face coverings may be beneficial for short periods indoors where there is a risk of close social contact with people you do not usually meet and where social distancing and other measures cannot be maintained, for example on public transport or in some shops. This does not apply to schools or other education settings. Schools and other education or childcare settings should therefore not require staff, children and learners to wear face coverings.

Children who clinically vulnerable or living with somebody who is

Shielded and clinically vulnerable children and young people

For the vast majority of children and young people, coronavirus is a mild illness. Children and young people (0 to 18 years of age) who have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable due to pre-existing medical conditions have been advised to shield. We do not expect these children to be attending school or college, and they should continue to be supported at home as much as possible. Clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) people are those considered to be at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. A small minority of children will fall into this category, and parents should follow medical advice if their child is in this category.

Living with a shielded or clinically vulnerable person

If a child lives with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable), including those who are pregnant, they can attend their education or childcare setting.

If a child, young person or staff member lives in a household with someone who is extremely clinically vulnerable, as set out in the COVID-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable guidance, it is advised they only attend an education or childcare setting if stringent social distancing can be adhered to and, in the case of children, they are able to understand and follow those instructions. This may not be possible for very young children and older children without the capacity to adhere to the instructions on social distancing. If stringent social distancing cannot be adhered to, we do not expect those individuals to attend. They should be supported to learn or work at home.

We feel that our students are able to follow social distancing, especially if they are understanding of the impact of doing so for their family members. I do, of course, understand that this is a decision for each family to make knowing their own circumstances.

 

28th May 2020 – Year 10 Return to school


Dear Parents and Carers

 

Please forgive the length of this letter, but it contains a great deal of information that is important that you have regarding the wider reopening of schools from 1st and 15th June 2020.

 

There has now been further information released about our wider reopening, however, we are still awaiting some detailed information.  What we do know is that we will be providing a full time lessons from Tuesday 2 June for (see the end of the letter for definitions):

  • Children whose parents are critical workers – they are encouraged to attend, it is no longer necessary for parents of eligible children to keep them at home if they can. 
  • Students who are classified as vulnerable – there is an expectation for them to attend school every day.

 

We are then able to offer some face to face teaching to all remaining Year 10 students from Monday 15 June.  We have been told that we will be allowed a maximum of a quarter of the year group in school on any particular day.  Students in the Year 10 School will be assigned a day to come into school for a full day from 8.30 to 4.00.  Students will be taught by subject teachers on this day.  

 

We have been open every day, including over the holidays, for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children since the government introduced the national social distancing measures to limit the spread of coronavirus.  This has enabled us to ensure that our detailed risk assessments are based upon existing working practices that we have been using to ensure the safety of the whole school community.  Whilst grades are important to our students’ futures, all planning we have done has been carried out to minimise the risk to all of students and staff as well as everyone’s families.  This is a responsibility that I feel greatly.

 

We have made plans so that we are able to open three separate schools from 1st June on the site, the three schools will be:

  • Year 10 school – to include a Full Time School for eligible students and a rota for all others.
  • Year 12 school
  • All Day school (for children in Years 7-9 who are either defined as vulnerable or whose parents are key workers).

 

Each of these three schools will be:

  • separately staffed
  • located in different parts of the school
  • accessed from separate entrances
  • operate at different times ensuring pupils don’t cross

 

The actual decision on our reopening will be reliant on scientific tests set out by the government, which will be reviewed on 28 May. 

 

I have divided this letter into three sections which I hope will make this information clearer:

  • Guidance for parents who are critical workers and the parents of vulnerable children.
  • Guidance for parents who are not critical workers or parents of vulnerable children 
  • Additional information for all parents of children in Year 10 

 

Guidance for parents who are critical workers and the parents of vulnerable children.

These students are eligible to come back to school after half term, although we plan to use Monday 1 June to rearrange the Year 10 School classrooms, therefore students will return on Tuesday 2 June; this is due to the guidance released yesterday differing from what we had been led to believe would be in it.  This Year 10 Full Time School (for children whose parents are critical workers and vulnerable children) provision will run from 9.00 to 3.00 each day and eligible students will be expected to attend each day for the duration of the day.  Students will be taught by subject teachers throughout the day.

 

If you are classified as a critical worker or your child is deemed vulnerable and you would like to take up the offer of the Year 10 Full Time School (for children whose parents are critical workers and vulnerable children) please click on the link below, I would be grateful if you could do this as soon as possible to help us with our planning. 

 

https://forms.gle/9ZxHhcf8aaKHAKgHA 

 

Year 10 school will be in E block – that is our Humanities and Maths rooms (these are the rooms next to the Year 7 playground and the rooms that were used as Year 7 tutor rooms and the ones above them).  Students will enter from the Barton Road entrance and then go directly to the classroom and desk that they have been assigned.  There are specific routes that students will need to take to their classroom.

 

The Barton Road gate will be open for arrival from 8.50 – students must not enter the school via Cricketfield Road.  Please ensure students arrive promptly as the gates will close at 9.10.  It will not be possible for students to arrive outside of these times as we need to safeguard the site and it will not be possible for students to be in parts of the school that are not assigned to their year group.  The students’ departure time will be staggered around 3.00 to help with social distancing.

 

Classes

Each student will be assigned to a class in which they will remain in for the duration of their time in school – they will not mix with children from other groups.  

 

Absence

If for any reason your child is unable to attend on a particular day please contact the school as you normally would do by calling 01803 329351 and choose option 1, or email attendance@TQacademy.co.uk 

 

Food and Catering

  • Students are encouraged to bring in their own packed lunches if possible. 
  • The canteen will be serving food at lunchtime. 
  • During tutor time each morning, a canteen order form will be completed so catering staff can have the food ready for students prior to the break. Cold food and snacks will be placed on trolleys and taken to the classrooms to minimise student movement and encourage social distancing.
  • At lunchtime students will have the food brought to them, again to minimise movement in the school and ensure social distancing is managed.
  • Students will need to bring in water bottles daily as the water dispensers will be turned off for hygiene purposes. (Bottles of water are available to purchase if needed).

 

Other information

Please take note of the following points:

  • Students will only need to bring their calculator in with them.  They do not need to bring their pencil case with all equipment.  We will have all equipment available for students to have their own set.
  • We will have our pastoral team on site if students wish to see them outside of the prescribed session times.
  • We ask that students socially distance from others if walking to and from school.

 

 

Guidance for parents who are not critical workers or parents of vulnerable children 

I will write to you as soon as we have the final plans for the rota of the Year 10 students.

 

Home learning

The majority of students will continue with the home learning as they have been for the past half term.  It will continue to be emailed every morning as a Google Form.

 

Additional information for all parents of children in Year 10 

Much has been written over the past couple of weeks about the concerns teachers and parents have about returning to schools.  A large portion of these concerns have been due to worries around social distancing – this is something that simply can not happen in nursery, reception and Year 1 classes due to the age of the children.

 

The maturity of our children allows us to follow far more stringent rules in school.  In primary schools, the government has recommended halving class sizes and having 15 students per room.  We have set up the school so there will be 12 children in a classroom designed for 32.  

 

 

In some cases, two groups may be taught at the same time by one teacher.  This is able to happen as some of our classrooms have a partition wall between them that can be opened up to double the size of the room.  In these rooms, there will be twice the number of children, desks and chairs, but these spaces are twice the size of regular classrooms.  The same social distancing that will take place in all rooms will also apply in this room.

 

Each room will be thoroughly cleaned each evening.  There will be a cleaner present in the area to constantly wipe down and clean throughout the day.

 

We ask that children wash their hands before leaving home and then they will be provided with hand sanitiser upon entering the school building.  

 

If a student needs to go to the toilet they will be expected to wash their hands in the cubicle and then use hand sanitiser before coming back into the classroom.

 

The same protocols will be followed by staff as they move into and around the building and classrooms.

 

We have sourced enough hand sanitiser, soap and cleaning products for the next half term.

 

All doors will be wedged open to reduce the number of surfaces that need to be touched.

 

Students will not be expected to wear uniform to Year 10 school.  Face masks should not be worn (See the end of the letter for detailed government advice).

 

 

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.  We are trying to do our very best to support all members of our large school community during these very challenging and difficult times.  Thank you for your continued support and I look forward to welcoming your sons and daughters back to school, albeit, a very different type of school to the one they were last in.

 

My very best wishes to you all

 

*********

Definitions and further information

 

Vulnerable children

Vulnerable children are those across all year groups who:

  • are assessed as being in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, including children and young people who have a child in need plan, a child protection plan or who are a looked-after child.  These students have an assigned social worker.
  • have an education, health and care (EHC) plan and it is determined, following risk assessment, that their needs can be as safely or more safely met in the educational environment

 

Face masks

Wearing a face covering or face mask in schools or other education settings is not recommended. Face coverings may be beneficial for short periods indoors where there is a risk of close social contact with people you do not usually meet and where social distancing and other measures cannot be maintained, for example on public transport or in some shops. This does not apply to schools or other education settings. Schools and other education or childcare settings should therefore not require staff, children and learners to wear face coverings. 

 

Children who should not attend Year 10 school

Shielded and clinically vulnerable children and young people

For the vast majority of children and young people, coronavirus is a mild illness. Children and young people (0 to 18 years of age) who have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable due to pre-existing medical conditions have been advised to shield. We do not expect these children to be attending school or college, and they should continue to be supported at home as much as possible. Clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) people are those considered to be at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. A small minority of children will fall into this category, and parents should follow medical advice if their child is in this category.

 

Living with a shielded or clinically vulnerable person

If a child lives with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable), including those who are pregnant, they can attend their education or childcare setting.

 

If a child, young person or staff member lives in a household with someone who is extremely clinically vulnerable, as set out in the COVID-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable guidance, it is advised they only attend an education or childcare setting if stringent social distancing can be adhered to and, in the case of children, they are able to understand and follow those instructions. This may not be possible for very young children and older children without the capacity to adhere to the instructions on social distancing. If stringent social distancing cannot be adhered to, we do not expect those individuals to attend. They should be supported to learn or work at home.

 

We feel that our students are able to follow social distancing, especially if they are understanding of the impact of doing so for their family members.  I do, of course, understand that this is a decision for each family to make knowing their own circumstances.

 

Critical workers

The definition of critical workers are those whose jobs fall under the following categories

 

Health and social care

This includes, but is not limited to, doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

 

Education and childcare

This includes:

  • childcare
  • support and teaching staff
  • social workers
  • specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach

 

Key public services

This includes:

  • those essential to the running of the justice system
  • religious staff
  • charities and workers delivering key frontline services
  • those responsible for the management of the deceased
  • journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting

 

Local and national government

This only includes:

  • those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response
  • or delivering essential public services, such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies

 

Food and other necessary goods

This includes those involved in food:

  • production
  • processing
  • distribution
  • sale and delivery
  • as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines)

 

Public safety and national security

This includes:

  • police and support staff
  • Ministry of Defence civilians
  • contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 outbreak)
  • fire and rescue service employees (including support staff)
  • National Crime Agency staff
  • those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas

 

Transport

This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

 

Utilities, communication and financial services

This includes:

  • staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure)
  • the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage)
  • information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response
  • key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services)
  • postal services and delivery
  • payments providers
  • waste disposal sectors

21st May 2020 – Update for Years 10 & 12

Dear Parents and Carers

For over a week now we have had a clear plan for bringing Year 10 and 12 back into school from 1 June. Unfortunately, I have not been able to share these details with you or our staff yet as we have been waiting for the final secondary guidance from the government. In this email, I would like to outline the broad plan for June, but the details will have to wait until I receive the final secondary guidance. I do apologise for this delay, but I am sure you can imagine my frustration with the situation.

In the information released by the government, following the Prime Minister’s statements last week, they stated the following about the children of critical workers and vulnerable children (see the end of the letter for definitions of critical workers and vulnerable children):

Now that we have made progress in reducing the transmission of coronavirus we are encouraging all eligible children to attend – it is no longer necessary for parents of eligible children to keep them at home if they can. In particular vulnerable children of all year groups continue to be expected and encouraged to attend educational provision where it is appropriate for them to do so.

They also made specific reference to students in Years 10 and 12:

For pupils in year 10 and 12, we are asking schools and colleges to supplement remote education with some face to face support for these year groups from 1 June. We do not expect these pupils to return to school or college on a full-time basis at this stage, and so we do not expect a full timetable to be offered. Schools and colleges should consider how to best use additional year 10 and 12 time to support those pupils who are starting their final year of study for GCSEs, A levels and other qualifications next academic year.

We have made detailed plans that will enable us to provide that vital face to face support to our children during this critical phase in their education. The basis of all of our discussions has been how we can do this whilst ensuring the safety of all students and staff as well as everyone’s families.

We have been open every day, including over the holidays, for the children of key workers and vulnerable children since the government introduced the national social distancing measures to limit the spread of coronavirus. This has enabled us to ensure that our detailed risk assessments are based upon existing working practices that we have been using to ensure the safety of the whole school community.

The plans are based around us being able to open three separate schools from 1st June on the site, the three schools will be:

  • Year 10 school
  • Year 12 school
  • All-day school (for children in Years 7-9 who are either defined as vulnerable or whose parents are key workers).

Each of these three schools will be:

  • separately staffed
  • located in different parts of the school
  • accessed from separate entrances
  • operate at different times ensuring pupils don’t cross

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The actual decision on our reopening will be reliant on scientific tests set out by the government and which will be reviewed on 28 May. The government’s roadmap says: “It is possible that the dates … will be delayed if these conditions are not met. Changes will be announced at least 48 hours before coming into effect.”

The All Day School will continue to operate as we currently do for the children of critical workers and those classed as vulnerable.

I thank you for your patience and I hope to be able to write to you with further details in the near future.

My very best wishes

Steve Margetts
Principal

21st May 2020 – Update for Years 7-9

Dear Parents and Carers

Please forgive the length of this letter, but it contains a great deal of information that is important that you have regarding the potential wider reopening of schools from 1st June 2020.

In the information released by the government, following the Prime Minister’s statements last week, they stated the following about the children of critical workers and vulnerable children (see the end of the letter for definitions of critical workers and vulnerable children):

Now that we have made progress in reducing the transmission of coronavirus we are encouraging all eligible children to attend – it is no longer necessary for parents of eligible children to keep them at home if they can. In particular vulnerable children of all year groups continue to be expected and encouraged to attend educational provision where it is appropriate for them to do so.

They also made specific reference to students in Years 10 and 12:

For pupils in year 10 and 12, we are asking schools and colleges to supplement remote education with some face to face support for these year groups from 1 June. We do not expect these pupils to return to school or college on a full-time basis at this stage, and so we do not expect a full timetable to be offered as schools and colleges. Schools and colleges should consider how to best use additional year 10 and 12 time to support those pupils who are starting their final year of study for GCSEs, A levels and other qualifications next academic year.

We have spent the past week making detailed plans that will enable us to provide that vital face to face support to our children during this critical phase in their education.  The basis of all of our discussions have been how can we do this whilst ensuring the safety of all students and staff as well as everyone’s families.

We have been open every day, including over the holidays, for the children of key workers and vulnerable children since the government introduced the national social distancing measures to limit the spread of coronavirus.  This has enabled us to ensure that our detailed risk assessments are based upon existing working practices that we have been using to ensure the safety of the whole school community.

We have made plans so that we are able to open three separate schools from 1st June on the site, the three schools will be:

  • Year 10 school
  • Year 12 school
  • All-day school (for children in Years 7-9 who are either defined as vulnerable or whose parents are critical workers).

Each of these three schools will be:

  • separately staffed
  • located in different parts of the school
  • accessed from separate entrances
  • operate at different times ensuring students don’t cross

The actual decision on our reopening for Year 10 and 12 will be reliant on scientific tests set out by the government which will be reviewed on 28 May. The government’s roadmap says: “It is possible that the dates … will be delayed if these conditions are not met. Changes will be announced at least 48 hours before coming into effect.”

The All Day School will be open on 1st June irrespective of the government’s decision about Years 10 and 12 on the 28 May.

All Day School for children in Years 7-9

As I outlined earlier in this letter, this provision is only for those students who:

  • have one or more parents who are critical workers.
  • are defined as vulnerable.

Children of critical workers

The government are encouraging children of critical workers to come into school, they state:

We strongly encourage children and young people in the eligible year groups and priority groups (such as children of critical workers) to attend.

Vulnerable children

The government have made their expectations very clear for this group of students:

For children who have a social worker, attendance is expected.

Timings and location

All-day School will be located in H block – this is the block closest to The Platform and adjacent to the dining area.  Students will enter the site via the Cricketfield Road entrance only.  They will then enter the building via the main student entrance next to the Sports Hall.  The entrance will be open at 8.00am and will close at 8.40am.  It will not be possible for students to arrive outside of this time as we need to safeguard the site and it will not be possible for students to be in parts of the school that are not assigned to their year group.

A free breakfast will be available from 8.00am.  Students will need to be in their classroom and at their assigned seats by 8.30am.

It will run between 8.30am and 3.00pm Monday to Friday.  If you require additional hours please indicate this request on the weekly form that is sent out.

The students’ departure time will be staggered to help with social distancing.

Learning with teachers

Teachers will be assigned to each of the groups to support students with their home learning tasks.  Students will be working through their home learning tasks, with this support, and then carry out enrichment activities in the afternoon.  Students who have been in school has been working on their own and I hope that having the teachers lead the home learning sessions will provide greater interaction and support for the students as it becomes apparent this is how they will be learning for the next seven weeks.

Social distancing and hygiene

Much has been written over the past 10 days about the concerns teachers and parents have about returning to schools.  A large portion of these concerns have been due to worries around social distancing – this is something that simply can not happen in nursery, reception and Year 1 classes due to the age of the children.

The maturity of our children allows us to follow far more stringent rules in school.  In primary schools the government has recommended halving class sizes and having 15 students per room.  We have set up the school so there will be 12 children in a classroom designed for 32.

Each room will be thoroughly cleaned each evening.  There will be a cleaner present in the area to constantly wipe down and clean throughout the day.

We ask that students wash their hands before leaving home and then they will be provided with hand sanitiser upon entering the school building.

If a student needs to go to the toilet they will be expected to wash their hands in the cubicle and then use hand sanitiser before coming back into the classroom.

The same protocols will be followed by staff as they move into and around H block, the classrooms and dining area.

We have sourced enough hand sanitiser, soap and cleaning products for the next half term.

All doors will be wedged open to reduce the number of surfaces that need to be touched.

Students will not be expected to wear uniform to All-day school.  Face masks should not be worn (See the end of the letter for detailed government advice).

Absence

If for any reason your child is unable to attend on a particular day that you have booked in please contact the school as you normally would do by calling 01803 329351 and choose option 1, or email attendance@TQacademy.co.uk.  

Food and Catering

  • Students are encouraged to bring in their own packed lunches if possible. 
  • The canteen will be serving food at both break and lunchtime. 
  • During tutor time each morning, a canteen order form will be completed so catering staff can have the food ready for students prior to the break. Cold food and snacks will be placed on trolleys and taken to the classrooms to minimise student movement and ensure social distancing.
  • At lunchtime students have an allocated seat and the food will be brought to them, again to minimise movement and ensure social distancing is managed.
  • Students will need to bring in water bottles daily as the water dispensers will be turned off for hygiene purposes. (Bottles of water are available to purchase if needed).

Other information

Please take note of the following points:

  • Studentswill only need to bring their calculator in with them.  They do not need to bring their pencil case with all equipment.  We will have all equipment available for students to have their own equipment.
  • We will have our pastoral team on site if students wish to see them outside of the prescribed session times.
  • We ask that students socially distance from others if walking to and from school.

How to sign up

You will be sent a form to complete following this email.  If your child is eligible please can you complete this form.  You can access the form directly via:

bit.ly/TAweek8

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.  You can telephone the school or contact us via the dedicated email address for the All Day School alldayschool@tqacademy.co.uk.  We are trying to do our very best to support all members of our large school community during these very challenging and difficult times.  Thank you for your continued support and I look forward to welcoming your sons and daughters back to school, albeit, a very different type of school to the one they were last in.

My very best wishes to you all.

Definitions and further information

 

Vulnerable children

Vulnerable children are those across all year groups who:

  • are assessed as being in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, including children and young people who have a child in need plan, a child protection plan or who are a looked-after child.  These students have an assigned social worker.
  • have an education, health and care (EHC) plan and it is determined, following risk assessment, that their needs can be as safely or more safely met in the educational environment

 

Face masks

Wearing a face covering or face mask in schools or other education settings is not recommended. Face coverings may be beneficial for short periods indoors where there is a risk of close social contact with people you do not usually meet and where social distancing and other measures cannot be maintained, for example on public transport or in some shops. This does not apply to schools or other education settings. Schools and other education or childcare settings should therefore not require staff, children and learners to wear face coverings. 

 

Children who should not attend All Day school

Shielded and clinically vulnerable children and young people

For the vast majority of children and young people, coronavirus is a mild illness. Children and young people (0 to 18 years of age) who have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable due to pre-existing medical conditions have been advised to shield. We do not expect these children to be attending school or college, and they should continue to be supported at home as much as possible. Clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) people are those considered to be at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. A small minority of children will fall into this category, and parents should follow medical advice if their child is in this category.

 

Living with a shielded or clinically vulnerable person

If a child lives with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable), including those who are pregnant, they can attend their education or childcare setting.

 

If a child, young person or staff member lives in a household with someone who is extremely clinically vulnerable, as set out in the COVID-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable guidance, it is advised they only attend an education or childcare setting if stringent social distancing can be adhered to and, in the case of children, they are able to understand and follow those instructions. This may not be possible for very young children and older children without the capacity to adhere to the instructions on social distancing. If stringent social distancing cannot be adhered to, we do not expect those individuals to attend. They should be supported to learn or work at home.

 

We feel that our students are able to follow social distancing, especially if they are understanding of the impact of doing so for their family members.  I do, of course, understand that this is a decision for each family to make knowing their own circumstances.

 

Critical workers

The definition of critical workers are those whose jobs fall under the following categories

 

Health and social care

This includes, but is not limited to, doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

 

Education and childcare

This includes:

  • childcare
  • support and teaching staff
  • social workers
  • specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach

 

Key public services

This includes:

  • those essential to the running of the justice system
  • religious staff
  • charities and workers delivering key frontline services
  • those responsible for the management of the deceased
  • journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting

 

Local and national government

This only includes:

  • those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response
  • or delivering essential public services, such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies

 

Food and other necessary goods

This includes those involved in food:

  • production
  • processing
  • distribution
  • sale and delivery
  • as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines)

 

Public safety and national security

This includes:

  • police and support staff
  • Ministry of Defence civilians
  • contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 outbreak)
  • fire and rescue service employees (including support staff)
  • National Crime Agency staff
  • those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas

 

Transport

This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

 

Utilities, communication and financial services

This includes:

  • staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure)
  • the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage)
  • information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response
  • key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services)
  • postal services and delivery
  • payments providers
  • waste disposal sectors

 

 

 

12 May email – School Update

Dear Parent / Carer

Following on from the Prime Minister’s announcements over the past couple of days there has been a significant amount of information given and as a school we are digesting this and planning a way forward that ensures the safety of all children, staff and their families.

From 1st June, we are looking at how we can:

offer “face to face support” to supplement the current home learning of our Year 10 and Year 12 students via taught lessons;
accommodate children of all key workers;
accommodate all vulnerable children who are now expected and encouraged to attend school.
I will write to you next week outlining detailed plans of the arrangements for after half term.

The government has just released a document for parents and carers about the opening of schools:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/reopening-schools-and-other-educational-settings-from-1-june

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support of the school and your children with their home learning.

Mr S Margetts

 

13 April email – Years 7-10 Home learning

Dear Parents and Carers

Home learning

We have made some changes to the work that we will be setting from tomorrow; I hope it will give far greater clarity for you and your children.

We will be reminding students of their daily home learning tasks using Google Forms. They will receive a new email each morning with their tasks for that day. We hope this will make it easier for them to keep track of what they need to complete, and for teachers to monitor whether anyone needs additional help in accessing the materials. The Google Forms will have daily tutor reading and ‘wider world’ tasks incorporated in them. Students fill in this Google Form and then submit it to their teachers. Mr Gale has produced a video that explains how the Google Forms are used, please find the time to watch this.:

Years 7-9: https://youtu.be/96AbP5R2Zs4

Year 10: https://youtu.be/9PbOQIOpyNg

I have updated the pages on the website which give greater information about their tasks:

Year 7: http://www.tqacademy.co.uk/coronavirus/year-7/

Year 8: http://www.tqacademy.co.uk/coronavirus/year-8/

Year 9: http://www.tqacademy.co.uk/coronavirus/year-9/

Year 10: http://www.tqacademy.co.uk/coronavirus/year-10/

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in contact with the year group or subject teams. We are hoping that this will give you and your children much more clarity around expectations each day:

http://www.tqacademy.co.uk/coronavirus/contacting-the-school/

The extension activities will help students to broaden their studies. They contain many ideas that you could do together or with siblings:

http://www.tqacademy.co.uk/coronavirus/enrichment/

Free school meals

We wanted to remind parents/carers that your children may be entitled to free school meals. During school closure, we are able to send home supermarket gift vouchers.

Your child might be eligible if you receive:

  • Income Support
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance
  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit run-on
  • Universal Credit, provided you have an annual net earned income not exceeding £7,400

If you think your child might be eligible please either apply here: https://forms.torbay.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals

Best wishes

Steve Margetts

Principal

12 April email – Year 11 and 13 results

Dear students, parents and carers

I wanted to update you with the information I have about all of the exam courses that you are studying and how final grades will be determined.

We have been asked to use our professional experience to make a fair and objective judgement of the grade they believe students would have achieved had they sat their exams this year.  Teachers are going to take into account the full range of available evidence, including non-exam assessment; the results of any homework assignments or mock exams; and any other records of student performance over the course of study. 

It is important to understand that a mechanism is applied to A-level and GCSE results every year which means the distribution of grades is broadly the same as for similar cohorts in previous years. The model planned this year will apply a similar approach to assessments made by schools and colleges rather than to exams. The benefit is this ensures consistency over time and students can, therefore, be confident that a grade achieved this year will have the same value as in any other year. 

This is why we have been asked to provide a rank order of students within each grade; the exam boards may make some changes to the exam grades that we submit.  The model they will use is likely to look at evidence such as the prior attainment of students of different abilities at each school and the results of the school or college in recent years.

TA has a track record over many years where our students outperform students in other schools of the same ability quite significantly.  This will be taken into account when determining your grades – the government knows how hard TA students work and the high-quality teaching you benefit from.

Initially, it was hoped that the results would have been given to students by the end of July.  This appears to have changed slightly. They are now saying that they’re “working hard to get results out as soon as is possible”. The results “won’t be delayed after the dates they were expected in August and ideally will be issued a little earlier, so students can have the certainty they need”. 

We have been explicitly told that we do not share provisional grades, nor rank orders, with students or parents and carers. 

Best wishes

Steve Margetts

Principal

12 April email – Key workers

Dear Parents and Carers

The government have stated that “Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.”

If you are employed in a keyworker role you could send your child(ren) into school to enable you to continue to undertake your invaluable role. We will be open from 8am for breakfast and we will start at 8.30am and finish at 3pm. We will be working through the home learning that will be set each day.

The canteen will be open for children to buy lunches, although there will be a limited offer due to the numbers in school. If your child is eligible for Free School Meals they will be able to get a meal as they would normally do.

The sign-up sheet can be accessed via the form below.

https://forms.gle/x9o3n3dZyCTQzuUJ9

If you are a keyworker and don’t need to send your child in next week, but you would like to be sent sign up sheets in future weeks, please email admin@TQacademy.co.uk and we will add you to our keyworker mailing list.

Best wishes

Steve Margetts

Principal

 

24 March email – Key workers – Easter holidays

Dear Parents and Carers

I have been very pleased with how our program to support key workers has gone since the school closed. I am aware that the upcoming Easter holidays will present problems for those families where the parent(s) at home will be asked to continue their key roles as other relatives and holiday clubs can not be called upon for assistance.

From Saturday 28 March we will be open for key worker’s children where you have no other alternative. We will be open 7 days a week, including the bank holidays over the Easter weekend. Again we will be offering this free of charge to support our parents who are fulfilling such important roles to support our community. TA staff has volunteered their time to enable us to offer this; I am very grateful to the numerous offers I have had.

Please can you complete the following form to assist us with our planning:

https://forms.gle/kmkZBYE7wYVVy8o77

Please do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions.

Best wishes

Steve Margetts

Principal

 

23 March email – Update on home learning

Dear Parent and Carers

Last week we sent out the home learning for your child to complete at home whilst we are closed. I thought it might be helpful to provide some more support with regard to this work. There is not an expectation for you to be home schooling your children, in other words, be teaching them new material. I hope that you will be able to support, encourage and help to plan a schedule; much in the same way you do with homework.

We have re-considered this to make it clearer what needs to be done. As a result, we have divided the work into compulsory work, this must be completed daily, and optional work for those who want to do more and extend their learning. In addition to this guidance we have provided examples of how the students could organise their time. It would be beneficial if you agreed on a timetable with your child which would help to develop routines during this time.

We are working hard to provide an even more varied experience after Easter and I will be in contact during the holidays to provide more information.

If you have questions or concerns please contact our staff – different contact details can be found here:

http://www.tqacademy.co.uk/coronavirus/contacting-the-school/

I have attached a document with:

Thank you for your continued support and please do get in contact if there is anything we can do to support you and you child.

Best wishes

Steve Margetts

Principal

 

20 March email – Update on examinations

Dear Parents and Carers

I have just seen that the government has provided some information about how students’ grades will be awarded this summer.

It states that it will ensure that “GCSE and A level students are awarded a grade which fairly reflects the work that they have put in. There will also be an option to sit an exam early in the next academic year for students who wish to.”

The exam boards will be asking us, who know our students well, to submit our judgement about the grade that they believe each student would have received if exams had gone ahead.

We don’t know the exact process this will take, but we will be asked to take into account a range of evidence and data including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment.

The exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment, and use this information to produce a calculated grade for each student, which will be the best assessment of the work they have put in.  Again, I have not got the full information of what this will look like.

Interestingly they are saying that they hope that students will receive their exam grades by the end of July, some weeks earlier than in a traditional year.  The grades students will get will be indistinguishable from those provided in other years, in other words, these results will count as much as the results in any other year.

If students wish to, they will be able to take their exams early in the new academic year or next summer.  There will also be an opportunity to appeal grades “if they do not believe the correct process has been followed in their case”.

My initial thoughts are that this is probably as good as we could hope for given the circumstances; it seems to be a sensible approach.  Of course, the devil will be in the detail and I will keep you updated as I hear more.

Best wishes

 

Steve Margetts

Principal

 

The full information can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-details-on-exams-and-grades-announced?utm_source=96f31727-1fb9-408b-a7fa-d91d4ceaeb6b&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate 

 

 

 

 

 

20 March email – Key worker and vulnerable children

Dear Parents and carers

When the school is closed parents are being asked by the government to follow these key principles:

  1. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
  2. If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then Torquay Academy will be open and available for them.
  3. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
  4. Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

 

I am not able to outline exactly the provision we will be offering over the coming weeks.  I have been blown away by the dedication of TA’s staff which has enabled us to remain open for every year group.  I have to be realistic and accept that increasing numbers of our staff will have to self isolate as time goes on. I do, however, give you my commitment that we will do our very best to enable the children of key workers to come into school to enable you to carry on doing the jobs that are central to our community being able to continue.  

 

Key workers

I have now received guidance from the government about which job roles are being identified as key workers. If your role is included within this list of key workers and you would like to send your child into school please can you complete the form by clicking on the link below. 

We are also investigating putting on some Easter holiday provision for those families who are key workers and unable to find alternative childcare provision. As a school, I would like to try and support our frontline workers who are going to be essential to keeping our local community functioning. This childcare provision over the Easter holidays will be provided free of charge and staffed by volunteers within the school. Again, can you please indicate on the form below if you wish to take up this provision.

 

Please complete this form:

https://forms.gle/xcrZDfnHsGPFqbot6

 

I have detailed the various key worker positions that have been identified by the government at the bottom of this email.

 

Vulnerable children

I would like to point out that this is the terminology used by the government – I am using it to maintain clarity between what I write to you and what you will be seeing and reading in the news.

Vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

If you would like your child to come into school can I ask that you complete this form:

https://forms.gle/BsnX2s1j25UZQM5q7

 

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in contact with the school via admin@TQacademy or 01803 329351.  Please do bear with our team, I am sure you appreciate that it is a busy time for them.

 

Best wishes

 

Steve Margetts

Principal

 

 

Health and social care

This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

 

Education and childcare

This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.

 

Key public services

This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.

 

Local and national government

This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.

 

Food and other necessary goods

This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).

 

Public safety and national security

This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.

 

Transport

This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

 

Utilities, communication and financial services

This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.

19 March email – school closure & home learning

You can download a copy of the letter below for each year group:

Y7 Letter

Y8 Letter

Y9 Letter

Y10 Letter

Y11 Letter

Y12 Letter

Y13 Letter

Dear Parents and carers

I am writing with further details about the school closure.  Please do not hesitate to get in contact with us at any point.  We have placed a great deal of information on the school website including:

  • Links and how to access all of the required websites
  • Contact details for each subject area
  • Details of work to be completed

 

Home Learning

It is vital that your child accesses their email – please ensure this is the first step for them.  Please visit the Online resources section under Coronavirus on the school website or email ICT@TQacademy.co.uk for assistance.

We are asking students to carry on with as much work during this time away from school so that on their return they can continue to be successful. Students at Torquay Academy perform well above average in comparison to other schools nationally; their hard-working attitude and great teaching is the reason for this. We have really tried to make the work constructive and supportive for the students; it should not be seen as punitive and us setting work simply for the sake of being able to do so.

To support students in continuing with their learning there are expected daily activities.  These are listed on the final page of this letter.

We ask that all written work, not completed online, should be completed in Homework Books or on paper. This will be checked by tutors when we return.

Subject teachers can be contacted via the following email addresses

English Staff –  EnglishStaff@tqacademy.co.uk
Enterprise Staff –  EnterpriseStaff@tqacademy.co.uk
Maths Staff –  MathsStaff@tqacademy.co.uk
MFL Staff  – MFLStaff@tqacademy.co.uk
PE Staff –  PEStaff@tqacademy.co.uk
Creative Arts Staff  – CreativeArtsStaff@tqacademy.co.uk
Humanities Staff –  HumanitiesStaff@tqacademy.co.uk
Science Staff –  ScienceStaff@tqacademy.co.uk

If you have any questions regarding the above please contact the year team as follows and they will be available to answer your concerns:

Years 7 & 8 – KeyStage3Staff@tqacademy.co.uk
Year 9 – Year9Staff@tqacademy.co.uk
Year 10 – Year10Staff@tqacademy.co.uk
Year 11 – Year11Staff@tqacademy.co.uk
Sixth Form – SixthFormStaff@tqacademy.co.uk

 

For Year 11 Students/Parents/Carers only:

I have spoken with all of the year 11 students this morning to update them with the information I was aware of at the time. We discussed what might happen and I gave them my assurances that we would be doing our absolute best to ensure that they receive the grades that they deserve this summer.

At the moment we know that they will not be sitting their exams during this academic year, therefore I feel it is prudent not to be setting home learning just at this time. They have been working with such intensity in recent months that pausing over the Easter holidays will give them some time to focus on their own well-being and to digest what has happened over recent weeks.

I have told them that We will be setting appropriate work for them once we know the situation with the examinations. I am thinking that we can give them a real headstart for many of the courses they will be beginning in September.

I do not want to set them work, just for the sake of it right now.  They should enjoy a break and we will refocus after Easter.

I am hopeful that we will be in a better position to inform the students by the end of tomorrow as the Education Secretary has just released the following statement:

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the Government will be issuing guidance on Friday as to how pupils unable to sit their GCSEs and A-levels because of the school closures will be awarded their grades.  He said there will be a “proper and fair system” of appeal for those who are unhappy with the results they are given.    “We will be doing everything we can do to make sure they get their results in August as they will be hoping to, but we can’t predict as to how they are going to unfold” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.   “It is absolutely vital for me for those children who have put so much work into all their learning over these years working up to their GCSE’s and A-levels to get their results, but also making sure that we have a proper and fair system if they dispute that, if they are not content with it, there is some mechanism for them to have redress”.

We have some events to celebrate what might be their last day tomorrow – I know not all of the students will be able to attend as some are self-isolating, but I am sure you will understand why we should try and do something now.

 

 

Advice for parents

I know this will be a challenging time for all of us; I am thinking through the challenges of establishing new routines for my children at home.  I believe establishing a routine early on will have the best chance of ensuring this new style of working has the greatest success.  Please support, encourage and praise.  We are still here to support you and your child.  We have selected work that will enable independence with email support from their teachers. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

 

Contacting you

We may check-in with you and your children during the period of closure.  Sometimes the call might be us simply saying hello.  It might be prompted by us checking the work you child is doing (or not doing) online.  In this case, I have asked colleagues to call to see if we can help.

 

Online access

A significant portion of the home learning set, particularly for Years 7 to 11 will be online.  If you have any concerns about your child accessing the internet or having a device they can work on please let us know as we can support you. Either call 01803 329351 or email ICT@TQacademy.co.uk

 

Safeguarding

If you have any safeguarding concerns the safeguarding team will still be accessible to parents, staff and students at CP@TQacademy.co.uk.

If you have any urgent safeguarding or child protection concerns you can contact the Torbay MASH directly on 01803 208100. If you have an immediate concern for the safety or welfare of a child please call 999 or report any non-emergency concerns to the police via 101.

 

Free School Meals

We have also made provisions to support families who are entitled to free school meals as I am aware that the school closure will bring unanticipated additional costs.  I will write to those families separately to outline our food parcel scheme.  We are in times of greater financial uncertainty, so if you have concerns about providing these additional meals please make contact with the school either by telephone on 01803 329351 or admin@TQacademy.co.uk

 

Trips and Visits

We can confirm that all activities, including trips and visits will not go ahead during this period of closure.  Please do not make any further payments at this time related to Activities Week.

EHCP Students

Mrs Jukes has called the parents of every child with an EHCP to discuss the arrangments for them to come into school and be supported with their learning.

Children of Key Workers

The Government are yet to issue the guidance on who will be considered a keyworker, it is anticipated this will be announced shortly.  I will write to you as soon as I have more details.  The take up of this provision will be on a voluntary basis.

Vulnerable Children

The Government are yet to issue the guidance on children considered to be vulnerable.  My working assumption at this stage is that the provision will be mandated for school aged children (children must attend), however, this has not been confirmed.  At the moment we will be expecting all of our child who are looked after, on a Child Protection Plan or a Child in Need Plan to be in school next week.  We will be making contact with the carers and parents of these students on Friday.

 

If you have any questions related to any of the above please do not hesitate to contact the relevant Year Team and they will get back to you.

We are trying to our very best in what is a situation that is quite unprecedented.  We are all feeling anxious about what lies ahead of us; I know that by working closely we will be far more successful.  Please bear with us as we adapt to a new way of working and supporting your children.

My very best wishes to you and your families, please ask if there is anything we can do.

Yours sincerely

Steve Margetts

Principal

 

19 March email – planning for Free School Meals

Dear Parents/Carers

Contingency planning for Free School Meals during school closure

In the letter I sent to you earlier today I explained that we have made provisions to support families who are entitled to free school meals as I am aware that the school closure will bring unanticipated additional costs.

I am writing to you to provide additional information to what we will be doing.

In the first instance, we will be providing food parcels during term time.  To this end, our catering team have been sourcing suitable provisions to provide to all families who are currently eligible for Free School Meals with a weekly food hamper to help you feed your child/ren.

The hamper will contain a variety of food items dependant on what we are able to source, at the moment it has cereal, pasta, sauces, bread, milk and a variety of tinned foods which will provide five meals for your child(ren).

Please can you confirm you will be able to collect the parcel and that you wish to take us up on this provision by emailing admin@tqacademy.co.uk or calling 01803 329351 with the name(s) of your children and their year group to confirm you wish to participate. Please put Food in the subject area.

The government have indicated that there are plans for a voucher scheme to support being implemented, but I wanted to assure you that we will either continue with the food hampers or find another way to support you until the government’s scheme has been implemented.

The parcel will need to be collected from school on Monday between 10.30am and 2.30pm.  Each hamper will be individually labelled by family so there will be sufficient food for everyone. Please come to reception where we will have the food ready for you.  Please let us know if you would like to arrange a different time, but keeping to this schedule would significantly help us.

If you are unable to come to school we will do our very best to try and get the food to you, however, I can not guarantee this, so please only ask if you have no other way of getting to school and we will do our very best to get out to you.

Best wishes

Steve Margetts

Principal

 

 

18 March email – school closing

Dear Parents and carers

Following this evening’s statement by the Prime Minister we will have to close the school from 3pm on Friday 20th March.

We plan to be open for all year groups on Thursday 19th and Friday 20th.

As I have reassured you before, our staff have undertaken a great deal of work to ensure that our students will still have access to high-quality resources and learning during this period of closure.

I will write to you tomorrow with more detail about each year group’s set work and this will be available on our website from Friday.  We will be providing guidance on how to best support your children with their home learning.

A significant portion of the home learning set, particularly for Years 7 to 11 will be online.  If you have any concerns about your child accessing the internet or having a device they can work on please let us know as we can support you. Either call 01803 329351 or email ict@TQacademy.co.uk

I know this is a time of great uncertainty for families as we focus on caring for those close to us, particularly those more vulnerable members of our society.

We will keep in regular contact with you and your children.  We are here to support both your children’s learning and wellbeing, and we will still be available via email to be contacted for both academic and pastoral reasons.

We have also made provisions to support families who are entitled to free school meals as I am aware that the school closure will bring unanticipated additional costs.  I will write to those families separately to outline our food parcel scheme. We are in times of greater financial uncertainty, so if you have concerns about providing these additional meals please make contact with the school either by telephone or admin@TQacademy.co.uk

In this evening’s press conference by the Prime Minister, he said that he will ensure children due to sit crucial exams will get the qualifications they need.  However, at this stage, he cannot go into detail about how that might happen. As I hear more about this I will keep you informed.

A statement was also made about schools will still need to look after the children of key workers – such as NHS staff – but also the most vulnerable pupils.  As more information is made available I will be in contact.

I thank you for your continued support and I will endeavour to keep you as fully informed as I am able to.

Best wishes

Steve Margetts

Principal

17 March email – work for self-isolating/ill

Dear Parent/Carer,

There are increasing numbers of staff and students who are self-isolating for a variety of reasons.  We are continuing to focus upon teaching students in school and preparing resources in case we are forced to close.  I am sure you will appreciate the initial focus is on the examination groups.

If your child is absent from school at the moment I wanted to highlight some work that they can be getting on with now in order to continue with their education.

  • Maths
    • Sparx – Year groups 7-11 will still have their compulsory homework to be completed, plus they should complete the optional and target sections of the work.
    • Students studying A level Maths and Further Maths should check their emails as teachers will email groups with work.
  • Science :
    • Year 7 and 8 to complete homework using knowledge organisers.
    • Year 9 and 10 complete homework using knowledge organisers. Also log on to Educake.co.uk and complete set questions. 
    • Year 11 Log on to Educake.co.uk and complete set questions. Also log on to Tassomai and complete the daily goal every day. Also complete weekly revision tasks from revision timetable & revision guide.
    • Year 12 email your teacher for specific work.
    • Year 13 to carry on working to your Exam Run In timetable.
  • English:
    • Years 7 and 8 Complete daily private reading and reading journal. Complete knowledge organiser quizzing.
    • Year 9 Complete set reading tasks for cycle 3 on commonlit.org/en. Complete further additional reading tasks on commonlit.org/en of your choice. Complete knowledge organiser quizzing.
    • Year 10 Use BBC Bitesize to revise Macbeth and complete past questions: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zgq3dmn. Complete knowledge organiser quizzing.
    • Year 11 Complete run-in timetable tasks in Mastery Pack on paper. Complete more past literature and language exams from Mastery Pack using flashcards to support on paper.
    • Year 12/13 complete past essay questions from homework booklet/mastery pack using flashcards to support. 
  • All other subjects:
    • Completing work from the Knowledge Organisers in line with timetabled lessons
    • Completing all relevant homework tasks 

As the situation evolves we will keep all parents updated. Please continue to read these communications and we will be in touch as required.

It is vital that you ensure we have your up to date contact details on our system. Please do contact us should you believe your details need updating.

If you have any concerns about your child accessing the internet should the school be closed please let us know. Either call or email ict@TQacademy.co.uk

Best wishes

Steve Margetts

Principal

 

16 March email

Dear Parents, Carers and Colleagues

I wanted to alert you to the change in the advice that has been provided by the NHS and government today:

If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature

More detailed advice can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

My best wishes to you during what is a time of great uncertainty.

Yours sincerely

Steve Margetts

Principal

 

13 March email

Dear Parents, Carers and Staff

We are continuing to monitor the situation very closely and I am continuing to follow the guidance being provided by the Department for Education and Public Health England.

Generally, the school continues to operate in the same way it does every other day of the year. There have been a number of events our students were due to attend that have been cancelled, such as the Big Bang Fair finals where our students were crowned the Young Engineers National Champions last year. We are seeing more and more events being cancelled by the hour.

We have made some operational changes in school to help to reduce the spread of viruses and bacteria in our community. After every lesson change over and break, all bannisters and door handles are cleaned with a disinfectant. We have a large volume of soap and are ensuring the toilets are kept stocked up.

The advice we have still highlights that personal hygiene is the most important way we can tackle COVID-19, especially washing hands more; and the catch it, bin it, kill it strategy for those with coughs and sneezes.

I know there has been a great deal of speculation about school closures. I have not been provided with any more information beyond what is in the public domain.

A suggestion is that schools will possibly be shut to students for an extended period around the Easter holidays. Again, I don’t know anything for certain, but we believe it is prudent for us to have a contingency plan for any event.

Our teachers prepare revision packs for Years 11 and 13 for the Easter holidays each year to support their work in the run up to the exams. I am very grateful to our incredible staff who are also preparing work to support our boys and girls should we be told that we have to close. We want to give our students, who are working so hard, the best possible chance to succeed this summer.

I will endeavour to keep you informed, but you can be rest assured that we doing all that we can to ensure that all members of the community remain healthy and our students’ education remains uninterrupted.

Best wishes

Steve Margetts

Principal

 

6 March email

Dear Parents and Carers

I have attached a document produced by the Local Authority which provides information on talking to children about the Coronavirus.

The advice I am getting from the Department for Education and Public Health England highlights that personal hygiene is the most important way we can tackle COVID-19, especially washing hands more; and the catch it, bin it, kill it strategy for those with coughs and sneezes.

When washing your hands it should be for 20 seconds with soap and hot water. In addition to handwashing before eating and after sneezing, both children and adults should also wash hands after using toilets and after travelling on public transport.

Best wishes

Steve Margetts

Principal