Return to school Information
The school leadership team have worked with the Local Governing Body and Directors to plan our safe return to school. This planning has taken into account all of the updated Department for Education (DFE) guidance.
Ilfracombe Academy’s risk assessment takes into account all of the up to date Department for Education (DfE) and Health Protection Institute (HPI) formerly Public Health England (PHE) guidance.
It has been collectively developed in partnership between our school’s Senior Leadership Team, Governors and Directors.
It continues to be a dynamic document that will be updated as new guidance is issued.
The school will be taking up the DfE’s offer of a staggered return to allow us to complete the three LFD tests for each member of our community that has consent to be tested. We will bring the whole school in gradually over the first three days from 8th to 10th March. Please see below for the start day/date for your child.
Return to school - March 2021
We would like students to wear their full uniform when they return to fulltime education in September. Therefore, if your child needs uniform please can Parents and Carers visit Pedlars or XL Embroidery over the summer break. If any families need any support with their uniform, please contact the school as soon as possible. The school also advises Parents/Carers to ensure their child has an appropriate coat to keep them dry on the way to and from school.
Please also note that on the days where students have Physical Education they will be required to come to school in their PE kit so we can avoid using the changing rooms, which can be crowded and where it is difficult to avoid lots of student movement.
The DfE and HPI remind Parents/Carers of the following items:
Parents/Carers should not gather at the school gates
Parents/Carers should not send their child to school if they are showing Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or if someone in their household is showing symptoms
Parents/Carers should arrange a test if you or your child develops symptoms and inform your school of the results
If the test is positive, follow guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, and engage with the NHS Test and Trace process.
Link to further DfE Parent/Carer guidance
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-in-the-autumn-term (released on August 21st)
Further guidance on face coverings
Background Government guidance on the wearing of face coverings for members of the public can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/facecoverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own
DfE guidance on the wearing of face coverings in schools can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/update-on-face-coverings-in-schools
The latter can be summarised as follows:
•The government revised its guidance on students in Year 7 and above on 25 August 2020.
•While the government is still recommending that face coverings are not necessary, schools “will have the discretion to require face coverings in communal areas if they believe that it is right.”
• In parts of the country where transmission rates are high the guidance states that, “face coverings should be worn by adults and students in secondary schools when moving around the school, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.”
All students must wear a face covering on arrival at school unless they are exempt
All students must wear a face covering on dedicated/service transport unless they are exempt
All students must hand sanitise as they enter the school building
All students must go straight to their Tutor Room on arrival at school
The DfE have also suggested that students should wear their face coverings in the classroom and any social area such as corridors until we break up on 1st April for the Easter holidays
Government guidance states ‘that the use of face coverings in recommended circumstances is one element of control systems’. It continues, ‘this is guidance and not mandatory’. Taking all of these considerations into account, including the wellbeing of students; their ability to settle into working in the classroom; engage in teaching and learning and, given our relatively low rates of COVID prevalence in our community we have made the decision to make the wearing of face coverings in classrooms non-compulsory.
We have consulted a number of partners both locally and nationally before deciding on the following guidance. Please be aware that our Feeder Primary schools including Ilfracombe Junior will be following a slightly different way of working as their guidance differs to Secondary aged students.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) usually spreads by droplets from coughs, sneezes and speaking. There is also increasing evidence that airborne transmission can occur, especially in crowded and poorly ventilated spaces. These droplets can also be picked up from surfaces, if you touch a surface and then your face without washing your hands first. This is why social distancing where possible, regular hand hygiene, and covering coughs and sneezes is so important in controlling the spread of the virus.
The best available scientific evidence is, that when used in the appropriate circumstances, wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets, helping to protect others.
Ilfracombe Academy have adopted a wide range of protective measures to reduce the transmission risk of COVID-19. Our full risk assessment will be/is published as required on the school website on Tuesday 1st September. However, despite these measures, there are still occasions, specifically in secondary school settings, where social distancing is difficult, such as in corridors or busy communal areas.
Our aim here is to provide a further layer of protection to both students and staff.
Face Coverings should be worn as follows:
All our students will be expected to wear a face covering in corridors and any communal areas where social distancing outside of the year group bubble is difficult (this includes St Christopher’s Hall). Some students may be exempt from wearing a face covering (see below for guidance).
All our students travelling to and from school via public transport or school transport will be expected to wear a face covering and follow all appropriate hygiene measures required by the respective companies. Some students maybe exempt from wearing a mask (see transport guidance)
All staff, will be expected to wear face coverings in all communal school areas. This will include - corridors, staffrooms, staff workrooms, shared office spaces where social distancing is difficult, staff toilets and whilst undertaking duties at break/lunch times in enclosed spaces such as dining halls. This will also apply to staff meetings. However, even with face coverings in use, appropriate social distancing, hygiene measures and hand sanitisation should still fully apply. Some staff, as for students, maybe exempt from wearing a mask (see below for guidance).
Staff are able to use Masks and/or Visors during lessons if they wish to do so Teaching Assistants who are required to work in close proximity to students in the classroom, and therefore unable to maintain social distancing, will be provided with both a face covering and visor.
Ilfracombe Academy staff and secondary age students should bring their own face coverings to school as they would for use on public transport, shops, and wider society. If any individual forgets to bring a face covering to school, a disposable mask will be provided.
All visitors, including Parents/Carers, Ilfracombe Academy will be required to wear a face covering whilst on site.
All face coverings should be slogan free, where possible should be plain and should not cause offence to any member of our learning community.
Face coverings do not need to be worn:
By any member of staff or pupil who is exempt (please see the exemption guidance for further information).
By students in the classroom or during lessons.
Whilst consuming food and drink at break and lunch times.
By office/admin staff working in a COVID-secure office space . However, those staff are still free to do so if they wish.
Whilst students are mixing with students within their own year group bubble only.
Any Parents/Carers who have any concerns or queries, please contact their child’s Head of Year or Pastoral Coordinator
Staff and students who may be exempt:
All Ilfracombe Academy promote an inclusive culture and recognise that some staff and students will require reasonable adjustments to be made to accommodate their unique circumstances and allow them to access the educational opportunities and workplace in an equitable manner.
The Heads of Year and Pastoral Coordinators supported by the Senior Leadership Team will work closely with students and their families who have concerns about our policy on face coverings being worn in communal areas. Wherever possible, it is hoped that by engaging in supportive dialogue any barriers can be overcome so that the pupil will feel able to wear a face covering.
The Senior Leadership Team will be mindful of the following government advice when discussing individual cases with staff and students:
In settings where face coverings are required in England, there are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face covering. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances, noting that some people are less able to wear face coverings, and that the reasons for this may not be visible to others.
This includes (but is not limited to):
• People who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
Where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
If you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate
In the majority of cases it is likely that students who, after appropriate discussions between staff and parents/carers, will be considered exempt from wearing face coverings are already known to staff and may well already be registered as SEND students.
Supporting students who are identified as exempt Ilfracombe Academy should adapt existing local procedures to help identify students who have been identified as not needing to wear face coverings in communal areas, e.g. they may be issued with an ‘exemption card’, similar to those issued when students need to be able to leave lessons to use the toilet for medical reasons.
All staff should be aware of students who are exempt from wearing face coverings and should be vigilant when supervising communal areas that these students are not subjected to any form of harassment from their peers.
Year Group Bubbles
All of our students will learn and socialise in year group “bubbles” while they are on site. Students in Years 7, 8 and 9 (KS3) will be taught the majority of their lessons in one room, with teaching staff moving between rooms. KS3 students will be still be able to access practical based subjects by being escorted by their specialist teacher to and from the practical space. This will mean that only 21 teachers need to move rather than 600 students. This is a model we have used successfully with Year 10 as they have returned during lockdown. They will however still be able to access specialist teaching and facilities for the majority of their practical subjects. They will be escorted to and from those areas by their teachers. Students in Years 10,11,12 and 13 will be able to move to their teaching spaces ensuring they follow our socially distancing procedures. Corridors have been clearly marked to support this. This will allow exam year groups to access specialist teaching spaces in order to prepare them fully for their examinations next year. Extra cleaning will be taking place during the school day to keep rooms as clean as possible.
Movement around the school buildings
The corridors have been set up to promote social distancing with a clear line down the middle of each two-way corridor and clear social distancing markers that students and staff will need to adhere to. The stairwells are one way also with clear signage. The “up” stairwells are Student Services and the small staircase that leads up from St Christopher’s Hall to the PCRE corridor. The “down” stairwell comes out next to the music department. The students will be remote supervised by SLT and members of the pastoral team during lesson changeovers.
Enhanced Cleaning & Hand Sanitizing
We have implemented a plan that ensures all students and staff sanitise their hands at the start and end of each lesson, social periods when they are eating, and after using the toilet facilities. We have also employed more cleaning staff who will regularly clean the toilets and bannisters around the school where there is a high level of hand contact. The cleaning staff will sterilise and wipe down the classrooms that are accessed by different classes each day.
Equipment for school day (including hand sanitiser)
Students will need to bring their own equipment each day which includes a bottle of hand sanitiser that they can use at their own convince at the start and end of lessons. They will need also need to bring all the normal equipment to school such as a pencil case containing, pens, pencils, rubber, ruler and a calculator. As for uniform please contact us if this a concern for you.
In the short-term and certainly for the first term, students will not be able to use their lockers. This is because we cannot guarantee that any student’s locker is situated next to their tutor base which would make it impossible to keep the year group bubbles apart. This is another reason why we strongly urge students to only carry what they need for each day in their bag.
Student Drop Off
Structure of the School Day
To safely facilitate the safe return to school including the administration of 3 LFD tests per student and staff member, we need to make an adaptation to the structure of the school day between Monday 8th and Thursday 18th March. Essentially, the only major change is that we will need to move the first break of the day from Period 2 to 3. This will only be for two weeks and will allow us to conduct all our LFD testing per day before any social period. This will significantly reduce any potential risk of transmission. Please see the details below:
8th March – Structure of the school day after considering the latest DfE Guidance
Break & Lunch Times
Social times will be staggered with year groups accessing either Break A, B or C and Lunch A, B and C (please see structure of the day table below). We strongly advise parents/carers to provide their child with a packed which will mean their child will not need to queue up for their meals as this will take longer than usual. The canteen staff have all been trained to be Covid compliant and we still offer a ‘grab and go’ to ensure we can move the students the Dining Hall quickly and safely. Students will then move to their zoned social areas outside. In case of inclement weather:
KS3 students will need to return to their tutor room where they will be remotely supervised by the duty team.
KS4 students will always need to go to St Christopher’s Hall so their rooms can be cleaned. However, on dry days they will still be able to go outside to their allocated social area
In order to follow the DfE guidance we will be using a staggered release at the end of the school day. Please could any Parents and Carers that transport their child to school look at the release times below, and plan their journey so that we do not have a build-up of waiting traffic along Worth Road. Please refer to the video above about safely picking up and dropping off your child.
Parents should also ensure that they don’t park on the pavement or any double yellow lines to ensure that all pedestrians are safe. It would be advisable that parents arrange to pick up their child away from the school site to increase safety, the flow of traffic and increase the likely hood of you getting away from the school site in good time.
Transport to School
The DfE and Devon published updated guidance on the 11th August on school transport.
DfE School Transport Guidance
Devon School Transport Link
Devon Transport are looking to add additional capacity including the duplication of some service buses. This will mean that two service buses will run at the same time with adults accessing one bus and students accessing the other. Initially they expect to run these additional services until October ½ term where they will communicate any changes to parents and carers.
The updated guidance also follows the ‘Bubble’ system that we had already planned and communicated to parents/carers in July. It also now advises that all children and young people aged 11 and over to wear face coverings when travelling to school on dedicated transport. This closely follows the guidance that insists on the mandatory wearing of face coverings on Public Transport and in shops. After the children have left the bus the children will need to sanitise their hands, remove their face covering and place it in a named plastic/freezer bag so they store it during the school day to ensure it stays as sterile as possible. The children will then need to sanitise their hands again before they enter the school building. Students will also be able to dispose of any used tissues in a covered bin that will be located at the front of every bus. Please see the diagrams below for visual guide of the year group bubbles.
We hope to resume extra-curricular activities as soon as it is safe to do so and when our students and staff have settled into the school. The school will inform Parents/Carers about the clubs that will be starting as soon as we feel departments are in a position to deliver the activities safely. Once again, these activities will have to take place in year group bubbles.
Please note that peripatetic music teachers will not be in school for the first month. We hope after that date to offer the full range of peripatetic tuition to as many students as possible.
The school will continue to monitor any further guidance and look to return to a normal way of working as soon as it is safe to do so. Thank you for all your support so far this year. We look forward to seeing all of our students returning to school in early September and until then we hope all our students and their families enjoy the rest of the summer break.
The majority of our students that have been regularly accessing face to face teaching in school have already been having LFD tests. The staggered start to the reopening of the school does cause a complication for this group but we have a plan that will still allow them to receive their tests in line with the rest of their year group.
All V/KW students that are in Years 9, 10 or 11 on either Thursday 4th or Friday 5th March will be able to receive their test and then fit smoothly into the testing rota with the rest of their year group the following week. However, this is not the case for Years 7 and 8 as the first day of mass testing day for their years groups is on Wednesday 10th March. We would therefore like any V/KW children that do not normally come into school on Fridays to do so. These children would not be expected to stay in school that day and could go home straight after the test but the option of an extra day in school is also available.
Testing Positive for CV-19
If your child tests positive for C19 whilst at home and is currently not attending school, please can you still report this to the school as we need to submit this information in our daily Government reporting numbers.
Year 11/13 Mock/Formal Assessments
Parents and Carers were informed on 5th January that students would sit their mock examinations two weeks after our return to school. The students’ mocks will take place between 22nd March and 1st April. These mock papers will be composed of questions which relate to content which was taught during face to face teaching between September 2019 and March 2020 and between September and December 2020. These mocks will form part of the overall picture for each student’s progress but will not be the only source of evidence that will be used to inform the Teachers Assessed Grades (TAGs) which students will receive this summer.
We are confident, following internal checks conducted throughout the most recent lockdown, that the remote work set for Year 11 and 13 students (and other students due to be examined this year) has been specifically focused on preparing students for these planned mock assessments. Furthermore, during the fortnight running up to the mock examinations, teachers will deliver face to face lessons which will consolidate the extensive revision that has been covered within the remote learning set during the most recent lockdown. To further support the students in preparation for the mocks, we will be arranging a further release of revision materials and guidance documents. These documents will support students in their revision enabling them to identify areas of weakness, or topics which they need to revise, as a result of any school absence during the identified periods of face to face teaching.
We are committed as a school to implementing a second assessment opportunity for students. Any assessment used to inform teacher assessed grades needs to be completed, marked and moderated in advance of the deadline for entering teacher assessed grades which is 18th June. Subsequently, we have scheduled these assessments to take place between 17th and 21st May. During this second assessment the school intends utilising the DfE mini assessments that will be produced by the examination boards later in the spring. We have been informed that staff can adapt the mini assessments by extracting any questions that have not been taught to their classes. The students will not be disadvantaged by being set questions on any content they have not covered with their teachers. Once again, the students will be issued with topic lists which will inform their revision for these assessments. We feel it is important to ensure that there is sufficient face to face teaching time between these two keys assessments. This is required ensure that students can work with their teachers to increase their chances of academic success within the second planned assessment.
The school will follow DfE guidelines relation to the awarding of teacher assessed grades this summer. A moderated process, informed by a range of available data (including, but not limited to; in class performance, coursework marks, classroom tests, mock examination grades, mini assessment grades) will be used to award students with their teacher assessed grades.