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 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.
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.
Student Drop Off
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.
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.