Letter from the Headteacher - Home Testing
Dear Parents and Carers,
It’s been busy but productive time in school since we returned on the 8th of March and all our hard work has paid off. We completed the Mass LFD Testing Programme yesterday after processing just over 3000 tests across 9 academic days. Once again, we would like to say a huge thank you to Helen Cook, Lee-Roy Cochrane, Will Homa and all other staff and volunteers for the immense amount of work that they have put in to completing this LFD Testing Programme, we truly could not have done this without you. We still have a small number of few students that are still completing their but the huge logistical challenge has been met. As you know we did have one positive LFD test which meant we had to send a very small group of students’ home to self-isolate. However, we will be welcoming them all back to school on Monday which means we can all settle in to the remainder of the term and focus on teaching and learning. You will also know that we have now moved into the home testing phase where students and staff will complete tests at home every Sunday and Wednesday - please see below for further details.
Once again, I will look to pick out a few highlights from the week and offer some reminders to ensure that everything runs really well next week.
Red Nose Day (Friday 19th March)
Thanks to Mrs Hill and the Prefects for arranging a highly successful Red Nose Day. It was great to see everyone focus on something more light-hearted after the weeks of self-isolation. From voting for our favourite jokes, to all wearing red, to staff dressing as superheroes, everyone has played their part. The students and staff have showed their support by donating money and food items to the local foodbank to help support those in need at this challenging time.
After School Clubs
We are delighted that some of our extra-curricular after school clubs have recommenced this week. It is fantastic to see so many students involved in these activities and making the most of the increasing opportunities we are now able to offer our school community.
Remote Learning Feedback
Many thanks to those parents and carers who have completed the Microsoft Form on remote learning during the lockdown from January to the start of this week. It is great to have the students back in school and we obviously do not wish to have the students working at home for a prolonged period again. If you have not yet had opportunity to respond to this questionnaire, please do so by following the link below by Friday 26th March.
Year 11 & 13 Mocks
A quick reminder that the Year 11 and 13 student mock exams start on Monday and will run through until Thursday 1st April. The timetable is on the Notice board in WEDUC. We encourage all our exam year students to revise hard, stay resilient and do their very best. They made an excellent start last week and we wish them luck as they demonstrate their skills and knowledge during the assessment period. The mock exams start on Monday. Year 11 students are encouraged to go straight to St Christopher’s Hall when they arrive in school as there will be booster sessions held there from 8.35am. Students will receive last minute revision postcards and guidance from the department staff present. For the afternoon examinations, there will be a one hour booster session in St Christopher’s Hall which will be led by the Year 11 teachers or Head of Department for that subject.
Once the in-school testing has been completed, we will be moving to the home testing phase. We would like all students and staff to complete their home tests on Sunday and Wednesday evening. This is to keep a consistent testing process across the school. Students that have consent for testing in school have already been issued enough tests up until the Easter holidays and we will be issuing them with more for them to use on the same days over the Easter holidays.
Students that have not completed their 3 in school tests
Please can parents and cares ensure that their child does not start using their home testing kits until they have completed their three in school tests. This is only for those students that were absent on certain days from school or did not initially have consent for testing.
Why introduce regular rapid testing being completed at home by students?
Up to 1 in 3 people who have Covid-19 have no symptoms and could be spreading it without knowing. Regular testing for people without symptoms is already taking place across the country. Thousands of people who didn’t know they had the virus have been able to take action to stop the spread of the disease. As lockdown restrictions ease, getting into the regular habit of twice weekly testing will play an important role in getting back to normal; alongside the vaccine, following the hands, face, space guidance, and social distancing measures.
On return to school students have initially been supervised while testing at school and soon they will be expected to continue to test themselves at home with test kits provided by us here at The Ilfracombe Academy. School will be providing students with a home testing kit which will have enough tests to last up until the Easter Holidays. This would mean students completing two tests a week. Next week students will only need to do one test at home as they will have been tested once in school.
Students and staff should complete two test per week (with 3 to 4 days between each test). We suggest that the home tests take place on Mondays and Thursdays.
Completing The Test
Please see the link below for NHS guidance video on how students can complete the LFT CV19 test at home. Also, the attached guide gives further details and guidance.
Reporting Your Results to the NHS
Report your result so the NHS can monitor the spread of the virus, support communities across the UK, combat the virus and save lives. You can report your results online by visiting www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result. Alternatively, you can call 119 (free from mobiles and landlines), the lines are open 7am to 11pm.
Reporting Results to School
In addition to reporting all results to the NHS we would also like parents and carers to inform the school of only any positive or void test results that you record at home. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org If your child has a void result then we would be happy to offer them an in school LFD test the next day they are in school.
The school will retain a small test centre for those students who might struggle to complete their tests at home. However, this centre will only have a very small capacity as we need the space to create as many student support rooms for SEND students or those that are engaging with Covid catch up. Therefore, we strongly encourage parents and carers for their children to complete the tests at home. This is to allow the school to focus on teaching and learning and pastoral support.
Parents/Carers Picking Up & Dropping off Their Child & Accessible Parking
Thank you again to the Parents/Carers who are following the designated pick up times for their child and also using the designated pick up and drop off bay. However, please could we once again appeal to all drivers to approach the school along Worth Road rather than up the hill to reduce any congestion. Please see the link for guidance how to use the pick up & drop of bay. https://www.ilfracombeacademy.org.uk/post/dropping-students-school. 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 for parents to arrange to pick up their child away from the school site to increase safety, the flow of traffic and increase the likelihood of getting away from the school site in good time. The Police were having to move some parents away from double yellow lines this week which is a real concern. Please can parents ensure that they do not drive down through the longer staff car park on Worth road as a number of students will be walking through that area towards their bus. We have also asked parents that need to use the accessible parking bay at the front of school to drop their children at school at 9.05am so that we can ensure all our students walking to school are safe.
Parents and Carers please see the latest DfE guidance for schools
As ever, the school will continue to monitor and make any adjustments in our way of working in line with any further guidance. This guidance will always be clearly communicated to our students and their parents/carers.
I hope all our students and their families enjoy the weekend.