Letter from the Headteacher - It's Coming Home!
Updated: Jul 23, 2021
Dear Parents and Carers
It’s been a week of extremes with the microclimate that we have in Ilfracombe giving us some hot and sunny days intermingled with some very cold and wet ones. On the whole the students have worked well and we look forward to the last two weeks in school running smoothly. Like many of you, I was glued to the television with my family on Wednesday evening cheering on the England Team. I really do hope that this time it will actually come home! From the joy of the football came the disruption to the Y12s due to another couple of positive Covid cases which we reported to you earlier in the week. Positive cases are becoming more frequent in North Devon and we ask that everyone continues to be vigilant and follows the guidelines. This becomes complicated when we have also been informed that the Government are highly likely to relax restrictions further on 19th July. I will explain our plan for the end of this academic year and go into detail about the updated DfE guidance letter in the letter.
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.
Spark UK – Conor Warren Y10
Spark UK is a new mental health charity set up by a group of teenagers in North Devon. Their aim is to ‘spark’ a conversation about mental health. Currently, they are working with numerous councils, charities, businesses and professionals to create resources for schools across the UK. They are also organising a celebrity digital Advent calendar that will be used in schools across the country and raise money for young minds. So far they have received videos from Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson and Jonny Wilkinson.
On Friday 16th July we will be holding a non-uniform day to raise money for Spark. Students can either bring in a £1 donation for Spark to fund future projects or bring in an item for the Ilfracombe food bank to support our community.
To find out more about Spark, you may wish to look at their website bit.ly/sparkuksite
As we know the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday set out plan for the final stage of the roadmap in England. Main points of the new guidance (subject to final confirmation on 12th July) are as follows:
At Step 4 and after the end of the summer term, it will no longer be necessary to keep children in consistent groups (‘bubbles’). This means bubbles will not need to be used for any summer provision (for example, summer schools) or in schools from the autumn term. If your school is still open at Step 4, you may wish to continue with these measures until the end of your summer term.
Schools and settings will only need to do contact tracing up to 18th July 2021. From 19th July 2021 (Step 4), close contacts will be identified via NHS Test and Trace.
From 16 August 2021, children under the age of 18 years old will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case.
From step 4, face coverings will no longer be advised for pupils, students, staff and visitors either in classrooms or in communal areas. From Step 4, face coverings are also no longer recommended to be worn on dedicated transport to school or college.
He said that bubbles for students from will be removed from stage 4 as well as some other changes.
However, in light of our latest positive cases we have taken the decision to continue to keep all of our current measures in place until the end of term. This represents 5 more days and we feel it is essential that minimise any infections as we run into the summer holidays.
The Control measures that are likely to continue in September
Ensure good hygiene for everyone (hand washing or hand sanitising).
Maintain appropriate cleaning regimes.
Keep occupied spaces well ventilated.
Follow public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19.
The guidance also states that as students will potentially mix with lots of other people during the summer holidays, all secondary school students should receive two on-site lateral flow device tests, 3-5 days apart, on their return in September. We will be following a staggered start to the start of term again in September which will be communicated in good time before we return in September.
Students should continue to use LFD tests (Lateral Flow Device)
· If their parents have given consent, students should complete a test on Sunday evening and Wednesday evening. LFD tests can identify people with lots of the virus and who are very infectious. 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 have no symptoms and could be spreading the virus to other people without knowing. These tests are for people who do not have any symptoms of coronavirus. They provide quick results within half an hour, so that you can get on with your day if you test negative, remembering to keep following public health guidance. If you test positive, you’ll need to arrange a follow-up PCR test (see below). LFD tests are available for all adults and secondary aged pupils to test twice weekly. You can pick them up for free from your local pharmacy, and they are available to order online for home delivery. Assistance with the test is available at any of our Community Testing sites. You can find details about where our sites are across Devon on our website, devon.cc/flow.
PCR tests (Polymerase Chain Reaction)
· PCR tests are more sensitive and used to confirm if someone has COVID-19. The result takes longer as it is processed in a lab. PCR tests are for people with COVID-19 symptoms – high temperature, new and continuous cough, change to usual sense of taste or smell - or for follow up after a positive LFD result. Close contacts of a positive COVID-19 case can also get a PCR test.
Please remember to report test results on the national website as well as to the school, this helps us monitor cases and support quick and appropriate action to keep schools operating as normal.
As we mentioned earlier in the letter, we strongly encourage students to continue to wear face coverings on the corridors and in places where they cannot easily socially distance. Students should keep their face covering on whilst queuing up for food but can remove it when they are seated in St Christopher’s Hall. It is important that students remember that the face covering is specifically about protecting other people and its everyone’s responsibility to wear them correctly at the appropriate times. This will continue up until the end of the summer term.
We strongly encourage all students to continue to use LFT tests twice week. These should be completed on Sunday and Wednesday evenings. This will allow us to work together to keep everyone safe.
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: email@example.com 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 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.