Letter from the Headteacher - Spring Has Sprung
Letter 26 – Spring has Sprung
Dear Parents and Carers
This has certainly been a busy term. We have enjoyed welcoming all students back and it has been a joy to see classrooms full of students actively participating in learning; taking part in extra-curricular activities and socialising with their friends. Whilst we are definitely looking forward to the Easter break, we eagerly anticipate a summer term with fewer disruptions and the chance to work with our students to make it a productive and successful final term.
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.
All students with consent have received their home testing kits for use over the Easter holiday. Any student absent from school on 1st April (who has consent) will receive kits through the post. Testing needs to continue throughout the holiday and especially on Sunday 18th April as students prepare to return to school the following day. We would like to thank our students for continuing to help keep their school and wider community safe. More details about testing can be found below.
Year 11 Mock Examinations and Revision
Well done Y11 – All Year 11 students have been extremely focused and committed to their mock exams over the last two weeks. Students have displayed our values at every turn as well as the resilience needed to complete a full series of examinations. All students deserve a well-earned rest. There will be another formal assessment window towards the end of the next half term to give all students the opportunity to show their teachers their current level of knowledge in all subject areas.
After Easter, Y11 have the opportunity to use the school library space and computer rooms 3&4 for independent revision from 3.25-4.30 Tuesday to Thursday. The school will provide transport for students who live in the outlying areas. One bus will cover Combe Martin/Berrynarbor/Lynton and the other bus will cover West Down and Woolacombe. This provision will be reviewed at the end of the first week and as long as students are using the service it will remain for the whole of the half term. This ‘Period 6 Independent Study’ opportunity gives Y11 a quiet study space with all the resources they may need to confidently prepare themselves for the final assessment window taking during the final two weeks before they break up for May half term. If parents want their child to use this provision but live outside of the extra bus provision offered, please contact Mr Tilley or Miss Young.
We have all been impressed with their determination and positive approach in the last two weeks: their hard work will all be worth it in the end!
Mobile Phone Policy
We would like to remind all students, including Sixth Form, of our mobile phone policy. If brought into school, mobile phones must be switched off (not put on silent) and placed in students’ bags. There may be occasions when a teacher allows a phone to be used under strict direction and supervision for learning in lessons. This is the only exception and phones will be confiscated if they are seen at any other time. Under no circumstances should phones be used in the corridors as this poses a health and safety risk.
As we look forward to welcoming warmer weather in the final term of the year, students need to remember to wear the appropriate uniform. Outdoor coats, this includes hoodies or sweatshirts being worn as outerwear, need to be removed at the beginning of tutor time and placed in bags. They should not be worn whilst moving around the school building or in lessons. On days when students have practical PE lessons, they are permitted to wear their school PE kit. They are not allowed to wear sports kit on any other day. These expectations of school uniform will be monitored regularly in the summer term and we are grateful for parental support in ensuring their child is appropriately dressed for school.
JCQ Guidance for Parents and Students
Please see the attached information from JCQ which describes the arrangements for the grading of students this summer. This information provides a timeline and details how students will be graded, results days and the appeals process. It also covers reasonable adjustments, access arrangements and special consideration. There are links to further guidance which has been published by JCQ and Ofqual. Please follow this link for documentation JCQ-Guidance-for-Students-and-Parents-on-Summer-2021.pdf
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 Thursday 15th April.
Home testing will continue through the rest of this term and students will be receiving a new box of test for use in the Easter holidays. It is essential that everyone who has consented to testing continues to test themselves on Sunday and Wednesday each week including the last Sunday of the Easter holiday (Sunday 18th). This is to ensure that our community remains safe and that we can all focus on teaching and learning in school. Social media reminders will be sent out each Sunday and Wednesday to help students keep to the testing schedule.
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 we are happy to offer them an in school LFD test the next day they are in school.
Guidance From Devon County council – Please Read Carefully
Follow-up PCR tests required after a positive LFD test
Previously, a follow-up PCR test was only required following a positive LFD test carried out at home. The Government has re-introduced the requirement for a PCR test after positive LFD tests carried out at all assisted testing sites. As of 31st March, staff and pupils who get a positive LFD result (whether at home or at supervised testing site in school) should take a follow-up PCR test. This requirement is now published in the Stay At Home Guidance. Stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and has been included in the DfE daily update. As the prevalence rates are now low in England, follow-up PCR tests will help reduce the chances of false positive LFD tests. The follow-up PCR test should be taken as soon as possible and within 2 days of the positive LFD result. The quickest way is to book a test online or call 119 for an appointment at a nearby nearest testing centre. Alternatively, a PCR home test kit can be used but it may take longer for the results to come back.
Staff, students and pupils who have a positive LFD test result, their household members and close contacts should self-isolate immediately whilst waiting for the follow-up PCR result. Public health action must be taken from a positive result, whether from a LFD or PCR test, to quickly identify close contacts in school and request that they self-isolate.
If the follow-up PCR result is negative
If the follow-up PCR test result is negative and the test was done within 2 days of the positive LFD result, the person, their household members and close contacts at school can stop self-isolating and return to school or college if they are well. PHE SW Health Protection Team have distributed a template ‘stand down’ letter (attached) which can be used for this purpose. It is important to continue with all existing protective measures, negative test results should not be read as a means to relax preventative measures which are intended to reduce the risk of transmission.
Contact tracing over the Easter holidays – please see information below from the DfE
To support the NHS Test and Trace process, academy staff are available for the first 6 days of the Easter holiday to fulfil necessary contact tracing responsibilities. As we finish on Thursday 1 April, we remain available for contact tracing purposes up to and including Wednesday 7 April. There is no expectation for staff to be on-call after this point. Remember to contact the academy using email@example.com.
DfE are asking that staff, students, parents and carers only inform you of a positive case if either symptoms or a positive home LFD test occurred within 2 days of them being at their education setting. Where this is the case, you are asked to assist in identifying close contacts and advising self-isolation, as the individual may have been infectious whilst in their education setting. Where symptoms or a positive home LFD test occurred more than 2 days since the person was last at their education setting, this does not need to be reported to you and contact tracing by the education setting is not required. Where this is the case, staff, students, parents and carers should follow contact tracing instructions provided by NHS Test and Trace.
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.
On behalf of everyone at The Ilfracombe Academy, we wish our students, parents and carers a restful, and hopefully sunny, Easter holiday.