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Letter from the Headteacher - Welcome to July

Dear Parents and Carers

It’s been a relatively quiet week with students and staff concentrating on teaching and learning but you can also sense that everyone has on eye on the calendar as we start to count down towards the end of term. There have been various points mentioned in the media this week about the guidance that schools might receive in September. These include the possible reintroduction of in-school asymptomatic testing (AST) when we return to school in September. There are also rumours that students above the age of 12 will possibility be offered inoculation against Covid 19 and that bubbles could be relaxed. We will wait to see how the roadmap progresses and will communicate any adaptions and new guidance as we receive it from the DfE. In this letter you’ll see that we included an update of information from Devon County Council that parents and carers may find informative.

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.

Year 9 Careers Event

On Monday morning, Year 9 had their first virtual careers event this term with David Smith. He is a comedian and uses humour to engage students in creative writing and making them more confident with literacy.  His story and career pathway was very interesting and Year 9 asked some excellent questions.  A big well done to year 9 for their engagement and thanks to David for the session.

Toilets

We are concerned about the way some male students in Year 9 and 10 are disrespecting their communal toilets. These actions are totally against our school values. We have spoke to the boys and informed them that we will have to take a number of steps if this anti-social behaviour continues. I am also able to report that a number of students have passed on the names of the students engaged in this activity. It is really pleasing to know that the vast majority of our students have followed our values and have not accepted anti-social behaviour from a small minority of their peers.

DCC

Key messages for parents from Devon County Council Public Health Team

COVID-19 update

As you may have seen in the news, cases of COVID-19 are rising again. Here in Devon we still have lower rates than many parts of the country but it is expected that Devon’s rates will continue to rise as we all start to socialise more. This is starting to be reflected in the rise in positive cases among school age children in the county. We want to thank parents and carers for all you are doing to help keep school communities safe – and ask everyone to keep going with the ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ measures when you and your family are out and about as well as at school:

  • wash hands frequently

  • use face coverings where required, including school transport, public transport, and indoor public spaces

  • make space – keep your social distance



  • choose to meet outside in the fresh air where possible

Regular testing also helps to stop the spread of the virus – here’s a reminder of what tests are available and when to use them: LFD tests (Lateral Flow Device)

  • 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.

You can keep up to date with the latest coronavirus news from Devon County Council at devon.cc/covid-19

Face Coverings

We strongly encourage students to continue to wear face coverings on the corridors and in places where they cannot easily socially distance. It’s important that students remember that the face covering is specifically about protecting other people and it’s everyone’s responsibility to wear them correctly at the appropriate times.

Home Testing

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.

Guidance video - Covid 19 home testing

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: positiveorvoid@ilfracombeacademy.org.uk 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.

DfE Guidance

Parents and Carers please see the latest DfE guidance for schools

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

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.

Yours sincerely,

Steve Rogers

Headteacher

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