31 December 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
As you will all appreciate based upon yesterday’s announcement by the Education Secretary, there are a number of changes to the start of term on 4th January 2021 that will affect all members of our community.
All parents and carers should be aware of the following arrangements from Monday 4th January 2021:
- School will re-open on Monday 4th January 2021 for the children of key workers and those considered to be vulnerable only. If you are a key worker and would prefer that your child access online provision at home that is also acceptable. Students should travel to school as normal and will follow their usual timetable. We will contact all those accessing provision as Key Workers on Monday, but please send your child to school on Monday 4th January as normal if you are a confirmed Key Worker and want to access this provision. All school transport will be available as normal, with all school buses running. We will continue to make hot food available at lunch time for all those in school.
- We have contacted the parents and carers of all SEND students and those with a social worker. They should travel to school as normal on Monday 4th January 2021and will follow their usual timetable.
- We have been instructed not to open for any other students in the period 4th – 8th January 2021.
- Year 11 and 13 will return to school on Monday 11th January 2021. They will be taught online during the first week of term.
- Year 12 students will study at home between Monday 4th and Wednesday 13th January. We will assess the situation and, hopefully, Year 12 will return on Thursday 14th January 2021.
- Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 will not attend school, based upon direct guidance/instruction from the Department for Education, but will return to school on Monday 18th January 2021. Year 7, 8, 9 and 10 students need to log on from home for registration and their daily lessons. Please contact the school on Monday 4th January if you need any IT support in terms of equipment, Teams or passwords.
- All teachers will follow their normal timetable and will teach and work with students during normal lesson times. This will involve a combination of live lessons and work on Teams. Students working from home need to be prepared and ready for the start of each lesson.
- We will provide an update regarding after school sports and music lessons on Monday 11th January 2021.
- Yesterday’s announcement suggested that schools would start to administer Lateral Flow tests as soon as Monday 4th January. Whilst we are very keen to support the national effort to control Covid-19, we will not be taking any action to initiate testing of any kind until a number of important questions have been answered. Please be aware that we have no current plans to test students in the first week of term and will work within the planning and systems currently being finalised by the Health and Safety Team at Durham County Council.
We will continue to plan carefully for the half-term ahead and will provide regular updates via the school website and direct emails so that you are fully aware of any changes to the proposals outlined above. Thank you for your ongoing support as national advice continues to change and can, on occasion, seem contradictory and confusing.