Firstly, a very Happy New Year to the Coombe Dean community.
The Government response to the new strain of the Covid-19 virus has been to change their approach to the reopening of secondary schools in England. This guidance was released to schools very late Wednesday evening.
The Government has stated that secondary schools will now open from Tuesday 5 January 2021 to ‘vulnerable’ children and children of critical workers only. All other students including those in examination groups (Years 11 and 13) who were initially due to return for face-to-face learning from 5 January – will work remotely at home, following their normal timetable.
Students will then start a phased return to on-site provision starting with Year 11 and 13 from Monday 11 January, leading to a full return from all year groups from Monday 18 January.
As with the previous lockdown we will provide on-site, face to face provision for our vulnerable children (If your child has an EHCP or is formally working in a multi-agency plan with the Social care system) and children of Critical Workers (all years). If you (key worker) or your child (vulnerable) fit these categories, then you must book to access the facility using the attached link:
The Educare facility will run from 08.40am until 3pm and students will be accessing the same online learning as students at home supported by Heads of Year and teaching assistants. Please can I encourage all students to bring their own headphones in order to try and support an effort to stop the spread of the infection. Please note that you are required to book your child into Educare each week. Further details for those accessing Educare will be sent out as soon as possible on Monday.
For any student/parent accessing learning from home I have attached the link below to our Remote Learning Guide for Parents and Learners:
The Remote Learning Guide which we have published previously also references the facility to loan a device to support Home Learning. Following the survey completed earlier in the academic year, we have sought to increase our access to devices that we can loan. We will publish the means by which a device can be loaned by Monday 4th January at the latest and we will be prioritising households with no access to a device aiming to ensure that as far as possible, all families with no access to a device to support remote learning can loan a device which we will seek to deliver directly to households.
Summary of arrangements for each year group
|Year||Remote Learning from||Onsite, face-to face learning from|
|Vulnerable children and children of Critical Workers (all years)||Tuesday 5 January 2021|
|13||Tuesday 5 January 2021||Monday 11 January 2021|
|12||Tuesday 5 January 2021||Monday 18 January 2021|
|11||Tuesday 5 January 2021||Monday 11 January 2021|
|10||Tuesday 5 January 2021||Monday 18 January 2021|
|9||Tuesday 5 January 2021||Monday 18 January 2021|
|8||Tuesday 5 January 2021||Monday 18 January 2021|
|7||Tuesday 5 January 2021||Monday 18 January 2021|
Face coverings from January
From the start of the Spring Term, Coombe Dean School and The Westcountry Schools Trust is now strongly recommending that all students and staff (unless exempt) wear face coverings in all classrooms. The requirement for face coverings to be worn in all corridors and communal spaces unless eating remains in place. This is in response to the new, much more highly infectious, Coronavirus variant that is sweeping across the country. Our priority remains keeping all students and staff as safe as possible in these challenging circumstances and we ask for your support in reinforcing this message to your child(ren).
Lateral Flow Testing (LFT):
The Government briefing also updated school guidance on Lateral Flow Testing (LFT). All secondary schools will be expected to regularly test the staff and children on site supporting existing control measures. We will be seeking to provide our families with details of LFT arrangements and procedures as soon as we have had sufficient time to strategically plan, resource and train a workforce and have agreed a protocol across all secondary schools in The Westcountry Schools Trust. Please be assured that we anticipate having everything in place for safe and efficient testing on-site for all consenting students and staff by the end of January.
Thank you again for all of your support and understanding, we will continue to keep you updated with any changes to government guidance and specific points such as Lateral Flow Tests once we have more information to share.