Following on from announcements earlier this week, we are sure that all parents and carers, particularly those of year 10 and year 12 students, will want to know our plans for school after half-term. The DfE advice and guidance from which we are working places the following expectations on secondary schools:

“From 1 June 2020, we expect that secondary schools and colleges will be able to offer some face to face contact with year 10 and year 12 pupils.”

This is also qualified with following condition:

“We will only do this provided that the five key tests set by government justify the changes at the time, including that the rate of infection is decreasing and the enabling programmes set out in the Roadmap are operating effectively. As a result we are asking schools, colleges and childcare providers to plan on this basis, ahead of confirmation that these tests are met.”

We are therefore required to have a plan in place for year 10 and year 12 students. We have spent the last 2 days looking at a range of different models that meet the government requirement for some face to face teaching, whilst ensuring social distancing measures are adhered to and the safety of all students and staff is at the forefront of all planning. We are currently engaged in a full risk assessment taking all of the detailed advice and guidance we have received into account. This will inform all of the procedures we will use when students are invited into school.

Our plan is very light touch, and we will be inviting a maximum of 2 year 10 classes and 2 year 12 classes in on any one day, with a target class size of 9 rather than the government’s advisory number of 15. We will only go beyond this number (9) when practicalities dictate, and then we will use our larger rooms which have the capacity to accommodate more students whilst maintaining the 2m social distancing advice. For timetabled classes larger than 9, which is most of year 10 and some of year 12, classes will need to be split. Whilst students will be with their normal classmates, they may be in smaller subgroups of the whole class.

Including our vulnerable students and those of Key Workers (who will return to us from Bewdley Primary School), we anticipate having between 50 and 70 students in school from Monday to Thursday, averaging 60, with around 8 to 10 students on a Friday. Given that the school has a capacity of 960 students, this will be between 5% and 7% of our total capacity at most. We are therefore confident that we will be able to implement social distancing and cleaning routines which will make school as safe as it possibly can be for staff and students. This will of course be reliant on everyone following the guidelines for social behaviours that we put in place.

Face to face teaching will be based around a shorter day, with students arriving at the normal time but leaving at the end of lesson 4. This will avoid the need for social gathering at lunch, and break will be carefully controlled to ensure social distancing is maintained. We anticipate that students will come in school uniform to minimise the chance of transfer of materials to and from home (as with NHS staff uniform) and whilst they may bring snacks/drinks for break, they will eat breakfast and lunch at home. There will be more detail on the practical arrangements when we have completed our risk assessment. In the meantime it would help us greatly with this, if parents/carers of year 10 and year 12 students could complete this questionnaire

Our practical arrangements may be subject to minor change, but the principles are based around allowing our comprehensive online curriculum to remained in place as unaffected as possible, for the whole school. When staff are in school teaching year 10/12 students they will obviously not be able to run live lessons. However, as this will be a few days from the 7 weeks of the half-term the disruption should be as minimal as we can possibly make it. We have also organised the schedule for Monday to Thursday, so that all teachers are free every Friday to follow up with online work with their classes. The following gives an outline of what this will look like for the two year groups, with further details and lesson schedules to follow.

Year 10

We have 7 weeks next half-term and year 10 have 3 core and 4 option subjects. There will therefore be a week for each of these subject blocks for staff to offer face to face teaching to their students:

  • Each block has 7/8 classes, so we will generally have 2 classes in each day, but occasionally only 1, from Monday to Thursday
  • The draft cycle is 1. Option J;   2. English;   3.Option K;   4. Maths;   5. Option L;    6. Science;   7. Option M  for weeks commencing 1/6, 8/6, 15/6, 22/6, 29/6, 6/7 & 13/7.
  • We anticipate that this will involve around 35 to 45, with an average of 40 year 10 students being on site at any one time.

This means that:

  • Every year 10 student will have one morning session per week, apart from the very small number disapplied from one option for extra support.
  • Every student will have one morning of face to face contact in each of their GCSE/BTEC subject areas throughout the half-term.

Year 12

The year 12 curriculum is designed around 5 option blocks which have 4 to 6 subjects in each. In practical terms at 2 classes per day, this means that the whole block cycle takes 14 days for every subject to have a morning in school. As we will have 7 weeks with 4 days per week of lessons, this gives time for 2 full cycles of lessons:

  • At 2 subjects each day the options will cycle around: J (3 days); K (3 days); L (3 days); M (2 days); N (3 days); total 14 days per cycle.
  • We anticipate that this will involve around 6 to 18, with an average of 12 Sixth Form students being on site at any one time.
  • As most A level groups have 2 teachers they will be able to offer a double lesson each the mornings lessons are scheduled.

This means that:

  • Every year 12 student will have 6 morning sessions across the 7 weeks of the half term
  • Every student will have 2 whole mornings with each of their 3 A levels during the half-term.

Please bear in mind that this will only happen if the government’s ‘five key tests’ are being met.

Further details will follow next week regarding risk assessments and schedules.

If you have any concerns or questions, please let us know via the questionnaire.