We are rapidly approaching the end of term and as you will know, the national strategy for secondary schools is for a full return in September.
Organisation for September opening
Secondary schools are asked to teach ‘whole year group bubbles’. We will continue to apply our one way system and social distancing in corridor areas, but will need to change the structure of the school day to avoid mixing of year groups at social times. This has been timetabled and will involve the current lunch break becoming a seventh lesson. Year 7 and 8 students will have lunch during lesson 4, whilst Year 9, 10 and 11 will have a rota across lessons 5 and 6, As Sixth Formers have their own café, they will continue to have lunch during lesson 5.
We have also been asked to stagger start and finish times of the day, but the number of students using school and public transport restricts our ability to do this. We have therefore made lesson 1 and lesson 7 into one hour lessons, rather than our usual 50 minutes, and will stagger start and finish times as follows:
Year 7 and 8: Start school at 8.50am and finish school at 3.10pm
Year 9: Start school at 8.55am and finish school at 3.15pm
Year 10 and 11: Start school at 9.00am and finish school at 3.20pm
As Sixth Form students have their own sixth form block and are in relatively small numbers, they will start at 8.50am and finish at 3.20pm as normal. We are asking students to arrive as close to the start time for their first lesson as possible, so that they can go straight to class. In the event that they need to wait for school to start, there will be clearly marked out areas for each year group to avoid mixing.
Contingency arrangements for partial opening
Our normal curriculum of 6 lesson days and 30 lesson weeks has average class sizes in the mid to high twenties. Whilst guidance from the Department for Education on protective measures for schools outlines the use of social bubbles, social distancing during lessons is no longer required. However, we are concerned that if infection rates rise, either nationally or locally, we could be placed in a position of needing to implement social distancing by reducing class sizes. The normal timetable is written and we are obviously ready to offer a full online curriculum if it is needed, but in the event of social distancing being required, we have made contingency (back-up) plans for September which can be found here. As I’m sure you can imagine, this contingency arrangement has taken considerable additional planning on top of the normal school curriculum plans we already have in place. However, we are clear that this will provide our students with the best possible safe curriculum offer in September if a socially distanced arrangement is required, and we will keep you updated as and when government advice changes.
We will also be working with Worcestershire County Council regarding school transport, and will contact parents and carers as soon as we have a clear understanding of what any contingency transport arrangements will look like. This will form part of our updated Risk Assessment, which will be published following further advice from Worcestershire County Council.
The plan for September opening
To be absolutely clear, the current plan is that schools will return in full in September, but if this changes to a reduced offer, this message outlines what that will look like at The Bewdley School. We will send out further details of day to day operation in due course, and students will have timetables on arrival in September. Return in September will be in full school uniform as normal. Details can be found here.
In the meantime, please do contact us if you have any questions.
Thank you for your continued support and stay safe.