I hope you and your family are well and that you are enjoying the summer holiday.
I look forward to welcoming all of our students back soon and I want to reassure you that rigorous planning has been undertaken to ensure that we effectively minimise any risks from Coronavirus whilst continuing to provide a full educational experience for all Sharples students.
In preparation for the new term, we have undertaken a detailed risk assessment which has been verified by the Local Authority. The following points highlight some of the actions we have undertaken to ensure the safety of staff and students:
- Cleaning team on site throughout the day
- Signs around the site with key messages relating to health and safety
- PPE equipment (masks/gloves/face visors, etc) in place for staff performing first aid procedures
- Hand sanitiser at all entry/exit points
- New hand wash dispensers fitted in all toilets
- Four portable hand wash stations purchased and fitted at key points around the site
- Clear protocols and designated isolation areas in place should students display symptoms of Covid-19
You will be aware that the wearing of face coverings in school is an issue that has been debated extensively over recent weeks. In line with guidance from the Bolton Health Protection Board, all Sharples staff and students must wear a face covering when they are on the corridors, or in any communal areas where social distancing is not possible. They will not be required to wear a face covering in classrooms or in outside spaces. Please ensure that your child has a face covering with them each day, this can be reusable or single use. However, it should be plain, ideally black or white, and appropriate for wearing in a school environment.
When the new term starts, each year group at Sharples will form a distinct ‘learning bubble’. The school must be organised to minimise contact between year groups (learning bubbles) at all times. In order to achieve this, we have zoned the school so that each learning bubble has its own base area.
Students will be based in their zone for most of their lessons and will only move from that area to access specialist classrooms, e.g. computing, technology and PE. This approach will minimise movement around the school site and greatly reduce contact between learning bubbles. During break and lunch times each learning bubble will have a designated outside space.
The directive to keep year groups separate is incredibly difficult in the school canteen and also on the school buses. We have worked with our school caterers, Mellors, to ensure that a range of food options are available. However, for the first few weeks, this will be limited to a cold service only e.g. sandwiches, biscuits and fruit. There will be no food service available at break time, so students may wish to bring a snack with them. Our provision of Free School Meals to eligible students remains in place as usual.
The school buses will run as normal from Tuesday, 8 September and, all students travelling by bus, will need to adhere strictly to all health and safety requirements, e.g. wearing of face coverings.
Whilst we are working proactively to ensure that all aspects of the school day run smoothly, I would ask that, in the first instance, parents support the return to school in September by, if at all possible:
- Providing your child with a packed lunch
- Encouraging your child to walk or cycle to school or, alternatively, drop them off.
All students will be expected to arrive in September wearing full school uniform and adhering to all aspects of the uniform policy. In order to maintain our high standards, I would like to draw your attention to our policy on shoes. All shoes must be black and polishable. The following are not permitted: plimsolls, sports footwear, suede shoes and shoes with logos on. For full details of our uniform policy, please refer to our website. https://www.sharplesschool.co.uk/policies/
It is also important that all students have with them essential learning equipment (e.g. pen, pencil, ruler, glue stick, calculator) as health and safety restrictions mean that we cannot lend or share any equipment. It is also vital that your child has a school bag with them each day in order to keep their books and equipment safe.
In the “Parent Zone” on the website you will also find Information Packs which contain a wealth of useful information to support you in the new academic year.
I would also encourage you to have a look at the information which the Government has provided for parents regarding the reopening of schools. This can be accessed at gov.uk/backtoschool.
In order to ensure that we have time with each year group to introduce them fully to the health and safety measures we have put into place, we will operate a staged start to the year, as follows:
Year 7 pupils will start on Monday, 7 September at 12.00pm
Year 11 will return on Tuesday, 8 September at the normal time of 8.45am at the very latest
Year 8 will return on Wednesday, 9 September at the normal time of 8.45am at the very latest
Year 9 will return on Thursday, 10 September at the normal time of 8.45am at the very latest
Year 10 will return on Friday, 11 September at the normal time of 8.45am at the very latest
Whilst we are well prepared for the September start, we are aware that in the current climate things can change rapidly. Please be assured that I will contact you promptly if any information changes. If you have any questions or queries please contact me via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please encourage your child to make the most of the remainder of the holiday and we look forward to seeing them soon.