END OF SUMMER TERM 2020
I hope you and your family are well.
Since lockdown began in March, we have all faced many challenges and we have all had to adapt to a rapidly changing society. I am incredibly proud of the students and staff of Sharples school who have shown great creativity and resilience over the past few months. This determination has ensured that effective learning has continued for our students in the most challenging of circumstances.
I would like to thank you all for the support you have given to our school over recent months. Many of you have gone ‘above and beyond’ to support your child’s distance learning and your efforts are very much appreciated.
As we move towards the end of the term, our thoughts now turn to September and the start of the new academic year. On 2 July the Government finally published its guidance for schools which stated that all students should be in school, full time, from the start of the Autumn Term.
I look forward to welcoming all of our students back in September and I want to reassure you that rigorous planning is underway 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 September, 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
- Floor and wall signs at entry points, 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 was 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
From September, in line with Government guidance, 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, art 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 are currently looking at solutions with our school caterers, Mellors, to ensure that a range of food options are available. However, it is likely that lunch provision for the first few weeks will be ‘grab bags’ only. 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.
Whilst we will work 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 (eg, pen, pencil, ruler, calculator) as health and safety restrictions mean that we cannot lend or share any equipment.
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.
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 September, we are aware that in the current climate things can change rapidly. I will write to you again towards the end of August to provide you with an update prior to our return to school in September.
Finally, our staff, students and parents have been working incredibly hard since lockdown started in March and I know that everyone deserves a well-earned break over the summer.
Have a happy and safe holiday.