Operating Backwell School during the COVID-19 Pandemic
We have an extensive risk assessment which has been signed off by our Trust. This complies with the expectations set out by the government for operating a school during the current pandemic.
Parents, carers and students have an important role to play in keeping the school community safe.
Our planning is based around the following system of controls:
Minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school.
Clean hands thoroughly more often than usual.
Ensure good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.
Introduce enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often, using standard products such as detergents and bleach.
Minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing wherever possible.
Where necessary, wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)
Numbers 1 to 4 must be in place in all schools, all the time.
Number 5 must be properly considered and schools must put in place measures that suit their particular circumstances.
Number 6 applies in specific circumstances.
Response to any infection:
7. Engage with the NHS Test and Trace process.
8. Manage confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) amongst the school community.
9. Contain any outbreak by following local health protection team advice.
Numbers 7 to 9 must be followed in every case where they are relevant.
Key links for Parents and Carers
Government expectations and guidance for parents can be found here.
Government guidance on supporting your child with remote learning can be found here.
What parents and carers need to know about schools and colleges during the COVID-19 outbreak - click here.
NHS guidance on symptoms and isolation can be found here.
NHS guidance on when you should and shouldn't request a test can be found here.
Full Government guidance documentation for schools can be read here.
Government Guidance for Schools on reopening in March 2021 can be found here.
Click here for information and guidance on Test and Trace Support Payments if your child is required to self-isolate.
Reporting a positive COVID-19 Test Result to the School
Should your child receive a positive PCR test result for COVID-19 during the week, weekend or school holidays please inform us straight away by:
- Emailing email@example.com. Please put COVID-19 positive result in the email subject.
- Please include your child’s full name and tutor group. We would ask that you do not share on social media the result as it can cause panic and anxiety amongst other families.
- Also please inform us of the day your child first displayed symptoms, and the date they took the COVID-19 test in your email.
- You can also follow up this email by calling the absence line and leaving us a message: 01275 464188
- A member of the senior leadership team may get in touch with you to ask some further questions.
If your child receives a positive LFT result, as part of ongoing at-home-testing you will need to:
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org to inform us of this positive LFT result.
- Book a confirmatory PCR Test for your child
- Your child, and the wider household, will need to self-isolate until the result of the confirmatory PCR test is known.
For more details on the home testing processes please click here.
How we are making the school site COVID secure
Students are being placed in bubbles by year group. This means that plans have been put in place to keep year groups separate to avoid mixing across the school site. These bubbles will also apply during social time, purchasing items from the school canteen and on transport to and from school. Students will not be allowed to socialise across year groups.
Extensive cleaning will take place throughout the day, especially in key areas including toilets and hand rails.
Enhanced cleaning will also be in place in specialist classrooms which require equipment (for example DT and Music)
In some internal areas of the school one way systems will be in place.
Students will be expected to use hand sanitiser (provided in all classrooms) whenever they enter or exit a classroom.
Classrooms will be laid out so that students are all facing forward towards the front of the room and seated side by side. Where this is not possible (for example in a specialist teaching space) screens will be in place.
Tissues will be provided in classrooms to enable ‘catch it, kill it, bin it’.
Students will be asked to wipe their desk and chair before leaving their classroom to go to their next lesson. The teacher will apply antibacterial spray onto the table and children will wipe them with cloths provided.
Use of outdoor space will be encouraged as much as possible.
Lockers will not be available for the near future. This is because we cannot guarantee social distancing between year group bubbles in the locker area(s).
Guidance has been placed in all toilets regarding good hand hygiene; washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap.
Teacher will spend a vast majority of their time at a 2m social distance from students in their class.
Should someone display symptoms of COVID-19 during the school day we have a procedure in place for isolating this student until they can be collected from school.
Should you be called to the school to collect your child, you will need to drive straight ahead as you enter the school site (not round to the left for the car park) and drive to DM2 to collect your child.
From Monday 8 March the following will apply:
Students and staff will be required to wear a mask during lessons as well as in indoor communal areas. This will remain the case at least until the government review at the end of Term 4.
Gary Lewis, The Chief Executive of the Trust, has written to all secondary headteachers in the Lighthouse Schools Partnership stating, “I am … asking you to take every reasonable step to ensure that there is compliance to these new tighter mitigations, especially the wearing of masks, when your schools reopen next Monday. There are exceptions relating to medical situations and I know that you will make provision so that pupils and staff with health related reasons for not wearing a mask are exempted from the requirement.” Click here to read his full letter.
Those who are exempt from wearing a face covering will be given a badge to wear on their school jumper, so that they are not unnecessarily challenged for not wearing a mask. These badges have been put in place as a supportive measure, especially for students who may be anxious about having to explain they cannot wear a mask. Students not wearing a mask, or a badge, will be asked to put on their face covering immediately.
Student Services will be able to hand out these badges to eligible students. In the case of parents who have already brought their child’s exemption to our attention: their child can report to the Student Services office and they will issue them with a badge when they return to school.
A mask will not be required when:
- A student has a medical exemption.
- During periods of exertion in lessons: for example PE
- Outside on the school site (social distance must be maintained, no hugging etc.)
- Where a 2 metre social distance can be maintained. Some of our staff may choose not to wear a mask whilst teaching. This is because all classrooms have been laid out to ensure that staff have a 2 metre distance between themselves and their students. However, some will choose to wear a face mask in their classrooms and, of course, staff will be wearing a face mask when they cannot maintain a 2 metre distance from others.
Masks must also be worn on public or home-to-school transport.
It is recommended that students bring a spare mask with them to school as Government guidance states “Where a face covering becomes damp, it should not be worn, and the face covering should be replaced carefully. Staff and pupils may consider bringing a spare face covering to wear if their face covering becomes damp during the day.”
We have a clear process to follow for the removal and application of masks at the start and end of lessons – this will be explained to students on their return to school. We recommend that students bring a seal-able plastic bag to store their mask in when they are not wearing it.
If you have problems with supplying your child with a mask, or if your child has a medical reason not to wear a mask, please contact us at the school email@example.com.
The School Day
There have been a number of significant changes to the school day to allow for social distancing and the COVID-secure measures outlined above.
- Students are expected to be in full Backwell School Uniform and should have their school jumpers with them at all times as classrooms are required to be well ventilated. Government guidance states: We would encourage all schools to return to their usual uniform policies in the autumn term. Uniform can play a valuable role in contributing to the ethos of a school and setting an appropriate tone. Uniforms do not need to be cleaned any more often than usual, nor do they need to be cleaned using methods which are different from normal.”
The timings and schedule of the school day have been changed;
The school day will begin at 8.50 am and will finish at 3.10 pm. There will be a staggered departure from 3.00 pm to assist with keeping bubbles of students separate.
Students will receive the same amount of curriculum time – the day is shorter as social time is now 1 hour a day (usually it would be 1 hour and 20 minutes). This change is in order to reduce the risk of students form different year group bubbles from mixing.
All lessons will now be double lesson – meaning students will only have three subjects a day. This significantly reduces the movement around the site and the fact that students are moving from lesson to a break, instead of lesson to lesson, further reduces risk.
There will be a staggered dismissal from each school building at the end of each lesson to further minimise risk of students mixing.
Tutor time has been amalgamated into two longer slots a week on a Tuesday and Thursday morning. Again this is to minimise movement around the school site. Students will still meet with their tutor, undertake PSHE activities and have assemblies (virtually/by video) during this pastoral time. The timetabling of Tutor Time is such that that all subjects will retain the same amount of curriculum time in each year group.
We will not be running whole year group or house assemblies for the foreseeable future. Assemblies will be delivered virtually.
Students cannot arrive on the school site before 8.30 am. They will then have to wait in a dedicated area for their year group bubble before heading to their tutor base/Lesson A classroom (dependent on the day of the week).
The Library will closed before and after school as we cannot provide adequate social distancing between year group bubbles.
The late bus runs for Clubs and Courses only on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and departs at 4.15 pm.
Students will not be able to play ball games or contact games during their social time. Any balls will be confiscated and students engaging in ‘rough and tumble’ games will be sanctioned as per our Behaviour Policy. This is as per government guidelines for schools. Therefore students should not bring balls on to the school site with them.
For the foreseeable future, due to COVID-19, only on days on which your child has PE they should wear their PE kit to school. . This is to reduce time in close proximity to others when changing before and after the lesson.
- This means that your child can wear any item on the PE clothing kit list, plus their school jumper, coat and either black sports leggings or black sports tracksuit bottoms (with branding discrete as possible) for warmth. They should bring their normal school uniform items (i.e. polo shirt and trousers/skirt) in their bag should they need a change of clothes following their PE lesson. This is especially important on days with inclement weather.
Arrangements for purchasing and eating food
We will update parents and students on social spaces prior to Monday 8 March.
We will have two periods of social time/opportunities to purchase food a day. They will both last 30 minutes and each year group will be allocated a time to purchase food from the canteen if they so wish. Students will not be able to purchase food outside of their allotted time. This is to ensure that students from different year group bubbles do not mix.
We are unable to provide the opportunity to purchase food before school (Breakfast Club).
Students entitled to free school meals will be able to select Grab and Go items during their scheduled time in the canteen.
Students will not use their thumbprint to pay for items in the canteen. A PIN system will be used instead. Students will be reminded of their PIN at the start of term.
Students should bring a full water bottle with them, and ideally enough to last the whole school day. Water fountains will be limited students should only use them if absolutely necessary.
Students are welcome to eat their lunch/snacks during either Break 1 or Break 2.
Any behaviour, which contravenes hygiene, social distancing or our COVID-19 procedures and expectations, will be acted on immediately.
Our Behaviour Policy and Procedure will be updated to reflect the restrictions and impact of COVID-19.
Sixth Form Students
Backwell Sixth Form students will only be required to be on the school site when they have tutor time, a lesson, supervised study or if a member of staff has made an appointment with them. Students are however welcome to study on the school site in their allocated study spaces if this is their preference. Year 12 are expected to study in the Sixth Form Common Room and Year 13 in the Library. We would remind students and parents/carers that it is imperative that they adhere to our risk assessment and wear face coverings in these communal spaces when they are not eating or drinking, and that in study time they sit facing in one direction, as they do in lessons. Students will have access to cleaning materials to wipe down the study space that they have been using.
Students who are entering/leaving the school site when they are not in a lesson will need to sign in/out in their respective home study folders. For Year 12 this is located in the Sixth Form foyer and for Year 13 this is located in the library, at the entrance to LB2. Students will need to use their lanyards at the main school gate to enter and exit the site. Please can we ask you to reiterate the importance of wearing a lanyard to your child, not only for access to the school site but also for safeguarding purposes as this allows any member of staff to identify them as a Backwell student.
Contingency Planning and Remote Learning
Below you will find key information and documents on how we will approach and organise live learning during the current school closure period.
On the return to learning on the school site the following will apply:
Should we be in the situation in which we have to instruct a whole year group bubble to isolate/quarantine all learning would automatically move online. All timetabled lessons would still take place via Microsoft Teams.
Where only a select group of students are self-isolating, students will be set remote learning via Frog. Students should check their Frog and school email accounts regularly so they receive updates from their teachers. Please note that remote learning does not mean live teaching, however where possible, students may be invited to join their classes remotely via Teams, for some elements of live classroom teaching.
We continue to further develop our remote learning provision so that students can easily access work which matches the in-classroom curriculum.
Please click below to view the school's remote learning arrangements:
If they are feeling well enough they can complete their home learning, use Frog to access other curriculum resources and activities or use the nationwide resources such as the BBC or the Oak National Academy.
Travelling to and from School
We have created a document which outlines transportation to Backwell School from September 2020.
There are some significant changes, including no parental cars on the school site, so parents and students are strongly encouraged to read the document fully.
Arrivals/departures during the school day
If your child arrives late to school, due to transport issues etc, they need to report immediately to their first lesson/tutor time where the register will be updated. Attendance at school is very important and we do have a process in place for regular lateness.
We ask that appointments for your child are booked outside of school hours. However on the rare occasion that your child has an appointment during the school day the following procedure applies:
Please ensure you inform us, in advance, of your child’s appointment. Please do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
You will be able to access the school site by buzzing at our main gate. Our Reception Staff will confirm why you have arrived and will then grant access to the school site.
Please meet you child in Reception, where they will have signed out (your child will need to wear a face covering waiting as this is a communal area)
If your child returns to school after their appointment, they will need to sign back in at Reception.
How you can help us - parents, carers and students
Parents are liable to be fined if your child does not attend school outside of school closure periods.
DO NOT send your child to school if unwell or showing any symptoms of coronavirus– follow the NHS guidance and request a test. Report your child’s absence through the normal channels – call 01275 464188 or email email@example.com
If a member of your household is awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test please DO NOT send your child(ren) into school until this test result has been received.
Ensure you and your child(ren) are familiar with our plans and expectations outlined in this document.
Speak to your child about good hygiene – washing their hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds and coughing/sneezing into a tissue.
Ensure your child is appropriately dressed for the school day. Classrooms will be well ventilated (doors and windows will be open), which means pupils will need to have their school jumpers with them. They should also have appropriate clothing for travelling to and from school/being outside during breaktimes. Hoodies are not appropriate school uniform and cannot be worn on the school site.
Ensure your child is organised and properly equipped for each school day as our ability to loan/lend equipment will be reduced. This should also reduce the need for parents to visit the school site to drop off forgotten lunchboxes, PE kits etc. which needs to be restricted to keep those on the school site safe. Please do not visit the school during the day unless it is absolutely necessary.
Please do not visit the school site without an appointment. If you need to speak with a member of staff please contact them to book a time to discuss your queries or concerns. Most meetings/conversations will be held over the telephone.
Whilst we have hand sanitiser stations across the school site, we strongly recommend that students bring their own hand sanitiser to school with them.
Follow our rules regarding arrival and departure from school once confirmed and published. Please respect staff instructions in the car park as we try to manage both the impact of COVID-19 social distancing and the building work taking place on the school site.
Please keep up to date with school communications – we will continue to communicate with parents via email and our website. If you change your contact details please inform us of this by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org