Principal’s Letter to Parents – 31st December 2020

Principal’s Letter to Parents – 31st December 2020

A PDF version of this letter can be found here.

Dear Parents/Carers,

I hope that you and your families are all well and that you have had a good Christmas. Yesterday the Government made an announcement altering plans for secondary schools to reopen in January. We were unaware of the changes prior to them being announced and whilst some aspects of the plans are clear, others are less so. As such, we await further updates and clarifications from the DfE and local authority. We will, of course, provide more detail as and when it becomes available.

Return to School

The information provided thus far will mean the following arrangements will now need to be in place:

The only students who will return to school (as planned) from Tuesday 5th January will be:

  • Children of Critical Workers (Critical workers) – all year groups
    Please be reminded that if you are a critical worker and you would like your child to attend school on Tuesday 5th, Wednesday 6th, Thursday 7th and Friday 8th please contact criticalworkers@homewood.kent.sch.uk by Friday 1st January 2021. Please include the following information in your email: name of student, tutor group, your name as a critical worker and your job role. If we do not hear from you, then we will assume that your child will return to school at the same time as the rest of their year group. Once you have booked a place, you will be contacted on Monday 4th January with further information about registration points and booking for the following week, if appropriate. Students should bring their fully charged chromebooks/electronic devices into school where this is possible. Please note that remote learning will be in place for this group of students on Monday 4th January.
  • Students with an allocated Social Worker and Students who are Young Carers – all year groups
    Students in the above categories (all year groups) will also be able to attend school on Tuesday 5th, Wednesday 6th, Thursday 7th and Friday 8th January should you as parents/carers wish them to do so. If you would like to book a place please contact Miss English v.english@homewood.kent.sch.uk by Sunday 3rd January 2021. Please include the full name of the student and their tutor group. If we do not hear from you, then we will assume that your child will return to school at the same time as the rest of their year group. Once you have booked a place, you will be contacted on Monday 4th January with further information about registration points and booking for the following week, if appropriate. Students should bring their fully charged chromebooks/electronic devices into school where this is possible. Please note that remote learning will be in place for this group of students on Monday 4th January.
  • EHCP students and Key Skills students
    In school support will also continue to support our EHCP students from all year groups and our Key Skills classes in Year 7 (7N), Year 8 (8N) and Year 9 (9Z5) from Tuesday 5th January.  Students in 7N, 8N and 9Z5 and other EHCP students should meet their teachers in the following rooms.

    • Year 7 – T1
    • Year 8 – F42
    • Year 9 – E12
    • Year 10 – G42
    • Year 11 – G15
    • Year 12/13 – F14
      Please could we ask the parents of our EHCP students and Key Skills students to confirm their attendance or otherwise from Tuesday 5th January by contacting Miss Stephen on l.stephen@homewood.kent.sch.uk We would be very grateful if you would let Miss Stephen know your intentions by Sunday 3rd January at the latest. Students should bring their fully charged chromebooks/electronic devices into school where this is possible. Please note that remote learning will be in place for these students on Monday 4th January.
  • Students Taking External Examinations and Revision Sessions
    External exams in January will go ahead as planned. Students should go to the area immediately outside A Block and wait to be collected by their exam invigilators. They should arrive no later than 30 minutes prior to the start of the exam. The specific revision sessions that have been scheduled to prepare students for these exams will no longer be able to go ahead in school. Replacement sessions, where possible, will be conducted online. Individual teachers will contact students separately.
  • All Other Children
    All other children will undertake remote learning for the week beginning Monday 4th January. Teachers will set work for students to complete on Google Classroom. Students will be assigned work for each subject according to their normal timetable. For example, if your child is timetabled to have English, Science and Geography on a Monday they will be given work from these subjects to complete and these tasks must be completed and submitted on that same day. We would appreciate your support, as parents, in ensuring that your child understands and completes all assignments or tasks. Students will be expected to work for a minimum of 4 hours each day.
    Initial indications from the Government are that Years 11 and 13 will attend from Monday 11th January and that Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 will attend from 18th January, although yesterday’s Governmental announcement suggested that in some Tier 4 areas this staggered return may take longer. We will update you once we receive clarification on these points.

Uniform

All students attending school should do so in full school uniform.

Travel Arrangements

For the week commencing Monday 4th January only public buses will be running. Students who travel on a dedicated school bus will need to find an alternative means of getting to and from school during this week. We are expecting buses to be running as normal from the 11th January assuming Year 11 and 13 are back in school as planned. Please be reminded that students should wear a face covering at all times when travelling on public transport and they should socially distance wherever possible, especially with students from other year groups.

COVID Testing

The Government also announced yesterday that COVID testing in schools will start from Monday 11th January. Such testing might include the ‘mass asymptomatic testing’ of students and/or the targeted testing of a positive student’s ‘close contacts’ who would then be able to remain in school if they, themselves, received subsequent negative COVID test results. Note that we will need to seek formal consent from you for your child to be tested. However, we are not in a position at this stage to confirm the exact nature of the testing that we will be able to undertake at Homewood. Once we have finalised our plans, more information about our intentions moving forward will, of course, be emailed to you.

Volunteers to Support the Testing Process

If we are going to be able to implement at least some of the Government’s plans for testing in school, we are going to need volunteers to assist our school staff in supervising these tests. There will be various roles that will be required and these will include:

  • helping with registration
  • supervising the tests
  • taking swabs
  • processing tests
  • administering results
  • communicating results to students, parents and staff

If you are a parent, a friend of Homewood or an ex-student who is perhaps waiting to return to university and have some spare time on your hands, then please let us know if you can help out in any way. If you are able to give us either one day a week of your valuable time, or several hours across a week, please get in touch by emailing volunteer@homewood.kent.sch.uk.

In your email, please give your name, contact details and let us know which day and what hours you would be able to help out. There will be a training video to watch and there will always be a trained nurse or first aider on hand to support you in addition to other members of school staff. We would love to hear from you – just in case!

Catering Facilities

There will be no catering facilities and food available for the week beginning Tuesday 5th January but we hope to be able to provide food the following week once Year 11 and 13 students return to school. Details of the facilities open to your child at these times will be made available when students return to school.

Free School Meals

Please also be aware that, for Free School Meal students in all years, the school will be working hard to provide you with the funding required for the week beginning Monday 4th January. If your child is eligible for free school meals, please contact finance@homewood.kent.sch.uk and provide details of your child’s name, their year group, your bank account number, the sort code and the name of the account holder. We will pay £15 for the week beginning Monday 4th January for Years 7 to 13 who will not be in school. Payments will be received by the Friday of that week (8th January) where submissions are made by Sunday 3rd January. Parents who have previously provided bank details will need to do so again because we do not keep those records under GDPR regulations. Any students in school will be able to claim their usual food allowance. Arrangements for Free School Meals from Monday 11th January will be communicated to you next week.

Winter Grant Scheme

Please be aware that the Government is providing additional funding for families in need of support with food and other essentials across the winter period. Further information is available via the following link: Winter Grant Scheme.

COVID-19 Test Results

Should your child receive a positive test result either before or after they return to school, please report it in the normal way through covidtestresults@homewood.kent.sch.uk

This will enable us to react appropriately and support with contact tracing, where necessary. I would also take this opportunity to remind parents that their child should NOT return to school if they or anyone else in their household has received a positive test result or is displaying symptoms. You will find an up-to-date guidance document at the end of this letter.

Summary of Return Dates – updated Thursday 31st December following Government announcement on Wednesday 30th December:

Monday 4th January

  • No students in school – remote learning on Google Classroom for all year groups

Tuesday 5th January

  • EHCP students across all year groups
  • Key Skills classes in Year 7 (7N), Year 8 (8N) and Year 9 (9Z5)
  • Children of Critical workers where a place has been booked
  • Young Carers where a place has been booked
  • Students with an allocated Social Worker where a place has been booked
  • Students with scheduled external exams should attend their exams as planned

Monday 11th January

  • Years 11 and 13 in school (details will follow as soon as we have further confirmation from the DfE)
  • Students with scheduled external exams should attend their exams as planned

Monday 18th January

  • Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 in school (this will be confirmed as soon as we have local authority confirmation).
  • Students with scheduled external exams should attend their exams as planned

Once again, I thank you all for your continued support of the school during these challenging times. We very much look forward to seeing all of our children back in the not too distant future. In the meantime, I wish you and your families a very happy and healthy 2021.

Yours sincerely,
J K Single
Principal

Guidance for Parents and Carers- COVID-19 and School Attendance

What to do if… My child has COVID-19 (coronavirus) symptoms

Back to school… when your child’s test comes back negative and nobody else in the household has symptoms or has tested positive


What to do if… My child’s test is positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus)

  • Child shouldn’t attend school
  • Child self-isolates for at least 10 days from when symptoms started (or from the day a test if no symptoms present)
  • Please email the test results immediately – covidtestresults@homewood.kent.sch.uk
  • Whole household self- isolates for 10 days from day when symptoms started (or from day of test if there are no symptoms) even if someone tests negative during those 10 days

Back to school… after a minimum of 10 days self-isolation from symptom onset and when they feel better and have had a normal temperature for 48 hours

Please note a child may return to school after 10 days if they still have a cough or loss of smell taste – these symptoms can last for several weeks once the infection has gone


What to do if… Somebody in my household has COVID-19 (coronavirus) symptoms

  • Child shouldn’t attend school
  • Household member with symptoms should get a test
  • Whole household self-isolates while waiting for test result
  • Inform school immediately about test results by emailing – covidtestresults@homewood.kent.sch.uk

Back to school… when the household member’s test is negative and the child and other household members do not have COVID-19 symptoms or in the absence of a test result after a minimum 10 day isolation and the child and other household members do not have COVID-19 symptoms


What to do if… Somebody in my household has tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus)

  • Child shouldn’t attend school
  • Whole household self-isolate for 10 days from day when household member’s symptoms started (or from day of test if no symptoms were present) even if someone in the household tests negative during those 10 days

Back to school… when the child has completed 10 days of self isolation, and only if symptom-free


Please note these governmental regulations may be subject to change