Update for Parents March 1st 2021

Dear Parents and Carers,
In our previous correspondence with you we shared our overview for students returning to face-to-face education at George Spencer Academy. All students, in all year groups will return to school from the week beginning Monday 8th March. They will continue to be in their bubbles and zones as per the autumn term. In line with government guidance their first week back will be staggered to ensure all students have had one negative test result before returning to our site.
Students will receive 3 lateral flow tests, spaced 3-5 days apart on our school site over the first 2 weeks back. To do this we will carry out mass testing in the Sports Hall which we have converted into a temporary testing centre. Once we receive consent (sent to parents via email on 24 February) you will receive an email which includes the students first appointment time for testing, details of where they need to go, how the process works and a short video on how they administer the test. If you have any questions after receiving this email please contact Mr Platts, Assistant Principal via email (nplatts@george-spencer.notts.sch.uk).

The return dates for year groups are:
Year 11: Monday 8th March
Year 12: Monday 8th March
Year 13: Monday 8th March
Year 10: Tuesday 9th March
Year 7: Wednesday 10th March
Year 8: Thursday 11th March
Year 9: Friday 12th March

All year groups will have had their first lateral flow test prior to the return dates listed above. For an overview of when each year group will receive each of their tests, click here. The bullet points at the top of the attachment aim to provide you with an overview and answer generic questions you may have. We ask that you share the details of the document with your child.

After the students first 3 tests in school they will transition to testing themselves twice weekly at home using home testing kits. The home testing kits will be arriving to schools for us to distribute and manage a system where students/parents report the results of their tests. We are currently unpicking the guidance around this and will be able to provide more details in the coming weeks. During the 3 on-site tests we have put in measures to show students how to effectively do the swabbing process of their home tests correctly.

Inducting students back to face-to-face education:
On the students return, during their first form time session, they will watch and discuss a presentation with their Learning Managers that focuses on inducting them to our COVID-19 safety measures and ensures they have the opportunity to ask any questions and gain clarity over the procedures in place to maximise safety. This will include the changes in guidance on the wearing of face coverings.

Face Coverings:
Face coverings will be worn in all indoor environments including classrooms by all, unless the staff member or student is exempt. The government have put this measure in place for a “limited period” until Easter.
This measure does not apply to situations where wearing a face covering “would impact on the ability to take part in exercise or strenuous activity, for example PE lessons”, the DfE said. The DfE guidance has changed to state that face visors or shields should not be worn as an alternative to a face covering because they are unlikely to be effective in reducing aerosol transmission.

The guidance also states that face coverings do not need to be worn outdoors. As a school we are giving staff and students the option to wear them outside if they choose but it will no longer be mandatory for outside use.
If your child is exempt from wearing a face covering and we are not currently aware please contact Miss Gordon, Vice Principal via email who will discuss this further with you (jgordon@georgespencer.notts.sch.uk).

Uniform/Lanyards/PE kit:
All students will be expected to wear our full school uniform, including their colour coded lanyard which supports staff in knowing which zone students are allocated to. If your child has misplaced their lanyard, they should go to see their Pupil Support Assistant on their arrival to school on their first day back.
Year 7, 8 and 9 students should continue to wear their PE kit to school on the days they have PE. PE will be primarily outside so we urge students to also wear the red sweater or rugby shirt which makes up part of our PE kit during colder weather.
Students can no longer bring blankets to school, instead we ask that students wear a warm winter coat on days where the weather is colder.

The end of the school day:
To ensure we effectively manage the one-way system for crossing the bridge at the end of the school day, all year groups on lower site, including 6th form, will leave the site at 3:20pm as per our normal school day. The year groups (Year 10 and 11) based on upper site will leave their classrooms at 3:25pm.

Year 11 and Year 13 Assessment Announcement:
On Thursday the government announced the process for how students will be awarded their grades this summer after the formal exams were cancelled. The announcement comes after a joint consultation by Ofqual and the Department for Education and has concluded in students being awarded their grades through teacher assessments which includes a range of evidence. Details of our plans and response to the revised process will be sent to Year 11 and Year 13 parents and students by the end of next week.

We understand that our students will have different feelings about their return to face-to-face education after learning remotely since January. If they feel unsettled or worried please do contact their Director of Learning so we can offer support in the build up to their return and beyond.

We look forward to welcoming the students back next week.