A big feature of the nation’s response to the pandemic has been ‘change’ – changing from one normal to another, and then to another, and hopefully at some point to a normal that we recognise as being exactly that.
I write to you today on the cusp of another big change, this time moving towards a more normal situation for the school albeit with some small humps to navigate on the way. The important bit is that next week we will start putting our school back together. By Thursday 11th we’ll have all year groups back into school, and by Thursday 18th the three rounds of in-school lateral flow testing will be done and we’ll be back to being where we were in September, which is the closest to normal we’ve been for a year.
I’m very aware that a LOT of information has been sent out over the past week and so I’ll try to keep this blog to the point with three key messages:
1) I have pre-recorded an assembly that all students should watch tomorrow (Friday) morning. Their heads of year/form tutors will be sharing how to access this. It outlines the plans for next week and reminds students of the expectations in school. Students should still log on to forms as usual in the morning.
There is one addition to the assembly that I want to make clear. Students who have PE lessons must attend school in uniform – we allowed attendance in PE kit for the fortnight prior to Christmas only to safeguard family plans for the festivities. However that no longer applies so uniform must be worn with PE kits being brought in bags as per usual.
2) ‘Day 1’ Lateral flow testing
See the end of the blog for a visual reminder of when each year group is invited in for testing. Please can students be reminded of the following prior to their first test:
b) Uniform does not need to be worn for ‘Day 1’ testing unless the student is in school for the whole day as part of the usual VKW cohort.
c) Students should make sure they have the following with them to enable the test to take place: School lunch card (used for our check-in system at the test centre), the covid testing registration card, a set of three matching barcodes (all three are needed for one test) and a face covering.
d) On arrival students should report to the car park outside the sports hall.
e) As we are aiming to process 100 tests an hour it is essential that students register online for the test before arriving in school. If students are yet to register for the test then the mobile phone number used should be that of a parent, not the student themselves.
3) Home lateral flow testing
The Government announced that following the three in-school tests families will be asked to test students twice weekly. It has now been confirmed that schools will not be asked to distribute tests, and nor will they be posted home. Instead families can order tests online or collect them from nominated test sites. The nearest test site to school is a car park in the centre of Marple (Chadwick Street car park). Further information can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rapid-lateral-flow-testing-for-households-and-bubbles-of-school-pupils-and-staff
I would strongly recommend that students are tested regularly and of course that any positive test results are reported to the school. All results have to be reported to Test and Trace, but we will only need to know about positive cases.
Next week therefore sees the end of ‘lockdown three’ from a school point of view. Based on the expectations of our school community I couldn’t be more proud of what we have achieved. By the end of this week we’ll have delivered around 13,000 live lessons and form times with an incredible attendance rate of around 95%. That is a lot of online engagement!
On top of that we’ve supported around 80 students in school each day, made thousands of welfare calls home and kept on top of key milestones such as the Year 9 options and several parents’ evenings. It’s been a remarkable effort from all concerned – staff, students, parents and governors – but the time is right to get back to what we love most and see the school full again.
Many thanks for your ongoing support,
Our Community - Our Future
Marple Hall School
Hill Top Drive
Stockport SK6 6LB
Headteacher: Mr Joe Barker