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The Basildon Academies

Covid 19 - Quick guide for parent/carers - September 2020

Message from Headteacher - Latest update: 15th September


September Opening of Schools - Latest update: 28th August

Dear Parents and Carers,

I would like to say thank you for your continued support over the past 4 months, and we really appreciate the work both you and the students have put in with home schooling.

I am pleased to be able to write to you regarding the return to school for all of our students on a full-time basis from September.

We are very much looking forward to welcoming all of our students back to the Basildon Academies on Thursday 3rd September.

Lower Academy

On the first day back we would ask that each year group arrives separately to attend a 2 hour period to allow us to run through health and safety procedures, give groups a full tour of the site and to demonstrate expectations.

Thursday 3rd September only:

From Friday 4th September the Lower Academy school day will run as follows:

Upper Academy

Year 10, Year 11 and Year 13 students to return on Thursday 3rd September:

Year 12 Students return on Monday 7th September. Each Year 12 student has been sent a letter detailing their individual timetable and arrival times.

Inevitably we will need to do some things differently for a period of time.  We are following and adhering to government guidance within our planning for full opening and our overriding priority is our determination that no student or staff member is at increased risk for being in school.  Therefore the following control measures will be in place:

Face coverings in education

From 1st September new advice will apply to the use of face coverings by staff and pupils in some schools, and to learners in further education. 

At this stage students are not to wear face coverings in classrooms, however if the wearing of a face covering in communal areas (corridors, canteens, playgrounds) provides additional confidence in supporting your child in returning to school this will be permitted. 

Students that choose to wear face coverings in communal areas will need to adhere to the government guidance on the safe wearing face coverings. 

The relevant points from the guidance is as follows: 

  1. Nationwide, the government is not recommending face coverings are necessary in education settings. 
  2. Face coverings will not be necessary in the classroom even where social distancing is not possible.    
  3. In the event of local intervention (lockdown) areas, face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around schools, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.   
  4. The academy has the discretion to require face coverings in communal areas where social distancing cannot be safely managed. This will remain under review.  
  5. The academy has the discretion to permit face coverings for staff, pupils or other visitors where this provides additional confidence to parents to support a full return of children to school or college. 
  6. Safe wearing of face coverings requires cleaning of hands before and after touching, putting on and taking off. 
  7. Face coverings that are brought on site require safe storage in individual, sealable plastic bags between use.   
  1. Arrival and Departure from site  - from Friday 4th September
    1. Students operate within year group and teaching group ‘bubbles’ at the lower academy.  Students will only mix within their ‘bubble’.  At the upper academy groups will remain together for the majority of the classroom time (not always possible in option subjects).
    2. This will mean that the academy day timings will change for different year groups along with staggered start and finish times
    3. All students, staff and visitors should arrive and depart through the main reception entrance.
    4. Students will retain the same amount of teaching time during this period.
    5. Students will access and exit the school via the reception entrance.
    6. All students, staff and visitors will be required to wash their hands or use hand sanitiser on arrival.
    7. All staff, students and visitors will be asked to remove their face coverings on arrival in line with guidance from the DFE.
  2. Attendance
    1. School attendance for students will be mandatory again from the beginning of the autumn term. All students must attend school.
    2. No-one with symptoms of Covid-19 should attend the Academies.
    3. Where a student is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical and/or public health advice, they will access our remote education.
    4. The usual rules on school attendance will apply, including the availability to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices in line with local authorities’ codes of conduct.
  3. Classrooms
    1. Students will be provided with a basic learning kit (pen, pencil, ruler, rubber and pencil case) and should provide their own additional equipment.  This frequently used equipment should not be shared by students or staff.
    2. Groups for the majority of the classroom time will remain together in a constant classroom, but may be taken by a specialist teacher to a specialist room. This transition around the site will take place with staff supervision.
    3. Class sizes will return to normal - max 30 in line with Government guidance.
    4. Students will be allowed to mix into wider groups for specialist teaching within their ‘bubble’.
    5. All teachers and other staff can operate across different classes, year groups and ‘bubbles’ in order to facilitate the delivery of the school timetable.
    6. Where staff need to move between classes, year groups and ‘bubbles’, they should try and keep their distance from students and other staff as much as they can, ideally 2 metres from other adults to enable a full educational offer.
    7. It is strong public health advice that staff in secondary schools maintain distance from their students, staying at the front of the class, and away from their colleagues where possible – all classrooms will have a designated area allowing teachers to remain 2m from students.
    8. All classrooms will be arranged with forward facing desks.
    9. Students will be seated side by side and facing forwards, rather than face to face or side on, in line with guidance.
    10. Classroom based resources, such as books and games, can be used and shared within the bubble; these will be cleaned regularly, along with all frequently touched surfaces.
    11. Resources that are shared between classes or bubbles, such as sports, art and science equipment will be cleaned frequently and meticulously and always between bubbles.
    12. Outdoor sports will be prioritised where possible, and large indoor spaces used where it is not, maximising distancing between students.
    13. During the initial opening period practical activities in subjects such as science, DT & catering will be demonstrated by a specialist adult where possible.
    14. Appropriate health and safety signage is in place in learning environments.
    15. Co-educators and other support staff can move between groups freely within their allocated ‘bubble’.
    16. All spaces should be well ventilated – prop doors open and keep windows open.
    17. Cleaning materials will be available in every classroom and used as and when appropriate.
    18. Information posters are displayed in every classroom, at the main entrance, places visible to those at the school gate, in the staffroom and in all toilets.
    19. The Basildon Academies Behaviour and Attitude to Learning Policy will operate to support positive attitudes to learning.
  4. Break and Lunch
    1. There will be separate break and lunch times for each year group bubble.
    2. Both break and lunch will last for 30 minutes, with bubbles having access to the school dining room at this time.   Normal service with regards to hot and cold food will resume.
    3. Cleaning teams will ensure surfaces in communal spaces, such as the canteen are cleaned between ‘bubbles’. Cleaning will take place between ‘bubbles’, following the principles set out by Government current guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings
    4. The dining room will have a supply of cleaning products and gloves.
    5. All students are expected to make use of outside space, unless raining. Social distancing should be adhered to, where possible.
    6. All students will wash their hands or use hand sanitiser before and after eating.
    7. Students can bring their own lunch to school in a lunchbox, but sharing of food must not take place
    8. All catering facilities are cashless to remove the need to exchange cash. Students will be issued with a new card in September.
  5. Movement around the site
    1. Movement around the school site will be kept to a minimum. The school day structure will limit movement around the site.
    2. One way circulation will be in place and should be followed where indicated.
  6. Uniform
    1. The academies will return to the usual school uniform policy.  Students will return in full school uniform.
    2. Uniform plays a valuable role in contributing to the ethos of a school and setting an appropriate tone, also supporting parents/carers with implementing effective personal hygiene.
  7. Meetings and Visitors

    a. No onsite staff meetings to take place unless deemed to be critical (safeguarding)
    b. We ask that no visitors, including parents, arrive onsite without an appointment.
    c. Where parental meetings are required onsite by a member of the pastoral team or SLT, they will happen outside of school hours (3:30pm). On site meetings to follow social distancing guidelines of 2m spacing.
    d. Government guidance asks us to discourage parents from waiting or gathering at school gates or the front of the school.
    e. Parents driving students to school are kindly asked to find a drop off and pick up point away from the school site, and in particular Timberlog Close at the lower academy.
    f. All visitors must wash their hands or use hand sanitiser on arrival.

I am confident the measures implemented reassure you that we are maintaining safety as our highest priority.  I will be in contact again should any of the government guidance change over the summer break.

We very much look forward to seeing all students returning on 3rd September.  I hope you enjoy the summer break and take care.

Yours sincerely

G. Smith
Headteacher


Welcome back Year 10 & 12 - Monday 15th June

This week we welcome back our Year 10 and 12 students and today saw the first groups of Year 10 students return to The Upper Academy.

It was great to see our students back in their uniform and ready to learn.  Our academy has not been the same without them and this week represents the first step in returning our academy to normality.

74% of students have attended their provision today demonstrating that students are keen to return to the classroom.

We look forward to getting the green light from the government to open to wider year groups as soon as possible.

Kind regards,

Gary Smith
Headteacher


School re-opening plans for Year 10 and 12 from 15th June 2020

I hope you are all well. 

As you may be aware the government have delayed the proposed return to school date for Year 10 & 12 students from the week beginning 1st June to the week beginning 15th June.  Today Headteachers received the following guidance from the government:

On 24 May the Prime Minister announced that secondary schools should plan on the basis that from the week commencing 15 June, they can invite year 10 and 12 pupils back into school for some face-to-face support with their teachers, subject to the government’s 5 tests being met.

Any plans that secondary schools have made for pupils to return earlier in June should be amended to commence from 15 June.

The return arrangements previously communicated to you for your child will now apply from the week beginning 15th June rather than next week.

Thank you for your continued support during this period.

We now look forward to seeing your child back in school during the week beginning 15th June.

Yours sincerely,

Gary Smith
Headteacher


Message from Headteacher - 21st May 2020

School re-opening plans for Year 10 from 1st June 2020

I hope you are all well.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the support you have given the school throughout the closure period.  

I am writing to you to confirm the arrangements for Year 10 students returning to school from June 1st in line with current government advice.

From the week beginning June 1st Year 10 students will return to the academy for one day per week to provide contact time that supports home learning. 

During this phase of reopening Year 10 students have been allocated a day to attend the academy.

During this phase of reopening the school day will begin at 9.00am and end at 3.00pm.

This will be a full school day where we will deliver classes from key curriculum area.

During our first phase of reopening our planning indicates that classroom staff to student ratio will be 1 adult : 6 students.

Our normal expectations regarding conduct and uniform will apply, however please do not let a particular uniform issue be a barrier to attending during this phase.  If there is an issue please ensure your child has a note from you.

Attendance Expectations

No-one with symptoms of Covid-19 will be allowed to attend the Academies.

If a student or staff member develops symptoms compatible with Covid-19 whilst at the Academies, they will be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 7 days. Their fellow household members should self-isolate for 14 days.

First Day Absence Calling will be undertaken for all Year 10 who are expected to attend a particular day(s) at the Academies as per usual processes.

Any students who are unable to attend the setting due to clinical vulnerabilities will receive welfare calls in line with our remote learning expectations.

Parents/Carers will not be subject to fines for non-attendance during this period.

Clinically vulnerable children who are at higher risk of severe illness (for example, people with some pre-existing conditions as set out in the staying at home and away from others (social distancing) guidance) have been advised to take extra care in observing social distancing and should learn from home where possible and therefore not attend during this phase of reopening.

Clinically extremely vulnerable children are advised not to learn outside the home. Children in this position are advised not to attend. Read Government guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable for more advice, and therefore should not attend during this phase of reopening.

As per Government guidance, if a child lives in a household with someone who is extremely clinically vulnerable, as set out in the guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable, they will be supported to learn at home, and therefore not attend during this phase of reopening.

On days where students are not scheduled to be in school their remote learning will continue.  

Our overriding priority will be our determination that no student or staff member should be at increased risk for being in school.  

Today I have posted a letter to you all  that will outline in detail the control measures that will be in place during this phase of reopening. These measures have been developed in consideration of GOV.UK guidance to reduce the risks relating to Covid-19.

Due to social distancing, please be reminded that parental meetings and answering of queries will continue to take place over the phone or via email.  Before 1st June you will all receive a phone call from an academy leader to answer any queries you may have.

Thank you for your continued support during this period. I have delivered many home learning resources to students over the past weeks and know first-hand that they are keen to return.  We are looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible from June 1st.

I would also like to thank parents and carers who have sent messages of support and gratitude for the work we are providing and the contact we are making, especially those that show and display the fantastic home learning that is taking place.  I really appreciate the work you are all putting in.

I look forward to seeing you back in school during the week beginning June 1st.

Yours sincerely

G. Smith
Headteacher


Message from Headteacher - 13th May 2020

Update for Year 10 & 12 - School reopening June 1st

Dear parent/carer

I am sure you have digested the information and advice from the Prime Minister’s press conference on Sunday and how schools will reopen from June 1st.

Secondary schools have received the following guidance from the Government at this stage:

From 1 June 2020, we expect that secondary schools and colleges will be able to offer some face to face contact with year 10 and year 12 pupils. This will not be a return to full timetables or pupils back in school or college full time, rather some support to supplement pupils’ remote education.

In line with implementing protective measures and reducing contacts, schools and colleges should limit the attendance of the year 10 and 12 cohort in the setting at any one time and to keep students in small groups. 

From June 1st we will provide, subject to any further government advice, face-to-face in school contact for Year 10 and 12 to complement our online provision, and support student remote home learning.  I will communicate with you all again before half term confirming the details of this provision, safety measures and expectations as well as the learning model.  Please be reassured that our planning will place the safety of our students, staff and community as priority.

Finally, thank you for your continued support during this period.  I am heartened by the amount of supportive emails and positive social media communications that we receive from families, especially those that show and display the fantastic home learning that is taking place.  I really appreciate the work you are all putting in.

Stay safe.

G. Smith
Headteacher


Message from Headteacher - 12th May 2020

Year 10 GCSE Examination Results 2020

Dear Student, Parent/Carer

As Year 10 students you are entered for GCSE English Literature this summer.  It has now been confirmed that the results for these examinations will be awarded using the same methods as Year 11.  You will receive your GCSE Literature grade this summer.

Please find below a link to the letter from the Chief Regulator at Ofqual outlining how grades will be calculated for Year 10 GCSE students entered for this summer:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/878854/Letter_to_students_-_Summer_2020_grading.pdf

Further information for students, parents and carers can be found following the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/awarding-qualifications-in-summer-2020

We have been advised that exam centres (the academy) must not, under any circumstances, share the centre assessment grades nor the rank order of students with students, or their parents/carers or any other individuals outside the centre, before final results have been issued.

Thank you for your continued support during these difficult times.

Stay safe,

Gary Smith
Headteacher


Message from Headteacher - 4th May 2020

Update regarding online learning - Subject Support

Today we launched our subject advice email addresses for students and parents/carers to contact if they have a query about a certain topic, key skill or exam question. Each subject email will have the same format with the name of the subject followed by @basildonacademies.org.uk, e.g. maths@basildonacademies.org.uk.

Email addresses will be available for: English, Maths, Science, History, Geography, French, Art, Photography, Drama, DT, Sport, PSHRE, Business Studies, Childcare & Hair and Beauty. If you need any assistance in accessing these, please visit The Basildon Academies website.

These are designed to answer subject or topic specific queries, not general queries or concerns. Please continue to direct these to admin@basildonacademies.org.uk or for a safeguarding concern, safeguarding@basildonacademies.org.uk

Thank you for your continued support.

Stay safe,

Gary Smith
Headteacher


Message from Headteacher - 22nd April 2020

Update regarding deliveries of Home Learning Packs

New learning packs and learning kits are being sent to all year groups this week to support students in getting the new term started. 

Today our staff began delivering 170 Year 10 Home Learning Packs. These are being delivered to homes across our community.

These packs will support Year 10 in continuing their learning as they approach the crucial year of their GCSE studies and will run alongside our online learning strategy.

Each pack contains learning materials for individual students that have been prepared by our staff.  This includes items such as learning kit, creative arts material, flash cards, language dictionaries, sketch books, text books, subject work books, reading books, PSHRE materials and learning plans.

The materials are tailored to individuals subjects and tiers and are designed to support your home learning during the school closure period.

         

Updated information for parents and carers regarding school closures can be found via the link:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

Stay safe,

Gary Smith
Headteacher


Message from the Headteacher - 20th April 2020

Update for students & parents/carers regarding online learning support

Today sees the launch of 2 national resources (one from The Department for Education, one from the BBC) to support schools and parents with home learning. These are:

These will be used to support and supplement our ongoing Home Learning Strategy  and the work set by our staff through Doddle

Stay safe,

Gary Smith
Headteacher


Message from Headteacher -  17th April 2020

Update for students & parents/carers regarding daily lessons from BBC Bitesize

From 20th April, you’ll be able to access regular daily lessons in English and Maths, as well as other core subjects via the BBC bitesize website and also special programmes broadcast on BBC iPlayer and BBC Red Button.  These daily lessons will supplement the online learning resources already provided by the academy.  The lessons are age/year group specific and are fully resourced.

To access these please follow the link below:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/dailylessons

New Maths and English lessons will be available every day for all ages. These will be created with resources from Bitesize, other parts of the BBC and other education providers. The content of these lessons will be backed up by new videos, practice tests, educational games and articles. Regular lessons on other core subjects, including science, will also be available. 

Parents & Carers can get advice on how to teach anyone who is home-schooling and the Bitesize website will also have guides for students with SEN (special educational needs).

Lessons on screen

BBC iPlayer and the Red Button service will host Bitesize Daily. These are six different 20 minute shows, each designed to target a specific age group, from ages five to 14, and for pupils throughout the UK. Experts and teachers will be involved, covering what should be learned that day for the different year groups and key stages. Maths, Science and English will be covered in dedicated programmes, and other subjects such as History, Geography, Music and Art will also be covered.

For older students, BBC Four is also joining forces with Red Button for evening programmes to support the GCSE and A Level curriculum.

Stay safe,

Gary Smith
Headteacher


Message from headteacher -  3rd April 2020

Update for students & parents/carers regarding summer 2020 grades for GCSE, AS and A Level:
Year 11 & Year 13 Examination Results 2020

Dear Parent / Carer

Please find below a link to the letter sent to schools today from the Chief Regulator at Ofqual outlining how grades will be calculated for GCSE, AS and A Level students this summer.  

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877830/Letter_to_students_-_Summer_2020_grading.pdf

Further information for students parents and carers can be found following the link below: 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877842/Summer_2020_grades_for_GCSE_AS_A_level_EPQ_AEA_in_maths_-_guidance_for_teachers_students_parents.pdf

I will of course be in touch with you again as soon as I receive further instructions regarding summer results.

We have been advised that centres (the academy) must not, under any circumstances, share the centre assessment grades nor the rank order of students with students, or their parents/carers or any other individuals outside the centre, before final results have been issued. 

Thank you for your continued support during these difficult times.

Stay safe,

Gary Smith
Headteacher


Message from headteacher -  2nd April 2020

Update for parents/carers with regards to Easter opening

The academy will remain open over the Easter break to provide supervision for the children of key workers and for students supported with an Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP) or those who have a social worker.

This will include remaining open on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Please continue to follow NHS guidance on self-isolation and social distancing:
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Stay safe,

Gary Smith
Headteacher


Message from Headteacher -  31st March 2020

Staying Safe Online: Resources for Parents & Carers

Further to Mrs Sherman's letter on 23rd March, please find below some resources for parents and carers to support you with online safety and the use of social media.

During this period of school closure, we understand the importance of technology for families and friends to stay in touch, as well as to support online learning. In order to allow you to manage these apps and devices safely, please do take the time to review some of the websites below:

  1.  NSPCC:
    https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/
  2.  Get Safe Online:
    https://www.getsafeonline.org/safeguarding-children/
  3.  UK Council for Internet Safety:
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/child-safety-online-a-practical-guide-for-parents-and-carers/child-safety-online-a-practical-guide-for-parents-and-carers-whose-children-are-using-social-media
  4.  Internet Matters:
     https://www.internetmatters.org
  5.  CEOP: 
    https://www.ceop.police.uk/Safety-Centre/How-can-CEOP-help-me-YP/How-can-CEOP-help-me-parent/
  6.  Thinkuknow:
    https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/
  7.  Childline:
    https://www.childline.org.uk/
  8.  Google:
    https://safety.google/families/families-tips/

Stay safe,

Gary Smith
Headteacher


Message from Headteacher - 24th March 2020

Free School Meals Support

To support students in receipt of free school meals with lunch provisions during the school closure period we will be sending you Tesco gift card vouchers. 

The free school meal grant is worth £2.24 per day and the Academy will top this up to £2.75, meaning the gift card voucher has a weekly value of £13.75 per child.  

We will send you 2 weeks worth in the first instance to cover the period from the school closure until the Easter break. This will be sent to you in the post.  This means if your child is entitled to free school meals you will receive £27.50 per child for this period.

You can spend the gift card in any Tesco Store (you cannot spend in Tesco petrol stations). To spend in store present at the till with the barcode clearly visible.

If you think your child may be eligible for free school meals then please follow the link: https://www.essex.gov.uk/free-school-meals

Thank you for your continued support at this time and best wishes.

Gary Smith
Headteacher


Message from Headteacher - 23rd March 2020

As of Tuesday 24th March all children of Key Workers and those children in other eligible categories will work from The Upper Academy.

From Tuesday 24th March, in order to deploy staffing and resources efficiently, children of Key Workers and those children in other eligible categories will work from The Upper Academy.  We will be operating both academies from a single site in order to ensure we streamline facilities.  This will mean that we can give all students attending access to a greater number of staff and facilities.

The Lower Academy will remain part of our strategy, and we may use this site again over the coming weeks.


Message from Headteacher - 20th March 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

If you are a Key Worker or have a child that meets the other criteria, please can you identify yourself via email to admin@basildonacademies.org.uk as soon as possible to enable us to contact you directly.

Schools are, being asked to continue to provide care for children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response (Key Workers) and cannot be safely cared for at home.

Vulnerable children including children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans https://www.gov.uk/children-with-special-educational-needs/extra-SEN-help

Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include:

  • Health and social care
  • Education and childcare
  • Local and national government
  • Food and other necessary goods
  • Public safety and national security
  • Transport
  • Utilities, communication and financial services

As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The government has given clear guidance on:

If children can stay safely at home they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.

The government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

I will continue to provide you information via all platforms as further details are made available

Kind regards

Gary Smith
Headteacher

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