We are all looking forward to the return of all of our pupils for the start of this term. We very much hope that you will support the School in the measures that have been put into place and that we can all work together to ensure a safe and smooth beginning to the new academic year.
Arrival and departure
As was the case last term, pupils will be placed in ‘bubbles’ which will remain socially distanced from each other. In order to facilitate this, each bubble will have its own entry and exit times. We have tried not to reduce our normal curriculum time. The times allocated are therefore more in line with our previous morning arrival times in order to enable all pupils to be in school in time for the beginning of the school day.
Ash -KS2 Mrs Walker 8.30am – 3.20pm
Beech- Year 7 Mrs Roux/ Mrs Patten 8.35am – 3.25pm
Elm- Year 8 and 9 Mrs Gudgin 8.40 – 3.30pm
Oak- Year 10 Miss Rosselli 8.45am – 3.35pm
Elder- Year 11 Miss Howard 8.50am – 3.40pm
Entry and exit will be via the back gate which is for Holme Court pupils only.
Anyone arriving before their entry time should wait away from the school gates using the ground markings to ensure that they are socially distanced.
Pupils will enter the school building via the main back entrance. This door will be kept open in the morning until 9.00am after which it- and the back gate will be closed. Anyone arriving after 9.00am will need to go to the main entrance at the front of the school.
A one way system is in place on the stairs and landing.
Pupils will go upstairs via the main stairway and along the landing. Pupils will go down stairs via the smaller staircase at the end of the landing. They will leave the building from the fire exit door.
Admittance to school
In order to minimise the risk to others it is vital that anyone who has any COVID-19 symptoms, (a persistent cough, temperature, fever, flu like symptoms or loss or change of smell or taste), anyone who has tested positive in at least the last 10 days and anyone in the same household as someone for whom the above applies does NOT attend.
Similarly, anyone who has been abroad in the last two weeks and is required to self-isolate must stay at home.
All staff and pupils will have their temperature taken before they will be allowed into school. If you are bringing your child to school yourself, please do not leave the site until this has taken place.
If your child becomes unwell during the day s/he must be collected from school immediately. You will be advised to follow guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus infection (https:/www.gov.uk/government/publicatons/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance), which sets out that your child must self- isolate for at least 10 days. You should arrange for your child to have a test (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested).
Other members of the household (including siblings) must self -isolate for 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms.
Government guidance now states that ‘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.’ Therefore, in order to provide a sense of normality we are asking for pupils to return in the general Holme Court uniform ie trousers/skirt, polo shirt and jumper. If you are not able to obtain this before the beginning of term dark coloured plain clothing will be fine.
School blazers are not compulsory and were brought in at the request of pupils as an optional extra. Seeing as these are generally washed less often we would request that these are not worn at this present time.
Until guidance is received to the contrary, pupils will be allowed to come to school wearing their PE kit on days when PE is timetabled. This is to limit the amount of items brought to school. If pupils do not have a HCS PE kit, then navy shorts/tracksuits are acceptable (but not leggings or skins).
The position on masks has evolved throughout the summer. At present Cambridge is not considered to be a high case area. As of 31st August, in England Government guidance is that there is no requirement for masks to be worn in classrooms where social distancing measures are in place. We are happy to follow this advice as pupils will be taught in small ‘bubbles’ and seated individually at tables where there is room. For classes in which this is not possible due to limitations of room size pupils will sit side to side in accordance to guidelines. All pupils in all rooms will be seated facing forwards.
Unlike in many large secondary schools we are fortunate in that we have been able to use a one way system within the top floor. This in addition to staggering of entry/ exit and break times, 2 metre markings on all floors, the very short distance between rooms and the fact that staff will move rooms rather than pupils, means that we are confident that social distancing can be enforced on the landing. Therefore at this current time we are not suggesting face masks be worn between lessons or indeed at any time in school.
All equipment needed by pupils is provided in class. Therefore the only items that your child will need to bring to school will be a coat, a packed lunch and snack, a reading book and their diary.
It would be helpful if bags could be avoided or at least minimal in size. These will be stored outside of the classroom.
Break and lunch times will be staggered in order to ensure that ‘bubbles’ remain socially distanced.
As was the case before the holiday, hygiene is a vital part of our measures to ensure the safety of all. We all have responsibility to maintain a high level of personal hygiene. All pupils and staff will be expected to wash their hands or use the hand sanitising gel before entering and leaving the school building and their classrooms. Sanitising gel stations are located by the pupil entrance door and by the door in each classroom.
Additionally all pupils have a small bottle of sanitising gel in their personal trays, along with a box of tissues. Pupils will be responsible for placing their own used tissues in small plastic bags attached to their table. Before leaving the classroom they will place the bag into a lidded pedal bin for safe disposal.
Each pupil will have their own labelled tray containing a basket of regularly used items eg pencils, ruler, glue and scissors etc. Trays and their contents will be steam cleaned at the beginning of the day, after lunch and at the end of the day.
Tables and chairs will be sanitised at the beginning of the day, after each break time, at the end of the day and before use for any pupils changing room.
Touchpoints such as door handles, stair banisters will be sanitised at regular intervals throughout the day.
For at least the first half term hot lunches cannot be provided due to difficulties with serving and transporting hot food to classrooms while the dining area is out of use. All pupils will therefore need to bring a packed lunch and a healthy snack for morning break.
If the weather permits pupils will eat their lunch on the picnic tables outside. If this is not possible they will remain in their form room.
Please note that as from the beginning of term it is vital that Holme Court is NUT FREE at all times.
Measures within the classroom
In all rooms walls will remain clear and there is no additional furniture. Equipment that will be used on a regular basis is provided in individual trays. Equipment that will be used less often will now be stored centrally within the room but steam cleaned before and after use.
Because the prevalence of COVID-19 has decreased pupils will be able to select their own reading books. Class based resources such as books and games can be used and shared within the ‘bubble.’ Pupils are also now able to use exercise books.
Social distancing measures will be in place within all classrooms. Where space allows pupils will be seated individually at tables. In accordance with government guidelines where this is not possible pupils will sit side by side. All tables are spaced out as far as possible. All pupils will be seated forward facing.
All rooms have a space of at least 1m at the front of the class for the teacher and adequate space is kept clear around the doorway to enable staff/ visiting professionals to observe for short periods of time without entering too far into the room and coming into contact with other adults or pupils.
Due to the nature of our school and the needs of pupils it is unrealistic and undesirable to expect staff to remain socially distant from pupils at all times. For pupils with SEN It is essential that pupils’ education and care is provided as near to normal as possible. To facilitate this adults will continue to work with individuals as required. In order to do this they will sit beside pupils facing forwards, where possible limiting the time in close proximity to less than 15 minutes at any one time.
Movement around school
Within ‘bubbles’ pupils will be expected to socially distance as far as possible. This includes when walking up/down the stairs and along the landing. In order to assist with this markings are placed on the carpet at 2 metre intervals.
As is the norm, the first week of term will be used for pupils to discuss the importance of rules within any community, but particularly within our school. They will be asked to consider why they are important and the effect on others when the rules are broken. Pupils will then work in forms to produce a set of positive statements which exemplify our Golden rules- respect myself, respect others, respect our environment. From these our school behaviour and anti-bullying charters will be drawn up and signed by pupils.. Parents will receive a copy of these.
In line with Government guidance all schools are required to update their Behaviour and Discipline Policy to set out consequences for poor behaviour around COVID-19 expectations, including abiding by hygiene and sanitising expectations and movement around the school. This has been done by staff and our school expectations will be made clear during the first few days. Having said that, there were no problems at all during the weeks that we were open to pupils before the summer. All pupils were extremely sensible and followed all of the practices put into place.
In the guidance for schools it is now acknowledged that while consistent groups remain important, given the decrease in cases of the virus and the resumption of the full range of curriculum subjects, schools may now need to change the emphasis on bubbles within their system of controls. Guidance states that some schools may keep children in their class groups for the majority of their time, but also allow mixing into wider groups for specialised teaching.
Many of our school interventions have always involved mixing of pupils across the school. These interventions are what makes us different to other schools and they enable our pupils to practise the skills they find so difficult on a daily basis. In order to address this, we have adapted our method to enable for these interventions to take place within larger double year group bubbles. Although they are larger than single classes,(max of 13) these groups are still considerably smaller than those within a mainstream school. This means that for English, handwriting, spelling and maths pupils will be set cross two year groups. They will also have carousel, PE and forest school together. All other subjects will be taught in single class bubbles (max 10).
KS2 and year 7
Years 8 and 9
Year 10 and 11
In order to enable subject specialist teaching to take place all staff are allowed to operate across different classes and year groups. Where possible the number of different staff teaching classes has been minimised. However for pupils in years 8-11 Mrs Gudgin, Miss Rosselli and Miss Howard will need to teach all classes.
I apologise for the length of this letter but it is important that we share this information with you.
I hope that you are assured that your child’s safety has been carefully considered and that you feel comfortable in sending your child to school on Thursday.
If you have any questions or concerns please email the admin address or call the school directly.
Alternatively if you would like to visit us after the end of the day to look around our new site this too can be arranged.