04
JUN
2020

Dear Parents and Carers of Year 10 and 12 students

Dear Parents and Carers of Year 10 and 12 students,

I hope you and your families are well and settling back into the routine of home learning. This letter seeks to provide you with an update on changes to the delivery of the Year 10 and 12 curriculum due to commence shortly.

As you will be aware from my previous letters, on the 24th May the Prime Minister announced that from the week commencing the 15th June, schools can invite Year 10 and 12 pupils onto site for some face to face support with their teachers. Whilst remote education will remain the predominant mode of education during this term for these year groups, we are now in a position to offer some time with subject specialist teaching staff.

Reducing risk

The Department for Education has published guidelines on how to implement this support whilst minimising risks which we will be following carefully https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-secondary-schools.

This in turn will enable us to strike a balance between minimising contact and mixing, yet provide students the chance to spend time in small groups with subject staff. In order to achieve this we will aim to practice social distancing in line with the measures the government is asking everyone to adopt in public and in workplaces, including keeping 2 metres apart from each other wherever possible. To do this we will:

* Minimise the total number of students on site to 100 per day
* Ensure that class sizes do not exceed 10
* Increase the length, but reduce the number of lessons taking place each day
* Space desks and chairs out in classrooms so that students are sitting 2 metres apart
* Divide students into groups or ‘bubbles’. These bubbles will not mix throughout their designated day on site. They will have allocated entrances, eating and recreational areas, teaching spaces and staff
* Although the guidance states that transitory contact is low risk, stairs and where possible corridors will operate as part of a one way system
* Keep windows and doors open at all times to maintain air flow and improve ventilation

How this will be achieved

In order to achieve the conditions outlined above, we have had to make significant changes to the college layout, staffing ratios and timetable structure. This will mean:

* Year 10 – each day two tutor groups will be invited to the college to receive face to face support from teaching staff. This will be the same day each week. Lessons will take place in the main college building. This will mean that every Year 10 student will be able to attend college one allocated day per week. The remaining four days will need to be spent at home, where they will continue to be set remote learning tasks on Class Charts
* Year 12 – each day 4 hours of face to face contact will be provided to support students from subject specialists. All lessons will take place in the Kingsley building. This means that students will attend on the days that their subjects are being covered. As we are only allowed to have 25% of the cohort on site at one time, this means that students can only attend when their lessons are taking place. The remaining time will need to be spent at home, engaging in remote learning tasks set by teachers on Class Charts

The curriculum offer

With now less than a year away until Year 10 and 12 start their formal examinations, we feel it is important that whilst on site students maximise the time they have with specialist teaching staff. Unfortunately, that means we will be unable to offer non-examined subjects such as IAG and core PE. Contact with tutors will continue remotely. Year 10 students will engage with three different subject teachers a day in a session lasting 105 minutes. Year 12 students will engage with one subject specialist a day in a session lasting four hours. Both year groups will have a supervised 30 minute mid-morning break and whilst Year 12 teaching will end at 1.30pm, Year 10 will continue until 3pm, stopping at lunchtime for a second 30 minute break.

I am sure you can appreciate staffing at this time is quite changeable and as such I am unable to offer any further details of individual timetables at this time. However, next week Mrs Everitt (Year 10) and Mrs French (Year 12) will be providing students with bespoke timetables.

They will also be notified of the areas of the college they will be occupying and which ‘bubble group’ they will be in during their first day on site.

Travelling to college

Year 10 students will need to arrive at college between 8.35am and 8.45am and Year 12 between 8.50am and 9am. It is important that they do not arrive before these times. Wherever possible, students should be encouraged to walk or cycle to school on their own or with people from their own households. They should be encouraged to stay 2 metres apart from all other people. Government advice is that the use of public transport should be avoided if at all possible and where it is totally necessary avoid peak times. If you have any worries around transport or your child usually travels by school bus and is planning to use it please contact Mrs Jewell (ajewell@bidefordcollege.org) as she is liaising with Devon County Council and will need to inform them of your intentions. For students arriving by car we will be changing the layout of the front of the college to avoid congestion.

Who should attend?

As I have stated in my previous correspondence to you, students who have been designated clinically extremely vulnerable(https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19) should remain at home. Similarly, if a member of the household with whom a student lives is in this designation, they too should not come into college. The NHS has also identified a number of conditions which puts people at a moderately higher risk from the effects of coronavirus (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/whos-at-higher-risk-from-coronavirus/). It is recommended that medical advice is sought before a student returns to college if they are identified in this category.

It is very important that if a student, or anyone in their household develops a new continuous cough or a fever that they do not attend college and follow the guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection guidance (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance). We will provide details next week on reporting attendance during this period.

I will be in touch again early next week to provide you with further operational details including changes to behaviour and uniform policies, meal provision, how children with SEND will be supported and how the building will operate in these unprecedented times. I will also upload the college risk assessment that has been undertaken onto the website and provide you with a link to this. Hopefully, this will provide you with the information you need to make the right decisions for your child. Finally, the DFE have recently updated their guidance to parents on the reopening of schools. This can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/reopening-schools-and-other-educational-settings-from-1-june

Best wishes,

Dr C Ankers

Principal

Bideford College