Letter to Parents and Carers

Dear Parents and Carers,

I hope this letter finds you well and that students have had a productive week accessing the remote learning provision. It has been lovely seeing all the pictures of students participating in the Wellbeing Wednesday activities. I hope they felt the benefit of taking some time away from their computer screens. We have been busy at the college this week extending the COVID testing centre, training the team of testers and organising the site for student return next week. I am extremely grateful to the team of community volunteers who have given their time so freely to help us safely reopen the college.  As this will hopefully be my last letter before students start to return on Monday I wanted to provide you with more detail on how next week will operate.

First Day Arrival and COVID-19 Test 1

It is important that students arrive on their allocated day and time (see below). This is so that we can safely manage the flow of students through the test centre and into lessons. On their first day all students will need to enter the college via the Sports Hall steps which are located at the front of college. This will be supervised throughout the day to avoid any confusion. Students will then be registered in the sports hall and given a copy of their timetable. These have not changed, we just want to make sure everyone knows where they are going! Students who are not taking part in the college testing programme will then make their way to their lessons. All other students will be asked to take a seat in the sports hall which has been set up to enable social distancing to be maintained. They will be given three barcodes and an NHS registration card which they will need to give to the test centre staff. When it is time for their test, students will be asked to make their way to the centre which is located next door to the Sports Hall in the college gym. After they have completed their test (which takes a few minutes), they will return to another part of the sports hall where they will be asked to wait until their test has been processed. This can take up to 30 minutes. As soon as we have a negative test result, students will be able to make their way to their timetabled lesson. As you can see there will be some waiting around so it is important that students bring a reading book or some work so they are occupied at this time. If a student tests positive, we will contact parents immediately as they will need to follow the NHS guidance for self-isolation. We will only notify parents of a positive result.

Thank you for completing the consent form. It can still be accessed via our college website (https://bidefordcollege.org/covid-19-policies/) and I would encourage any parents, who have not yet done so, to complete this as we are unable to test any students in Years 7 to 11 without this form. We understand that many students will be nervous at the prospect of being tested but please be reassured that it is a simple process. We have been testing over 200 students twice a week since January and for them it has become a routine activity. Two of our students have produced a video about the process which can be found in the COVID-19 testing section of our website to try and help reassure students coming back for the first time. If you require any support in completing the consent form or have any further questions about testing, please email Mrs Jewell (ajewell@bidefordcollege.org).

Phased return by Year Group

Year group First day/testing day
7 Tuesday 9th March
8 Wednesday 10th March
9 Tuesday 9th March
10 Monday 8th March
11 Monday 8th March
Sixth Form Friday 5th March


If your child is unwell on their first day of return please contact the college in the normal way. When they are able to return they should attend college at 8.45am and report to the sports hall entrance. They will then be tested prior to their return to the classroom.

Staggered arrival time

House Arrival time
Students arriving via school transport 8.45am
Arthur 9.15am
Brunel 10.15am
Coleridge 11.15am
Farwell 12.15pm
Hepworth 1.15pm


Please note students should arrive at their designated arrival time even if they are not taking part in the on-site testing. The on-site provision for eligible students (those whose parents are key workers and who are vulnerable) will continue to be available throughout the duration of the phased return. Please contact Mrs Vowles (rvowles@bidefordcollege.org) if your child requires a place in this provision.

Future arrival time and tests 2 and 3

After their first day at college, students should arrive as normal in time for tutor at 8.45am. It is however important that they do not arrive before 8.30am as this is when the gates will be opened. As before, Years 7 will enter the college site via reception, Years 8 – 11 via the side gate and Sixth Form via Royston Road. As we will still need to operate the Year group bubbles to limit social mixing, students will need to enter the college buildings using the same allocated entrance as before Christmas. This will be fully supervised so they can ask a member of staff if there is any confusion.

Students will be offered a further two COVID-19 tests in the college testing centre between 3 and 5 days apart (see table below). They will be provided with an appointment and they will need to excuse themselves from their lesson at their allotted time. They will be able to return to lessons after they have completed the test. When all three tests have been undertaken, we will be providing home testing kits. I will write to you about this nearer the time.

Day of tests 2 and 3

Date 7 8 9 10 11 Sixth Form
10/3 T2
11/3 T2 T2
12/3 T2 T2
15/3 T2 T3
16/3 T3 T3
17/3 T3 T3
18/3 T3


The introduction of mass testing is one part of a system of control that schools and colleges are putting in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community and in turn prevent any future disruption to education. It is important that students still follow other recommended public health measures including increased hand washing, use of sanitiser and maintaining, as far as possible, social distance from others. It is also really important to be aware that the college is operating an Asymptomatic Testing Centre. It essential that if a student or a member of their household or support bubble is suffering with any symptoms of COVID-19 they do not attend college.

I appreciate that this period of return will cause anxiety for some of our students and their families. I am also aware that this letter contains a lot of information and may raise further questions. If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact your child’s tutor and if anything crops up over the weekend please email me directly (principal@bidefordcollege.org).

All the staff at the college cannot wait to welcome our students back next week. Please reassure them that there will be no sanctions for incomplete online work and we are working hard to make sure that the transition back into college life goes smoothly.

Best wishes


Dr C Ankers


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