January Return Update

This letter includes important information relating to when your child will return to school at the start of this coming term.

Dear parents and carers,

I hope that you and your family had an enjoyable Christmas, notwithstanding the COVID-19 restrictions that we are all living with.

As you know, we have worked incredibly hard since the start of the pandemic in March to keep our school as safe as possible, and that work has continued over the Christmas holiday period. I would like to thank our staff for their commitment and professionalism, which has seen many working over the holidays.

My letter today includes important information relating to when your child will return to school at the start of this coming term.

Information relating to school re-opening in January 2021

The Government has now announced that secondary schools and colleges will re-open on a phased basis, as follows:

  • Critical workers and Vulnerable Students: If your child is classed as vulnerable or if you or your partner is a critical worker, then your child will return to school on Tuesday 5th January. They will receive face-to-face teaching in school when they return. If you qualify as a critical worker and you need your child to attend Forge at any point during the week commencing 5th January, please complete this form - https://bit.ly/3aofqKb - we will be sending a new form out shortly for vulnerable children and children of critical workers who need to attend week commencing 11th January. A link to a Government list of critical workers can be found below.
  • Year 11 and 13: If your child is taking exams this academic year (which includes all those in year 11 and year 13), then your child will return to school on Monday 11th January. Your child is expected to engage fully with their remote learning during the week of 5th January so that they keep up with their education. Students that this applies to will be written to directly by the head of year.
  • Years 7-10 and 12: If your child is in any other year group and is not taking any exams this academic year, then your child will return to school on Monday 18th January. Your child is expected to engage fully with their remote learning during the weeks of both 5th and 11th January so that they keep up with their education. Our live learning guidance can be found here: https://bit.ly/3nFoUEs

Parents whose work is critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined in the following link: http://bit.ly/34nAlcF

Vulnerable students and students of critical workers who will be on site from Tuesday 5th January will follow the routines that are already established which means using specific entrances. They will wear full uniform and any decision regarding PE will be made next week. Normal catering arrangements will apply and students will be expected to have equipment and be ready to learn.

I would once again like to reinforce how important it is that everyone abides by the Government’s guidance and takes all precautionary measures including regularly washing hands, wearing a face-covering and social distancing (we will be operating year group bubbles as usual). If a member of your household experiences symptoms of COVID-19 (high temperature; a new, continuous cough and/or loss or change to your sense of smell or taste), you must stay at home and arrange for a test. Please let us know if a student shows symptoms and if you receive a positive result, please let us know immediately by emailing [email protected] or calling us on 01384 566 598.

Face coverings must continue to be worn properly by all students and staff when moving around the site including in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot be easily maintained. Current guidance states that students are not required to wear masks when they are outside, leaving the Academy. We expect the use of reusable masks or daily disposables, provided by parents. Face coverings must be as plain as possible and without any offensive or aggressive words or images on them. We will continue to rigorously enforce this.

Families in receipt of free school meals will be contacted directly with regard to provision.

As before, a great deal of planning and risk assessment has gone into ensuring that our school continues to be as safe as for pupils and staff, in line with latest Government and Public Health England guidance.

We will continue to take decisions in the best interests of our pupils, working with you and keeping you informed every step of the way, while following Government rules and advice.

You may have heard that testing for those without coronavirus symptoms is beginning across the country using COVID-19 tests known as ‘lateral flow tests’. Along with the other protective measures we are taking, these tests can help staff and pupils remain in school safely. We will be writing next week with details about this testing.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very happy New Year. Please do continue to take care and stay safe.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Lisa Mason
Principal
Ormiston Forge Academy