LPSB Weekly Update 26th February 2021Posted on: February 26th - 2021
We’re back! (Almost…)
I hope that you all enjoyed a good break over the half term period, and I am so pleased that my first weekly update since our return allows me to give you the details of our planned re-opening which will begin from Monday 8th March. I know from speaking to students, staff and parents in recent weeks we are all looking forward to a degree of normality and some face to face teaching. There is clearly a lot of important information in this email, and there will be further communications over the coming week which I would ask you to keep your eyes open for as we try to ensure that the return to school is as smooth and safe as it is possible to make it.
Return to school dates and lateral flow tests
You will be aware from the Government’s statement on school reopening that prior to returning to lessons all students must take the first of three lateral flow tests that we will be administering from the test centre which is set up in our Sports Hall. Students can only return to lessons if the test result is negative. You will appreciate that it is a significant logistical challenge to arrange for 1700+ tests to be administered from 8th March and as such a year group rota for testing has been drawn up for the initial round of tests as shown below. In line with the Government advice years 10-13 are the first groups who will be tested and then return to lessons. The table below says when the initial test will be carried out, and the date on which your son / daughter will resume on site classes. Students who are not on-site as they await their test will continue to receive remote lessons for the days until they are back on site.
Year Group Date of first test First day of on-site teaching
Year 13 Thursday 4th March Monday 8th March
Year 12 Friday 5th March Monday 8th March
Year 11 Friday 5th March Monday 8th March
Year 10 Monday 8th March Tuesday 9th March
Year 7 Monday 8th March Tuesday 9th March
Year 8 Tuesday 9th March Wednesday 10th March
Year 9 Tuesday 9th March Wednesday 10th March
Early next week we will send you a more detailed rota for the testing process which will involve each Tutor Group being given an allocated time to arrive for their test. Please note that for years 11, 12 and 13 the first round of testing is next week, WB 1st March on Thursday and Friday. On their testing day students should only come onsite to have their test and then will be expected to go straight home again. We would urge you to ask your sons / daughters not to hang around on-site or in the local area on the test day so as to avoid unnecessary contact. All students who receive a negative test result will then resume their on-site lessons the following day. Any student who tests positive must isolate for 10 days as was the case before Christmas. Students will be tested twice further after they have returned to school on each occasion between 3-5 days after the previous test.
In order to carry out these tests it is essential that we have consent from a parent / carer for all students under the age of 16. Students over 16 years of age can give consent themselves. To that end, if you have not already done so please can I ask you to follow the link below and confirm that you give consent for your son to be tested ahead of their return to school. If for some reason you do not give consent I would ask that you also complete the form to let us know that. I would urge all families to agree to the tests to help us ensure that our return to school is safe. The link to the consent form is below.
Test centre volunteers
We are scaling-up our Covid-19 testing centre to enable rapid mass testing for all students in the coming weeks. We have a number of fantastic volunteers who have been running the centre since January, and more due to start next week. However, this is a huge task and we do still need more people in order to test students more quickly and get them back into school as soon as possible.
If you think you could offer some time between Thursday 4th March and Monday 22nd March, then please complete the short form below by the end of Sunday evening and we will be in touch within the next few days. We would also need you to complete a ½ day training session next week on Tuesday or Wednesday morning.
Safety precautions in school once we have re-opened.
All of the safety measures that we had in place in the run up to Christmas will remain in place at least until Easter, and then beyond that as the guidance from central Government advises. That means the following rules / expectations will apply.
- Start and finish times for the school day will be staggered between year groups as they were before Christmas. I will send a reminder of the exact timings for each year group around to you next week when I send the appointment times for the tests. It is really important that students arrive on site at the correct time and do not come in earlier or later than they are meant to.
- All movement around the school will be done using external pathways as far as possible.
- There will be a strict one-way system in operation in the school building in order to minimise face to face contact of students as they move between lessons
- Students must wear a mask at all times when they move around the school building, and in all communal areas, including the refectory.
- Students will be in year group size ‘bubbles’, and each bubbles will have its own social space in order to keep student apart as far as possible.
- 2 metre social distancing will be encouraged at all times as far as it is possible to do so in such a large school.
- Reminders about frequent hand washing, and the use of hand wash stations at entry and exits points to the school will resume.
- Lunch times will be staggered to ensure bubbles do not mix
- Equipment will not be shared between students unless it can be cleaned in between use by different bubbles.
- There will be enhanced cleaning throughout the school day of communal areas and toilets.
The one significant change to the safety measures that were in place before Christmas is that students will now be expected to wear masks in their lessons as well as in the communal spaces as the Government is now advising. To that end it is really important that you ensure that your child has a high quality and comfortable mask that they can wear throughout the school day, other than when they go outside for break and lunchtime. Masks will not be expected for PE lessons. This guidance will be reviewed at Easter.
Reporting a positive case of Covid 19
The advice around how to respond to a positive Covid 19 case has not changed from what it was before Christmas. If a student or family member tests positive, then all members of that household must isolate for ten days from the onset of symptoms, or from the date of the positive test if there were no symptoms. It is essential that you let the school know of any positive cases without delay. As before, if a student tests positive we will be identifying close contacts of that student and they too will be sent home to isolate. Please note that a negative test result either from one of our lateral flow tests, or from a PCR test does not mean the student can return to school before the ten day isolation period has expired. Clearly if your child has any of the symptoms of Covid 19 (new or persistent cough, loss/change of taste / smell / or fever), then they should not come to school until they have been tested. Further details about how to respond to positive cases will follow in due course along with some updated FAQs.
Key worker / vulnerable student provision
Our key worker / vulnerable student provision in its current form will end on Friday 5th March. For the week beginning Monday 8th March those students who have been accessing our key worker / vulnerable student provision can still come to the school site, but they will then go their regular timetabled lessons. All staff will be back on site from Monday 8th March, even if teaching will continue to be remote for most year groups until we have been through the first round of tests. It would be helpful if students only come in for this provision next week if it is 100% necessary.
GCSE / A Level / BTEC Exams
You will by now have seen the outcome of the consultation around how GCSE, A Level and BTEC grades will be awarded this summer. In summary the situation is as follows:
Teachers are being asked to make judgements around the grade a student is likely to achieve based on the content they have covered in the curriculum so far and the student’s work to date, and over the coming weeks. This will include making judgements based around outcomes from trial exams (mocks), any in class assessments, class based essays, NEAs (coursework) for those subjects that have them, and practical or portfolio work for those subjects to which this applies. In short, teachers can use a wide range of data to decide on the grade they put forward for a student. The details of how the grades are to be awarded will follow from the exam boards over the next few days and I will write to year 11 and 13 families again in due course with a more detailed update. Once teachers have inputted grades there will be an internal moderation process in the school to ensure that the grades have been entered fairly and robustly. There will be an appeals process for any student who is not happy with their grade. I have attached an infographic from Ofqual which summarises the process.
Year 11 and 13 assessments
I have stated previously that it is our intention to run a trial exam series for year 11 and 13 students once we are back on site. Now that we have a return date we are able to schedule these assessments. The first round of assessments for both year groups will take place in the week beginning 22nd March and the following week of 29th March. Teachers will work with students over the coming weeks to prepare them for these exams which will not necessarily cover the entire course but will focus on areas of the course that students have been taught to date. It is our intention to then run a further set of assessments in May. I would like to reiterate that the data from these exams will only form a part of the information that is used to generate Teacher Assessed Grades so although we want students to take them seriously and do their best, they are not a simple replacement for the cancelled GCSE and A Level exams. Details around BTEC assessments will follow next week.
Outdoor extra-curricular sport can resume from the week beginning 8th March once year groups are back on site. Extra-curricular sport will continue to be done in strict bubbles as it was before Christmas, and the distancing / safety rules of each sport’s governing body will be adhered to.
Plan my Future Day
A reminder that next Wednesday 1st March is our ‘Plan my Future Day’ as part of National Careers week. All live lessons are suspended for that day and students instead will take part in a variety of careers based activities. Students will need to log on for morning registration as usual. I am very grateful to Ms Siddell for organising this event.
LPSB Informal Performances February 2021
Since the initial lockdown in March 2020, the young musicians at Langley Boys have put together eight remote musical performances which began with the highly successful Informal Concert back on Friday 1st May 2020 which raised over £1400 for NHS Charities. We are hopeful that this will be the last event in this format and that we will be welcoming audiences back to school before the end of the academic year. This short performance from students in years 7-12 can be viewed from 7pm this evening by visiting https://youtu.be/K7b8Rdz0g0A and will remain available for the next couple of weeks. For those of you who missed the wonderful Year 7 Evening of Poetry and Music, this is also still available to view at https://youtu.be/AdI6Ek-kyF8. I am very grateful as ever to Mr Bullen and his team for putting this together.
Well done to all of the students who have taken part in our various sporting challenges over the last couple of months, and a big thank you to all of the PE Team for their efforts in setting them up and running them. This results of this week’s Treasure Hunt, along with collage of some of the activities from recent weeks is attached to this email.
Although it is great to now have the outline of the roadmap back to normality there is clearly a lot of detail to be worked out, so I would ask once again that you keep your eyes peeled for further updates throughout next week. It is undoubtedly an exciting time as we prepare to welcome our students back, but it is important that we plan it carefully and get it right. As ever I am very grateful for your support up to now, and grateful in advance for your support over the coming weeks.
Once again, I wish you all a very restful weekend. Time to log off……
Mr S. Parsons
Langley Park School for Boys