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A High Performing Specialist Academy for Technology & Applied Learning

11 November 2020

As from Monday 9 November the government’s new guidance for schools came into effect and I have attempted, in the bullet points below, to summarise the key changes we have made to our procedures as a result of this guidance.  I would be grateful if parents and carers could support these actions and discuss them with your son/daughter.

  • All students to wear face coverings in all areas outside classrooms including College transport.    Students will be asked to put face coverings on before leaving lessons.  Face coverings are not required to be worn during break and lunchtime whilst in their outside social areas (within their bubbles).  6th Form students are also wearing face coverings in the communal areas of the Study Centre and Common room where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
  • Students are expected to bring their own face covering to College.  Face coverings are being supplied on entry to buildings at the start of the day to any students who have lost or forgotten their own face covering.  At all other times of the day face coverings can be obtained from Year Managers or from receptions.  Any problems with students consistently not possessing a face covering will be followed up with students and parents by pastoral staff.  Some exemptions apply to the use of face coverings (e.g. specific medical needs).  Please inform Year Managers (if you have not already done so) if any such exemption applies to your child.
  • Students have been reminded that any poor behaviour associated with Coronavirus, and therefore putting the safety of members of our College community at risk, will be dealt with very seriously with strong sanctions as per our policy.
  • All students have been reminded about not congregating in groups at the start/end of day, on way to/from College and in/near toilet areas.
  • All staff are wearing face coverings in areas other than classrooms and offices; when staff are on duty outside of buildings at break and lunchtimes face coverings may be removed if social distancing can be maintained with students and colleagues.
  • All internal and external meetings and events are being conducted remotely via Teams for the foreseeable future, e.g. staff meeting with parents, parents’ evenings, staff meetings, departmental meetings.
  • I would like to remind parents that the current restrictions will impact on the strategies that staff use to support students and that there will, inevitably, be more didactic teaching with less practical and experiential work than normal.
  • Targeted intervention sessions will continue after College, e.g. revision sessions, homework clubs, G & T events, tutoring as long as in bubbles and normal social distancing rules observed.
  • Detentions and extended inclusions to continue as outlined in the Behaviour Management Policy (COVID appendix)
  • Schools have been encouraged to minimise the number of visitors on site.  Can all parents therefore please ensure as far as is possible that students are properly prepared for the College day and avoid visits to College to drop off homework, books, etc.

A Reminder about Testing for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Anyone who displays symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) can and should get a test.  Tests can be booked online through the NHS testing and tracing for Coronavirus (COVID-19) website, or ordered by telephone via NHS 119 for those without access to the internet.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms are:

  • A high temperature
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

Staff and students must not come into College if they have symptoms and must be sent home to self-isolate if they develop symptoms.

Site Security

For some considerable time, I have wanted to make improvements to the College’s site security. You will be aware that certain parts of the College site are currently very open with multiple points of entry.  On occasions, this has presented particular problems with a very small number of students leaving the site without permission and the potential for unauthorised access to the College site by pedestrians or vehicles.

We are currently looking at plans for railings and/or automated gates being installed in each of the three main car parks (Barossa, Kingston and Sixth Form) to better prevent unauthorised access to the site and students leaving without permission. 

This will be a major financial investment by the College and will significantly improve our site security. I do hope that parents will be pleased by this development.  Further details will follow in due course.

College Fund

Every year I write to all parents/carers regarding our site improvement programme and the significant improvements which are made to the campus and facilities of the College.  The College continues to be ambitious in its plans and will further invest in the building and outdoor areas for the benefit of our students and staff.

I am aware of the current very difficult financial circumstances that many of our families are currently experiencing so I am sending you the College Fund letter today in the knowledge that there may be some parents and carers who will not be able to support us this year however much they might wish to do so.  I do know, however, that there are many of you who will be able to contribute to our plans and I want to give you an opportunity to do this.

In an effort to keep our administrative costs to a minimum and allow us to concentrate this funding specifically on raising standards for our students, we would request that donations are made either by a one-off payment made by using ParentPay or by Standing Order. If donating by Standing Order please use the form attached to the letter which, when completed, should be sent to your bank.  Please note that due to the current COVID restrictions we are not requesting any paperwork to be returned to Form Tutors.

My sincere thanks in advance for any support you can give us with our fundraising.

Mr Tanner - Principal

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