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COVID-19 Update 26-08-2020

Dear Parent/Carer

Full reopening of the Academy from September, Risk assessment from September including minor changes, Wearing face coverings/masks in the Academy, Policy amendments, Uniform, Use of the building including works in progress, Compulsory attendance at school from September

I hope that you have managed some time to relax over the summer break. It has been a busy time over the summer holidays as our building programmes have taken shape. The Academy will have contractors on site until at least Christmas, if not longer. Consequently, along with changes in government guidance and policy, this has delayed my letter to you with some accompanying documents so that you are fully informed for the return next week of our fantastic student and staff bodies.

Full reopening of the Academy from September

The Academy is now in a position to reopen in line with the DfE guidance next week following our published calendar. The only change to this is for the Year 7 & 12 introductory day next week on 2nd September. Parents in these year groups should have received the start and end times already along with what to bring. If not, please drop us a line at the Academy via enquiries@srpa.co.uk.

Risk assessment from September including minor changes

This is now on the website under the Parent tab, Covid-19 risk assessment. Governors have now ratified this document. The only small changes to this document surround handwashing arrangements. We have installed 10 more external hand sanitiser stations around the site and this is included. Along with this letter you should also receive an aide-memoire for the return next week dealing with some of the more frequently asked questions.

Wearing face coverings/masks in the Academy

I always intended that the wearing of face coverings/masks would be expected at SRPA in some form given the Covid-19 position. After the most recent change of guidance from the government, the accompanying aide memoire covers this in detail. In short, we encourage staff and students to wear them in all communal areas, including outside if social distancing cannot be achieved. I apologise for the time taken to write to you about this particular issue but, like every other school, I have waited until the position from DfE was made clearer. In the absence of a definitive position I have decided to take my own stance.

Policy amendments

Due to the pandemic, schools and academies have been expected to update certain policies to reflect the current period. To this end, we have updated our safeguarding and child protection policies to include a Covid-19 section and the same for behaviour. In reality, very little has changed but some minor amendments have been made. I ask you to take a look at these where necessary to familiarise yourselves for the beginning of term.

These policies can be found on our website under the Policies tab.

PE uniform and arrangements from September

In September, we will be returning to our full academy uniform. However, given the current situation, we will not be able to use our changing rooms; so on the days that your child has a PE lesson, we ask that they wear their full PE uniform.

It is important that the PE uniform guidance is strictly followed, in particular the guidance on additional kit.  Students are only permitted to wear our PE fleece over their PE shirt along with plain, navy track suit bottoms that are plain in style.  We also appreciate that it may not be comfortable for students to wear shorts all day, so they may wear plain, navy tracksuit bottoms at any time on their PE day. We cannot loan kit for the foreseeable future due to Covid-19.

Students will have outdoor PE if the weather is suitable. However, we will allocate suitable spaces if the weather is inclement and students will have lessons indoors if it is raining.  We will not allow your child to get wet, as they will have to remain in their kit all day.

We will be adding to the range of available PE kit over the coming weeks due to Covid-19 so please look out for our webshop in due course. Mr Fell is working on this as we speak to finalise arrangements.

Use of the building including works in progress

 There have been several building changes ready for September, including the establishment of a full one way system across the whole site. The accompanying aide-memoire deals with the details but, be assured, we are ready to receive your child next week and we are positive about doing so.

Our building works continue apace. The gym roofing is all but complete and the main thrust of the project is about to begin across the main school and then the three storey-block. As a result, scaffolding and compounds are being moved in the coming days. Please do not attend the site without an appointment first. I appreciate your understanding with this.

You may have seen the news recently about schools fining parents for non-attendance at school related to Covid-19 from September. I have taken the decision not to do this whilst expecting that, where possible, students will attend school. We would prefer to work with you to ensure your child returns to school rather than take an unnecessarily heavy-handed approach. I hope you will appreciate this as we all look to adapt to a ‘new normal’ in our working lives and learning journeys.

Finally, and to signal the imminent return to school, I could not resist my usual quote to sign off. In thinking about our ‘new normal’ and the challenges ahead to continue to offer a high level of education to all of our students, I found this quote by Oprah Winfrey: “Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new centre of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.”

I realise this is one of my more low-brow references. However, I feel it represents the time. You need me, my senior team and all of my staff body to stand tall, show leadership and conviction and to ensure that we get this right for when you entrust us to look after your child again.

We are ready to do just that and look forward to seeing them all next week. I can’t wait!

Take care and stay safe. I will continue to write to you on a weekly basis from now on.

Yours faithfully

Mr D Hardy

Head Teacher

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