Covid-19 Update 21.05.20

Dear Parent(s)/Carer(s),

I hope you are all well.  Following on from my last update regarding the phased re-opening of schools, we have been evaluating whether and how we might be able to expand the numbers of pupils attending at Alfriston.  Thank you to all those of you who filled in the survey regarding the demand for places, we now have a clear picture of what the take-up will be.  Approximately half of you would like your daughter to return for a reduced time each week, and half of you would prefer to keep your daughters at home.  We have also assessed our staffing capacity as some of our staff will continue to need to remain at home.

The government reasons that by returning pupils gradually, settings can initially reduce the number of children and young people in classrooms compared to usual and put protective measures in place to reduce risks.  Children will need to stay within their new class/group wherever possible and settings will need to implement a range of protective measures including increased cleaning, reducing ‘pinch points’ (such as pick up and drop off times), and utilising outdoor space. 

We have considered the detailed guidance published by the government, and other supporting advice, before drawing up a plan for the wider reopening.  As previously stated we will be following local and national Health and Safety guidance, and taking into account the views and needs of our whole school community.

Before going into the details of the plan, there are a few things that I want to be clear about.

• Whilst planning for the wider opening, the health and safety of children, staff and parents has remained our number 1 priority.

• School will feel completely different.  Pupils will not be following their usual timetables or mixing in their usual social groups, and freedom of movement around the school will be restricted.

Protective measures

One of the protective measures to reduce transmission is to have smaller group and class sizes.  We know that our children cannot be expected to remain 2 metres apart from each other and staff. and we are taking this into account.  The hierarchy of measures set out in our the DfE guidance is:

  • avoiding contact with anyone with symptoms
  • frequent hand cleaning and good hygiene practices
  • regular cleaning of settings
  • and minimising contact and mixing

It is still important to reduce contact between children and staff as far as possible, and we are taking steps to achieve that and reduce transmission risk by ensuring children, and staff where possible, mix in a small group and keep that small group away from other people and groups.

Who should attend?

We will continue to provide for vulnerable children and those of key workers as we have already being doing.  It is now our intention to offer places to all of our pupils who would like to attend where it is safe and appropriate for them to do so in preparation for a return to school.  In order to achieve this, we need to limit the number of pupils attending on any one day, therefore a rota system will be operated.

The plan

The pupils will be allocated to 2 main social bubbles from 1st June onwards..  These social bubbles will operate separately to each other, with different timetables to avoid contact with each other.

Bubble 1 is the current group of pupils who attend most days, with up to 12 pupils on any one day.  This bubble will be split into two smaller groups as numbers dictate across the week.

Bubbles 2-6 are the pupils who have not been in school since lockdown, and who are now able to attend.  Each bubble will consist of a small group of pupils of up to 7, and who will attend for one day per week.  Bubble 2 on Monday, Bubble 3 on Tuesday and so on.  As far as we are able, we will keep these within their year groups, and include their pastoral tutor on that day’s staffing.

Bubble 1 Bubble 1 Bubble 1 Bubble 1 Bubble 1
Bubble 2 (Yr 7) Bubble 3 (Yr 8) Bubble 4 (Yr 9) Bubble 5 (Yr 10) Bubble 6 (Yr 11/Post 16)

Bubble 1 will follow the usual timetable with a 9.00 am start, and 3.45 pm finish.

Bubbles 2-6 will have a different timetable, with a 9.30 am start and a 3.00 pm finish.

Lunchtimes and breaks will be staggered.

Each bubble will be staffed by a consistent team of staff, who will be attending on the same days each week on a rota system.

When will this start

On 1st June, Bubble 1 will attend as usual, but the revised rota of staffing will be in place to test it out and to allow for planning and preparation for introducing the new bubbles.

Bubbles 2 -6 will follow a rota of one day a week

On Monday 8th June, the first new bubble, Bubble 2, will be introduced.

On Tuesday 9th June, Bubble 3 will attend, and so forth for the rest of the week.

This will be repeated weekly from then onwards.

This gradual reopening allows us to do so in a calm and controlled manner and will enable us to improve any processes as we go on.  Should this model prove successful, we may be able to consider wider re-opening, either by increasing the number of days offered or the number of pupils attending.  Requests for further placements will be considered and placed on a waiting list, and new or increased bubbles could be introduced in a second tranche, at a date to be determined.

Further details for those who have requested a place will be sent separately.

Kind Regards

Jinna Male