Welcome to the new academic year at Alfriston. As you are aware, we have had to make some changes to the way in which we operate in order to keep our pupils and staff safe. There has been new guidance from the DfE and from Public Health England to help us with our planning, and we are following this in the context of our school. Please be aware that some of the guidance that you may hear or read in the general media may not be applicable to our special school setting.
The DfE have published resources to support and advise parents. Parents are encouraged to visit gov.uk/backtoschool for information and practical guidance to help them plan for their children’s return to school. This includes the latest update to the guidance for parents and carers on what they need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term.
They have also produced a leaflet for secondary schools which you may find helpful.
At Alfriston we are looking forward to welcoming all our pupils back. We have planned for a slightly staggered return with the new year 7 pupils, year 11s and Post 16 pupils only returning on Thursday 3rd September, with the rest of the school joining us on Friday 4th September for a period of familiarisation with the new routines and practices that we have in place to reduce risk.
Pupils will be taught the new routines which will include how we
• ensure that everyone cleans their hands more often than usual, including when they arrive, when they return from breaks, before eating, and the use of hand sanitiser throughout the day
• promote the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach, to ensure good respiratory hygiene
• enhance cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces more often
• minimise contact between individuals and encourage social distance
Guidance on face coverings is under review, and currently is only required when using public transport. However, we are happy for pupils to wear face coverings at social times if they choose to do so, but not in the classrooms. Personal face coverings must be provided by home, and kept in a named plastic bag for when not in use.
The school kitchen will be fully open from the start of the autumn term, to provide food to all pupils who want it, including free school meals as usual for those who are eligible. The menus are available to view on the pupil portal, and ordering will be through SchoolComms as usual.
Local authorities’ duty to provide free home to school transport for eligible children is unchanged. This is set out in the home to school travel and transport guidance. Bucks have issued their own guidance which can be found on https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/education/school-transport/coronavirus. We will be arranging the pick up and drop off procedures slightly differently to minimise the numbers of pupils gathered in one space, but timings remain the same.
We will manage any confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the school, in line with current public health guidance – this means your child may be asked to self-isolate for 14 days (based on advice from the local health protection teams) if they have been in close, face to face contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.
I know that this will be a worrying and anxious time for our pupils and their families, and would like to assure you that we are doing all we can to follow the advice, and to care for your daughter in the best way that we can. Hopefully, over time, as we become more familiar with the different routines, confidence will grow.
With kind regards,