Welcome Back to School – September 2020

As we prepare for the return to school of our whole school community over the coming week, I thought I would write to you with a few reminders and updates to help with final preparations. We are excited about the prospect of reuniting our school community again ‘in person’ and are really looking forward to seeing your children learn and thrive in their lessons and break-times at school again after such a long time at home!

I am confident that we will be able to establish new routines for doing that safely by continuing to work in close partnership together with you all. As you are aware, the School Risk Assessment is continually revised and updated to ensure that we are operating on site as safely as possible; it is shared with you on the school website and we advise you of changes in our weekly newsletter. The only significant change that has been made since July has been the introduction of the option for students to choose to wear a face covering whenever they are outside of their subject lessons or in their tutor period, if they wish. Face coverings are, however, not permitted during lessons as this has a negative impact on learning.

A lot of building work has happened on the school site and the new build is on track to be completed at the end of September. This will give us a great deal more space which will be beneficial as we approach winter and the field becomes unusable. We will gain 10 more classrooms, a very generous amount of additional playground space and a new 3G 5-a-side pitch. Little Admirals have now left our site and the large space previously occupied by the pre-school inside the building and in their garden will now become a dedicated Year 11 village, with an outdoor marquee and handwashing facilities.

The Marquees have been erected on the field and the fencing is in place for the Year 7, 8, 9 & 10 villages, with outside sinks and water stations installed and portaloo’s also available outside as well as designated toilet blocks indoors for each year group.

Internally, we have completed the refurbishment of the Key Stage 3 toilets and we have a new lift and a new Design classroom, which we will be using as a Photography room.  The Premises Team and the Cleaning team, led by Steve Johnson, have worked extremely hard over the summer holidays to prepare the school for full re-opening in September and it is quite remarkable just how much they have accomplished!

There is currently no parking at all on site for parents or visitors to the school; this includes drop-off and pick-up of all students. Parents of children with accessibility issues should contact Steve Fenner on [email protected] so that an individual plan can be made for safe access to and exit from the school site.

Students are encouraged to walk or cycle to school, wherever possible. Parents choosing to drive their child to school are strongly advised to choose a safe drop off or pick up point well away from the school site boundary; the public car park behind the Southsea Golf Club on Burrfields Road is only a few minutes walk from the school and is completely free of charge. Please do not endanger the safety of the vast majority  of students walking onto the school site by parking or dropping off in unsafe places, for example on the roundabout, in the bus shelter or by mounting the pavement along the front of the school site.

Before returning to school, please take some time to look through all of the information on the school website in the ‘important information about the first few days back’ section and watch the video produced by Mr Hutton and Mr Doherty using the link below:

A few reminders:

First Day of school:

Friday 4th September:  Year 7 & Year 11 only

Monday 7th September: Years 7, 8 & 11 only

Tuesday 8th September: Years 7, 8, 9 & 11 only

Wednesday 9th September: Years 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11 all back to school

Please ensure your child brings:

  • A packed lunch, whenever possible
  • A robust school bag (rucksack is best for healthy backs) to carry all books and equipment
  • A full set of equipment (teachers won’t be able to loan equipment)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Water bottle (pre-filled with water)
  • A coat (students will be outside a lot and will not have access to lockers, except year 7) 

We want to make the return to school as welcoming as possible for your children! Regrettably, for the safety of staff and students on site, we can’t be as welcoming to parents and I remind you that parents are not allowed to come onto the school site at all during the school day. It is also essential that parents do not stand near the school entrances at any point in the day when students are entering or leaving the school site.

We must insist that all students follow staff instructions regarding our Covid- safety measures so that we can ensure a safe working environment for all of our community. We ask that parents make arrangements so that a trusted adult is within 20 minutes of the school during the school day to collect their child quickly from school if they become unwell or if they are unable to behave safely on site.  We will also expect parents to follow government guidance by keeping their child at home if they are unwell and by seeking a test promptly for all members of the household if any member of the household or support bubble exhibits Covid symptoms. Please let us know immediately if your household is self-isolating so that we are fully informed to be able to take appropriate decisions to keep the whole school community as safe as possible from a Covid outbreak.

Thank you all for your continued support as we look forward to the start of an exciting year ahead for us all!

Take care and stay safe!