Update on COVID-19 and Open Evening events
Dear Parent / Carer,
This page details the actions and plans Furze Platt Senior School have taken and are taking in relation to Covid-19. We will update it as new information becomes available. You will also see the letters sent in relation to Covid-19 below.
Open Evening Events
Given the Covid limitations we are not able to hold our normal Open Evening this year and show FPSS as we would like. Instead we will have a variety of opportunities for prospective parents, carers and students to see the school including a virtual Headteacher talk, interactive map, prospectus and tours for small family groups. I know that our existing parents and carers are often the best advocates for the school, so please do share these resources with friends and neighbours who may be considering secondary choices for their children this year.
Year Group Bubbles, Curriculum and Tutor Period
As per the government advice our aim will be to keep students in year group bubbles. Bubbles of this size enable our full curriculum to be taught across the school. Unfortunately, this means we will need to suspend our vertical tutor groups (which contain students from all years) until some of the Covid restrictions are lifted. Our Sixth Form will be one bubble.
Times of the Day
We will be changing our regular lesson times to accommodate staggered starts and ends to the day, as well as breaks. Year 7 and 9 students will start at 8.45am and end at 2.45pm. All other year groups will start at 9.15 and end at 3.15pm. This allows us to run the same lesson time as normal.
Students received their timetable on their first day back. They are also available on Go 4 Schools. Students will have a full timetable and lessons for all subjects. No changes have been made to the curriculum.
Travelling to and from FPSS
We are lucky in that the vast majority of our students walk and cycle to school. Students should follow the social distancing rules on the way to and from school, respecting others that they pass on their journey. For those coming via public transport masks will need to be worn. If students are being driven to school, please can parents and carers stay in the car as they drop off. Sixth Formers are able to drive to school as normal. There are some students who get to site quite early in the morning. Please can I ask that your children do not arrive too early as this may lead to bubbles being mixed. If students could arrive no more than 15 minutes prior to their start time this would be appreciated.
Students should not be sharing equipment. Please make sure that students have all they need for school. Specialist equipment used in school (e.g. in Technology, Science or PE) will be treated as per the guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Breaks and Toilets
Year group bubbles will have their own areas of school and the field for break times. They will need to stay in these zones. These areas will include toilets dedicated to a particular year group.
Food and Drink
There will be two serveries, one in the Hall and one in our Café. Years 7, 8 and 9 will be able to access one of these areas only each break. Years 10 and 11 will have one break per day when they are able to access these areas. Our Sixth Form will be asked to access the Café outside break times. Given these arrangements students may wish to bring in a snack. As ever, students are welcome to bring a packed lunch should they not wish to purchase food on-site.
All students are advised to bring a full water bottle to school each day.
Students should expect different styles of lessons to which they have been used to. The guidance says students should be sat facing the front with no social distancing required between students. While I am certain that our teachers will plan creative lessons, such arrangements are likely to mean less interactive lessons and minimal group work. Students will be expected to hand sanitise as they enter and leave the classrooms. They will need to listen to their teachers to learn the expected routines on entering, exiting and moving around each room.
In order to run a full curriculum and timetable, as well as provide pastoral, medical and other services, our staff will move between bubbles as per the guidance. It is important that staff keep two metres from students and students keep two metres from staff. While there are times when this will be difficult please can we ensure that students understand their responsibility. There may be a few staff exceptions to this rule. For example, some Learning Support Assistants, who look after specific students, may be part of the Year Group Bubbles.
We will have a team of cleaners ensuring that communal areas and toilets are cleaned regularly. However, we will have over 1500 students and staff on-site each day and so it is important that we all take responsibility for our own hygiene.
We are now all very familiar with the need to wash our hands regularly. This is again emphasised in the new guidance. We will have sinks, soap and hand sanitiser around site. Please encourage students to maintain high hygiene standards.
Catch it, kill it, bin it
Likewise, we are all familiar with the ‘Catch it, kill it, bin it’ slogan. Please encourage students to follow this guidance.
Students Exhibiting Symptoms
If students have symptoms, do not send them to school but please keep them at home and seek NHS advice. Should a student exhibit symptoms in school they will be isolated and parents and carers will be asked to collect their child.
Potential Positive Covid Cases
We would follow the government guidance and Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead’s advised actions. If one student or staff member tested positive, we would use the government’s Test and Trace process. Should we have more than one positive case this is classed as an ‘outbreak’ and we would be advised by RBWM and Public Health as to the next steps, in all likelihood isolating specific groups of students and staff.
Educational Provision in the case of a Local Lockdown
As we have seen, there remains the potential for a school or local area lockdown. Should this be the case and a group of students need to isolate we would provide online learning which would be a mixture of recorded lessons, set work and online tutorials.
You will have read in the press concerns about students who may have fallen behind or require extra support as we return to school. We have planned for this and will be using class-based work and assessments to identify students we feel may benefit from additional assistance. Details of this will be circulated in September.
Our Sixth Form will have places to work independently around site when they are not in lessons. We will also be looking to run individual or small group slots with Sixth Form Tutors in order to support students, not least with their UCAS applications. Mr Ging, Head of Sixth Form, will write to students separately about this.
We will be offering catch-up programmes rather than our normal wealth of extra-curricular activities. As term progresses we will look to begin our extra-curricular clubs depending on advice at that time. This would initially have to be year group based while the bubbles stay in place.
Trips and Visits
Sadly, the current guidance says that no overnight visits are possible. We are keen to re-launch visits once this has changed.
The government has recently changed guidance for English schools on face coverings. I am strongly
recommending that all students and staff wear face coverings when moving around site, although not in lessons. Please can you ensure your child is equipped with a face covering for school (as you would if they were going to the shops). If there is a medical reason why a face covering cannot be worn please inform your child’s Head of House or Pastoral Manager.
Bubble Areas and One Way System
Year Group Bubbles will occupy specific areas during breaktimes. These are detailed on the attached map.Students should not leave these areas. The map also shows one-way systems to minimise contact between Bubbles as students move around site. You will see that we have erected marquees around site to provide covered space for breaks.
Students should wear FPSS school PE kit on days when they have PE. This is to prevent congestion in
changing areas and help keep students safe.
We would be grateful if you could avoid using cash to purchase items like food and ties as possible. Please use Wise Pay to top up accounts if your child has school lunches. We also have a card reader in reception should you need to purchase ties.
With the school site closed for the majority of students, there remains considerable uncertainty over future events. We ask parents and carers to be patient, look out for communications from Furze Platt Senior School and we will endeavour to inform you once timelines are clearer.
Counselling and Support Services
None of us has experienced anything like Covid-19. As a result, we are all going to have moments when we may need support. Please see the attachment below for a list of Counselling and Support Services.
Finally, some students, parents and carers will have seen in the press that Ofqual are consulting on changes to GCSE and A Level examinations for next year. This clearly has implications for students entering Year 11 and 13 in September. Details of that consultation can be found by following this link
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/proposed-changes-to-the-assessment-of-gcses-as-and-a-levels-in-2021. We will update you when things become clearer.
In the meantime, we want to wish you and your family all the best at this time. We hope you stay safe and well.
Dr Andrew Morrison
Headteacher (BA Hons, PGCE, MA, PhD)
COVID-19 Update Letters: