Proud to be an FMAT Academy

Welcome back letter

Dear Parents/Carers

I hope this letter finds you well.

I am sure you were equally relieved to hear of the government’s intention to have all students return to academy in March. Whilst the guidance provided poses some logistical and organisational challenges, we have undertaken substantial planning to ensure a smooth return to the academy.

I am now writing to outline the return to school process for your child, along with the measures we will be taking to minimize the risk of the virus.  The staff at Erdington are very much looking forward to welcoming our students back and will make sure they are supported as they settle back into their educational routines.  Please accept my thanks for your unwavering support of both the Academy and your child during the period of remote education.  We have been proud of the commitment and resilience demonstrated by our students.

Student return date

On Monday 8th and Tuesday 9th March we will be carrying out Covid-19 testing for students who have given consent. More details and your appointment time for testing will be sent separately to those who have given consent. Students will continue to work remotely from home on Monday and Tuesday, all students will be expected to follow their September timetable to complete their online work. Lessons will be provided on Teams and using narrated presentations.

Students of key workers or classed as vulnerable should continue to attend the academy as per their current lockdown arrangements.

On Wednesday 10th March all students will be expected to return to the academy and will follow their September timetable – a reminder of the arrival times is below.

Year GroupLesson start timeEntrance
79.20amLaurel Gate
88.30amTop Gate
99.20amTop Gate
108.30amBack Gate
119.20amBack Gate

Curriculum ‘bubbles’

The academy will continue to operate curriculum ‘bubbles’, which ensures students are maintained in specific groups, limiting interaction with other ‘bubbles’ as much as possible.

If you have any queries that are not specifically addressed in this letter please contact the academy through the usual channels.

Guidance

The government guidance maintains the basic principles that should be adhered to:

  • Robust hand and respiratory hygiene, including hand washing and sanitizing hands regularly, and ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ routine for coughs and sneezes (please ensure your child has a tissue when they come to school.  Sanitiser will be located around the site, but you may also send your child with a small bottle if you wish to).
  • Enhanced cleaning procedures.  These have been put in place with our usual cleaning contractors.
  • Staff maintaining social distancing from students except in circumstances of first aid or intimate care.
  • Tables in classrooms facing forward and students sitting side by side, not facing each other.
  • No mixing of students from different year groups.
  • Lessons in bubbles wherever possible in order to minimise mixing.
  • Staggering arrival and departure from school.

In addition, the guidance now includes details about face coverings and lateral flow testing in schools.

Face coverings

Government guidance now states that students and staff in secondary schools should wear face coverings in all indoor spaces.  This includes the classroom.  As such, it will be an expectation that students wear face coverings with the exception of when they are outside the school building.  The face covering should fit securely over the mouth and nose.  Please ensure that your child attends school with a clean face covering each day and remind your child of good practice for using a face covering.

Students that are exempt from wearing a face covering have been issued with an exemption card previously and should continue to use this.  If you believe your child is medically exempt and needs to be issued with an exemption card, please contact your child’s Head of Year with details of the exemption.

In order to minimise the risk to students, Erdington Academy has put a number of measures in place that are detailed in this letter. Please read the detail carefully and discuss it with your child.


Please be reminded that all arrangements are subject to change, dependent on government advice and guidance.  The Academy will review and evaluate procedures continually and change processes as appropriate/necessary.


Whilst the school year will still be different to a usual one, we are very much looking forward to starting afresh, and look forward to seeing our students in class.

In order to adhere to guidance, the following systems will be in place:

  • Students will have staggered break and lunch times throughout the day. This will limit movement around the school and mixing between groups.
  • Students in Year 7, 8 and 9 will be taught in core bubbles. 
  • Students in Years 10 and 11 will have core lessons in a set bubble, but will also attend options subjects.  This is essential to ensure students can continue to study their curriculum.
  • Students have assigned staggered start and end times. Students should plan their journey accordingly. Students will not be able to use an alternative entrance or exit.
  • Staff will be on gate duty from the first entrance time to the last, in order to support students to socially distance, avoid congregation, enter through their designated gates and follow their assigned route to their classroom.

Coronavirus Symptoms

Students, staff and other adults must not come onto the school site if they are displaying the symptoms of coronavirus, or have tested positive in the last 7 days. The full list of symptoms can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works#people-who-develop-symptoms-of-coronavirus

Students displaying symptoms of the virus will be removed to a well-ventilated room and named adults contacted to collect them.  Please be aware that staff attending to students displaying symptoms will wear appropriate PPE.  If you are called because your child is unwell, please collect your child as soon as possible. Any child displaying symptoms should be tested as soon as possible and if the test is negative return to school. If the test is positive, the school must be advised and self-isolation guidance must be followed. This test must be booked by calling 119 or visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test as lateral flow testing is for asymptomatic testing only.

Face coverings that are washable should be placed in a plastic bag and stored by the student until they get home. Students using washable face coverings should bring plastic bags with them for storage.

Attendance

The government guidance states that ‘School attendance will be mandatory for all pupils from 8 March’. The usual rules on school attendance apply, including parents’ duty to secure their child’s regular attendance at school.  The Academy’s usual attendance processes will resume, including legal intervention when required.  Erdington is committed to ensuring our students are not detrimentally impacted by the period of remote learning, but it is essential that attendance is excellent in order to enable staff to work with students.

Lunch Arrangements

The arrangements for food will operate in the same way they did in Autumn term 2, can you ensure students have money on their account to purchase food and drink or be provided with a packed lunch. https://www.parentpay.com/

Mass gatherings

Please be advised that no assemblies or mass gatherings will take place until further notice.  This may affect events such as Parents’ Evenings and you will be informed of arrangements in advance of the calendared date. 

Equipment

Loaning of equipment will continue to remain to be discouraged. Students should come fully equipped for lessons and include a reading book in their daily equipment. Students are allowed to bring bags to school, but these must be placed beneath their table in lessons and not on desks.  Students will receive new exercise books for all subjects in September, they will be allowed to bring these home and bring them back to school for their lessons.

Detention

The school will continue to operate a same day detention system.  Students receiving a detention will begin their detention at the end of their school day.  Detentions will follow the 2m social distancing rule and be conducted in year group bubbles with notification sent home.

Uniform

Students should wear full school uniform as normal to school, including their blazer.  Please ensure that student uniform is checked in plenty of time for the return to school to ensure students meet the uniform expectations.  Any hair colours, nails or piercings that have been worn during lock down but are non-compliant should be resolved prior to Monday, 8 March.  I have attached a link to the uniform overview for your reference and thank you for ensuring your child attends school wearing their Erdington uniform with pride when they return.  Our uniform suppliers are working online please follow the link to our webpage for details. https://erdingtonacademy.bham.sch.uk/the-academy/school-uniform/

Curriculum

Erdington Academy will continue to focus on providing our students with a broad balanced curriculum alongside high quality provision for core subjects. Students will study their full curriculum offer on their return. Dependent on external factors, such as localised lockdowns, the curriculum offer will be under regular review. Participation is a large part of what makes Erdington unique.  This year we fear some of the opportunities we offer our students may not be able to run. However, we will continue to explore opportunities for our students to work alongside their peers in an evolving, low risk participation offer and hope to be able to extend the opportunities for after school clubs from after the Easter break.

All details contained within this letter remain under review, dependent on government guidance.  Please accept my thanks for your continued support of our Academy during these unprecedented times; it is most appreciated. 

Thank you for your continued support.

Yours faithfully,

S Mallett

Head of Academy

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