November 2020

Following on from the recent Government announcement, you will know that schools are to remain open during the national restrictions. We are aware that many families will be anxious about their children returning to school next week and wanted to take this opportunity to remind you of our existing safety measures and update you with additional changes that we have put in place for when the children return next week.

Please read the LETTER from Miss Mitchell sent to parents on November 5th 2020.

Our COVID Risk Assessment document

Lockers and PE Concerns

We understand that some parents are concerned about students having to change for PE and having to carry heavy bags around school all day.  The reason for this change is so that, in line with government guidance, the majority of PE lessons can take place outside this term, whatever the weather, without students needing to spend the rest of the day in wet clothing.  We recognise that physical activity is good for students wellbeing and want to maximise the opportunity for this.  With the winter months ahead,  the likelihood of rain is increased and as good ventilation is a key strategy to reducing transmission of the virus in our classrooms, it is important that students are not sat in wet clothing all day. 
Miss Mitchell’s letter sent yesterday listed the additional safety measures we have put in place to mitigate the risks; such as students wearing face coverings when changing,  the changing happening in larger than normal spaces as we are not just using our existing changing rooms, but additional spaces too.  Students will each be given a designated changing space (marked out) and the touch points and changing spaces will be sprayed with sanitising spray after each use to prevent the spread of the virus.
The proximately of the students will be greater than that of the classrooms and as they will have their face coverings on when changing,  this will be an added safety measure.
We recognise that students will have additional items to carry to school, and as a result, they will now be able to access their lockers via the one way system, so there will not be a need for them to carry everything around all day.  Year 7 students who have ordered a locker key will be issued with these early next week.

GCSE PE and Sports Science Students

As not every lesson for these students is a practical one their teacher will make it clear when they will have their practical lesson and therefore need to wear their PE kit to school.  If they have their GCSE practical lesson on the same day as their core PE lesson they will have the option to remain in their PE kit until the end of the second practical lesson of the day, or to change into their uniform if their PE kit is wet.

We hope that this addresses your concerns, but should you have any further concerns please email covid@iscaexeter.co.uk and we can provide an individual response. 

September 2020

Staggered start to the year

  • Only students in Years 7 and 11 will be attending school on the first day of term (3rd September 2020), being joined by students in Years 8, 9 and 10 on the second day of term (4th September 2020).
  • Students with additional needs will be invited by the school SENDCo to come into school the day before the start of their year group, so that they have an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the changes to the environment. The SENDCo will assess the level and nature of support required for each student and will brief parents, the student and staff working with them of any specific arrangements required.

Learning and Spaces

  • The full breadth of the curriculum will be maintained through our current plans.
  • Year groups will be zoned, each using a designated area of the school for entry/exit, lessons and social time.
  • Students will only leave their zone when attending option lessons in specialist classrooms, which will be laid out to ensure that students can work safely. Option classrooms will be cleaned after each lesson.
  • Student movement within the school will be kept to a minimum and will be carefully managed by staff. Government guidance suggests that passing in the corridors is low risk and limited movement can be permitted.
  • On their first morning at the school, students will be fully briefed as to the rooms/spaces available within their year group zone and on the safety expectations. They will be reminded of the arrangements as necessary.
  • Times for tutorial and first break will differ slightly between Years 7/8 and Years 9/10/11 in order to limit movement within the school at social time. This means that all children will begin with lesson 1 on arrival to the school each day, with tutorial time taking place later in the day.
  • All learning spaces will be organised to maintain safe distances amongst students and staff. Seating plans will be set and all equipment and furniture will be wiped clean throughout the day. Students will be provided with an individual learning pack to avoid the sharing of stationery and learning resources but they can, of course, bring their own personal stationary with them. Doors and windows will be left open (outside temperatures allowing) to maximise ventilation. The school will be fully cleaned daily after hours.
  • Lockers will not be available at the school until further notice.
  • The movement of students between classrooms and out of the building at the end of the day will be staggered to limit the flow of students at key times.
  • In the event of a student requiring close contact for medical reasons or personal care, PPE will be worn by the trained staff providing assistance.

Arrival at, and departure from, the school

  • Students should arrive at school no earlier than 8.30am, unless they have made arrangements to attend the quiet club. A pass is required for quiet club, which can be obtained from the school SENDCo by email request: jcarter@iscaexeter.co.uk
  • Students with vulnerabilities or medical conditions should be dropped off before 8.45am by prior arrangement with the school at: adminoffice@iscaexeter.co.uk
  • If you need to enter the school site to drop off or collect your child, please remain in your vehicle.
  • We request that parents do not enter the school building unless an appointment has been made.
  • If your child must use public transport, we would request that they wear a face covering, in line with the government regulations. Students should bring a sealed box or bag to store their face covering during the day if they do not wish to wear it when at school.
  • Students who need to remain on site after 3.15pm and who are not attending an extracurricular activity will be able to wait in the canteen area at a table designated for their year group until they are collected.
  • Students, staff and parents will be expected to clean their hands using the sanitiser provided when entering and leaving the school building.
  • Students should enter the building through the entry point allocated to their year group/zone, as follows:

 

Entrance

Quiet Club

Year 7 play area into the library

Year 7

Year 7 play area into the Technology stairwell

Year 8

Science

Year 9

Small Atrium

Year 10

PE

Year 11

Main School Entrance

 

Lunch and Social Time

  • Break and lunch times will be closely supervised and taken in the designated social spaces for each zone. Students will not be permitted to go to other areas of the school or mix with peers in other zones.
  • Students entitled to a free school meal will receive this as normal, following logistics outlined below.
  • Other students are encouraged to bring their own packed lunch and snacks to school while Covid-19 restrictions apply. If they plan to do so, please be aware that we are now a nut free school.
  • If this is not possible and you would like your child to have school meals, these will be delivered to the zones in individually named lunch boxes. Disposable (biodegradable) cutlery/plates/cups will be provided. Please note that snack and lunch options will be more limited than usual. Food will be recharged to students’ accounts directly by the Catering Team to avoid contact with keypads. Students will need to make their lunch choices a week in advance (for week one, this will be done on the first day).
  • Students should not bring cash into school or use the on-site recharge machines. Our catering provider is not currently able to offer an on-line payment facility and so regrettably, it will not be possible for parents to top up their child’s canteen account remotely, at least not initially. This will need to be done by cheques instead, made payable to Sodexo, placed in the cheque box at your child’s designated zone entrance on arrival in the morning. Students entitled to free school meals do not need to provide any payment unless they wish to exceed their daily allowance.
  • Students will only be able to use the toilets within their designated zone. Staff will monitor the number of students using the toilets at any one time. All toilets will be cleaned after each break and after school.
  • Only students in Year 11 will be allowed off site at lunchtime. An electronic form is available for Year 11 families to confirm whether their child is planning to leave the school site for lunch and should be completed by both PARENTS and STUDENTS. Both sections must be completed before students can be issued with a pass to leave the site.
  • Antibacterial wipes and hand sanitiser will be available in all zones/rooms for students and staff to use on leaving and entering classrooms.
  • Students must bring their own water bottles (named) for the school day as water fountains will not be in use.

Expectations

  • All students should attend school in their full school uniform, as per the specifications given on our website. Year 10 students will be fitted with their jackets in the course of September and should wear their jumpers in the meantime. Uniforms can be ordered through SCOPay or Price and Buckland. Please contact uniform@iscaexeter.co.uk if you have uniform-related queries.
  • On days when students have timetabled PE lessons, they should attend school in their full PE kit to avoid the need to change during the day. On cold days, students who do not have a PE sweatshirt can wear their grey school jumper or school jacket but no other type of hoodie or top. On wet days, where possible, we will use internal spaces for PE to avoid students potentially having to remain in damp or muddy clothes.
  • Students should bring a lidded box or sealable plastic bag to store their masks or facecoverings during the day. Lidded bins in classrooms can be used to throw away disposable masks. Masks, facecoverings or PPE cannot be supplied by the school.
  • Normal expectations apply regarding jewellery, make-up and nails. Hair must be of a natural colour. Please ensure that you and your child remind yourselves of school expectations, as specified on our website, in preparation for the start of term.
  • The school remains a no mobile phone zone and any phone seen on site during the school day will be taken by staff and returned at the end of the day, in line with our school policy. Staff will be wearing disposable gloves when handling students’ personal items.
  • Ready to Learn (RTL) will apply as normal, with some logistical adjustments which will be explained to students.
  • In addition to the usual expectations of respectful and kind behaviour, students are asked to keep a safe distance from one another and from staff at all times on the school site. This includes avoiding all physical contact, eg. handshakes or hugs. If students fail to adhere to this despite reminders from staff, our usual sanctions (RTL) will be applied.
  • Students should not share or exchange stationery or personal belongings, or swap seats in the classrooms.
  • Students, like staff, will be expected to clean their hands and study equipment throughout the day using the sanitiser and disinfectant wipes provided.

Attendance

  • If your child is not able to attend school for any reason, please contact the school in the normal way by emailing attendance@iscaexeter.co.uk or by calling the main school number (Tel: 01392 204082) before the start of the school day. If a child does not attend school and no contact has been received from parents, we will call home to clarify the reason for their absence in the usual way. It is really important that an accurate record of the reasons for absence is kept so please provide as much detail as possible.
  • We appreciate that these are exceptional times and each case of prolonged non-attendance will be treated individually, within parameters set by, and in consultation with, the Local Authority.
  • Students must remain at home if they or a member of their household has covid-19 type symptoms.
  • If a child develops Covid-19 type symptoms whilst in school, they will be taken to a designated isolation room and we will call parents/carers to request that the child is collected. In line with government guidance, the student will be advised to self-isolate for 10 days and members of his/her household for 14 days.
  • Any students presenting with Covid-19 systems, at home or at school, will be required to book a test without delay. The school must be informed of the outcome of the test on receipt. In the event that the test is negative, the student will be able to return to school, if they are well enough to do so.

I hope this clarifies arrangements for the start of term but please do contact us at: adminoffice@iscaexeter.co.uk if you have any questions or concerns in the meantime.

Student Information Booklet

We have produced a guide for students for the start of our new term at Isca Academy detailing some of the new procedures and practices that will be operational this term. Tutors will be working through this with students on their return to school.  Student Information Booklet, September 2020

Wearing Facecoverings

We are fortunate that the rate of Covid-19 infection and transmission in our local area remains low and we have taken a number of precautions to further minimise risk in school. However, we recognise that many students, parents and staff will feel understandably apprehensive about being potentially exposed to the virus. We are also mindful that these remain uncertain times and the trajectory of the virus could change quickly over coming months, something for which we need to be prepared. With this and the safety of our community in mind, our position is that all staff and students will be required to wear a face covering when moving in and out of their year group ‘bubble’/zone, eg. when attending specialist/option lessons or moving to social time areas. There are no plans at present for face coverings to be worn in the classroom, unless a person choses to.

We are conscious that face coverings require careful handling in order to be effective and we therefore plan to use the first two weeks of term to provide guidance and training to students and staff on safely wearing, removing, handling and disposing of face coverings. These are practices which students will be able to usefully transfer to everyday life.  From Monday 14th September 2020, all staff and students will be required to bring a face covering to school each day, together with a sealable box or bag in which to store their mask, and to use these as per the guidance which will have been given to them. If your child is exempt from wearing a face covering, please let us know by emailing us at adminoffice@iscaexeter.co.uk and we will issue them with an exemption card.

Should students wish to wear face coverings from the start of the academic year, they are obviously welcome to do so. Please note that face coverings must be plain in appearance, free from logos or motifs, and must be worn sensibly. Any intentional misuse of face coverings will be followed up using our school policies.

Letter to Parents – 11 09 2020