Latest advice and updates (updated 13/3/20)
Please click on link below to see latest government information & updates about COVID-19 Coronavirus:
UPDATE: 13th March 2020
Please see update letter from Principal about Coronavirus below or click here.
UPDATE: 10th March 2020
You can find the latest statement from OFQUAL about Y11 and Y13 summer exams below:
UPDATE: 6th March 2020
We are getting increasing numbers of messages from parents asking about coronavirus, and it is becoming difficult to respond to them all individually, so we have decided to send a collective message to explain what we are doing / will do in the face of the coronavirus situation:
Are you teaching our children about coronavirus ?
Yes. There have been progress mentor time activities and posters about coronavirus and we push key messages every time we talk to children about the topic. Science lessons will also be stressing the importance of good personal hygiene in controlling the sorted of viruses. We would also expect parents to be taking a role in this.
Are the children being told to wash their hands / blow their noses ?
Yes. There are information sessions in progress mentor times and via posters / signs. We are regularly checking the soap dispensers in the toilets and have increased the number of sanitiser gel dispensers around the school site. Again, we would also expect parents to be taking a role in this.
Are you keeping up-to-date with the situation ?
Yes. We get daily updates from the Department from Education and check other information pages several times a day. We are also in liaison with The de Ferrers Trust, Staffordshire County Council and local NHS Teams.
What will you do if you get a case of coronavirus ?
All schools have received the following direction from the Department for Education: “No school should close in response to a suspected (or confirmed) COVID-19 case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.”
Should a situation arise then we would contact the Depart for Education Helpline immediately – 0800 046 8687 – and liaise with Public Health England before making a decision. All parents would be notified by text, email and social media platforms – just like with a snow closure.
Will the Academy be closing ?
Again, the current advice is: “No school should close in response to a suspected (or confirmed) COVID-19 case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.” Generally, the only UK schools that have temporarily closed so far have had direct cases of potential contact with the coronavirus. See this BBC article for details: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-51643556
Even so, the situation is fluid and things may change. We as a school will follow the direction of the Department for Education and any decision will be in consultation with the relevant authorities. We do not intend to take an arbitrary decision to close.
If the Academy closes, would the children still be educated ?
If the worst happens, we would set work on Showbie/Google Classroom and parents would need to take a responsibility in ensuring it is done at home. We can make arrangements for any physical work to be sent in to be marked as and when appropriate.
Most classes taking Summer exams have finished the content or are very close, and the emphasis would largely be on revision and exam skills activities. All students in Years 11 and 13 have their iPads to access additional content and revision activities set by their class teachers.
What about Academy trips ?
All of our trips are reviewed externally in terms of Health & Safety by Staffordshire County Council and we take on their advice to the letter. We will issue up-to-date advice and guidance before any of our forthcoming trips shortly before departure.
All of our Academy trips have insurance built in and if a trip were cancelled then refunds would depend on that insurance – this is likely no different to your own holiday insurance.
The general principle for us is if the government say we can travel then the trip will go ahead.
If the government say we should not travel then the trip will be cancelled and we will obtain refunds via our insurance provider.
If a parent decides to withdraw a child from a trip then that is their prerogative – but there would be no refund from the insurance should the government not have issued guidance to say it was unsafe to travel. Certainly, we as an Academy would not be able to cover the cost if the insurance did not.
What will happen with Year 11 & Year 13 exams ?
We do not know and it is not our decision. The current advice is that there are no planned changes. See this BBC article for details: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-51707144
Clearly, we do not want any exams affected but the decision on exams will not be made by us. We cannot say we’ll do our exams later or earlier. Currently the DFE have identified Wednesday 24th June 2020 as the contingency for this summer season so all students must be available up to, and including, this date.
If we hear anything different we will notify students and parents but for now it is totally ‘business as usual’.
Should I contact the Academy if I have a concern about coronavirus ?
Hopefully this message will allay most concerns and if anything changes we will send the details out.
If you have an emergency issue then please get in touch, but if it is a general enquiry please refer to the content of this message.
Kathy Hardy, Principal, said: “We are managing this situation as per professional and qualified advice and are keeping up-to-date with the daily changes. Any decisions we make will be based on facts and formal direction. We will follow all professional advice given to ensure safe and sensible decisions are made. We have appreciated the supportive messages we have received and amidst it all we are endeavouring to educate your children as well as we possibly can.”