Beaconsfield Drive
Blurton
Stoke-on-Trent
ST3 3JD
01782 882200

Academy Update 05/03/21

Posted on: March 5, 2021

Dear Parents/Carers,

The staggered re-opening of the academy begins on Monday, and you can find the full details of this at the bottom of this letter. However, I would like to take this opportunity to give a few final reminders:

Testing

This has already begun this week with Year 11 students. We are in the process of sending all parents who have given consent a time slot for their child to be tested at the academy. With over 80% of parents giving consent, this will take a little longer than anticipated, so apologies for any delay. When coming for their test, students should enter via the main entrance. Students do not have to wear uniform when being tested for the first time. However, students must wear their full uniform when returning to the academy for face-to-face teaching. Home testing kits will be distributed in the coming weeks.

Remote lessons

These will continue as year groups return to the academy one at a time. On the day a year group is being tested, there will be no remote live lessons for that year group. Instead, work will be preset.

School Day

This will run as it did before Christmas for all students as they return to the academy. Next week is a Week B on the timetable. Expectations around behaviour, uniform and equipment have not changed. If you are facing any difficulties regarding any of these issues, please contact your Head of Year, whose contact details can be found below.

Mrs Ceri Richardson – Head of Year 7 [email protected]
Miss Shannon Nicholls – Head of Year 8 [email protected]
Mrs Shona Walker – Head of Year 9 [email protected]
Mrs Marie Millward – Head of Year 10 [email protected] 
Mr Philip Taylor – Head of Year 11 [email protected]

Masks

The Government and Public Health England highly recommend wearing face masks at all times inside the building, including lessons. Naturally, we will follow that advice. If, for any reason, your child cannot follow this guidance, please contact your Head of Year before your child returns to the academy. If you have not contacted us, we will expect your child to follow the guidance.

Free School Meals

Free school meal deliveries will cease once a year group returns to the academy, i.e. Year 11 will return on Monday 8th March; therefore, Friday 5th March will be the last delivery. This is the last week of the Government voucher system, and it will not continue into next week.

Laptops

Please ask your child to return any laptops, chargers and cases that have been borrowed from the academy back to reception or their form tutor.

Thank you for all your support with remote learning during the lockdown, and I look forward to a return to normality within the academy.

My best wishes to you and your family.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Mr. N Brennan
Principal


OSSMA reopening

Phase return to face-to-face teaching and testing

When returning to school, students will be offered three Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests.  Students will return to face-to-face education following their first negative test result. Following the three initial tests, students will collect their ‘test at home’ kits and start testing at home on a regular basis. More information about this will follow in the weeks to come.

The Government has given schools the flexibility to decide how best to deliver testing on a phased basis from 8th March, depending on their circumstances. Therefore, our time frame for testing and a return to face-to-face teaching is as follows:

Testing Round 1 (Students go home after they have tested) Return to face-to-face teaching Testing Round 2 and 3
Year 11 Friday 5th March Monday 8th March (8.50) The remaining tests will be conducted within the school day

 

Year 10 Monday 8th March Tuesday 9th March (8.20)
Year 9 Tuesday 9th March Wednesday 10th March (8.50)
Year 8 Wednesday 10th March Thursday 11th March (8.50)
Year 7 Thursday 11th March Friday 12th March (8.20)

If you would like to see what happens during a Lateral Flow Test please watch the video here. If you have not yet given consent for your child to be tested you can do so here.

In order to ensure that we can manage the flow of students through the testing centre, students must arrive at their allotted time. This will be sent to you via our parent app or text message. Students can go home once they have had their first test.

STUDENTS DO NOT HAVE TO WEAR THEIR UNIFORM WHEN THEY ATTENDING THEIR FIRST TEST.

Upon arriving at the academy for their test, students should report to the main reception. Here they will be directed by a staff member to the test centre, where they will receive their lateral flow test. Please note that face masks must be worn at all times when within the academy and test centre, and social distancing guidelines must also be adhered to.

Students not undergoing testing will attend school in line with the phased return arrangements identified above (i.e. Year 11 who are not testing will return on Monday 8th etc.) Students who are currently in the academy will continue to attend school and reintegrate back to face-to-face teaching when their year group returns. From Monday 8th, returning students should enter the academy through the same gate and at the same time as before Christmas.

 

Attendance

Whilst we understand this may cause anxiety for some of you, the Government has made school attendance mandatory for all students from 8th March. The usual rules on school attendance apply, including:

  • parents’ duty to secure their child’s regular attendance at school
  • the school’s ability to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices in line with local authorities’ codes of conduct.

If you have any concerns regarding your child’s return to the academy, please contact your child’s Head of Year at the earliest possible opportunity and before your child’s return date. We will endeavour to put bespoke arrangements into place to meet your family’s needs and work with you to find a positive solution.

If your child is SEND and requires support or would like to discuss this further, please contact Mrs Wootton (SENDCo) or Mrs Dyball (Assistant SENDCo) at the academy.

A small number of students will still be unable to attend in line with public health advice to self-isolate because they:

  • have symptoms or have had a positive test result
  • live with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive and are a household contact
  • are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19)

Where this is the case, please continue to follow the procedures established in September and inform the attendance office immediately.

 

Protective measures

All protective measures set out in September will continue to apply. In addition, the Government are now also recommending that face coverings should be worn in classrooms unless social distancing can be maintained. Please contact your Head of Year if you feel your child is unable to do this. This does not apply in situations where wearing a face covering would impact on the ability to take part in exercise or strenuous activity, for example in PE lessons. A reminder of all these measures can be found here.

 

Standards

Upon your child’s return to school, the usual standards and expectations will remain in place.

 

Uniform

Students are expected to wear their full academy uniform.  If your child has grown out of their blazer or requires a new tie, you should order these items of uniform as soon as possible from the School’s in! online shop.

Jewellery

One ring per hand – not sovereign.
One watch.
One chain to be worn below clothing.
One pair of studs in the lower lobe. No other facial piercings – including tongues, tragus, eyebrows, lips, nose, upper ear.
One bracelet can be worn.

All jewellery will be expected to be taken off and given in during any physical activity.

Makeup

Years 7 – 8 no makeup.
Year 9 – 11 small, subtle amounts allowable.
No nail varnish.
No false nails to be worn at any time.
No false eyelashes.

Hair Colour

Natural colours only. No decorative hairpieces to be worn. No lines or designs cut into hair. Grade 2 and above is acceptable. No Mohicans or other bizarre hairstyles (the academy reserves the right to make a final decision if necessary).
No lines in eyebrows.

Tattoos

Any tattoos should not be visible and should remain covered at all times.

Religious Headwear

Any headwear of a religious nature must be black and accompanied by full academy uniform.

 

Laptop returns

If your child has loaned a laptop from the academy, they will need to return it either on the day of their test or the day they return to face-to-face teaching. The laptop, charger and case will need to be returned at the same time. Please ensure that any personal documents have been removed or backed up elsewhere as our IT technicians will wipe laptops. When you bring the laptop in, please hand it in at Reception if getting tested or to your form tutor if returning to regular teaching.

 

FAQ’S

Do all students have to test?

Testing is voluntary, and individuals will be allowed to attend school even if they decide not to take part in testing. However, we would like to encourage everyone to join in the asymptomatic testing programme to help break transmission links by identifying those who may carry the virus unknowingly. If you would like to see what an LFD test looks like at OSSMA, click here. Anyone with symptoms, whether they are involved in this programme or not, should book a free NHS test and follow government self-isolation guidance until their test results are known.

Why can’t students start testing at home immediately?

It is important that initially, students are supervised whilst swabbing to make sure they are doing it correctly. This is why testing will initially take place on-site.

Can students swab themselves?

Yes, in an Asymptomatic Testing Site, all students can swab themselves if they are able to. When testing at home, children should self-test and report with adult supervision. The adult may conduct the test if necessary.

What happens if a student struggles to perform the test?

If a student administers the test and finds it difficult, there are Testing Assistants on hand to provide support. They are well-trained and will administer the test for the student if they request it. If a student feels as though they cannot complete the test after a Testing Assistant’s support, there will be no requirement for them to complete it, and their parent/carer will be contacted.

What happens if a student test positive following the asymptomatic test?

If a student tests positive for Covid-19, they must self-isolate for ten days from the day after they tested positive, and we must be informed immediately.

What happens if a student is unable to test themselves at home but have opted in for testing?

We will retain a “small” testing site for those unable to test at home. Please inform the academy if you are unable to administer the home test.

What is the rule about face masks?

All students will be required to wear masks in communal areas (unless exempt). Students are encouraged to wear masks in classrooms, but these have now been classed as optional. Please ensure that your child has a plain black mask with no markings. The academy has provided every student with a mask, and your child can purchase a replacement through ParentPay if they wish.