On Monday, our Prime Minister announced that all schools will reopen from the 8th March and I am pleased to be able to share with you our reopening plans.
The Department for Education has asked all secondary schools to conduct three lateral flow tests for all students as part of their phased return. After this, students will be expected to complete these tests at home with the support of their parents. Staff will also be doing tests at home. I am sure you can appreciate this is a huge logistical challenge and that our highest priority is ensuring our community returns safely.
The purpose of this testing is to identify asymptomatic cases of Covid in the school population, so that those affected individuals and their close contacts can self-isolate to prevent further spread of the virus. A team of staff have been fully trained and carrying out daily lateral flow testing in school for a number of weeks now; I can assure you it is an easy process which brings peace of mind to families.
Miss Ghose wrote to you yesterday to share the details of our mass testing programme, which will be carried out over a two-week period, starting on Monday 1st March and a copy of this letter can be found here: Correspondence – Trafalgar School, Portsmouth. I appreciate there is a lot of information to digest but we have attempted to summarise it as best we can in a short period of time.
If you have any questions about the mass testing programme, please contact Miss Ghose at [email protected] . We will share resources and guidance to support you with this and will share with you a FAQ document on Monday, based on any questions and feedback you have.
To support us to run this programme as quickly and efficiently as possible, please can I ask you to complete the consent form and registration this weekend which are being posted home today.
Those displaying symptoms of coronavirus must remain at home and book a test through the NHS.
Students must continue to access their live lessons as normal until they return to face-to-face teaching on their designated day. The only exception to this is during the times their year group are on site being tested as, along with our support staff, teachers are being used to support the testing when they are scheduled to teach that year group. Morning testing will cover lessons 1-4 and afternoon testing, lessons 5 and 6.
As students return to school and learning in the classroom, it is important that any machines lent out are returned as swiftly as possible so that they can be returned to subject areas to be used by students in their lessons. Chromebooks and dongles lent to students during lockdown should be returned via main reception from Monday 8th March, as face-to-face learning begins.
Please be assured that should your child need to self-isolate following their return to school, we will again provide them with a Chromebook to support learning from home.
Key Worker School
Our extraordinary provision will continue to run as normal alongside our mass testing and phased re-turn plan. However, from Monday 8th March, all students returning to face-to-face lessons and those accessing key worker school will be expected to be back in their full school uniform. Our canteen will be open as usual for all students to purchase food and drinks.
The safety measures we already have in place to minimise the risk of transmission will continue. In addition to the wearing of face masks in communal areas the government have strongly recommended that, as it is not possible to maintain social distancing in a school setting, all students and staff should wear face masks in lessons until Easter. This does not apply to some practical lessons such as PE.
In order to protect our school community, we are still not able to accept external visitors on site, unless by prior agreement by myself or my senior leadership team. All visitors will be expected to complete a lateral flow test.
It still remains the case that students are unable to share equipment. Therefore, in preparing for your child to return to school, please ensure they have their own set of essential equipment. This includes, a black and blue pen, pencil, ruler, rubber, scientific calculator and their fully charged chromebook. They must also have their own face mask. Although we have numerous hand sanitiser and handwashing stations, it would be useful for them to carry their own hand sanitiser in their bags.
As our biggest year groups, students in Years 7 and 8 will continue to be allowed to wear their PE kits to school on the days they have their PE lessons but this will be reviewed as the lockdown measures are eased.
We will continue to operate a staggered start and end to our school day and would appreciate your support in ensuring your child only arrives at their designated time.
Our risk assessment is currently being updated and will be available for you to read on our website next week as well as our full reopening plan.
We are very much looking forward to finally welcoming back all our students and being together as a community again; we have really missed them! We recognise that some of our students will be feeling anxious about returning to school after another long period away, but I am confident the plans we have in place will support them both academically and emotionally to return positively.
I am so proud of the resilience and commitment to learning that our students have shown during this latest lockdown. As parents, you have done an incredible job in supporting your children with their education and online learning whilst trying to also manage your own workload. I am in no doubt that this will also help our students to transition back to school life quickly and happily. Well done!
As ever, if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s return, please contact us.
No school should close in response to a suspected (or confirmed) COVID-19 case unless directed to do so by Public Health England.
The school has established a Google Classroom for students and a list of other online resources for use at home, in the event of students having to self isolate/school closure.
Please see attached article with suggestions on how to structure the days in the event of a school closure. We will keep you fully informed of any changes.
The Salvation Army can provide up to 3 food parcels without a voucher:
Haven Community centre, Lake Road, PO1 4HA: Tuesday 1-3pm, Friday 10am-12pm.
The DfE have also launched a new helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and students can contact the helpline as follows:
24/3/20: The Universities of Oxford and Reading have put together a resource containing advice around supporting young people at a time when anxiety and worry will likely be high.
You can find the resource on the Emerging Minds website here:
Portsmouth School Nursing Service continues to provide non-emergency health related advice and support
eg. sleep, bedwetting, healthy weight, soiling, emotional health and wellbeing, additional and long term health conditions.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of your child’s health or development then please contact us by
Telephone –03001236629 or Text us on 07491163276
The advice can be found on the NSPCC website here: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/coronavirus-advice-suppport-children-families-parents/
You can find the latest updates on COVID-19 on the Government page here:
On the 9th March 2020, Public Health England updated their travel advice, recommending that anyone returning from Italy should self-isolate, even if you do not have any symptoms. If you do develop symptoms, call NHS 111.
The latest travel guidance can be found here:
Personal hygiene is the most important way we can tackle COVID-19, especially washing hands more; and the catch it, bin it, kill it strategy for those with coughs and sneezes.
Wash your hands more often for 20 seconds with soap and hot water.
In addition to handwashing before eating and after sneezing, both children and staff should also wash hands after using toilets and after travelling on public transport.
They have also released the following guidance for education settings:
You can read the advice given to schools by the Government on the link below, including more information about the Coronavirus which will hopefully help dispel some of the myths that are going around!