Skip to content ↓
St Thomas More Catholic Secondary School

St Thomas More
Catholic Secondary School

COVID guide for Parents, Carers and Students

Below are some of the key items to inform you of the approach that we will be taking.

Staggered end to the school day 

The end of the day will be staggered, students will be dismissed as follows:

  • Year 7 – 3.15pm
  • Year 8 – 3.20pm
  • Year 9 – 3.25pm
  • Year 10 – 3.30pm
  • Year 11 – 3.35pm

Travelling by bus to and from school

It is recommended that students who travel by bus to and from school should wear a face mask.

The Number 6 bus will run from the school site as per usual, students will need face masks to travel.

Please note that the school car park is closed to all parental vehicles until further notice.  Parents are only permitted on site and will only be allowed entry with a prior appointment.

 Arrival at the school and going to the Year group zones 

There will be signs guiding students to where they need to go at the start of the day and staff will be on hand to ensure students adhere to the one way system, and answering any questions that students may have.


All students are expected to be in full school uniform

Expectations of behaviour  

We have always been incredibly proud of the behaviour of our students and now, more than ever, it is important that students continue to follow the high expectations we have of them. Our behaviour policy has been amended to take account of the danger posed by Covid-19, the policy is on the school website here. As well as the Covid-19 amendments, all elements of our behaviour policy remain the same e.g. rules around the use of mobile phones.

Expectations in the classroom  

We know that our students will recognise the importance of adhering to social distancing requirements at all times and our signage and staff will help to provide them with reminders to support this.  

 Students must: 

  • Arrive at school and depart at the designated time.
  • Wear a facemask whilst moving around the school site and in communal areas.
  • Use a sanitiser to disinfect hands on entering and leaving the school and at all times before entering and leaving your designated classroom space. 
  • Avoid physical contact at all times. 
  • In their classroom, sit in their allocated place at all times.

Health and Safety Expectations 

  • Maintain a safe distance from others at all times. 
  • Not share belongings (stationery, food etc) with others. Students should bring a pen, and may bring a pencil case
  • Follow all advice and instructions from staff upon entering and leaving any area
  • A copy of our full risk assessment is available below.

Actions if a student shows COVID-19 symptoms 

Students will be given guidance about the procedures to follow if they start to experience symptoms related to COVID-19. This will take place on their first day back and they will continue to receive regular reminders. We will also ensure that students are kept informed as new Government guidance is updated.  

If a student begins to feel ill with COVID-19 related symptoms, they must immediately inform their teacher. All other students and staff present will need to continue to maintain a safe social distance. A First Aid trained member of staff, with PPE, will attend to the student in an isolated designated area and parents/carers will be called to collect the student as soon possible. All PPE will be disposed of carefully, following Government guidance. 

If the student needs to cough or sneeze, this should be into a tissue which is then put into a bin. If they do not have tissues, students will be advised to cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow.

Any areas occupied and equipment used by the student will be identified and then thoroughly cleaned and disinfected following latest guidance.

The affected student should not return to school until a test has been carried out for Covid-19 and has returned a negative result. 

Students within the ‘bubble’ of the affected students, will need to go home and self-isolate for 7 days also. If no symptoms are developed, these students can return to school after 7 days. If your child is affected, a member of staff from the school will contact you about collecting your child.

Actions if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in school 

It is vital that students do not to attend school if they display symptoms of Covid-19.  If they have symptoms, they should stay at home for 14 days and arrange to be tested, they should only leave the house to attend the test or for a medical emergency. 

Anyone developing symptoms whilst at school will be sent home. Students will be required to wait in a designated isolation room, away from other people until they are collected. First aiders attending to the student will wear appropriate PPE equipment. 

The student should then stay at home for 14 days and arrange to be tested; they should only leave the house to attend the test or for a medical emergency. 

The affected student should not return to school until a test has been carried out for COVID-19 and has returned a negative result. 

Parents are encouraged to engage with track and trace at any point.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) including face coverings and face masks  

We are following all the latest Government guidance carefully.  The most recent guidance (published 9 December 2021) indicates that:

Face coverings help protect the wearer and others against the spread of infection because they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission of COVID-19. Where pupils in year 7 (which would be children who were aged 11 on 31 August 2021) and above are educated, we recommend that face coverings should be worn by pupils, staff and adult visitors when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas. This is a temporary measure. Pupils in these schools must also wear a face covering when travelling on public transport and should wear it on dedicated transport to and from school. We do not advise that pupils and staff wear face coverings in classrooms.

The guidance can be found here:

The 16 to 19 tuition fund 2021 to 2022 academic year 




The 16 to 19 Tuition Fund was first provided for the 2020 to 2021 academic year and is being extended beyond 2021 to 2022 for a further two years into the 2023 to 2024 academic year. Although the actual tuition does not need to be for GCSE English or maths, it’s only for students who:

  • have not achieved a grade 4 or 5 in English and/or maths
  • have a grade 4 or above in English and/or maths, are from an economically disadvantaged background and would need catch-up support
  • these are defined as students from the 27% most economically deprived areas of the country based on the Index of Multiple Deprivation

All supported students must be on a 16 to 19 study programme and have had their learning disrupted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We need to consider the needs of students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), particularly where students experienced additional disruption.


St Thomas More is eligible to receive £9547 from this fund for small group tuition. We have carried over £0 from 2020-21



  • GCSE English retake students with grade 3 or less
  • GCSE Maths retake students with grade 3 or less
  • Disadvantaged students identified with challenges and gaps due to extended school closure



Impact of 2020/21 16-19 Tuition Fund

GCSE Maths

1-2-1 tuition

Impact of 2020/21 16-19 Tuition Fund

GCSE English Language

Small group tuition (less than 5)

11 students with Grade 3 or below September 2020

8 students gained grade 4 or above by August 2021

4 students with Grade 3 or below September 2020

4 students gained grade 4 or above by August 2021

Pass rate at grade 4 or above: 73%

Increase by 1 or 2 grades from 2020 performance: 92%


Pass rate at grade 4 or above: 100%

Increase by 2 grades or more: 25%




GCSE English retake students in Year 12 (grade 3 or below)

Small group tuition by existing staff in small groups <7



Using existing staff in the English Faculty, Provide a series of workshops for paper 1 and 2 in small groups (7 and under) by English teachers after school




To be reviewed on receipt of results


GCSE Maths retake students in Year 12 and 13 (grade 3 or below)

1-2-1 tuition by third party provider



Using an independent tutor for Maths students to offer tailored GCSE small group tuition

Intense small group tuition 2 times a week per student for one hour per session.


Towards Summer 2022 exam


To be reviewed on receipt of results


Targeted support for disadvantaged students & SEND

Small group <7 catch up provision for A Levels and vocational courses by third party



Tuition by former St Thomas More  undergraduates at local universities

1-2-1 and small group <7 support for students identified as disadvantaged due to lack of home study provision during extended Covid-19 school closure period and lacking in resilience.


To be reviewed on receipt of results

Tuition from My Tutor website, 10 hours of 1-2-1 support for students identified as disadvantaged due to lack of home study provision during extended Covid-19 school closure period and lacking in resilience.


To be reviewed on receipt of results

Using an independent tutor for Maths students to offer tailored A Level 1-2-1-  tuition for students identified as disadvantaged due to lack of home study provision during extended Covid-19 school closure period and lacking in resilience.


To be reviewed on receipt of results

Record keeping - time for administrator to track attendance, fulfilment of tuition, authorise payments






Covid-19 Catch up premium funding 

In June 2020 the government announced £1 billion of funding to support children and young people to catch up on missed learning caused by coronavirus (COVID19).

St Thomas More was awarded £63920 in the Corona catch-up premium funding.

This money can be used to support children as decided upon at an individual school level. Some advice was published by the Education Endowment Foundation as to how best to use the funding.

In terms of delivering quality first teaching, one of the most troublesome areas we had in 2020 was with our ICT suites. The equipment was so dated that teachers were finding the delivery of lessons to be seriously compromised.

We therefore invested our catch-up funding to replace some of this dated equipment and to achieve many years of positive impact reaching hundreds of students.

In the EEF ‘Covid-19 support guide for schools’, ‘Supporting great teaching’ is the first strategy mentioned. Later is states: ‘Some schools might find it helpful to invest in additional technology…improving the facilities available in school.’ So our proposal is fine as far as being in-line with advice given to schools.

How the grant was spent:

Refitting Rm1, Rm2, Rm3, Rm24 at St Thomas More

Rm 1   30 NUCs & 30 Monitors (HDMI) & Install

Rm 2   30 NUCs & 30 Monitors (HDMI) & Install

Rm 3   30 NUCs & 30 Monitors (HDMI) & Install

Rm 24 30 SFF PC, graphics cards, extra RAM, Monitor up spec, & Install Photoshop would need investigating and would be an annual cost.


Driver of the change

Intended Impact

Reliability issues with end of life stock in Rm1,Rm 24

Rm 24 Media Mac suite and Mac server are end of life.  Rm 1 houses the oldest kit in a high volume area.

Rm 24 will be switched to windows OS with higher rated specification to support the demands of videoing editing, graphics etc for the successful delivery of Media. 

Rm 1 will have the same equipment as Rm 2 and Rm3 enable efficient software and hardware management. 

Having both of these rooms renewed gives greater flexibility of curriculum delivery/testing and reduces impact of staff / student movement. 

Reliability issues with current hardware set up in Rm2, Rm3

This equipment will be redeployed into Rm21, ITS, Art, DT, Food as the machines here are end of life.  The redeployment of the NUCS from Rm2/3 to these areas would enable improved accessibility to IT within curriculum areas resulting in teaching flexibility.  These machines are operational but are not coping well in the current high usage areas of RM 2/3, re siting these would make the best use of the equipment and refresh these dept areas who are currently struggling. 

New NUCs in Rm 2/3 would improve functionality in a high demand area to support curriculum and testing.

Increasing accessibility of IT facilities for all curriculum areas

Rm 1 2 3 24 would be fully operational and beyond the delivery of ICT and Media other subjects requiring ICT would have improved access eg completion of coursework, NEA, PEPs, BTEC assignments.  Current laptop stock in the library is depleted, alongside connectivity issues / aging devices. 

GL Testing in Y7-11

Improving IT facilities would support efficient running of GL assessments in Y7-11, reducing the impact on the IT curriculum who currently miss lessons to accommodate this.

Tenders were receive from 9 IT providers, the winning bid delivered the project for £62,707.20, which accounted for the vast majority of the catch-up funding, the small amount remaining was added to the fund used to provide individual students with laptops/devices to support home learning.

The effect on learners:

In January 2021, the country had another lockdown. Due to the upgraded ICT suites, the school was able to offer the children of key workers, and vulnerable learners, the chance to come into school and access the remote lessons that others were taking part in at home. This option would not have been possible for such large numbers before the upgrades. So the effects of the spend were immediate and supported some of our most disadvantaged learners.

Remote Education and Screen Safety

Good workstation ergonomics for teachers and pupils

Ergonomics is the study of workspace design and its effects on the worker. One of the most critical factors affecting the health of computer users is the design and layout of the workstation. A badly arranged workstation can lead to the adoption of a bad working posture with consequent back pains, neck pains as well as the risk of serious repetition injuries such as tenosynovitis and carpal tunnel syndrome or visual problems. Ergonomics is about ensuring a good ‘fit’ between people and the equipment they use.  The likelihood of pupils or staff suffering health problems linked to computer use is related to the amount of time spent using them.

The most important factor in workstation design is adjustability. This is particularly important in schools because a wide range of users of different sizes and shapes will be using the equipment. Choosing equipment on the basis of price alone will almost always be a false economy.

As well as the equipment being adjustable, users must know how to make the necessary adjustments. The adjustments should be easy to make and it should be possible to make the most common adjustments from the working position.

Particular problems are likely to arise in infant schools where pupil desk heights and chair sizes will not be adaptable to suit adults. Staff should always ensure that, as a minimum they sit on a chair designed for an adult when working with a very young child. See NEU health and safety briefing Classroom Ergonomics.

Set out below is advice on the features of workstations which require particular attention in schools:


In order to achieve a comfortable keyboard position, users must not be either hunched over the keyboard or having to stretch out to reach it. It may be necessary to push the display screen further back to create more room for the keyboard, hands and wrists. It is important to keep wrists straight when keying, and not overstretch the fingers.


Most devices are best placed right beside the keyboard. Users should be encouraged to relax their arm and keep their wrist straight. Smaller pupils should not have to stretch their arm across the desk to reach the mouse. Very young pupils may need a mouse designed to fit a child’s hand.  Left-handed users are likely to find a left-handed mouse more comfortable to use so these should be made available on request.


It is important that the chair is adjustable to accommodate a wide range of heights. To have forearms in the correct keying position, a short user will have to raise the chair height. The seat back should have a height and tilt adjustment, a seat height adjustment, a swivel mechanism and castors or gliders. Staff and pupils must be made aware of how to carry out the adjustments necessary. The user should have a straight back, supported by the chair with relaxed shoulders. Feet should rest flat on the floor. If they don’t, a foot rest will be needed. Chairs with arms can cause problems since they can prevent the user getting close enough to the equipment comfortably.

Display screens

Users need to be able to swivel and tilt the screen into a comfortable position. Whatever position is chosen by the user, the screen needs to be free from glare and reflections. This can be achieved by moving the screen, or even the desk and/or shielding the screen from the source of reflection through use of blinds.

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

One of the major problems arising from ICT work is RSI, which describes a range of conditions characterised by pain, numbness or discomfort in the muscles, tendons, nerves and joints of the hand, wrist, forearm, elbow and upper arm, and sometimes the shoulders and neck.

HSE guidance includes a range of advice which seeks to minimise the risk of RSI.  This includes guidance on the layout of workstations (furniture and equipment) and on work processes.

The HSE advises taking breaks from keyboard work of between five and ten minutes every hour, while the RSI Association recommends a break of a few minutes in each half hour.  The HSE also emphasises the importance of being relaxed, since RSI can be caused by tension and working under stress which tenses the muscles and restricts circulation.

Other steps to prevent RSI can include providing adjustable keyboards and wrist rests and ensuring users know how to use them properly, and providing copy/document holders and adequate space around the workstation as well.

RSI due to Mouse Use

Using a mouse may give rise to greater risks than using a keyboard because use of a mouse concentrates activity on one hand and on one or two fingers, which makes aches and pain in the fingers, hands, wrists, arms or shoulders more likely.


Display screen use cannot cause epilepsy and is unlikely to cause problems to sufferers of most forms of epilepsy.  Photosensitive epilepsy, however, is a rare form of epilepsy which puts the sufferer at an increased risk of experiencing an attack through display screen work.  It is unlikely that this form of epilepsy would become apparent for the first time through working with display screens but, as a precaution, enquiries should be made of parents where children are known to be suffering from epilepsy or are in an epilepsy risk category.

Skin Rashes

Skin rashes are sometimes reported amongst display screen workers.  In many cases environmental factors contribute to this problem but static-electric fields building up around screens, low level X-ray emissions and ultraviolet radiation given off by screens may be linked to skin rashes.  Again, further research is needed into this association.


Stress has been identified as a problem amongst ICT workers.  Again, factors contributing to this have included hot and noisy environments, poor workplace design, machine failures and social isolation.  The best means of combating stress is by observing the need for regular breaks from continuous screen work.

Risks due to use of laptops

Many schools offer laptop computers to pupils and staff for use within and outside school.  Their portability is their main advantage.  Some children, or even staff, may, however, still find them too heavy.

Laptops have to be compact enough to be easy to carry, resulting in design compromises like smaller keyboards and screens.  Laptop work is therefore less comfortable than work at standard sized equipment during prolonged use.  Careful consideration needs to be given to where and how laptops are used in schools.  It is worth noting that it is possible to purchase regular-sized keyboards to attach to these computers.  Staff who spend a lot of time at home working on their own laptop computer may wish to consider this.  For staff who do so, see also the checklist below.

Specific training and information should be given for laptop users on minimising risks, including sitting comfortably, angling the screen to minimise reflections and, wherever possible, placing the laptop on a firm surface at the right height for keying.

The HSE has suggested that the following ergonomic factors be taken into account when choosing portable computers:

  • choose a lighter weight model of 3kg or less, with a large and clear screen (14 inch diagonal or more;
  • select one with the longest battery life possible;
  • choose a lightweight carry case with handle and shoulder straps.

Smartphones and tablets

The main hazards inherent in such equipment are:

  • repetitive strain injury (RSI).  The small size of the keyboards fitted on such devices can lead to RSI problems;
  • musculo-skeletal disorders arising from the posture adopted when using tablets and other mobile devices;
  • eye strain and visual fatigue caused by squinting to view the small screen; and
  • stress - arising from the fact that the device is always on, so the user feels that he or she is always at work.

Other hazards stem from the locations in which such portable devices are used.  Back pain and general musculo-skeletal disorders can arise from their use in unsuitable places such as trains and cafes.  Fears of theft of the equipment lead to stress and anxiety about personal safety, whilst for those who literally use such technology ‘on the move’ there is the very real risk of injuries arising as a result of slips, trips and falls.

Small communications devices are of course subject to the Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992, if they are in use for prolonged periods as part of someone’s work.  The HSE is aware of anecdotal reports of wrist and thumb pain arising from the heavy use of thumbs in typing words onto such handheld devices, and advises that any such risks should be managed in the normal way, i.e. the employer should carry out a risk assessment as they would for a laptop computer.  The HSE also recommends that smartphone users should avoid heavy usage of the equipment in poor working environments, such as where the conditions are cramped or there is inadequate lighting. 

Where full-sized DSE equipment is available, e.g. back in the office, there is no need to use small palm-top devices, and smartphone users are advised to take more frequent breaks to compensate for the ergonomic disadvantages inherent in the equipment.  - taken from