We are delighted to be welcoming back more of our students again soon. As always, safety remains our absolute priority for them and for all members of our school community.
COVID-19 continues to pose a threat and, therefore, we have introduced new operating procedures across our school to minimise the risk of infection and enable our staff to continue supporting the emotional, educational and wellbeing needs of our students. A detailed risk assessment has been written and there is a link to it in the sections below.
The safety of our children is so important that we totally respect that the decision lies with parents and carers as to whether they wish to send their children into school at this time. The staff at St Thomas More are really looking forward to seeing the students again, but only if that is the right decision for them and their family.
Our Learning Plan for Students in Year 10 and Year 12
The DfE guidance to secondary schools contains this key instruction:
We are asking secondary schools to offer this face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of year 10 and year 12 pupils, which should remain the predominant mode of education during this term for pupils in these year groups
Therefore our face to face provision is intended to further enhance our remote learning activities, not replace them. It is important that students continue to complete all their remote learning activities in line with the guidance they receive from their teachers. Our plans are designed to provide a boost to students, but we are not attempting anything that could pose a greater risk than is acceptable e.g. we will not be asking students to stay for lunch, as maintaining social distancing in unstructured times is likely to be more challenging.
The DfE guidance to secondary schools is available here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-secondary-schools
How Parents and Carers can Support our Plans
Your support has always been invaluable to us in all aspects of our work as a school and we hope that you will continue to support our plan for re-opening. Before allowing your son or daughter to return to school, it is important that you understand and agree with the following:
That to your knowledge, your child does not:
- have COVID-19 and does not have COVID-19 related symptoms
- live with someone that has COVID-19 or COVID-19 related symptoms.
The most obvious symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of any of the following:
- a new continuous cough
- a high temperature
- a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
You can find the most recent guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid19-infection
- That you and your child understand the hygiene expectations at the school and agree to follow all hygiene expectations to minimise the potential spread of infection.
- That you and your child understand the expectations of social distancing and the consequences if students do not adhere to these expectations. We have every confidence in the maturity and behaviour of our students and are implementing these measures as additional precautions to keep everyone in our school safe. A copy of our revised Behaviour policy in response to COVID-19 is available on our website.
Students should not be on site at any time other than when they are attending a lesson or at the request of a member of staff.
Arrival and Departure to School Site
Upon arrival at school, all students must strictly adhere to the 2 metres distancing rules.
Students should move directly to the room of their lesson. For Year 10, in the first week this will be the English department, in week 2 it will be maths. Staff will be on-hand to direct students. Year 12 have room numbers on their timetable and should go directly to the lesson.
Parents should be aware that further parking restrictions have been implemented on Kennet Rise, outside the school gates. There is now no stopping / parking at all allowed in this area. You will see that the road markings have been changed and fixed penalties may be imposed if these restrictions are not followed.
The start and finish times are designed to allow students to avoid peak travel times. Please remember if using public transport that face coverings/masks are now an expectation; also, avoid touching surfaces and then touching your face. Upon arrival at school, hand sanitiser is in plentiful supply and students will be able to wash/sanitise their hands before lessons begin.
The dedicated bus service that usually leaves from the school site at the end of the day will not be operating.
Students in Year 10 should wear the summer uniform (details available on the school website). Blazers are not required as these can be difficult to wash regularly.
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.
- Arrive at school and depart at the designated time.
- 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 designated classroom, sit in their allocated place at all times.
Health and Safety Expectations
- Maintain a safe 2 metre 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
- Use the toilet designated to their class group.
- A copy of our full risk assessment is available here.
Students with Underlying Health Conditions
For the vast majority of children and young people, COVID-19 is a mild illness. However, for a small number of students who have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable due to pre-existing medical conditions the risk of a severe illness is considered to be much higher.
These students have been advised by the government to shield and these students will not be expected to attend school at this time. Clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) students are also considered to be at a higher risk from coronavirus. There are a small number of students from STM in this category. Parents should follow specialist medical advice if their son/daughter is in this category. The latest Government guidance indicates that students who live with someone considered clinically vulnerable, including those who are pregnant, are now allowed to attend their education setting.
We are looking forward to welcoming our students back to school. However, ultimately, the decision lies with parents and carers if they wish to send their children into school at this time. We understand that there is a lot to consider and hope that the information we will share with you helps to inform your decision making.
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.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) including face coverings and face masks
We are following all the latest Government guidance carefully. The most recent guidance (published 1 June) indicates that wearing a face covering or face mask in schools or other education settings is not recommended. Face coverings may be beneficial for short periods indoors where there is a risk of close social contact with people you do not usually meet and where social distancing and other measures cannot be maintained. This does not apply to schools or other education settings.
The guidance can be found here: