Important Principal Letter
Please read this important information in regards to the opening on the school in September.
Firstly and most importantly I hope my letter finds you and your loved ones safe and well. It is hard to believe that it has been almost 6 months since schools were made to shut their doors to students, I remain extremely proud about the way the Greater Peterborough UTC managed to keep our students engaged in learning throughout the majority of the lock down period, and look forward to welcoming them and our new students back in September.
There are a number of factors to consider ready for September and some important updates for all parents to be aware of before we return. The purpose of this letter is to cover those factors in detail so that our families and students have an adequate amount of time to prepare themselves for what inevitably is going to be a slightly different experience, certainly for at least the first half term and quite possibly longer.
The most significant update is around the first two weeks of our operation. We as a school do not feel it is appropriate to rush our students, new and existing back into a full-time program of study when we are all unsure as to how that will work and how people will react to being back in after such a significant period of time away. With this in mind we will be applying a staggered approach to the first two weeks of learning. There will be a combination of in-school study and a continuation of the remote home learning for these two weeks whilst everybody re-acclimatises themselves to being in the building. This also allows for reflection and adaptations to ensure we keep the safety of our students and staff as our utmost priority.
Please pay particular attention to the information below as this lays out which year groups are expected in school on which days.
Thursday, 3rd September - Staff training day (no students in)
Friday, 4th of September - Year 9, induction day and safety briefing.
Monday, 7th of September - Year 10 induction day and safety briefing & Year 9 Baseline testing and IT/Password admin
Tuesday, 8th September - Year 11 induction day and safety briefing & Year 10 baseline testing and IT/Password admin
Wednesday 9th September - Year 12 induction day and safety briefing
Thursday 10th September - Year 13 induction day and safety briefing
Friday 11th September - Staff training day (no students in)
Monday 14th September - Years 9, 10 & 11 in school for timetabled lessons
Tuesday 15th September - Years 9, 10 & 11 in school for timetabled lessons
Wednesday 16th September - Years 12 & 13 in school for timetabled lessons
Thursday 17th September - Years 12 & 13 in school for timetabled lessons
Friday 18th September (and onward) - All students in school for timetabled lessons
This staggered approach is essential in making sure we get our return right. It gives all students and staff the time and space needed to understand how we are going to manage this first half term of learning.
The second significant change for the first half term is the way in which we have timetabled our lessons, the priority had to be reducing the movement and therefore unnecessary contact around the building.
With this in mind we are moving to what is known as a ‘blocked timetable’. In essence this means that students will only have two lessons a day one AM lesson which will run through periods 1-3, with a break in between. And then after lunch a PM session which would run through periods 4 & 5. This significantly reduces movement around the building and therefore reduces the risk of unnecessary contact between year groups. As mentioned this is initially in place just for half term one, up until the October break, we will review this before deciding if this needs to continue until Christmas.
Understandably there will be a significant amount of changes to the way in which we must operate to enable this re-opening to be a success the main points are listed below.
• There will be separate points of entry for different year groups, this will be clearly marked out for students on the day that they first arrive so that they know for future days how they enter and exit the building.
• Each year group will have their own transition space, this can be used as a holding area to enable other year groups to move around the building safely, it can also be used at social times for them to sit and eat. Each of the spaces will have a selection of vending machines enabling students to access snacks and drinks during social times.
• There will be a one-way system operating in school including the two stairwells being designated for single direction travel.
• Whilst we will do our utmost to keep year groups separate, it is inevitable that there will be times during, before, and after the school day that students from different year groups will come into contact with each other, we expect the UTC students to act in a responsible manner and manage those situations maturely and safely.
• We will be sharing a document closely after receipt of this email which explains the above four points in more detail to help your understanding
• Following recent government updates, the wearing of face coverings is compulsory on corridors, stairwell and in all learning spaces. This is because the space will not always allow for a minimum of 1m distancing. Face coverings can be in the form of masks, visors or any other covering that is scientifically proven to lessen the chances of cross contamination. In outdoor spaces and the identified year groups 'safe space' face coverings are not compulsory but advised.
• Students with medical conditions meaning they cannot wear masks may be asked to wear a visor, if they are unable to wear either they may be seated towards the back the learning space so to maintain at least a 1m distance from the member of staff. Masks may also be removed if the activity poses a health and safety threat (using a flame or machinery). This will be instructed by the member of staff leading the session.
• As per government guidance, where possible all classrooms will be laid out to reduce unnecessary contact whilst retaining a suitable learning environment
• Full risk assessments have been carried out on each learning space and all other key spaces in school
• We are currently in communication with our new catering providers to determine the fastest and safest way to enable students to access food whilst on site. Students bringing in their own packed lunch will be able to eat this in their designated transition zone. More details on our catering provision can be found on the website here and further communications shall be distributed shortly.
• We will be making a slight temporary amendment to our uniform policy for the first half term, the significant change is that students will not be required to wear a tie. It is expected that the remainder of the uniform code is adhered to fully. The uniform code is part of your welcome pack or can be found on our website.
• It is essential that students ensure they have enough stationary with them on a day-to-day basis, at an absolute minimum this includes pens, pencils, a ruler, an eraser and a scientific calculator.￼ For obvious reasons we cannot be issuing equipment unless absolutely necessary.
• All students are expected to purchase a locker as part of their starter pack, the price for this is a one off £20 payment. This includes locker hire for one year, their ID card, their lanyard, and their ID card holder. This is payable via ParentMail (please ensure you include your Childs name and starter pack in the reference)
• Our absence reporting protocol link here will not change and it is essential that you contact the school immediately if you are aware your child will not be attending on a day they are expected in. This is accessed through the main GPUTC switchboard, alternatively you can email the welfare manager on firstname.lastname@example.org
• With regards to student absence, if your child, or any family member that your child has come into recent contact with is showing any symptoms of COVID-19 please do not send them to school and alert us immediately.
• There will be some slight temporary adjustments to the learner conduct and in the way we manage student conduct whilst in the building. It is hoped that this will not be required as the excellent behaviour and respectful nature of our UTC students should not warrant any disciplinary measures, but nevertheless some changes will be implemented in the unlikely event of disruptive behaviour. These will be shared with students as part of their induction day and will be shared with our wider community after the first week back.
• The UTC safeguarding team are always on hand to support our students and parents and answer any concerns you may have. You can contact these at email@example.com.
• All of the information shared with students as part of their induction day will be shared with our wider community at the end of our first full week back in school.
On a final note, I would like to thank everybody in advance for their efforts and understanding in advance over these next few, difficult months. We all agree it is essential to get young people back into schools and back into positive learning habits, the challenges we face are still relatively unknown, what will happen over the coming months also relatively unknown.
With that in mind can I request all parents download and instal ParentMail as this is our preferred means of communicating with parents. It is also our preferred payment method for visits, buses etc.
What I do know is that ￼I promise to put student and staff safety at the forefront of every decision we make at the UTC. We will continue to communicate with you where and when appropriate, can I also take this opportunity to remind you of the firstname.lastname@example.org email address that can be used for urgent questions. All other questions are to go to email@example.com.
Mr David Bisley