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Return to face-to-face provision at Sewell Park Academy - 28/02/2021

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

Dear Students, Parents and Carers

I hope you and your families are safe and well, and that you managed to enjoy the half term break. We are very pleased to be in a position to return to face-to-face learning at Sewell Park. I think we would all agree that it is a positive step forward in the pandemic for the country. I will apologise for the length of this letter in advance, but hope it details all of the arrangements for the return.

Firstly I would like to thank all parents and carers for your support and hard work to support the learning of our students. I can appreciate how difficult it has been for you all, alongside balancing family and work commitments, but will have made a substantial impact on their learning and progress. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank staff and students, who have adapted rapidly to a new way of teaching and learning. It has been a steep learning curve but has also demonstrated the commitment of everyone in the Sewell Park community.

Personally, I feel that there has been a lot of negative reporting in the national media in regards to the position that young people find themselves due to the pandemic and their futures. I do not believe that this is helpful for our young people, and disagree that this is the case. Once we are fully returned to face-to-face provision, we will be working with our students and families to identify areas and gaps which need to be addressed over time. I would ask that you continue to trust and support our staff to do this, as you have always done, whilst being positive with our students in regards to what the future holds. We believe Sewell Park students have a very bright future ahead of them despite the impacts of the COVID-19. At Sewell Park, any ‘catch up’ programmes will be done in a planned and consistent manner to have a long term positive impact, and ensure a balance is kept to support the wellbeing of our young people as well.

1) Return to school testing

For the safety of staff, students and the wider community, the Government has announced that all students should take a Coronavirus Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test three times on their return to school. This is prior to being provided with LFD test kits to self administer at home twice per week, 3-5 days apart. The initial three tests are to ensure that the test is done correctly following supervision in a trained testing centre, such as the one we now have at Sewell Park.

Prior to the return of students being together at school, they are required, if consent is given, to complete one test. The table below details the time and day each student, by tutor group, must attend for their test. It is important for safety that students attend at the times stated.

Monday 8th March

Testing only

9.00 11A 9.50 11B 10.40 11C 11.30 11D 12.20 11E&F 1.30 10A 2.20 10B

Tuesday 9th March

Year 11 return to in-school lessons

Testing only

9.00 10C 9.50 10D 11.00 9A 12.00 9B

1.00 9C 2.00 9D

Wednesday 10th March

Testing only

9.00 8A

10.00 8B 11.00 8C 12.00 8D 1.00 8E 2.00 8F

Thursday 11th March

Testing only

9.00 7A 10.00 7B 11.00 7C 12.00 7D 1.00 7E

2.00 7F

Friday 12th March

Years 7, 8, 9 & 10 return to in-school lessons

Students must enter through the Constitution Hill gate opposite Sewell Barn (currently the Year 11 entrance), at their designated time, and go to the external door of S5 in the Science department. Once the test is completed, they must leave the site immediately and return home. Once the result is processed, the result will be sent by text to parents. In the event of a positive test result, we will contact parents directly.

Pastoral staff will be available to support students with both concerns regarding testing and with the return to school.

The second and third tests for students will take place from the afternoon of Thursday 11th March (for Year 11) and Friday 19th March.

We will be sending the COVID testing consent form out to those parents or carers we have not yet had a reply from on Monday. We would ask that you complete (whether you consent or not) and submit by 4pm on Wednesday 3rd March at the very latest.

2) Twice weekly home testing of students

Following the completion of the three tests for students, and confirmation that they are capable of self administering the test, we will be providing students with home test kits. Following Department of Education guidance, we are currently unable to issue these without the completion of the in school tests. The expectation is that these will be completed by students, and staff, on a Sunday and Wednesday, followed by informing the school of the result. Prior to this taking place, we will write to you again with all of the details of what this entails and the requirements.

The main change to inform you of, is that following any positive home LFD test, due to these not being ‘assisted’ in the test centre, these will now require a confirmatory PCR test result by attending a Government test centre. Where this is not possible, we can provide postal kits.

3) Return to face-to-face provision

As per the table above, the return to face-to-face provision will begin from Tuesday 9th March for Year 11, and Friday 12th March for all other year groups. This staggering over the week, as suggested by the Department of Education, allows us to safely conduct all of the testing required for the entire school, whilst ensuring a consistent start for all. This will allow students to return safely in bubbles, whilst enabling us to consistently outline the core values and routines we have at Sewell Park to all on their return.

During the week beginning 8th March, until students return to face-to-face provision, students will continue to receive remote learning, in the same format as they have to date.

4) Pastoral support on return

We appreciate that the lockdown period has been tough for all; staff, students and families. On the return for testing, our pastoral team will be available to speak to students. If you have any concerns, or there is anything you feel we should be aware of to support the return, please do not hesitate to contact our Heads of Year.

5) Practical arrangements for the return

i) Entrances & bubbles

From the restart for year groups (9th and 12th of March), arrangements will return to those in place prior to Christmas. In regards to entrances and exits to the site, students must use the following:

Year 7 - St Clements Hill gate at the front of the school

Year 8 - St Clements Hill middle gate (by the Chestnut nursery)

Year 9 - Constitution Hill gate opposite the sports centre

Year 10 - St Clements Hill gate on the playing field

Year 11 - Constitution Hill gate opposite the Sewell Barn

Year groups will return to their ‘bubble’ zones of the school and lessons (with the exception of practical subjects where they will be escorted), will take place in these areas. Students will not be able to leave these bubble areas without prior arrangement or being escorted.

Additional permanent coverings have been built in the Year 8 and 9 outside zones to support in any periods of inclement weather.

ii) Uniform & equipment

For the return to face-to-face provision, we expect all students to be in full uniform within the school. For blazers and ties, Stevensons are continuing to take online orders which will be fulfilled prior to the reopening of schools. Where students do not have the correct uniform, this will be followed through our standard procedures. Uniform can be ordered at

Basic equipment will be maintained within bubbles to ensure safety, however students should ensure that they come to school equipped for learning each day.

iii) Canteen arrangements

As prior to the lockdown, students will be able to purchase food and drink before school (breakfast club) and at lunchtime from the canteen. Each year group will have a set entry time and must remain in their zone until called by staff. Due to the time available, provision at break is still paused at the present time.

iv) Hygiene and facemasks

Students will be expected to have washed their hands, or have them santitized, on the entrance and exit to each lesson. Where they work in a ‘shared’ space, for example an IT suite, this will be cleaned with antibacterial wipes at the end of the lesson.

When students return to school, the expectation will be that they will wear facemasks in all areas which are inside and areas where social distancing cannot be maintained. This will include within lessons, as per Government guidance. This is only a minor change to the previous expectations, where the vast majority of students wore masks during lesson time through choice. Where a student has a medical exemption for wearing a facemask, this must be communicated by the parent or carer to a member of our pastoral team. They will then be issued with a yellow lanyard which must be worn at all times.

6) Period 6 for Years 10 & 11

Due to the staggered return for students, period 6 sessions will begin from the week beginning 15th March. Therefore Year 11 will begin on Monday 15th March, with Year 10 beginning on Thursday 18th March.

A reminder to all students, parents and carers of Year 10, the period 6 sessions have been reduced for this year due to the impact of Coronavirus. However, these will change to 3 sessions per week, as per the standard Year 10 school day, from May half term.

7) Awarding of Year 11 grades

Following the consultation by the Department of Education and Ofqual, we are now aware of the process regarding the awarding of Year 11 grades. Mr Woods will shortly be writing to all Year 11 parents and students to explain the details. It is important that all Year 11 students are fully aware of what will be required of them, for us to accurately assess for grading purposes.

One area I must address is the media reporting of ‘teacher assessed grades’. This term is highly misleading and suggests that the responsibility is solely on the classroom teacher of the individual student. All of the grades at Sewell Park will be ‘centre assessed’, through a rigorous quality assurance process and using a variety of evidence, at all levels across the school. Grading will not be the decision of one individual member of staff. Please could I ask that students and parents of Year 11s do not request to be told a grade by staff. Firstly, we will give all information which we are allowed openly. Secondly, any requests of that manner may be considered malpractice and put the awarding of a grade for that student at risk.

The eleven weeks which will have passed since students last attended school has been difficult for many. We are exceptionally pleased to be returning to learning at Sewell Park in the manner we prefer, but know this will be a difficult transition for many. We will continue to do all we can to support the students and the community through this time. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the school.

Best wishes and stay safe,

David Day


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