Return to School - Autumn 2021/22

Friday 9th July 2021
Dear Parent / Carer
Return to School - Autumn Term: 2021/22
Following the government announcement earlier this week on Step 4 of the COVID Roadmap, I am writing to outline our plans for the start of the new academic year.
No doubt many of you will be experiencing a range of thoughts about the lifting of restrictions.  As Headteacher, I am pleased of the steps being taken to reduce disruption to education; including the announcement that 'bubbles' will no longer be sent home to isolate.
Ivanhoe, like other schools in the local area and beyond, have made significant changes to how we have operated during the pandemic.  Many of the new systems and processes that we have introduced have made a positive difference to the school environment - for example, students attending school in PE kit on their timetabled PE days, which received hugely positive feedback from students, parents and staff alike and will be continued into the new academic year.  We will continue with other procedures that allow us to be as COVID safe as possible: maintaining as much of a minimal impact on learning as possible, if we are told to reintroduce 'bubbles' for a temporary period because of a local outbreak.
As I explained my earlier communications this week, I will write to you again during the summer holidays when we are nearer the start of term with specific plans about start dates to the term for each year group and any other organisational details or safety measures required in school. As Leicestershire schools break up for summer today - earlier than most of the country - we do not yet have precise details for the start of term to share - and if we did, they would likely change.
Please find below some of our initial steps which we will take from the Autumn term:
  • All secondary schools have been asked to set up our test centres once more so that students should receive 2 on-site lateral flow device tests before they return in the autumn term. It is likely schools will have to stagger the return of students across the first week to manage this. Students should then continue to test twice weekly at home until the end of September when this will be reviewed. I will confirm how this will logistically take place when I write to you in again in August; our initial plans are as follows, but are subject to change and will be confirmed when I write to you again.
    • Year 7 students will be invited in for testing on Tuesday 24th August, and will start school as planned with us on Wednesday 25th August;
    • Year 8 students will be invited in for testing on Wednesday 25th August, and will start school as planned on Thursday 25th August;
    • Year 9 students will be invited in for testing on Thursday 25th August and will return to school on Friday 26th August.
  • From the start of the autumn term, students will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. Instead, children will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed they are a close contact and advised to take a PCR test. Schools will no longer be expected to track and trace and send close contacts home.
  • At the start of term, face coverings will no longer be advised for students, staff and visitors either in classrooms or in communal areas. Public health might advise the school to reintroduce face coverings temporarily if they deem there to be an outbreak.
  • Good hygiene for everyone will be practised and reinforced with students. There will continue to be hand sanitisers in corridors and classroom walls for students to use and the 'catch it, bin it, kill it' approach continues to be very important. We will continue to maintain appropriate cleaning regimes, particularly focusing on frequently touched surfaces.
  • We will continue to keep occupied spaces well ventilated: balancing the need for increased ventilation while maintaining a comfortable temperature for learning.
  • Students or staff should not come into school if they have symptoms, have had a positive test result or other reasons requiring them to stay at home due to the risk of them passing on COVID-19.

Other points about next year;
Arriving at school
The school day will return to 8.40am - 3.05pm for all students.  We expect students to be on-site prior to 8.40am in order for the day to begin promptly.  All students will continue to assemble in designated areas at the rear of the building:
  • Year 7 students assemble in the playground;
  • Year 8 students assemble on the astroturf;
  • Year 9 students assemble on the tennis courts
Leaving at the end of the school day
The school day will end at 3.05pm.  All walkers will leave together.  Bus students will remain in classrooms and will be dismissed bus by bus.
Timetables and the school day
We will return to 5 lessons a day (1 hour per lesson) with 20 minutes break and 45 minutes lunch:
Break/Lunch 1 - Year 9 and half of year 8
Break/Lunch 2 - Year 7 and half of year 8
On their first day back at school, stuydents must wear their full uniform.  On their first day, students will find out their timetables and what days they have PE.  Thereafter, they can then wear their PE kit on those days moving forward.
Moving around school
We will retain our one-way system around school as this works very well to maintain orderly movement.


I will endeavour to write to you again to confirm the finer details about the start of term. As previously indicated, start of term dates will be staggered by year group from Wednesday 25th August to allow us to put in place any testing required by the Department for Education, and we will confirm this as soon as we can.
Thank you for your considerable support this year and patience at the end of what has been such a very different year for us all. I wish you all a safe, relaxing, and hopefully sunny summer.
Yours sincerely,

Alison Allford

09 Jul 2021

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