Returning to School in January

Dear Parents/ Carers,


I am sure you are aware of the recent headlines concerning going back to school in January.  I am again sorry for the last-minute nature of this announcement.  I am afraid that we learnt the news concerning these plans the same time as you – yesterday midday.


There is still much detail to be confirmed and I will be in touch again after Christmas with more plans for the start of term on Tuesday 5th January.  The below is intended to give you an overview and hopefully reassure you that we will do what we need in order to keep your child/children educated, safely.



4th – 11th January


We will be running a training day on Monday 4th January so no pupils will be in school that day, as per our calendar and as always planned.  However, in line with the very recent directive, we will only be having in school “vulnerable children, the children of critical workers and pupils in exam year groups” for the first week of term.  We will therefore only have pupils in years 11, 12 and 13 back in for their lessons as normal in the first week of term.


If you are a key worker and absolutely need for your son/daughter to be in school, or if your child is vulnerable as per the guidance that was circulated last summer during the national lockdown, you may book them to come into school this first week.  If this is the case, your child will be supervised but will follow exactly the same remote learning lessons and work as we will be asking pupils in years 7-10 to follow at home.  We will not be able to run extra provisions and the activities we did over the summer as we will have a lot to contend with in teaching years 11-13, running remote learning for years 7-10, and (theoretically) setting up and running the lateral-flow testing.  I will confirm how to book your child into this after Christmas.



Remote learning


Years 7-10 will therefore need to work and learn from home during the first week after the holiday, 5th – 11th January.  We will be in touch with more guidance after Christmas but our basic plans for this are as per our policy and promise on our website.  I have attached this as an appendix to this letter.


As per the government’s guidance currently, all pupils should be back in school for face-to-face education on Monday 11th January.






Asymptomatic Testing

The government plans for all secondary schools to be equipped and enabled to run lateral flow tests for all staff at least weekly, and all pupils who have been in close contact with anyone who has had a positive Covid test.


We are awaiting further guidance on this.  I suggest that as a way ahead this is a good thing.  If/when we can make these tests happen quickly and efficiently, we can ensure that most staff and pupils can stay in school and this will produce less disruption and more normality, which will be fantastic.  The challenges are logistical in that we need to receive hundreds of these tests, be trained, recruit staff or volunteers to help administer, find a location and set this up.  We will need your permission as parents for any of your children to be tested.  There is therefore a lot to do and we will await the arrival of the tests to begin with.  I would reiterate that in the long run this should be a positive development and I do hope very much that all parents and staff will consent to the tests.  As things stand, I can’t see that we will be running these tests straight away at the beginning of term, but we will try to if possible.





Usually at this time of year, we would have invited our parents and carers to join us to watch some brilliant performances by some very talented and hardworking students.  This year, however, we have had to do things a little differently and would therefore like to invite you to watch our Virtual Christmas Concert 2020. This is a collection of Music students from years 10, 11 and 12, and Drama students from across all year groups who have all worked extremely hard to put this show together. 

A big thank you to the Performing Arts Faculty (Mr Saturley, Mr Mearns and Ms Graham) for making this happen! 


Once again, I do hope you will enjoy some form of a Christmas break and some time celebrating safely with your families.



Best wishes,

James O’Connell



Please follow this link for information about the home learning expectations: