Q. Is the school using social bubbles
To ensure the safety of students we have decided the best way to mitigate risk is to have a distinct social bubble for Year 12 and for Year 13. Due to the nature and importance of subject specialism it is impossible to have smaller bubbles. On site we have clarified with students how this will work, for example there are different areas designated to private study, different locations for break time (Year 12 in our Orangery, Year 13 in the Restaurant) and slightly different timings for lunch. For now we have had to pause some of those important aspects of the school (e.g. year group assemblies, students volunteering at other schools). This is a real shame for our students but we hope to be able to return to this as soon as guidance allows.
Q. What will happen at social times once students have finished eating? Will they need to stay in their bubble?
Once students have finished eating they will need to leave as soon as possible and either go back to their classroom or, whilst weather permits use one of our outside spaces where social distancing is more easily maintained. They should not break their social bubble (year group) and must remain with it at all times.
Q. Why are students moving between classrooms?
We want students to have as normal a return to School as possible where they can access specialist teaching and the resources necessary to enable that. By students moving to specialist rooms it will allow students to resume practical lessons in Art, use IT facilities and begin science practical work. If we did not take this approach teaching would be very limited and very reliant on worksheets and less engaging or, appropriate activity.
The change of lessons will give students a short break as they walk around the building. We are fortunate to have a new building that was designed with corridors that are at least twice the width of a typical school. All students are asked to use sanitiser before every lesson and antiseptic wipes are available in every room to wipe down equipment and surfaces as needed. A one way system is in place to minimise contact across bubbles.
Q. What is happening to all those important extras (Duke of Edinburgh Award, trips, sports fixtures)
One of the hardest aspects of the current situation has been accepting that these crucial aspects of life at Harington have to be put on hold. We probably get asked more about this by the students than any other aspect and know how much they are valued. When the situation changes we will be keen to ensure these activities are available. We are pleased to say however that our usual Wednesday pm Academic Enrichment Programme will be running (excluding volunteering). Year 12 will have the chance to sign up to a range of options including careers in Engineering, Politics, and Science. This year we are also running a distinct group for students who would welcome additional transitional support into their A level studies. Likewise, Year 12 will be able to access a good range of activities on a Friday. These include sport (badminton, fitness, rounders), charities / environmental committee, Cyber Security, Art workshops and many others.
Q. Are staff allocated to social bubbles?
No, staff will be keeping to social distancing rules and will remain at least 2 metres away from each other and students. If they need to come closer than 2 metres then additional measures including face coverings and gloves will be used.
Q. Can my child or member of staff wear a face covering?
The government advice is that this is not necessary because of the other mitigations we have taken. However, if a member of staff or student wants to wear a face covering they may wear a plain one.
5th November UPDATE: The government guidance on this measure has now changed so that students and staff are asked to wear face coverings as they move around he building, queuing for food and working in any communal areas such as our private study zones.
Q. What happens if the school has a positive case?
The government guidance to all schools if that if there is a confirmed positive case within the school then we should contact Public Health England to provide details. They will then provide guidance and support to help inform the appropriate response within school. At the moment the most likely outcome is that the bubble which contains the student is likely to be sent home for a period of 14 days. At Harington that would be all of Year 12 or Year 13. We have written home previously to parents and students outlining our contingency plans. A copy of the correspondence can be found here. Our aim would be to provide strong online learning through a mixture of TEAMS based live lessons and supporting work set on Show My Homework. Students should be encouraged to ensure that they are able to easily access both systems from home.
Q. Should post 16 students sign up to the new Track and Trace App
All students and adults over the age of 16 are allowed and encouraged to sign up to the new NHS Track and Trace App. I have written home to parents explaining how to access the App, and how it complements the processes already in place within the school setting. A copy of the letter can be found here.
Q. Will you be having an open evening this year?
Like most schools and colleges in the country, we have decided not to run a conventional open evening this year. This is a real shame as we really enjoy opening the doors of Harington to prospective students. Instead this year the Head of School will visit Catmose College and Uppingham Community College in order to speak directly to the students. Students and parents can access our curriculum online and we are currently working on a virtual open evening video that should give students a good feel of the atmosphere at the school. Any students that apply will still be given the offer of visiting the school (parents welcome) to see our students in action. If people wish to book an individual visit they should contact the school at email@example.com