We are looking forward to welcoming all year groups back to school on September 7, although the start to the term will feel a little different from the start of previous academic years.
The most recent HM Government guidance to schools was published on August 7 and you can read it in full by following the link below. (Please note that it is currently being updated to reflect the latest advice on face coverings in education.)
The safety and wellbeing of students, staff and their families are paramount, and we have done everything we can to assess and minimise the possible risks of using the school buildings in accordance with the published guidance and advice from GDST. A copy of our full risk assessment will be posted to our website shortly. As guidance may be updated, the information below and our risk assessment are subject to change.
The main overarching principle is that the school will operate in “bubbles” by year group, with Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth being treating as one “bubble”. Each bubble/year group will be allocated a block of rooms to ensure that contact between year groups is kept to a minimum. Teachers will move between classes. For specialist subjects, pupils will move to those areas and routes from each zone to the specialist rooms have been put in place to keep contact between year groups to a minimum. These measures will allow the school to deliver lessons as normal through face-to-face teaching.
The guidance is clear that staff should observe 2-metre social distancing wherever possible but for pupils this is not required.
We have been working over the summer to ensure that the school is clean and safe and ready to welcome all year groups back:
We shall be following all Government guidance, and the safety of pupils and staff is paramount. With pupils taught in bubbles, this minimises the need for face coverings. The routes pupils will take along corridors minimises the opportunity for pupils to mix when moving to specialist rooms; however, if any pupil wishes to wear a face covering when moving along corridors, waiting in communal spaces or at other times, then they are free to do so.
If face coverings are worn, pupils should:
Arrival and Departure
The school site will be open as normal from 7 am until 5.30 pm; however, we shall be operating staggered arrival and departure times to minimise the opportunity for mixing between bubbles. Each year group will have a specific point of access to the site. Details are given below:
|Year Group||Arrival||Entry Point||Arrival Zone||Departure||Exit Point|
|Upper Third||7.30 am – 7.55 am||Side gate to the driveway||Millennium Building||3.55 pm||Side gate to the driveway|
|Lower Fourth||8 am – 8.20 am||Playground gate next to the field||F16 – F24||4.10 pm||Playground gate|
|Upper Fourth||7.30 am – 7.55 am||Playground gate next to the field||G corridor/M6 and M7||3.55 pm||Playground gate|
|Lower Fifth||7.30 am – 7.55 am||Reception||F2 – F15||3.55 pm||Reception|
|Upper Fifth||8 am – 8.20 am||The Spinney car park||S13 – S16, Library||4.10 pm||S13 – S16, Library|
|Sixth Form||8 am – 8.20 am||Reception||Sixth-Form Centre||4.10 pm||Sixth-Form Centre|
On arrival, if required, year groups should observe 2-metre social distancing and clear markings will be in place outside. Pupils should go directly to their form room. Staff will be on duty from 7.30 am, and it is important for health and safety considerations that pupils arrive after 7.30 am and not outside of the allotted time above. I should be grateful for your support on this point. If you have children in different year groups, please arrive during the later arrival time. For pupils in Upper Fifth there will be no access to The Spinney car park before 8 am. If you have booked to use the school’s minibus service, pupils should inform their class teacher at the end of the day so they can be dismissed at 3.55 pm.
As we are in a residential area, I ask that due consideration is given to our neighbours in terms of noise level, congestion, and observing social distancing. Finally, as we wish to minimise the opportunity for mixing between households, I ask that parents do not meet on Abbotswood Road, Hoadly Road, or The Spinney and depart promptly if dropping off.
Travel to and from School
Where possible, we encourage staff and pupils to walk, cycle, or scoot to school, and we will be increasing the cycle storage to accommodate any change in travel habits adopted during lockdown. If using public transport, pupils should follow current guidance on the use of face coverings and social distancing. Pupils should carry hand sanitiser with a minimum of 60% alcohol content and avoid touching surfaces as far as possible. On removing face coverings, pupils should use hand sanitiser or wash their hands.
If travelling by car, please do consider park and stride options to minimise any congestion outside the school. If car sharing with others from outside of your household, face coverings should be worn.
School Minibus Service
The school will operate a minibus service before and after school. The same driver will operate a route each day as far as possible and they will ensure that the inside of the vehicle and any surfaces are cleaned before each journey. There will be a supply of tissues and hand sanitiser in each vehicle and, weather permitting, the windows will be open to provide good ventilation. All Senior School pupils will be required to wear face coverings. The school will keep a detailed daily record of which pupils were on each minibus.
Lunch and Food
Under the current guidance, we are minimising the opportunity for contact between year groups; therefore, there will be no snacks available at break time. Pupils who wish to eat at break time should bring a snack from home. Please do remember we are a nut-free school, and I would ask that where snacks should create little or no rubbish.
Lunch service will be extended so all pupils in Upper Third to Upper Fifth so all pupils can be served a hot meal. In order to extend lunchtime, lesson timings will be changed for some year groups. For Upper Third and Lower Fourth, Period 4 will now become the start of lunchtime and Period 4 will move to the afternoon.
In-line with Government guidance, there will be no self-service items. The Madeleine Dring Hall will be zoned to maintain separation of bubbles and the zones will be accessed either by the door near reception or by the door near the field. Whilst waiting pupils will be required to observe social-distancing guidance. Each year group will be given an allocated time slot and zone; once food has been collected pupils will need to eat and clear their areas within a 20-minute slot. This will allow us to feed all pupils and clean zones between sittings.
Pupils need to wear uniform which can be washed before being worn in school again. The uniform blouse, skirt and jumper with regulation socks and shoes should be standard every day. Pupils need not wear the blazer.
On days when pupils have PE lessons, they should arrive in school in their full PE kit – wearing regulation leggings or tracksuit bottoms so that they are warm enough. The PE kit should be worn to and from school and washed that evening.
No PE bags should be brought to school. Pupils should wear full PE kit on the days that PE takes place.
Pupils will not have access to school lockers. All books and equipment should be organised and brought to school in a bag, then returned home that day. Part of the Induction at the beginning of term will focus on organisational skills for all pupils, but for Upper Third pupils in particular
Pupils will not be able to use mobile phone lockers at the beginning of term. There will be a ‘no see, no hear policy’ on all mobile phones throughout the day and we ask parents to support the School and underline the added risk of infection from mobile phones if they are constantly touched.
My Senior colleagues will be in contact in due course with more information on academic and co-curricular matters, as well as arrangements for the first day. Should you have any questions, please do contact the school on email@example.com and Reception will direct your query to the appropriate person.
Owing to the requirement to follow Government guidance and advice from GDST to minimise the possible risks, there will necessarily be an impact on the co-curricular programme that we are able to offer, but we shall do our best to provide as much as we can in the current circumstances. In order to allow new systems to bed in and give our pupils time to adjust to being back at school, we have made the decision not to run co-curricular activities for the first two weeks, but we hope to have a number of activities running throughout the rest of the term, which I have set out below.
Our timetabled enrichment programme will continue during period 6 on Wednesdays but in a modified format. Pupils will be placed in groups with peers from their own year group and rotate around a carousel of five courses over the year. The Upper Fifth will be given this time for supervised study and the sixth-form programme will run as normal.
Clubs and Societies
With the new lunchtime arrangements, year-group bubbles, hygiene requirements, limits on group sizes and social-distancing measures, our clubs and societies programme will be limited. Nonetheless, we know the value of offering clubs and societies and are working on what we can offer safely, especially before school for those pupils who are required to arrive early. We shall also run a range of competitions to provide enrichment for our girls.
With the refurbishment of the Recital Hall, Ellis Hall and Drama Studio over the summer, we want our girls to make the most of these fantastic facilities as soon as possible.
Music and drama activities will be limited because of ‘bubbles’, group size and social-distancing requirements, but we intend to offer a variety of opportunities to our girls. Events scheduled for this term, the sixth-form play, the Sadie Crawford Jazz Evening and Christmas carol service/concert, will go ahead in a modified format and will be made available to the school community by recordings or live-streaming.
Unfortunately, we are not able to have peripatetic staff on site, but we intend for individual lessons to take place remotely during the school day, and the music department and LAMDA staff will be in touch about this as well as specific risk assessments, such as for the playing of instruments.
Although GDST guidance means that there will not be any inter-school sporting activities this term, our PE department will still be organising training sessions for teams and competitive games between our own teams, fully implementing the guidance of each sport’s national governing body, paying particular attention to social-distancing, the cleaning of equipment and any amendments to the rules. The timetable will be finalised and made available via SOCS (https://sport.schs.gdst.net) prior to sports clubs commencing on 21st September.
Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
Congratulations to all the girls who have been awarded their Certificate of Achievement for completing their Skills, Physical and Volunteering sections. There is still time to complete these sections and we shall be signing girls up to the next level before October half-term. We are currently not able to run expeditions.
Partnerships and Community
Although we are not able to welcome external pupils on site, a number of our partnership activities will continue online, including our popular twilight GCSE Classical Civilisation and Additional Mathematics lessons. Our Lower Fifth pupils will be given the opportunity to sign up to the new GCSE Classical Civilisation cohort to study remotely alongside pupils from 4 local state schools.
We shall continue to support local charities as far as we are able, for example by writing notes to any elderly people who are self-isolating, which will be delivered to them along with meals.
There is also still time to take part in the ‘Strive for 25 Challenge’, which our prefects launched before the summer, and donate money to break down the digital divide. Please do donate here: www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/strivefor25
I appreciate your patience as we adapt to the ‘new normal’ and please do not hesitate to get in contact if I can be of further assistance.
Mr AJ Christie
Assistant Head Master (Co-Curricular & Partnerships)
We look forward to welcoming all year groups back to site for as full a school day as possible. However, the term will still feel different to previous years, most visibly for you as parents, in terms of not being able to come on-site and to meet and mingle in the normal way.
All the girls were able to return to school for at least some time during the Summer term and this gives us a distinct advantage in that everyone, pupils and parents alike, know to some extent the routines to expect. Whilst we have been able to reduce certain aspects of the measures set out previously, much will remain as it was.
Some key points to note are as follows:
We will continue to keep the girls apart as much as possible, but the two metre distancing rule between pupils and the 15 person maximum in a bubble, no longer apply. However, we do need to ensure that any mixing of the girls is still extremely limited.
Arrival and departure from school
This will continue to be staggered for all the year groups. Each year group will arrive and be dismissed during a time frame. For the Upper School girls (Year 3 to 6) this will be a ‘soft start’ so they enter via the designated entrance and then go straight to their form rooms rather than gathering on the playground. If you have more than one daughter then they should all arrive at the time designated for the oldest one and she will drop them at the sister’s waiting facility. At the end of the day, the reverse happens. I would ask you to be considerate to our neighbours in terms of the noise levels and congestion on the pavements adjoining the school. Please drop and go.
*Timings and locations may change
|DROP OFF||LOCATION||PICK UP||LOCATION|
|Year 1||8.45-9am (line up in zones on playground)||Black Gate||3.10-3.20pm||EYFS entrance|
|Year 2||8.45-9am (line up in zones on playground)||Black Gate||3.10-3.20pm||Black Gate|
|Year 3||8.30-8.45am (soft start)||Black Gate||3.20-3.30pm||EYFS entrance|
|Year 4||8.30-8.45am (soft start)||Black Gate||3.20-3.30pm||Black Gate|
|Year 5||8.15-8.30am (soft start)||Black Gate||3.30-3.40pm||EYFS entrance|
|Year 6||8.15-8.30am (soft start)||Black Gate||3.30-3.40pm||Black Gate|
Parking and travel to and from school
Please allow sufficient time to get to school. If driving, you may need to park considerably further away from school than you are used to and walk the final part. You must arrive during your allotted time or else risk being sent away if other year groups are arriving. In addition, the Streatham Hill low traffic neighbourhood scheme will mean that access to the school will only be possible from the A23 side. I stress that this will limit the approaches to the Prep.
Uniform, PE kit and overalls
This will be worn. All items must be clearly named. It is advisable to wear summer, not winter, uniform for the first half of term. On the days when your daughter has PE (timetable to be shared by form teachers before start of term), they can wear their PE kit all day so as to avoid unnecessary changing. Art overalls and smocks can be kept at school.
Stationery and class equipment
We are still limited in what the girls and staff can share, therefore girls must not bring any pencil cases or additional items to school.
Lunch and break times
Lunch will be provided for all apart from the part-time nursery girls who will be collected at noon. Both lunch and break sessions will be staggered and zoned.
There is to be a minibus service before and after school. Girls travelling on the minibuses will, on arrival and prior to departure, be put into their travelling groups.
Breakfast and After-School clubs
There will be wrap-around care provision from 7.30am to 5.30pm for a limited number of girls. The day has been shortened, owing to the additional demand and the need to provide extra staff. The girls will need to bring their own breakfast because our staff cannot handle the girls’ food. After school tea will be provided by our caterers. Both will be set up in a more structured way. The demand for this is likely to be high and we cannot have girls who are not booked in.
There will be a very limited programme of clubs, if any. Those run by external providers will not be reinstated until it is deemed safe to do so.
There are likely to be very few, if any, on or off-site fixtures involving other schools until it is deemed safe to do so.
These will not proceed until it is deemed safe to do so.
I am delighted to share that we, in as much as we are able to, will be teaching our normal curricular programme in the normal fashion. However, there are still limitations as to the proximity and exposure between staff and pupils, as well as our ability to be able to handle exercise books and materials. Digitally provided lessons will enhance the offer. Therefore, some elements of Century mathematics, Seesaw, Tapestry and TEAMS will remain.
Subject specialist teaching
Our programme of specialist teaching, with adaptations in place, will continue as normal.
In line with the feedback from our survey in March, homework diaries will no longer be used and all homework tasks will be shared through Firefly. All the girls will be set a mixture of tasks that can be completed digitally or on paper.
I have set out a few of the measures we are planning. I have also updated the ‘Your Questions Answered’ document that we have had available on our website throughout the last term. All of this information should be read in conjunction with the presentations that have been sent to you by form teachers already.
There will be ‘live’ Curriculum Talks with the form teachers at the start of term, as well as a ‘Meet the Head’ session for new parents. More details on these ‘live’ events will follow.
In the meantime, do enjoy the remainder of your holiday and we look forward to welcoming the girls on the 7th September.
With best wishes,
Head of Prep
‘Your questions answered’
Health and safety:
Q.What should I do if I want to speak to a member of staff?
A. Please avoid face-to-face contact with staff. We need to keep entrances and exits clear and vacate swiftly, and maintain social distance as much as we can. If you have any queries, please email as you have been during the GHL period.
8 What about Year 3 to 6 girls and iPads?A. It is essential the girls bring in their devices and that each girl brings her own set of head or ear-phones. School head-phones will not be in use. iPads and head-phones should be cleaned every evening. The girls will have to fully charge their iPads at home in readiness for the school day. New iPads will be issued to the Year 4 girls in the first week and Year 3 will be loaned older individual devices.
Social and academic: