14th July 2021

New Academic Year: Key Information for Parents/Carers and Students

Dear Parent/Carer,

I would like to begin by thanking parents and carers for their incredible support across the course of the past academic year. The flexibility and resilience shown by our young people has been quite remarkable; they are a credit to their families.

I now write to confirm details on the plans for the return to school in September and outline some of the key changes for next year. Many of the details below are indicative of a return to our normal procedures. Of course, the below comes with the usual caution around any changes in government guidance that may at short notice impact on our plans.

The School Day

From September we will return to our normal start and end times. School will start at 8:40am each day and end at 3:10pm with the exception of Friday when school ends at 2:30pm.

Please see below important details of the September start date for each year group

Year Group

September Start Date

7

Monday 6th September

8

Wednesday 8th September

9

Wednesday 8th September

10

Wednesday 8th September

11

Monday 6th September

12

Tuesday 7th September (induction)

13

Monday 6th September

 

Mass asymptomatic testing consent

The government have requested that all secondary school students should receive two on-site lateral flow device tests, 3 to 5 days apart, on their return in the autumn term.

Students should then continue to test twice weekly at home until the end of September, when this will be reviewed.

We will circulate further details on mass asymptomatic testing in another communication.

Summer testing

Over the summer, students should continue to test regularly if they are attending settings that remain open, such as summer schools and out of school activities based in school settings.

For students not attending such settings, regular testing will pause over the summer. However, testing will still be widely available over the summer and kits can be collected either from your local pharmacy or ordered online.

Contact tracing changes

From July 19th if a student tests positive for COVID-19 the identification of close contacts will be done via NHS Test and Trace and not the school.

Please continue to report any COVID-related absence to the school, including if your son/daughter tests positive for COVID-19, in the usual way.

Isolation rules

From September, students will no longer need to vigilantly remain in year group bubbles.

From 16 August 2021, children under the age of 18 years old will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case.

Instead, children will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed they have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a PCR test. We would encourage all individuals to take a PCR test if advised to do so.

18-year-olds will be treated in the same way as children until 4 months after their 18th birthday, to allow them the opportunity to get fully vaccinated. At which point, they will be subject to the same rules as adults and so if they choose not to get vaccinated, they will need to self-isolate if identified as a close contact.

Remote Education

Where necessary, we will continue to provide remote education in the event a student tests positive for COVID-19 and needs to isolate or a student is awaiting the outcome of a PCR test.

Uniform/Dress Code

Students are required to attend in full school uniform. There will no longer be the requirement for students to wear their PE kit to school on days they have PE.

 

In the event of cold weather students can wear a royal blue (year 7-10) or maroon (year 11) v-neck jumper/sweatshirt over their shirt and under their blazer.  Under no circumstances should hoodies or other non-uniform items be worn under blazers.

 

The dress code for students in Year 12 and 13 remains unchanged.  If your son/daughter will be enrolling with the Sixth Form in August a parent/carer handbook detailing the dress code will be available on the school website shortly.

If during their extended time away from school your son/daughter has dyed their hair, chosen to have additional piercings or change their appearance in any way that is not compliant with the expectations of the school please ensure their appearance is restored and compliant in time for the start of term. 

 

Full details of uniform and appearance can be found here-

 

https://www.bishopchalloner.org.uk/catholic-college/about/uniform

 

Face Coverings

In line with government guidelines the wearing of a face covering or mask is no longer mandatory within a school setting.

Face coverings are also no longer recommended to be worn on dedicated transport to school or college and are no longer legally required on public transport.

Appropriate face coverings can continue to be worn in school and travelling to school at the students’ discretion.

Attendance and Punctuality

Students must attend school from September.  Please follow the normal procedure of reporting absence if your son/daughter is unable to attend school.  Students must attend school on time and sanctions in line with school policy will apply if students are late to school.  Students should not attend school if they display any symptoms of COVID-19 and are advised to seek a PCR test.

Hygiene Routines

Frequent and thorough hand cleaning should now be regular practice. Students should continue to ensure that they clean their hands regularly. This can be done with soap and water or hand sanitiser.

The ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach continues to be very important.

Mobile hand sanitiser stations and wall mounted sanitiser dispensers will continue to be available throughout the school.

All classrooms are equipped with antibacterial wipes, hand sanitiser and tissues. These will be replenished on a daily basis or as and when required.

Break and Lunch and Catering Arrangements

This year we have introduced a spilt break time. This has greatly improved the experience for our students so we intend to continue with our split break next year (times below will be slightly adjusted on a Friday).

Year Group

Break

Lunch

Year 7, 8, 9X band and 12

09:50-10:10

12:10-12:50

Year 9YW band, 10, 11 and 13

10:50-11:10

13:10-13:50

 

The school Canteen will be open and students will be able to purchase food and drink before school and at their designated break and lunch times if required.  All purchases will be made via Schoolcomms.

Pastoral and Well-Being Support

We urge parents/carers and students to inform us if you or you or your son/daughter has any concerns about returning/starting school. The email addresses of key staff are on our school website and there are some excellent resources and signposting information on the Safeguarding and Well-being page which can be found here

https://www.bishopchalloner.org.uk/catholic-college/about/safeguarding/safeguarding-and-well-being.  

There is some very useful information and resources that can be found on the Forward Thinking Birmingham website here- https://www.forwardthinkingbirmingham.org.uk/

 

Provisional term dates

Autumn Term 2021

Term Starts: See above

Half Term: Monday 25 October 2021 to Friday 29 October 2021

Term Ends: Friday 17 December 2021

 

Spring Term 2022

Term Starts: Tuesday 4 January 2022

Half Term: Monday 21 February 2022 to Friday 25 February 2022

Term Ends: Friday 8 April 2022

 

Summer Term 2022

Term Starts: Monday 25 April 2022

Half Term: Monday 30 May 2022 to Friday 3 June 2022

Term Ends: Thursday 21 July 2022

In the meantime, we wish all of our families a peaceful and restful summer break and we very much look forward to seeing all our young people in September.

Yours sincerely,

Dr J Coughlan
Principal