Please see below, the letter sent to all parents/carers on 13/07/20:
Dear Parents and Carers
I would like to begin this letter by firstly welcoming our new parents/carers to the Hilbre community. We are all very much looking forward to welcoming your children to Hilbre as they begin the next stage of their education in September. To all parents and carers, I would like to say a massive thank you for everything you have done this year to support us as we have navigated our way through this pandemic. Your support has been greatly appreciated and the many positive emails we have received have really helped as we faced each new challenge.
This letter is the final one I will be writing this term and I, therefore, apologise in advance for its length. I want to outline to you the details of our plans for September and the arrangements we will have in place and planned in light of current guidance, which is, of course, subject to change. It is vitally important that you take the time to go through the arrangements with your child/ward.
With all students returning to Hilbre in September, the issue of safely transporting them to and from school, adhering to Government guidance is a crucial one. Hilbre is working closely with local providers to ensure we will have a bespoke transport plan ensuring compliance and capacity on your child/ward(s) return in September. With this in mind, parents/carers will receive correspondence on 14th July 2020 outlining the school’s initial response to the Department of Transport guidelines. Parents/carers will also receive a short transport survey request. Following the return of this survey, Hilbre will then implement a more detailed plan based upon our own specific transport needs. A detailed and definitive plan of action will be sent to all parent/carers as soon as it is agreed with local providers. Mr David White, Assistant Headteacher, is coordinating the transport arrangements for the school.
In Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9), students will be taught in half year bubbles. Students will remain in half year group bubbles throughout the day. At social times, they will be able to see each other as a whole year group, for a limited period of time. Year 10 and Year 11 are in full year bubbles to ensure they can access the full curriculum. The whole of the Sixth Form will be classed as a single bubble; they will still have Directed Study periods and Home Based Study sessions. We will expect all students to follow hygiene guidelines and this will include washing hands/using hand sanitiser and following ‘catch it, kill it, bin it’ advice. To minimise mixing of students in different bubbles, they will remain in the same classroom as much as possible. Staff will move around the school to facilitate this approach. For most practical subjects, they will be taught in specialist rooms and most PE lessons will be outside.
Students should not share resources; to help us we have created an essential resource list that will help to keep them safe and will send this out as a separate document. We are asking for parental support in checking that all students bring these into school on a daily basis. Students who have PE on a particular day will be expected to come into school in their PE kit, so we can avoid using the changing rooms. We have introduced a PE jacket and leggings in recognition that most lessons will be taught outside. Students will be allowed to wear trainers on these days. We will not be having lockers, as we cannot allow students to be on the corridors unless they are moving to a classroom.
On arrival to school in the mornings, students in Years 7, 8 and 9 will enter the building through the Pupil Entrance (near room G5). Students in Years 10 and 11 will be using the entrance at the bottom of the stairs by the maths corridor. Sixth Form students should use the side entrance by the music and art block. All students should go straight to their classroom where their teacher for Period 1 will be waiting. Staff will be in their timetabled room for Period 1 at 8:35am. We have no provision on site for students to be in school before this time, unless they have been invited to specific intervention classes.
The medical room has been relocated and is now at the far end of the PE corridor to allow more space and to ensure that anyone who is unwell can be looked after appropriately. Students who are unwell will be dismissed from this area and we will guide parents/carers on the phone as to where to pick their child/ward up from.
We have not scheduled any Parents’ Evenings or school based events until after Christmas, and we envisage communication will be done electronically, on the phone or virtually.
We cannot have visitors on the school site, but understand that there are some exceptional circumstances where different arrangements will need to be applied. These exceptional cases must be made with the agreement of a member of my Senior Leadership Team. I am afraid we won’t be able to meet with any visitor without prior appointment. If students forget any equipment, kit or lunches please don’t bring them into school. We will make sure they don’t miss out but your support in checking they have what they need the night before will be a massive help.
The following tables show the arrangements and timings for the school day. Each year group has a different timetable to allow us to stagger brunch and lunch arrangements. This obviously presents a level of complexity we wish wasn’t required but for student and staff safety, it is of paramount importance.
Students will be expected to wear full school uniform apart from on the days they have PE. Mrs Jane Whisker, Deputy Headteacher, is responsible for all aspects of the school timetable and the curriculum at Hilbre.
Food service in September:
Brunch and lunch will be staggered to allow year groups to access the facilities safely. Brunch will run from 9:45am to 11am and lunch between 1:05pm and 2pm. Food options will be limited to toast/bagels/fruit, etc. for brunch and ‘grab bags’ of hot food, such as paninis, toasties, wraps, pizza, burgers. There will also be a selection of freshly made sandwiches available, along with cookies and drinks; all food will be pre-wrapped. There will be a total of three service areas with tills (main servery, bistro and a new area at the far end of the dining room) which will reduce queues and waiting times and students will be socially distanced within their ‘bubbles’. More barriers are being installed to create a one-way system in and out of the service areas. Students must have money on their cards as cash cannot be accepted at the tills. At lunchtime, form rooms will be used for those students with packed lunches. Only students wanting hot food from the servery will be allowed in the hall and other dining areas. Staff will supervise the form rooms and ensure they are kept tidy. Tables will be cleaned after each break and lunch service for each group. Once students have eaten, they will be directed to move outside so the catering facilities can be prepared for the next sitting. We are having additional water taps installed around the school and students must bring in their own water bottle. In all food areas there will be additional hygiene facilities set up, eg. hand sanitiser dispensers and lidded bins. Mrs Jane Doyle, School Business Manager, has oversight of the school’s cleaning and catering operations.
Attendance and Behaviour:
From September, attendance at school returns to being compulsory for all students. It is even more important than ever for students to attend school every day as they have clearly missed so much normal education. We wish to support parents/carers and students in coming back to school, but I need to emphasise returning to compulsory education is non-negotiable. Government guidance outlines that of the 1st August, people will no longer be expected to shield. The Government has also said that parents/carers will be fined if students do not attend school. At Hilbre we will work with parents/carers to overcome issues before this measure is considered.
It is extremely important that students start well and begin to catch up in order to lessen the impact of the time missed due to coronavirus. Lessons will be purposeful and well planned. Poor behaviour must not be allowed to impact on the progress of other students. All staff at Hilbre will deal with incidents of poor behaviour in a consistent and emotionally literate way. Students will be expected to stay in their bubbles and students must not risk the safety of others. We understand that students may find it difficult returning to school and seek to support them as best we can. Mr Steve Rooney, Assistant Headteacher, has oversight on student attendance and behaviour, supported by a very experienced pastoral team.
The latest guidance for families is in line with the recommendations from the RCPCH and is as follows:
- A small group of children who receive specialist care in hospitals may need to carry on shielding following a consultation with their doctor. This includes those receiving cancer care or those at risk of severe infection due to an immunodeficiency.
- Most other children who were initially identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable will no longer be considered at highest risk. In particular, children and young people who are cared for just by their GP are very unlikely to need to continue to shield in the long term. This includes children with conditions such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy and kidney disease.
Students with S.E.N.D.
I wanted to give you a short update regarding arrangements for students with special educational needs and disabilities. The requirement to meet the conditions set out in EHCPs comes back into place from September. Students in mainstream will be supported by a combination of year group Teaching Assistants, technological support and interventions, which will be delivered pre-school, during Active Form Time and in an after-school, ‘period 6’ slot. Nurture Group students will attend mainstream lessons with their year group and will attend interventions in the Nurture Group in year group bubbles. When students do not have mainstream lessons and cannot access the Nurture Group (because other year groups are accessing at that time), they will be accommodated elsewhere in school and will work on tasks that relate to interventions, follow-on work for lessons and homework. Students will be supported at these times by Teaching Assistants. Mr Andy Evans, SENDCo, will arrange for further information to be sent home to parents/carers whose children access either the Nurture Group or the Resource Provision Base.
The following section of my letter outlines specific information for our Sixth Form students. Plans for the students returning to Hilbre’s Sixth Form will ensure that there will be no reduction in lessons, and all students will continue to attend Directed Study and Active Form Time. In order to facilitate this, we have ensured our risk assessments and routine hygiene protocols have been strengthened with additional measures in place for September. All Sixth Form students will be contained within a ‘bubble’, which will enable full use of the Sixth Form Centre in addition to their usual lessons in the main school. Directed Study sessions for Year 13 will take place in S4, whilst the Common Room will be converted into a workspace for Year 12 Directed Study sessions. In each study area, there will be limited use of ICT equipment, so we will require students to have their own materials and equipment to study with. There will be no communal, non-timetabled activities such as the use of the Common Room, vending and coffee machines. We will be providing a dedicated catering area for the students who wish to eat brunch or lunch in school. The Sixth Form Centre will have clear instructions for student movement with a ‘one in, one out’ policy and must maximise social distancing, where possible. We are reviewing our home based study policy and it may be that students are directed to work from home if they do not have a timetabled lesson. Access to our Careers Adviser, Fran Trought and Steve Davies our UCAS Adviser, will continue via email or by appointment. For all enquiries about Post-16 Education, please contact Mr Paul Hellier, Assistant Headteacher.
Remote learning (should it be necessary):
We have been pleased with the way our remote learning has gone since lockdown began back in March, with tasks set via Show My Homework and an increasing number of remote lessons and interactive sessions taking place. Although we sincerely hope it will not be the case, it is possible there may be further requirements for some of us to isolate in the next academic year. I want to assure you all, we are ready for this eventuality. Over the summer holiday we are improving our school network and ensuring we will have sufficient devices available for all teachers to teach and all students to learn from any location. We are ensuring we use the best remote learning platform for our needs (Microsoft Teams) which provides a virtual school environment with safe and secure virtual classrooms where students can share their work with teachers. All subjects are working on the provision of a remote learning curriculum. This will mirror the in-school curriculum and provide high quality resources from which our students can learn and have their work assessed. We will also ensure our school website makes it clear to students what to do if they need to isolate and how to access the appropriate resources. Mr Paul Lloyd, Deputy Headteacher, is overseeing our ‘virtual school’ provision.
We are expecting all staff to return to work in September. There is very clear guidance about how staff are to operate in the classroom environment, for example teaching staff should remain 2 metres away from the class, where possible, or at least 1 metre away, but not in the same spot for more than 15 minutes. It will take some time for us all to get used to these new arrangements. We have, during the lockdown period, been busy recruiting staff to fill vacancies left by colleagues who are leaving us at the end of this term and I am delighted to say that we have a full complement of staff in place for the new term. I would like to say thank you to the colleagues who are leaving us and wish them well as they move on to new adventures. Mrs Emma Harrison, Assistant Headteacher, has coordinated the recruitment process this year; this has included inducting all of our new staff ‘via Zoom’ so they are fully prepared for September.
My message to the students:
One thing became abundantly clear during the lockdown period: Hilbre is just not the same without you all. The school has felt deserted, the atmosphere dull and the classrooms spookily quiet. I know I speak on behalf of all the teachers and support staff when I say ‘we cannot wait to get you all back to school’. There will be many different routines and systems to get used to but I’m sure you will all take these in your stride, and help the staff to make Hilbre even better than it was before the virus. I want to make a special mention to our Year 11, Year 13 and Year 14 students who have had to deal with the disappointment of not sitting their final exams. We are all incredibly proud of your achievements. I would also like to welcome our new Year 7 students, who I know will not have been able to complete Year 6 as they would have hoped. We all very much look forward to seeing you in September as you begin your Hilbre adventure.
Please can I say thank you to our amazing parents/carers who have supported us so well through the pandemic. You really have been amazing. The Governors of Hilbre have supported the school throughout and have approved our plans for the new term. Without question, none of this would have been possible without the dedication of the staff team at Hilbre. Their professionalism, commitment and determination have helped steer our school over the past few months. I couldn’t be prouder of their efforts and all they have done to support the children.
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy, peaceful and, most importantly, safe summer holiday. Details of A Level results day and GCSE results day will be sent out in a separate letter (as this one is long enough!).
Please see below, the letter sent to all parents/carers on 18/06/20:
I am pleased to be able to give you some further updates on our reopening of school and the progress of our virtual learning.
I wish to begin by discussing this week’s Zoom lessons that we have been rolling-out with students in Year 10. Virtual teaching via a software application is a new initiative and a different way of delivering teaching and learning. The vast majority of our students have engaged with the process in the excellent manner we expect from our Hilbre students. As we continue with our virtual teaching, there are some ‘must dos’ that students must stick to and we need parents/carers to reinforce. It is imperative students sign-on to the Zoom lessons as themselves and are fully compliant with teacher expectations. It is also imperative that the students have their cameras on for the lessons. Your support in ensuring students sign-on appropriately at the correct time will be most helpful.
This week face-to-face contact with Year 10 and Year 12 students has commenced via Zoom.
Next week (22nd onwards), beginning Monday 22nd June, we will continue the Zoom face-to-face sessions with our Year 10 students.
Also next week, Year 12 students will be taught in school throughout the week and we look forward to seeing them back on our school site. We have been careful to lay out clear guidelines for students as they return to school.
In the week beginning 29th June, we will welcome our Year 10 students back to school. Year 12 will also be taught in school that week.
For their taught sessions in school, Year 10 and Year 12 students will not be following their normal timetables and will be sent the timetable for their school sessions by email.
Moving forward with virtual learning, we are also planning to commence Zoom sessions with our students in other year groups; prior to the commencement of these lessons, further details will be shared with you.
As we head towards the end of this unique term, we will be sending you a School Report. The report will tell you the level of your child’s engagement with learning and contain a written comment from your child’s Form Teacher. We believe these to be the two key components upon which we should report, following such a long period of lockdown and without the opportunity to assess our students in school. Formal assessments will recommence in the Autumn Term. Under normal circumstances, this very week would be our Exams Week!
To close, I return to some key information for students in Years 10 and 12 for their return to school; information initially sent to you in early June:
- School will be open to students in Years 10 and 12 between the hours of 9am to 12.10pm. Students' school start time will be staggered.
- Each student will be advised of their start time and their timetable for the days they are in school. Students will complete 2 ½ hours of study (including their break) and all students will be leaving the school site by 12.10pm at the latest.
- Students will be able to have breaks between lessons; they will need to stay in the classroom for those breaks. Time for breaks will be directed by the staff member in the designated room.
- Students will need to bring their own equipment.
- Students will need to bring a snack and a bottle of water. There will not be any school provision of brunch and students will be dismissed from school before lunchtime.
- Students must not bring exercise books to school.
- We encourage all students to either walk or cycle to school. If this is not possible, we recommend students receive a lift to school and, if so, they must be dropped-off outside the school gates.
- Students will not need to wear school uniform but should dress sensibly.
As always, I wish you well and thank you for all your support in keeping our young people safe and educated.
Further to the email I sent to all parents/carers last week, outlining our plans to reopen as a school with students in Years 10 and 12 on-site from 15th June, I now write to you with an update, beginning with this joint statement on behalf of all Secondary Headteachers on Wirral:
On Tuesday 9th June 2020, Wirral’s Secondary Headteachers met as a group with Public Heath Wirral and were reassured to hear from them that there are no public health reasons why we should not move forward with our plans for wider educational participation from the 15th June. Public Health Wirral are reassured by the detailed risk assessments that all the Schools and the College have in place and are confident that these ensure that we are offering safe environments for students and staff.
All Secondary Schools and the Sixth Form College have been working together through this difficult time and will continue to do so as we move forward. There is a recognition that what we do over the coming weeks will vary as we adapt our plans to open to a wider body of students dependent on our individual circumstances.
This common but necessarily varied approach is fully supported by the Wirral Local Authority.
As a consequence of the meeting outlined above, at Hilbre we will begin by offering face-to-face contact with students in Years 10 and 12, from Monday the 15th June. The meetings will be held on Zoom with students still at home and using appropriate technology; they will not be on the school site. Next week, the school site will only be open to students who are vulnerable or the children of key workers.
Later this week, if your child (or children) is in Year 10 or Year 12, they will be contacted to inform them of when they will be having their Zoom sessions. For students in Year 10, these will be with their English, Maths, Science and Form Tutors over the week. Students in Year 12 will have the opportunity to meet up with their Form Tutors. Students will be contacted through Show My Homework or emailed to their school email address with details of logins and passwords. Here is an overview of the teaching schedule, next week:
Y10 Form Teachers
Y12 Form Teachers
Instructions about how to use Zoom safely and responsibly will also be sent out.
As we look to use Zoom technology to deliver face-to-face contact with our students, we will also be implementing Zoom sessions with some individual students and possibly their parents/carers over the coming weeks. We foresee Zoom communication as a key component of our learning and support processes going forward.
As each week progresses, adapting and changing provision is almost certainly inevitable.
I hope you understand that the decisions taken, following thorough consultation, are designed to aid all in our community to return to normal as quickly as possible.
As we prepare for students in Years 10 and 12 to return to school, we have produced a Hilbre Reopening after Lockdown Risk Assessment, which is available for you to view by clicking HERE.
Below is the letter sent to our parents/carers from our Headteacher, Mr Bellamy on 3rd June 2020.
I write to you with important information about our school’s continuing actions with regard to Covid-19. There is particularly important information for parents/carers of students in Years 10 and 12 about the phased return to school of students in those years.
Students in Years 7, 8, and 9:
For our students in Years 7, 8 and 9, our actions continue as they have been, since March 20th, when we went into lockdown. We have been in regular and consistent communication with our students, parents/carers and governors about the actions we have been taking. Feedback we have received indicates our setting of work on Show My Homework is successful in maintaining a good, consistent learning platform for our students. In fact, we are now introducing one catch-up-day per week in which no new work is set for students on the designated day, so that they can cope with the workload and not be too overwhelmed.
GCSEs and A-Levels: Years 11 and 13:
For our students in Years 11 and 13, this is the time when in ‘normal circumstances’ we would be in the midst of our GCSEs and A-Levels. For weeks now, we have been carefully determining the teacher assessment grades for our students and are in the process of submitting these to the examination boards. We believe we have been fair and considerate with our teacher-assessed grades and wish all of our Year 11 and Year 13 students the very best with their results. We look forward to seeing our Year 11 and Year 13 students in August on their results days, when they will be able to see and celebrate their successes.
Phased return to school: Years 10 and 12:
From June 15th, we are introducing a phased return for our students in Year 10 and Year 12. The Department for Education clearly states that ‘to limit the risk of increasing the rate of transmission, scientific advice indicates we need to take a phased approach that limits both the number of children and young people in school and how much they mix with other pupils and staff.’ With this guidance at the forefront of our planning, the following information details the approach we are taking, as we prepare for the return of our students in these years.
Accompanying this communication, you are receiving a PDF document ‘Risk Assessment Document for School Reopening after Lockdown’ A copy of this Risk Assessment can also be accessed on our school website. The Risk Assessment Document has been carefully considered so that we can reopen for the designated year groups with the maximum confidence that opening poses the minimum risk of infection. The Document has been shared with our Governors, our staff, school unions, the Local Authority and you, our parents and carers, so that all in, or attached to, our Hilbre High School community are fully aware of the actions we are undertaking. I ask that all parents/carers of students planning to return to school carefully read through the Risk Assessment Document.
The Department for Education has clearly stated that, ‘From 15 June, secondary schools are able to offer face-to-face support for a quarter of the year 10 and 12 cohort at any one time.’
We have taken the decision that, to ensure the maximum safety for our students, we will alternate our opening for students. We will be open for Year 10 students and some Year 12 students on the week beginning 15th June and then open for Year 12 students only, on the week beginning 22nd June (but not open for Year 10 students that week). This system will continue alternating in this way until the end of term.
We will only have a maximum of a quarter of a year group at any given time. This means for students in Year 10, they will be in for one day in the week, which will be decided by a student’s English class; for Year 12 students may be in for more than one day in the week, which will be decided by subjects taken in a particular Option Block. Further information about this will be shared closer to opening.
School will be open to students in Years 10 and 12 between the hours of 9am to 12noon. Students' school start time will be staggered and begin at either 9am, 9.15am or 9.30am. Each student will be advised of their start time and their timetable for the days they are in school. Students will complete 2 ½ hours of study (including their break) and all students will be leaving the school site by 12noon at the latest.
(We will continue providing full-time provision for vulnerable pupils in all year groups and continue providing full-time provision for children of critical workers in all year groups.)
Students will be taught in just one classroom with a group of no more than 10 students. Social distancing will be enforced - at least two metres apart per student. Students will not be able to move rooms.
Each selected classroom will have a sink for washing hands and an exterior door, so students will be able to line-up (socially distanced) outside the room before entering and exiting. Each classroom will have its own designated male and female toilets.
The DfE states, ‘It is up to schools to decide how they use face-to-face support in the best interests of their pupils.’ We intend to focus our taught content on the core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science. We will also provide some Personal Social and Health Education. Critically, we know how important face-to-face time in school will be to our students in ensuring they are on-track for work and preparation for the examinations they will be taking next year.
Students will be able to have breaks between lessons; they will need to stay in the classroom for those breaks. Time for breaks will be directed by the staff member in the designated room.
Students will need to bring their own equipment.
Students will need to bring a snack and a bottle of water. There will not be any school provision of brunch and students will be dismissed from school before lunchtime.
Students must not bring exercise books to school; the work they complete will be done on paper with the expectation that they will complete follow-up exercises at home and submit them digitally as per the current practice we have in school lockdown. (The DfE states that whilst we provide some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of Year 10 and Year 12 students, there is ‘a clear expectation that remote education will continue to be the predominant form of education delivery for these year groups and that this should be of high quality.’)
We aim for the measures we are taking to create a safer environment, where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced.
In addition to the above, we will ensure:
Minimised contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring pupils or staff who have coronavirus symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school
Hands are cleaned more often than usual - pupils and staff will be encouraged to regularly wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with running water and soap and dry them thoroughly, or use alcohol hand rub or sanitiser ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered
Good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach
Cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, using standard products such as detergents and bleach
No pupils to be allowed on the school grounds unless for agreed contact time or attendance as above
No external visitors to be allowed on-site, except for essential work or deliveries
To minimise risk to our students on their journey to and from school, we encourage all students to either walk or cycle to school. If this is not possible, we recommend students receive a lift to school and, if so, they must be dropped-off outside the school gates. The DfE states, ‘schools should ensure that the use of public transport to travel to and from school is minimised as far as possible.’ We fully support this statement and ask that students do not take public transport. We do accept that there may be some students who have no choice and we are currently in discussion with Mersey Travel over the service they offer.
With the extreme importance of the measures we are taking to be successful and so we protect the health and safety of all on our school site, it is essential that we follow the procedures and expectations carefully. Although I do not anticipate it happening, I must inform you that if I have a student on site who fails to comply with my expectations around maintaining social distancing, following instruction and protecting the health and safety of those in my school community, the student will not be able to attend face-to-face sessions in school and will be ask to return to remote learning from home.
Students will not need to wear school uniform, as the recommendation is that we all wash our clothes the evening after we have spent a day in school. Students will be expected to attend school in their own clothes, which will need to be appropriate for our school learning environment.
To help us plan further and ensure we have the best provision for our students returning to school, at the end of this paragraph is a link to a very basic questionnaire; a yes/no survey to state whether your child will or will not be attending school when we reopen. Please will all parents/carers of students in Year 10 and Year 12 take the time to complete the survey (the deadline for completion is Monday 8th June), so that we can make further plans.
Please click this link to complete the survey. It takes just a few seconds to complete.
Return to School Survey (link inactive on the website)
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I fully appreciate there is much to take on here. For parents/carers of students in Years 10 and 12, I believe that outlining for you the measures we are putting in place and the expectations we have, ensures you will be able to send your child back to Hilbre with the full confidence we are doing all we can to protect the health and safety of our young people.
Well-Being Letter sent to students in March 2020:
Please click here or below to see a copy of the Wellbeing Letter sent to all students at the beginning of the lockdown period.