FAQs – Hollygirt in September 2020

General

Yes, we have plans in place for children of all year groups to be back in school full time from Wednesday 2nd September.

Admissions

Yes. We welcome new applicants to all year groups. The school office is currently closed but will re-open on Monday 17th August. Our Admissions Manager, Mrs Andrea Bamber, will be back in school on Wednesday 19th August. From this date, we will be able to offer personal tours of the school. If you are wishing to have a discussion with our Admissions Manager to arrange a meeting or book a tour, please email andreabamber@hollygirt.notts.sch.uk. In the meantime, take a look at our website and our social media pages which will give you a lot of the information you may require in how the school runs and what it feels like.

We currently have spaces available through school. We do not assess children prior to admission, though we ask for a current school report and we discuss with parents if their child has any issues or diagnoses of which we need to be aware.

Whilst it is usual practice to invite all prospective children in for a day to see if they are happy in our environment, it is a little tricky to have children joining the ‘bubbles’. For children wishing to join in September, we are requesting that a commitment is made to the school without a taster. We will add a supplementary clause in our formal letter of acceptance that the child can be withdrawn at the end of the term, without the notice period being served if there are any concerns. Alternatively we could consider the first day of term as a taster, and not complete the formal paperwork and produce the invoice until day 2. However, we believe the insecurity for children in not knowing if they are starting their new school at the beginning of term can be quite stressful for them.

We integrate children successfully into school whenever they start and mid-term starters are possible. It is always better to start at the very beginning of the term, when all the children are re-forming friendships and getting used to being back in class.

It is possible to join the school in Year 10. This is subject to our options pattern fitting their requirements. Normally, a September start is required for new Year 10 pupils. It is very difficult for a pupil to join in at Year 11 and would be subject to individual circumstances and much scrutiny. This is because the subjects available, examination boards studied and the material covered are unlikely to wholly match and it is very challenging to catch up especially in subjects which have coursework requirements. This is not recommended.

We will revert to our normal practice as soon as we are permitted to do so. Enquiries are welcome for 2021 and beyond, but it is highly unlikely that we will be able to run our usual Stay and Play sessions for Early Years or do taster days in the Autumn Term 2020. We have an Open Day on Saturday 19th September which you can book your attendance at now here. It is likely that this Open Day will be virtual. 

Classes, Bubbles and Specialist Lessons

Being such a small school and to ensure that all can have their outside playtime and all be in full time, we are running 4 bubbles: EYFS and KS1; KS2; KS3; and KS4. These bubbles will not come into contact with each other. However most of the school day the children will be in their discrete classroom space in their small classes and with their teacher. 

 

The teachers will move around the 2 senior bubbles. The teachers will socially distance themselves from the pupils (where practicably possible).

We are working on plans to ensure that the specialist facilities are available for all classes requiring them. There are enhanced cleaning requirements for spaces and resources if there is transition between ‘bubbles.’ 

At the time of writing we are unsure about the specialist facilities at the University being open for our usage and are also mindful of the increased risk of using bus transport. In the first instance we will be looking for a more local provision to meet our need. There will be a good provision but it will not be the same as previously. Any adaptations made will be temporary and until such a point as we are safe to revert to normal practice. This is currently work in progress.

Hygiene Control

There is a full risk assessmentfollowing all the government, PHE and HSE guidelines. We are updating the Covid-19 handbook to parents (and indeed to staff) in readiness for the start of term. Children will have the new ways of working outlined to them on the first days of term. Parents will receive a handbook in late August, outlining the detail of our risk mitigation and our requirements. This will also be published on the website.

We are installing sensor controlled hand sanitisers unit on the entrance to each building for children to use on entering and leaving school. Throughout the day there will be a requirement for frequent handwashing. The children will be taught about the reasons for clean hands and of the increased risk of touch points. Each classroom will have its own cleaning kit for the teacher to use for shared resources and frequently touched surfaces.

Sadly no-one can make such guarantees. We will follow the guidance and mitigate all risks as far is reasonably possible.

Health Guidance

There will be further detailed guidance on this section in the parent handbook to be updated and issued to parents at the end of August. The guidance is subject to change, in line with government and Public Health England advice.

Children with any of the symptoms of Covid-19 must not attend school and should self-isolate and a test should be sought to confirm if they have the virus. If they are positive they must remain off school for 14 days. Similarly if a member of the household tests positive, the children must also self-isolate.

Hollygirt will isolate the child in a designated space, and he/she will be looked after by a member of staff, wearing PPE, until they can be collected from school.

Only on the receipt of a positive test result will the school ‘bubble’ be sent home. School will undergo a deep clean of all affected areas and the resources therein. Then it will reopen for the unaffected children.

This would only happen in the event of a series of positive results in each bubble or local area lockdown restrictions as imposed by the government.

Having learnt much from the past few months, we would resume our online curriculum with online lessons to provide as close a timetable as possible for home learning.

Trips, Visits and Holidays

Trips will be local where possible. We will be cautious of any requiring the use of transport. Each will be separately risk assessed, as is current practice. No school ‘holidays’ will be booked until the situation eases. 

Sporting Fixtures

There are unlikely to be inter-school fixtures for a month or two from September or until the guidance changes to permit such.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Our extra-curricular programme will resume where possible and in-line with guidance, a few weeks after the beginning of term.

Uniform

Yes, as long as stock is available at the supplier (Schoolwear Solutions). Please see the website for further details of uniform lists and supplier contacts.

Our Friends’ of Hollygirt committee run second hand sales. Currently we are taking orders via Mrs Bamber, andreabamber@hollygirt.notts.sch.uk and putting bags together for children to try on at home. We do not have stocks of every item and not in every size. Whilst the school office is closed we will take email orders but will not be able to confirm if these can be fulfilled until after 19th August. 

School Hours and After School Care/Homework Club

The normal school hours are 8.45am – 3.30pm (all Junior School children) and 8.45am – 3.45pm (Senior School children).

Children throughout school can arrive from 8am. There is no extra charge for this. They will be given instructions on arrival on day 1 of where to go and what to do.

For the short term we will not be able to offer our breakfast provision. We will let you know when this can resume.

Yes, the After School Club will be open as usual with sessions up until 5.30pm for Junior School children. There is a scale of charges for this service and it can be bookable in advance or used in ad hoc, as per need. The full details are available on the website here. Letter to existing users will be sent out in late August. After School Club will work in the ‘bubbles’ already set up for curriculum purposes.

Yes, a supervised homework room will be provided for all senior age children until 5.15pm (Mon-Thurs)  and 4.30pm (Fridays).

Lunches

For the first half term, we will be providing grab and go bags, individually prepared to order and ‘delivered’ to the classrooms. They will contain a sandwich (filling of choice from the menu which will be published before the beginning of term); a piece of fruit, veg sticks, a dessert (cookie or cake) and a drink. Senior bags may also contain crisps. The junior lunch is included in the school fee. The seniors will pay on delivery or by lunch pass. Letters for lunch passes will be sent out to senior pupils in late August. This change in provision is to ensure all children can be fed in a safe way, without queuing or waiting. We hope to resume cooked food from half term, subject to changes in guidance.

Curriculum Matters

Yes, there may be some minor modifications, e.g sports.

We will be focussing on skills rather than knowledge gaps. As always we will be teaching the children with fully differentiated work to meet their individual levels. We anticipate that some will have regressed in key areas (this is often the case after a long break) but that once the routines are back to normal progress will be rapid. We do not want children to worry about where they are and what they know. This anxiety will be detrimental to progress.

Most of our current Year 10 pupils have been fully engaged with online learning throughout the lockdown and many have been in for 3 hour master classes with their subject teachers towards the end of term. However, there will clearly be a lot to do for all pupils in preparation for 2021 summer exams. We are awaiting decisions from a recent Ofqual consultation about what examinations boards can do regarding the curriculum and exams, to mitigate some of the lost time. There will be some minor changes which we communicate as soon as the information is available. As is normal practice, there will be subject clinics, intervention and support for all pupils in their final year of study at Hollygirt.

Transition Support and Social and Emotional Health

We have good pastoral systems of support in place, and children with known anxieties have already been working with key staff on transition and return plans. We will be working hard in the first 3 days, off formal curriculum, to give the pupils the opportunity to talk about their experience, to learn to work in a collaborative way again, to be reminded of school practice and of new guidelines. All the staff are responsible for identifying where there may be underlying concerns and interventions will be prompt and support fulsome.

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