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Updated Guidance on Wearing Face Masks

As you will be aware the Government has changed its guidance to schools about the wearing of face masks.

This now advises that the wearing of face masks in classrooms and any communal areas should be voluntary. But, where social distancing cannot be maintained in corridors then face masks need to be worn.

In effect for our school it means our requirement for wearing a face mask is the same as it was in September. Students can choose to wear a face mask in lessons and in the canteens. Face masks must be worn when in corridors because of the difficulty in maintaining appropriate social distancing in these areas. 

It has been heartening to see the recent fall in COVID-19 cases in our community but we are still having cases affect our students. Fortunately, our prevention measures have meant that the need for families to self-isolate has been kept to a minimum. The wearing of face masks has contributed to this impact and we do not want to relax our measures too quickly resulting in large numbers of families having to self-isolate.

We will review this approach again in-line with the Government’s decisions on 21st June.

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Headteacher COVID-19 Update – 6th January 2021

What a difference a day (24 little hours) makes!

Like me, I am sure many of you will have watched the government announcement last night regarding the concerning increase in cases of Coronavirus and the subsequent impact on schools. Including:

Year 11 examinations are currently planned to go ahead for those students sitting OCR exams next week in Health and Sport. For all other summer GCSE exams, we await further guidance but know that 'not all' exams will be going ahead as had previously been intended. What this does not mean, is that students should feel that preparing for the GCSEs is pointless - instead it is a time to continue to work hard and apply themselves in the knowledge that an assessment of some sorts will be required at the end of the academic year. Whatever the system, tool or algorithm used - I am confident that each student will be awarded the grades he/she deserves and will support them in their future pathway.

Remote education will now be in place for the vast majority of students (including Year 11) until February half term, with only vulnerable students and children of critical workers accessing provision in school. Our remote learning provision will be of a high standard and will provide a continuity of education during this lockdown. If your child is having issues accessing their remote learning, support can be received via the Home Learning page. If you have any queries about your child's remote education, email their class teacher or raising standards leader.

Student wellbeing remains a priority during lockdown. It is critical that they attend their timetabled lessons, including form time, so staff can support them with any struggles they may be having. If you are worried about your child and would like some help or advice, please email their pastoral head of year or form tutor.

Mass testing has now been put on hold for all students and staff. We will be carrying out testing of the small number of consenting students and staff who are in school using the LFD (Lateral Flow Device) tests which were delivered yesterday. This will help us to prepare for mass testing when all students return, with a fully trained testing workforce but also ensure we are minimising the risk of the spread of the virus in school.

I will continue to communicate with our families as further information comes to light. These are tough times for us all, and it is crucial that whilst at home our students follow the tier 4 restrictions which apply to us all. My advice to all our young people is to stay home, stay learning, stay safe!

Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Start of Term Message to Parents – 2nd January 2021

Happy New Year to our families, I hope you all had a safe and enjoyable festive period.

I am writing this on the evening of 1st January 2021, when again the government has announced a change to their plans (announced on 30th December 2020) on students’ return to school in January.

I therefore ask our families to bear with us, the situation is very fluid and we are dealing with new information and guidance on a frequent basis. Nonetheless, with just a few days to go until the planned reopening of school, I know that our students and their parents/carers need to know what is likely to happen so they can plan accordingly. 

I have shared some details below, but be reassured that I will continue to communicate more details in the week ahead, ahead of students’ full return to school.

Whilst not much feels certain, one thing which is certain is the rise in Covid19 cases and the ‘mutation’ of the virus which is worrying for us all. Stockport has had low rates of Covid in recent months, but the MEN reports that the borough saw a 35% rise in rates the week after Christmas. Ahead of any students returning to school in the new year, I urge all parents to ensure their children are following the tier 4 restrictions whilst not in school and continue to impress upon them the need for HANDS, FACE, SPACE - regularly washing hands, wearing of face covering and maintaining social distancing.

Please find below our current plans for the return of students to school - whenever your child returns, please equip them with a face covering and hand sanitizer as a routine part of their school equipment. Likewise school uniform expectations remain unchanged.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
w/c 4.1.21 Staff INSET day - no students in school Foxland Campus is open for children of critical workers (using booking form*) and vulnerable children (as contacted by school pastoral staff).

Broadway Campus is open for our resourced students only.

All other students will receive remote education which will follow their normal school timetable and should log into their form period using Google Meet at 8:30am each day.

Year 11 virtual parents’ evening will go ahead as planned on Thursday 7.1.21

During this week training will begin for staff to prepare for rapid testing in schools.

w/c 11.1.21 School is open for children of critical workers (using booking form*), vulnerable children (as contacted by school pastoral staff) and resourced students plus students in Year 11 who will follow their normal timetable on Broadway.

All other students will receive remote education which will follow their normal school timetable and should log into their form period using Google Meet at 8:30am each day.

Testing of staff and students in school will begin.

w/c 18.1.21 School is open for all students who should report to their form at 8:30am.

Testing of staff and students will continue to be rolled out.

Leaders will consider if student timetables can return to pre-covid model so that all students can access specialist facilities and staff can teach from designated classroom bases. More information to follow at a later date.

*Booking form for Children of critical workers for w/c 5.1.21 is on our website and will remain open until noon on 4.1.21. The form will re-open for w/c 11.1.21 next week. If you have any questions about the provision for the first week of term (including support with free school meals or digital devices) please email firstweek@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk.

Testing

I am pleased that Kingsway is playing its part in keeping the spread of the virus under control by offering LFD (Lateral Flow Device) testing to all staff and students. Whilst I would encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity, testing is by consent. A consent form will be sent out in the next few days.

The test requires students to self-swab, under supervision, their throat and nose. Results will be available within 30 minutes. There will be more information about testing and response to positive cases in the coming week.

I hope that this communication provides enough information for the start of term and will continue to add further detail in the coming days and weeks.

Thank you to all our families for having an appreciation of the changeable situation school leaders are finding themselves in. I am hopeful that alongside the much anticipated vaccine, these measures will help to keep our school community safe and well so we can continue to do the job we love - educating and caring for your children.

Mrs Lowe
Headteacher

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End of Term Message to Parents – 18th December 2020

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our families.

I am writing to you as we are grappling with the latest DfE news story that schools will become testing centres for their staff and children and that we need to plan a staggered return to school in the new year!

This is a lot to comprehend and plan for in a few hours before we break up for a much deserved rest this Christmas. At the time of writing this message, we are still unclear about the details for January but wanted to share with you our current thinking, however, please check our website throughout the Christmas season, particularly from 1st January 2021.

Start of term

As you will be aware, we have a pre-planned staff INSET day on Monday 4th January 2021. This time has already been allocated to staff development and the recent government guidance says schools can use an additional INSET day to plan for the new testing regime. We will put a message on our website on 1st January 2021 if we are having an additional INSET day on Tuesday 5th January 2021.

Currently all students are expected to return to school for face to face lessons from Tuesday 5th January 2021. However, the latest government guidance is that schools should plan for a staggered return with only Year 11 students, plus students who are vulnerable, or children of critical workers in school, until Friday 8th January 2021. All other students are to stay at home to receive full time remote learning and return to school for face to face lessons on Monday 11th January 2021.

Again, we will clarify this with parents on 1st January 2021.

Vulnerable and key worker provision

We have already identified our vulnerable students and are asking for parents who are critical workers to complete the below form no later than Tuesday 29th December 2020.

Any students who are working remotely and are eligible for free school meals will be provided with a voucher for the first week of term. If you have any queries regarding FSM vouchers or your child’s access to a digital device for remote learning, please contact firstweek@kingsway.stocport.sch.uk 

Rapid testing

We are currently awaiting clarity on the government’s expectations of schools to conduct rapid COVID testing for staff and students. As previously mentioned, we will update our website in the new year with any details we have received. Please continue to inform the school of the outcomes of any COVID tests using our dedicated website covid@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk.

Finally, whilst this won’t be my last communication of 2020, I would like to pass on my thanks and festive wishes to all our parent community who have been immensely supportive during a uniquely tough term.

Mrs Lowe
Headteacher

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Year 11 Update – 19th November 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

Following the letter sent earlier this week, regarding proposals for Year 11, we have been listening to your feedback. It is clear that there is a wide range of views and there is not an ideal solution which will satisfy everyone. What we do know is that in our local area the rates of COVID-19 are particularly high, and therefore we cannot rule out the possibility that more families will test positive for the virus and some students will need to self-isolate. This causes disruption to students’ learning and teachers’ plans for teaching. 

Our immediate concern is to protect the Year 11 Pre-Public Examinations which take place from Friday 27th November to Friday 11th December. Already, we are well aware that the preparation for these exams has been affected for some students by the need to self-isolate for periods since the beginning of September. The aim is to minimise the risk of disruption during the exams themselves.

Having reflected on our proposal we have decided to modify the plan. Next week Year 11 students will attend school as normal, receiving their timetabled lessons in school. However, once the examinations start, students will only be expected in school when they have an examination. At other times, they will receive live lessons according to their timetable. For those students who have both morning and afternoon exams, they will remain in school and attend their timetabled lesson for period 3.

Our intention is to provide students with continuity in their studies and to reduce, as much as possible, the risk of spreading the virus between students during the examination period. There will be further information about the last week of term, but at present this is planned to be a normal school week.

The current situation is deeply unfair for our students, especially because schools in different parts of the country are not experiencing the same disruption.  We are making our concerns clear to the relevant authorities and parents have asked how they can support us. With this in mind, accompanying this email are two letter templates which can be sent to Gavin Williamson (Secretary of State for Education) and Andy Burnham (Mayor of Greater Manchester).

Thank you for your continued support in these most difficult of times.

Mrs J Lowe
Headteacher

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