Announcements

 

 

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30 June 2020

Dear Parents, Students and Colleagues,

I am pleased to be able to write to you with a monthly update on the academy’s noteworthy progress in preparing for safe and effective wider re-opening.

CONTENTS - This letter covers the following:

  1. The ‘Basic Precautions’ that safeguard you and others whether the ambient risk is high or low
  2. The ‘Current Local Risk Assessment Level’: LOW
  3. The Case for Wider Re-opening from July 2020
  4. Additional Health and Safety Measures
  5. Strategies to Support All
    1. Current Year 13
    2. Current Year 12
    3. Current Year 11
    4. Current Year 10
    5. Current Year 9, Year 8 and Year 7
    6. Current Year 6
    7. Staff
    8. Other Risks
    9. The Summer 2020 Holidays
    10. Term Dates 2020/2021

Whilst even a single extra death is a tragedy, it has been a true blessing that our community continues to fare extremely well in terms of low numbers of infections and few deaths related to coronavirus.

At present, the numbers of coronavirus infections, critical illnesses and deaths remain extremely low, locally, in Hounslow and across London, and the numbers have decreased markedly every week over the last 7 weeks.

This means that the prevalence of the virus in our area is very low and hence it is currently very unlikely that anyone who continues to take the essential basic precautions will become infected or sick from the virus.

  1. Basic Precautions that will keep you and others safe

  • Adhere to the spirit of the concurrent government restrictions
  • Keep a social distance where it is possible to so, ideally over 2 metres (or as far above 1 metre as possible / only for the shortest possible time if closer)
  • Operate in allowed ‘bubbles’ and/or wear PPE where social distancing is not easy or where you want to lower the risk further
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and running water (or using hand sanitiser where soap and running water is not readily available) especially if you touch something that someone else may have touched
  • Where possible, avoid touching your face or eyes with hands (unless your hands, under your nails and your wrists are very clean)
  • Take steps to minimise the likelihood of contamination of surfaces e.g. not sharing equipment, having designated workspaces, etc.
  • Clean surfaces regularly with any household detergent and a cloth, washing cloths out thoroughly afterwards (Otherwise use and safely dispose of antibacterial wipes or a non-wipe spray which kills viruses)
  • Clean surfaces and items more frequently if they are touched more frequently, especially those high-contact surfaces such as door handles, switches, screens and keyboards that multiple people may have touched
  • Maintain good hygiene practices when handling food and using the toilet
  • Sneeze or cough into the crook of one’s elbow
  • If you sneeze into a tissue, ensure that it is safely disposed of (e.g. within a plastic bag) so it does not contaminate the person who has to empty the bin
  • Ensure regular (at least daily) changes of clothing and subsequent washing
  • Dynamically risk assess all situations and vulnerabilities to safely enable as close to normal functioning and hence to better protect mental and emotional well-being and minimise the degree of long-term or permanent detriment to self and others
  • Ensure your response to coronavirus protects yourself and protects OTHERS
  1. The Current Local Risk Assessment Level: LOW

 

 

  • Over the last 6+ weeks, we have been able to operate in what is, at the very least, a clear window of very low ambient risk for everyone, which continues to decrease and at present is getting closer to zero across London, and is currently at or very close to zero in our community.   

 

  • The UK Threat Level has also dropped to level 3. This is because of a steady and continuing fall in cases in all four nations. The virus (epidemic) remains in general circulation and with localised outbreaks likely to occur, for example as seen in Leicester where schools will re-close on Thursday, and in meat factories in Anglesey and West Yorkshire.

 

  • At level 3, the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) recommended the gradual relaxation of restrictions and social distancing. 

 

In this context of a decreasing ambient risk (close to zero near us), better response capacity and more advance preparations, the Government is beginning to relax some of the restrictions that it introduced alongside ‘lockdown’ on the recommendation of the JBC.

The academy will conscientiously monitor and scrutinise daily data and trends to see whether these relaxations, or society’s response to them, lead to any actual resurgence of local risk.

The small-scale opening of primary schools from 1 June 2020 has not led to new outbreaks to date. International experience shows that countries that have successfully managed coronavirus are still vulnerable to localised outbreaks.

The UK track, test and trace system is not yet sufficiently comprehensive to ensure a rapid response should the virus start to spread again so the academy will continue its own daily surveillance and risk assessment based on the latest data for London and our local catchment areas.

The Government intends to manage further outbreaks through enhanced localised measures and restrictions, or localised lockdowns, to contain any potential spread.  

Many people believe that further waves are inevitable, with suggestions of a second wave in the winter months where such viruses are most active.  The JBC predicts more localised outbreaks. We will monitor the indicators for any spread that might lead to a change to our local risk assessment.

The academy thinks it wise to be prepared for further outbreaks in the future, but there is no evidence to suggest a local outbreak in our community is imminent, nor a second wave.

Any change to risk level, attributable to the changes in rules from 4 July 2020, should there be one, would not likely occur for at least 3-4 weeks after the 4 July 2020 rule changes.

In practice, this would mean that there is unlikely to be a linked increase in the local risk of catching coronavirus before the summer 2020 break.

Hence, the academy’s wider opening during July 2020 coincides with a ‘window’ of on-going and relative safety for everyone who adheres to the basic precautions already outlined above.

There are no signs that this local window of safety and opportunity is at risk of closing at present.

  1. The Consequent Case for Wider Re-opening from July 2020

The data above suggests that we are continuing to live and work in, at least, a prolonged window of low risk and relative safety, which will likely last for at least the remainder of the school year. 

The risk of contracting coronavirus (or, for most people, even encountering it) remains very low for everyone locally at present.

Hence, we recognise and accept the need to avoid unnecessary delay in returning to some sort of normality, particularly with all the additional safeguards that are now in place at Cranford Community College.

A dynamic risk assessment approach is essential with a virus that is likely to ‘ebb and flow’, until an effective vaccine can eradicate it.

It will be equally important to relax restrictions when the risk recedes, as it is to increase restrictions when the risk rises. We, and society generally, may need to adapt our thinking and practices to the idea of the risk coming and going in waves or pulses and this meaning schools and work places operate that way too.

Our modes of operation now need to be flexible; reflecting whatever the concurrent risk status is at the time, and the current risk level rather than the historic risk.

We acknowledge that there is a range of economic necessities. For example, it is patently not going to be sustainable for any government to continue paying out month after month indefinitely, even for its public sector organisations and public sector worker pay, in the context of its own huge reductions in tax and other income.

The economic realities are impacting negatively across our community already and this will be on going as the national and global economy endures recession.

We believe that quickly achieving the ‘new normal’ in this context is necessary for multiple reasons.

As an academy with a responsibility for the education and care of children and young people, there is a strong and accumulating educational need, alongside growing safeguarding and emotional well-being needs, to implement the essential steps that will re-establish safe on-site provision for as many staff and students as we possibly can this side of the summer 2020 break.

To meet those needs it makes sense that we should also take the opportunity of the current ‘window’ of low risk that is available in our locality, and for all, at present.  Hence, we are implementing phased plans to achieve a ‘new normal’.

We are getting ready now for the expected full return of all pupils and staff in autumn 2020, because we know the environment is safer now and so it is the optimum time to get ready safely.

The Government guidance for the full return of pupils will be consulted upon once formally announced in the coming days. The Government has indicated that, from September 2020, each year group will act as a single bubble of, in our case, 210 pupils plus their staff perhaps with designated social spaces on the academy site, and staggered start times, break times and finish times. We await the practical details that currently are very scarce and will need to be fleshed out.

We will re-assess the ambient risk in August 2020 to be sure it remains safe enough to implement any government direction to re-open fully.

Our planning for next academic year includes contingencies, as there may be a need during the year for part or the entire academy to close again or to reduce its on-site provision should there be local outbreaks, which then invoke additional measures to control any spread and manage the risk back down. The entire bubble (year group plus) would be expected to isolate for 14 days in the case of a confirmed positive test within the bubble.

We have adopted a ‘dynamic risk assessment’ approach and, as I outlined in my last letter, we have ensured that every home has good broadband connectivity and access to an appropriate computer so that the virtual school and catch-up is possible for every child in our care, whatever the future holds.

Cranford Community College will publish any changes to the assessed local risk level on its website Announcements page (under ‘News and Events’) dedicated to the management of coronavirus since early March 2020.

  1. Additional Health and Safety Measures

Further to the precautions outlined in my last letter, the academy has implemented a raft of safety measures to minimise any additional risk from coronavirus including:

General

  • Daily monitoring of the data on coronavirus locally and in London, including the risk to vulnerable people and groups and the number of infections and deaths
  • Daily review of the ‘risk level’ in our locality
  • Introduction of ‘Health and Travel Declarations’ for staff, students and others coming back to the academy (including information about other household members)
  • Individual risk assessments for those who need them as they return to work or school

Infrastructure Changes

  • Regular deep cleaning of the academy and site
  • The use of both heavy duty and hand held spray disinfectant machines to spray larger areas in addition to thorough cleaning
  • Outdoor washing stations on the main routes into the academy and from the playground / fields
  • 2 free standing and 26 wall mounted hand sanitisers for key points around the buildings, plus hand sanitiser bottles in every classroom, office and work area
  • The use of non-contact body temperature devices where appropriate
  • The globe (on the outer site) set-up as a separated isolation ward, if needed, to isolate anyone with potential symptoms immediately, pending sending home and testing. Specialist trained staff and cleaning crew for this area.
  • New separate area for non-coronavirus related first aid
  • Additional outdoor furniture for use by bubbles and staff when outside
  • Coronavirus related signage and banners introduced around the site and premises, including walls and floors to highlight one way systems, no loitering areas and social distancing markers
  • General decluttering of the school to reduce the probability of any contamination / spread
  • Foot pedal controlled water coolers in the canteens
  • Minimal-touch taps for sinks in toilets and elsewhere
  • Furniture rationalisation (including removal of tables and chairs) to encourage and facilitate social distancing
  • Restrictions on the use of some communal equipment e.g. dishwasher, fridges, etc.
  • Removal of high contact non-essential electrical appliances (e.g. microwave / toaster, crockery, knives and forks etc.) from communal areas
  • Staff canteen supplies replaced by individual UHT milk, coffee sachets, individual teabag sachets, sugar sachets and wooden stirrers to eradicate contamination by shared use
  • All chairs removed from reception, visitor signing in screen disabled, visitor restrictions in place and electronic gate being installed to control entry of visitors even to the outer site
  • Protective screens erected in reception, office desks and other key areas
  • Additional canteen space built to avoid high densities at breaks
  • Construction of railings to facilitate socially distanced queuing
  • Relocation of refuse to a distant and secure compound
  • Additional outer storage facilities to enable careful receipts and quarantine of deliveries
  • One way systems and signage
  • Educational coronavirus safety signage in all classrooms and around the site
  • Training/PPE equipment being issued to all staff (including individual visors and face masks)
  • Students allowed to wear mouth and nose coverings / masks (not compulsory as students will stay within their ‘bubbles’)
  • Uniform relaxations initially for first cohorts returning (Details to be posted on the website and the welcome back letter when invited to return)
  • Bubbles of 15 students initially plus assigned staff
  • Bubbles to remain in the same room all day and, where necessary, staff move (staying over 2 metres apart) or video teach to bubbles from another location
  • Some traditionally shared equipment to be issued to individuals
  • The use of school minibuses will be restricted to staff use whilst adhering to safety protocols and with the bus being disinfectant sprayed before and after use
  • There will be restrictions on group activities and non-video meetings
  • Restrictions on work space sharing, etc.

When school is open to students

  • Individual hygiene packs for all staff and all bubbles (contents include sanitising gel, anti-bacterial wipes, tissues, anti-bacterial spray, detergent spray, cleaning cloth, face masks and protective gloves)
  • At the end of each school day, the SPP cleaning team will deep clean all spaces and surfaces, including learning resources and equipment that have been in use
  • During the day, additional cleaning will take place cleaning high contact surfaces (inside and outdoors) including handrails, door handles, switches, etc. and classrooms will be sprayed when the bubbles are at lunch/break
  • Students and staff will learn about staying safe whilst not in lockdown
  • There is no catering provision this term but FSM vouchers continue to be issued. Students are expected to bring in their own packed lunch and must not share their lunch or containers under any circumstances
  • All students and staff are encouraged to walk or cycle to school, avoid public transport if possible and to adhere to the safety rules on public transport where it is essential to come by bus or train/tube
  1. Strategies to Support Everyone

The very sad reality is that we will not be able to get every child back to school at Cranford Community College before the summer 2020 break and we recognise that for some, perhaps even many, a further 6 weeks of not being in school or in work may cause further and regrettable detriment in terms of emotional well-being.

Cranford supports the 146 large charities that have written to the Prime Minister this week asking that children be prioritised alongside the economy and the health service in the forthcoming mini-budget.

We accept that children feel uncertainty and worry because they cannot go back to school and when they do not see all their family and friends. We know that some are suffering from an upsurge in domestic violence and that not being at school (or work) for longer periods is proven to lead to anxiety and mental health problems. We know the poorest and those from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are the most vulnerable and that our community is therefore vulnerable and our children need to get back to school as soon and as fully as possible.

We are doing our best, based on a commitment to put safety first and to take a measured and balanced approach but to make this happen.

This section describes what the academy, its staff and its partners will be doing for everyone in advance of the start of the autumn 2020 term, the things that are in our control.

It may reassure you to know that at Berkeley Academy, we have already safely inducted many staff and children back to school and the reports from staff, children and parents are all extremely positive, in particular reports of renewed levels of happiness from returning to structure, friendships and work.

As one child said last week, ‘Coming back to school was the greatest day of my life’ but everyone, including those who first participated in individual risk assessments have reported how safe and happy they are, having overcome their worries and returned to work and school. 

This universally positive response underlines why we must make every effort to achieve a larger share of normality for all.

Paramount to our efforts to re-activate Cranford’s on-site provision is a commitment to do so in a way that safeguards the health (emotional and physical), physical safety and other interests of all our students and staff to ensure that the negative impact of coronavirus is kept to a minimum.

We recognise that coming out of isolation, whether that is returning to school or work, can seem quite daunting for some initially and we will need to assist some in dealing with the prospect of coming back, especially for the first time after a long break. Parents, of course, can really help support the academy with this where needed.

From Wednesday, 1 July 2020, students (and staff and others) invited to return to site will, on arrival, complete a health and travel declaration for them and for their household (or other households with whom they have formed a ‘bubble’). They will have to adhere to all the safety protocols whilst on-site, taking sensible precautions necessary to safeguard self and others.  

These declarations will be checked at the point of entry for any urgent issues. They will subsequently be used to identify individuals who request or are identified as suitable for an individual ‘risk assessment’ meeting, normally scheduled on the same for those most anxious.

The risk assessment categories were described in the tables in the letter that I sent to you, dated 1 June 2020. Significantly though, the ambient risk has reduced considerably in the last month and government restrictions are also being relaxed from next week even for those who have been shielding.

Most individual risk assessments can take place on site but those known to be at highest risk (i.e. shielding people = clinically highly vulnerable) will undertake their individual risk assessment prior to return, normally by phone or video call.

Anyone who is too ill to attend school or work for any reason and anyone who may have coronavirus symptoms must not attend but report in as sick.

The normal sickness reporting arrangements for students (Telephone 0208 897 2001, menu option 1) and for staff (Cover Line) will resume from Monday 6 July 2020.

As a dedicated community school, we are also working with partner organisations, parents and locals to contribute to the long-term recovery strategies for our wider community. This work will feature more in my subsequent monthly updates/letters.

Hounslow will suffer heavily from the economic impact of this pandemic, with higher levels of job losses related to the airport, aviation and hospitality sectors and we are working with other key partners to develop a coordinated response to the economic impact on Hounslow.

  1. Current Year 13:

Year 13 students had largely completed their courses, except the revision phase so although they did not take their exams, they have benefited from studying their courses in full, have not missed out significantly on their post 16 education and have good grounds on which to progress to university or work without that particular potential detriment.

It is the learning and education that we deliver which is most important. Being awarded grades without experiencing that full education would have been of little true value. Our Year 13 cohort will be able to progress with confidence and without stigma.

Staff have worked very hard to gather the evidence needed to back-up their teacher-assessed grades and to rank students as required by Ofqual. Those grades are now undergoing statistical moderation nationally by the examination boards and Ofqual before the award of the final ‘certificated’ grades / qualifications. We are keeping our fingers crossed for our students.

The A level, Technical and Vocational results will be sent to the academy for issue to students on Thursday, 13 August 2020 from 9 a.m.

We envisage that the results will be issued in person at the academy, almost in the usual way, except that students will have appointment times notified to them on Wednesday 12 August 2020 so that we can manage the total numbers on site at any one time. Everyone will have to adhere to the social distancing and safety protocols and will need to make a health and travel declaration before entering.

Results that are not collected in person on Thursday will be posted home on Friday 14 August 2020. Protocols will be strictly enforced to ensure everyone’s safety.

There will be opportunities for photographs and potentially socially distanced interaction outside or in large spaces depending on the regulations in force at the time and weather permitting.

Our focus after the issue of results will be to support as many of Year 13 to progress to the destinations they intended. As usual, there will be staff available to help.

This  assistance will cater for students who are in a position to ‘upgrade’ their university offer or need assistance in finding places or courses at different universities, need academic or careers advice, wish to discuss the possibility of retaking Year 13 due to exceptional circumstances or are considering taking a gap year.

Advice this year will take account of the projected impact of coronavirus on the employment market, the economy and the ways that universities will likely have to operate. 

At present, it seems likely that some or many universities are contemplating offering distance learning, initially at least, and this may mean that more of these new undergraduates will stay and study at home rather than moving to the area in which the university is located.

Recent experience has shown that not everyone adapts easily to the self-discipline and skills needed to study at a distance (especially without a form tutor and subject staff nagging them), and some do not have the ideal learning environment or resources in the home.

Cranford Community College will seek to assist in the following ways:               

  • Matching Year 13 students progressing to university with Cranford alumni (former students) who have reasonably recently graduated, having studied a sufficiently similar or relevant degree.  

The aim is to facilitate local support and guidance from the school alumni network for any Year 13 students who expect to be taught online in their first year at university. The alumnus will become their academic buddy / mentor.

In keeping with this alumni support network initiative, our Year 13 recipients may also be invited to buddy a sixth form student at Cranford next year.

If no suitable alumnus can be found, the academy may approach its charity and business partners to see if they have a suitable person.

All ‘buddies’ will undergo appropriate safeguarding checks.

  • Offering Year 13 students who are studying at university, but from home, and who would like to avail themselves of the study facilities at the academy, the possibility of alumni membership and access to study facilities and resources when there is capacity.
  • Extended careers advice and support for those who choose not to go to university this autumn.

Note: The academy recognises the importance of the Year 13 Leavers Celebration Event as an important ‘rite of passage’ and a significant happy memory in adulthood. We do not want the current Year 13 or their tutors and teachers to miss this significant milestone. 

We envisage setting a new date, when we are able to do so safely, for the Year 13 Leavers Celebration Event to take place. This may have to wait until summer 2021, but we want it to happen still. The academy created a new large, open plan venue with outdoor space on-site as part of its coronavirus works and we think this will provide an ideal and cost-effective way of honouring this ambition.

  1. Current Year 12 (Mr Sohi)

The academy believes there is an urgent need to mitigate the potential impact of coronavirus related disruption to education for our students in Year 12 who are already over half way through their A level, Technical and Vocational Qualification courses.

For this reason, we are contemplating exceptional actions to help safeguard their interests and staff will be contacting every Year 12 student for a bespoke conversation about their situation and their options for September 2020.

Cranford may be able to offer solutions not available to all schools because we have such a large site and ample classrooms, we have ensured 100% connectivity, financial reserves and we normally admit significant numbers of external students.

This coming year, we are minded to ensure that we safeguard the interests of our existing students as the first priority, and will offer places to them before considering whether we have capacity for new joiners from other schools.

Lockdown in March 2020 has led to a very significant interruption to the learning of students in the first year of their examined courses.

The first year normally represents around 60% of the total course teaching and learning, but Year 12 courses were interrupted at approximately the 35% mark and there will, naturally be detriment, even to this amount because, for example, opportunities for spiral revision have not been possible in lockdown. Even if all were to return to normal quickly, there is a strong possibility that many Year 12 students would fail to complete more than around 70% of the course plus their own catch-up.

Coronavirus and lockdown affects different people in different ways and to varying degrees. Some students have continued to work extremely hard and effectively in lockdown through the virtual school but others will not have done so and they are not to blame for the pandemic. Everyone will have suffered to some extent and all will be in need of catch-up even if their courses were to resume normally immediately. 100% of necessary catch-up would also be very difficult to schedule into the teaching of the rest of the course so much would rely on pupils catching up independently and with support from the internet, family and friends. This would be less than ideal, especially for some.

The virus shows no signs of going away and there is no imminent prospect of an effective vaccine. We believe therefore that there remains uncertainty going forward and there could be further periods of disruption to normal schooling during the next academic year.

A big uncertainty is that the Government and Ofqual have not yet decided what they will do about public examinations in summer 2021.

Teacher Assessment (as used this year), whilst theoretically still possible, would be much less reliable if the students had not completed much of the course and that might mean that any results achieved could be seen as less valuable and to have lower ‘currency’.

Most importantly, the truly valuable entity is not the qualification or grade but the education and learning that takes place through the course and this will be missing, at least in part, for many.

The academy has carefully analysed its data on every student’s progress and attitudes to learning, prior to and during lockdown. We will now begin to hold individual guidance interviews with students and their parents.

These meetings may be scheduled remotely or on-site (subject to safety protocols) depending on the likely complexity to agree the best way forward.

The aim is to make decisions designed to safeguard each student from detriment due to coronavirus but to do more than this. We would like our students to seize a potential opportunity also to achieve higher grades than they might otherwise do. We want to ensure our students leave the sixth form well educated and well qualified. If possible, we want our students to choose a pathway that increases their chances of gaining a competitive and subsequent employability advantage in what is likely to be a highly competitive jobs market for years to come.

The recommendations / options available to students may (depending on progress data, eligibility criteria and course capacity / availability) include:

  • Progressing to Year 13 as planned, catching up largely independently
  • Taking another year to properly complete Year 12 and following the same courses (an option not normally available)
  • Starting Year 12 again but on a different course programme

Where a student wishes to pursue a pathway that the academy does not recommend, they can avail themselves of an opportunity in late August 2020 to prove that they should be given that opportunity. For example, where an individual thinks that they are ready to progress to Year 13 but the academy recommends restarting Year 12, the student will be given one opportunity to prove that they have fully caught up on missed work and are performing at the right grade level. They must show this by sitting subject specific diagnostic tests in late August 2020, which if passed well would be considered sufficient evidence to allow progression.

  1. Current Year 11 (Mr Watton)

Year 11 students had largely completed their courses, except the revision phase so although they did not take their exams, they have benefited from studying their courses in full, have not missed out significantly on their GCSE education and have good grounds on which to progress to our sixth form or ‘work with further training’.

It is the learning and education that we deliver which is most important. Being awarded grades without experiencing that full education would have been of little true value. Our Year 11 cohort will be able to progress with confidence and without stigma.

Staff have worked very hard to gather the evidence needed to back-up their teacher-assessed grades and to rank students as required by Ofqual. Those grades are now undergoing statistical moderation nationally by the examination boards and Ofqual before the award of the final ‘certificated’ grades / qualifications. We are keeping our fingers crossed for our students.

The GCSE / KS4 results will be sent to the academy for issue to students on Thursday, 20 August 2020 from 9 a.m.

We envisage that the results will be issued in person at the academy, almost in the usual way, except that students will have appointment times notified to them on Wednesday 19 August 2020 so that we can manage the total numbers on site at any one time. Everyone will have to adhere to the social distancing and safety protocols and will need to make a health declaration before entering.

Results that are not collected in person on Thursday will be posted on Friday 21 August 2020. Protocols will be strictly enforced to ensure everyone’s safety.

There will be opportunities for photographs and potentially socially distanced interaction outside or in large spaces depending on the regulations in force at the time and weather permitting.

Our focus after the issue of results will be to support as many of Year 11 to progress into the sixth form at Cranford.

This coming year, we are minded to ensure that we safeguard the interests of our existing students as the first priority, and should offer places to them before considering whether we have capacity for new joiners from other schools.

We understand the unprecedented stresses and uncertainty for Year 11 and want to ensure that our own students are protected and feel secure. We believe we can do this because we know our students, their abilities, their potential and their ambitions.

We are therefore going to make firm, and in many cases unconditional, written offers in July 2020 for the sixth form where it is possible to do so. This will hopefully relieve some of the stress associated with having to await the outcome of a national statistical moderation.

Our letter offer in July 2020 will be honoured regardless of the results issued in August 2020.

Each student will also be given an opportunity to discuss their offer with a teacher. Of course, it will still be possible to revisit your choices/offer once the results are out if you do better than expected and want to upgrade or change.

We will also be providing other support such as careers advice. Advice this year will take account of the projected impact of coronavirus on the employment market, the economy and higher education.

Note: The academy recognises the importance of the Year 11 Prom as an important ‘rite of passage’ and a significant happy memory in adulthood. We do not want the current Year 11 or their tutors and teachers to miss this significant milestone. 

We envisage setting a new date, when we are able to do so safely, for the Year 11 Prom to take place. The academy has had to create a new venue on-site as part of its coronavirus works and we think this will provide an ideal and cost-effective way of honouring this ambition.

  1. Current Year 10 (Ms Sidhu)

Academic Catch Up and Training

The academy believes there is an urgent need to mitigate the potential impact of coronavirus related disruption to education for our students in Year 10 who are already over half way through their GCSE and KS4 courses.

This is why we are prioritising Year 10 to be the first to return to school from inclusive.

Lockdown in March 2020 has led to a very significant interruption to the learning of students in the first year of their examined courses.

Coronavirus and lockdown affects different people in different ways and to varying degrees. Some students have continued to work extremely hard and effectively in lockdown through the virtual school but others will not have done so.

The virus shows no signs of going away and there is no imminent prospect of an effective vaccine. We believe therefore that there remains uncertainty going forward and there could be further periods of disruption to normal schooling during next academic year.

Our initial focus with Year 10 from Tuesday, 7 July 2020 to Thursday, 16 July 2020 will be a bespoke training course and cross-curricular academic catch-up programme.  

The programme will tackle the challenges of catch-up, summer 2020 learning and remote working, as well as ensuring that everyone is trained to safeguard themselves and others from coronavirus at school, in public and in the home.

Full attendance and perfect punctuality on this programme are vital for every Year 10 student.

Tutors and other bubble staff will be making contact in advance of 7 July 2020 to ensure that all questions that anyone might have are answered.

All of Year 10 can look forward to their return, seeing their friends back at school, beginning catch-up of lost learning and following a carefully designed academic programme that includes intensive science and maths sessions as well as the wider curriculum that has been planned.

Uniform will be optional during these two weeks and students are invited to dress as ‘smart casual’. The requirements in terms of appearance and hygiene always remain in force so dress, styles and appearance should not be viewed as offensive, revealing, sexually provocative, political, have potentially contentious symbolism or slogans (Regardless of how good the politics or cause) and must be respectful, etc. 

A big uncertainty is that the Government and Ofqual have not yet decided what they will do about public examinations in summer 2021.

The academy, however, will ensure that its students are well educated at GCSE, well prepared for the sixth form and are our top priority in terms of progression to the sixth form in due course.

  1. Current Year 9 (Mr Nation-Tellery), Year 8 (Mr King) and Year 7 (Mr Ferreira)

Year 9 have completed Key Stage 3 and have made their GCSE options choices and Year 7 have made their choice of History or Geography for their EBACC.

There will be a need for some catch-up for all next year but it will be comparatively easy for Key Stage 3 students to catch-up and they generally have more time to do so.

Some have floated the possibility of focussing on English and maths and offering a narrower curriculum with fewer subjects to facilitate catch-up in the core skills subjects. However, at present, we do not advocate a narrowing of the curriculum as we remain to offering all students a high quality education and a broad and balanced curriculum is an important feature of a top class education. We also believe that our KS3 students, especially those who have been engaging most wit the virtual school, will be able to catch-up over time and before they take their GCSEs.

Year 9 students are encouraged to spend some time during the summer researching the requirements of all the GCSE subjects they will be studying at Key Stage 4 and reading ahead.  It may take a short time for the new ‘Year 10’ to adapt to the increased demands of GCSE but, as it stands, we believe that there is sufficient time for them to prepare fully for their GCSEs before summer 2022.

The academy is confident that, providing all KS3 students return fully at the start of the autumn 2020 and quickly ‘knuckle down’ then it will be possible to support catch-up and encourage greater independent learning as an invaluable life skill.

  1. Current Year 6 (Mr Lennon)

Primary Schools and Secondary schools have been working in partnership to cater for the needs of our (shared) current Year 6 students.

Although there are no SATs outcomes this year, we have received all the data we need from their current teachers. We have been able to have follow up conversations where appropriate and we feel that the information we are receiving from our colleagues in feeder primary schools is very high quality as it comes from the professionals that have an excellent knowledge and deep understanding of every Year 6 child coming to Cranford.

I first wrote to all parents of children transferring to Cranford about 6 weeks ago and my colleagues have been communicating with families and letting them know how much we are looking forward to our new students starting with us at secondary school.

Children and parents have also taken part in a video call or phone call with a key member of the transition team.

We are now using all this information to help place the Year 6 students in to Year 7 tutor groups so the groups are balanced to ensure that everyone makes a good, happy and successful start at Cranford.

Once the placements are complete, imminently, the form tutors will be in contact with their tutors and tutees will begin to meet their new classmates through video calls.

Cranford students have made videos for the ‘new Year 7’ including a virtual tour of the school by a Year 11 student and there are other helpful videos from our current Year 7 students sharing their favourite things at Cranford, including science lessons, how to use the canteen, etc.

Staff have also been making some online ‘taster’ lessons to keep Year 6 engaged and busy now and during the summer 2020 break.

We are all really looking forward to meeting our new Secondary School students at the start of their next 7 or 8 years at Cranford Community College.

  1. Staff

One of the benefits of the current situation is that staff at Cranford have shown their strong values and commitment by ensuring maximum stability for both our students and community in these uncertain times.

I am sure that students and parents will be grateful for this loyalty and in ensuring there is high levels of continuity as we approach another uncertain year.

We will have a small number of staff who will be leaving this summer for happy reasons such as retirement, support staff who are moving to teacher training, gap year students now going to university and promotions accepted before lockdown.

We traditionally take the opportunity on the last day of the year to gather as a staff to say our farewells, thank each other, acknowledge individual / team success and achievements as well as to celebrate together the successful conclusion of what thankfully always seems to mark another record-breaking year (and we hope this year will be no exception).

Coronavirus, poignantly, has given us much more for which we can be thankful.

It is our intention still to hold this valedictory event as a whole (socially distanced) staff on Monday 20 July 2020 in accordance with the coronavirus regulations in force at the time and making good use of the academy fields and the new social distancing venue that has been created during lockdown. There will be no pupils in school on this day.

A now significant number of staff have already returned to work on-site full-time (save for a later start time to avoid peak travel times) and they have been the forefront of efforts, working flat-out, preparing the academy for the safe return by others.

Great progress has been made in making the academy safer and now, as the ambient risk has also lessened, we will be bringing almost all teachers and support staff back to the academy, where they are needed, for the last few weeks to help with the final push towards, at least temporary, normality.

At this critical phase, we will need ‘all hands on deck’ to do all that is described above to support our students and community and to get fully ready for induction of new staff, exam results, enrolment and everything else that needs to be organised for September 2020.

The virtual school will need to be reorganised a little as teachers deployed to live teaching will no longer be available for the virtual school, and their work will be redeployed. This is possible as the virtual school will no longer be catering for Year 10, Year 11 or Year 13 so there is currently capacity.

For logistical reasons, the remaining weeks of the full virtual school will be broadcast largely from teacher classrooms in Cranford and equipment such as classroom webcams will make this easier. The virtual school may be revived again as needed but the Government’s aim at the moment is a full re-opening of schools in September 2020.

An impressive transformation has already been achieved by the skeleton staff including cleaners and caretakers (among the first to come back), support staff, senior staff, LMC staff, reception staff and other volunteers.

We, colleagues, parents and students, should all be truly grateful to these pioneering colleagues, who have formed our ‘recovery team’.

A veritable platoon of contractors has also joined Cranford’s recovery team. These have included Colwyn ICT technicians, plumbers, grounds maintenance workers, builders, electricians and a small army of labourers. We remain grateful to all of them too.

Other staff have been coming to work as needed and to prepare, for example our HR team, Examinations Officers and Data Manager, our Admissions Officer and some of our finance staff.

Most teachers have come in as needed when asked to help clear classrooms, deliver computers, dongles and food and pastoral staff to undertake home visits, and staff volunteers will also be helping to ensure that confiscated property is returned before the summer 2020 break.

All of this has been in addition to the company of teachers and pastoral staff who have been working tirelessly from home. Paradoxically, working from home has probably been more demanding than working at school and hence teachers and other colleagues deserve, and will have earned the forthcoming summer 2020 break.

Teachers have been preparing lessons, adapting learning materials, teaching in the virtual school, assessing and marking work and giving feedback, grading and ranking Year 11 and Year 13 examination students, making weekly (sometimes daily) well-being and safeguarding phone calls, sharing ideas and innovating with colleagues, communicating and taking part in meetings on Teams etc.

The new student leadership team ran their campaigns and were elected online and other students made the videos to help the Year 6 students to get a flavour of Cranford, with the support of teachers.

The site has seen more skips come and go in the last few weeks than I can remember as we have worked to declutter and cleanse. Cleaning staff have also volunteered to sacrifice their annual leave this year to support the efforts to be fully open in September 2020.

The recovery team and other volunteering staff have been our own frontline of key workers. This team has been the vanguard, making the school safe for everyone else.

Yet there is more to be done between now and the summer 2020 break and hence the need staffing complement to be at full strength and share the burden evenly.

We shall be recalling staff in tranches over the coming days with:

  • Those teaching and support staff being deployed to support Year 10 will be returning from 10 a.m. on Wednesday 1 July 2020.
  • Those supporting Post 16 and some additional support staff will be returning from 10 a.m. on Thursday 2 July 2020 and
  • All staff, save for those who are shielding or who may be exempted through an individual risk assessment, will be recalled on or before Monday 6 July 2020 and until Monday 20 July 2020. 
  1. Specific Risks

The Academy Trust, which is now meeting monthly during this crisis, updated the academy’s risk register at the last meeting and this document will be updated on the academy website before the end of the summer 2020 term.

The Government’s public promise to cover the costs to schools related to coronavirus has not been honoured. The re-claim scheme published last week is extremely disappointing.

We estimate that Cranford’s losses and additional costs arising directly from Coronavirus will be around £500,000 by the end of our financial and academic year in August 2020.

It appears that only a small amount of this is likely to be repaid by Government in spite of all the public assurances at the start of lockdown.

As coronavirus is likely to continue to be present for some time, we are projecting that the academy will suffer further losses and costs next financial year, and possibly beyond.  Such losses are not without ramifications.

On the positive side, the academy and schools have continued to receive their normal grant funding from the Government and this has ensured that the majority of staff have been able to continue to work throughout without being furloughed at 80% of salary and all have continued to receive their full salary.

This has afforded a significant degree of protection for which we are very thankful.

As a result, we have been able to run the virtual school among other much needed community activity and because staff have not been furloughed they are able to be recalled to make preparations for full re-opening (furloughed staff cannot undertake work with their employer).

We recognise that many in our community have not been so lucky, that many parents have been furloughed, some have lost jobs and the self-employed and business owners have also been hard hit.

This is why we shall also be turning our attention to how the academy can help the whole community, over and above improving the life chances of our children.

We recognise that not everyone has job and income security in these unprecedented times and that the situation is likely to get a lot worse before it gets better with daunting numbers of job losses projected.

Cranford will do everything it reasonably can, and with partners, to support our community and affected families through thick and thin.

Cranford has planned wisely over the years and was in very good educational and financial health prior to the pandemic. 

The Executive Head Teacher, with the agreement of the Academy Trust Board, is hence now able to draw on its emergency reserves to mitigate the impact of the pandemic for the present and budgets are being strategically reviewed to negotiate these turbulent times and respond to the multiple risks.

Contractors and suppliers that we currently rely upon may not, for example, fare as well or survive the economic downturn and this could impact on the academy.

It is also incredibly difficult to plan for any simultaneous impact from the end of the Brexit transition period on 1 January 2021.

  1. The Summer 2020 Holidays

  • The last day of the on-site for Year 10 will be Thursday, 16 July 2020
  • The last pupil day (virtual school for all other year groups) will be Friday, 17 July 2020
  • The last day for teachers and term-time support staff will be Monday, 20 July 2020

The virtual school will NOT operate during the summer 2020 holidays as our staff have worked incredibly hard during lockdown and teachers and some others are in need of respite and deserve a complete break.

We are currently working on extending the provision of free school meal vouchers to those who are eligible for them in accordance with the recent change of policy announced by the Prime Minister.

At present, we do not have details of any summer 2020 programmes to be funded by central Government but we will publish the detail on the academy website when we have any information.

  1. Term Dates 2020/2021

Autumn Term 2020

Wednesday, 2nd September 2020             Teacher Development Day 1

Thursday, 3rd September 2020                  Teacher Development Day 2

Friday, 4th September 2020                       YEAR 7 & SIXTH FORM only

Monday, 7th September 2020                    ACADEMY OPEN FOR ALL YEARS

Thursday, 17th September 2020                Close at 1:50 p.m. for Open Evening

Friday, 18th September 2020                     Teacher Development Day 3

Friday, 23rd October 2020                          Academy closes for half-term

Half term: 24th October 2020 – 1st November 2020 (9 days)

Monday, 2nd November 2020                     Academy re-opens for all pupils  

Thursday, 17th December 2020                 Academy closes at staggered times

Friday, 18th December 2020                      Teacher Development Day 4

Christmas Holidays: Saturday, 19th Dec 2020 – Sunday 3rd Jan 2021 (16 days)

Spring Term 2021    

Monday, 4th January 2021                          ACADEMY OPEN FOR ALL         

Friday, 12th February 2021                         Academy closes for half term

Half term: 13th February 2021 – 21st February 2021 (9 days)

Monday, 22nd February 2021                     Teacher Development Day 5

Tuesday, 23rd February 2021                    Academy re-opens for all pupils

Thursday, 1st April 2021                              Academy closes Spring 2021 break

Spring break: 2nd April 2021 – 18th April 2021 (17 days)

Summer Term 2021

Monday, 19th April 2021                              ACADEMY OPEN FOR ALL         

Monday, 3rd May 2021                                May Day (Bank Holiday)

Friday, 28th May 2021                                 Academy closes for half term

Half term: 29th May 2021 – 6th June 2021 (9 days)

Monday, 7th June 2021                               Academy re-opens for all pupils

Thursday, 22nd July 2021                           Academy closes early for pupils

Note: The introduction of five additional training days in October 2020 has been deferred to October 2021 in the light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Summer break: Friday, 23rd July 2021 – Wednesday 1st September 2021

Kevin Prunty

Executive Head Teacher

National Leader of Education

On behalf of the Academy Trust

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