This live page has been created to provide our key stakeholders with detailed and up to date information in relation to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This includes the measures that we have put in place to ensure our school community is safe, supported and are reassured that we can safely open to all of our students based on the most up to date guidance and the ongoing and rigorous risk assessments that we have undertaken.
Our plans are continually reviewed in line with guidance from the Government and Public Health England (PHE) and the Local Authority (LA), by Ms Robinson, the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and Senior Business Team, alongside the Board of Trustees and other key stakeholders, as the situation with COVID-19 evolves, in line with guidance from the Government and PHE.
Any changes and or adaptations to our plans will be communicated via this page to all relevant stakeholders. A log of updates will be included at the bottom of this webpage under ‘Updates’ for reference. Of note; many solutions used during the partial school closure last academic year were successful and have now become an integral part of our sustainable and future operations.
Health, Safety and Risk Assessments
A full and ongoing risk assessment for our context on both sites is regularly reviewed to ensure measures are in place to protect our students and staff and ensure that everyone’s needs are understood and accounted for. This risk assessment is ongoing and addresses the priorities from Government guidance as follows:
- Minimise the risk to all within school – minimising contacts and maximising distancing.
- Importance of social distancing staff to staff, staff to students and student to student.
- Maintain a broad and balanced curriculum for our students.
The following areas are all considered:
- Safety of the school premises
- Cleaning measures
- Infection control and the ability to implement protective measures, e.g. social distancing
- Supporting staff and student wellbeing
- Supporting students’ learning
- Communication of plans and procedures
Students and staff members in high-risk situations
Students and staff who are shielding or self-isolating
The government have confirmed from growing evidence that many children identified at the start of the pandemic as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) are not at increased risk of serious outcomes from coronavirus (COVID-19) and children are gradually being removed from the shielding patient list (SPL) as appropriate, following review with a clinician.
Shielding advice is being paused nationally from 31 March. From 1 April, all clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) students should attend their school unless they are one of the very small number of students under paediatric or other specialist care and have been advised by their GP or clinician not to attend. Students who live with someone who is CEV should continue to attend school as normal.
All staff can continue to attend school. Staff and employers may wish to discuss flexibilities that support clinically extremely vulnerable staff, such as staggered start times to reduce travel during rush hour.
A small number of students or staff will still be unable to attend in line with public health advice because they are self-isolating and have had symptoms or a positive test result themselves; or because they are a close contact or live with someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19) or has symptoms.
Where a student is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical and/or public health advice, we are able offer them access to remote education and we will monitor engagement, work and progress with this.
Students and families who are anxious about attending school
All other students who are not shielding or self-isolating according to the guidelines detailed in the section above must attend school. During our preparation we have thought significantly about varying circumstance and the potential concerns of our students and their parents, carers and households who may be reluctant or anxious about attending school. We have worked hard to put everything possible in place with the right support in place to support everyone as much as we can. This may include students who have themselves been shielding previously but have been advised that this is no longer necessary, it could be those living in households where someone is clinically vulnerable, or those who are concerned about the comparatively increased risk from coronavirus (COVID-19), including those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds or who have certain conditions such as obesity and diabetes.
If parents and carers of our students with significant risk factors are concerned, please get in touch with your Head of Year and Assistant Head of Year and where needed, our SENCO, to discuss any concerns. We can then provide reassurance and inform you directly of the measures we have in place to reduce the risk in our school. The government have specified that students of compulsory school age must be in school unless a statutory reason applies (for example, if the student has been granted a leave of absence, is unable to attend because of sickness, is absent for a necessary religious observance etc).
How we reactivated our site
During our partial closure of our school, understandably some areas of our school were closed or put on reduced occupancy. All critical services (e.g. the alarm system) were maintained in line with their planned preventative maintenance schedule.
Prior to resuming normal operation of our premises, the following actions have been taken:
- Commissioned a water treatment specialist to chlorinate and flush the complete system for all hot and cold water systems (including drinking water) and certify the water system is safe before the buildings are reoccupied.
- Recommissioned all systems before our school reopens, as would normally be done after a long holiday period – this includes gas, heating, water supply, access control and intruder alarm systems, ventilation, mechanical and electrical systems, and catering equipment.
- Checked and updated the fire safety systems, including making sure that all fire doors are operational, and the fire alarm system and emergency lights are operational.
- Cleaned and disinfected all areas and surfaces.
- Organised pest control for insect infestation, where appropriate, particularly in food preparation areas.
- Deep cleaned the kitchens before food preparation resumes.
Facilitating social distancing
- The Government has released guidance about implementing social distancing in a school setting. We will make sure this section is updated as and when required in line with any emerging information.
- Ms Robinson along with our Site Manager, and members of our Senior Leadership Team have conducted a net capacity audit of all areas of our school sites to determine a safe level of occupation.
- This audit also determined which classrooms are available to use and whether any other rooms needed to be used as temporary classrooms. The findings from this audit were used to help determine what social distancing measures needed to be put in place upon our full reopening.
- The school timetable has been adapted where possible to facilitate social distancing.
- The timetable has been planned in a way that reduces and staggers movement around the school and supports our one-way system and co-location on both sites.
- The Senior Leadership Team and other key members of staff have determined which lessons and activities can be delivered, and which of these could take place outside.
- Assemblies, break and lunchtimes, and drop off and collection times have all been organised to reduce large gatherings and volumes of movement around our school as much as possible.
- Assemblies will not take place in the hall until further notice. They will be delivered remotely via tutor groups.
- Windows will be kept open to ensure good ventilation.
- Teachers’ areas are marked out to provide a 1m plus teaching space. Students are not to cross the line.
- New classroom routines have been set out for lessons on both sites.
- External visitors will only be allowed on site with a pre-arranged appointment. They will follow all of our hygiene procedures in terms of handwashing and or hand sanitising and social distancing. Where necessary, meetings will take place remotely.
To ensure the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced at our school, we will implement the following controls:
- Minimising contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus symptoms, or who live with someone who does, do not attend school.
- Cleaning hands more often than usual, ensuring everyone washes their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds using soap or an alcohol-based sanitiser once they arrive at school and when required during the school day.
- Ensuring good respiratory hygiene (Catch it, Bin it, Kill it) and displaying posters to promote the steps that should be taken.
- Cleaning frequently touched surfaces and equipment often.
- Minimising contact and mixing by adapting our school environment, including classroom layouts, year group zones at social time, limiting the number of students who use toilet facilities at any time, staggering and altering the way students move around our school.
- Rapid testing using Lateral Flow Devices (LFD’s) will support in identifying asymptomatic staff or students for those that consent to the programme. Please see our lateral flow testing risk assessment
Face coverings and the use and disposal of PPE
The Government has confirmed that its stance on PPE in schools is constantly developing – we will update this section as required to be in line with any adaptations.
Reference to PPE in this section means:
- Fluid-resistant surgical face masks.
- Disposable gloves.
- Disposable plastic aprons.
- Eye protection, e.g. face visor or goggles.
The current guidance on face coverings states:
Where pupils in year 7 (which would be children who were aged 11 on 31 August 2020) and above are educated, we recommend that face coverings should be worn by pupils when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained. In addition, we also recommend in those schools, that face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils in classrooms or during activities unless social distancing can be maintained. This does not apply in situations where wearing a face covering would impact on the ability to take part in exercise or strenuous activity, for example in PE lessons. Face coverings do not need to be worn by pupils when outdoors on the premises. Subject to the roadmap process, as part of step 3, we expect these precautionary measures to no longer be recommended. This would be no earlier than 17 May and will be confirmed with one week’s notice. In secondary schools, we recommend that face coverings should be worn by staff and adults (including visitors) in situations where social distancing is not possible (for example, when moving around in corridors and communal areas).
The wearing of face masks is expected in all of our classrooms and communal areas where social distancing is more difficult to facilitate. Face coverings should also be worn by students in year 7 and above when travelling on dedicated school transport to secondary school or college. Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings and we expect staff and students to be sensitive to those needs.
Access to face coverings
Should your child wish to purchase a face mask, there is a small selection of masks available from reception at both of our sites provided by Sewing Crow-bees in return for a donation of your choice via their Virgin Money page or in the charity box located at reception.
Alternatively we have included the following resource about how to make a simple face covering.
The use and disposal of PPE
PPE will be provided for staff and students where staff are caring for students whose care needs already require the use of PPE or in certain cases where a student becomes unwell with coronavirus symptoms.
If a student becomes unwell with symptoms of coronavirus whilst at school and needs direct personal care until they can go home, a face mask will be worn by the supervising staff member if a one plus metre distance cannot be maintained. If contact with the student is necessary, gloves, an apron and face mask will be worn. If the risk assessment determines that there is a risk of splashing to the eyes, e.g. from coughing, spitting or vomiting, eye protection will also be worn.
When using PPE, staff members will follow PHE’s guidelines on putting on and taking off equipment. PHE’s infographics will be displayed in areas of our school where PPE is likely to be used.
The safety of our students and staff is paramount, so additional risk assessments will be conducted to determine whether PPE is required for other tasks and activities, and we will do our utmost to ensure staff are provided with the PPE they need.
Where the wearer of PPE does not have coronavirus symptoms, the equipment will be placed in a covered bin and be disposed of as normal domestic waste.
PPE that has been worn by, or near, someone with coronavirus symptoms will be disposed of by:
- Putting it in a plastic rubbish bag and tying it when full.
- Placing the rubbish bag in a second rubbish bag and tying it.
- Putting it in a suitable container and secure place marked for storage for 72 hours.
Waste will be stored safely and securely kept away from students. Waste will not be put in communal waste areas until it has been stored for at least 72 hours. This waste does not require a dedicated clinical waste collection.
The following school policies have been amended to account for measures that have been put in place during the coronavirus pandemic and partial school closure:
Ms Robinson, members of the Senior Leadership and Senior Business Team, along with the Board of Trustees and other relevant stakeholders will regularly review all of the amended policies to assess whether any further changes need to be made.
All staff are required to familiarise themselves with the updated policies and procedures.
Our School Day
As per Government guidance, it is our intention to be fully open to all year groups on both of our sites.
Below you will find key information about our processes and procedures from the start to the end of the school day, including our expectations around behaviour and attendance and information about teaching and learning and welfare and support.
Establishing new routines
When establishing new routines, we work together as a team to build a sense of ownership and contribute to the feeling of safety and well-being.
Clear guidelines and expectations have been provided to all staff, students and families for the new routines that apply from September. These will be adapted as required and any adaptations will be fully communicated to all members of our school community when applicable.
Student have been told exactly what they need to do in relation to social distancing and infection control measures by the staff. We have explained why these measures are in place and they were given the chance to orientate themselves around our school and ask any questions associated with the new procedures to minimise contact and risk.
We have worked together to try and keep our school looking and feeling as normal as possible on both sites for our students and staff.
We understand and appreciate that our students and their families and our staff and their families will have experienced a variety of emotions and scenarios during the coronavirus pandemic. Some sadly may have faced loss and trauma. We will ensure that an emotionally safe environment continues to be fostered so that it supports our students and also focuses on rebuilding and reconnecting.
Start of the day
- Due to the number of entrances at both our Beeches and Green Lane sites, we do not have staggered starts or ends to the day but have increased the arrival and dismissal time window to limit the volume of students arriving on site or leaving our site at the same time.
- On our Beeches campus we have four main entrances to our site; Crowborough Hill Gate, North Beeches Road, West Beeches Road (on foot only) the Poundfield Path (on foot only).
- The time students in Year 7 to Year 11 need to arrive at school is from 8:00am – 8:30am. Once they arrive it is our expectation that our students adhere to our hygiene requirements of washing and or sanitising their hands so that they can then be ready to be in their tutor base at 8.40am.
- On our Green Lane Campus, we have two different entrances; on foot from the Poundfield Path and via our main Green Lane entrance which can be accessed on foot or by a vehicle.
- Year 12 and 13 students are required to arrive at school by 8:30am. Once they arrive it is our expectation that our students adhere to our hygiene requirements of washing and or sanitising their hands so that they can then be ready to be in their tutor base at 8:35am.
- We would ask you to support us to reduce the volume of the arrival of students in all year groups in the latter part of this arrival window, by encouraging your children to get up slightly earlier.
- Students that arrive in the earlier times, or attend breakfast club, will be able to go to their outside year group zone, or if preferred, straight to their tutor room on arrival having followed the hygiene procedures first.
During the day
- Throughout the day, our students and staff are encouraged to frequently wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- The ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ and the Hands.Face.Space messages are regularly promoted.
- We have additional cleaners to carry out cleaning throughout the school day, including regular cleaning of the washroom facilities other common areas such as corridors, classroom surfaces, including desks and handles
- We run a normal school day at both of our sites and lesson times remain as normal. Please be aware that staff build in time at the start and end of their lessons to ensure that all of our risk assessment requirements are adhered to in relation to cleaning and hygiene. This may mean that teaching time becomes slightly reduced within the allocated one hour for each lesson, in order to accommodate this essential requirement.
- Year 7, as always are dismissed from each of their lessons early to move around their new school before the other year groups are dismissed.
- We always operate a no bell system in between lessons so this will naturally support staggered releases from lessons to enter the one-way system on each site.
- There is a strict and clearly marked one-way system in place at both of our sites that is closely monitored by our teaching and support staff at the changeover of lessons and during social time.
- Our teaching staff remain in their allocated classroom for the majority of the lessons that they teach at both sites. The rationale for this is to reduce adult movement across our school sites and to monitor our corridors during the lesson changeover and social time, ensuring procedures, protocol and the one-way system are being followed. It also enables our teaching staff on two large collocated campuses to ensure that all hygiene procedures at the start, during and at the end of lessons are adhered to.
- At the start of lessons, students are required to have washed and or have sanitised their hands – there are now hand sanitiser stations outside a classroom or in between two classrooms.
- Classrooms are equipped with additional hand sanitiser, tissues, cleaning wipes and spray, covered bins.
- Teachers’ areas are marked out to provide a 1m plus teaching space. Students are not to cross the line.
- Students are also required to have with them their own face mask, hand sanitiser, pack of tissues and filled water bottle, along with their usual equipment to be ready to learn.
- Windows are opened in classrooms for increased ventilation.
- Work surfaces are cleaned down at the end of each lesson.
- Due to our large amount of social space which enables us to create year group zones, we do not have staggered break and lunch times. We will be zoning areas specifically for year groups.
- Our outside areas are open and zoned by year group so students are able to go outside during their break times and lunchtimes. They are required to follow social distancing and zoning guidelines.
- There are indoor and outdoor zones for all year groups, however students are encouraged to be in the fresh air, so your child should have a suitable weatherproof coat with them each day.
- We have appointed additional full-time subject specialists in the following subjects: Maths, English, Science and Humanities.
- To support our Year 12 and 13 students, we have increased their contact time with their teachers from 8-9 hours per fortnight, to 10 hours per fortnight from September 2020.
- To support student wellbeing, we have appointed an additional Assistant Head of Year at each of our sites and increased our counselling provision across both of our sites from September 2020.
- We ask where possible, for students to bring a packed lunch to school to support with student movement at social time. Our catering company are also having to adhere to revised procedures and therefore will have a very limited service. Free School Meal students will still be catered for.
- Where possible, students will be expected to follow social distancing, subject regulations, Government, COSHH, CLEAPSS, afPE and PHE, guidelines when participating in practically based subjects and activities.
- Assemblies are delivered remotely and seen in student tutor bases.
- The Science department has sourced 300 additional pairs of protective goggles for student use. As goggles are worn on the face, the CLEAPSS safety guidance states that once worn, the goggles need to be submerged in appropriate disinfectant for a period of time and left to air dry or alternatively quarantined for 72 hours. With this new resource, the department can now offer more frequent opportunities to participate in a wider range of practical work to every year group.
End of the day
As with our arrival procedures, to support with limiting the volume of students leaving our school site at any one time, we will be dismissing students by year group between 3:00pm and 3:10pm and they will need to leave site promptly.
- Year 7 will be dismissed from their lessons at 3:00pm
- Year 8 and Year 9 will be dismissed from their lessons at 3:05pm
Year 10 and Year 11 will be dismissed from their lessons at 3:10pm
- Students who access school transport will be permitted to wait for the transport in the usual waiting area.
- Students who need to wait for siblings will be permitted to wait on the benches outside Student Support until their sibling has been dismissed.
- Parents and carers are not permitted to gather at any of our school gates or on our school sites. If parents and carers need to drop off or collect their children at the school gates, they will be required to adhere to social distancing.
- We encourage methods such as walking or cycling to school where possible. Where it is not possible for students to walk or cycle to school, they will be required to follow the protocol and social distancing guidelines when using public or dedicated school transport.
- As per our student behaviour policy, students are expected to demonstrate acceptable behaviour whilst traveling to and from our school and whilst in our school uniform, or are identifiable as Beacon Academy students. This includes their social responsibility to adhere to social distancing guidelines whilst in the community. Students who do not demonstrate the acceptable behaviour outside of the Academy hours may receive a sanction for bringing the Academy into disrepute. Please note that we are in regular contact with our bus companies and local shops to ensure that our students are supporting our community and the wider community with their actions.
NB These measures are not exhaustive and will be reviewed weekly by the Senior Leadership Team, in conjunction with key stakeholders, and in line with any Government guidance.
Before and after school provision and enrichment
Our before and after-school extra-curricular provision has been adapted in line with our ongoing risk assessment and the current government guidelines.
Some subject support sessions can be reintroduced on the basis that children are kept within the same groups they are in during the day and are able to be safely distanced.
Please refer to our Enrichment and Extra-Curricular page for the latest information about planned extra-curricular activities. If you have any questions, please contact the relevant member of staff.
The student behaviour policy has been updated to account for the social distancing rules and other expectations of our students during this time. The policy details how these rules and expectations will be enforced.
Staff are asked to adhere to the following basic principles as much as they can. Staff will:
- Not come to work if they have Coronavirus symptoms, or they will go home to isolate as soon as these develop and they will be required to access a test as soon as possible.
- Clean their hands more often than usual 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.
- Ventilate their room, opening windows and doors and supervise student hygiene routines.
- Use the ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ and ‘Hands.Face.Space’ approach.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces often, using standard products.
- Continually review ways to modify their teaching approach to keep a distance from children in their classes as much as possible, particularly close face-to-face support (noting that it is understood that this is not possible at all times).
- Adapt assessment methods. Teachers will find it harder to look in books in lessons and they may not be able to mark them as frequently. They will make more use of alternative ways of assessing understanding such as more self-marking, use of visualisers, or electronic submission, for example.
- Support their classes to follow the rules on hand cleaning, not touching their faces, ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’, etc. This includes updating classrooms displays with posters.
- Where possible, they will adhere to social distancing.
- Know our school’s updated student behaviour policy and know what role in it they are being asked to take.
We have consulted with the Local Authority and relevant public transport providers to ensure that an appropriate plan is in place to protect students and staff who use public transport to get to our school, in line with Government guidance.
Students and staff are encouraged to consider alternative ways of getting to and from school, such as walking or cycling, or be dropped off by a member of their household where this is a safe option. Where this is not possible, and students and staff need to use public transport, they are required to follow guidelines on social distancing and wear a face covering at all times in line with Government policy as outlined below.
Further details have been provided about East Sussex school and college transport arrangements for the Autumn term following transport guidance from the DfE and can be read in full below:
The East Sussex Transport Team have been working hard to provide advice to schools and colleges about the transport arrangements for reopening. They are working closely with schools and will continue to do so, requesting that parents and carers consider the travel arrangements for their children carefully for the Autumn term.
The transport section of their back to school transport pages https://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/educationandlearning/schools/backtoschool/travel/ will be regularly updated to reflect the below measures, as well as the latest Government advice relating to COVID-19.
The East Sussex Transport Team have written to their transport operators to outline the guidance for the delivery of school transport and have summarised the information below:
Summary of the guidance for school and college transport:
The guidance is proportionate in its approach. It acknowledges that not every mitigation is possible everywhere. We would like to work with you and parents/students on the following areas, summarised here and in full below:
- Social distancing is not required on dedicated school transport. Public buses continue to have social distancing requirements.
Precautions and general hygiene
- Do not travel if anyone in the household has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or have received a positive test.
- Do not travel if you are legally required to quarantine having visited countries outside the Common Travel Area.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before and after each journey.
- In accordance with advice from Public Health England, children and young people aged 11 and over must wear a face covering when travelling on dedicated transport to secondary school or college, unless they are exempt.
- Additional cleaning of vehicles, especially hard surfaces, will be in operation.
When travelling on or waiting at a bus stop for vehicles
- Follow any loading/unloading instructions, be seated and use allocated seating areas if provided.
- Sit on board with others in their bubbles/year groups if possible.
- Keeping distance between students not in their bubbles/year groups as well as other passengers.
- Use face coverings on public transport and dedicated school transport.
- Look at bus operators’ websites to check timetables to understand options for the start and location of school journeys.
- Active travel – walking and cycling is encouraged, particularly if the student lives up to two miles from school.
- Please help to avoid congestion by not driving to the school gates and dropping off elsewhere.
Additional school buses and changes to existing bus services
The Transport Team have worked with the bus companies to change a large number of bus services to ‘school student only’ services and provided extra vehicles to the busiest journeys where necessary. This will mean that only school students can travel on those routes reducing the risk of overloading. Information about changes to bus services is provided below:
We have been informed that from September 2020, a revised timetable for the 29 bus will be in operation and will include an extra afternoon bus for students returning to Tunbridge Wells (service 228). Detailed information about changes to East Sussex bus services from September 2020 is provided below.
For public service buses, please monitor bus service changes.
Summary of bus service changes from September 2020:
Service Route Changes to route or timetable Operator 29 from Tunbridge Wells Tunbridge Wells-Eridge-Crowborough Revised timetable. The first Beacon Academy 29 bus at 0742 from Tunbridge Wells, Royal Victoria Place, will have more limited capacity. The majority of students will need to catch the second 29 journey, timed to depart Royal Victoria Place at 0750. This second bus will be available for students only. In the afternoon the first 29 bus used by students returning to Tunbridge Wells will again have more limited capacity. This bus will depart from the Church Road bus stop in Croft Road at about 1541. A second afternoon bus has been arranged, which will run at the same time as the Brighton & Hove 29 bus, also serving The Broadway and Crowborough Cross. This second relief bus, numbered 228, will be provided by Compass Travel and be for students only. Valid Brighton & Hove tickets and passes will be accepted on this bus. Brighton & Hove (Compass Travel for the afternoon extra 228 bus) 29 from Lewes Lewes-Uckfield-Five Ash Down-Crowborough Revised timetable, morning and afternoon. The first afternoon journey towards Uckfield and Lewes, suitable for Beacon Academy students, will depart from Crowborough Cross at 1623. Brighton & Hove 227 Five Ashes-Argos Hill-Town Row-Rotherfield-Beacon Academy This bus will be available to students only so will run to and from Beacon Academy, not Crowborough The Broadway. Seaford & District
East Sussex Coach timetables
The latest coach timetables and updated guidance for travel using this service will be available at: https://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/roadsandtransport/public/secondary-school-coach-timetables/
Whilst social distancing is required by law on public transport, it is not required on dedicated school and college transport. However, the guidance does state that social distancing should be maximised within vehicles where possible. This will not always be possible on school transport so other mitigations will be required to reduce risk of transmission.
Face coverings are required by law for all students aged 11 and over on public transport, in line with government policy.
Children aged 11 and over should wear a covering on all school transport if they can. If a child has a reason that makes them exempt, we are asking that families let the school know this. We need everyone’s help to make this workable - so please discuss the importance of wearing a face covering with your child.
While operators will not refuse travel if students don’t wear a face covering, they will report it and the Transport Team and our school will support each other to manage these situations. Parents have said they would like to make sure the transport providers are doing everything possible to make the transport arrangements as safe as possible. Students wearing face coverings will help families feel more confident about using transport.
Seating on dedicated school transport
The Transport Team is working with their operators on suitable seating arrangements in their vehicles. Their intention is to have groups seated together so that they mirror the arrangements of bubbles/year groups if possible. Beacon Academy will be supporting this by working with the team to oversee the process to load and seat students to comply with the school’s bubble arrangements as closely as possible. The general principle will be to direct students to sit in year groups, from the older at the back to the younger at the front. On double decker buses, the older year groups will be directed to sit upstairs.
Hygiene on vehicles
Across all types of transport, they will ensure the operator is fully aware of their responsibilities to report any passenger (or staff) who may have symptoms of COVID-19. We will also instruct them to ensure vehicles are properly cleaned and ventilated.
There is a limited service available while the catering team are implementing new procedures and processes. All students are therefore advised to bring a packed lunch to school. As there will be limited access to the cashless catering top up machines, we are advising parents to use ParentPay to top up their child’s account.
There are measures are in place to ensure that food can be prepared and served safely from our kitchen.
- Regular deep cleans of the kitchen.
- Kitchen staff are able to work in a safe environment, including adhering to social distancing measures as far as possible.
- Kitchen staff have the PPE required to prepare and serve meals safely.
- Students and staff are able to collect meals safely.
All kitchen areas and surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly prior to food preparation resuming.
The school catering team will work with us to ensure that we can continue offering meals or benefits-related Free School Meals (FSM) students. Where required, we will continue to support eligible students and their families to access food vouchers due to any absence associated with COVID-19.
- Our usual Attendance Policy will be followed from September to support the Government ambition of mandatory attendance for all students from September.
- Any of our students with coronavirus symptoms should not attend school.
- For Covid related absence please email email@example.com. For all other absence, parents are required to notify us by following the normal attendance procedure.
There is an additional document COVID-19 school closure arrangements for Safeguarding and Child Protection at Beacon Academy that sits alongside our Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy. We will continue to review the policy to determine whether it reflects the current ways of working.
We will continue to ensure that:
- The best interests of our students always come first.
- If anyone in the school has a safeguarding concern about one of our students, they act immediately.
- A Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) or Deputy DSL is always available.
- Unsuitable individuals will not be permitted to work with our students or come into contact with students whilst on site.
- Our students who need to remain at home are protected when they are online.
Identifying and supporting newly vulnerable students
We are aware that some students locally, nationally and globally are at increased risk of experiencing harm during periods of lockdown, particularly as they may not see their usual staff at the school or other agencies. Others may not have provided cause for concern before a lockdown period but have since experienced significant harm during their time at home – these students form part of a newly vulnerable group.
We will take steps to identify and support these students as they return to our school, accounting for the fact that these students may not be those that would usually be considered ‘at risk’.
Our vastly experienced DSL team across both of our sites will organise and manage their workload effectively. This will include re-engaging with external agencies and ensuring our staff, students and students’ families are informed of any services whose work practices may have changed due to the lockdown period.
Safeguarding training will be refreshed for all of our staff in September to ensure everyone is able to respond appropriately to disclosures from students and identify signs that could indicate a student has experienced significant harm, e.g. changes in behaviour. This training will be provided in the usual way via staff briefings, daily communications and online courses.
We have provided a safe way for students to discuss concerns about their experiences of lockdown and make disclosures where necessary and how and where to do this will be shared with our students in September.
Safeguarding - Attendance
We will determine when poor attendance becomes a safeguarding issue, considering students’ personal circumstances, e.g. whether they or a member of their family has an underlying health condition and is continuing to shield themselves.
Schools are best placed to make decisions about how to support and educate their students in their individual setting during this period.
- Consider our students’ mental health and wellbeing and identify any of our students who may need additional support to ensure that they are ready to learn.
- Assess where our students are in their learning and agree on which adjustments may be needed to the curriculum.
- Identify and plan how best to support the education of our high needs groups.
- Agree what learning is appropriate.
- Identify our curriculum priorities.
- Agree revised expectations and required adjustments in all of our practical lessons.
- Establish approaches to ensure students are able to ‘Keep-Up’ with their learning.
- We will use our best resourcing to support both students who are attending school and those who have to remain at home for medical reasons.
- Activities will be designed to be accessible for all of our students, whether they are in school or at home. We will utilise online resources to maintain frequent contact with any of our students who need to self-isolate, such as video calls and instant messages, and arrange phone calls for those without internet access.
Conducting a curriculum audit
The SLT and curriculum leads have met and conducted a curriculum audit where the following has been considered:
- What skills, content and knowledge are important to cover in the remainder of the academic year and the 2020/2021 academic year.
- In what sequence should these skills, content and knowledge be taught.
- How often should these skills, content and knowledge be revisited.
- How the curriculum could be adapted to circumvent any missing knowledge.
- If similar units of study could be combined.
Return to learning
- We have appointed additional full-time subject specialists in the following subjects: Maths, English, Science and Humanities.
- To support our Year 12 and 13 students, we increased their contact time with their teachers from 8-9 hours per fortnight, to 10 hours per fortnight from September 2020.
- Where possible, students will be expected to follow social distancing, subject regulations, Government, COSHH, CLEAPSS, afPE and PHE, guidelines when participating in practically based subjects and activities.
- Assemblies are delivered remotely and seen by students in their tutor bases.
- Teachers continually review ways to modify their teaching approach to keep a distance from children in their classes as much as possible, particularly close face-to-face support (noting that it is understood that this is not possible at all times).
- Teachers adapt their assessment methods. Teachers find it harder to look in books during lessons and they may not be able to mark them as frequently. They make more use of alternative ways of assessing understanding such as more self-marking, use of visualisers, or electronic submission, for example.
Assessing risks to students with SEND returning to our school
Our SENCO regularly reviews the risk assessment for our students with SEND. The risk assessment will consider areas including:
- The potential health risks to the student from coronavirus, bearing in mind any underlying health conditions.
- The risk to the student if some or all elements of their EHC plan cannot be delivered and the risk if support cannot be delivered in the normal manner or in the usual setting, and the opportunities to meet the needs in a different way temporarily, e.g. at home or virtually.
- The ability of the student’s parents or carers at home to ensure their health and care needs can be met safely week-round or for multiple weeks, bearing in mind the family’s access to respite.
- Any risk to siblings or family members if the student’s condition prevents or inhibits self-regulation, and if their behaviours cannot be supported or managed by parents or carers at home.
- The potential impact to the student’s wellbeing of changes to routine or the way in which provision is delivered.
- Any safeguarding risks for children with a social worker if they are not in school and the need to support care placements for LAC.
- Any other out-of-school risk or vulnerability, e.g. a student becoming involved in dangerous behaviour or situations (including the risk of exploitation).
We will also consider the capacity for the student to understand and follow the social distancing measures that have been put in place by the school.
Where it is determined that the student is unable to continue to be supported at home, Beacon Academy, the LA and clinical commissioning groups will work together with the student’s parents and or carers to ensure that the student can return promptly to the setting.
We will continue to review the risk assessments for students who remain at home so that decisions about the student’s education can be guided by the findings, assessments about the support the student is receiving can be reviewed, and the school can plan for the student’s return to school when appropriate.
Identifying support requirements
Our SENCO, in collaboration with other key members of our staff and relevant outside agencies, is responsible for coordinating our school’s SEND support for September.
During the partial closure of the school, students with SEND will have had a variety of experiences.
We have identified the following key groups of students that will need further ongoing personalised support as of September:
- Those with an EHC plan who attended school for all or part of the partial closure.
- Those with an EHC plan who did not attend school during partial closure.
- Those who are at SEND support level who attended school during partial closure because they are vulnerable in another category or the child of a critical worker.
- Those at SEND support level who did not attend school during partial closure.
Even within these groups, students’ experiences will not have been consistent. To ensure our students receive the appropriate support, our SENCO and the Learning Development (LD) team will ensure that they have the most up to date and clear understanding of the experiences of our SEND students during the partial closure. This has and will continue to be done in a number of ways, such as speaking to students and their parents and getting in touch with any external agencies that have been supporting students.
All of our students, and particularly those with SEND, will need time and space to re-establish their relationships with staff and their peers. For example, those students that have remained at school will have to adapt to more students being around them, and those students that remained at home will have to adapt to the transition from online relationships to face-to-face relationships.
Upon their return to our school, relationships between our staff and students and students and their peers will also be impacted due to social distancing measures. We will make sure that this change in relationships is explained to our students with SEND, while also understanding that these students may require repeat explanations.
Staff deployment will be kept as consistent as possible to support and to help rebuild relationships. Class teachers and learning mentors will also be given time with their students to rebuild relationships.
The re-establishment of routines for our students with SEND will be vital. We are also aware that students with SEND will need time to re-establish the bodily routines of getting up, eating and going to the toilet to fit in with our school day.
Routines will be made clear to all of our students with SEND and time will be allowed for them to embed. Where applicable, visual timetables will be made to support students’ understanding of routines.
The expectations of our students for areas such as their behaviour and how they act around our school will be different, e.g. students will be expected to adhere to some form of social distancing rules. We understand that it may be more challenging for some students with SEND than others to meet these expectations.
We will clearly set out our expectations to all students and ensure students with SEND are provided with extra support to develop their understanding via their tutors, who will monitor their progress and acquire their thoughts through student voices and in liaison with class teachers/SEND Department.
Our students will have had different learning experiences during the partial closure – this means that understandably, they will academically and socially be in different places and teachers will need to build on where each student is.
Teachers and support staff will be responsible for establishing the current level of learning for students with SEND. We will consider carefully how we assess our students with SEND’s current learning levels, as we know that assessment in any form could add to a students’ anxieties around re-entering formal education. Our SENCO will work with class teachers and support staff to develop alternative methods of establishing students with SEND’s current learning level.
For many students with SEND, they will need to revisit and re-engage with a lot of their previous learning and skills; therefore, our class teachers will plan this work in for students that require it.
Re-engaging with support services
The support that our students have received from external services during the partial closure, such as speech and language therapy, will be established. Our SENCO will be responsible for ensuring this support is continued and that any other in-school support is restarted as required.
For many students with SEND, a key issue as they return to our school will be the management and regulation of sensory issues. Our students that have been at school during partial closure will have become used to the site being quieter, while those who have been at home will be used to only being around a few people. Students will have to readjust to being around more people, noise and movement. We understand that during this adjustment period, students with SEND may express their discomfort through emotional and physical outbursts. Our SENCO and other key staff will consider how this behaviour will be managed and how students will be supported – this will include the following measures:
- Calm and safe spaces will be allocated throughout the school where students can go to if they are experiencing sensory overload.
In order to allow our students time to adjust to new routines and expectations, we will not review the targets set for students with SEND as soon as students return to school. Our SENCO and other key staff members will review their timetable for assessing students with SEND and consider how this needs to be adapted.
Annual reviews of EHC plans
In line with local advice, the school’s LA has continued to conduct annual reviews of EHC plans during the partial closure period. To ensure the school understands the needs of students with an EHC plan as the school opens more widely, the following actions will be taken:
- The SENCO will be given extra time and support to manage any backlog of reviews, as required
- To maintain social distancing measures, reviews will be held virtually
- Clear decisions will be made about information gathering and staff will note whether information is from the pre- or post-partial closure period
- The SENCO will identify which meetings are the highest priority (e.g. transition reviews, students needing a change in placement and those with a significant change of need) and focus on these meetings
- Parents will be engaged to ensure the school can fully understand students’ experiences during partial closure
Wellbeing and welfare support
Members of our school community will have experienced and will continue to experience a varying degree of emotions during the coronavirus pandemic, and we will ensure that everyone feels supported.
When planning for each stage of our reintegration and the ongoing adaptations to levels of lockdown, the implications for the wellbeing of our students, staff and families have been and will always be considered. One of our school’s key priorities in relation to wellbeing is ensuring that our school community feels safe.
Alongside our Student Support and Learning Development Team, Listen Hear and our additional counsellors, we will work with our Local Authority to discuss what wider support services are available and to secure services for additional support and early help where possible, and consider how these might apply to students who were not previously affected.
More information about how we support the wellbeing of our students can be found in the Health and Wellbeing section of our website.
These areas are open at break and lunch times for all students. They are open for all students with medical needs and health care plans as required.
There is a new additional welfare facility on each site where we can isolate any student or member of staff with suspected coronavirus symptoms.
Staff workload and wellbeing
The Board of Trustees and the Senior Leadership Team are aware of the importance of staff wellbeing and the positive impact this in turn has on your child’s educational experience and wellbeing. We promote a culture of open and transparent communication and this will be vital in supporting our staff as they settle into a new working routine, with flexible working practices implemented, and a healthy work-life balance promoted.
Staff all completed a wellbeing survey prior to the return in September 2020 where any concerns were raised and addressed.
Additional training and support has been provided where required and is ongoing, to allow staff to deliver their lessons effectively, both in school and where necessary, remotely. There are regular team and department briefings held via Microsoft Teams while there are social distancing restrictions in place, to share information and best practice.
Our school understands that some members of our community may have regrettably experienced loss due to coronavirus. We have provisions in place to support these members of our school community.
Our Student Support Team, Ms Robinson and our HR Manager are responsible for coordinating our school’s bereavement support approach. They will meet to discuss how best to support our students and staff that have been affected as and when they return to school.
Contact will be maintained with any affected families to ensure that they are receiving the support they need.
- Our school has an established and experienced well-being team that coordinate support. This includes staff members such as the mental health lead, SENCO and DSL and other key members of staff, including our HR Manager and our HR Officer.
- We also work closely and extensively with external agencies as and when required.
PE lessons and procedures
From 8th March, the PE department will be following guidelines set out by National Governing Bodies to ensure the safety of all those taking part (Staff and students).
Some invasion game activities will be re-introduce into the PE curriculum across all year groups. In the first instance, we will be looking at phasing in the following:
- Ultimate Frisbee
All staff and students are expected to adhere to the current social distancing guidelines as far as is reasonably practicable.
For all indoor spaces, maximise natural ventilation flows (through opening windows and doors or using air conditioning systems wherever possible) distance students and pay scrupulous attention to cleaning and hygiene.
For sport provision, outdoor sports should be prioritised where possible, and large indoor spaces used where it is not, maximising natural ventilation flows (through opening windows and doors or using air conditioning systems wherever possible), distancing between students, and paying scrupulous attention to cleaning and hygiene. This is particularly important in a sport setting because of the way in which people breathe during exercise.
If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Carney (Head of PE).
A full risk assessment has been reviewed and updated accordingly to adhere to new guidance.
In the event of inclement weather, where possible we will continue to carry out the lessons as planned outside. If the weather deems the activity unsafe, we have indoor activities planned with social distance markers.
- The use of PE equipment is kept to a minimum.
- Students are not putting out / collecting equipment in but do help to carry equipment to the lesson facility.
- Equipment is wiped down mid lesson and at the end of each lesson.
- Any used equipment is returned to the ‘equipment zone’ by the sports hall door – this is wiped / sprayed and put away by the Sports Technician.
- Each member of PE staff has their own box of essential equipment for lessons to use, which includes supplies for the teacher to ensure their equipment box is safe and clean.
- Bibs are not be used.
- We open and use the changing rooms, ensuring the protocols are in place to keep any risk to a minimum.
- Our changing rooms have been reorganised to only allow every other hook to be used to enable social distancing and additional changing areas have been created to accommodate the additional space required to adhere to social distancing.
- Students must arrive to their PE lesson wearing a face mask and must change wearing their face mask and facing the wall.
- Students are not permitted to enter the changing rooms until instructed to do so by their PE teacher, and are asked to line up in designated areas outside whilst they are waiting.
- Students use the same changing area and peg each time they have a PE lesson and are required to wash their hands on entering the changing rooms and remain facing the wall of their own changing peg whilst changing. All their clothes must be hung on the peg, and bags placed underneath the bench and shoes on the floor. Where possible non-fire doors will be left open.
- Students are told to put their mask in their blazer pocket and not leave them exposed, such as on their peg, to reduce contamination.
- Students are provided with a wipe to wipe down their changing area and then dispose of in a specific bin. We have additional cleaning of changing rooms and equipment in between each lesson throughout each day.
- An outdoor sink as well as numerous hand sanitising stations are installed throughout the PE changing rooms for use.
- Once students return to the changing room they are to put their mask on before getting changed.
- For particularly challenging or tiring lessons, students will be given additional time to allow their breathing rate to return to normal before entering the changing room.
All PE staff have access to their own PPE and first aid kit in the event that they are needed for first aid treatment.
We do not allow any students to borrow PE kit. It is therefore essential that all bring their PE kit with them on each day they are timetabled to have a PE lesson. In line with our no-visitors on site procedures, we do not allow parents to drop PE kits into school.
Students must arrive to their PE lesson wearing their face mask and face masks must be worn when changing. Please note that the wearing of masks in PE is not recommended, as it may reduce the ability to breathe comfortably. Sweat can make the mask become wet more quickly which makes it difficult to breathe and promotes the growth of microorganisms. Students who are not comfortable removing their mask for PE, will still be expected to help out in the lesson with umpiring.
Remote Learning Contingency Plan
As the situation with COVID-19 continues, we remain keen to minimise the impact of loss of face to face teaching time for our students.
We continually review and develop our plans to continue our education provision should we be required to lockdown all, or part of our school.
All of our plans are based around our teaching staff being able to deliver lessons using Microsoft Teams, either directly from their own home, or from within our school. Students at home will take part in the same lesson as those in the class. We want to ensure that our provision allows students to excel, whether working in school or from home.
We have created a dedicated Remote Learning webpage to outline more detailed information about our plans, which are separated out into four different scenarios (tiers) as per Government guidance.
COVID-19 reporting and testing
All staff and parents have a responsibility to engage with the NHS Test and Trace process.
Parents and staff should be ready and willing to;
(i) book a test if they or their child is displaying symptoms, (ii) provide details of anyone they have been in close contact with if they were to test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or if asked by NHS Test and Trace, (iii) self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone who develops coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or someone who tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).
Testing is available for all staff members, volunteers and their households. The school is able to book tests using an online digital portal, or staff can use the Government’s self-referral portal to book tests for themselves. Ms Robinson and our HR Manager, Miss Taylor, will decide on a case-by-case basis whether to book tests.
If anyone (staff or student) becomes unwell with any of the following: (i) a new continuous cough, (ii) a high temperature, or (iii) a loss or change in their sense of smell or taste (anosmia) they will be sent home. Students will wait in a separate isolated welfare facility and arrangements will be made with the student’s parents to pick them up. If a student cannot be collected from school as their parent is a critical worker, a member of our staff will speak to the child’s parent as soon as possible to discuss what other arrangements can be made.
- Parents will need to contact the school via the dedicated email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, if their child is displaying symptoms whilst at home. Parents must not send their child into school.
- Staff members will contact their line managers and our HR Department if they are displaying symptoms and not come into work.
- The school expects students and staff with symptoms to book a test and engage with the NHS Test and Trace process in line with current guidance and self-isolate for at least 10 days from the date the test was taken.
- After 10 days, if you still have a temperature you should continue to self-isolate and seek medical advice.
- If you live with others, all other household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 10 days. The 10 day period starts from the day when the first person in the household became ill or if they do not have symptoms, from the day their test was taken.
- If the test result is negative, assuming they are no longer displaying coronavirus symptoms and are well enough to do so, students and staff can return to school and the rest of the household can stop self isolating.
- If anyone else in the household starts displaying symptoms, they must stay at home for at least 10 days from when their symptoms appear and access a test and the household will need to self-isolate, regardless of what day they are on in their original 10-day isolation period, or whether they have recently received a negative test result.
- Cover arrangements will be made to account for staff members who are required to self-isolate.
- If anyone (staff or student) receives a confirmed test result, they will be required to self-isolate for 10 days from the date of their test and refer to the Government ‘Stay at Home’ guidance.
- We would also request that you send us a copy of the test results for our attendance records.
- Cover arrangements will be made to account for staff members who are required to self-isolate.
- Having been notified of a positive COVID-19 test result for a member of staff or a student, the school will contact Public Health England (PHE) and wait for their return call to confirm any actions required. The school will then take actions following the guidance of the PHE Health Protection Team.
- If a student or member of staff tests positive, close contacts will be identified and will be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 10 days. Household members, or friends of close contacts who are sent home do not need to self-isolate unless they develop symptoms or have been advised to self isolate separately.
- The name(s) of the individual(s) will not be shared.
- We will alert the local authority to a confirmed case.
- Parents and staff should be ready and willing to (i) book a test if they or their child is displaying symptoms, (ii) provide details of anyone they have been in close contact with if they were to test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or if asked by NHS Test and Trace, (iii) self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone who develops coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or someone who tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)
- As part of the Government’s national test and trace programme, if other cases are detected within the cohort or wider school, PHE’s local health protection team will conduct a rapid investigation and advise us on the most appropriate action to take.
- 2 September 2020: PE Lessons and Procedures information added
- 2 September 2020: Years 8 and 9 are now to go to the Ellison (Maths Block) playground on arrival on Thursday 3 September
- 11 September 2020: Information on face coverings in PE lessons added
- 25 September 2020: Information on face coverings updated
- 28 September 2020: Government guidance to parents and carers: when you should book a coronavirus test for your child added
- 4 November 2020: Government guidance relating to face coverings in schools updated
- 18 November 2020: Updated parental decision flowcharts and added Track and Trace process flowchart
- 1 December 2020: Information about additional Science goggles added
- 9 December 2020: Christmas reporting flow chart added
- 11 December 2020: Risk Assessment updated to reflect isolation period reduction
- 6 January 2021: Risk Assessment updated
- 7 March 2021: Risk Assessment updated, LFT Risk Assessment added and information updated inline with DfE guidance from 8 March 2021
- 29 March 2021: Updated following changes to Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance
- 1 April 2021: Before and after school enrichment updated
- 21 April 2021: Risk Assessment updated in line with updated CEV guidance