Dear parents and carers,

I hope you have had a restful Christmas break. I am very aware that some of you will have had your celebrations disrupted by personal and family isolation after positive results for Covid tests. I hope that you are fully recovered and were able to celebrate in some way with your family.

Following Government guidance received this week I am writing to clarify the arrangements for returning to school on Wednesday 5th January. Please read this email carefully and follow the instructions to help a smooth return, to keep everyone in our community safe and to ensure we can operate as normally as possible.

The wearing of face coverings is encouraged for pupils whilst on Educational Diversity’s premises and mini-buses. The Government recognises that some people are less able to wear face coverings, and the reasons for this may not be visible to others. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability 
  • people for whom putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause severe distress
  • people speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate 

Therefore whilst we encourage the wearing of face coverings we will not make this expectation mandatory.

  • Where appropriate, parents are reminded to provide a clean mask for their child where possible. We have supplies at Educational Diversity for those who forget. 
  • It is requested that all students take a lateral flow test at home on Tuesday evening before returning to the school site. We would ask for this to happen even if you have consented for your child to have the test in school on Wednesday. This will enable positive results to be picked up before entering the school.
  • We will test all pupils that have consent as soon as possible on Wednesday and into Thursday. Lessons will continue as normal during this process.
  • It is requested that students continue to test twice a week at home for the foreseeable future.
  • Staff will continue to ensure ventilation in classrooms by opening windows and doors. Jumpers can continue to be worn under jackets if the classroom becomes cold.
  • Public exams (Functional Skills) and internal assessments for January will continue to go ahead. I would like to stress that the results of internal assessments may be needed as evidence for Year 11 grades if disruption increases and the Government changes current plans to go ahead with examinations in 2022.
  • We will continue to provide work online for isolating pupils. This only needs to be completed if they are feeling well.

We have also received from government, the following clarification of the new rules around isolation after testing positive:

Individuals may now take a lateral flow test on day 6 and day 7 of their self-isolation period. Those who receive two negative test results are no longer required to complete 10 full days of self-isolation. The first test must be taken no earlier than day 6 of the self-isolation period and tests must be taken 24 hours apart. If both these test results are negative, and your child does not have a high temperature, they may end their self-isolation after the second negative test result and return to school from day 8. If they test positive and/or have a high temperature, they should continue to isolate until the end of day 10.

  • If your child is in close contact with a positive case, even if they are in the same household, they should undertake daily lateral flow tests and should continue to come to school if it is negative and they do not have symptoms.
  • We will continue to restrict visitors to the site and school office during this period.

I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to our wonderful staff as they continue to support your children through these challenging times. Their commitment to ensuring we provide the best learning and caring environment possible, despite the restrictions and the increasing number of cases among themselves and students, was a privilege to see last term. I am aware some staff have also had their own family celebrations curtailed by positive cases over the break. Despite these challenges I can reassure you they will continue to work hard to keep Educational Diversity operating as normally as possible and support your children, both emotionally and educationally, to enable them to continue to make progress and enjoy their schooling. Please remember that all our staff are working hard in unusual circumstances, and I would ask that you continue to treat them with the courtesy and respect that you have always demonstrated in the past.

Finally, I would like to thank you for the support you provide us and your children as parents. Working together is essential to re-establishing the routines that help our young people to settle calmly back into school. These routines also provide them with some certainty in a period of disruption. Please help us by reminding your child of the behaviour expectations we have in school, making sure they attend school regularly, arrive on time, have the equipment they require, including a mask, and correct uniform each day. This allows us to focus on their learning and enjoying each other’s company as we work together. We are really looking forward to seeing them all on Wednesday and feeling the fun and buzz  that is so much part of Educational Diversity’s environment and spirit.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year

Kind regards,

Victoria O’Farrell