Return to School

In line with the Government’s latest advice we are planning for all year groups to return to school from the beginning of the Autumn Term. Please see our term dates here.

The purpose of this page is to outline the way in which we will be able to safely return to School and hopefully to answer a number of questions. During the holidays, we will be implementing all control measures that have been communicated by the Government.

The plan is that 5th Form and Upper Sixth Form pupils will be in lessons on Tuesday 1st September and all other pupils will return in good time for lessons to begin on Thursday 3rd September.

Understandably, there may need to be some change to the normal routines and arrangements that were in place pre-Covid-19. However, what will not change is our commitment to the safety and well-being of the pupils and staff as well as to the provision of excellent education.

As a school we need to balance and minimise any risks from coronavirus (Covid-19) with the provision of a full educational experience. We want our pupils to enjoy their learning and receive a high-quality education that will enable them to thrive. Alongside planning for learning on-site, we will also prepare for continuity of education in the case of a local lockdown.

There will be further updates throughout the summer to provide you with more details. Please be assured that we will be following the system of controls to effectively minimise the risks.

We will ensure that the arrangements in place to help with prevention will:

1)  minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus (Covid-19) symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school

2)  promote hygiene by cleaning hands thoroughly and more often than usual

3)  ensure good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach

4)  introduce enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often, using standard products such as detergents and bleach

5)  minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing wherever possible

The experience of some schools this summer has shown that consistent groups reduce the risk of transmission. We will therefore maintain groups while ensuring that we can deliver the full range of curriculum subjects and pupils can receive specialist teaching. It is likely that year group ‘bubbles’ will be the most practical way to meet this aim. We will also seek to keep ‘bubbles’ apart as much as practicably possible.

The information on this page will be updated on Friday 31st July, Friday 14th August and Friday 21st August.

In the August updates, parents will be invited to attend pre-term meetings, where we will offer face to face contact via Zoom to enable us to hear concerns and to answer any questions that they may have.

The potential reopening of schools in the UK in September brings with it a number of challenges both in terms of the operation of the schools themselves but more importantly in the safety of the children placed in our care by you. At King Edward’s we have adopted the Boarding Schools Association’s Covid Safe Charter and are adhering to all the guidelines issued by the UK Department of Education and Public Health England. The following outlines how we intend on ensuring your child remains in a safe environment where they can flourish as part of the King Edward’s community.

This is not an exhaustive list and the risk assessments are dynamic and will reflect the changing guidelines. We are constantly revisiting our plans for September; however, we hope it answers many of the questions you as parents will have regarding the return of your sons and daughters to the School in September.

Prior to the start of term and travelling to school

  • The School will undergo a complete thorough clean.
  • Boarding Houses, classrooms, the Dining Hall, Piccadilly Cafe, the Sports Complex and recreational areas will be arranged and clearly marked to indicate social distancing and safe movement around the buildings. Procedures will be clearly displayed around the School and there will be hand washing facilities and hand sanitiser stations set up.
  • Staff will have had training on social distancing measures, new procedures and the care and management of pupils.
  • All families will be provided with written information explaining procedures and arrangements for arrival.
  • International pupils and parents will have emergency contact details for King Edward’s, including a 24 hour out-of-hours service while pupils are travelling. All international pupils will receive a letter on school-headed paper confirming arrangements in line with sponsor requirements.
  • The School will offer the opportunity for a 14-day quarantine period for international pupils prior to the start of term if required.
  • Any school transport will be risk assessed so that pupils and staff adhere to social distancing rules and that the transport is clean and organised according to safety guidelines.
  • The Sewing Room will arrange for uniform fittings, following the UK’s guidance for close contact service workers. Please find further information in the FAQs below.
  • Guardians will receive a list of expectations of the roles of guardians.

At school

  • Boarding houses will be arranged in ‘household’ zones according to House and year group and pupils will have clear instructions as to which areas they have access to, including sleeping accommodation, bathrooms, kitchens and recreational space. Clear protocols will be in place and signage in each area. Laundry and cleaning procedures will be made clear and safe for staff and pupils.
  • Pupils will be briefed on the new procedures and measures in place in addition to receiving written guidance at the start of term.
  • A fire drill will take place which will take into account social distancing measures.
  • If pupils or staff wish to wear face masks or coverings, they will be permitted to do so (other than for activities where this is not advised such as strenuous exercise).
  • The procedures in the Dining Hall will follow guidance about social distancing, hand hygiene and food service. Dining areas will allow for social distancing and mealtimes will be staggered.
  • The timetable will reflect changes in procedures throughout the rest of the School and will provide the same academic support for pupils unable to physically attend school as those who can.
  • Provision will be made for sports and activities where social distancing guidelines will be adhered to and any equipment used will be thoroughly cleaned.
  • Subjects where pupils use equipment, such as Design Technology, will be risk assessed and procedures put in place to ensure appropriate hygiene measures are adhered to.
  • Movement around the School will be minimised and one-way systems will be in place.
  • Equipment will not be shared between pupils and will be clearly labelled.
  • The Sewing Room will stock hand sanitiser for sale.
  • The Medical Centre will be run on an appointment system. Medical Centre staff will be trained on caring for potential Covid-19 cases and will work to the guidance issued by Public Health England. There will be an isolated zone in the Medical Centre for receiving and treating pupils with suspected symptoms. Medical Centre staff will have PPE (personal protective equipment) and will conduct temperature checks when necessary. When possible, parents of pupils with symptoms will be asked to collect them from school. Where this is not possible, the School will make provision for isolation and/or quarantine as required.
  • Recreational areas and zones inside and outside the buildings will be marked for different ‘household’ groups.
  • Pastoral support will be provided for all pupils and staff with the opportunity to raise concerns. There will be measures in place to ensure pupil well-being and special arrangements made for pupils who need particular support.
  • Pupils will be made clear of the bullying policy and that any bullying, related to the pandemic or otherwise, will not be tolerated. Please see our Anti-bullying and Cyber-bulling Policy.
  • Day pupils will have procedures for entering the School, including hand-washing facilities upon arrival. Parents of day pupils will be provided with guidelines to allow safe access to and from school and will follow Public Health England guidelines on isolation and quarantine.
  • Visitors will not be permitted into the school buildings unless in exceptional circumstances, with agreement with the Head. Anyone on site will adhere to the protocols in place.

Exeats and leaving school

  • The School will make provision for international pupils requiring accommodation and supervision over the school Exeats. This will also be available for day pupils unable to go home if a family are shielding or a member of the household has symptoms.
  • Boarders will be discouraged from going home during term time, except in special circumstances.
  • Protocols will be in place for transporting luggage and personal effects into and out of the School.

FAQs

What social distancing measures will be taken when the School goes back in September?

Pupils will be in year group households within their houses. Corridors will be one way and there will be a limit to the number of pupils in a class. The Dining Hall will be run in sittings with each household being able to eat together. Social distancing will apply to all areas of school life e.g. activities, sport.

Will pupils be required to wear face masks or coverings during school time? Will there be sufficient access to hand sanitiser within the School?

Unless government guidance changes pupils will not be forced to wear face masks or coverings however they have the choice to wear them if they feel it is appropriate. Hand washing areas will be available and hand sanitiser stations will be set up around the school site.

What plans do you have in place if pupils are required to self-isolate when arriving in September?

For full details regarding our quarantine offer, please click here.

What will happen if schools are required to close in the midst of the next academic year due to another outbreak of Covid-19 in the UK?

We will follow, as always, both UK government and BSA guidance on the safe running of the School. We have an excellent distance learning programme in place that will help maintain the King Edward’s community if the school buildings had to close once again.

Will visas be processed on time?

The Admissions Team continue to issue Tier 4 visas as normal.

What is the contingency plan for teaching if the School is unable to open again in September?

King Edward’s has a distance learning programme in place that will allow all pupils to maintain an excellent level of access to both face to face teaching, online lessons and independent study projects.

How will the School ensure there is no bullying linked to Covid-19?

King Edward’s has a very strong culture of support in its community and the issues surrounding Covid-19 will be discussed in tutor groups and houses and addressed through the PSHE programme. On the rare occasions where bullying may happen, we have strong systems in place to deal with it quickly. King Edward’s does not tolerate bullying or discrimination in any form. Please see our Anti-bullying and Cyber-bulling Policy here.

Will the School be continuing to run outings, sports fixtures and visits for pupils?

The School will follow both UK government and BSA guidance on what is allowed in terms of weekend and evening outings and regarding our sports fixtures programme. We are working hard with other local independent schools to ensure that, when we are allowed to resume these activities, we are able to do in a safe manner.

Will boarders share a room? Will each of them have their own desk?

Boarders will generally share a room throughout their time at King Edward’s until they reach the Upper Sixth Form, when they are guaranteed a single room. We are taking social distancing measures into account in all aspects of boarding. Every child has access to their own work area, including desk, safe and chair.

Will indoor sports facilities and the swimming pool be open in September?

Our indoor sports facilities, including sports hall, squash courts and gym will be open and will be thoroughly cleaned regularly. Our indoor swimming pool will remain closed and we will follow UK government advice regarding its reopening.

Is it mandatory for boarders to leave the School at Exeats and Half Term? Will the School consider allowing them to stay in their boarding houses?

King Edward’s is developing plans for allowing pupils to remain at School over Exeats and Half Terms.

How can we order school uniforms?

Details of uniform requirements are set out in the Parents’ Guide which all new parents received in June. King Edward’s has a Sewing Room and a school shop available to support all your needs in terms of uniform.

Prior to coming to the School to collect your child’s uniform please contact the Sewing Room directly (01428 686764) to arrange a fitting appointment. Please note that fittings are strictly by appointment only. At the time of booking please provide the following information:

Boys
Waist size and inside leg measurement (inches only)

Girls
Waist size and measurement from waist to just above the knee
(inches only)

On the day of fitting

Please enter the School via the Piccadilly Cafe entrance accessed via Gurdon’s Lane, to enable your temperature to be taken. For directions please see the school map page. Signs will direct you to the Sewing Room.

  • Please wait outside the Sewing Room, keeping 2 metres from any other families waiting, until you are called in.
  • Please ensure parents and pupils wear face masks throughout the fitting.
  • Only one adult per child/ren plus no additional children unless they are very young.
  • To maintain a safe working distance, fitting assistance by Sewing Room staff will be limited. Staff will have access to necessary PPE. If items of clothing are  incorrectly sized, these can be exchanged once the term has started.
  • Only card payments will be accepted
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