Here is the Principal's Weekly Newsletter video. Please see below if you simply wish to read the information or access the links.
As you may already know we have successfully implemented rapid Covid-19 testing site in school.
As per the government guidelines, we are testing staff once a week and offering initial mass testing for students followed by serial testing when required. You may be aware that ESCC have advised the local authority schools that they should not participate in mass testing however as a Multi Academy Trust we are able to make our own decision. I feel very strongly that, with some careful organisation and training, not only is testing possible but absolutely the right thing to do. If we cannot ‘vaccinate to educate’ then we must do the next best thing which is to test as much as possible.
Last term, Students having to self-isolate for 10 days if they had been in close contact had a devastating impact on their learning; mass testing will help immensely. It would be very easy for KAR to refuse to engage, as a protest for vaccinations but if that doesn’t happen, then I want my school community to be as safe as possible. We have been overwhelmed by the number of parents who have offered to help with mass testing as well as the dedication of our own administration team. We are therefore in a position to start mass testing when school reopens. With this newsletter is a short film on the testing process and an FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
How will rapid Covid-19 testing work?
When students attend school after lockdown restrictions are lifted they will be mass tested for Covid 19. Year group by year group.
How many times to do the students have to be tested?
We test all members of our school community. To complete the testing process, you must be tested twice, approximately 3 days apart.
What is a rapid Covid-19 test?
A rapid Covid-19 test involves a simple swab, which students can administer themselves in their mouth under the supervision and guidance of a trained test assistant.
We have created a short film for you to show you the testing process. With thanks to Ella whose parents are critical workers.
Students who have had confirmed COVID19 test results within the past 90 days must not attend the testing process as the lateral flow tests indicate positive results for 90 days post-contracting so false positives will be recorded.
Is testing compulsory?
Participation is voluntary and active consent is required. We will be sending out consent forms to all parents once we know when lockdown is being lifted and schools are reopening. If you decide that you would NOT like your child to be tested this does not prevent them coming into school. It would mean that if they were confirmed as a direct contact they would have to self-isolate for 10 days as opposed to being given a daily test on site at school for 5-7 days which allows them to remain in school each day if they are negative.
How will we be told the test result?
Test results take at least 30 minutes to process. We will then contact, by telephone, anyone whose test result was positive. If you haven’t heard from us then this means your test result was negative, which will also be confirmed to you via email
Where do students go for this test?
The student will be allocated a time to go to the testing centre and will be accompanied there by a teacher. Parents will not be permitted to accompany students.
What happens if my child tests positive for Covid-19?
We will require you to come into school to collect your child. We will issue you with a PCR test which your child must take to confirm the positive result. If this is also positive your child and the household must continue self-isolate and follow the government guidance linked here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-and-treatment/ .
We will provide remote work for them to complete during their isolation time.
What do parents need to do now?
Complete the google form consent when we send it to you and must be complete before your child’s test date. Any child who arrives on site without consent will not be permitted to have a test.
Year 11 GCSE Assessment
The Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson sent a letter to the Head of OFQUAL on Wednesday asking him to consult on alternative arrangements for GCSE, AS and A levels which should involve the awarding of grades based on teacher assessment. In it he also states that BTECs
"have suffered similar levels of disruption" and wants "to ensure that students taking these qualifications are not disadvantaged in comparison to their peers taking GCSEs, AS and A levels". This has led to the planned exams for BTEC in February now being cancelled. In the letter he writes that the consultation will commence later this week and will run for a fortnight. As a school we will respond to the consultation in the best interests of our students. You and your child may also put forward your opinions. We will be in contact once the consultation is released with details of how you might do this. A copy of the letter is attached to the weekly newsletter. Key points identified for the consultation are:
- Teachers will be asked to assess their students.
- A breadth of evidence should inform teachers’ judgements.
- Training and guidance will support teachers to reach their assessment of a student’s deserved grade.
- The consultation should explore the possibility of providing externally set tasks or exam papers, in order that teachers can draw on this resource to support their assessments of students, as well as what broader evidence should determine a teacher’s assessment of a student’s grade.
- The consultation should set out proposals which allow students to be assessed based on what they have learnt, rather than against content they have not had a chance to study.
- For BTECs where assessment has already been completed, this will be taken into account when awarding a result, but will need to have alternative arrangements to any examined assessments and that the consultation should seek views on the detail of these arrangements.
Point 4 implies that consideration may be given to some form of exam paper being put in place, which appears contrary to the announcement made previously, however in his announcement about exams earlier this month the Prime Minister said exams would not go ahead, "as normal". We will continue to update you regarding how assessment will take place as we receive more detail.