Returning to Thetford Academy FAQs

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July 16th 2020

We're very excited to be welcoming students back to school this September. To do so safely we have had to make some changes to how school runs. Here is a summary of the major changes, and the questions you have asked us about them.

Where does my child go at the start of the day?

Each year group will have a separate entrance:

  • Year 7 through the large vehicle gate opposite the canteen
  • Year 8 through the fire exit on the back corner of the sports hall
  • Year 9 through the main pupil gate
  • Year 10 through the rear gate near the field, off Tennyson Way
  • Year 11 through the large vehicle gate at the rear of the school, between the sports hall and the main car park

Pupils will be directed to a supervised area where they will be lined up in groups ready to be collected by their teachers for their first lesson.

Pupils will need to sanitise their hands on entering the school site.

What if my child is late?

If they arrive between 8.45am and 9am they enter the site through the gate opposite main reception and sign in at the canteen. If they arrive after 9:00am they should go into Reception. This is the same as they would do currently.

How should my child get to school?

Pupils should walk or cycle if possible. If they do need to take public transport it is the law that they must wear a face mask.

Does my child need to wear normal uniform?

The government recommends that schools apply their normal uniform policies in September. We will follow this recommendation. There is no need to wash uniform more often than normal.

 What does my child need to bring to school?

There are no special requirements for next year. However, students will not be able to share or borrow equipment. Please make sure they have a fully-stocked pencil case, including spare pens and pencils. 

What does my child need to wear on PE days?

Pupils will now wear their PE kit all day when they have their PE lessons. This is to reduce the number of students in confined changing room space.

The full TTA PE kit list is available on the website, and students must wear the correct kit. Should pupils wish to wear something on top of their PE polo shirt they should wear their blazer. 

Pupils only wear PE kit when they have Core PE. They do not come to school in PE kit if they only have BTEC PE or Performing Arts option lessons.

Are after school activities still running?

Yes, but government restrictions mean that we will have a more limited after school offer than normal. The maximum size of a group with multiple year groups will be fifteen students. This means we cannot offer as many spaces as normal. A programme of the after school activities on offer will be made available in September.

Are you changing the times of the school day?

Our school day timings remain the same.  The school day will start at 8.45am and end at 3pm as normal.  Year 11 pupils will attend compulsory GCSE intervention for 3-4pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Does my child need to wear a face mask?

Government guidance currently states that:

 "Public Health England does not (based on current evidence) recommend the use of face coverings in schools. This evidence will be kept under review. They are not required in schools as pupils and staff are mixing in consistent groups, and because misuse may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission. There may also be negative effects on communication and thus education."

Based on this guidance, pupils do not need to wear a face mask. However, they are welcome to do so if they wish.

Does my child need to attend school?

Yes, the return to school is compulsory. We recognise that some children may be nervous about returning to school. This is completely understandable. If your child is concerned about returning to school we ask that you let us know so that we can make sure we support them.

What if my child is clinically vulnerable, or living with someone who is clinically vulnerable?

Shielding is being paused from 1st August. That means that even pupils who are clinically vulnerable can return to school. If the rate of infection in the Breckland area rises then the government may re-introduce shielding. If your child has a severe medical condition and you are concerned for their safety then please speak to us. We will work with you and their medical care team to make sure they are safely educated.

What if my child is ill?

The symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • A continuous cough (that last three hours or more)
  • A high temperature
  • A loss, or change in, sense of smell

If your child develops these symptoms you must ensure they self-isolate and book them a test. Please phone the absence line and let us know this has happened. They must self-isolate until they have a negative test result back, or until seven days have passed.

If your child is ill with other symptoms then they should come to school as normal, unless they are too unwell. If they are too ill to attend school then phone the absence line as normal.

What if my child tests positive for coronavirus?

Please phone the school to let us know straight away. We have to notify Public Health England and take their advice. We will communicate with you about when it is safe for your child to return to school.

What if someone else in my household develops symptoms of coronavirus?

Everyone in your household needs to self-isolate. This self-isolation needs to last for fourteen days. It can end sooner if the unwell person receives a negative test result. If your child is self-isolating please call the absence line to let us know.

What if someone in my household tests positive for coronavirus?

Please call the school to let us know. The NHS Test and Trace programme will tell you how long to self-isolate for.

What if my child develops symptoms at school?

We will look after them and make sure they are safe. We will take them to a space away from other pupils and ask them to wait whilst we call you to arrange to take them home. You can choose to collect them, or for them to make their own way home. If they have siblings they will also have to go home at the same time. Please make sure we have up to date contact details so that we can reach you if this happens.

What if I've changed my phone number?

We must have accurate contact details that we can use to reach you during the day. This is so that if your child develops coronavirus symptoms we can arrange to send them home. If you have changed your mobile or work numbers then please let us know.

What will happen if another child in the school tests positive for coronavirus?

If there is a positive test result in the school then we will contact the local Health Protection Team. This is a team within Public Health England who monitor cases across Norfolk. They will tell us what we need to do. This will be based on the wider situation in the area, and who the infected student has interacted with. We will always follow the Health Protection Team's instructions.