CORONAVIRUS UPDATE - 25 August 2020
Blessed George Napier School Update 15 July 2020
25 August 2020
Please see latest letter regarding returning to school in September which can be found below and under Our School/Letters Home.
15 July 2020
As we come to the end of what has definitely been one of the most challenging years in education that any of us can remember, I would like to say a massive thank you to all our parents for the fantastic support you have given to our students during the period of lockdown and remote learning. We have been so impressed by the resilience, dedication and independence shown by so many students, as they calmly and determinedly worked through their courses online, with their teachers.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our staff for their professionalism and dedication during this time. They have worked incredibly hard and managed to move the entire curriculum online and begin delivering lessons remotely using the learning platform in less than a week. Their teamwork has been inspirational.
It has been lovely to see year 10 and year 12 students return to school this term and we are very much looking forward to welcoming back all students in September. Our new year 7 cohort have not had the opportunity of spending time with us this term and we are mindful of the fact that they may feel a little anxious. We would like to reassure them and all our parents that we are making careful plans so that all students can be fully supported as we begin the new academic year.
As we look towards September, like all schools, there are a number of changes that we will have to make to the way we operate at Blessed George Napier. The safety of staff and students is, as always, our primary concern. We have thoroughly reviewed our risk assessments in line with the most recent government guidance and have an altered timetable and some changes have been made to the pattern of the school day, at least in the first term. This is due to government advice that all schools must minimise the number of contacts between different groups of staff and students during the school day.
Under the new guidance, year groups are not allowed to mix in school and one consequence of this is that we will have staggered breaks, no face to face whole school assembly and other school events may have to take place in different ways. We are still working through some of these details and we will update students and parents in due course.
I am sure that you will have many questions and we attach a guide that aims to answer some that you may initially have. Please bear with us as this is an evolving situation. I can only assure you that the primary focus for all staff at BGN is the health and happiness of all students. Only then can they reach their true potential and become the amazing young people that God means them to be.
Q & A
What should I do if my child has a temperature or is unwell with other symptoms?
If your child or any member of the household has a temperature, a new cough or loss of taste/smell (anosmia) then they must not come to school. They must get tested for Covid-19 as soon as possible, by contacting NHS 111. Please phone the school office for to inform us as soon as possible by calling the office on 01295 264 216, and speaking to Mrs Thornton, our Attendance Officer.
What are the arrangements for the start of term in September?
There will be a different start date for different year groups in September, which is explained below. This is because we need to ensure that each group is given sufficient care and attention on their return, and that they are fully aware of all safety restrictions. Each year group will begin their year with a special assembly to explain all the changes that we have to put in place.
Wednesday 2nd September – Year 7 and Year 12 attend
Year 7 will be met by their tutor and Head of Year, Mr Crawford, on the front playground on the first day. We need to kindly ask parents to drop students off and not to come onto the playground with them, due to the current restrictions. Year 12 will be given instructions on arrival.
Thursday 3rd September – Year 7, Year 8 and Year 12 attend
Friday 4th September – Year 7, Year 8, Year 9, Year 10 and Year 12 attend
Monday 7th September – all year groups are in school
What time will my child start school in September?
KS3 students should arrive in school at 8:45 and go straight to their tutor room as indicated on their new timetable.
KS4 and Sixth form students should arrive in school by 9:00 and they should go straight to their tutor room as indicated on their timetable.
All students arriving by bus should go straight to their tutor room once the bus arrives. No students should enter the main hall or congregate in the playground or in corridors. Where possible, students should avoid arriving in school earlier than 8:45.
The day will end at 3:20 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and at 2:20 on Wednesday as is currently the case.
How will the day be organised?
Timetables for 2020/2021 will be available on the VLE learning platform from Tuesday 1st September. Year 7 students will receive details about how to log on to the learning platform on their first day. All students will also be given a paper copy of their timetable.
- There will be four teaching sessions during the day, and the maximum length of time a session will last will be 1.5 hours. This is to reduce the total number of contacts between staff and students.
- Students will not move around school freely as before. They will remain in their allocated classroom and teachers will move between groups. This is because each time a new group enters a classroom it must be cleaned, and so transfers must be kept to a minimum.
- Each year group will be assigned a staggered 30 minute break for lunch and there will be food available in the canteen at this time. Other short breaks will be arranged by teachers on a rota basis.
- We would advise all students to bring an extra snack and drinks into school, because they will only have access to the canteen during their lunch time. Vending machines will not be available.
What equipment do I need to bring into school?
There is a full equipment list the school website under the section called ‘Our School’.
Please follow the link below:
Students will not be allowed to borrow or share equipment such as pens and pencils and so it is especially important that they come fully equipped with everything they need.
Will there be additional rules to keep everyone safe?
- Our normal Blessed George Napier rules will apply and as always, everything we do is based on our five gospel values – Compassion, Respect, Truth, Service, Forgiveness
- Students must clean their hands thoroughly when they enter school, after using the toilet and before eating
- Students must use hand sanitizer when instructed to do so
- Year groups are not allowed to mix at any time and must remain in separate ‘bubbles’ throughout the day. The timetable and rooming has been designed to accommodate this.
- Students will be informed about which toilets their year group are allowed to use.
- Students will be advised to maintain a safe distance from each other as far as possible when moving round the school or when waiting in line
- Students are not required to wear gloves or facemasks in school. Face coverings may be worn if a student chooses. However, if this is the case, students must bring a clean plastic bag into school to place the mask in if they take it off during the day. Disposable masks must be taken home and disposed of in the waste at home – they must under no circumstances be placed in school waste
- Lockers will not be available initially because unfortunately they are located in different areas from those allocated to year groups
- There will be separate communication regarding the safety measures in place on school buses
- Students should bring tissues to school and practice good respiratory hygiene as described in the ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ campaign
- At the end of the school day students must leave site immediately, maintaining a safe distance from others. They must not congregate, and they must not walk home with others from different year group bubbles, unless they live in the same household
We understand you may will have a lot of questions regarding the new academic year, exam results, transport provision etc. Please be assured we are busy working on your behalf to get this information to you ASAP.
We are at the end of our first week of face-to-face teaching for Years 10 and 12. It has been a joy to watch more students arrive through the gates of BGN. I appreciate the efforts of parents in getting their children to school for these sessions. Attendance has been outstanding and students have gained a great deal from the time they have spent with their teachers. I would also like to thank the parents and students in other year groups, who continue to work from home using the VLE.
Whilst there is still not clarity surrounding what schools will look like after the summer holidays, staff are now in the process of planning for the Autumn term and looking at how we can further support all our students at BGN.
In order to ensure our staff have the time to meet and organise in detail what the curriculum for each year group will look like in September, on Friday 3 July there will be a whole staff planning day. Therefore, there will not be any online lessons set for students on this day. The provision for Key Worker children will continue as normal.
I would like to thank each and every one of you again for your continued support.
Partial re-opening of BGN
As many of you will know, Blessed George Napier School has remained open throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to support the children of Key Workers and other students that the DfE has asked us to be mindful of. This has not been face-to-face teaching but instead has involved supervised study in the LRC where the students have completed the work that has been set by their teachers online. We are glad we have been able to support our parents in this way and have had a consistent number of students attending. However, our main focus throughout has been to provide high quality remote education for students who are learning from home via the VLE.
We are now preparing for a wider re-opening of the school as the DfE have asked us to provide some face-to-face teaching for Years 10 and 12 students, commencing on 15 June. The DfE have been very clear that a priority for all schools is to continue to provide high quality remote learning for students in all years. I wish to assure you that this will continue to be the case for our students.
The guidelines regarding the safe reopening of schools have been set out very clearly and the school must adhere to these. Unfortunately, this means we are unable to offer students in other year groups face-to-face teaching at the current time. Please be assured that this will be kept under review as guidelines change. The maximum number of students in any group is limited to 15. This is to allow for adequate social distancing and close supervision. This includes our Key Worker student group.
Please be assured that we will do everything possible to support our students and parents at this time and we thank you for your continued understanding.
Partial re-opening for Yr 10 & 12
You may be aware that the Department for Education have asked secondary schools to extend their opening so they can offer some face-to-face teaching with Years 10 and 12 before the end of the summer term. We have been working hard at BGN to ensure that we can do this from 15 June, in line with the very stringent government guidelines which are currently in place.
Students will be taught in small groups, maintaining social distancing at all times, whilst adhering to a new and more strict hygiene and cleaning regime.
Inevitably, due to the constraints that we are presently under, we are only able to offer a limited number of sessions this term. The main form of education that schools are asked to provide continues to be remote learning through our VLE system.
Please find below a Q&A sheet which will give you more information about how this new system will work.
We would like to thank all our parents for the incredible amount of support we continue to receive through this very difficult time and we wish to reassure you that the continued safety of staff and students at BGN is our main priority.
Q&A Sheet for Years 10 and 12
If my child is in Years 10 or 12, should they attend school from Monday 15 June?
No. There are very strict guidelines which the school must follow to ensure that any staff and students coming onto the school site are safe. Therefore, students must only attend school on the days they have been specifically allocated.
Is my child expected to attend school on days when they have been allocated a place?
We wish to give all students in Years 10 and 12 the opportunity for some face-to-face teaching this term. If your child is unable to attend a session they are invited to, please can you contact the ‘Attendance Absence’ line in the normal way, stating the reason. Unfortunately, please note we are unable to offer an alternative session due to the strict safety guidelines regarding groupings of students. If a student is clinically extremely vulnerable, or they live with someone in their household who is shielding due to being in the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ group, they should not attend school.
Will my child be safe if they attend Blessed George Napier School?
We have undertaken a very careful risk assessment and are following the guidance from the DfE and other organisations. It is believed that transmission within the community is lower than it was when schools closed to most students. Provided that students follow all the social distance rules in school, avoid public transport, and do not mix with other groups of students on the journey to and from school, the risk of increased transmission of the virus, Covid-19, is low. We have implemented increased cleaning and hygiene procedures in school and all students will be expected to comply with this, washing their hands under supervision for example. However, the risk of catching Covid-19 is not zero. Please read the advice for parents that is provided by the DfE at:
Will my child be taught by their usual teacher?
No. To ensure that there are a minimum number of different contacts within the school community, students will be taught in small groups of no more than 15. Teachers will interact with the least possible number of groups. It is inevitable at KS4 and KS5 that students will have to mix because they study a combination of option subjects. A rota system will be used to ensure that mixing is minimised and that, if there is mixing, there is then a gap of time before students mix with a different cohort. Teachers will also work in smaller groups and so not all teachers for a particular subject will be in school on the same day for example.
What happens if my child, or someone in the family is ill?
If anyone in the family has symptoms, especially fever, cough, or loss of taste/smell, then they must contact 111 and arrange a test. None of the children in the family should attend school until Covid-19 has been ruled out and the school have agreed it is safe for them to return. In line with our risk assessment, we may ask a child to continue working at home if they or a family member has tested negative. This is because there is a risk of false negative swab test results.
What happens if my child becomes ill at school?
Anyone who develops symptoms at school must go home immediately. Therefore, you must arrange for your child to be collected immediately if this happens. If you are working and unable to do this, you must ensure that you have made arrangements in advance to organise this.
Will my child be able to buy lunch?
No. In order to keep all students and staff safe, each group of 15 students will remain in the same room during the session and if there is more than one subject timetabled, teachers will move rooms but students will remain in the same room. Students will need to bring a packed lunch, snacks and drinks for the entire day with them. They will not have access to the dining hall or the vending machines (which are out of use). As always, students are not permitted to leave site during the day.
Will the school buses operate to and from Bicester?
Unfortunately, at the present time, the bus company are unable to operate a normal service. The school day will have a later than usual start to enable students from outside Banbury more time to get to school. At present, the guidelines do not allow for people from different households to share a car.
Will my child be allowed to walk home with their friends?
No. Students will be advised they are not to walk home with others from outside the group they attended school with on that day. The DfE have been very clear about their concerns around groups of children mixing on the way to and from school. This is why the start and end times of the day will be staggered and students will be expected to leave the school site very promptly at the end of the day. They cannot wait for others who were part of a different group during that day. They should go straight home and not congregate in parks, shops or other areas in the community.
Will work be set for my child on the days when they are not on the school site?
Yes. The DfE have asked schools to prioritise remote learning and students will continue to be set work at home.
What should my child do now?
- Only attend at the specific times allocated to them. Parents will receive an email giving further details regarding times and dates.
- Come to school wearing full school uniform if they are in Year 10 and according to the dress code if they are in Year 12. Please bear in mind the normal school rules regarding hair, make-up and jewellery will still apply.
- Bring a packed lunch and any snacks and drinks with them, required for the session. Please also bring in any equipment required as sharing of equipment will not be allowed. Laptops will not be required for face-to-face sessions.
- Follow all instructions and guidance from staff regarding increased hygiene measures in school.
- Arrive in school at the specified time and go straight to their allocated classroom. Please do not congregate anywhere on the school site.
- Students will be required to remain in their designated classrooms throughout the session and supervised toilet breaks will be arranged.
- Leave the school site promptly at the end of the school day and return home immediately.
- Normal school rules regarding mobile devices will apply.
If your trip has been cancelled, our Finance Department are currently doing everything possible to reclaim the costs incurred, either through the venue or our insurance company. The current circumstances are unprecedented and there are delays due to the volume of claims being processed and companies not being able to work at full capacity. We will be in contact with parents affected as soon as we have further information. Thank you for your understanding.
Staff may contact students via home phones. Please be aware, if this happens, numbers will be shown as unknown or withheld number.
The VLE remains the primary method of communication between students and staff. We have asked staff to take some feedback from their classes, to find out how students are finding the specific work they are being set. This will help teachers to modify tasks, where necessary.
We will continue to put updated information onto our school website and occasionally, where there is the need, we will email or text parents.
Our school site remains closed to all but a very small number of people in order to reduce the risk of infection. We would remind all students they should not be visiting each other’s homes or congregating together outside at any time.
We would like to thank you for your continued support during these challenging times and will keep you updated of any further changes.
Information on staying safe on the internet from the NCA CEOP website can be found at http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk. This contains links to advice for children at different age groups, parents/carers and professionals including teachers
Please find below a link for children who may be anxious following recent announcements.
A guide for parents regarding social media and how to keep your child safe can be found at
Contact details for Childine can be found at:
Where to find the latest information
Updates on COVID-19:
Travel advice for those travelling and living overseas: