Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance
LATEST UPDATE: 23 FEBRUARY 2021
Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope you are all well. As you are probably aware, the government announced a full return to schools from Monday 8th March 2021. This means that Newhaven will be fully open and that all students are expected to be in school from this date (unless they are clinically extremely vulnerable and have been advised to shield). I haven’t had time to read the full guidance yet as it includes 22 documents published or updated yesterday but will keep you updated with any new information.
What I can tell you is that school feels safe. We haven’t had any positive cases for a month now and continue to maintain the COVID-19 risk assessment in school. Testing has added extra reassurance. I can also let you know that:
- We will close for an INSET day on Friday 5th March so we can be sure we are fully ready for the Monday. There will be no students expected in school or online learning on this day.
- On return to school, students will be asked to take three COVID-19 lateral flow tests in school in the first fortnight and one at home. After that, we will be giving your child 2 lateral flow tests a week to take at home. Staff will also be tested twice a week.
- Staff and students who test positive will continue to have to self-isolate as will those who have been in close contact with them.
Exams and grades
The government have not yet told us finally how exam grades will be calculated this year. We will continue to collect as high quality evidence as we can so that your child has the best possible chance of getting the best grades they can. This means that high attendance and high engagement for year 11s and 6th formers finishing courses is really important.
Expectations around attendance, punctuality, behaviour and uniform will continue to be high. Please support us in supporting your child to turn up to school as ready to learn as possible.
It’s been a tough year and this feels like a major step in the right direction to get things back to normal. I know that there are likely to be some difficult times still to come so please get in touch with us to discuss any concerns you have.
11 January 2020 update
Dear Parent or Carer,
As you may have heard, the government are now rolling out a programme of testing in schools to reduce the need to self-isolate. I am hopeful that from next week (w/c 18th January 2020) students and staff who come into close contact with someone who tests positive for coronavirus will have the choice to:
A: Self-isolate for 10 days or
B: Come to school and take a 30 minute coronavirus test and stay in school if this is negative.
The aim of this is that we can keep school open more, identify cases of COVID-19 sooner, and therefore make school safer. The tests are voluntary but I’d like to encourage everyone who can to take one – I will be.
These tests will not replace our current measures and we will still expect people to follow the current risk assessment, especially around hand washing, wearing of masks and social distancing.
If you are happy for your child to be tested, please fill in this form and return it to the school office or via email to email@example.com. If your child is not attending school currently but you would be happy for them to take the tests when they return, then please complete and send the form in.
Results will be shared directly with staff and pupils participating as well as parents of those from Years 7 to 11.
What if a student tests positive?
Pupils will need to take a further ‘PCR test’ (similar to those done in testing sites) to confirm the positive result. They will be able to do this at school or take a test kit home. During this time, while they wait for the PCR result (via text/email), they will need to self-isolate until they get their result. If it is negative, the pupil can return to Newhaven.
If the result of this secondary test is positive, the pupil and household members will need to self-isolate for 10 days following Government guidelines. Please inform us as soon as possible.
What if a student tests negative?
They will be able to stay in school as usual. A pupil will only be told if they test positive in the first ‘lateral flow’ test, so if you do not hear, you can assume it was negative.
What if my child develops symptoms?
This testing programme at Newhaven is for people with no symptoms. If your child develops symptoms at any time (such as a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) they must immediately self-isolate, and book a test by calling 119 or visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
I hope this all makes sense. If not, then please ring the school or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will answer your questions. Please complete the form to give consent for the testing as soon as you can.
Jon Kelly (Headteacher)
5 January 2020 update
Dear Parents and Carers,
If you are like me I expect you are really fed up with the lockdown and also with the constant changes to government direction to schools. I am writing to you in light of the government lockdown from last night.
Lockdown and school opening
The evidence and government policy now say that the safest place for your children is at home unless they need to be in school for matters of mental health and wellbeing. As a result, Newhaven will continue to be open throughout lockdown but it is very much a decision to be made with you whether your child is better off at home or in school. There will be no attendance penalties if the decision is made for them to stay at home and we will continue to be in contact with you so any decision can be changed if this seems to be for the best.
The curriculum will mainly go online from tomorrow. Your child can access these lessons through their Google Drive. They will have received training for this in school and I have attached some guidance for you here:
They can access lessons through the links in their Google Calendar or links in emails from teachers. If you have no laptop or trouble accessing the internet at home please get in touch. We have a number of laptops that we can give out to support with this. If we’ve already received a laptop and it isn’t working then we can’t replace it, but let us know and we might be able to fix it. I have also attached a student and parent participation agreement for you to read through:
From Wednesday to Friday, we will trial this using your child’s normal timetable. If possible, please encourage them to log on as much as they can and let us know if there are any problems. The idea is that by Friday we will be able to iron out any glitches and will then send you a timetable with 2-3 hours of online lessons a day for your child which will be supplemented with other work to be done. This may look different in some areas of the school, such as the Foundation classes. Again, we will be in touch. This timetable will start next week.
Ongoing communication and support
If your child is at home we will be contacting you at least once a week and often more, just to check that everything is OK with them and you. Please feel free to contact us if you have any concerns. We will continue to offer support through our pastoral staff, clinical psychologists and referral to other agencies. This is a tough time for everyone so please let us know if you are struggling.
All we know is that the exams are off for Year 11s and 6th formers this year. We don’t know what the replacement assessment procedure will be yet. I expect, however, that any grades students get will have to be based on firm evidence of work samples. It is therefore really important that Year 11s and 6th formers access their online lessons. We may also invite them in at some time to complete specific bits of work.
Free School Meals
We have had no news yet about the provision of vouchers for free school meals but the school’s aim is that we will be providing these. I will update you as soon as the government lets us know.
Finally, a happier New Year to you all and hopefully a more stable period where we can just get on with teaching your kids the best we can. See you soon.
Jon Kelly (Headteacher)
31 December 2020 update
Dear Parents and Carers,
RE: Opening in January
Newhaven will be open for all students from Wednesday 6th January 2020
After the government announcement yesterday stating that most secondary schools will delay opening for students, I am writing to update you on details for school from next week. We have slightly more flexibility as an alternative/special provision so Newhaven will be open for all students from Wednesday 6th January. I am keeping school closed to students for one extra day to allow for adequate preparation to be made.
We have made school as safe as possible for your children to attend but I am aware that there is a risk and that risk was clearly growing before the Christmas break. We will continue to apply our risk assessment with social distancing, hand washing, masks and rigorous cleaning routines. School will also be made safer by a new testing regime that we are introducing (see details below).
We expect all students in but I am aware that there will be people who, due to medical reasons and the like, will feel unable to return. We will be in touch with you all on Monday and Tuesday but please call us if you have any concerns you wish to discuss.
Pupils who do not attend will be expected to log into lessons online through Google Classroom. This will be for their usual timetables unless you are told differently (eg: for practical lessons, off-site lessons or foundation classes).
We aim for a robust testing programme to be in place in school from the next couple of weeks. This depends on tests being made available by the government and the support of Greenwich’s public health team. There are three strands to the testing:
1. Testing for all staff and students who are returning to secondary school this week is available on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of January. You can book this by following this link. The more students who get tested, then the more secure the school can be that we are safe. Please let us know the results of your tests.
Follow this link to book a test before returning to school (if there are no more tests available then let us know and return to school anyway).
2. Weekly testing of staff so we have enough staff to keep the school open and can avoid self-isolation for staff where it is unnecessary.
3. Daily testing for 7 days for students and staff who have had identified close contact with a positive person. This will mean they can stay in school and won’t have to self-isolate unless they test positive.
The aim for 2 and 3 is that they will be available from the week beginning 18/1/21. Until then we will follow the current guidance and send staff and students home to self-isolate if they display symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.
Testing is voluntary and you will receive details about giving your consent soon. Students without consent will follow the current risk assessment and will be sent home to self-isolate for 10 days following close contact with anyone who tests positive.
The usual timetable and lessons will be running at Newhaven Gardens, AC, NEST and King’s Park with the exception of college on a Thursday and AHOY sessions. Students who attend these sessions should stay at home when they would normally be at them except if they are at King’s Park, and then they should go to school.
Online learning for students not attending school will follow their normal timetable in most other cases. Students can access these lessons through their Google Drive using links in their emails and calendars. We will be sending further details of how to do this on Monday and Tuesday. Please contact the school if you have any problems.
I continue to appreciate your co-operation with the school and can only again apologise for the late notice for yet further changes. From my point of view, I am continually frustrated by the late guidance we receive and the lack of clarity it often contains. I’d like to reassure you that we have been working hard since new guidance was issued at the end of term and then changed again yesterday. In that time I have been directed to close the school, open the school, partially open the school, close the school and then open the school fully!
Newhaven’s aim is to keep your child and our staff as safe as we can while still allowing them access to the best possible educational experience.
I sincerely hope that you have had a restful Christmas break and that you have a Happy New Year – whatever it might bring.
Jon Kelly (Headteacher)
15 December 2020 update
Dear Parents and Carers,
You may be aware that the government has instructed Greenwich to reopen its schools from tomorrow. My intention is that we will maintain things as they are for the rest of the week but please be aware that if your child is better off in school then you should give us a ring today so we can re-plan staffing ratios and be ready for tomorrow. If you make the decision that they are now better off at home for the next few days then that will be fine too and will not lead to any problems. The reasons we are not going for a full reopen immediately are as follows:
- We know that the impact of constant change on our students is often massive and detrimental to their mental health.
- The level of risk in the borough is high and continues to rise. Yesterday, 498 more students went into self-isolation in Greenwich including one from Newhaven.
- The number of staff self-isolating is now perilously close to a situation where staying open is non-sustainable.
Jon Kelly (Headteacher)
14 December 2020 update:
Dear Parents and Carers,
Re: Newhaven school closure 15/12/20-18/12/20
You may have heard in the media that Greenwich council has decided that all schools should close between now and Christmas. This means that Newhaven will be closed from tomorrow except for your child if you are a key worker and cannot make alternative arrangements or if the mental wellbeing of your child is compromised by not being in school for these days. We will be in touch with people we think are in these groups today but please call in or email if you think your child should be in school and you haven’t heard from us. I have attached the letter to parents from council leader Danny Thorpe.
I am gutted that we have to make this decision as we have worked very hard to stay open as much as possible at a time that has been extremely difficult for families, children and my staff. I have to say, however, that I do support the decision. The escalation of Covid-19 positive cases in Greenwich, particularly in the 10-19 age group has been rapid. We have had more positive cases since last Thursday than we have had since the start of this in March. This means that the risk of contracting Covid in school is rising.
Our priority as a school is to keep everyone safe and as such we will move most learning online until the end of term. Please do the following:
- If your child is already self isolating then please continue to do so until the date specified in my email last week.
- Most other children will also be working at home. Please ensure they are completing at least 2 hours of work a day until Friday. This will mainly be on Google Classroom where teachers will be setting work but could also include revision of topics they have studied by accessing online resources of watching relevant videos on YouTube. Any difficulties then please contact the school. You will be called by mentors and tutors over the next couple of days to make sure everything is OK.
- If you are a key worker and cannot make alternative childcare arrangements. Please make sure you let us know today. We will be contacting all parents in this category that we know about but if we don’t by early evening then send an email to this address so we can welcome your child in the morning.
- If your child’s emotional wellbeing is better served by being in school rather than at home for this week, then please let us know and we will be happy to see them tomorrow. Again, if we have not contacted you to discuss this by this evening then please email this address and we will welcome your child in the morning and ring you tomorrow.
The curriculum offer will be adapted in school depending on how many children we have in. If your child is in school, then please remind them of the importance of social distancing, wearing a mask if they can and regular handwashing. Staff will be doing their utmost to make sure all are as safe as possible.
Finally, thanks very much for your continued devotion to your children and the way you have worked with us to keep the school going this year. I am hopeful things will improve after the Christmas break but in the mean time, stay well, keep yourselves safe and please get in touch if you need to discuss anything.
Jon Kelly (Headteacher)
11 December 2020 update:
Dear Parents and Carers,
We have been advised that there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 amongst the staff at Newhaven. This means that we are asking the classes that the person taught to self-isolate. If this affects your child, you will have received a separate email and/or telephone call. If not, your child is not affected and may come to school as usual.
If your child has been asked to isolate then they should begin to work online using google classroom. Mentors and teachers will be in touch today or early next week to make sure they know what they are doing. Please ring the school if you have any questions. We will be providing vouchers for Free School meals next week for those who are isolating and have received them before. Again, please call if you are expecting vouchers and they do not arrive early next week.
If your child has not been asked to isolate then they should continue to attend school. They should also continue to wash their hands regularly, socially distance and wear a mask where appropriate. We are doing everything we can to keep them safe and minimise any spread of the virus including deep cleaning the rooms used by the member of staff. Again, please contact the school if you have any questions.
I really don’t want to ask anyone to self-isolate, or to self-isolate myself or be ill, particularly in the run up to the holidays. However, if we have to we will so let’s all work together to keep everyone as safe as we can.
Further information is available at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/education-and-childcare
10 December 2020 update:
The Department for Education have given us the option to close school on Friday 18th December so that staff do not have to be available for track and trace duties on Christmas Eve if any staff or students test positive for Covid-19 in the first week of the holidays. I have decided not to take up this option and remain open as intended. School will be open as planned until 12.30 on the Friday 18th December. This is for the following reasons:
- It is too late notice for us and you to change our plans.
- We already have an INSET day on Monday 14th December, two in a week would not be reasonable.
- We would have to sacrifice an INSET day next year – training is very important for staff to develop the way they teach and engage your children.
- The last day of term is a celebration of all that is Newhaven and I don’t want to lose this.
I will be available to lead on any track and trace needed up until the 24th December. If your child is present at school on Thursday 17th and develops symptoms of Covid-19 on or before Saturday 19th, or if they are present at school on Friday 18th and develop symptoms on or before Sunday 19th then please get them tested for Covid-19 immediately. If the test comes back positive then please email this information to email@example.com. This will be monitored daily and we will be in touch to discuss things with you.
If your child has not developed symptoms, we may be in contact if they have been in close contact with someone at school who has tested positive and then they will be required to self-isolate. You do not need to let us know if someone else in your household has tested positive, just if your child has. Thanks very much for your understanding and here’s wishing you a relaxing break and a Covid-free Christmas.
10 November 2020 update:
Dear parents and carers,
I have been advised that there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 within Newhaven King’s Park. This has impacted on a handful of students in the 6th form whose parents have all been contacted individually. If you have not been contacted then your child has not been directly affected. In this case please continue to follow the guidance below if your child does develop symptoms of COVID 19. Several students and members of staff are self-isolating and I have closed the 6th form for two weeks (until Monday 23rd November 2020).
I am continuing to monitor the situation and am following government guidance. The school remains open and providing your child remains well they can continue to attend school as normal. We will keep this under review and I will update you as soon as necessary. Please get in touch if you wish to discuss this with the school.
What to do if your child develops symptoms of COVID-19:
If your child develops symptoms of COVID-19, they should remain at home for at least 10 days from the date when their symptoms appeared.
All other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days.
The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
Household members should not go to work, school or public areas and exercise should be taken within the home.
Household members staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community.
If you are able, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period.
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:
- New continuous cough and/or
- High temperature
- A loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.
If your child or anyone in the household does develop symptoms, you can seek advice from NHS 111 at:
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/ or by phoning 111.
How to stop COVID-19 spreading
There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with COVID-19.
- Wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds.
- Cover your face in enclosed spaces, especially where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
- It is now compulsory to wear cloth face coverings on public transport, shops and several other indoor settings.
- Stay 2 metres apart where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place.
- Keep your distance from people who are outside your household or support bubble.
- Limit social gatherings (including abiding by the ‘rule of 6’) and avoid crowded places.
Further information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/education-and-childcare
Further information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19
LATEST UPDATE – 6 NOVEMBER 2020:
Dear Parents and Carers,
I am writing to update you in light of the lockdown. School remains open and we have had no more cases of Covid or people who have to self-isolate to date. Current guidance indicates that all students should be in school unless they have been informed that they are in the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable category. In reality, I am aware that some of our students are currently self-isolating as they are living with vulnerable people or because their levels of anxiety are extremely high. We cannot authorise this but will mark it as C on the register (other reasons for absence) and add a note as to why. Students at home are expected to continue to work remotely and we will be in touch if we haven’t yet to help the organisation of this. Work at home will consist of a mix of online lessons where students can attend classes in school through the web, work on Google Classroom and paper work. The mix for your child will be as appropriate for them.
We are also working hard through our risk assessments to keep school as safe as possible. Please remind your child of the expectation that where they can they should wear masks in shared spaces in school. We have spares for them if necessary. They should also wear them on transport to and from school.
Finally, I continue to be really impressed with the efforts of staff and students to work together through difficult times. I am made to feel proud every day at work and would like to thank you for your ongoing support.
2 November 2020 update:
Dear parents and carers,
I’m sure that you are aware of the government announcement on Saturday that there is another lockdown coming from Thursday 5th November 2020. I am pleased to say that schools will remain open and we will continue to follow all government guidelines and our own risk assessments to make sure Newhaven is as safe a place as it can be for your children. So far, we are not aware of any transmission of Covid within school but we have had our first two positive cases which I will outline below. Please continue to make sure you continue to keep your child off school and get them a test if they show any of the symptoms of a temperature, a new and continuous cough and/or change to their sense of taste and smell. The guidance on the table on the website will help you with this but please call the school for advice if you are not sure.
So far, one student has tested positive but because they were not at school during the transmission phase of the virus this has had no effect of anyone else at Newhaven. We have also had 35 staff having to isolate at various points due to contact with people with symptoms and over half term had our first positive test for a member of staff. Luckily, their transmission period started on the Friday INSET day so has not affected any students and due to rigorous social distancing has only affected a few staff. However, this combined with other isolations due to staff members having been contacted by track and trace means our Gardens site is down 5 teachers and 2 support staff from Monday 2nd November. This represents 25% of teaching staff and means I have taken the difficult decision to close our assessment centre KS3 class for the week. Parents have been contacted and students will be expected to complete work at home during the week. We will make regular contact during the week but please ring or email school if you are worrying about anything or need support.
I apologise for any convenience caused but have to say it seems likely with rising Covid rates in the area, I may have to make similar decisions in the coming weeks. I’d like to reassure you that closing classes is a last resort and I will avoid it as much as possible.
I’d also like to say to parents, carers and families who were shielding last time we had a lockdown that you should get advice from your clinicians and get in touch to discuss any arrangements you need to make this time.
Newhaven School coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance and advice
Please select the relevant tab below for further information.
What should I do?
- Do not come to school
- Contact school
- Self-isolate for 10 days
- Get a test
- Inform school immediately about test result
When can my child return to school?
Test comes back negative