Return to school - September 2020

Friday 10 July 2020

Return to school – September 2020

Dear Parents/Carers,

As we come to the end of our 2019-2020 academic year, so our plans for September 2020 begin to formalise. This year has ended like no other. The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted on schools in a way that has never been experienced before and the expectation is that we will continue to feel the effects for a time to come. However, we move forward with sureness that comes from the experiences of the past 4 months. The Courtyard school is a school of strength, resilience and confidence in our systems. A fantastic group of young people, a supportive parenting network, a governing body that combines guidance and challenge equally, and a knowledgeable and committed staff.

All schools have received guidance from the Department of Education regarding the start of the new academic year. Unless advised otherwise by the DfE in light of further developments, the Courtyard will be following this guidance to ensure that the Courtyard is a safe and secure place to educate your children.

School will commence on Monday 1st September. Monday 1st and Tuesday 2nd September will be INSET days, allowing for staff to prepare for the pupils to return to school on Wednesday 3rd September at 9:15am. A full breakdown of term dates for 2020-2021 academic year can be found at the end of this letter.

From September, the school week will look as follows:

Monday to Friday – 9:15am – 3:15pm – this allows our pupils to travel to and from school at times which should be less congested with school pupils on public transport.

Day structure:
Lesson 1 9:15am – 10:15am
Lesson 2 10:15am – 11:15am
Break 11:15am – 11:30am
Lesson 3 11:30am – 12:30pm
Lunch 12:30pm – 1:15pm
Lesson 4 1:15pm – 2:15pm
Lesson 5 2:15pm – 3:15pm

Courtyard school bubble
Due to our small school size, the whole school will be a ‘bubble’. This will mean that our individualised curriculum programme can run as usual. Pupils will be organised in groups according to their abilities in differing subjects. Breaktimes and lunchtimes will return to their normal format.

Our school assemblies and weekly PHSE/citizenship sessions will take place during Lesson 5 of Friday afternoons.

Due to the importance of protecting our school ‘bubble’ and limiting our interactions with those out of the ‘bubble’, pupils will not be able to access lunch on the premises of St Mary Magdalene Academy. Plans are still in discussion, but those entitled to a Free School Meal each day will continue to be provided for. Those who have previously chosen to pay for a warm meal at SMMA are asked, in the short term, to make other arrangements. Note that the Courtyard has a large fridge and two microwaves where meals can be heated if necessary. 6th form pupils will not be able to go out at lunch times and purchase food from local eateries. Alternative arrangements will need to be made whilst we proceed through this time of increased vigilance.

Unfortunately, another element of our school offer, 6th form work experience, will, in the short term, be put on hold. Instead, Ms Vidal will be leading on a careers-based programme of learning to ensure that many of the skills, knowledge and understanding gained via work experience, will continue to be developed in school.

PE lessons will continue to take place off-site at Highbury Fields. Mr Saunders has been in regular communication with the Islington Schools PE lead to ensure that PE lessons will continue to meet the curriculum standards and expectations. At this point in time, I cannot say whether our pupils will return to gym sessions at Highbury Fields Leisure Centre. Further guidance from the government will determine this.

The staff of the Courtyard are fully aware that returning to school in September may bring anxiety and nervousness to our pupils. It is with this in mind that the governors and I have committed to increasing the support of our Link external professionals, speech and language, CAMHS and EP. These resources will be directed to support our pupils in the most appropriate way possible.

The school staff body is also increasing in size. Further information will be provided in the final end of year letter I send to parents next week.

Health and Safety

Our high standards of health and safety will continue to be maintained as we move into the new academic year. The government’s guidance on social distancing means that class sizes can return to normal. Sanitising of equipment, classroom furniture, door handles and toilet areas will continue with the regularity that has been in place since the school reopened at the beginning of June. Pupils will be reminded to wash their hands and sanitise regularly throughout the school day. Gloves and masks can continue to be worn if this is the preference of the individual.

If your child or a member of your household displays symptoms of the Coronavirus, it is paramount that you self-isolate immediately and inform the school of this. You must also request a test from within the first 3 days of presenting with symptoms. Self-isolation remains at 7 days. If you live in a household with someone who is self-isolating, you MUST isolate for 14 days to limit the risk of infection.

If you have any questions about the information shared in this letter, please do contact Mrs Shepherd.

Thank you for your continued support.

St Mary Magdalene Church Gardens
Holloway Road
N7 8LT

Tel: 0203 859 6350

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