The story so far
On 20th March school closed for the majority of students; however we have remained open for the children of critical workers and for vulnerable children. Since the period of school closure began we have provided a home learning offer for all our students, although this has presented challenges for some students it has also taught us new ways of doing things and new approaches to the way we will work in the future . Since 22nd June, following Public Health and government guidance, we welcomed back year 10 students for some face to face time with their teachers to supplement their home learning. Government guidance published on 2nd July set out the measures we had to put in place in order that the whole school could open. The guidance has presented us with an extremely challenging task and whatever we plan will not be perfect given the constraints in which we have to work. We are pleased to announce that in line with the government guidance school will be reopening to all students in September. We will continue to update the information on this page as our plans are finalised over the coming weeks.
What will happen in September?
Staff will be preparing for the wider opening of schools during the summer. Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 2nd September have been allocated as staff training days.
Thursday 3rd September
As our new year 7 did not have any real transition opportunities this year, we will open to year 7 on Thursday, 3rd September arriving at 8:45 am to give them time to settle and integrate into school routines and systems. Also, during this day we will welcome back all students in years 8-11, on a rota basis, for a face to face academic/pastoral appointment with their form tutor. Details of this will be sent out in the final week of August.
Friday 4th September
On Friday, 4th September we will welcome back all students. Things will be very different the following sections will guide you through the outline plan for wider reopening.
Any student or staff member who has symptoms of Covid-19 or lives with someone who does must not come into school. Full details of symptoms, how to get a test and self isolation rules can be found here. School should be advised as soon as possible. There will be an amended attendance policy available towards the end of August.T he national guidance makes clear that the current improvements to the Covid19 situation and the significant risk to life-chances and educational opportunity of missing school mean that attendance at school is compulsory to all students.
Arrival at school
On Friday, 4th September all students will start at the same time 8.35am but will be required to use different entrances, depending on their year group. This will all be sign-posted. The later start is a temporary measure to accommodate all the challenges presented to us by the restrictions placed on us by the Covid-19 pandemic. The slightly later start time will naturally stagger students arriving to school. Outside spaces will be zoned. At some point in the future we will revert back to an 8.20am start.
Travelling to school
It is recommended that students avoid or minimise the use of public transport. If they do use it, they should maintain a social distance. It is the law to wear a face-covering on public transport (this should be removed upon arrival at school). If possible, students should walk or cycle (wearing their helmets). Those travelling by car should not get dropped off (and collected) on the school grounds. Students from different households should not car-share.
We are awaiting confirmation of the school bus timings and routes for September. As soon as this is received this information will be updated. Transport for Greater Manchester have confirmed that they will not be issuing allocated seats through the yellow school bus pass this year. Students will only need an IGO and a valid bus ticket to travel.
There will be no breakfast club initially, perhaps for the first few weeks, until we can see how the new arrangements will work in practice.
Form time will continue as normal but assemblies will be presented digitally to the classroom for each year group. There will be no large gatherings or assemblies.
Break and lunch time
Break and lunch time will be staggered by year group; this limits the number of students in the social spaces around school and allows for cleaning between sittings in the dining room. Students will have their food in zoned spaces and will have the remainder of their lunch break in indoor/outdoor zoned spaces. In the early weeks, and maybe even longer, there will be a limited menu which will involve mainly ‘grab and go’ type food, for example, pasta, sandwiches, pots of stew, etc. Students may still bring a packed lunch if they wish.
Movement around school
Whilst we are allowing students to move around the building this means we will work even harder at maintaining distance and cleanliness. We will have a strict one-way system for ensuring the students are not in contact with each other for any appreciable length of time. This will include walking outside to get to particular lessons. Lesson changeover will be staggered to reduce the number of students on the corridor at any one time
Students, as far as possible, will face the same direction (most do anyway) but this may not be possible in some specialist rooms e.g. Art or Technology. Upon arrival, staff will have already cleaned the desks but students may also be required to use desk wipes. Hand sanitiser is available in all classrooms.
Also, we have rearranged some teaching groups to reduce the number in some of our smaller classrooms. This is a temporary measure to ensure that class size does not exceed 30, in line with DFE guidance. Some KS3 sets have been adjusted to reflect this, but this is temporary and will be monitored accordingly.
The end of the school day
Students will leave by arranged exit routes in a slightly staggered way at the end of the day starting at 2.35pm and the final stagger at 2.45pm. Again, this is a temporary measure.
Students will be in full uniform including correct footwear. There can be no exceptions. On each student’s timetable will be their PE lesson(s). On the day(s) a student has PE & Sport (in the normal school day) and because we will not be making use of the PE changing rooms, students should come to school wearing their PE uniform and keep it on all day. Students are permitted to wear, on top of their PE kit which is Alder branded T shirt and shorts, an Alder PE hoodie and track pants. This is a temporary measure. Alternatively, students can wear their blazer despite it not quite looking the part! The PE department have a number of second hand (but washed and dried!) black Alder PE hoodies available for a donation of £1.
Students must bring a bag to school and their essential equipment. We are also encouraging all students to have some extra preferred equipment. It should be clean. Students are also encouraged to bring their own small and safe hand-sanitiser and must bring tissues each day to each lesson. We cannot lend equipment, unfortunately. We will update this information in August when we will explain the restrictions to the equipment for music and PE lessons and the meticulous cleaning of school equipment that will be taking place.
Uniform and Equipment
Behaviour and safety
Our expectations on students’ behaviour will be even higher than before and will be reflected in ‘Covid-secure’ changes to our behaviour policy. Most of the routines, expectations, rules and protocols will be the same but each student will have a duty to protect herself or himself and to do everything to look after every other student and adult in the building.
The virus has not gone away so all our safe and sensible measures must be observed. Furthermore, too many students have lost too much school-time already so we will insist that time is not wasted on return to class. But we can only do all this in a positive, warm, strict and friendly manner with the support of students and parents and carers.
A broad & balanced curriculum
The government expect us to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum whilst maintaining all the safety controls described earlier. We will run the normal timetable as far as possible but specialist subjects will have to adapt the curriculum to fit the safety guidance. For example, PE cannot do contact sports such as football or basketball. The use of musical instruments is limited and practical equipment needs to be cleaned regularly. There are many other examples and the curriculum offer will look different as we continue to move through this pandemic.
Clubs and extra-curricular activities will at some point continue but may be restricted to ensure that mixing is minimised, and social distancing is practised, as far as possible.
GCSE and BTEC Examinations for Year 11, Alder Class of 2021
OFQUAL (the national Office of Qualifications and Examination Regulations) has not yet decided how the examination season will run next year for our new Year 11. As soon as we know we will let you know. At present they are considering (but it is not definite) that the examinations will take place later in the year (perhaps June and July rather than May and June). There is no suggestion, yet, that the content of the examinations will be reduced or made easier: this is very unlikely.
What we know for sure is that our new Year 11 have already missed one term of their Key Stage 4 experience in the classroom. The vast majority have kept on track of the work we have set and taught remotely (which is great news for them) and we were able to bring almost all of them back in for a little time between the 22nd June and the 16th July across all their examination subjects.
On their return, teachers will look closely at what knowledge, understanding and skills (from the year 10 content) need more work and teachers and curriculum leaders are already adapting the Year 11 curriculum in readiness.
Extended school day for year 11
It is important to say, now, that it is likely that – from the Monday, 5th October each Year 11 student will have a compulsory extended day, one more lesson per day on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. This is not unusual for Year 11 as we have always run intervention classes in the past but the difference this year is that it will be a requirement for all Year 11 students. This is not intervention; it is to make up for lost teaching time especially as the content required for the examinations has not been reduced in English, maths and science. It will not be optional.
We are expecting this to be welcomed as a bonus offered freely by all our teachers, rather than as bad news. We can only support Year 11 to achieve well if we ensure they cover the content well and in depth. More details of our plans for the Year 11 school day will follow later in August.
Health and safety
The school will comply with health and safety law which requires us to assess risks and put in place proportionate control measures. We have reviewed our risk assessment and we have drawn up plans for the Autumn Term that address the risks identified, using the systems of control set out in the national guidance from the Department for Education:- The Guidance for Full Opening: Schools, was published on the 2nd July, 2020. It can be found on the Gov.UK website.
This guidance has led to significant changes to how school will run in the Autumn Term. The changes cover the following key matters:
• Public Health guidance to minimise Covid-19 risks;
• How the school will operate during each day;
• What teaching, the curriculum, pastoral care and behaviour will be like;
• Year 11 GCSE Examinations in 2021;
• Contingency planning in case of a school, local or national outbreak of Covid-19