Important information for the start of the new academic year 2021-22 + COVID19 update including consent for LFD testing

27th August 2021

Dear Parents and Carers,

Return to school dates + times for the new academic year:

Friday 3rd Sept 2021 – Line Up 8.20am – Year 7 + 11 + ASCEND return only

Monday 6th Sept 2021 – Line Up 8.20am – Year 8 + 9 + 10 return (as well as Year 7 + 11 + ASCEND)

COVID19 update:

As you will be aware, the Government, via the Department for Education issued updated COVID19 guidance for schools that came into effect from Monday 19th July 2021, in line with the wider removal of COVID19 restrictions throughout the country from that same date. Further relaxation of COVID19 restrictions occurred from Monday 19th August as the country entered Step 4 on the COVID19 roadmap.

I wanted to write to you today as we draw to the end of the summer break to provide you with a further update on what this means for your child/children when they return to Ormiston Park Academy in September and commence the new academic year.

From September 2021, the following changes will be in place, in line with the new guidance.

  • Bubble system: It will no longer be necessary to keep children in bubbles. This means that there will no longer be a bubble system when we return to school in September, as things currently stand. Students will be able to move to different classes across the academy to better utilise the educational provision across specialist subject areas. We will however continue to operate a Bubble system for Food Breaks and will continue with Line Up on arrival to the academy in the morning and after both Food Break 1 and Food Break 2.
  • Remaining COVID19 secure measures: Students are expected to conduct Lateral Flow Testing at home every Sunday and Wednesday commencing again from Sunday 30th August and this will continue throughout Autumn Term 1. Students are required to sanitise their hands when entering and exiting the academy building and before entry to every classroom. Students are required to sanitise their hands before eating in the Heart Space and outside. All classrooms will have increased ventilation with windows open throughout the day. The enhanced COVID19 cleaning regime continues as was in position all of last year. We are waiting on government carbon dioxide monitoring equipment distribution to highlight where schools need to increase ventilation around their buildings.
  • Face coverings: Face coverings are still strongly recommended but will no longer be compulsory for students or staff in classrooms but will be compulsory in high volume areas such assemblies and in the Heart Space while queuing for food. Children and staff can of course continue to wear face coverings when they would like in and around the academy. Wearing of a face covering remains mandatory for some public transport companies and the academy strongly advises students to continue to wear them while travelling on buses to and from school.
  • Contact tracing: As of Monday 19th July, close contacts are now identified via NHS Test and Trace. Schools will no longer be responsible for close contact tracing.
  • Self-isolation for children and young people: From Monday 16th August, children under the age of 18 years old (and double vaccinated adults) will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a positive COVID19 case. They will only need to self-isolate if they have COVID19 symptoms or have a positive COVID19 test result obtained through either a PCR or Lateral Flow Test. As previously, we would request that students do not attend the academy should they be showing symptoms of COVID19 and get a PCR test. We can also confirm that self-isolating students will still have access to remote learning opportunities with live lessons via Microsoft Teams while they are self-isolating. Please ensure that if your child is self-isolating they are using Teams to keep up with their learning.

Asymptomatic Lateral Flow Device Testing update:

As student have potentially mixed with lots of other people during the summer holidays, the government guidance advises that all secondary school students should receive two on-site lateral flow device tests, 3-5 days apart, on their return in September. We will conduct these LFD tests on the following dates:

Friday 3rd September – Lateral Flow Device Test 1 – Year 11 + Year 7 + ASCEND

Monday 6th September – Lateral Flow Device Test 1 – Year 10 + Year Y9 + Year 8

Wednesday 8th September – Lateral Flow Device Test 2 – Year 11 + Year 7 + ASCEND

Thursday 9th September – Lateral Flow Device Test 2 – Year 10 + Year 9 + Year 8

Students should then continue to test twice weekly at home for the remainder of Autumn Term 1, when this will be reviewed.

We do not need consent to LFD test if we have previously received consent to undertake testing in March 2021 (eg for our students who are in Y8-11s from Sept). Attached is a consent form that we are obliged to provide to parents / carers of our new Year 7s who received this form via a communication sent in July, and for any other parents / carers who now would like their child LFD tested on return. Please can you send this back to the academy by 1st September 2021 preferably via email [email protected] or by post or your child will need to bring it with them on the first day that they return to the academy. Testing is highly recommended but voluntary and therefore you can withdraw consent at any time so please notify the academy as appropriate. The privacy notice can be found on our website.

Although there will be changes as part of the easing of restrictions, as an academy we will have outbreak management plans in place, as required by the Government, to ensure we are prepared to continue to operate if there is transmission of the virus in our school or the local community. These will mean that if the situation requires it, a bubble system or other measures may need to be temporarily reinstated in the future, and we must stress that the safety measures in place will be continually reviewed and assessed in accordance with Government and local guidance.

As has been the case throughout the pandemic, ensuring the health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority. As such, we will be continuing to encourage good hygiene including regular handwashing, maintaining appropriate cleaning regimes, keeping occupied spaces well ventilated and following public health advise on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19.

As was the case at the start of the pandemic when we had to adjust to a new way of life, this new change again may inevitably create some uncertainty as we all adapt. However, we will continue to work closely together as a academy community to ensure the best outcomes for students, staff and our wider community.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will do all we can to support you [email protected] .

Yours faithfully

Mark Roessler


Ormiston Park Academy