Return to Onsite Education Important Information

Dear Parents/Carers,

I hope you and your family are well. Thank you for your continued support and understanding as we collectively handle the challenges posed by Covid-19. 

We are looking forward very much to having all students back in our academy and want to assure you that, as has been the case throughout the coronavirus crisis, we will ensure the academy is as safe as it possibly can be. Your child’s health, and the health of all our students and staff, is the most important factor always for us.

There are a number of specific points about the full return to onsite education that I wanted to set out in this letter.


Students in ASCEND will continue to have full open provision as throughout school closure. All ASCEND students are expected to be onsite daily.

Phased Return to Onsite Education

There will be a phased return of OPA mainstream Year Groups to onsite education from Monday 8th March to enable Lateral Flow Testing to take place as per Government guidance: 

  • Mon 8th March – Year 11
  • Tues 9th March – Year 10 (and Year 11)
  • Wed 10th March – Year 9 (and Year 11 + 10)
  • Thur 11th March – Year 8 (and Year 11 + 10 + 9)
  • Fri 12th March – Year 7 (and Year 11 + 10 + 9 + 8)

Keyworker + Vulnerable Onsite Provision

This provision will remain in place next week but from Monday 8th March it will be phased out as Year Groups come back to onsite education:

  • Mon 8th March – only Year 10 + 9 + 8 + 7
  • Tues 9th March – only Year 9 + 8 + 7
  • Wed 10th March – only Year 8 + 7
  • Thur 11th March – only Year 7
  • Fri 12th March – no Keyworker + Vulnerable onsite provision

Remote Live Learning

This provision will remain in place next week and from Monday 1st March there will be some changes and it will be phased out as Year Group come back to onsite education:

  • Mon 1st March – Remote Live Learning Year 11 + 10 + 9 + 8 + 7 
  • Tues 2nd March – Remote Live Learning Year 11 + 10 + 9 + 8 + 7 
  • Wed 3rd March – Remote Live Learning Year 8 + 7
    – ‘Opportunity Thurrock’ virtual careers Year 11 + 10 + 9
  • Thur 4th March – Independent Tasks Year 11 + 10 + 9 + 8 + 7
  • Fri 5th March – Independent Tasks Year 11 + 10 + 9 + 8 + 7
  • Mon 8th March – Remote Live Learning Year 9 + Year 8 + Year 7 
    – Independent Tasks Year 10
  • Tues 9th March – Remote Live Learning Year 9 + Year 8 + Year 7
  • Wed 10th March – Remote Live Learning Year 8 + Year 7
  • Thur 11th March – Remote Live Learning Year 7
  • Fri 12th March – NO Remote Live Learning

Lateral Flow Device (LFD) Testing 

We have trained an external testing team who have been working alongside OPA staff and testing students and staff who have been onsite for a number of weeks. They will supervise the tests taken in the academy for our returning students. Lateral flow tests are quick and easy to administer, using a swab of your throat and nose. Students will be tested 3 times over the first 2 weeks back in the academy. Students will be allowed to attend lessons normally after their first negative result. We need 100% coverage of LFD testing with all students to be as safe as possible, so it is exceptionally important that we have consent from every parent for their child to complete a test. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO PROVIDE YOUR CONSENT. 

Home Testing

After the first two weeks back in the academy, both students and staff will be supplied with LFD test kits to self-swab and test themselves twice a week at home. Staff and students must report their result to NHS Test and Trace as soon as the test is completed either online or by telephone as per the instructions in the home test kit. Staff and students should also share their result, whether void, positive or negative, with their school to help with contact tracing.

Face Masks

The Government has provided guidance that face masks must be worn indoors including in classrooms. This policy will be reviewed over the Easter Holidays, so will be in place until at least the end of this term, and applies to students, staff, and visitors (including parents), unless they are exempt from wearing one. We therefore encourage all students and parents to ensure they have a suitable number of face masks for the resumption of school on 8th March.


School attendance will be mandatory for all pupils from 8th March. The usual rules on school attendance apply, including: “parents’ duty to secure their child’s regular attendance at school (where the child is a registered pupil at school and they are of compulsory school age)”. Please ensure that you send your child into the academy every day. 

Clubs and Extra-Curricular Provision

From Monday 8th March, morning + afternoon intervention and after-school clubs will re-open. This includes sports and activity clubs. This will mean the academy extra-curricular times will be as they were before school closure.

School Uniform

Please can you ensure that your child attends the academy with a full OPA uniform. Please use the week beginning 1st March to check uniform and purchase as required. A reminder that you can contact our uniform supplier at

Year 11 Exams

On Thursday 25th February the Government published that Year 11 GCSE and Vocational Exams will replaced by grades decided by teachers using a combination of mock exams, coursework and essays. There will be optional assessments set by exam boards for all subjects. We are currently reflecting on the guidance published and will communicate our plan to our Year 11 parents and student next week on how we are going to deliver the best system possible to fairly award grades.  

In summary, I feel that we are tentatively returning to normal, however; I would like to reiterate how alert we all need to be the continued risk of Covid-19. We will continue to adhere to stringent health and safety measures now, and when fully open. Your support in helping us be as safe as possible is much appreciated and will help ensure we stay open to all students, and keep your child, our staff, and you safe.

I hope this letter is helpful, and reassuring, but please do contact the academy if you have any questions. 

Thank you for your continued support.

Kind regards

Yours sincerely, 

Mark Roessler