CORONAVIRUS

Covid-19 Update:

12.08.20 

Letter to Boarders about reopening in September

07.08.20 

Arrangements for School uniform and PE kit in September

31.07.20 

Letter to Flexi Boarders about reopening in September

29.06.20 

We have prepared a list of Frequently Asked Questions about how the School is responding to the issues arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. These will be updated as the situation changes so please come back to this page to find future updates.  

FAQs Version 1


BSA COVID-SAFE Charter

The Royal Alexandra and Albert School has adopted the Boarding Schools’ Association COVID-SAFE Charter. This is a voluntary code that outlines measures to ensure that boarding is a safe environment for pupils. We follow the requirements of this Charter as we believe it outlines best practice for boarding schools. We will continue to carry out regular reviews of our procedures to remain compliant with changing Government guidelines.

 

04.06.20

Dear Parent,

It has been 10 weeks since Covid-19 caused the UK to enter ‘lockdown’ and since then we have all had to adjust to the ‘new normal’.  As a school we have responded to the evolving situation firstly when the Government put in place measures to contain the spread of the virus, and then to gradually reopen once the threat was reduced. 

Working within Government safety guidelines we have remained open to as many pupils as possible.  To support the national effort to combat the Coronavirus we have been open to vulnerable children and the children of key workers since 23rd March, including through the Easter holiday and May half term.  Year 6 children came back to school on 1st June.  We now have around 30 Boarders and 70 Flexi Boarders attending school.  Other pupils have been accessing the curriculum via teacher-supported online learning.  I have been impressed at how well all pupils have progressed during this time in lockdown.

Whilst the numbers attending have been relatively low, the logistics of running a boarding school with class sizes of less than 15 and trying to ensure social distancing, have been complex.   Nevertheless, we have put in place many measures to keep children and staff safe.  These include:

  • Putting children into classes of less than 15 so they can space out within the classroom
  • A team of staff is allocated to each class and they do not work with any other classes
  • Flexi Boarding and Boarding pupils are in separate classes  
  • Each class has its own main classroom, toilet facilities and break areas
  • Pupils are encouraged to practice regular and thorough hand washing
  • Where a different classroom is used, there is thorough cleaning before another class uses it
  • Lunch times are staggered with social distancing in place for queuing and seating.  Each class has its own seating area which is cleaned before another class use it
  • Separate drop-off and collection points for each class
  • Pupils are not wearing blazers, so it is easier to follow the advice from Public Health England to wash clothes each day when the child returns from school

Keeping the separation between classes is essential because, if a child does become unwell with the Covid-19 virus, we need to limit the potential for it spreading. 

I think we all share a common goal of wanting to have pupils back in school as soon as possible.  Only then will they be able to enjoy the experience of learning alongside their peers and to benefit from the many other opportunities on offer such as co-curricular activities, sport and music.

We are working towards the full reopening of the School in September, however, I have to accept there might still be some restrictions in place.  One of the main concerns for boarder parents is the potential need for overseas pupils to spend 2 weeks in quarantine when they come to the UK.  I am currently working with senior staff to find a way of overcoming this issue and one of the options we are considering is reopening one of our boarding houses two weeks before the start of term for overseas pupils. 

I have been advised that each boarding house can be considered a household, so we won’t need to restrict the number of boarders.  There might, however, be a requirement to continue to have smaller class sizes.  If this is the case we might need to consider teaching a limited number of pupils at a time, in a staggered timetable, and make alterative provision for boarders when they are not in lessons.  This might change but whatever we offer will, of course, comply with relevant Government guidance.

The start of the Autumn Term is still three months away, and I sincerely hope that the School can open as usual but we do need to prepare for every eventuality.  I will write again when I have more details about reopening in September.  In the meantime, please be reassured that whatever happens, we will do whatever we can to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the children attending this School.   

Yours sincerely,

Mark Dixon

Headmaster

 

21.05.20 - Year 6 Update

Dear Parent, 

Firstly, we want to thank you for replying to our survey.  Thank you for all the questions and comments that you have made.  We hope this letter will go some way to answering them.  

As you can imagine planning for this stage of re-opening the school is complex as we look to ensure the safety of our pupils and staff.  Further detail, with specifics relating to your child will be sent next week.  The aim of this letter is to give you an overview of our plans and the safety measures we are putting in place. 

It is important to note that if the Government informs us that the wider re-opening of schools is postponed, we will revert to key worker and vulnerable pupil provision only, until advised otherwise.

Teaching

The Government stated that the reason for Year 6 being one of the first groups to return to school is due to their transition to Secondary school.  This will shape our planning and timetables.  We will look to assess and address any gaps in learning that may have developed.  We will work to further prepare the pupils for Secondary school using subject specialist lessons and enrichment activities. 

We will continue to provide remote learning and support, for those pupils who are unable to attend school.

Safety

The Government guidelines acknowledge that primary age children cannot be expected to remain 2 metres apart from each other and staff.  However, social distancing will be strongly encouraged by staff, both within the classroom and during non-class times. Class sizes of maximum 15 will enable workspaces to be separated and all the measures we put in place, including the non-mixing of classes and staggered timetable, will support the protection of pupils and staff.   Here are details of some of the measures we are taking:

  • Each child will be allocated to a class which we are calling a silo
  • There will be no more than 15 pupils per silo (in line with Government guidelines) 
  • Each silo will operate completely independently with no mixing across silo, with a staff team allocated specifically to each silo
  • Flexi and Boarding pupils will be in separate silo
  • Classrooms have been set up to encourage social distancing
  • Pupils will be allocated a desk which they use each day
  • Each silo will have its own main classroom, toilet facilities, and break areas
  • Pupils will be encouraged to practise regular and thorough hand washing
  • The silo will generally remain in the same room, however if other rooms or locations are used timings will be staggered to avoid groups meeting in the corridors 
  • As we have use of the Senior school we will be able to avoid silos using the same rooms as much as possible, however, any rooms that are used for more than one group will be cleaned thoroughly between use
  • Lunchtimes are supervised by staff from their silo and are staggered, with social distancing in place for queuing and seating
  • Silos are allocated a dining table (cleaning will be carried out between sittings)

The school has a clear COVID-19 Isolation policy which is attached.  You should not to send your child into school if they are unwell.  If the child, or anyone within the household, is displaying any symptoms of coronavirus they should not attend school and arrange to be tested.  Parents should advise the school immediately if this is the case.  Any pupil that becomes unwell, with symptoms of coronavirus, during the school day will be sent home and will not be expected back in school until they have received a negative test result.  If a pupil (or member of staff) tests positive for COVID-19 the whole group will be sent home and instructed to self-isolate for 14 days (members of the household do not need to do so unless the pupil starts displaying symptoms).  Any pupil or member of staff who subsequently develops symptoms should then be tested. 

Please ensure that you email attendance@gatton-park.org.uk if you child is unable to attend school for any reason.     

The school will choose the small groups carefully, with the support of the class teachers and wider pastoral staff.  There are a number of pastoral, academic and practical considerations which will need to be factored in.

Drop off and collection 

  • Drop off and collection will be to a specified location, with pupils, social distance queuing to enter or leave school
  • Parents should not leave their vehicles and enter the school buildings.  Protocols for collection will be given.  No ‘forgotten’ items will be received by reception.  Any meetings with teachers will be on an appointment basis and preferably by phone or video call.

Uniform

Pupils are expected in school uniform in line with our uniform policy.  However, as the Public Health England guidelines strongly recommend washing of all clothes worn to the setting (school) immediately on return home, we have taken the decision that Blazers are not to be worn.  Pupils can where school jumper if necessary.  If they do not have a school jumper a plain jumper may be worn. In addition to their on-line learning, silos will be timetabled a PE lesson per week and on that day that your child should wear their PE kit for the whole day as the changing rooms will not be in operation. 

Extended Day 

  • We will be able to offer the extended day from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm.  
  • Pupils can arrive at their allocated classroom from 8.00am.  Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide breakfast however pupils may bring a snack breakfast to eat between 8.00 – 8.30am (please note this must NOT contain nuts – other restrictions may be advised dependant on any specific allergies within the silo)
  • Pupils who are staying past 3.35pm will be provided with a snack (this will need to be ordered in advance – details will be given)
  • Pupils must be collected from the collection point by 6.00 pm

Boarding 

  • Boarding pupils will not mix with flexi pupil groups
  • The boarding house will be considered a household and will not mix with other silos.  This will be Kent for the boys and Cornwall for the girls
  • The boarding house will have pupils from all year groups as the school is also open for pupils whose parents are key workers or vulnerable pupils, however, during the day the year 6 pupils from the House will be taught in separate silo
  • It is unlikely that overseas boarders will be able to return when the school opens to the rest of Year 6
  • Specific instructions to Boarders will be sent from the Director of Boarding and the Boarding Head of House

We understand the concerns of those who have underlying health conditions in terms of exposing the family to any potential extra risk.  In these circumstances we suggest that parents seek medical advice in relation to their own situation.  The Government guidelines suggest: ‘If a child, young person or a member of staff lives with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable), including those who are pregnant, they can attend their education or childcare setting.’  However, this would need to be a personal decision and we recommend taking on board advice from your doctor.  

We appreciate this is a lot of information to digest.  As mentioned at the beginning of this letter we will be giving further specific details next week.   

Yours sincerely 

Mark Dixon, Headmaster

Shaun Greenwood, Head of Junior School

 

21.05.20

Dear Parent,

You may be aware that the Government has asked for schools to begin opening their doors to more pupils from the week commencing 1st June 2020.

At RAAS, we are planning to welcome back Year 6 pupils after half term. We have also been asked to begin to offer some face-to-face support for Year 10 and 12 pupils to supplement their remote learning. At this stage, we have been told only that there will not be an expectation that these pupils return on a full-time basis. We have also been told that the Government will be giving more information as to the expectations of educational provision for these year groups.

Unfortunately, at the point of writing, no further information has been communicated. Once we have further guidance from the Government we will begin planning for these year groups and we will then be able to communicate our plans to you accordingly. Due to the delay in this guidance, it is doubtful we would be able to plan anything for a 1st June return, therefore you should expect to hear more from us on this after half term.

I would like to thank you in advance for your patience with this. I look forward to being in a position to give you more detail as soon as I am able.

Yours sincerely

Mark Dixon

Headmaster

14.05.20 - Year 6  Letter

Dear Parent,

Further to Mr Dixon’s letter on Wednesday, we wanted to give you an update on our planning around the return of Year 6 to the School. As the Government stated, this will be ‘from the week commencing 1 June 2020 at the earliest’. So, although we want to plan and prepare in order that the pupils returning are kept safe and well, the Government may decide to delay the return of pupils past this date.

Firstly, let me assure you that the safety of our pupils, and our whole community, is foremost in our minds as we make any plans to follow the Government directive.

The Government has stated that the reason Year 6 is one of the year groups coming back to school first is that "Year 6 children are finishing Key Stage 2 and are preparing for the transition to secondary school, and will benefit immensely from time with their friends and teachers to ensure they are ready.” For this reason, we are developing a programme that will involve some key subject content, which will be delivered in a combination of teacher led and online learning, and also specialist subjects and enrichment activities. We believe that this will further prepare your child for the transition to secondary education.

In line with Government guidance, we will be operating a small group system. Each pupil will be allocated to a small group, of 10-15 pupils, which they will remain within for their time at school, not mixing with any other group of pupils. This is to reduce the risk of transmission of any infection.

We will be adding further provision for hand washing and cleaning to all areas the pupils go into and use. When within classrooms we will be ensuring enough room so that pupils can be social distanced but still have access to the materials and IT equipment they need.

We are also working through the many practical considerations, such as drop off and collection, lunch and break times and use of the facilities and will give you more information in due course. Please be assured that we are taking our responsibility for safeguarding your child very seriously.

Thank you for your continued support of the school during these very challenging times.

Shaun Greenwood

Head of Junior School

13.05.20

Dear Parent,

You, like us, will have heard for the first time from the Prime Minister over the past 48 hours about the possible next steps that will be taken to move the country forward from ‘lockdown’. 

We have been told that schools may reopen on 1 June to reception, year 1 and year 6 pupils if the government thinks it’s safe then.

We’re waiting for further guidance and clarification from the government right now, which will hopefully help us create an action plan for our phased reopening. We’ll share this with you as soon as possible so you know what the school’s reopening will look like in practice.

In the DfE guidance which followed the Prime Minister’s speech it talked of offering “some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of Year 10 and Year 12 students who are due to take key exams next year”.   As yet, we have no more information than you do about the way in which this face-to-face support may be offered or the date from which that support should be offered.  As soon as we receive further information from the Department for Education, we will be back in touch with you to share our plans in accordance with that guidance.

In the meantime, our status is as it has been since the 23rd March – our schools are only open for those children of Critical Workers who need to be cared for while their parents/carers are at work and for those children deemed ‘vulnerable’.

Please be assured that we are continuing to develop our own plans and as soon as we have received further DfE guidance and the timetable for any face-to-face delivery has been confirmed, we will write to you again to share the relevant information with you.

Your continued support at this time of unprecedented challenge is much appreciated.

Yours sincerely, 

Mark Dixon

Headmaster

08.05.20

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to give an address to the nation on Sunday 10th May.  As part of this we are expecting him to outline how the lockdown will gradually be lifted for various parts of the society.  This is likely to include guidelines of when schools will reopen and for which pupils. 

As I am sure you will understand, following any announcement on Sunday it will take time for the school to be able to make plans for how we can carry this out in a manner that is correct and safe for our whole school community.  We ask that you please bear with us as we put these important plans together and be assured that we will communicate out to all parents as soon as we are able.

Thank you for your continued support.

Mark Dixon

17.04.20

Dear Parent and Pupil

Although the last few weeks have been challenging for the whole country, I do hope you have had some chance to unwind over the Easter break. We have been truly blessed with glorious weather recently, which I hope has made the lockdown more bearable. As many of you know, we have remained open over the Easter period for certain pupils, as per the Government’s instructions, however, as we now prepare to start the Summer term, I want to take this opportunity to update you on a few key areas.

I have recently written to all pupils and parents in Y11 and Y13 to explain how exam grades will be awarded this Summer. As a result of the instructions we have been given by the exam board regulator, Ofqual, once the courses are complete, we will not be setting work remotely for pupils in Y11 or Y13. Some pupils may be planning to sit exams in Autumn term and, for those pupils, I would encourage them to continue to work on preparing for this over the Summer period. Equally, pupils in these exam year groups are able to access the ‘Curriculum Enrichment’ materials that are available on Microsoft Teams. These provide a range of activities for pupils to engage with to ensure that they maintain a healthy body and mind and continue to prepare well for their future. I would also like to remind pupils in these year groups that our Careers’ Advisor is still available on the following e-mail address careers@gatton-park.org.uk should pupils wish to discuss any issues regarding career plans or future prospects.

We will continue to set work remotely for those pupils in Y7, 8, 9, 10 and 12. The way that work is set will be broadly in line with the process that we were operating last term:

  • The pupils will be expected to work at home as per their timetabled day;
  • Work will be set and communicated to pupils by 8.30am on the day of the lesson at the latest;
  • Work for the lesson that day will be e-mailed to the pupils;
  • Some staff may be working with Microsoft Teams in which case an e-mail will go out alerting pupils of work set on Microsoft Teams;
  • The work set is designed to match the lesson duration – pupils are encouraged to bear this in mind when completing work to avoid rushing or working for unhealthy amounts of time;
  • Pupils will not also be set prep.

I think that we can all agree that moving to a system of remote learning is not without its challenges and I continue to be thankful to parents, pupils and teachers for their patience. One of the key issues is about ensuring that the right amount of work is being set – teachers are used to adapting work within a classroom but this is, of course, difficult to achieve when the face-to-face element is removed.

Teachers have been working hard over the Easter period to ensure that the work that pupils undertake next half term is suitable to this new way of working, but I would encourage you to continue to communicate with teachers if pupils are struggling with accessing work and need more help or if they are finding it unacceptably burdensome. Equally, if you have any other concerns about the health or well-being of your child, you should contact the Head of Year or safeguarding@gatton-park.org.uk.  I would also like to thank you in advance for continuing to be tolerant of teachers who are working hard to adapt to these new conditions despite facing personal challenges of their own.

I have had some questions related to how we will carry out end of year examinations for pupils in Y7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 and, having spent some time deliberating over this, have concluded that it would be unfair and impractical for pupils to attempt to complete these at this present time. Instead, we are working on rescheduling our calendar so that pupils can complete this once normal school returns. I am very conscious, however, that these assessments, alongside the reports that are generated, provide parents and pupils with a clear grasp about how well the pupil is performing and how they can concentrate their efforts in the future. I am also sensitive to the fact that pupils who face public exams in the near future may be doubly anxious about this. To support with this, we are planning to send home a report to parents later this term which will provide an indication of how well we feel the pupil is engaging with remote learning. This is not intended to be a punitive measure but to ensure that we are monitoring how well the pupils are adapting to this new context and to offer guidance on this moving forward. As with all reports, the main aim is to strengthen the link between parent and teacher to ensure that the pupil is fully supported.

I would like to thank you once again for all the support you have given as we navigate through these difficult times. I have received many delightful emails which express appreciation for the work that teachers have been doing to support the pupils and, equally, have had many teachers sharing with me some excellent examples of work that has been produced by the pupils. Things are hard at the moment, but I have drawn strength from how well the Gatton community has pulled together.

Yours faithfully

Mrs Rea Mitchell

Deputy Head Academic

 

07.04.20 

Fees FAQs

 

02.04.20 

Letter from Surrey County Council to parents and carers

 

31.03.20 - Letter to Year 11 pupils

Dear Parent and Pupil

Following on from my previous letter, I am delighted to be able to update you on the curriculum enrichment material that is now available for all pupils to access using Microsoft Teams (https://teams.microsoft.com/_#/school//?ctx=teamsGrid). Despite the challenges that we face as a country, it has never been more important that we do everything we can to keep healthy in body and mind and optimistic for the future. To this end, we have created a group called Y11 Curriculum Enrichment. This group is divided into three key areas:

 1. Academic Enrichment:

https://teams.microsoft.com/_#/school/conversations/Academic?threadId=19:c0d339b74e7e4ca08275a847d8ec1a97@thread.tacv2&ctx=channe

a) It is important that all pupils finish the Specification of each GCSE and BTEC pathway and complete all Non-Examined Assessments (coursework) as far as practicable. If pupils think that they may be wishing to sit an examination in a subject at the start of next academic year, they should continue to complete revision activities for this subject. Please can I also reiterate that we have very little guidance at this point of how grades will be set in practice; as soon as more information becomes available, I shall communicate this.

b) Once pupils have completed the above, I have included a link here to a booklet entitled: Academic Enrichment for Post-16 Students 2020 . The importance of a smooth transition from GCSE to Key Stage 5 cannot be overstated. To succeed at Key Stage 5, it is essential that you are fully prepared for the academic rigour required and approach your time in Sixth Form with a positive and proactive attitude towards learning. This booklet has been designed by each Key Stage 5 subject to support this transition.

The guidance below will help you tackle this work effectively: 

  • The completion of work is compulsory for each Key Stage 5 course you have opted to take in September;
  • Each piece has been designed by the individual Departments to support transition for that subject; due to the variety of subjects at Key Stage 5 and their unique requirements you may find that the tasks vary;
  • We are particularly interested in your attitude towards learning and how you approach your summer work. This information will be used by classroom teachers, Heads of Departments and the Sixth Form Team to offer appropriate support;
  • Each piece of work should take, at a minimum, between 3-4 hours. However, some subject requirements have meant that this has been extended. Of course, if you are keen to demonstrate a high attitude towards learning, you may want to extend this learning time;
  • If you switch courses based on your GCSE grades you will be required to complete the work for your new subject. Hand-in dates for this can be discussed with the relevant subject Head of Department.

3. Lifeskills:

https://teams.microsoft.com/_#/school/conversations/Lifeskills?threadId=19:4ff0004131c2456cbbacf2ce6a8b8250@thread.tacv2&ctx=channel

In this section, pupils will find links to courses that will help to prepare them for the real world. The first link is to a range of courses on offer from Eton School.

4. Well-Being:

https://teams.microsoft.com/_#/school/conversations/Physical%20and%20Mental%20Well-Being?threadId=19:05c0e9957e414145afbbd9564159a87f@thread.tacv2&ctx=channel

This section includes video links to exercise programmes pupils can do in their own front room and information on how to find peace in this time of uncertainty.

We will continue to add to these channels over the future so do keep a look out at this site! And they definitely aren’t just aimed at pupils – I have already been doing some of the exercise videos myself and this has definitely served to lighten the mood in my house! Whilst we might not be able to see each other face to face, do let me know how you are getting on; at times like this we need the Gatton family more than ever.

Yours faithfully

Mrs Rea Mitchell

Deputy  Head Academic

31.03.20 - Letter to Year 13 pupils

Dear Parent and Pupil

Following on from my previous letter, I am delighted to be able to update you on the curriculum enrichment material that is now available for all pupils to access using Microsoft Teams (https://teams.microsoft.com/_#/school//?ctx=teamsGrid). Despite the challenges that we face as a country, it has never been more important that we do everything we can to keep healthy in body and mind and optimistic for the future. To this end, we have created a group called Y13 Curriculum Enrichment. This group is divided into three key areas:

1.Academic Enrichment:

https://teams.microsoft.com/_#/school/conversations/Academic?threadId=19:eb396fe39db240f8b02e691b35806ccf@thread.tacv2&ctx=channel

a) It is important that all pupils finish the Specification of each A Level and BTEC pathway and complete all Non-Examined Assessments (coursework) as far as practicable. If pupils think that they may be wishing to sit an examination in a subject at the start of next academic year, they should continue to complete revision activities for this subject. Please can I also reiterate that we have very little guidance at this point of how grades will be set in practice; as soon as more information becomes available, I shall communicate this.

b) Once pupils have completed the above, I have included a link to MOOCS on the Microsoft Teams page. MOOCs provides free online courses available for anyone to enrol and helps participants to learn new skills, advance their career and deliver quality educational experiences at scale. My advice to pupils is to complete one MOOC linked to the subject they are looking to study next year and then complete one purely because it is of interest.

2. Lifeskills:

https://teams.microsoft.com/_#/school/conversations/Life%20Skills?threadId=19:eb566d347aaa4140970e764c1f84cc2b@thread.tacv2&ctx=channel

In this section, pupils will find lots of important information that will help them prepare for a good transition from school. This includes information on finance, jobs and study skills – all good guidance for the future.

3. Well-Being:

https://teams.microsoft.com/_#/school/conversations/Well-Being?threadId=19:017d9c6771f242708d578d22de6a39ae@thread.tacv2&ctx=channel

This section includes video links to exercise programmes pupils can do in their own front room and information on how to find peace in this time of uncertainty.

We will continue to add to these channels over the future so do keep a look out at this site! And they definitely aren’t just aimed at pupils – I know that I am going to trial some of the exercise videos myself and am even looking forward to trying out one of the MOOCs. Whilst we might not be able to see each other face to face, do let me know how you are getting on; at times like this we need the Gatton family more than ever.

Yours faithfully

Mrs Rea Mitchell

Deputy Head Academic

27.03.20

Dear parent,

As you will be aware the school is closed for most pupils. The government has asked that, where we can, we remain open for vulnerable pupils or pupils of critical workers.

If you are a parent of a UK boarder and you haven’t received the Head’s letter regarding this, please email concerns@gatton-park.org.uk, who will send you the letter with the accompany link to the keyworker declaration form.  Please note that this needs to be completed as soon as possible.

With Thanks

Mark Dixon

Headmaster 

19.03.20

Update: 3:35pm

Dear parent

Following the Government announcement yesterday, the School will be closed to most pupils from after school on Friday 20th March.

The only exceptions for this will be for pupils who are vulnerable or those with parents who are key workers.  We are still awaiting the Government guidance on who is defined a key worker however, we believe it to be those employed in front line healthcare or emergency services, teachers or school workers and delivery drivers.  If you feel that you are a key worker and you would like your child(ren) to attend School from next week, please do complete the online form, which has been emailed to you with a copy of this correspondence, by 11.00am on Friday 20th March.  Please can you try to complete only one form per household to aid us in dealing with the responses.  Once we have the responses, we will then assess which pupils meet the Government criteria and will let you know as soon as possible, if your child will be able to attend from Monday 23rd March. 

The Government has given specific guidelines about vulnerable pupils.  We will be contacting the parents of pupils that meet these criteria to make arrangements for their attendance at School from next week.

School for these pupils will be open from 7.30am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday only.  There will be no Saturday school.

The Government's decision to close schools and open them only to children of key workers and vulnerable groups will mean there are far fewer children in schools and that will help to slow the spread of the disease. Therefore, we ask, in order to keep the risks low for the pupils and all our community and to make sure critical public services keep functioning, only those who need this provision apply for it.

Boarders

As all boarders are currently in self-isolation, we won’t be able to open the School to them until the 14-day period is over.  We will get in touch with boarder parents later this month to confirm which families meet the ‘key worker’ criteria.

Continuity of education

The academic office will be in touch with details of how to access the remote learning for all year groups who have not already received such.  Mr Greenwood will be in touch separately to advise the Junior School pupils and parents.  During the school day all students are expected to stay at home and complete the work set for them by their teachers.

Please can we take the opportunity to remind you that whilst not at school students should be working at home and practising social distancing as much as possible, they should not be congregating in groups.

Safeguarding and other concerns

While students are off site they may contact a member of the safeguarding team if they have any worries or concerns. To do this, students can email concerns@gatton-park.org.uk from their school email account and a member of the safeguarding team will be in touch. Parents are also invited to utilise this email for any concerns, whether safeguarding or other, regarding a child.

Once again thank you for the support you are showing to the School and for your understanding at this difficult time for our whole country.

Kind regards

Mark Dixon

Headmaster

Update: 11.20am

We still await confirmation from the Government about the definition of 'key worker' and any other relevant criteria regarding the pupils that will be able to attend school from Monday.  An update will be sent to parents as soon as we have this information. 

18.03.20

Update: 6.40pm

Dear Parent,

Following the Government’s announcement this evening I am writing to confirm the School will be closed to most pupils from Friday 20th March after school.

The Government has advised that the School should remain open to certain categories of pupil i.e. those that are vulnerable and those with parents who are key workers.  We are awaiting further definition of these categories, and considering how we will implement this approach.  We will update you about how this will affect you by tomorrow lunchtime.

Thank you for your continued support

Mark Dixon

Update: 3pm

Dear Parent,  

I am writing with an update on how the School is managing the impact of the Coronavirus.   

We have reviewed arrangements following the measures that were taken yesterday.  Pupil and staff numbers are falling and we have increasing numbers of pupils who will be accessing their learning from home.  The arrangements from tomorrow are: 

Key Stage 2: Year 3 to Year 6 

Flexi Boarding pupils are expected to attend School (unless they are unwell or self-isolating).  All pupils will have access to remote learning resources.  These will be updated by class teachers each day.  Mr Greenwood will be in touch separately with details of how those who are self-isolating can access this work.  Given the low numbers of pupils in School, we will be combining Year 3 and Year 4 classes, Year 5 and Year 6 will each have one class.  The pupils in School will be supported in their learning by class teachers and learning support staff.     

Year 9, Year 10, Year 12 

As previously advised, no pupils will be present at School.  All pupils will continue to have access to teacher-supported remote learning.   

Year 7, Year 8, Year 11, Year 13 

Flexi Boarding pupils are expected to attend School (unless they are unwell or self-isolating).  Mr Bendall will be emailing all pupils today with the locations of their classes as this will be different from their normal registration rooms.  We will be setting work for all pupils (Flexi and Boarders) for the timetabled lessons.  Pupils in School, and those who are accessing the lessons remotely, will be expected to complete the same work.  The academic office will be in touch with details of how those who are self-isolating can access this work. 

Those in Years 3,4,5,6,7,8,11 and 13 who are not boarders, are expected to attend unless they are ill or self-isolating due to ‘household’ isolation.  Other absences will not be authorised.  School will operate as normal on Saturday.  

Extended School Day 

We have reviewed the arrangements for providing the extended day and, whilst we won’t be able to reopen the boarding houses, we will be able to remain open between the hours of 7.30am and 6.00pm.  Provision will be: 

7.30–8.00am - Pupils can go to Dining Room 

8.00-8.30am - Breakfast in the Dining Room 

3.35-5.30pm - Any remaining Junior pupils will be in a Junior classroom 

3.45-5.30pm - Any remaining Senior pupils will be in the ICT rooms  

3.45-5.30pm - Sixth Form will be in Sunley House 

5.30-6.00pm - Tea in the Dining Room 

All pupils must be picked up by 6.00pm. Please make sure your child knows the time and location of where you are planning to pick them up.   

I am very aware how important it is to keep children in School so parents can continue to work to keep the economy moving and provide the services we will all need at this time of national crisis.  I will make every effort to keep the School open for as long as possible. 

Thank you for your continuing support and working in partnership with us. 

Yours sincerely  

 Mark Dixon

Headmaster 

There will be a further update following the government update at 5pm today.

17.03.20

Update: 1.21pm

The Government briefing yesterday afternoon has resulted in a reduction in the number of staff available to operate the School.  We will continue to keep the School open as long as we can.  However, we have already had to operate a partial closure. We have closed the School to Year 12 pupils as of today and will be closing to Year 9 and Year 10 pupils from Wednesday 18th March.  The situation may mean that we need to fully close before we would like to, however we will prioritise staying open for Year 11 and Year 13 for as long as we can. 

We have taken advice from the Boarding Schools Association (BSA) and their advice is that each Boarding House should be considered a ‘household’.   Therefore, in line with the Government advice for households to self-isolate if one member has the symptoms, we have had to close all Boarding Houses as all now have pupils with symptoms.  Boarders will need to return home as soon as possible to self-isolate for the 14 days, and not return until the summer term. 

Due to this, from today (Tuesday 17th March) all Boarding Houses will also closed to Flexi Boarder pupils. 

Clubs and activities

Unfortunately, we have now needed to take the decision to cancel all after school activities and clubs from today. 

Flexi Boarding opening

The School will continue to be open to Flexi Boarders (apart from those in closed Year groups) from 8.00am to 6.00pm (with tea at 5.30pm) but as previously stated the Boarding Houses are not open to pupils.   For those who remain in school after the end of the day we will be opening ICT1, 2 and 3 for pupils to complete prep, etc until they are collected.

Year group partial closures:

Year 12                 closed as of Tuesday 17th March

Year 9 & 10         closed as of Wednesday 18th March

I would like to thank families for the excellent support you are showing the School and for your understanding whilst I make decisions one day at a time.  We will let you know about other closures by 2.00pm each day wherever possible. 

Visitors and Parents

We will not be allowing visitors on site unless their visit is essential to the continued running of the school. 

The above means that parents who are dropping off or picking up pupils should remain in their cars. The Boarding Houses are closed to parents. The Junior School will send specific guidance on this.

Trips

To protect the community and campus there will be no trips, fixtures or activities off-site for the rest of this term.

Stay at Home Advice

As stated earlier, the latest advice from Government released yesterday is that if anyone in your household has presented symptoms consistent with the Coronavirus (Covid-19) the whole household should self-isolate at home for fourteen days. 

The relevant symptoms are:

  • a new continuous cough
  • and/or a high fever (38oC or above)

All School staff have been given this advice and we ask that all students and children also follow this advice and that you keep your children away from school for the full 14 days if anyone in your household should develop any of these symptoms. 

Communication with the School

As I am sure you will understand, we are experiencing a high level of calls and emails and we need to ensure that our communication channels have the capacity to respond quickly where necessary.  Therefore, please only contact the School where you feel it is essential to do so. 

We will now be filtering outside communication that comes into School. Therefore, please be patient as we will not necessarily be able to respond in the same timely manner for issues which are not deemed to be urgent.  Where possible, please wait for further communication from the School, via in-touch or on our webpage http://www.raa-school.co.uk/Coronavirus.asp, rather than contacting us individually.

Informing the School about Absence

Please continue to use the current protocols for informing the School about the absence of your child: 

  • Please ensure that we are notified of absences or lateness on the day by 8.00am

In your communication, please differentiate between the reasons for absence if it may be linked to Coronavirus:

  1. Self-isolating due to Coronavirus-like symptoms
  2. Self-isolating following medical advice to do so (suspected Coronavirus)
  3. Self-isolating due to a confirmed case of Coronavirus

Communication about any future closure

  • The School website will be used to inform families of our closing in the first instance. We will be open unless we say otherwise
  • These messages will also be emailed to families
  • We will also use the School Twitter to inform families of our decision to close @RAASchoolGatton

Setting of work for students

If the School closes either fully or to a specific year group, the teacher responsible for each lesson will set relevant work for students to complete via either Microsoft Teams or via email. Please be aware that this may take a day for the staff to be able to upload, particularly where they are still teaching or covering other year groups in School.  Where work is expected to be returned to the teacher, they will let the pupils know which is the best way for this to be done.

Further advice

Please continue to monitor our Coronavirus webpage http://www.raa-school.co.uk/Coronavirus.asp, where we will be posting updates.

You can find the latest official advice using this link:  https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/Coronavirus-covid-19-ukgovernment-response

Thank you for your continuing support and working in partnership with us.

Yours sincerely

Mark Dixon

Headmaster

17.03.20

Update: 08.30am

Dear Year 12 pupil and parents,

Given the news from the Government yesterday requesting the ‘household isolation’ guidelines, which now extend to 14 days and not 7, we are very much struggling to staff the normal school day.

I have, therefore, taken the tough decision to close the School for year 12s as of now.  I am therefore asking year 12s not to come into school and we will be organising that year 12 boarders return home.  Of course, in some cases it will take some time for year 12 boarders to organise that.

We will be supporting year 12 studying remotely, with work being set via email and the software called Teams, as Mr Bendall has previously communicated (this will be re-sent today).

The reason I am choosing year 12 to be the first year-group for which we close, is:

  • This year group does not have public examinations this year (with the exception of Global Perspectives);
  • This year group has the maturity to engage with self-study;
  • The class sizes are small so the number of teachers per pupil is very high, so this decision releases more teachers free per child than other year-groups in the main part of the school.  Also, a relatively high percentage of year 12 pupils have already left due to being international boarders;
  • This age-range is where pupils are more able to be at home by themselves, if needs be.

With very many thanks for your understanding and support.

Mark Dixon

Headmaster

17.03.20

Dear Parent,

Following the government’s announcement yesterday we need to make some changes to schooling and it is important that all parents follow this advice.

The government have moved to the next stage of protection in which they say all unnecessary travel should not happen, and similarly that unnecessary social contact should not happen. The government also gave clear advice about “household isolation”, which we want all households to follow.

 Please help us in the following way:

  • If anyone in your household has presented symptoms, these being a high temperature or a new continuous cough, then the whole household needs to be self-isolated for 14 days, and no pupils from that household should come into school. Please contact the school office to explain if this is your situation, letting us know the date from when the first symptom occurred. The pupils from this household can only return to school 14 days after this point.

The above is the most important new information. I will be writing more fully to parents on Tuesday morning, but for now want to add the following:

  • Any flexi-boarder or boarder who shows symptoms is being taken to the Health Centre to then be picked up from home or guardians, for self-isolation to start at home, and this now needs to be for 14 days. We have been in the process of doing this, but for 7 days – at this point the time needs to extend until 14 days from when they were taken across to the Health Centre. All pupils need to be picked up that day please – as we have previously contacted all parents to say.
  • To protect the community and campus we are now not allowing any trips, fixtures or activities off site for the rest of this term. This includes boarding trips in evenings or weekends. We will also not be allowing boarders out of campus at weekends, unless travelling home and back – but they cannot do this if anyone in the home has symptoms.
  • We will not be allowing visitors on site unless their visit is essential to the continued running of the school.
  • The above means that parents, to drop-off or pick up pupils to and from school need to do so and remain in their cars. The junior school will give specific guidance on Tuesday morning.
  • We will continue to keep the school open as long as we can, but we imagine staffing problems may mean that we need to partially of fully close before we would like to. We will prioritise staying open for year 11 and year 13 for longer if we can.
  • If we close for any year-groups we will then plan to set work to support self-study from the pupils in the year groups affected – as previously explained by Mr Bendall.

With thanks for your support.

Mark Dixon

Headmaster

16.03.20

UPDATE: 5.15pm.  Additional update based on the Prime Minister's announcement will follow soon.

UPDATE: 3pm 
Dear Parent,

We continue to have no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in The Royal Alexandra and Albert School at the current time.  However, as time moves forward for such a large community such as ours, it is inevitable that families of students and staff will begin to self-isolate without being tested.  I will give guidance to families later in this letter as to how they can inform the School about this. 

Public Health England continue to advise that in most cases, even if there is a confirmed case within the school community, closure of the School is unlikely to be necessary. Please be aware that decisions about closing the School will also be based upon the availability of staff so that I can safely operate the School. 

In line with current government guidance, I have no intention to close the School at this time, but please make regular checks on this page.

Trips

We are currently postponing a number of trips.  The reason for this is that we have some staff and pupils self-isolating in line with Government policy and advice.  Our priority is to maintain continuity of education as long as possible therefore we require all staff who are able, to be on site.

Clubs and activities

School activities and clubs will continue as usual, unless we do not have the staffing to do so.  As we use a number of external providers, it could be that they themselves are unable to attend their club or activity due to self-isolation or their own personal reasons.  In this circumstance we will advise you in the normal way that the club is cancelled giving as much notice as possible.  As there are many clubs and activities that may be cancelled for all sorts of reasons we will not elaborate on the specific reason.

If any member of staff or student becomes a confirmed Coronavirus case while self-isolating, we will take advice from Public Health England on isolating further individuals, deep cleaning the School and/or School closure.

Stay at Home Advice

The latest advice from Government released last week is that anyone displaying symptoms consistent with the Coronavirus (Covid-19) should self-isolate at home for seven days. 

The relevant symptoms are:

  • a new continuous cough
  • and/or a high fever (38oC or above)

All School staff have been given this advice and we ask that all students and children also follow this advice and that you keep your children away from school for the full 7 days if they develop any of these symptoms. 

Communication with the School

As I am sure you will understand, we are experiencing a high level of calls and emails and we need to ensure that our communication channels have the capacity to respond quickly where necessary.  Therefore, please only contact the School where you feel it is essential to do so. 

We will now be filtering outside communication that comes into School. Therefore, please be patient as we will not necessarily be able to respond in the same timely manner for issues which are not deemed to be urgent.  Where possible, please wait for further communication from the School, via in-touch or on this page, rather than contacting us individually.

Informing the School about Absence

Please continue to use the current protocols for informing the school about the absence of your child: 

  • Please ensure that we are notified of absences or lateness on the day by 8.00am

In your communication, please differentiate between the reasons for absence if it may be linked to Coronavirus:

  1. Self-isolating due to Coronavirus-like symptoms
  2. Self-isolating following medical advice to do so (suspected Coronavirus)
  3. Self-isolating due to a confirmed case of Coronavirus

Communication about any future closure

  • The school website will be used to inform families of our closing in the first instance. We will be open unless we say otherwise
  • These messages will also be emailed to families
  • We will also use the school Twitter to inform families of our decision to close @RAASchoolGatton

Setting of work for students

If the School closes, the teacher responsible for each lesson will set relevant work for students to complete via either Microsoft Teams or via email. Where work is expected to be returned to the teacher, they will let the pupils know which is the best way for this to be done.

Further advice

Please continue to monitor this Coronavirus webpage where we will be posting updates.

You can find the latest official advice using this link:  https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/Coronavirus-covid-19-ukgovernment-response

Thank you for your continuing support and working in partnership with us.

Yours sincerely

Mark Dixon

Headmaster

13.03.20

In-line with yesterday’s Government statement and in order to keep the whole of our community safe we are asking pupils, parents, visitors, and staff not to attend the school site if you have the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild.

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

  • new continuous cough, and/or high temperature
  • high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)

If your child has symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started.

Please can you contact our school Attendance Office (attendanceofficer@gatton-park.org.uk) to let them know.

We have been preparing for a possible school closure due to the coronavirus.  Information about how we will approach home learning is here.

12.03.20

Dear Parent

You may have seen from our coronavirus update that we have made changes to the open morning this Saturday.  All visitors will be asked to pre-register for the event and complete a self-declaration form prior to arrival.

We also have a self-declaration form for all visitors arriving on site via main reception or the Foundation office, please see attached.  If you are visiting a member of staff at the school please make sure you sign in via the main reception and complete the form. 

In order to keep the whole of our community safe we are asking parents not to attend the school site if they have:

  • Returned from or been in close contact with anyone who has returned from a Category 1 country or area in the past 14 days
  • Been in close contact with anyone who has returned from a Category 2 country or area in the past 14 days who has any symptoms of Coronavirus
  • Are displaying any Coronavirus symptoms (a high temperature, dry cough or breathing difficulties)
  • Been advised to self-isolate by a doctor, NHS111 or Public Health England

The country categories are determined by the UK government. As this is a rapidly changing situation, the list is subject to change. For up to date information, please click here.

In order to reduce the risk further, if, when collecting your child, you are able to remain in your vehicle and have them come out to you, please do so.

We will continue to update you as the situation changes.

Thank you for your support.

Kind regards

Mark Dixon

Headmaster

11.03.20 - Open Morning 

The Open Morning on Saturday 14th March will be going ahead. However, we will be taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of our school community.

All visitors will be asked to pre-register for the event and complete a self-declaration form prior to arrival (this will be available in your checklist items after you have registered for the event).

All forms will be checked, and visitors will only be allowed on site if they have declared ‘no’ to the following:

  • Returned from a Category 1 or Category 2 country
  • Been in close contact with anyone who has returned from a Category 1 or Category 2 country
  • Been in close contact with anyone who has any symptoms of Coronavirus
  • Are displaying any Coronavirus symptoms (a high temperature, dry cough or breathing difficulties)
  • Been advised to self-isolate by a doctor, NHS111 or Public Health England

The country categories are determined by the UK government. As this is a rapidly changing situation, the list is subject to change. For up to date information, please click here.

Category 1 countries/areas: Wuhan city and Hubei Province (China), Iran, Daegu or Cheongdo (Republic of Korea), Italy

Category 2 countries/areas: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam

Should you complete the form and go on to develop symptoms before the Open Morning, please do not attend the event.

11.03.20 - Hand washing

To protect yourself and others from the Coronavirus, hand hygiene is essential. The video below shows how to wash hands properly. We are encouraging pupils to wash their hands with soap and water more often and for more than 20 seconds.

09.03.20

The Department for Education and the Local Authority are encouraging schools to follow the Public Health England (PHE) guidance regarding Coronavirus and to remain open. PHE advise that in most cases, even if there is a confirmed case within the school community, closure of the school is unnecessary. We can assure you that in this situation we would take further advice from PHE to ensure the right proportionate local decision.

It is important that we all do our best to ensure that our children’s education is disrupted as little as possible and as always, everyone should continue to promote good hand and respiratory hygiene:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze, then bin the tissue and wash your hands (or use a sanitiser gel).
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

Thank you for your cooperation and support.

06.03.20

With the Easter holidays fast approaching, the School is aware that some families may have plans to travel overseas. An Easter travel procedure, in line with government advice, is therefore being implemented by the School. Further details can be found in the Headmaster's latest letter to parents - please click here.

05.03.20

The Headmaster and members of key departments met yesterday to discuss the School's response to Covid-19. The Headmaster's latest letter to parents with updated information can be found here

02.03.20

Posters have been placed around school and pupils have been reminded of good hand/respiratory hygiene during House meetings. Information included coughing/sneezing in to an elbow, even if you have a tissue, to keep hands clean and prevent viruses being sprayed on to surfaces, which can then be picked up on hands and transferred to faces.

Further information can be found here:

Catch, Bin, Kill Campaign

Cough and Sneeze Poster

How to Wash Your Hands

Respiratory and Cough Hygiene 

28.02.20

As a boarding school we always have to react to health concerns/issues that may affect our pupils.  

We are closely monitoring the situation and there is of course a chance that the current Coronavirus epidemic could affect members of our school community so we are putting in place measures to try and prevent this.  We are therefore continuing to follow guidelines from the Boarding Schools Association (BSA) and NHS England.  

At this stage,  if you have returned from any of the affected countries/regions in the last 14 days, please contact the school immediately.  We shall be issuing travel advice for the upcoming Easter break soon.  If pupils are travelling abroad to affected countries/regions, there may be the need to quarantine/isolate them (boarders or flexis) at home, or with guardians, on their return.  This is in line with our recent half term policy.  We understand of course that this will mean missing the start of the summer term possibly.  As said, there will be more information to follow towards the end of next week.

Thank you for your continued understanding.

Please contact Daniel Swan, Director of Boarding, should you have any queries/concerns.

The Headmaster has sent a letter to parents regarding current Covid-19 advice that is being followed in school. The letter can be found here