Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update!
UPDATE – July 2020
Following the government’s announcement that schools will reopen fully in the Autumn Term 2020, I am writing to share with you the arrangements we have implemented to ensure the safety of all staff, students and visitors to the College. These arrangements have been put into place following a robust risk assessment process.
We are looking forward to seeing all our students once again, however, I would like to reassure you that the safety of our college community is our priority. We will continue to review the arrangements we have implemented at this stage and update you with any changes as and when we make them.
I can confirm that college will reopen to staff on Tuesday 1st September. This means that Year 7 students will return to college at 8.35am on Wednesday 2nd September 2020 with Year 11 returning later in the day at 11.00am. We will see the rest of the college, Years 8, 9 and 10, return on Thursday 3rd September 2020 at 8.35am for a prompt 8.40am start.
Before reopening, we have updated our risk assessments that identify the risks associated with coronavirus specific to our college and additional measures have been put in place to minimise those risks as far as we are able to. Our risk assessment for the full reopening of the College will be published on our college website after 26th August 2020 and we welcome any feedback on the measures we have put in place.
All staff and students will continue to have access to testing if they develop symptoms of coronavirus, and rapid action will be taken should any test come back positive to ensure that the college continues to be a safe environment. The affected student or member of staff will be required to self-isolate at home for 14 days, as will any students and members of staff they have been in close contact with (e.g. the rest of the student’s bubble).
We recognise that some of you may have some concerns about your son/daughter returning to college and that this is an unsettling time for some son/daughter. We also understand that the past weeks will have been challenging for many families. If you would like to talk to us about your son/daughter and any concerns you have about their return to college, please, in the first instance, contact your son/daughters tutor by email. If your son/daughter has an EHC plan please contact the college SENDCO, Mrs Stobbs, who will support you and your son/daughter with their return to college.
Allocating Students to a ‘Bubble’
In line with the Department for Education (DfE) guidance, the college has made arrangements for all son/daughter to attend college as part of a smaller consistent group, often referred to as a ‘bubble’. These groups of students will remain together throughout the college day and will not interact with other bubbles in college. This is an important measure to limit the spread of any infection and will limit the number of interactions between students in college. Your son/daughter will remain with their Year Group bubble and will only mix with that year group. Please note, siblings may be allocated different groups and this is supported by the DfE in their guidance.
From September 2020, the normal rules around college attendance apply. Therefore, we must remind you of your duty to secure that your son/daughter attends college regularly. The college have a responsibility to record attendance for all son/daughter and follow up absence. Please see our college attendance policy which is published on our website.
All college staff have been fully briefed on the arrangements in place for a full reopening in September 2020. Some college staff may have been shielding during the lockdown and as such we will be supporting them fully as they return to work. I would ask all parents/carers to bear in mind that some staff may have spent a considerable amount of time away from college and that this is also an unsettling period for those members of staff. We ask that our entire college community are patient with each other as we adjust to this new way of life.
Maintaining a safe college environment
I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the preventative measures the college has put in place in order to minimise the spread of infection. As per the advice from the government, the following actions for infection control remain in place:
- Displaying coronavirus infection control measures information posters around the college
- Encouraging good hygiene by promoting the importance of handwashing for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap in the following circumstances:
– Before leaving home
– On arrival at college
– After using the toilet
– After breaks and sporting activities
– Before food preparation
– Before eating any food, including snacks
– Before leaving college
- Installing alcohol-based hand sanitiser dispensers that contain at least 60 percent alcohol
throughout the College
- Ensuring students and staff understand that they must cover their mouth and nose with a tissue before they cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue away into the bins provided.
- Ensuring frequently touched objects and surfaces are cleaned and disinfected more regularly than usual
- Calling NHS 111 if someone becomes unwell, isolating any unwell people in a separate room, and providing a separate bathroom, where possible
- Telling staff to stay at home for 14 days if they develop symptoms of coronavirus
- Arranging classrooms so that son/daughter are seated side by side facing forwards and removing unnecessary furniture and equipment.
- As an important part of our college community, I would ask that you continue to encourage good infection control practices, such as thorough handwashing at home and keep your son/daughter informed about the things they can do to discourage the spread of infection.
- Behaviour management and our policy of ensuring teachers have attention to best conduct at all times will remain. Mrs Wood has outlined in the attached letter the way we will continue to maintain the expectations on behaviour.
Symptoms of Coronavirus
As per the current NHS and government advice, you should keep your son/daughter at home for a period of 14 days if they develop coronavirus symptoms. Symptoms include a high temperature, a new continuous cough, and a loss of taste/smell. Where symptoms continue after 7 days, or begin to worsen, you should call 111. If someone in your son/daughter’s household has symptoms, your son/daughter must self-isolate for 14 days from the day the other person’s symptoms started. This is because it can take 14 days for symptoms to appear. More information regarding symptoms and actions can be found on the NHS website here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19
The College will insist that any student or member(s) of staff who show any symptoms that may be compatible with Coronavirus, book a test immediately. Information on booking a test will be provided by the College and the student/member of staff will not be permitted to return until the test result is confirmed and the period of isolation is complete. In addition, guidance from the DfE states that a small number of home testing kits may be able to be distributed by the College in exceptional circumstances. We have not yet received the details of this and will advise parents/carers as soon as more information is available.If someone you or your son/daughter has been in close proximity to has tested positive for Coronavirus, you may be contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service. Information on the NHS Test and Trace service is available here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/nhs-test-and-trace-if-youre-contacted-after-testing-positive-for-coronavirus/
If you think your son/daughter may have been exposed to or has coronavirus, please contact the college on 01429 261446 at the earliest opportunity.
From September 2020, all students will be expected to return to college in their full college uniform. In accordance with DfE guidance, uniforms do not need to be cleaned any more often than usual, nor do they need to be cleaned using methods which are different from normal.
Our college uniform is vital in contributing to the ethos of the college and sets an appropriate tone for students to return to learning. Details of our college uniform policy, which will be applied in full from 2nd September 2020, is available on our website.
It is still recommended that we limit the amount of equipment students bring to college each day. Therefore, only essentials can be brought to college by students such as: lunchboxes, hats, and coats. Lockers will not be allowed to be used in Year 8-11 as this would mean mixing bubbles. If students bring their bags they will be expected to be by their chair in their classroom.
Arrangements for the start and end of the College day
The beginning and end of the College day are the busiest times for son/daughter and adults congregating together in one place, so maintaining safe distances within normal arrangements can be a challenge. We have implemented the following measures for when students return to college:
- Year 7 should meet in the old car park area outside the front of the North Building where they will be met by staff
- Year 8 should use the west staircase and make their way to the Mathematics corridor where they will be met and directed to their classroom
- Year 9 should use the East staircase and make their way
- Year 10 should use the main student entrance and will be directed to the Communications classrooms via the Heart staircase
- Year 11 should use the North staircase and go to level 2 where they will be directed to their classroom by a teacher
- Students who attend the Shine Centre or the ARC should go straight to the external doors for those areas.
We encourage students to walk or cycle to college if possible and avoid public transport where possible and at peak times. College start time has not changed and hopefully the new car park will be complete and parents should not drive up to the main building but use the red car park zone indicated on the attached site map.
A marked system has been set up in the college corridors to minimise face-to-face contact between students and make it easier to follow social distancing guidance.
What if we arrive late to college?
It is important that students are in College by 8:35am so learning can start promptly at 8.40 am. If for any reason your son/daughter is late they will have to come to the main reception and ring the door bell and wait until someone comes out to take them to their designated area. Students will not be allowed just to wander in the College buildings late. Please do not come into the college building unless invited to do so.
If you and your son/daughter travel to college using public transport, we must remind you that it is a mandatory requirement to wear a face covering unless you are exempt for reasons of health, age or equality. Full guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers#face-coverings
Arrangements for breaktimes and lunchtimes
We recognise the importance for all students to have a break from learning and to enjoy time outside during the college day. Reconnecting with friends will be an important aspect of students settling back into college life, so we have made some adjustments to break and lunch times to ensure they can do so safely.
- Year 8 & 10 will have a break at 9.40 – 10.00 am
- Year 9 will have a break at 10.10 – 10.30 am
- Year 7 and 11 will have a break from 10.40 – 11.00 am
Students will not be able to purchase food in the first few weeks whilst we get used to the new arrangements so we encourage you to send them into college with a healthy snack.
The College Day
The College day in essence will be the same as we would normally run with the changes indicated to make break and lunchtimes easier to maintain social distancing. Assemblies will be carried out by Zoom/Microsoft Teams and will be beamed straight into classrooms. For most lessons students will stay in the same room, except where specialist subjects like Design and Food Technology need to use a specialist rooms. We are endeavouring to maintain a broad and balanced curriculum for all and will utilise staff to support student catch up missed work around the building.
Though we are zoning learners around the College and ensuring that they do not break their “bubbles” we do want to return the College to as near normal as possible and can only do that with the support of the whole College community.
If you need to speak to the college at any time, please contact the college by phone on 01429 261446 or by email to the following contacts for each year group:
Mrs A Dunlop firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs M Wake email@example.com
Mr D Cook firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs L Dixon email@example.com
Mrs R Harbron firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs S Lester email@example.com
Mr L Blythe firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr D Halliday email@example.com
Mr J Turner firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs L Harrison email@example.com
All email contacts are on our website and will be included in the parent handbook you will receive in September.
We would like to politely request that parents do not come on to college site unless it is absolutely necessary as you will not be able to speak to a member of staff face to face without making an appointment in advance. Appointments will only be made in exceptional circumstances so we can ensure that you and our staff are kept safe.
Support for students and families
We do not underestimate how difficult the recent weeks have been for us all and we all will have been touched in some way by the coronavirus pandemic. We recognise the need to focus on students’ emotional wellbeing as well as their return to learning. The following support is in place for students once they return to college:
A. Tutor to be first point of contact for any issues
B. Student Support Officer and Head of Year to support if cannot be resolved
C. Emotional Health and Well Being Officer available for students who are struggling
D. Special Educational Needs and Disability Coordinator to support those who need additional support.
The College does have access to staff who are trained bereavement counsellors and if you would like support please contact the Head of Year as indicated above.
- Year 8 & 10 will have lunch at 12.00 – 12.30 (Year 8 first, followed by Year 10)
- Year 9 will have Lunch at 12.30 – 1.00
- Year 7 and 11 will have Lunch from 1.00 – 1.30 (Year 7 first, followed by Year 11)
Students will be expected to go outside for their 15 minute “outdoor” time unless we are having inclement weather.
Parents may wish to seek support for themselves from the following support agencies:
- Samaritans – call free 24 hours a day on 116 123
- National Domestic Abuse Helpline – call for free and confidential advice, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247
- Shelter provide free confidential information, support and legal advice on all housing and homelessness issues if you call 0330 0536 083 (please note, this is not a free phone number and your call will be charged), or their free webchat is available at: https://england.shelter.org.uk/get_help/webchat
I hope that these arrangements provide you with the information you need to support your son/daughter’s return to college. Students of a compulsory age must be in college unless a statutory reason applies therefore, if you do have any concerns about the return to college that you would like to discuss with us, please contact us by emailing the College at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for supporting the college over recent months and supporting your son/daughter with their home learning.
UPDATE – 20th April 2020
High Tunstall College remains open to provide care for key worker and vulnerable children as defined by the Government. However, we are here to support you all and we will recommence our calls and teaching of the curriculum from Monday 20th April 2020. If you require our support please just ask, that is what we are here for.
It has been great to see so many posts on social media from students who have engaged with all the fun activities over the Easter break. I am sure like me, at such a difficult time you have enjoyed some of the light relief. Well done to all and I look forward to sharing the prizes with the young people when we can.
Before the Easter break our main focus of work was on CenturyTech. We have listened to what parents have said and we are now reducing our reliance on that tool and are asking you to get your son or daughter to follow their normal timetabled lessons from Monday.
CenturyTech has proved to be a massive success and with over 753,000 questions answered by the students of High Tunstall College of Science in the last 28 days, do I need to say anymore. Well done for being world champions in the usage. Please continue to use Century as you wish, it will help reinforce learning and fill the gaps.
We would advise that school work is performed in 30 minute blocks with a short 5 minute break in between to take maximum advantage of average brain attention spans and focus. The 30 minute work blocks should be sequenced by your son/daughters weekly timetable to give them structure and clear daily aims and goals to achieve in this time period. This behaviour should also become habitual and replace some of the structure that students have lost from the lack of school. When students are working in the 30-minute blocks, this should be in silence to ensure maximum focus and retention of information in an area that is as free as possible from distraction.
All work being set by staff will now be set for a 2 week period. The work will be set in ClassCharts and will be on the system on the Sunday night before the Monday. I have asked staff to be specific on how much time should be spent on tasks and this should be clear on the ClassCharts instructions (so 3 hours on booklet work, 2 hours century etc.). Students will be asked to submit their work to their usual teachers.
In form time and PSHCE all students will be expected to read, and we will be sending out details as soon as we can on how you can access our new online reading system. Year 7 should continue this through their accelerated reading programme portal.
MyOn is an exciting new platform that the college has bought to help get students reading and learning independently. It provides full access to over 5700 books across all subjects. These books can be accessed and read on smartphones, tablets, laptops and computers. Many of them are graphic novels and should be engaging for students. All books have an audiobook option so your son/daughter can listen to the text to aid their understanding. It will allow reviews, notes, projects and essays to be set remotely and monitored by teachers both during the college closure and when we return. Students at KS3 will be set a reading list across all subjects each half-term and ‘Reading’ will become a subject in its own right, linked to form time. KS4 students will have a bespoke reading list shared with them which will assist them in preparing for all GCSEs across all subjects. Your son/daughter will receive a username and password to access this platform during the week beginning 20th April 2020. For further information on MyOn and how it can help your child, please see the attached PDF document called ‘Parent Guide’.
UPDATE – 20th March 2020
Following the announcement by the Secretary of State for Education, I am writing to you about our plans and contingencies we have put in place during the period the college will be partially closed due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
As advised by the government, we will do all we can to stay open for the children of key workers in the following economic sectors:
- Health and Social Care Sector
- Public Service
- Local and National Government
- Food and other necessary goods
- Public Safety and national security
- Utilities, communications and financial services
Many of you working in these sectors may be able to ensure your children are kept at home, and the guidance is that those who can safely be cared for at home should be. Please be minded that:
- If it is possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
- If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
- Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
- Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
- Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.
If you require our support for child care we ask you to keep the requirements of us as to a minimum so social distancing principles can be maintained.
We will be open to all students (Years 7 – 11) who meet these criteria to attend College from Monday and engage in the educational activities on offer if you cannot keep your child safe at home. If your child meets the criteria and we do not see them, we will be in contact on Monday to understand the reason for their absence and to discover what support, if any you would like. College uniform is not required until we reopen full time.
All other children will need to stay at home, so we ask that you do not send your child into school from Monday onwards.
Please note that this is a national closure – as you may have heard in the news – so while it is a challenging situation, we are not alone. We will re-open fully as soon as we can and will let you know when this is by all available communication methods, i.e. social media, e-mail and text. The College will be staffed every day (8am – 5pm) so if you have any concerns or need support in any way make contact with us on the College number, 01429 261446, we are here to help and support as much as we can.
What we’ll continue doing while your son/daughter is at home
Your son/daughter’s learning is of course important to us, so we want to continue to support them over the coming weeks. We have prepared work for your son/daughter and have excellent ICT systems in place and will be using Microsoft Teams to be able to continue to educate students on a daily basis. Microsoft Teams is a cloud-based drive where we can share resources, replicate classes, distribute work, grade and send feedback.
We have introduced our new learning platform Century Tec (https://www.century.tech/) where students are able to access English, Maths and Science content and work that is at the appropriate level for them. We will continue to further prepare these resources and will send out more information over the course of the closure. You will receive a series of 8 emails from us with the work attached for each subject for your son/daughter during the next few days.
We expect every student to complete 1 hour of Science, 1 hour of Mathematics and 1 hour of English via Century Tech a day so that they maintain their learning and will be happy to support you if required. Teachers will be monitoring the usage and make contact if we believe the usage is not enough. Together we cannot afford for the young people to fall behind and will appreciate your full support and cooperation. If you do not have access to ICT at home, we have provided your son/daughter with appropriate work and expect its completion. We will forward more over the coming weeks to keep them going. Learning is for life and we want to support all of our students now and in the future and we need all to be ready to return when the College reopens.
We have asked tutors to ensure that they have all students email addresses and keep in contact with students via their school email accounts. If your son/daughter does use their email account, you will receive a call during the closure to see how things are and how your son/daughter is doing.
If your son/daughter usually receives free school meals, we will be able to provide them with a packed lunch every day which can be collected from the College every day from 12pm. If you are unable to collect, or do not make contact in regards to the free school meal we will make contact with you to find out how you would like us to support you. Hartlepool Borough Council and we have decided not to use the Government voucher scheme at this stage, as we do not have enough information. I understand that this is a difficult time for us all and I would like to assure you that will do everything we can to support your son/daughter during the closure of the college. We will have staff in college 8am – 5pm every day to help and support you and I ask that if you are experiencing any problems/issues or have any concerns that you ring and we will support if we can.
We are particularly sad to be losing Year 11 at this time. They have worked so hard to prepare for the GCSE’s and we really do not yet have the detail, or understanding on how GCSE’s will be graded. All I can promise is what we said before, we will not allow any of our young people to be disadvantaged by what is happening. We have put together a help sheet on mental health which will be sent to you and is on our website. We will also be sending you a list of useful websites to use for additional learning, we hope that you will make use of them.
At this difficult time, we have heard a lot about social isolation and social distancing and I would like to remind you that it is the responsibility of all to ensure that our young people follow the advice and guidance given. We know that social distancing is about making sure we stem and slow down the spread of this virus and we all need to do our bit. It is not acceptable for groups of young people to congregate in public or at parties during this closure. We will continue to keep you up dated on any further developments via the college website, the parent app and social media.
Best wishes and I look forward to seeing all students on their return to college.
UPDATE – 18th March 2020
Following the government announcement this afternoon, High Tunstall College of Science will be closed as of 3pm on Friday 20th March 2020. Until then, the college will operate as normal. We are unclear what this means for HTCS from Friday and beyond, however will will notify you once we have more clarity on our college’s role in the community.
In regards to our young people who are in receipt of free school meals, who get additional support from the college already and the children of key workers, we will endeavour to provide further information as soon as we can on how we will support you in the weeks and months ahead during term time and holiday periods.
To all our students, please do not stop learning. However long this takes we still need you to continue with your education. We have invested heavily in our new online platform for English, Mathematics and Science called Century.Tech. Make sure that you have your username and password to take home and to continue with your studies. We will endeavour to send further information via email and text in the coming days on further learning opportunities.
To our Year 11 students, we will make sure that you have equal opportunity and access to further and higher education, apprenticeships and employment as everyone else. We will work with all partners across Hartlepool and beyond to support you.
As a college, we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their co-operation in such an uncertain time and we will continue to keep you up to date with any further guidance.
17th March 2020
We understand the concerns from parents/carers with the ever changing circumstances regarding COVID-19 and we would like to re-assure you we are doing everything possible to keep your children safe whilst at college. We are continuing with our regular cleaning routine and have increased the availability to hand sanitizer around the college. We will continue to remind students to regularly wash their hands and we hope you support this message at home. We would like to thank you for continuing to send your children into college where possible to ensure that the children’s education continues at this difficult time.
15th May 2020
You will have all heard that the Government are asking schools to have face-to-face contact with their Year 10 pupils.
This will not be a return to full timetables or pupils back in school full time, rather some support to supplement pupils’ remote education.
We are working closely with all secondary schools across Hartlepool to agree how best to implement this from June 8th and will be in touch with parents next week.
Please find below details of recent communication sent home to parents regarding COVID-19 and guidance we are following from the Government;