Headteacher’s Letter to Parents/Carers

Please scroll down for previous letters

 

26 February 2021

Dear Parent/Carers

On Monday the Government outlined the roadmap for the country to come out of lockdown.  Part of this roadmap included the return to school starting on Monday 8 March.  The key responsibility for schools in the first two weeks, as mentioned by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, is to administer the lateral flow test three times for all students.  Parents will appreciate that this is a complex task and requires much planning and organisation to ensure that all members of HTC are safe and well.

The plan that we have organised will involve students coming into College at specified times to undertake the three tests.  This will help them to get used to swabbing themselves for the tests.  Schools and colleges are then asked to provide students with two rapid tests to use each week at home.  The home test kits come with clear instructions for use and how to report the results.

In addition to the testing, we will maintain the safety measures that we already have in place which include Year Group bubbles, the wearing of masks at all times and maintaining the social distance.

From Thursday 4 March until Friday 12 March students will be invited to attend the College on three occasions to undertake the test.  We kindly ask that parents/carers who have not yet returned the consent form for the test to take place return the form as soon as possible or students can bring in a hard copy to the first appointment.  You can complete the form via: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6Z6VJDD or complete the form attached to this letter.  The College will be contacting you if you have not yet replied.  Each student and parent will receive a letter with the date, time and venue for the test appointments.  The staff who will administer the test are trained and will support your child throughout the process.

Students who test positive following the lateral flow test will be asked to self-isolate for 10 days before returning to College.  This system of testing all students three times will enable schooling to commence on 15 March in a safe and healthy environment.

Students will not return to College for their education until Monday 15 March.  Student learning will continue remotely and will consist of live lessons and work set by the Teacher in the week beginning 8 March.  In order to carry out the three tests we have to fully utilise the workforce that we have available, therefore regular support may not be available for all lessons at this time.  We thank parents/carers in advance for their understanding of the situation.

Provision in College for Critical Workers and Vulnerable Students will continue as it is now in the week beginning Monday 8 March.

Please read the individualised letter carefully when you receive it to ensure that your child knows when to arrive for the tests, where to go and what to do.  We thank you for your support with this system and sincerely hope that this will be the last time that the College has to reorganise our timetable so that we can all then return to a more normal and enjoyable way of living.

Yours sincerely
Mrs J A Summerfield
Headteacher

Consent Form for COVID-19 Testing

Privacy Notice for Students

 

12 February 2021

Dear Parent/Carer

Today is the last day of this half-term and I would like to thank all parents/carers for supporting the educational provision this half-term.  We are proud of the way in which the community has come together to support both the education and welfare of our young people.  We are delighted that parents have been pleased with the Dimension Childcare provision, the online education and in-College support for the critical worker and vulnerable students.  This has been verified by the large number of thank you messages, all of which have been passed on to the Staff and Governors.  I know that the staff have appreciated the praise and encouragement.

As a College we have also been determined to have daily contact with those parents of students who have not been logging into Teams for their lessons; it has made a difference to attendance, which has been on average 90% for all cohorts.  We have acknowledged the excellent work of students and praise has been given, via ClassCharts accolades, telephone calls home and praise postcards.  Students are currently submitting postcard designs for a praise postcard as part of a competition.

 

This letter contains information for parents/carers for next half-term.

  • As informed by the Government schools will close as usual over February half-term and are not expected to remain open to vulnerable students and the students of critical workers during that week.

 

  • On-line lessons and in-College provision for vulnerable students and the students of critical workers will commence again at the beginning of next half-term Monday 22 February 2021.

 

  • Schools are expecting to hear as of the 22 February 2021 the plans or roadmap for students returning on Monday 8 March. As of today, we have received no information as to what this will entail, once we are aware of the plans we will inform parents and students.

 

  • The College has not yet received information following the national consultation regarding the award of grades for public examinations this Summer. It is important to reiterate that all work that students have produced whether it was in the past or in the next few weeks will form the evidence base for the final grade.  We are aware that some students in Year 11 have reduced their work output particularly in English, which is disappointing.  We will be inviting them to attend for a day after half-term to re-establish the requisite work ethic required for them to achieve their target grades.

 

Testing for COVID19

We will continue with the weekly lateral flow testing for the critical worker students who are in College.  Our staff are tested twice a week as directed by Government and they also have access to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight COVID-19 saliva testing programme.  Students in the future will also have access to the saliva testing.

If a student tests positive or if a student has been at home with a member of the family who is being tested, they must stay at home until the results come back as negative.  This week as a result of a student coming into College when they should have remained at home the Year Group bubble had to be sent home for the rest of this week as did a number of staff.  The impact of this action on people’s lifestyle and families was considerable.  We would respectfully ask that you follow the national guidelines as laid down by Public Health England.

We have had reports of students meeting socially in public places, please ensure for the safety of all that this is not happening, as socially mixing will jeopardise the return to full time College.  We are aware that following the October half-term there was a noticeable increase in student positive cases which had a profound impact on student attendance.

Year 9 Options

As a result of the COVID lock down there will be a slight change to the dates for the Year 9 Option process.  The key dates will now be:

24 February 2021 – Year 9 Options Assembly

26 February 2021 – Options booklets sent out to students/parents

10 March 2021 – Year 9 Parents’ Evening

15 March 2021 – Deadline for return of options choices

The assembly will be recorded and made available to all parents/carers to enable them to support their child’s choices.  Booklets will be sent electronically this year and the choices will be completed using an online response form.

Good News

The Football Foundation has granted Horndean Technology College a sum of £505,698 for the planned new astro-turf.  In addition, last year a further £250,000 for the project was raised, which included support from East Hants District Council and Hampshire County Council.  This project will benefit the current and future student populations and the wider community.  Congratulations to the staff member who has led this project and thank you to the community football teams who have also been active in supporting this project.

I do believe as Headteacher that all staff this half-term have delivered our vision to ‘Achieve Excellence’ for all our students.  We have endeavoured despite the challenges to provide the best education and to enable all students to achieve more than they first thought was possible.  I would like to thank all staff on behalf of students, parents/carers and Governors for their determination and enthusiasm to provide the best education possible.

We thank parents/carers for their continued support and are more than happy to answer any questions or support where required.  Please do not hesitate to contact the College via general@horndeantc.hants.sch.uk or the Class Teacher, Tutor or Year Leader.  We will endeavour to provide an outstanding provision next half-term so that all students can access the full curriculum and prepare for the return to College.

Yours sincerely
Mrs J A Summerfield
Headteacher

 

 

29 January 2021

Dear Parent/Carer

We hope that your family are remaining safe and well.  This letter provides an update for all parents and carers on a number of issues.  We would like to thank all parents for their continued support with their child’s education whether this is remotely or part of the critical worker programme.

Remote Learning

Teachers have been very pleased to receive positive comments about the live lessons and the associated learning.  The Student Council have also written to Teachers and Support Staff to show their appreciation.  Parents will be aware that we have developed systems to reward those students who have been attending their lessons and our Tutors and Year Leaders make daily contact where attendance to lessons is not good enough.  Parents have also been able to access laptops and discuss any issues with access and passwords with the relevant staff.  We regularly review the provision and amend and adjust where we think it is necessary, such as incorporating a 5-minute break between lessons.  The Tutor Programme and posts on Firefly have provided information regarding student well-being.  We do respond to the feedback we receive from parents.

Testing for COVID-19

We will continue with the weekly lateral flow testing for the critical worker students who are in College.  Our staff are tested twice a week as directed by Government.  This is also via the lateral test.

Last week parents received a letter from Hampshire and Isle of Wight COVID-19 saliva testing programme, a copy of which is on the website.  We will be commencing this programme of testing with those students in College and staff who attend regularly.  This test will further ensure that the College is as safe as it can be for those who are regularly attending.  Students who attend College will receive information next week via the Tutor Programme and will be issued a pack to take home.  The pack contains eight weeks of test material.  Students will be told which day to return the test and where to place it.  The tests are collected by Southampton University and any student or staff who tests positive will be contacted directly and will be required to self-isolate.  This test is more likely to identify asymptomatic cases and so allow us to prevent further the spread of the virus.  We are continuing with mask wearing and social distancing.  We hope that parents will support this programme and encourage their children to take part and follow the instructions in the pack fully.

Examinations

The Consultation on how GCSE, AS and A level grades should be awarded in Summer 2021 closes on Friday 29 January at 2345.  The link for the consultation can be found at:  Consultation on how GCSE, AS and A level grades should be awarded in summer 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

It is imperative that all students that are due to sit examinations attend all their lessons on line, take part in the lesson, complete the work and consolidate their learning.  Undoubtedly, student past and present performance will contribute to any grade that is awarded.

We have been very pleased with the attendance of students at the remote Team lessons.  A few students are not attending or participating regularly and therefore their education is being adversely affected.  With this in mind, we will be planning to incorporate compulsory catch up lessons after College for the identified students when the Government allows full schooling to commence.

February Half-Term

This week we received this information from Government:

Schools will close as usual over February half-term and are not expected to remain open to vulnerable children and the children of critical workers during that week. 

Schools do not need to provide lunch parcels or vouchers during the February half-term.  There is wider Government support in place to support families and children outside of term-time through the COVID Winter Grant Scheme.  The £170 million scheme is being run by local authorities in England, with at least 80% of the funding earmarked to support with food and essential utility costs and will cover the period to the end of March 2021.  It will allow local authorities to directly help the hardest-hit families and individuals over the winter period.  Local authorities have local ties and knowledge, making them best placed to identify and help those children and families most in need.

You will be aware that there has been much speculation in the news about the return to full-time schooling. We await to hear what this will be and will inform parents of any relevant arrangements.

We thank parents for their continued support and are more than happy to answer any questions or support where required.  Please do not hesitate to contact the College via general@horndeantc.hants.sch.uk or the Class Teacher, Tutor or Year Leader.   We will endeavour to provide an outstanding provision so that all students can access the full curriculum and achieve more than they first thought was possible.

Yours sincerely
Mrs J A Summerfield
Headteacher

 

 

Data Protection Frequently Asked Question for parents – COVID-19 Saliva testing in schools.

 

LETTER TO PARENTS    25 January 2021

 

Dear Parent or Guardian

We are pleased to share the news that your child’s school/college is taking part in an exciting new Hampshire and Isle of Wight COVID-19 Testing Programme this term.

This new test is very simple and involves collecting a sample of saliva in a plastic pot. The test used is the one featured in a BBC News piece in July. Free tests will be offered to all pupils and all staff at the school.

You will receive a testing pack which contains pots and a leaflet that shows your child how to collect a sample at home, to be dropped off in school.

Why is this important?

Knowing who has COVID-19 is vital to stopping its spread.

We hope that you are as excited as we are about the potential for this test to help us manage the risk of COVID-19. Alongside all the other measures we are taking to control the virus, it could help us to keep our communities safe and well and keep our schools/colleges open. We will also be paving the way for this test to be used to help in the recovery from COVID-19 across the country.

Testing is not compulsory, but I strongly encourage you take part. We will be in touch soon with further details of how your child can take part in this exciting programme.

How will the testing work?

Your school/college will inform you when testing will start.

We will be giving the students a series of virtual engagement lessons in school/college so they can learn about how the test works and how regular testing can help keep them and their community safer.

Students will then bring their test kit and labels home from school/college the day before their first test as well as a leaflet giving step by step instructions. They will be given enough sample pots and labels for eight weeks of testing. It is important that your child takes the test when they wake up – before they have anything to eat or drink and before they brush their teeth.

Once the sample has been labelled and bagged, your child will need to bring it to school/college with them and put it into the collection box at the entrance as they go into the  building. The tests will be collected and taken to the test centre on the same day. Test results will be returned in the next 24-48 hours and you will receive a text message telling you the result of your child’s test.

If your child tests positive, everyone in the household must start isolating immediately. The programme team will contact you and ensure you get the help and advice you need.  Please note that this test is for testing children who do not have symptoms of COVID-19. If your child does have COVID-19 symptoms they should not attend school/college and you should order a test through 111.nhs.uk or by calling 119.

If your child is absent from school/college or forgets to bring in their test, they can bring it in on the next collection day – their teacher will tell them where to take their sample pot. The school/college will have some spare packs to hand out to anyone who loses their sample pots but we would encourage you to keep them somewhere safe as spares are limited.

Important information about your data

To enable the partnership running the COVID-19 Testing Programme between University Hospital Southampton, local government, and the University of Southampton to deploy the test kits to the school and to manage the collection of samples from schools, our school will be sharing contact details of pupils and their parents or guardians, as well as staff, with University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

As you know from our school’s Privacy Notice.

we are very serious about protecting the personal data of all members of our school community, and we will maintain this approach in relation to this data sharing. We will only be sharing limited contact details. The NHS will share confidentially with nominated senior leadership within the School positive test results to enable immediate initiation of contact tracing to minimise the risk of the virus spreading.

The Privacy Notice for this COVID-19 Testing Programme has been included with this letter. Please do take the time to read this. If you have any questions or would like to exercise your right to object to this data sharing, please call the contact centre on the number below.

You should find answers to any questions on the testing programme on www.hiowsalivatest.nhs.uk. Alternatively, you can call the contact centre on 0808 196 2282 (lines are open Monday to Sunday 8.30am to 5.00pm).

While this testing is not compulsory, I would urge all of you to take part. Knowing who has COVID-19 is vital to stopping its spread, and regular testing will help us keep our community safe and keep our school/college open.

Yours sincerely
Headteacher

 

8 January 2021

Dear Parent/Carer

We would like to thank you for all the positive comments that we have received this week about the quality of the on-line teaching and learning.  We are very pleased with the student participation that has resulted in 88% attendance for all classes across the Year Groups.  We thank you for encouraging your children to attend the lessons as per their timetable.  We hope that the attendance will continue to be as high if not better.  Feedback and engagement from students in College has also been positive.

The Year 10 Student-Teacher-Parent Evening will go ahead remotely on Wednesday 13 January.  The Year 10 Pre Public Examinations in College are cancelled and we have informed parents and students that the external public examinations due to start next week are cancelled too.

Next week we will begin to test students who are in College for COVID-19.  We do need parental permission for this to take place.  The link for parental authorisation is as follows:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6Z6VJDD

Year 9 booster vaccinations were planned for Monday 18 January and Friday 22 January.  These will still go ahead and students will be invited into College at an allocated time and will enter and exit via Barton Hall.  Please ensure that your child attends.  Details will be sent out via email in due course.

There are various events that are scheduled for this term such as Year 8 and Year 9 Options.  These will still occur but not necessarily at the previous calendared times.  We will keep parents and students informed.

Thank you for your continued support at this time, it is much appreciated.

Yours sincerely
Mrs J A Summerfield
Headteacher

 

5 January 2021

Dear Parent/Carer

Following the Government announcement yesterday of a new national lockdown initially up until the February half-term, the following systems will be in place to support an educational provision for our young people.

Educational Provision

All students will receive remote online learning from their Teachers as per their timetables.  This will take place for Periods 1-5 every day.  Students will receive direct teaching in addition to being asked to complete specific tasks.  An additional letter provides further information on this blended learning – Parental Guidance and Information letter.  All students are expected to attend all remote lessons, parents and the students will receive an announcement via Class Charts if they do not attend the lessons.

Face to Face Education from Tuesday 5 January

This will be available for vulnerable students and the students of critical workers.  Parents have previously registered requests for this provision.

All students should arrive at 8.25am in the full College Uniform unless they have PE that day when PE kit is permissible.  Students should register at the beginning of the day in the allocated room as listed in the Parental Guidance and Information letter.  Students require all the relevant equipment to conduct learning on the day.  Students will follow the normal timetable for Periods 1-5.  This will take place in an allocated computer room.  Restaurant facilities will be available each day.

The normal bus service will operate each day collecting students at 2.10pm every day.

Testing for COVID 19 during lockdown

Staff and students who are in College will be tested every week.  The results are recorded, any student who tests positive will be asked to leave College and take the PCR test.  Any student who has had contact with the positive case will be tested every day from that point onwards for seven days.

Parents are required to authorise for their child to take the test.  The consent forms have been sent via Survey Monkey and must be completed as soon as possible to ensure that your child can take the test.  You will only be informed if the test is positive.

These arrangements are in operation at this time and are subject to change depending on Government directives.  We will also review the systems in place during the lockdown and adjust accordingly.

Yours sincerely
Mrs J A Summerfield
Headteacher

 

4 January 2021

Dear Parent/Carer

We have been planning:

  • the educational provision for our students for the next few weeks and
  • mass testing for COVID 19 of all students and staff.

Educational Provision

From 5-15 January students in Years 7-10 will receive remote online learning from their Teachers as per their timetables.  This will take place for Periods 1-5 every day.  Year 11 students will receive online learning from 5-8 January and are expected to attend the College from Monday 11 January.  Students will receive direct teaching in addition to being asked to complete specific tasks.  An additional letter provides further information on this blended learning – Parental Guidance and Information letter.  All students are expected to attend all remote lessons, parents and the students will receive an announcement via Class Charts if they do not attend the lesson.

Face to Face Education from Tuesday 5 January

This will be available for vulnerable students and the students of critical workers.  Parents have previously registered requests for this provision.

All students should arrive at 8.25am in the College Uniform unless they have PE that day when PE kit is permissible.  Students should register at the beginning of the day in the allocated room as listed in the Parental Guidance and Information letter.  Students will follow the normal timetable for Periods 1-5.  This will take place in an allocated computer room.  Restaurant facilities will be available each day.

The normal bus service will operate each day collecting students at 2.10pm every day.

Mass Testing for COVID 19

The Government have asked that all students and staff be tested for COVID 19.  We are currently planning for this to take place.  All students will be tested initially and then 3 to 5 days later in the first cycle.  Staff will be tested every week.  The results are recorded, any student who tests positive will be asked to leave College and take the PCR test.  Any student who has had contact with the positive case will be tested every day from that point onwards for seven days.

Parents are required to authorise for their child to take the test.  The consent forms will be sent via Survey Monkey and must be completed as soon as possible to ensure that your child can take the test.  You will only be informed if the test is positive.

These arrangements are in operation at this present time and are subject to change depending on Government directives.

Yours sincerely
Mrs J A Summerfield
Headteacher