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Principal's update: Thurs 27 July 2020

Published on 28/08/20

Dear Parent/Carers,


I hope you are all well and looking forward to our return to school next week. We are delighted that we can open as usual and can’t wait to welcome everyone back to school – beginning with Year 7,10,11 and 12 on Thursday 3rd September followed by Y8,9 and 13 on Friday 4th September – so everyone will be in school on Friday.  This email highlights some key information however the full details are on our website on the Return To School page here.


Return to School

The full details of our changes and the measures in place to meet current guidance can be found on our website on the Return To School page here. Please take the time to read this as there are changes to the school day (for example, tutor time has moved, staggered lunch times will be in place and travel information). Timetables are available on Parent Portal however they will be distributed on the first days back if you cannot login to your account at the moment – please note - Year Nine tutor groups H and O have PE on Friday morning so will want to bring PE kit on Friday 4th September. Year 11 also have PE on Thursday but this will be classroom based.


Travel Arrangements

We would also ask that you complete a very short (one question) travel survey so that we can assess the impact of the current situation on your plans to travel to school. You can access the survey at:

We have worked with Derbyshire CC and their travel team and we continue to work with the bus companies. One change to note - there will be a designated school bus running from Hathersage so that students do not need to catch the public service bus.  All other services are running as normal – please check the website for full details of bus times etc.  The expectation is that children and young people will sit in year groups on the bus and wear face coverings.  We also advise all our students to carry hand sanitiser in case of buses do not have this on board. 

We are asking the minibuses to pick up our students from the car park at the end of the day to avoid large numbers of students at the front of school.  Please bear in mind that this will mean more vehicles and foot traffic in our car park at the end of the day.  We must maintain safety so would ask parents and carers to minimise the use of the car park to pick up students and if it is absolutely necessary to use the car park, please go to the back of the car park on the grassed area to avoid congestion at the entrance to the car park.

If you are considering cycling to school, we will make extra provision for the safe storage of bikes at the back of the music block – in the first instance this extra storage will not be covered.  If this becomes a popular, we will purchase more permanent covered bike storage. Some of our parents have trialled a ‘Bike Bus’ which may be of interest to you - see the news story here.


Changes to Tutor Time, Tutor Groups and Lunchtime

In order to maintain year group bubbles, we have rearranged tutor groups into year groups only.  These groups are HOPE for each year group and mirror the teaching groups used throughout school. In other words, students should be familiar with the members of the group, however, if you have any concerns please contact your Year Tutor who will be pleased to help.  The details of year tutors (previously senior house tutors) are on the website.  Mrs Petts will be emailing individual year groups with the names of tutors by the end of Friday 28th August.  Again if you have any questions please contact the appropriate year tutor who will be able to help.

The biggest change to the school day is that we have moved tutor time to 12:15 so that students will come to school and go straight to period 1 at 08:55 every day. This has allowed us to stagger lunch and provide valuable tutor time in the day.  For Y10 and Y11,  this creates time to catch up on lessons and will be taught by subject specialists, we feel this is essential to ensure that Y10 and Y11 are given the maximum support for their upcoming GCSE exams in 2021.  You will see that Y10 and Y11 have a shortened lunch time to facilitate the catch up sessions, some schools have introduced a ‘period 6’ to their day but with our school transport we are unable to guarantee that all students could access support after school so lunch time is the compromise. The catch-up will begin with Maths and English for Y11.

Lunchtime will be staggered so that we only have one year group in the dining hall or main hall at any one time.  There are also year bases for students which include indoor and outdoor space – please ensure that students have warm clothing as we are expecting to use outdoor space as much as possible.


Safety Measures

We have fitted hand sanitiser to all classrooms and will be asking students to use this every time they enter and leave the room, we would also encourage students to carry their own sanitiser. We have extra cleaning in place and will be reinforcing hand hygiene and all other COVID-19 measures in assemblies and tutor time. Your endorsement will also help to reinforce these measures.


We have taken the decision, based on PHE advice and the size of our school, to recommend that everyone should wear a face covering in communal areas or corridors where social distancing is more difficult.  The advice currently recommends that students do not wear face coverings in a classroom as other measures are in place.  We will, of course, respond to local and national guidance particularly if the infection rate increases or there is a local outbreak. No child or young person will be asked to remove a face covering in school unless there is another risk to their health and safety. 

You can read full guidance on face coverings on our dedicated Face Coverings webpage here.

visiting and Moving around school

Visitors (other than deliveries) will only be admitted to school with a prior appointment and will need to take safety precautions if meeting with staff in an enclosed area.  We will be limiting the number of people waiting in the reception area at any time as this is a small area so you may be asked to wait outside.

Students will be asked to enter and exit school through designated entrances but will not be permitted to enter through reception. We also have a one-way system around school corridors for everyone.


Finally, despite all of the above, we are aiming for school to be as normal as possible for our young people, we will be sending out a ‘return to school’ survey which will help us to identify any student who will need extra support to return – please watch for this link in the next few days.  Please do not hesitate to contact our year tutors, form tutors or leadership team if you have any concerns. Have a lovely weekend when it arrives and take care.

Kind regards,

Gaynor Jones