Covid-19 - Latest Updates From the Principal
Dear Parents and Carers
On this page, we will update you with key information relating to the Academy and Covid-19, so that you always have the latest details in one place. These and all previous updates can also be found in our Letters Home page.
Update: 12th March 2021
Covid Testing at Home
Dear Parents and Carers
The Government has recently announced that all secondary aged students will be offered regular asymptomatic COVID-19 testing to take at home. All secondary aged students will be offered tests to take at home twice a week, so that we can reduce the spread of the virus.
Up to one in three people who have COVID-19 can spread the virus without knowing. This is because they have no symptoms. To reduce the spread of the virus, we need to identify those individuals. We can do this in schools by carrying out tests at home twice every week.
Testing pupils/students at home
Tests kits will be collected from school. Tests are free of charge. Students will receive a pack of 3 or 7 tests in a box with a leaflet on how to take the test and report the results.
The result of each test needs to be reported using the NHS Test & Trace self-report website: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result. ALL results must be registered on the NHS tracing website.
Please contact the Academy if you receive a positive or void test by emailing:
If a student has a positive test result, they will need to stay home and self-isolate. If the result of the test is unclear (void) they will need to do another one. Students have the option to take the test the evening before school, but no earlier. Test results should always be reported.
Please read the instruction booklet given with the test kits before conducting any tests.
Taking part in testing is voluntary and all students will be able to attend school whether they take part in testing or not.
I am strongly encouraging all students to take part in the national testing programme. Please contact myself, Ms Clifford, Vice Principal or Mr Whaley, HR Officer, if you have any questions or concerns about home testing.
Thank you for your support.
Some frequently asked questions
What type of tests will be used?
We will be sending home Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests. They are a fast and simple way to test people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but who may still be spreading the virus.
The tests are easy to use and give results in 30 minutes. Further information: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/understanding-lateral-flow-antigen-testing-for-people-without-symptoms
Are LFD tests accurate?
Lateral Flow Devices identify people who are likely to be infectious. These individuals tend to spread the virus to many people and so identifying them through this test is important.
These tests have been widely and successfully used to detect COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals and are approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The speed and convenience of the tests supports the detection of the virus in asymptomatic individuals, who would not otherwise have got tested.
The tests are highly specific, with low chance of false positives. They are also very sensitive and are able to identify the majority of the most infectious yet asymptomatic individuals. Extensive evaluation has been carried out on the tests and it shows that they are both accurate and sensitive enough to be used in the community for screening and surveillance purposes.
It is important to remember that these tests are only an aid to help stop the spread of the virus and you should continue to follow other guidance such as on wearing face coverings and social distancing.
How are LFD tests different to PCR tests?
There are 2 main types of test to check if you have coronavirus:
- Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests check for the genetic material (RNA) of the virus in the sample - you send the sample for processing at a lab
- Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests detect proteins called ‘antigens’ produced by the virus - LFD tests give rapid results, in 30 minutes after taking the test
How will personal information and test results be shared?
When students take a Lateral Flow test, they need to report the result. This is so that their test result can be traced, which means that they need to share some information about the student.
They need to tell the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC):
- their name
- their test result
- the reference number on the test Kit
They will also need to tell the school or college their test result.
Under UK law, a child’s school or college can collect and store test result data because it is in the ‘public interest’.
Schools and colleges will only share information with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) if the test kits used are found to be faulty. If this happens, DHSC will use our information to contact people who used the faulty tests, so that they can be tested again.
When a person reports test results online, they are sharing information with DHSC, who may then share the information with a GP, local government, NHS, and Public Health England. This is so that they can offer health services and guidance if someone needs to self-isolate. They might also use data anonymously (a person’s name or contact information) to research COVID-19, and improve our understanding of the virus.
Covid-19 - national advice
It is vitally important that your child does not attend the Academy if your child has any of the Covid-19 symptoms, any member of your household has the symptoms, or if your child has been in immediate contact with any person who has symptoms. A child must also not attend if they have returned from a country on the Government Travel restrictions website.
If your child has been exposed to anyone with confirmed symptoms or you have returned from a country on the list of travel restrictions then you must remain at home and call the Academy for further guidance.
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
Most people with Covid-19 have at least one of these symptoms.
What to do if you have symptoms
If you have any of the main symptoms of Covid-19:
- Get a test to check if you have Covid-19 as soon as possible
- Stay at home and do not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test
- Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also stay at home until you get your result
- Call the Academy and inform them of your issue and you will be advised about what to do next.
Staggered start and dismissal times
We now have staggered start and dismissal times for each year group, due to Covid-19. You can see full details on our Timings of the Day page, including which entrance you should come to.
Students need to arrive in full Academy uniform, including their faculty tie. These have been re-instated as the number of positive Covid-19 cases have decreased.
When schools return after the Octobr half-term, in accordance with the guidance we have received from the Government, students in all London secondary schools, will be required to wear face coverings in communal areas, for example, when entering the building and in corridors. They will need to remove their face coverings when they get to their classroom and store them safely in clear bags.
Some students have been wearing face coverings in communal areas anyway, but whilst London is in ‘Tier 2’ everybody should now adhere to this rule. We recognise that some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings, such as, if they have a physical or mental impairment that prevents them from using one; if you are unsure whether this applies to your child, please contact us. Likewise, if obtaining a face covering poses a financial difficulty for your family, please let us know and we will provide one.
We will be providing students with their own stationery pack (including pen, pencil, ruler, eraser etc). However, bringing an extra pen would be useful. There will be no sharing of resources. Do remind your child to bring in a reading book.
We have three separate sets of sinks outside the Academy as students will be expected to wash their hands on arrival and before lunch time. In addition, there are sanitising stations outside every classroom.
Students will remain in the same classroom for the majority of each day, called a 'bubble'. This is to reduce cross-contamination. Option group students will need to change classrooms but as we have a one-way system in place, this will not place the students at risk in any way.
More than ever in the current climate, behaviour within the academy needs to be exemplary at all times. Students must follow instructions first time and ensure that they are fully focused on their studies both in school and at home to maximise their academic progress post-lockdown. Disruptive behaviour will not be tolerated. Any infringement of the Covid-19 protocols will be sanctioned in line with our Behaviour for Learning Policy.
Attendance and punctuality
Excellent attendance and punctuality are clearly key to strong academic performance and we appreciate your support in ensuring that your child arrives at the Academy on time every day. Students need to arrive punctually at their stated entry points at the start of the academy day to ensure safe entry of all students. To mitigate against crowded public transport, students travelling on public transport should leave earlier in the morning if necessary to enable them to be punctual to the academy.
We very much look forward to welcoming back your child to the academy and wish you and your families a very positive and safe start to the academic year.
Please see the following policies for further details:
- Curriculum Policy - Available on our Teaching & Learning page
- Behaviour for Learning Policy - Available on our Student Welfare page
- Attendance & Punctuality Policy - Available on our Student Welfare page
- Safeguarding Policy - Available on our Safeguarding page
- SEND Policy - Available on our SEN & Disabilities page