Hetton School Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. When will school re-open after the closure on Friday 20th March 2020?
There is no definite answer to that question at this time. At Hetton we are expecting to not re-open until September 2020, but the situation may change at which point we will send out an update.
2. Will there be homework packs?
No. All work will be set online using one of 3 methods:
- A. ClassCharts – all students, parents/carers and teachers have access to ClassCharts online or via the app. We would use this platform (the homework section) to deliver work for lessons, including explanations and instructions via mp3, mp4, MS word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint and other applications. Students have all been given passwords. The parent app can be downloaded at https://www.classcharts.com/parent/login , the student app here https://www.classcharts.com/student/login , and other Microsoft applications here https://www.openoffice.org/
- B. Messenger Class Groups – as ClassCharts does not have a ‘chat’ function, some teachers may use Messenger as a mechanism for students to pose questions, for the teacher to respond and to send out messages and reminders. Class teachers will organise the setting up of such groups and will ensure that no individual interaction will be permitted; this will be monitored carefully.
- C. All students have a Gmail account set up via the school. Whilst the school bears no responsibility (and indeed has no control), over the use of this site, it is a mechanism where a teacher could send learning materials to students through email and Google Classrooms.
If students have forgotten passwords they can contact the school where we can remind or reset.
3. Is it right that students can collect exercise books to do the work?
Yes. If not self-isolating students/parents can collect an exercise book from the school office (8am – 4pm).
4. Is the Yr11 Prom cancelled?
No. However, due to uncertainty surrounding how long the school will remain closed and other restrictions are in place, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the Leavers Ball. We will be looking into arranging to celebrate our current year 11’s time at Hetton School at a later date and will inform you of those plans in due course.
5. Can Yr11s still get a leaver’s hoodie?
Yes. Please read the blogpost here.
6. Are trips like the ones to Austria and France still going ahead?
No. With the current travel restrictions, the Austria Ski Trip is cancelled and we are pursuing refunds on your behalf. This will take some time as they are dealing with refund claims in order of departure and they have a backlog. We will update you as soon as we know more, and thank you for your patience. In terms of the France/Belgium Humanities trip, it is highly unlikely, but the travel company will not process anything now and we will need to wait until closer to the date to get confirmation of this.
The Student Achievement Reward Trip will be cancelled and we will still reward students in 7-10 of their efforts this year when we return to school.
7. Will there be a Year 11 leaver’s day?
Since we heard the closure news, we worked hard to help the Year 11s in school enjoy their last days. This was difficult especially on those not in school, but we have done the best we can. Leaver’s hoodies and a prom event will still go ahead, but please be patient as we deal with all the logistics around this. We are also hoping to produce a short film including photos and words from students/staff that we will send out to all Year 11s as soon as we can.
8. Are free sanitary products still available during the closure?
Yes, during school closure we will continue to support students who require access to free sanitary products. During term time we provide these products when students have forgotten their products, can’t afford them and would prevent them attending or have come on their period without warning. Any out-of-school student in need of products are asked to visit the school office during the hours of 8am – 4pm where products will be available.
9. Are free school meals available during closure?
For the week beginning 23/3/20, we will provide packed lunches for students/parents to collect from the school reception between 9am and 10am each day. It is likely that from 30/3/20, a national FSM voucher system will be operational. Once we receive details about this, we will update you.
10. What will happen about the Year 11 exams?
The exams themselves are cancelled. No Year 11 student will sit any examination either this summer or into the next academic year. Further details have not yet been released about how they will award qualifications, but as soon as this becomes available we will send an update.
11. Can I send my child into school from 23rd March?
Provision in school is the last resort. As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. That is why the government has given clear guidance on self-isolation, household isolation and social distancing. The most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear. If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading. If too many staff get ill, the school may need to close its doors to even eligible students. This means that unless your child has to come into school, they should not. We all have a responsibility to keep each other safe. The government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend. It is important to underline that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children. However, the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.
Schools are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.
Vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.
Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined below. Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.
Please, therefore, follow these key principles:
- If it is at all 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.
The full list of eligible critical workers is here
12. What hours is the school open during the closure period?
School will endeavour to provide access for eligible students only from 7.30am – 4.30pm.
If you require childcare 7.30-8.30am or 3-4.30pm please phone the school to inform us of this with plenty of notice.
Office opening hours are 8am – 4pm
13. How do eligible students get into school from 23rd March?
Access will be via the main school entrance off Hazard Lane. The Moorsley Road (Student entrance) will be locked. This is to provide security for the reduced numbers of staff and students in school.
14. What will the eligible students in school be doing?
Students will be supervised (by teaching or non-teaching staff) doing the work set for them on ClassCharts (same as for their peers not in school). A modified behaviour policy will exist consisting of a Verbal Warning then call for SLT to decide on the next course of action?
15. Will the eligible students in school get food?
The school kitchen will be open and will provide breakfast 8-8.30am, a break snack 10.30-10.45am, a hot/cold meal lunch option 12.45-1.15pm and a snack 3.30-4pm. Normal rules about Free School Meal access or students paying with money on their account (via the app only) will apply.
16. Will eligible students in school have to wear uniform?
Yes. Students will be expected to attend in full uniform, but bringing PE kit.
17. What about safeguarding arrangements while you’re closed?
- As a community we all have a responsibility for our children to remain safe and be safe from harm. During school closure if you need any advice or support due to any welfare or safeguarding concerns you can contact the services below direct for support.
- Together for Children 0191 5614048 or 0191 5615560 for those living in Houghton, Hetton and Easington Lane areas.
- Durham First Contact on 03000267979 for those living in the Durham area.
- Information can be found on their websites. Together for Children (Sunderland area) or Durham.gov.uk (Durham area).
- In any emergency always call 999.
- The school DSLs (Designated Safeguarding Leads) will be available throughout closure and can be contacted via email on firstname.lastname@example.org . Do not wait if the concern is urgent. Contact us in school hours (8am-4pm) for advice on (0191) 5623322. Alternatively, outside of school hours call direct to the services named above, with your concern.
18. How do I stay up to date with new developments?
- We would encourage you to stay up-to-date with messages from the school. The best way of doing this is by accessing the school blog. This and other links are below:
Website - http://www.hettonweb.co.uk/
Blog - http://www.hettonweb.co.uk/wordpress/
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/p/B78269Ll4ch/?igshid=1t7z4k0vk17aw
Facebook - https://en-gb.facebook.com/hettonschool
Twitter - https://twitter.com/hettonschool
19. How do I contact school?
- The school telephone number is 0191 5623322
- The school email is Hetton.email@example.com