School re-opening, NHS Test and Trace: COVID-19 testing for staff and students - January 2021

Tue 02 Feb 2021
This news item includes important information about when your child will return to school this term, and about the COVID-19 testing process for staff and students.

Information relating to school re-opening in January 2021

The Government has now announced that secondary schools and colleges will re-open on a phased basis, as follows:

  • If your child is classed as vulnerable or if you or your partner is a key worker, then your child will return to school on Monday 4 January. Thank you for completing the survey relating to this, and we have texted confirmations this afternoon. They will receive access to teaching in school when they return.
  • If your child is in Year 11 then they will return to school on Monday 11 January. Your child is expected to engage fully with their live lessons/remote learning during the week beginning 4 January so that they keep up with their education of course.
  • If your child is in Years 7, 8, 9, or 10, they will return to school on Monday 18 January. Your child is expected to engage fully with their lives lessons/remote learning during both weeks beginning 4 and 11 January so that they keep up with their education.
  • If your child is due to sit any external exams in January or February, these will continue as planned in school. We have today texted parents of those students, with a reminder of the subject and date of the exam, and further details about arrangements will follow.
As before, a great deal of planning and risk assessment has gone into ensuring that our school continues to be as safe as possible for students and staff, in line with latest Government and Public Health England guidance.

We will continue to take decisions in the best interests of our students, working with you and keeping you informed every step of the way, whilst we follow Government rules and advice.

Information relating to NHS Test and Trace: COVID-19 testing for staff and students

You may have heard that testing for those without coronavirus symptoms is beginning across the country using COVID-19 tests known as ‘lateral flow tests’.

Along with the other protective measures we are taking, these tests can help staff and students remain in school safely. Up to one third of people who have coronavirus experience no symptoms. By testing we will help to stop the virus spread and help to keep our school open as safely as possible. The test is voluntary. However, we are participating as a school and I would encourage all students and staff to take part as well.

We will be testing all staff and students who want to participate from week commencing 4 January 2021, extending this as more students return in the following weeks.

Alongside this letter, I would encourage you to read this Government instructional leaflet below with more information about the tests themselves. Please can you also read our Testing Privacy Statement below and you might find the Testing Data Protection FAQ below helpful too.

If you are happy for your child to be tested, please:

  • Fill in the Registration Form below (one for each child) and return to the school office via email
  • Complete the Word or PDF NHS Test and Trace Consent Form (one for each child) below and return to the school office via email to or print out if needed.
  • Alternatively, if you do not have access to a printer, or have difficulty completing the forms, you can complete an online version of the Registration Form/Consent Form using a phone, tablet, laptop or PC that was texted to all parents/carers today.
Those taking the test will be supervised by trained staff. The lateral flow tests are quick and easy using a swab of your nose and throat. For under-18s, staff can oversee the swab process.

Results take around half an hour from testing and will be shared directly with staff and students participating. Where participants are under-16, parents or legal guardians will also be informed.

The Government has shared information with us from Oxford University and Public Health England, which have indicated the tests are as accurate in identifying a case as a ‘PCR test’ (99.68% specificity). The tests have lower sensitivity but are considered better at picking up cases when a person has higher viral load, hence the need to test frequently. Testing will be offered free of charge.

We hope that the information in this news item is helpful and clear. Please do ensure you complete the Registration Form and the Consent Form below, if you are happy for your child to take a COVID-19 test. Please do this by Noon, Wednesday 6 January 2021 at the latest. If you have any questions, please do also email these to