Autumn Opening

We are here for you in Autumn

We are delighted to be working with all our students again, after we saw the full opening of schools in September. As you’d expect, we worked for many weeks planning for this, using up-to-date government guidance to ensure the safety of students and staff alike.

This page has been written as a single source of information regarding our arrangements for September, trying to anticipate any questions that parents and students might have. We really hope it reassures everyone who works in our school community, regarding safe reopening for all.

As we receive questions from parents that are not covered on this page, we will add answers to those questions on this page and draw changes to parents via text and social media.

Summary of main changes for September

  • Year groups are kept apart at all times when on the school grounds and in the building
  • Year groups arrive at slightly different times in the morning
  • Year groups have their own separate entrances/handwashing stations into the building
  • Year groups are ‘zoned’ into their own five rooms, each zone in a different part of the school
  • Teachers move between classrooms, because year groups stay within their zoned classrooms
  • Year groups have their break and lunches at different times/parts of the school
  • Tutor groups of single age year groups replace VMGs
  • The school day remains 8.20am-2.30pm but the Tutor/Assembly period moves to the start of the day
  • Break remains 15 minutes, but each year group has a different breaktime slot between 9.45am & 11.00am
  • Lunch remains during Period 4, 12.00pm-1.30pm, in three sittings, but we are also using the Auditorium
  • Less use of specialist classrooms eg Science/Technology/Music/Drama/Computer Science
  • Facemasks to be worn when arriving on the school grounds, when walking to student entrances at start/end of day, and after break/lunch and in all communal areas. Masks are not expected to be worn in classrooms or when seated at break or lunch. For full details see our news item here:

Government guidance

This page is based on government guidance on the reopening of schools here. You can read information from the government aimed at parents are carers here.

School Day Changes

The school day structure will change in September, but the start and finish times remain the same.
These changes below are due to the challenges of adhering to government guidelines for keeping year groups apart in their own year group ‘bubbles’ and staggered starts to the day.
Students arrive on site at slightly staggered times, and go to tutor rooms, via their year entrance, and can have breakfast.
The tutor period will move to the start of the day, which remains 8.25am in classrooms.
Period 2 will be 1 hour 15 minutes, with each year having a different 15 minute break within that lesson.
At lunchtime, where two year groups eat at the same time, they will be physically separated. One year eats in the Auditorium (where assemblies used to be held) and uses the central yard, the other year group eats in the usual Dining Area and uses part of the technology yard.

Arrival Times

Year 7: 8.00am
Year 8 8.05am
Year 9 8.10am
Year 10 8.15am
Year 11 8.20am


Public Transport

We encourage students to walk or cycle to school wherever possible. Where parents have no option but to drop their child(ren) off by car, please observe the double yellow lines, newly painted down the main drive, and do not park however briefly on them. Instead, make use of spaces in the visitor car-park that we will endeavour to keep empty. There are additional signs too, to help with this change.

Please ensure you remind your child of the importance of social distancing whilst making their way to school. Of course it is mandatory for everyone to wear face coverings when accessing public transport, and indeed when visiting local shops on the way to/from school. We are sure that wearing a face covering at certain times has become part of life, and that all students generally routinely carry one.

Year Tutor Groups

In September we will no longer have vertical mentor groups (VMGs) at Outwood Normanby. We will move away from these ‘mixed-age’ groups that draw students together from all year groups and instead we will have tutor groups that will contain only students from the same year group. We are required by the government to move to year group ‘bubbles’, and this change allows this, alongside entire year groups being taught in the same ‘zone’ of the school, and not mixing with other year groups at any time.

For more information about the changes to Tutor groups, and to see an example of the letter posted home in August, please visit our news item on our website here:

Year Group Entrances

Due to the need to keep year groups apart, students will no longer share the same entrance into the building, nor will they congregate in the dining area before the start of the school day. Instead, as students arrive, they will be directed to their own year group entrance point into the building, and go straight to their tutor rooms where we will provide a breakfast snack for all before the new tutor period. This approach will be supported by the slightly staggered start to the school day, with different year groups arriving at five minute intervals starting at 8am with Y7.

Students should wear a facemask on their way to/from their student entrance at the start/end of the day, and when moving from classrooms, and at the end of breaks and lunchtimes.

There is a map showing all student entrances at the foot of this page, and directly below a map for each year.


Year Group Zones

In order to meet government guidance regarding keeping students of different year groups apart, they will be generally taught in their own ‘zones’ within the school. As per the guidance, we need to keep year groups apart, and cannot have different year groups using the same classroom on a given day.

This means that in effect teachers no longer have their own teaching rooms, but instead move between the zones and classes, and students generally stay where they are. Students will move between their year group zone classrooms depending on classes in Years 9, 10 and 11, but much less so in Years 7 and 8. Where students are accessing our reduced use of specialist classrooms, they will be escorted by their teacher to, for example, Science, Technology or Art rooms.

Year 11 – Upstairs, far end of the former English/Humanities corridor
Year 10 – Upstairs, near end of the former English/Humanities corridor
Year 9 – Downstairs, far end of the former Maths/MFL corridor
Year 7 – Downstairs, near end of the former Maths/MFL corridor
Year 8 – Upstairs, around former Performing Arts rooms, including the former ICT1 and ICT2 rooms

Once again, there are Maps of the Ground Floor and the Upper Floor further down this page.

Classroom layout

As explained above, the base classrooms are for individual year groups, with teachers moving between rooms. As a result, we need new structures to ensure that subject exercise books and materials are organised, by using labelled boxes. It is vital that students, as ever, bring their own stationery, at least a couple of pens (in case one runs out), pencil, sharpener, 15cm ruler, and a pencil case to keep them in. We have purchased calculators for classrooms that match those used in the GCSE exams, so all students are familiar with them.

In every classroom, seating arrangements will be displayed and these will go across subjects that have the same groups of students, particularly in Years 7 & 8. All students will be sat facing forwards, in line with government guidelines, with the teacher being based at the front, around 2m away, and not moving amongst students. This is one of the biggest changes occurring across England in all secondary schools.

Standard classroom layout, all students facing forwards.


Subject boxes for each base classroom


Break Times

These are staggered so that different year groups have a different breaktime to others. Break occurs during Period 2, at a different point in that lesson, with the entire ‘session’ being 60 minutes of Period 2 lesson, and 15 minutes of break, as a year group. Period 2 thus is 9.45am – 11.00am, including break.

Year 10 have their break at the start of 9.45am, and then have an hour lesson until 11.00am. Year 8 start their Period 2 lesson at 9.45am, but at 10.00am are escorted down for break by their teachers, and then return for the remainder of that lesson of 45 minutes. In the same way Year 7 have their break 10.15-10.30am, and Y9 have their break 10.30-10.45am. Year 11 start their lesson, like everyone else, at 9.45am, have an hour, and then have their break 10.45am-11am.

You can see this shown in a different way on the school day image shown above under School Day.

Students should put on their facemasks when directed by the teacher, prior to walking down to break. They are not required to wear a facemask when seated talking to friends (all facing forwards, on one side of the tables) or when outside, but masks should be worn when queuing for food, getting up to go outside or to the toilet.

Lunch Times

The lunchtime arrangements are broadly similar to last year, in terms of the timings during Period 4, which is 90 minutes long from 12.00 – 1,30pm. The challenge is being able to clean the dining spaces ready for the next year joining. At the same time.

Year 8 – Lunch 12-12.30pm, in the Dining Space, and using part of the Technology Yard when outside
Year 10 – Lunch 12-12.30pm, in the Auditorium, and using part of the Usual Main Yard when outside
Year 7 – Lunch 12.30pm-1.00pm, in the Dining Space, and using part of the Technology Yard when outside
Year 11 – Lunch 12-12.30pm, in the Dining Space, and using part of the Technology Yard when outside
Year 9 – Lunch 12-12.30pm, in the Auditorium, and using part of the Usual Main Yard when outside

Students will be seated during lunch facing in one direction, using colour coded seats, which swap each session to allow cleaning between sittings. We are aiming for a default where students eat and chat for around 20 minutes, and are then outside for 10 minutes whilst tables are cleaned.

A moveable wall will be in place at lunchtimes to ensure the year group in the dining hall/technology yard do not mix with the year group using the auditorium/main yard. *Toilet facilities and the entire catering menu with be available to all students, regardless of which dining space they are in.

Students should put on their facemasks when directed by the teacher, prior to walking down to lunch. They are not required to wear a facemask when seated talking to friends (all facing forwards, on one side of the tables) or when outside, but masks should be worn when queuing for food, getting up to go outside or to the toilet.

School Meals and Drinks

In our letter last year here we reminded parents that school meal prices increased around lockdown, and that the ‘Meal of the Day’ option is now £2.54.

Water fountains are no longer in use so please ensure your child brings their own water to school.
We are providing a re-usable drinks bottle for each student to use, but ideally these will be filled at home.
If parents could write their child’s name on the water bottle with permanent marker this would be appreciated.

In a change to guidance in our July Newsletter, packed lunches CAN be brought to school in a normal re-usable packed lunch box.

ParentPay for Catering

We have moved away from the use of cash in school to pay for food at break and lunchtimes, in line with government guidance. We would like ALL parents to register for the existing ParentPay system to be able to load money onto their child’s account remotely. We wrote to parents with either new or reminder log-in details in August.

There is a more detailed explanation about how to register, and why it is important, in a ParentPay news item here where there is also a copy of the letter sent home.

iPay for all other payments

As above, as the Outwood Family of Schools we have also moved away from using cash to pay for trips, lost items and so forth. We would also like ALL parents to activate their new iPay account as soon as possible. We wrote to parents with log-in details in August, although we are aware that some new Year 7 parents were not able to log-in until students officially joined the school on 1 September.

There is a more detailed explanation about how to register, and why it is important, in an iPay news item here where there is also a copy of the letter sent home.

Toilets/Hand Hygiene

Regular hand washing and/or use of hand sanitiser continues to be of vital importance. At each student entrance mentioned above, we have large hand sanitiser stations and staff will be ensuring students use these on entering/exiting the building. There are sanitiser stations on walls in key points in the building, and within each classroom. We will continue to ensure students adopt safe Covid practices, including ‘Catch It, Kill It Bin It.’

There are a number of toilets for students to use, but we are stopping the need for students to cross the building when they need to use a particular gender toilet facility. At the end of each zone, there will be toilets for boys and girls, making use of existing toilets but dedicating disabled toilets to a gender too. More details will be explained to students on their first day, including how the same arrangement works at lunchtimes.

Students should wear their facemask when leaving a lesson or the dining area to go to the toilet.

Face Coverings

We have updated our expectations regarding facemasks from Monday 5 October 2020. These are reflected below. Additional guidance is in our news item here:

All students are expected to bring facemasks to school, not just where they are using public transport, or indeed when visiting local shops or picking up siblings on the way to/from school. They are a part of everyday life now.
Government guidance is that facemasks should not be used in classrooms, where Covid arrangements such as facing forwards, and keeping year groups in bubbles are in place. We do not expect facemasks to be worn in classrooms, or when students are sat in the dining hall at break, lunchtime or when outside at break or lunchtime. They should be worn at all other times.

It is very important that students wear face coverings on those relatively few times when they are moving from their classroom with larger numbers of students their own age to either a) breaktime b) lunchtime and c) when moving to a different classroom. We have reviewed this since September, and when Middlesbrough became subject to further local restrictions at the start of October. We will continue to review this in line with government guidance.

Face coverings can be any colour, as long as any images are not offensive. It is important that students bring some sort of ziplock plastic bag or similar, ie like those used at airports, to store their masks safely. We will have a limited supply of disposable facemasks, but for obvious reasons we need students to be responsible for their own, and are very grateful for their support with this. We will of course provide guidance on the safe use of face coverings.

We also will be sensitive to where students are not able to wear a mask during a lesson changeover move, for medical or other reasons, in line with national expectations regarding face coverings. This guidance is here.

PE lessons

Whilst the number of practical PE lessons will be reduced, due to the need to ensure changing rooms are cleaned when used by different year groups, we will be having conventional PE lessons, alongside newer approaches. Some lessons will be timetabled in a classroom at times.

Whenever students are getting changed for PE, be it into trainers in a classroom, or in the PE changing rooms into kit, they should wear a facemask.

*From Monday 7 September, all students should bring their PE kit to every timetabled PE lesson, as arrangements will be subject to change as we settle into a new way of working.


Thank you to all our parents and carers for their hard work over the last couple of months ensuring students have new uniform where needed. We hope the Facebook Page *Outwood Academy Uniform – Teesside" has also helped with donations/small charges for no longer needed uniform between parents.

Year 6 parents were able to collect the uniform bundles in July.

Students are expected to return to school in full uniform in September. Full guidance on how parents can order and pay for new uniform for students in all other year groups can be found on our uniform webpage here:, alongside guidance on our expectations. Uniform can be ordered online via Trutex, or from Bambinis of Guisborough. Shirts, PE socks and PE shorts can be bought anywhere, as long as they match our uniform expectations. All shoes must be plain, black and polishable. We will ask that all piercings, false nails, false eyelashes and excessive makeup is removed. Any summer piercings/nails should be timed so they are removable by the start of term.

Classroom equipment

There are full details about what students should bring in terms of a school bag, pencil case and pens and pencils on our uniform webpage also, including answers to frequently asked questions. Once again the page is here:

Safety Posters

These are displayed prominently around the academy and will be explained when students come in their groups.


New Student Entrances – By Year Group


September 2020 – Map of Ground Floor Base Classrooms


September 2020 – Map of First Floor Base Classrooms


What to do if your child develops symptoms of Covid-19

For most people, especially children, Covid-19 will be a mild illness.

The most common symptoms of Covid-19 are recent onset of:

  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature and/or
  • a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

If your child develops any of these symptoms of Covid-19, they should continue to remain at home and arrangements should be made for them to be tested. At that time all other household members must also stay at home, not go to work, school or public areas, even for exercise, whilst those test results are pending.

Again, please do not send your child in to school if they are showing any Covid symptoms. Please also do not send their siblings into school either, and inform us as soon as possible.

Testing can be arranged by calling 119 or via the NHS website:

When the result of your child’s test is known, further advice will then be made available to you via the local Track & Trace Team. If your child tests positive for Covid-19, you must inform school at your very earliest opportunity. This will enable us to work with Public Health to trace other people your child may have come into contact with and advise them to take the necessary precautions and self-isolate. Please be assured that we will not share any personal or confidential information about your child with staff or parents/carers.

How to stop COVID-19 spreading

There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with Covid-19:

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards