Habsmonmouth Online

Welcoming you back safely to school

Welcome back to Monmouth School for Boys

Dear Boys,

I hope that this finds you safe and well and that you have enjoyed a restful summer with your family. I write to tell you how much we are looking forward to welcoming you to school in September. For some of you this will be your first time in Monmouth School for Boys and for others it will be a welcome return to face to face schooling in our beautiful site after several months of online learning. Whether you are a new boy or an old hand, we can’t wait to see you in school at the start of term!

It has been a strange summer in school, without the normal happy gatherings of Year 11 and 13 boys on results days and the buzz of pre-season training sessions for rugby. However, we have been busy planning for your return to school and have been putting into place a wide variety of measures which are designed to keep you and all the members of staff safe. There will be changes to normal school routines next term, and in particular to movement around the site, but we know that we will all get used to these quickly once term starts.

This document contains an overview of the new measures that will apply when you return to school, so that you know what to expect. Please get in touch with any queries that you might have; your tutors and Housemasters will, of course, explain them to you thoroughly at the start of term. There may be some changes as term progresses, depending on how government guidance develops.

Enjoy the rest of the holidays and see you back in school soon! I am looking forward very much to seeing you again!

Best wishes,

Mr Simon Dorman
Acting Headmaster, Monmouth School for Boys

First day back

On the first full day of the new school term (Wednesday 9th September), boys will spend the morning with tutors and Housemasters. Tutors and Housemasters will explain the new arrangements that we have put in place, and you will receive your timetable and pupil planner. It will also be a chance for you to catch up with others in your year group in person; for many of you it will be the first time you will have been able to do this since lockdown started.

Because you will be staying in year group bubbles during the school day, we will not be able to hold a whole-school assembly or whole house meetings in day houses (separate rules will apply to boarders outside of school hours). However, your Housemaster will speak to year groups individually and will continue to be responsible for your pastoral wellbeing. You will also spend a lot of time with your tutors and they will be very important teachers for you and will give you a lot of support on a day to day basis.

As you might already know, you will be in year group ‘bubbles’, and so on your first day back you will be guided to your new classrooms. You can be dropped off as usual, ready for the start of school at 8.35am and there will be plenty of staff on hand to point you in the right direction. At 8.35am on Wednesday 9th September, day boys should attend the following areas/rooms. Day boys in Years 7 and 8 should enter the site each day by the Wye Dean entrance, day boys in Years 9-11 by the main gate and sixth formers by the entrance alleyway beside the library and chapel. Boarders will receive instructions from their Housemasters about where to go on this morning.

Year group Zone Form/House Room Entrance
7 History 7R H3 History stairs
    7Q H2  
    7S H4  
8 Classics 8E CL1 Classics staircase
    8F CL2  
    8G CL3  
9 Williams Jones Building – MFL floor Hereford L1 Entrance by main gate
    Monmouth L3  
    Severn L4  
    Town L5  
10 Williams Jones Building – English floor Hereford E2 Entrance by main gate
    Monmouth E5  
    Severn E6  
    Town E1  
11 William Jones Building – Maths floor Hereford M1 Entrance by main gate
    Monmouth M2  
    Severn M7  
    Town M6  
12 Tudor House Tudor Year 12 common area, ground floor of Tudor House Tudor Entrance
13 Tudor House Glendower Year 13 common area, ground floor of Tudor House Tudor Entrance

Instead of moving around the school to different classrooms, for most of your lessons you will stay in the same group of classrooms and the teachers will come to you. The table below gives you an idea of where you will be based for most of your lessons. Lessons in subjects like science, Art and DT will take place in those department rooms as normal.

Year group Classroom bubble Entrance
7 H2, H3, H4 Stairs next to R2
8 CL1, CL2, CL3 Stairs by Monmouth
House (different exit
staircase)
9 William Jones Building
– level 1, MFL floor
Door nearest porters’
lodge
10 William Jones Building
– level 3, English floor
Door nearest porters’
lodge
11 William Jones Building
– level 4, Maths floor
Door nearest porters’
lodge
12 Geography, RS,
Economics, History
(H1 & H6)
Various
13 Geography, RS,
Economics, History
(H1 & H6)
Various

Settling in programme (Support network)

We are all excited about seeing each other again in person at the start of term, and we believe that you will very quickly get used to the new arrangements. Some of you may be nervous about returning to school for the first time since March, and this is perfectly understandable. Please talk to your tutor and Housemaster about how you are feeling and they will support you sensitively and compassionately. They will be able to give you good advice about managing any difficult emotions, as will many other members of staff, such as Revd Swartz, the school nurses and the school counsellors. If you wish to arrange an appointment with a school counsellor please ask your Housemaster or a school nurse to do this for you. Sixth Form Peer Mentors can also give you advice and support, but please remember that you will need to keep a distance of at least 2 metres from them if they are in a different year group from you.

Boys in Years 7-10 who are new to the school in September will have an induction afternoon between 2pm and 4pm on Tuesday 8 September. A separate induction has been arranged for Sixth Form students and Mrs Rees has sent details of this.

Once we have all been back in school for a week or so, we will be asking you to complete a very simple questionnaire, just to see how you are getting on, and if you have any ideas about how we can ensure that you are feeling as happy and safe in school as possible.

Year group bubbles

The UK government uses the term ‘Bubbles’ for groups of children who are able to mix without the full 2m social distancing.

During school hours you will stay within your year group bubble. Pupils in a single year group can mix without the need for the full 2m distance between them, but they may not mix with pupils from other year groups.

Within year group bubbles we are applying a “no contact” rule, so you shouldn’t get too close to your peers, but you do not have to observe the full 2m distance from them.

There will be separate groups of classrooms for each year group bubble, and you will have most of your lessons in these classrooms; teachers will move to your classrooms to reduce the amount of movement around the school site. For specialist subjects, i.e. Computing, Music, Drama, sciences, Art and DT you will be taught in these departments, so that you have access to the right equipment.

Please move around the upper school site in an anti-clockwise direction and observe the signs advising you about direction of movement, entry and exit points etc. There will be some corridors and staircases which are one-way only. Where there is a two-way corridor or staircase, please keep to the left and in single file at all times. It is very important that we all observe these rules to minimise contact between staff and pupils and pupils from different bubbles; this helps to keep us all safe from infection.

We will also stagger the start and end times of lessons to help minimise the possibility of contact around the site. Year 11-13 lessons will begin and end two minutes before the usual time, Year 10 lessons will begin and end on time and Year 7 -9 lessons will begin and end two minutes after the normal time.

Sixth Form lessons will continue to be co-educational and on both the Boys’ School and Girls’ School sites. Please keep to the left-hand pavement and in single file as you walk up and down to the Girls’ School site and pass to the left of St Mary’s church.

Boarding and day houses

Boarding houses will count as “households” and therefore pupils from different year groups will be able to mix within them, as long as they adhere to the distancing measures in each house, which have been put in place to minimise the danger of transmission of infection. Boarders must only use the bathrooms and other facilities which are designated for their areas of the house. Boarders must also be careful to observe 2m distance from staff members at all times, as is the case during the school day. There will be new rules about town time and the use of the Sports Centre facilities, which your Housemaster will explain to you at the start of term.

Detailed information has been provided by the Head of Boarding, Mr Alex Peace. Please click here.

Day houses will have to function differently this term, due to the need to keep different year group bubbles apart. Different year groups will occupy different day houses during break and lunch times, and will have different outside areas where they can mix. Your Housemaster will still be responsible for your pastoral welfare and will still hold house meetings with the separate year groups from the house each week.

Year Day house area Classroom area Outside area Lockers Toilets
7 Downstairs in Wye Dean H2-4 Wye Dean Playground Downstairs in Wye Dean Wye Dean playground toilets
8 Upstairs in Wye Dean CL1-3 Front of Wye Dean/grassy area by dining hall Upstairs in Wye Dean Wye Dean toilet and Monmouth House
9 Hereford House WJB level 1 (MFL) School House lawn Hereford House WJB level 1
10 Severn and Town Houses WJB level 3 (English) Main school lawn Severn and Town Houses WJB level 3
11 Monmouth House WJB level 4 (Maths) Area between dining hall and WJB Monmouth House WJB level 4
12 Tudor (right hand side of Sixth Form Centre) WJB level 2, G1-4, R1-
2, EC1 – 2, H1, H6
6FC 6FC
13 Glendower (left hand side of Sixth Form Centre) WJB level 2, G1-4, R1-
2, EC1 – 2, H1, H6
6FC 6FC

Hygiene measures

It is very important that we all follow every precaution to keep all our pupils and staff members safe from infection. There will be hand sanitisers available in every corridor and you must get into the habit of using them when you pass them, and certainly every time you move to a different part of the school. You must also wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the toilet, before you eat, and at frequent intervals throughout the day; this is the best way to stop the spread of any infection. There will be more frequent cleaning of classrooms and other areas to help maintain excellent hygiene.

You must keep at least 2 metres distance between you and any member of staff or pupil from a different year group (bubble). Where the geography of a room makes it difficult to maintain 2 metres between pupils and staff, there will be a clear screen for extra safety. Within year groups we will not insist on you maintaining this distance, but you should not make contact with another pupil and you should be careful not to breathe, cough or sneeze directly at anyone. You will soon be very used to the Catch it, Bin it, Kill it signs. Please use the lidded bins in each classroom for used tissues and disposable PPE.

All pupils should wear face coverings indoors, apart from in classrooms (where they are optional) and in the dining hall. You must wear them, therefore, when moving between lessons in corridors and in communal indoor recreational areas. All children will be responsible for supplying and looking after their own face coverings. When not in use, reusable face coverings should be stored in a small plastic bag and disposable face coverings should be deposited in lidded bins. You must wear them on any public transport or school buses, for the duration of the journey.

At the end of the lesson your teacher will ask you to wipe down your chair, desk and anything you have touched during the lesson. Please then put the wipe in the bin as you leave the classroom. It is very important that you wipe down the keyboard and mouse of any computer you have used.
Please bring all the equipment you will need to school – pens, pencils, rulers, calculators etc. – as you will not be allowed to share this with other pupils, and teachers will not be able to lend you items.

Mealtimes

We will operate our normal lunch timetable with the exception that period 7 lunch will be divided into two sittings: 1.15pm -1.35pm and 1.35pm onwards. At the start of term your tutor or Housemaster will explain the arrangements for lunch times and the dining hall to you. There will be a maximum of six pupils to a table, and you will sit facing the same direction. Year groups will sit together in separate halves of the dining hall; you will not be allowed to sit with pupils from a different year group. Catering staff will serve the food and hand you cutlery, rather than you serving yourself. One day a week, each year group will have a packed lunch instead of a hot meal; this is to help reduce the numbers in the dining hall. The packed lunch will be eaten in The Blake Theatre (day boys) or your boarding house.

During the lunch activity time, if you are not involved with a co-curricular activity or a subject surgery, you may spend time in your house area or the outdoor space which is designated for your year group.

Health and Wellbeing Centres

If you feel ill before the start of the school day, please do not come in to school and ask your parents to inform your Housemaster. If you feel ill during the school day, you should go to the Health and Wellbeing Centre (formerly known as the Medical Centre), where one of the school nurses will see you and decide on the best course of action. The nurse will normally phone your parents and ask that you be collected and taken home. If you have symptoms of Covid-19 you will be put in a safe yet isolated room in the Health and Wellbeing Centre until you can be collected. For boarders or day boys who cannot go home we will arrange testing. Boarders with symptoms will stay in a safe and isolated room or outdoor space at the Health and Wellbeing Centre. This term Mrs Jones joins us as a new school nurse, and she will be based at the Boys School full time. Mrs Goodwin will spend her time in both the Boys and Girls Schools as she will be managing the team of school nurses.

Teaching and learning

We are all very pleased that we will be returning to face to face teaching in classrooms in September and hope that you are too! You will notice that all the classrooms have new interactive boards fitted, and your teachers will be using new Surface Pro tablet computers with docking stations. Although we are returning to face to face teaching we will continue to use Microsoft Teams to support learning, for example to share documents and other materials with class members or to submit work and assess it. Lockdown has accelerated our use of IT and we want to continue to use the best features that helped us with online learning. Submitting and marking work via Teams will also help with infection control as teachers will be handling fewer books.

Co-curricular programme

There will be changes to the co-curricular programme and, unfortunately, we will not be able to run some of our usual activities, or will have to restrict participation. We will not be able to hold competitive fixtures against other schools for the first half of term at least, but there will be training sessions on Saturday afternoons instead. We will give you further information about the co-curricular programme at the start of term and will write to you and your parents separately about the arrangements for sport. The programme may change over the course of the term, as government restrictions or guidelines evolve.

Travel arrangements

School buses will run as normal and you must wear a facemask for the duration of the journey; this also applies to public transport. Please sit with members of your year group or household and apart from pupils from other year groups on the bus. Buses arrive at different times, which will naturally stagger the entry of pupils to the school site, but please enter by the gate which is designated for your year group (Years 7, 8 – Wye Dean gate, Years 9-11 main gate, Years 12, 13 – alleyway by library and chapel) and observe the clockwise direction of movement around the upper school site.

Embracing the new measures

It is very important that all pupils keep to the new rules and hygiene measures as they are designed to keep the whole school community safe. They may seem unfamiliar at first and it will take us all a few days to get used to them, but please ask a member of staff if you are unsure about something and err on the side of caution in terms of social distancing and movement around the school. Please show respect and consideration for other people at all times, and remember that some pupils may be feeling anxious about being back in school.

Please do not breathe, cough or sneeze directly at someone’s face; the safety of all the members of our school community is in our hands! It will take some time to adjust to life at school in these new circumstances, and it is very important that we treat one another with respect and kindness.

Helpful tips

Face coverings:
All pupils should wear face coverings indoors, apart from in classrooms (where they may be worn if you wish) and in the dining hall. You must wear them, therefore, when moving between lessons in corridors and in communal indoor recreational areas. You must also wear a face covering on school buses and public transport.

School uniform:
You must come to school in full school uniform. We have sufficient changing rooms for you to change for PE and games safely, but boarders will be asked to change in their boarding houses. Day boys may go home wearing games kit (it is best to bring a tracksuit) after their afternoon games sessions.

Drinks bottles:
Please bring in your own water/drinks bottles, clearly labelled with your name. You will not be able to drink from water fountains.

Covid-19 symptoms:
Parents must notify the school if their son or anyone in their household has shown any Covid-19 symptoms and adhere to isolation guidance and stay away from school.

Contact details:
Each pupil’s up-to-date contact information must be confirmed by parents in case of emergency and collection due to illness.

Personal hygiene:
Please ensure excellent personal hygiene in terms of hand sanitising or washing and excellent respiratory hygiene (Catch it, Bin it, Kill it).


Please note that details are subject to change.

Updated: 1 September 2020