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Welcoming you back safely to school

Welcoming you back safely to school – Monmouth School for Girls

Dear Girls,

I hope that you have had a good summer, and that, even if it wasn’t the summer you were quite expecting, you have been able to create some happy memories with your family and friends. I can’t quite believe that soon we will all be back in school together. For some of you, it will be your first day in a new school, but in many ways for all of us, it will be a new beginning. We have missed you very much during lockdown, and we are delighted to be welcoming you back to school. We want your experience to be as happy, secure, and positive as possible. We want to make sure that you can participate in a variety of educational opportunities, whilst at the same time feeling safe within our school community.

The aim of this booklet is to outline how we intend to keep you safe, and it will help you navigate your way through the new rhythm of life back in school. We hope these will be temporary measures but please do not forget, we are here to help and support you as we all find our feet again after so many months apart. If you have any worries, questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. This is a ‘living’ booklet, which will probably be updated on a regular basis, and we will let you know when there are any significant changes.

We are so excited about seeing you back at school for the new academic year, and it will be lovely to have the school full of life once again. Enjoy the remainder of the holiday and take care.

See you very soon!

Mrs Jessica Miles
Headmistress, Monmouth School for Girls

First day back

On the first day of the new academic year (Wednesday 9th September) you will spend the morning with your tutor and Head of Year. They 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. We will however be able to have year-group assemblies, and there will still be opportunities to celebrate your achievements and share your stories.

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. If your parents are dropping you off, the drop off point is the Glover building on Hereford Road.

Instead of moving around the school to different classrooms, for most of your lessons you will stay in the same classroom and the teachers will come to you. This table tells you where you should enter school if you are being dropped off by your parents. If you are arriving on a school bus, staff will be on hand to take you to your bubble area. Boarders will receive instructions from their house parents as to where to go on this morning.

Year group Entrance
Year 7 Powell entrance
Year 8 Red Door entrance
Year 9 White Door entrance
Year 10 White Door entrance
Year 11 Red Door entrance
Years 12 and 13 Ground floor Atrium door

Settling in programme (Support network)

I hope that you are as excited as we are about returning to school after such a long period of time away. It will also be very natural to be feeling anxious or nervous, whether you are a pupil or a parent. Please don’t forget that there are lots of people that you can talk to. Please talk to your tutor, your Head of Year, your Houseparent or any member of staff about how you are feeling. They will support you and help you. Revd Swartz, the school nurses and the school counsellors are also here to help as we take our first steps back into the daily rhythm of school life. If you wish to arrange an appointment with a school counsellor please ask your tutor or a school nurse to do this for you. 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. If you need to speak to a teacher outside of a lesson you should email them and ask if you can arrange a time for them to come and see you in your ‘bubble’ area.

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 you may not mix with pupils from other year groups, apart from Years 12 and 13, who will count as one year group bubble.

As already mentioned, 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, e.g. sciences, Art and DT you will be taught in these departments, so that you have access to the right equipment. You will also have designated outside space areas. September can often be a lovely month weather-wise, and so if possible, we would like you to be outside during breaks and lunchtimes. Your Head of Year will show you your designated outside space on the first day back. Below is a colour coded map which will help you. You will see lots of new signs around the school which are there to help and guide you. One sign that you will see very often simply says Keep left, keep moving. This is particularly important when crossing the bridge, and it is very important that you keep in single file. Please observe the signs advising you about direction of movement, entry and exit points etc. 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.

Glover House ground floor plan (Year group bubbles)

Glover House level one floor plan (Year group bubbles)

Glover House level two floor plan (Year group bubbles)

Sixth Form lessons will continue to be co-educational and on both the Girls’ School and Boys’ School sites. Please keep on the left-hand pavement and in single file as you walk up and down to the Boys’ School and pass to the left of St Mary’s Church. At the Girls’ School Years 12 and 13 will have exclusive use of the Atrium and ICT rooms, and other year groups will not be allowed to enter these areas.

The library will not be accessible during the school day as it will be a staff area. It will be deep cleaned at the end of the day and then used for after-school care.

Teaching and learning

We are all very pleased that we will be returning to face to face teaching in classrooms 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.

If you have a laptop, tablet, or iphone, or any similar type of device, please bring it with you into school, fully charged and clearly named. This is particularly important if you are in Years 10 to 13.

Boarding houses

Your boarding house is your second home, so it is important that you feel as safe and as comfortable as possible there. Your house parents are here to help you, and the boarding team have worked hard putting plans in place to make sure that you are made to feel at home.

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

Mealtimes

At the start of term your tutor will explain the arrangements for lunch times to you. There are four different lunch sessions, so you might be going to lunch at a different time each day. Catering staff will serve the food, rather than you serving yourself, and they will hand you your cutlery. Once a week you 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 your classroom, or hopefully if the weather is fine, in your outside space.

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 classroom 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. A record will be kept of your place in each classroom. 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 and as far as possible, doors will be propped open to minimise touching of handles.

You must keep at least 2 metres distance between you and any member of staff or pupil from a different year group (bubble). 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…

All pupils from Years 7 to 13 must wear a face mask or visor indoors unless eating in the dining room or in the classroom or are exempt on medical grounds. Children below Year 7 will be allowed to wear a face mask or face visor if they wish. 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, if you are leaving the classroom 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 items with other pupils, and teachers will not be able to lend you items. You should also bring a named, filled water bottle and breaktime snack. Lockers will not be in use (except for Sixth Formers), so please bring the books and items you will need for each day. You might have to be more organised than usual. Although you will be based in the same classroom for most lessons, you won’t want to be carrying all your books in each day with you.

Health and Wellbeing Centre

When you come back to school, you will see that we have a brand-new Health and Wellbeing Centre, where the school nurses and counsellors will be based, and where the School GP will hold her surgeries. It is important that if you feel ill before the start of the school day, you don’t come into school and that you ask your parents to inform your tutor or Head of Year. If you feel ill during the school day, you should go to the Health and Wellbeing 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 or outdoor space at the Health and Wellbeing Centre until you can be collected. For boarders or day girls who cannot go home we will arrange testing.

Co-curricular programme

There will be changes to the co-curricular programme and, although it is unlikely that we will be having any fixtures with other schools before half-term, there will still be a planned programme of sport on Saturday mornings. Unfortunately, we will not be able to run some of our usual mixed year group activities, but as government guidelines and restrictions evolve, this will hopefully change. We will give you further information about the co-curricular programme at the start of term.

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 as soon as you arrive at school, you should enter school via reception, use the hand sanitiser and go straight to your year group bubble ‘base’.

Embracing the new measures

It is very important that we all 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. 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. 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 from Years 7 to 13 must wear a face mask or visor indoors unless eating in the dining room or in the classroom or are exempt on medical grounds. Children below Year 7 will be allowed to wear a face mask or face visor if they wish. All children will be responsible for supplying and looking after their own face coverings.

School uniform:
You must come to school in full school uniform. However, if you have PE in the morning, you can come into school wearing your PE kit, and if you have PE in the afternoon, you can keep your PE kit on for the remainder of the day.

Science practicals:
Please bring in an old shirt for practicals as we are unable to let you have lab coats.

Art/Food/DT:
Please bring in your own named apron.

Music:
Please bring in your own set of headphones.

Drinks bottles:
Please bring in your own named water/drinks bottles.

Covid-19 symptoms:
Parents must notify the school if their daughter 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).

Hand sanitisers:
Please use the hand sanitisers at places throughout the school and you may also bring in your own hand sanitiser and tissues if you wish to.


Please note that details are subject to change.

Updated: 1 September 2020