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Update from the Headteacher 27th August 2020

Dear parents and carers     
As you are aware the Government amended their advice on wearing face masks in school at 10pm on Tuesday night.  The context was revised guidance from The World Health Organisation and the changing situation in Scotland.  Since then I have read the detailed guidance from the Department for Education and spoken with my Senior Team and Health and Safety Team regarding the best way for us to implement this guidance in our school.  There is a lot of argument, counter argument, rumour and hearsay around face masks in school and  this wealth of information has led to some very forceful opinions on both sides from all stakeholders.  As Headteacher I have to balance all of this information, listen to all parties and strive to build a consensus to see us through.  Above all else I have to make sure that what we do is safe for your children, school staff and visitors to the school.  I have always adopted the approach of following the guidance issued to us and adjusting the position of the school as the advice changes.  In this instance the salient points of the Government guidance are:    

  1. The wearing of face masks is only mandatory in areas of local lockdown.
  2. The wearing of face masks should only be adopted if: 
                    a.       The layout of the school makes it difficult to maintain social distancing when staff and students are moving around the school 
                    b.       On top of the measures and systems of control already in place in school, allowing face masks would provide additional confidence for staff, parents and students in returning to school.
  3.  The wearing of face masks applies only to communal areas or places in a school where social distancing between adults and students or students in different bubbles is challenging.  Face masks are not to be worn in classrooms as they can have a negative impact on learning and communication.
  4. If face masks are permitted they must be applied, removed and stored in a specific way and should be reusable rather than disposable. 
  5. The Department for Education advice is still against the wearing of face masks in educational settings unless the points above apply. The reason for this is that the measures of control present in schools provides additional safety measures.  Masks can also undermine learning and communication.  Improper use can also lead to an increased risk of transmission.

We are not a school in an area of local lockdown and as you will see from our risk assessment we have done everything expected of us to ensure that our school is as safe as possible for a full return next week.  Our timetable reduces the amount of movement around the school for staff and students and reduces even further, the number of times when staff and students move together.  Our one way system also supports social distancing and flow of students.  Every year group will have their own entrance and exit to the building, complete with sanitiser station and each cohort will have their own toilets.  Lunches will be staggered and we have developed the layout of the canteen and introduced new till points to support this.  I have attached some pictures to this email to show some of the further changes we have made.  I am however acutely aware of the very real anxieties and fears held by some parents and staff about returning next week.  If wearing a face mask removes another barrier for returning to school then it is something we should consider.

In this context I will not be directing any student or member of staff to wear a face mask. I will however support any staff member or student who chooses to wear one in communal areas of the school if it increases their confidence about being in school when term begins.  Examples, but not an exhaustive list, of communal areas are corridors, staircases, canteen, library.  FACE MASKS ARE NOT TO BE WORN IN CLASSROOMS, DURING LESSONS OR IN OUTDOOR AREAS.

We will also amend our behaviour policy to deal with students who wear or use face masks incorrectly.  As with all our Covid 19 prevention measure we reserve the right to send students home if they engage in any action which jeopardises the health and safety of others in our school community.

I hope this explanation is clear and provides a compromise to support all perspectives on this sensitive issue within the current guidance.  Above all else I hope it reassures you that I wish to do everything possible to ensure a safe return to school for all of us next week

Autumn 2020

Wed 02 Sep - Inset Day
Thu 03 Sep - Inset Day
Fri 04 Sep - Year 7 Taster Day
Mon 07 Sep - Post 16 Finalising Courses
Tue 08 Sep - Years 8 & 11 ONLY
Wed 09 Sep - Year 9 & 10 ONLY
Thu 10 Sep - ALL YEAR Groups 
Tue 06 Oct - Inset Day
Mon 26 Oct - Fri 30 Oct Half Term
Fri 27 Nov - Occasional Day
Fri 18 Dec - Term End

Term Dates 20-21

Longdean School
Rumballs Road
Hemel Hempstead

Main School: 01442 217277
Fax:                 01442 233098

Pupil Absence please call
Year 7:          01442 205758
Year 8:          01442 205706
Year 9:          01442 205760
Year 10:        01442 205703
Year 11:        01442 205707
Year 12:        01442 205720

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Social Media:

Film Studies: @LongdeanFilm

Updated 16/09/2020