Firstly, I wish you and your families are safe and well and remain so as we navigate through the coming weeks and months as our city continues to grapple with an uptick of Coronavirus infections. I am acutely aware that this disease has disproportionately affected our community and still poses a clear and present danger to both the health and welfare of many of our families.

As you will be aware during the early weeks of this term, we did report positive cases amongst some students and took the appropriate advice and guidance from Public Health England and isolated whole year group bubbles. The advice and guidance nationally has changed since then on how schools should respond with confirmed cases of coronavirus in both students and staff. Moving forward we will:

  1. If a student tests positive for coronavirus we will identify close contacts and ask them to self-isolate for 14 days from the last contact with the student who has tested positive.
  2. As staff are teaching from a safe 2 metre distance if they test positive it is highly unlikely students would have come into close contact with this member of staff. What we will do is identify other staff members who may have come into close contact and ask them to self-isolate for 14 days from the last contact with the member of staff who has tested positive.

We will continue to monitor this guidance and change our response to the inevitable positive cases we will continue to experience in the coming weeks and months.

I would like to remind you once again that if any member of your household is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms, you must all self-isolate and arrange a test through the governments testing portal:

https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.

Additional guidance on when to self-isolate and the legal requirements to do so can be found here:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-and-treatment/when-to-self-isolate-and-what-to-do/.

If your child or a member of your household tests positive, could I continue to request that you email me directly at qriaz@hwga.org.uk

As Birmingham is now in Tier 2 of national restrictions it is a legal requirement that students wear a face covering at all times whilst in communal spaces, unless they have a medical exemption. To support students with this we have already purchased each student a washable face covering. I would like to ask you to continue to support us with our legal requirement and ensure your child has a face covering at all time. The guidance on face covering can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/update-on-face-coverings-in-schools.

As we move through autumn and into winter there will naturally be an increase in the usual seasonal colds and flu amongst our students. This diagram is a useful illustration of how to distinguish between Coronavirus and seasonal colds and flu and decide when to keep your child at home and request a coronavirus test:

As a control measure to reduce the risk of infection within schools we are required to keep windows and doors slightly open to ensure good ventilation. This will inevitably mean classroom temperatures will be lower than we would normally have during autumn and winter. To help reduce the impact of this students will be able to wear their PE hooded tops under their blazers after half term. Students without a PE hoodie will be provided with one shortly after half term.

As you will know we have moved to a hybrid teaching model which will mean that any child having to self-isolate will be able receive a full-time education as all lessons will be delivered through TEAMs. More information can be found here about our educational contingency plan:

https://www.hwga.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Curriculum-Contingency-Plan-2020.pdf

To further ensure our students do not fall behind with their learning and students can catch up on lost learning I am committed to ensuring every child is given a 1:1 device. We have already distributed Chromebooks to all students in years 10 & 11 and I am pleased to inform you that shortly every student in years 7, 8 and 9 will be given an iPad to support them with their learning.  

Finally, I would request you continue to support us in our insistence on high standards of uniform for all students. Full details can be found here:

Moving forward I will be looking to write more frequently through this blog.

Kind regards

Qamar Riaz

Headteacher

Keep up to date

Sign up to our newsletter and never miss a thing.