Very best wishes for the New Year!
The letter below was sent to parents, carers and members of staff on New Year’s Eve. It has been posted here for reference purposes !
- Remote learning will begin for all students on Wednesday, 6th January.
- Years 11 and 13 attend in person from Monday 11th January.
- All students in all years return on Monday 18th January.
- Keyworkers’ children and vulnerable children can attend Clyst Vale from 5th January onwards. Please phone 01392-461407 or e-mail , giving your child’s name, tutor group, whether attendance will be every day until 15th January, or specific dates, and your keyworker status.
- “PE Kit” uniform if on site 6th to 8th January
- Normal uniform from 11th January onwards
- (Reduced) canteen service will operate from 5th January onwards
- School Transport will run a full service from 5th January onwards
The letter in full:
31st December 2020
Dear Parents & Carers
I apologise for the length of this letter, but it does contain a lot of detailed information, and describes the changes brought about by yesterday’s announcement by the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson. I also apologise for the number of bullet-points, but I am told they aid concentration after a week of festive food…. Also, some of the announcement was quite confusing, so I wished to be as clear as possible. There are two notable changes: the “staggered start” has been pushed back a week; and KWV children may attend on and from 5th January.
THE NEXT THREE WEEKS
[needless to say, this timeline may change, depending on further government announcements responding to covid rates locally and nationally]
4th January This is officially a holiday, and part of Clyst Vale’s published term dates agreed back in 2018!
5th January Additional INSET Day. “KWV” children may attend College for a day’s “Emergency Childcare Provision” (see below), but no remote learning will be set.
6th – 8th January All students in all year groups will learn at home online (with the exception of KWV students who may attend).
w/b 11th January Students in Years 11 and 13 to attend school. Students in Y12 BTec groups to attend. KWV students to attend. All other students to study at home, online.
w/b 18th January All students in all year groups to attend.
IMPORTANT: Devon School Transport have confirmed a full, normal service from 5th January.
KEYWORKERS’ AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN [ KWV CHILDREN]
IF YOU WOULD LIKE YOUR CHILD TO ATTEND CLYST VALE FROM 5TH TO 15TH JANUARY:
- please phone Reception on 01392-461407 and leave a message, giving your child’s name and tutor group (including the relevant Year);
- or, please e-mail giving the same information;
- it would be extremely helpful if your message/e-mail was sent before 09.00 on Monday 4th January; if you have already contacted us, there is no need to do it again unless you need to confirm specific dates;
- although technically a holiday, the College Reception will be open for any telephone queries and late bookings on Monday 4th January from 09.00 to 14.00.
DEFINITIONS OF KEYWORKER/CRITICAL WORKER, and VULNERABLE CHILDREN
The link to the government definitions is here:
Keyworkers will work in:
- health and social care
- education and childcare
- public safety and national security
- national and local government
- key public services
- food and necessary goods (including delivery)
- utilities, communications and financial services
Vulnerable children include:
- being in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, including children and young people who have a child in need plan, a child protection plan or who are a looked-after child
- have an education, health and care (EHC) plan
- have been identified as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities (including children’s social care services), and who could therefore benefit from continued full-time attendance, this might include:
- children and young people in the process of being referred to children’s services
- adopted children or children on a special guardianship order
- those at risk of becoming NEET (‘not in employment, education or training’)
- those living in temporary accommodation
- those who are young carers
- those who may have difficulty engaging with remote education at home (for example due to a lack of devices or quiet space to study)
- care leavers
- others at the provider and local authority’s discretion including pupils and students who need to attend to receive support or manage risks to their mental health
- Clyst Vale has extended this list to include students who are in receipt of Free School Meals
Provision for KWV Children 5th-8th January
- 5th January
- Following several queries from parents, I have decided that KWV children can attend on 5th January, even though it is an INSET Day.
- It should be noted that the provision will essentially be childcare only. There can be no guarantee of “lessons” being set and no remote learning.
- We expect that students will be based in a year group “bubble” in an IT suite. There will be (limited) provision of hot and cold food. On this day only, students are not required to wear uniform.
- 6th-8th January
- KWV students will be in College literally and metaphorically. They will be following remote learning activities, and the structure of the College day.
- They should wear “PE Kit” uniform, ie the uniform they would normally wear on a day on which they had a PE lesson.
Provision for KWV Children from 11th January
- This is when Year 11 and 13 return to College, and KWV children are encouraged to attend. Beyond that, at the moment, I don’t know: depending on numbers we may keep the “bubbles” for the week, or return to a fuller timetable with small classes, or a mixture. The Year 11 “bubble” would cease because the Year Group will be on a full timetable. From 18th January, KWV children will be back on a normal timetable.
- This remains a concern. The Department for Education have belatedly recognised that the timeframe originally set out was completely unrealistic. The first instalment of testing kits are not due until Monday at the earliest, and there are some fundamental questions around viability and safety which have not yet been addressed. There are further questions about the accuracy of lateral-flow tests, especially as it now appears students will self-administer, and whether the testing process could lead to a false sense of security. I have no objection to mass-testing in principle, and will continue to make preparations, but remain concerned that it must be safe and of clear benefit to individuals and the whole community.
- We will work hard on mass testing provision in the coming days, but expectations must be realistic. From 5th January, if your child attends school and then has a positive covid result he /she will still need to isolate for 10 days as will any ‘close contacts’. Hopefully, safe, robust daily testing will quickly become available. There is an assumption that schools can simply redeploy several members of staff to run the tests for as long as it takes; we really do not have spare staff sitting around!
- Therefore, it may well be that we will rely on volunteers to support the College with the challenges of mass testing. If this is something for which you feel able to offer your support with then please drop an email to
- We will also be issuing parental consent forms next week when we have a clearer idea of to what you are actually giving consent. Any idea that the army will be deploying mobile units seems a long way off, with 1500 personnel supporting over 3500 schools (Frankly, there are no details about this yet, either, other than it being remote support).
- While some of the details have changed, the basics have not. Safety remains an absolute priority for Clyst Vale. Please ensure that you keep us informed in the usual way about all covid matters, and any other serious concerns.
- It remains essential that when your child comes into College, please ensure that they are not symptomatic, and if they are book a NHS Test immediately.
- Please remind your child of “Hands, Face, Space”. I also like the addition of “Replace”, as in ventilating rooms and replacing stale air with fresh, but this is not official.
- Devon is now in Tier Three. Face masks are now mandatory at all times in schools and colleges (except when in lessons, while eating, or outdoors AND socially distanced; or if medically exempt).
- Students on buses or in taxis must travel to and from College wearing masks at all times, and wear them properly to cover both nose and mouth.
- While my colleagues will of course reiterate these expectations (constantly !) we would truly value your support in reminding your children of these measures and why they are so important at this time in advance of their return.
- It’s clichéd, but we all face enormous challenges. The new vaccine does mean that eventually we will all see brighter times, but for now it is really important that our wonderful Clyst Vale community maintains its “covid spirit” of 2020 and looks after each other. As I have said before, students, parents and my colleagues have been superb in bringing this about, sticking together, and not pulling apart. It is really important that we are not impatient, and let our guard down. We don’t know if this will change by Easter (the Prime Minister) or the summer (most scientists) or even longer (some scientists), but whoever is right, we must assume that we must remain vigilant for the whole of this term at the very least.
- As before, I recognise that home learning presents considerable challenges but we will do the very best for your children. Things are much better than in the first lockdown. Please ensure that your child moves into a strong daily routine that follows a similar pattern to the regular school day. There will be live lessons, and they will be at lesson times. Not every lesson will be live, but every lesson will have work set. If you have issues accessing remote learning, or lack equipment, please email and we will look at what options may exist to help you.
- The need for students to act safely when they are in College remains paramount. Face coverings, social distancing and hygiene must be observed over the coming weeks and months. It is likely that the first week will be different in terms of one-way systems and social times about which students will be briefed. Week two (11th January) will probably be back to pre-Christmas expectations. Week three (18th) will definitely be back to pre-Christmas expectations.
- Please continue to work with us; keep us informed; communicate in a positive manner; remember that my colleagues are human and many are facing personal challenges, too. I remain immensely proud to be Principal of such a fine school community.
Very best wishes to you and your loved ones for 2021.