Following a busy Christmas break for many headteachers and school staff, Wokingham Borough schools are now preparing to welcome pupils back for the start of the spring term in January.
Individual schools may have minor variations from the information set out below. Parents should receive full details directly from their schools.
Primary schools to open 4 January
According to government guidance, all primary schools should be reopening on 4 January, with the exception of those taking an additional inset day and opening on 5 January. Where this is the case, schools will have written to parents and carers to inform them.
Children of key workers and vulnerable students to return to secondary schools 4 January
Secondary schools should reopen on 4 January for children of key workers and vulnerable students, including children with education, health and care plans or social workers, with the exception of those schools taking an additional inset day. Parents and carers are asked to contact their schools directly to confirm this arrangement should they feel their children are in this group.
Secondary schools online learning from 4 January with staggered return to face-to-face teaching
For secondary schools, government guidance has the spring term begin with home-based learning on 4 January, with the exception of those schools taking an additional inset day. Where this is the case, schools will have written to parents. This will be followed by a staggered return to face-to-face teaching in line with government guidance announced on 30 December. Students in years 11 and 13 will return to face-to-face teaching on 11 January. All other children attending secondary schools will be returning on 18 January, following two weeks of home-based learning.
All secondary schools are expected to offer rapid Covid-19 testing for pupils, teachers and staff to help identify asymptomatic cases and break the chain of transmission to help schools stay open. The tests will be Lateral Flow Tests in which a swab is taken from the nose and/or mouth and the results are available in under 30 minutes. Testing is intended to be weekly, with daily testing if there is a positive case in the bubble. This will allow the bubble to continue with face-to-face teaching, rather than having enforced 10 day isolation periods.
Schools are currently working out the logistics of their testing programmes to ensure they are delivered in the safest way possible. Each school will notify parents of arrangements for the asymptomatic testing programme for its school.
“We know that school is the best place for children, as it is so important for young people to have a routine and not interrupt their schooling,” said Cllr UllaKarin Clark, executive member for children’s services. “After such a turbulent 2020 we are keen to minimise any further disruption to children’s learning and the social experience they gain from school. We are working with all schools to help them best serve their pupils.
“The council is working with schools by providing advice and guidance to help schools make the best decisions for their pupils, as well as practical support wherever we can as the new term begins.”