Coronavirus Updates and FAQ’s

Autumn Term Opening FAQ's

Students will begin to return to school from Tuesday 1st September.

To enable them to adjust to being in school and get used to the new routines necessitated by the government guidance we will be inviting year groups in as follows:

DateYear Group
Tuesday 1st SeptemberYear 7
Wednesday 2nd SeptemberYears 7 & 11
Thursday 3rd SeptemberYears 10 & 11
Friday 4th SeptemberYears 8, 9 & 10
Monday 7th September onwardsAll students in from every year group

Year 7 are invited in on their own on the first day as they missed out on all their induction visits so we want them to have a day on their own to get used to the school. This staged introduction to school life will enable all students to become familiar with new safety measures and their designated areas within the school as there are new routines for all to get used to.

We have adjusted school start and finish times for each year group to support social distancing and prevent public transport and the school entrance becoming over crowded.  We have 1200 students arriving and leaving each day.

Year GroupEntrance / Exit Area Start Time Finish Time
Year 7Student Reception Gate 8.30am2.45pm
Year 8Student Reception Gate – Straight to Science Block9am3.15pm
Year 9Sports Hall Gate9am3.15pm
Year 10Sports Hall Gate8.30am2.45pm
Year 11Student reception8am 3.30pm (Mon-Thur)

2.30pm  (Fri)

Year 11 have an extended day to enable us to provide vital catch-up tuition with their own teachers to enable them to complete their GCSE curriculum before the exam season in the summer.

All students should move straight to their tutor room / P1 lesson on arrival to site.

Our new year based tutor groups will mean that students will get pastoral provision suited to their age.

We have carefully planned our tutor time programme to help students settle back in and re-form relationships with teachers and peers. We will consciously and explicitly teach students our new routines and explain the reasons behind these routines as this will really help them to settle back into school. Teachers and other staff have had special training to enable them to help students to adjust back to school routines. Rest assured, student wellbeing will be our top priority when we open and throughout your child’s time at Orchard Mead Academy.

If you have any specific concerns please contact your child’s tutor, Assistant Head of Year or Head of Year – contact details can be found here.

We have implemented the following systems of control to help prevent the spread of the virus:

1. We will minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school

2. Everyone will sanitise and clean their hands thoroughly and regularly throughout the day. We have installed sanitising stations at all entrances to school and throughout the site.

3. We will ensure good respiratory hygiene by all individuals, closely following and promoting ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’. We have introduced enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often, using approved cleaning products

4. We will minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing wherever possible – We have created mini-school zones for each year group “bubble” and teachers will maintain distance from students, staying at the front of the class within an allocated 2 metre staff only zone and keep any close face to face contact within a minimum distance of 1 metre.

We have made adaptations to classrooms to support this distancing which includes seating students side by side and facing forwards in most instances.

Support in lessons from the Teacher or via Teaching Assistants will be provided as normal, however SEND students will, for this purpose, be located at the front of each class

You can view a copy of our Schools Risk Assessment here.

KS3 (Years 7-9)

In year 7 students will have all of their lessons in their tutor group to minimise contact and mixing, they will have their lunch and break times outdoors in half year groups bubbles. This means that your child will be exposed to up to 120 individuals in their bubble.

In year 8 and 9 students will have most of their lessons in their tutor group, however we will be operating half year group bubbles for some lessons such as maths. Social times, which will be held mostly outdoors, will be in full years groups. This means that your child will be exposed to up to 240 individuals in their bubble.

At KS4 (Years 10 & 11)

We are operating year group bubbles in KS4 to support student GCSE option subjects. This means that your child will be exposed to up to 240 individuals in their bubble.

The current government guidance is that “all schools in areas such as Leicester where local restrictions apply, in education settings where Year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain. As in the general approach, it will not usually be necessary to wear face coverings in the classroom, where protective measures already mean the risks are lower, and they may inhibit teaching and learning.”

This means that masks are now mandatory in Leicester secondary schools, and we ask parents and carers to ensure that:
a) your child arrives in school equipped with a mask alongside all their other school equipment.
b) your child arrives in school equipped with a sealable plastic bag to store the mask in alongside all their other school equipment.

Please see our letter dated 27th August which contains further information on the mandatory wearing of masks in schools in Leicester.

How to make simple face masks

How to wear a face covering

A face covering should:

  • cover your nose and mouth while allowing you to breathe comfortably
  • fit comfortably but securely against the side of the face
  • be secured to the head with ties or ear loops
  • be made of a material that you find to be comfortable and breathable, such as cotton
  • ideally include at least two layers of fabric (the World Health Organisation recommends three depending on the fabric used)
  • unless disposable, it should be able to be washed with other items of laundry according to fabric washing instructions and dried without causing the face covering to be damaged

When wearing a face covering you should:

  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on
  • avoid wearing on your neck or forehead
  • avoid touching the part of the face covering in contact with your mouth and nose, as it could be contaminated with the virus
  • change the face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it
  • avoid taking it off and putting it back on a lot in quick succession (for example, when leaving and entering shops on a high street)

When removing a face covering:

  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before removing
  • only handle the straps, ties or clips
  • do not give it to someone else to use
  • if single-use, dispose of it carefully in a residual waste bin and do not recycle
  • if reusable, wash it in line with manufacturer’s instructions at the highest temperature appropriate for the fabric
  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser once removed

We are confident we will be able to assess quickly where students are in their learning and get them back on track in each subject. Our subject leaders and teachers are examining their curriculum maps and plans and making adjustments to ensure students can get back to their learning at an appropriate point.

We are awaiting further details on the government’s ‘catch-up fund’ but are already looking at the possibility of additional tuition and resources for those students most in need. We are also awaiting confirmation on any changes to policy the government may take around statutory assessments – for example pushing back the dates for exams in year 11

Government guidelines are very clear that all students are expected to return to school, this includes most children who have previously been shielding. If your child remains under the care of a specialist health professional you may need to discuss their care with their health professional before returning to school in September (usually at their next planned clinical appointment). We will support families to ensure each student attends fully.

Please see our absence guide which explains what to do if your child or someone in your house has covid symptoms and needs to isolate.

If you have any safeguarding concerns regarding a child please call the school and ask for our Designated Safeguarding Lead, who is available from 8am – 4.30pm Monday to Friday on 0116 241 3371.

If you have any safeguarding concerns about a child outside of school hours, please call Social Care on 0116 4541004 or the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.

If you feel that a child is in immediate danger you should call 999.

Concerns can also be sent to school via our email address – [email protected] 

TMET COVID19 – School safeguarding policy addendum Updated May 2020

We want students to feel safe and as normal as possible when they return to school. In order to support this and to set the correct tone for learning we require all students to be in full uniform, this includes blazers, shoes, ties and their lanyard.

Information on PE uniform will be shared shortly.

We recommend that you wash uniform regularly to help limit the spread of the virus.

In line with government guidance, we will sadly not be in a position to commence large gatherings for the duration of half term 1.

Students will remain in their year group ‘bubbles’ for recreational times. Whilst the kitchens will be operational from the start of term, only packed lunches and cold refreshments will be available to begin with. Students will not be able to load cash onto their cards and so it is important if you pay for school lunches that your top up your child’s card via the School Gateway.

Provision of food will be available for all students, including for those eligible for free school meals. Furthermore, to ensure distinct groups remain apart, lunchtimes will be staggered and students will remain in their designated indoor and outdoor areas of the school.

You can see a copy of the menu here.

To support our year group bubbles and staggered start times Breakfast Club will only be open to Year 11 initially but we are hopeful we will be able to cater for more students as the term progresses.

Year 11 may arrive for breakfast club from 7.45am.

To begin the year, we will not be offering after school clubs. However we value this enrichment opportunity and will review the possibility of after school clubs as soon as possible.

To support us in adhering to government guidance the school will now be using a cashless system. Payments for all school items, trips and lunch money will need to be paid online via the school gateway.

You can sign up to the School Gateway system by going to the website and signing up as a ‘New User’ with the email address and telephone number you have registered with the school. Please contact the school office if you need support with this.

Paying for school items online is quicker and easier for you, safer for children and more efficient for the school.

If you do not have access to the internet please contact the school office and we can provide you with a PayPoint bar coded letter to add money to your child’s account at the local PayPoint.

We have implemented staggered start and finish times to reduce over-crowding around the school entrance and to reduce demand at peak times for those students who rely on public transport.

Where possible we recommend students:

  • Walk or cycle to school where possible.
    • Please view our Walking and Cycling Maps here
  • Travel by private car and do not car share.

You can plan safe and healthy routes to school using the Choose How you Move website.

Public Transport: 

We have been working closely with the local authority to prepare for the safe return of students to school next week.

We are aware that a large proportion of our students are reliant on public transport to arrive at school  and this has been a key focus area for us as we have planned the re-opening of the academy.  Our staggered start and finished times have been arranged to enable students who travel on public transport to do so safely without the buses becoming over crowded.

We are pleased to advise that we have been able to secure additional “school-only specials” services which will duplicate the existing First 38/38A service buses at the following times:

Please note the following in relation to public bus travel:

  • The normal public bus services are restricted to 50% capacity (timetable attached), however the “school special service” can be loaded to 100% seating capacity in line with government guidance.
  • The school special service will be operated by contracted coach companies, however they will only be able to accept prepaid tickets.
  • The council have broadened the range of prepaid ‘Flexi’ tickets and introduced promotional fares until the end of September. These are being sold on each of the main operators mobile ticketing apps. You are advised to purchase these  ‘Flexi’ tickets, as the enable students to take any bus to and from school within the Leicester area (including the special bus service).
  • You can view a bus map for Orchard Mead showing the range of bus services available using a Flexi ticket here.
  • Please note that the end of day dedicated 2.45pm school service operated by First bus is not currently operating, students will need to catch their bus from the bus stops on the roads outside the academy, duty staff will support students safely off academy grounds, but may not be able to supervise bus stops.

This info-graphic shows bus stops and routes within a 10-minute walk of Orchard Mead.

Full details of the bus services can be found here:

Please ensure that if your child does need to travel to school using public transport, that they wear a face covering in accordance with the ‘safer travel guidance for passengers’.   Please encourage students to line up for their bus in a socially distanced manner, travel directly to/ from school, washing their hands before they leave home and on arrival at school.   All disposable face coverings must be disposed of in our yellow bins, or if they are reusable should be stored in plastic bag within your child’s school bag when they are not in use.

Further information of ways to travel to Orchard Mead Academy can be found on our website here:

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.

If your child develops symptoms of coronavirus, it is imperative they are tested immediately and do not come into school.  If your child develops symptoms whilst they are at school we will isolate them and contact parents / carers to arrange for them to be collected as soon as possible.

Please notify the school attendance team if your child or anyone in your household is symptomatic, and update us with your test results as soon as you receive them.

If your child’s test result is negative and they no longer have symptoms, they can come back to school, however we may request access to a copy of the test result.

If your child test’s positive, they and the rest of your household will need to isolated, in-line with current Public Health England guidance for individuals and families. The NHS will also inform school as part of the Test and Trace system.

We have a thorough risk assessment for our students to return to school and joining year groups together to make prayer along with other arrangements would compromise the plans. As the days are longer before half term, students will have plenty of time to make their prayers after school. We will review this in preparation for the time change after half term 1 and parents/students will be informed.

Students will not be moving around school much at the moment so may be able to keep their items with them in their classroom.  However, students are still able to use lockers if you wish. If you would like to order a locker for your child please be mindful that students will be limited to where they can move within the building, therefore we recommend you order a locker which is close to their year group zone:

  • Year 7 are in MFL & ICT Blocks
  • Year 8 are in the Science Block
  • Year 9 are in Humanities (the old maths area)
  • Year 10 are in the English Block
  • Year 11 are in the Maths Block (the old Humanities Block)

Leicester City council have created a website for parents and carers on the return to school in September.

This contains a wealth of information and guidance specific to Leicester and city and schools.

Please view the website here.

The government have provided guidance for parents and carers on the full opening of schools in the autumn and this can be found here.

The Department for Education also has a coronavirus helpline which is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday)


Department for Education Links

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