Essential information for return in September

Dear Parents and carers,

I hope this letter finds you and your families well.

As we approach the end of term, I would like to take this opportunity to share our plans for September with you. As I am sure you are aware, on Thursday 2nd July, the Government released the updated DFE guidance on the full opening of schools for September. Within the guidance there are a whole range of guidelines, all of which, and more, we will be adhering to. Over the last week, we have been working really hard to develop a thorough and detailed plan that will allow a full opening for all year groups.

This letter will provide a broad overview and provide you with the essential detail required. These plans are being put in place to ensure the safest environment for both students and staff and underpinning these plans will be a full risk assessment which will be published on our website. Whilst some operational aspects will be different within the school, we wanted to try and ensure as much as possible remains similar to the school environment that our students are used to.

There are however, a number of key points that I would like to draw your attention to:

Year Group Bubbles

From September, we will be operating year group bubbles. Each year group will have a designated zone, (building or group of buildings) in which the majority of their classes will be taught. You will know that we have a very large school site and when planning zones, we have found how useful this is in order to distance year groups from each other. Due to the number of building we have, some year groups will have more than one building in which they operate. We have not blocked our Science Labs, Expressive Art classrooms or PE facilities within zones as we will be allowing students to move to these specialist facilities when required to by their timetable.

Year group zones will be in the following areas:


Year Location Allocated computer room
Year 7 D12, D14, D18, D20, D30, D32, D34 D11, D13, D15 D26
Year 8 T1, T3, T5, C16, C24, C38, D27, D31, D33 C5)
Year 9 L21, L23, L25, L2, L4, L6, L14, W35 W33
Year 10 G13, G15, G55, G59, P13, G61 TC9
Year 11 G4, G6, G18, G24, G32, G34, TC1, TC3 TC9
Year 12/13 W4A, W4B, P16CL, W1, W37, WMR, LMR, LMS W18

Tutor Group Bases 2020-2021


Over the last few months we have employed cleaners to work during the day time as well as their normal hours after school. Whilst the majority of lessons will take place in their year zones, students will move to specialist classrooms. Specialist classrooms will be cleaned between each use. Over the last few months the school has invested heavily in additional cleaning equipment and has put in a number of measures to ensure the school is Covid compliant. These include:

  • Sanitisation of any shared rooms between year groups
  • Regular cleaning and sanitisation of high-frequency surfaces e.g. banisters, doors
  • Hourly cleaning of toilets
  • On-call cleaners to respond to arising issues
  • Deep cleaning and sanitisation of classrooms at the end of each working day

Lunch and breaktime

Lunch and break time will take place at the normal times for each year group. However, there will be a number of adjustments to ensure year groups do not mix. Each year group has been allocated a large inside space that they will be able to attend during lunch and break time. Each area will have a seating area and it will be where students can purchase their food or eat their packed lunch. Additionally, each year group will be allocated an outside space. During both lunch and break time students will be required to stay within their inside or outside designated area, they will not be allowed to walk around the school site. If students require the toilet they will be allowed to walk to their designated toilet block. Break and lunchtime zones are as follows:


Year Inside Location Outside Locations
Year 7 Canteen / Turtle Near end of astro Near end lower field
Year 8 Sports Hall Lower tennis courts Middle lower field
Year 9 Wingfield Hall Lancaster tennis courts Far end lower field
Year 10 Gloucester Hall Far end of astro Far end upper field
Year 11 Drama studio Upper tennis courts Near end upper field
Year 12 and 13 Common room Common room Common room


Each year group has been allocated a toilet block to use within their teaching zone. Students will be asked to only use their dedicated toilet block, even if this means a slightly longer walk. Toilet blocks are designated as follows:


Year Inside Location
Year 7 Dunston
Year 8 Chiltern
Year 9 CLC
Year 10 Ground floor Gloucester
Year 11 1st floor Gloucester
Year 12 and 13 Wingfield

Staggered start, finish times, entrances and exits

We have tried hard to look at not staggering times as we know this can be difficult for parents. For year groups 7,8, 9 and 10, start and finish times will be their normal times, however, each year group will have a designated entrance and exit that must be used when they arrive and leave school.

For Year 11, 12 and 13 we have extended the school day. In the morning, school will now start at 8:30am. Students will be asked to arrive at school at around 8:20am, providing enough time for them to go straight to their tutor rooms. They will then start their dedicated ‘catch up and revision’ work. All Year 11, 12 and 13 students will then be expected to stay for a Period 6 at school which will finish at 4pm. This will now be a formal registered period. We are determined to ensure our students don’t fall behind, catch up and exceed their expectations following Covid-19 and this extended time in school will be part of our strategy to ensure students still achieve exceptional results.

Depending on the time that students arrive in school, they will either be asked to wait in their year based recreational zones or go straight to the tutor room, which will be based in their year zone.

The entrance and exits that will be dedicated to year groups are as follows:


Year Entrance and Exit
Year 7 Main Wingfield gate
Year 8 Pitman gate
Year 9 Pedestrian Wingfield gate
Year 10 Gloucester Road gate
Year 11 Gloucester Road gate
Year 12 and 13 Pedestrian Wingfield gate

NB: We may well owe you or your child an apology if this is not the nearest entrance and exit to your house!

Arriving by car

To avoid congestion and the mixing of year groups we would ask that parents drop off and pick up their children near to the designated year group entrance and exit. We recognise that there are occasions when siblings will have lifts to and from school together. If this is the case we would ask that siblings still use their designated gates but meet parents at a mutually convenient point outside school.

Walking to school

If your child walks to school, we would ask that they try to walk socially distanced and in year group bubbles. Students who walk home will be encouraged to walk straight home and not wait for friends in other year groups. It is however recognised that siblings within the same household, but in different year groups, may want to walk home with each other. If this is the case, we would ask that they still use their allocated entrance and exit but meet together at a mutually agreed location outside of school.

Structure of the day

We believe it is important to keep a sense of normality within the school and therefore the structure of the day will remain the same for Year 7, 8, 9 and 10 students. This will mean 1 tutor time and 5 x 1 hour lessons. However, for Year 11, 12 and 13 students, it will mean they will have a slightly earlier start, then 1 tutor time and 6 x 1 hour lessons.

Extra-curricular clubs

From September, all extra-curricular clubs will have to be for ‘year specific’. You will know that some clubs in previous years have been for a range of year groups. This will mean that there may not be as many clubs and activities as there has been in previous years.

School uniform

We will be asking all students to return to school in full uniform from September. If students have PE, they will be asked as they currently do to bring their PE kit in a bag, however, staff will not be lending kit if they forget it. Students are still expected to walk to and from school in their uniform. In PE, students will then be allocated a room which is specific to their year group in which to change. If there are children with specific arrangements about changing, we will make arrangements for these to continue. The only difference to uniform will be the introduction of the new style skirt. If students wish to wear a skirt, the Information regarding the collection of one free skirt per student (from Scholars) is in previous parent updates letters.

Tip: Some shoe shops are already warning that there may be a shoe shortage in late August. If your child needs new black polishable leather shoes it maybe an idea to purchase them soon.

Supporting behaviour/mental health support

We will be working hard to ensure that students are very well supported socially and emotionally in September. We are currently looking at a range of additional provision to support students as well as the support within tutor time, PSHE and assemblies. After a long period of time without school based learning we believe students will settle in quickly if our normal procedures and expectations of disruption free learning are maintained. Ensuring high quality teaching takes place in an environment free of disruptions is crucial and now

more than ever, it is important that students are not distracted and can concentrate on their learning. During these current circumstances we will be adding a section in our behaviour policy that reflect our expectations of our new procedures. It will be made clear to students that the deliberate breaking of social distancing between year groups is not allowed.

Supporting students with special educational needs

We appreciate that a return to school in September may well be challenging if your child has additional learning needs. If you feel this maybe an issue for your child, I would encourage you to get in contact with Mrs Marshall in order to make arrangements. For all other students, I would encourage you to get in contact with either your child’s tutor or Head of Year.


Students will be required to ensure that they have their full equipment list in school every day in September, this will avoid the need to share equipment with others. From September we will be adding ear phones to our equipment list. We would ask all students to bring ‘in-ear earphones’ with them to school. These are expected to stay in their bags with their phones, unless they are required in lessons.

Hand hygiene and distancing

This will be an essential part of our daily routine. Students will be expected to sanitise on entry to every single classroom throughout the day. During the summer we will have wall mounted hand sanitisers installed in each teaching room across the school. Students will also be reminded where possible to socially distance from staff as outlined in the guidance. With careful planning, we have ensured that corridor use is kept to a minimum. As a result, all downstairs classrooms will only be accessed by the classroom’s fire exit and not through the normal corridor. The main outside areas of the school will have a one-way system in operation and all doors into and out of the building will be one-way.

Face coverings: Public Health England does not (based on current evidence) recommend the use of face coverings in schools. The DfE guidance states that they are not required in schools as pupils and staff are mixing in consistent groups, and because misuse may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission.

Students will however be allowed to wear face coverings on their way to and from school, should they choose. Following the guidance, pupils and staff who use them for their journey into school will need to remove the face covering as they arrive onto the site and place any reusable face coverings in a plastic bag so that they can take them home or place them into a covered bin for disposal.


The Government has outlined in their guidance that attendance in September is compulsory. We will support students fully in their return.

How you can help make John of Gaunt as safe as possible

As parents and carers, you can support our school by:

  • ensuring that anyone who has coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or has someone in their household who does, does not attend School
  • engaging with the NHS Test and Trace process so that cases can be identified and action taken. This means if your child develops symptoms, you should arrange for them to get a test and you should inform us of the results.
  • encouraging your child to listen carefully to the new routines and procedures in school

Alongside this, the government is asking schools to ensure they are:

  • ensuring everyone at the school cleans their hands more often than usual, including before each lesson and before and after eating. This can be done with soap and running water or hand sanitisation.
  • ensuring good respiratory hygiene, by promoting the ‘Catch It, Bin It, Kill It’ approach
  • enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces

Free School Meals – Vouchers

Below is the latest information regarding the existing Free School Meals voucher system and the Summer Food Fund voucher to be issued w/b Monday 20th July, 2020.

Edenred FSM Voucher codes not redeemed

  • Please check your emails for codes that haven’t been redeemed yet.
  • Consider the expiry date on the code. You will not be able to redeem these codes after this date and the provision will be lost.
  • It is better to redeem all codes and then save the vouchers because the actual supermarket voucher/e gift card has a longer expiry date (in some cases 5 years)
  • The school will only be able to resend codes for previous weeks until 24th July

Edenred Summer Food Fund

  • You will be sent a voucher code for the value of £90 per child to cover the summer break (6 weeks X £15)
  • This will be issued in the same way by Edenred on w/b 20/07/2020
  • It is important that you redeem by the 20th August or your code will expire
  • Once redeemed as a supermarket e gift card it does not have to be used in one transaction.

Please be aware that the school’s ability to help with this will end on Friday 24th July but please contact us via email if you have any issues

Below is a link to where you can find guidance

What we will do in the event of an outbreak

If we as a school experience an outbreak, either because we have 2 or more confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) among pupils or staff in our setting within 14 days, or we see an increase in pupil or staff absence rates due to suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), we will contact our local health protection team. This team will advise us if additional action is required, though the closure of the whole school will generally not be necessary.

Where an outbreak in our school is confirmed, a mobile testing unit may be dispatched to test others who may have been in contact with the person who has tested positive. Testing will first focus on the person’s classes, followed by their year group, then the whole school, if necessary.

In all cases, where groups of pupils need to self-isolate or where a larger restriction of attendance at school is needed, we will be able to continue to support your child’s learning remotely.

First days in September

We feel it is important to reintroduce students to school as quickly as we can, therefore, our plans are similar to previous years. Our plan includes time that students will spend with their tutors running through the new processes to ensure a smooth transition for all students.

Tuesday, 1st September:              School closed due to Staff training

Wednesday 2nd September:      Year 7 only (8:40am start in Wingfield Hall) with Year 12 and 13 interviews

Thursday 3rd September:


Year Start Finish Head for…
Year 7 8:40 am 3:00pm Tutor room
Year 8 11:05 am 3:00pm Lower Tennis Courts
Year 9 11:05 am 3:00pm Lancaster tennis courts
Year 10 11:05 am 3:00pm Far end of astro
Year 11 11:05 am 4:00pm Upper tennis courts
Year 12 and 13 8:40 am 4:00pm Common Room

Friday, 4th September: Normal school day and timings for all year groups.

It goes without saying that there is a significant piece of work being put into these arrangements to ensure that we can welcome students back safely in September and I would like to thank parents for their ongoing support and patience through this unprecedented time. Throughout the whole pandemic we studied each piece of guidance and tried to develop plans that ensure the health and safety of our community whilst maintaining standards and levels of engagement. I have been so grateful for the support from families throughout this period and can assure you that we will all been doing our very best to ensure that every student, not only catches up on their learning, but achieves even higher than they originally imagined.

I would like to wish all of our families and students a restful summer and look forward to finally bringing our school community back together in September. If you have any queries or question, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Skipp