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LCA Virtual Open Evening

After watching our Open Evening video go to our Year 6 Information page by clicking here

 

 

Please click buttons below to view our information for September 2020:

The Council has published an update to its school and college transport guidance for parents and carers ahead of the reopening of all schools in September.
The updated guidance can be found at (please click link below):

COVID-19 information for school transport

 

Thank you to ... Realise Education for the generous donation of laptops for our students.

Congratulations to all our students (click on images to enlarge pictures).

 

Letter to Students & Parents

Autumn Term (2)

18th September 2020

Dear Parents & Carers,

As promised in my letter last week, I write with a further update.  With so much media coverage relating to schools, I believe it is important to keep you fully informed.

Students are now familiar with the changes we have put in place and the academy is orderly and focused.    Daily step-counts have become a competitive sport amongst our staff as they move across the site to year group ‘zones’ many times throughout the day!  As the national and local picture changes, we continue to adapt our procedures.  It is a considerable undertaking to reorganise the entire school day. Whilst there are inevitable compromises, our arrangements are working well with excellent attendance across all year groups.

We appreciate it is difficult for you to envisage the changes we have made.  We have therefore created a short narrated presentation so you can see and hear about our safety measures which can be viewed on the homepage of our website.

Important information for parents/carers

Masks in school

  • Students are now required to wear masks when moving between classrooms and on corridors within their bubble. This applies to all students other than those with a valid medical exemption card.  Students who fail to adhere to this rule will receive consequence points.  Persistent refusal to follow this rule, designed to keep our entire community safe, will result in a fixed term exclusion in line with our Code of Conduct.

Transport

  • All students travelling by bus, (other than those who are exempt) are required to wear a mask for the entire journey to and from school.

Costs

  • Please support us by ensuring your child has a clean mask within a plastic bag inside their blazer pocket every day. We are unable to meet the ongoing cost of providing so many masks on a daily basis.  Schools are not being reimbursed for additional cleaning/PPE/staffing costs during the Autumn term.

Water fountains

  • In line with health and safety guidance, we are currently unable to provide access to our water fountains. Students should bring enough water from home for the school day.

We continue to monitor national and local Covid-19 updates as well as the information provided by parents. In the event that a member of staff or student tests positive for Covid-19, we will liaise with LCC Health Protection Team and determine which children need to be sent home.  This will be determined by information held in school relating to ‘bubbles’, class lists, seating plans and information provided by the individual and their family.

If your child is required to remain at home, you will be notified individually.  I will also, in the event of a confirmed case, write to all parents to inform you of the steps we have taken.  For students remaining at home, their education will continue remotely.

I would like to thank you for once again sending messages of thanks and appreciation to our staff as we work in partnership to navigate this ‘new normal.’

Yours faithfully,

Mrs Laming
Headteacher

Useful links:

  • Government advice on Covid-19 symptoms, self-isolation and testing:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

  • The Department for Education helpline is available to answer questions about coronavirus and education. Parents and young people can contact this helpline by calling: 0800 046 8687, Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 4pm.
  • Useful links that detail our Covid-19 procedures and policies can be found on the academy website: lincolncastleacademy.co.uk

 

Autumn Term (1)

8th September 2020

Dear Parents & Carers,

Lincoln Castle Academy has been open to students for several days following the staggered start of term. I appreciate the return to school may have been an anxious time for families and I am therefore writing to provide the first of a series of regular updates.

Although we have spent many hours planning and adapting our procedures, we commit to ongoing reflection and to adapting as necessary.  We recognise the trust you are placing in our staff to keep your child safe, to minimise risks and to educate your child.

The term so far…

I am delighted to report students and staff have adapted well to the changes in place.  Whilst these are still early days, the atmosphere in the academy has been focused and, as I anticipated, very uplifting.  We have encountered relatively few issues and have been delighted to return to teaching and learning as we know it.  We are particularly delighted to welcome 170 new Year 7 students into our academy.

The term began with 2 days of staff training.  During this time, we explored ways to support students to adapt to the demands of the curriculum and return to the resilience, study habits and routines that they knew 6 months ago.  In addition, staff received important health and safety training.

All schools have had to overcome challenges whilst minimising risks, usually without extra space, resources or funds.  At LCA we are fortunate to have a large spacious site meaning year groups can remain entirely separate throughout the school day.  Students do not encounter other year group ‘bubbles’ as they remain in their base. For that reason, masks are not typically required (but must be carried as a precaution) and can be used at the discretion of the individual.  We have increased our cleaning team with the appointment of several new staff and the site is cleaned throughout the day, as well as at the end of the day.

Looking ahead…

As always, we are grateful for your support; sending your child with a mask, accommodating our staggered start and end times and communicating with your child’s tutor as necessary.  As I’ve said before, the task in hand is challenging and depends upon a community effort.  For that reason, I request your support in the following ways:

Social Media

These are testing times for all of us, including adolescents.  Please refrain from using social media to raise issues or concerns.  Instead, communicate with us direct.  By keeping our public posts positive, professional and measured, we will minimise anxiety for our students and make it clear that the adults at home and at school are working together to keep them safe.  Please avoid speculating about suspected cases of Covid-19.  Should we have a confirmed case, I will contact all parents.

  1. Timings

As previously communicated, we cannot currently accommodate students outside of the designated start and end times.  Some students are arriving 30 minutes early and congregating outside the school gates.  Please avoid sending your child to school with lots of unsupervised time to spare.  We appreciate this is not possible for those travelling by bus and have supervision in place at the end of the school day for these students.

Social distancing

The current guidance advises children to maintain a distance of 1 metre or more from others at all times.  Please reinforce this message, encouraging your child to be safe on the journey to and from school.  Students should avoid touching others or sharing food.

Masks/face coverings on buses

All students (other than those who are exempt) should be wearing a mask for the entire journey to and from school.  Please reinforce this message with your child as some students have failed to do so.  This measure helps keep students safe when ‘bubbles’ are in close proximity.

Current Guidance

We are keeping up to date with all local Covid-19 updates, monitoring the information provided by parents, as well as liaising with our local Public Health England Protection Team.    Should it be deemed necessary to ‘close a bubble’, this is most likely to impact one year group.  Should this occur, the year group will be asked to remain at home for 14 days and their education will continue remotely.   Individual students who are self-isolating will also receive remote education (further details to follow).

The latest advice regarding Covid-19 can be found using the link below which includes information on symptoms, self-isolation and testing:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

Finally, please get in touch should you need to.  Whilst parents are currently unable to access the school site without prior appointment, effective communication remains a priority.

Email your child’s Tutor or Head of Year

Email enquiries@lincolncastleacademy.co.uk

Telephone Reception: 01522 529203

Check the website & Facebook page for updates

Yours faithfully,

Mrs Laming
Headteacher

 

27th August 2020

Face masks/ coverings

Dear Parents & Carers,

I write to provide clarity regarding the use of masks/ face coverings at Lincoln Castle Academy from the start of term. Government guidance released this week requires masks to be worn in school corridors in areas of local lockdown but also gives Headteachers the flexibility to introduce masks in all schools should they wish to do so.

Although we do not have high rates of Covid-19 in our area, I believe it is sensible for all of us to carry a mask when going about our daily business. Whilst it is unlikely to be necessary to use masks in school owing to our control measures, I believe it is important that students and staff have this option. Students travelling to school on a bus will be required to wear a mask and students wishing to call at the local shop on their way to or from school will need to do the same. Carrying a mask ensures students are prepared should the need arise.

From the first day of term in September, please note the following requirements:

  • ALL students will be required to carry a mask/ face covering in their blazer pocket.
    This will mean students are prepared should they be unable to maintain distance at any time (unlikely given our protocols but a useful additional precaution). Masks of any colour/ design are permitted (providing they are non-offensive). Plastic face shields are also permitted.
  • ALL masks must be carried inside a small clear plastic bag.
    We will be showing students how to remove masks safely in order to minimise the risk of transmission. We will also be stressing the importance of good hand hygiene during this process.
  • Students will be permitted to wear their mask throughout the school day. This is a personal choice and is not currently mandatory.
  • Masks must be washed or disposed of after use. Material reusable masks should be washed after use, disposable masks should only be worn once.

 There will be no penalties for students who fail to bring a mask to school and we will, where possible, provide a disposable mask for the day. However, we cannot afford to provide masks for all students; this would cost over £400 per day! We therefore request your support in ensuring your child has a clean mask on a daily basis.

I appreciate this is another item to add to the list of requirements for the school day but feel this is a sensible precaution in the current climate. Furthermore, should the Government strengthen the rules around masks in secondary schools, we will be prepared!

 Many thanks in anticipation of your support,

 Mrs Laming

 

25th August 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

Lincolnshire County Council have now released further information regarding school transport.  They request that where possible, students should walk, cycle or travel to school by car even if they are normally entitled to school transport. If there is no other option for your child to travel to school, public service and dedicated school buses will continue to operate.

If your child will be using either public service or dedicated school transport, it is essential that you read the information provided in the link below which was released by the Local Authority on 20 August. This includes information on accessing school transport, social distancing and the use of face masks.  Please share this information with your child to ensure they understand these changes. https://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/school-college-transport/covid-19-information-school-transport/1

Our school website contains a lot of useful information about the term ahead, including copies of all letters sent to parents regarding our safety measures and expectations of students.  Again, I would request that you read and share these with your child in order to support their successful transition back to school.

Kind regards,

Mrs Laming

 

14th July 2020

Dear Parents & Carers,

Following the publication of the Government Guidance for Schools, I write to detail our plans to return all LCA students to full time education in September.  This letter sets out measures to manage the risks associated with Covid-19 whilst allowing your child to resume his/her education in school.

The planning process has been extensive and builds on our experience during recent months.  I have been humbled by the messages of support from our parents and call on you again to support what is a significant undertaking.  Inevitably there are some compromises but I assure you decisions have been made in order to prioritise our core responsibility to educate through a broad and balanced curriculum whilst creating a safe environment in line with Government Guidance.

Lincoln Castle Academy, September 2020

The return to school will be carefully managed with students receiving step by step guidance and reassurance.  We will stagger the start of term with year groups beginning on set days. The following information refers to the year group your child will be in next academic year:

First day of term Start Time Departure Time Zone
Year 7 Thursday, 3rd September 8.30 am 3pm Creative Arts
Year 8 Friday, 4th September 8.45am 2.30pm Maths
Year 9 Tuesday, 8th September 9am 2.45pm Humanities
Year 10 Monday, 7th September 8.45am 2.45pm English
Year 11 Tuesday, 8th September 8.30am 3pm Business & Enterprise
Year 12 Friday, 4th September 8.30am 3pm Common Room & Science
Year 13 Friday, 4th September 8.30am 3pm Mulder Suite & Science

The allocated arrival time reduces the number of potential interactions on the way to school and allows students’ entry to the site to be carefully managed. On arrival, students will be greeted and they will wash their hands.  Further scheduled hand washing will take place throughout the day.

All students will be grouped within a year group ‘bubble’ and prevented from mixing with students outside of their group.  Each ‘bubble’ will be allocated a ‘zone’ within the school and will remain in their zone for the majority of their lessons; staff from all subjects will move to the students to teach their normal timetable.  Students will only move within their zone and within their bubble, e.g. from their Year 9 tutor group to their Year 9 English class or to their designated washroom or recreation area.

Students will be assigned individual desks and in most classrooms, they will face the front of the room. Teachers’ desks will be positioned 2 metres from students as per the guidance and staff will be discouraged from being in close proximity to students for extended periods of time.

On the first day back students should bring their own resources into school, including: pens, pencils, sharpener, ruler, rubber, highlighters and a scientific calculator (recommended model: Casio FX-83GTPlus/ Casio FX-85GTPlus).  Every student will be issued with a large zip lock bag for their resources which will remain on their desk at school.

On occasion, students will be escorted to a different room on the school site to access specialist rooms and resources (e.g. Design Technology, Cooking, Physical Education).  This will be limited and carefully planned with most lessons taking place in the year group ‘zone.’

The school day will consist of five taught lessons, as well as tutor time which will be used for catch-up, mentorship and to deliver our Aspire Programme with important initial work centred on wellbeing and the ‘recovery’ curriculum.  Lunch and a break time snack will be provided for those eligible for free school meals, but we ask that all other students bring a packed lunch and a full bottle of water.  Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide hot food.  Schools are not being reimbursed for additional costs as a result of the pandemic and catering staff will be redeployed to support supervision and our thorough cleaning programme.

End times will also be staggered, with the final lesson of the day (period 5) ending at 15 minute intervals for different year groups.  Again, this reduces potential interaction between ‘bubbles.’ Students who travel by bus will be supervised until their bus arrives but all students will be expected to leave the site by 3pm to allow for staff briefings and for thorough cleaning to take place.

Reintegration Plans

Whilst we recognise all students will need support to adjust to these new ways of working, we appreciate the return to school may be particularly challenging for some students, including those with additional needs and challenging personal circumstances.  A proactive approach will see modifications for individual students, including our SEND ‘bubble’, mentoring support, curriculum reduction or a phased return.  These measures will be carefully planned and communicated to parents and students to ensure a successful return for all.

Conduct

Maintaining good discipline and an orderly environment is a necessary part of school life, but this will be of paramount importance in September as we work within new parameters.  Whilst individual students will receive appropriate guidance and support, deliberate breaches of our safety measures will result in sanctions, including fixed term and, should the need arise, permanent exclusion.  High levels of compliance are essential in order to keep our entire school community safe. There will be zero tolerance of mobile phone usage in school.  I urge parents to reinforce this message before September to avoid witnessing the agony of teenager and mobile phone enforced separation.

Confirmed/ Suspected Case Covid-19

Students or staff with symptoms of coronavirus should not attend school and should follow ‘stay at home: guidance for households’ (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance’ which sets out information about self-isolation and testing (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested).

If an individual becomes ill during the school day they will be moved to our Medical Isolation Room until they can leave the site. This room, and all other relevant parts of the school, will be given a deep clean, including anti-viral fogging.  Should an individual test positive, we will track those who may have been exposed through the ‘bubble’ and provide clear guidance.

Journeying to and from School  

As a parent myself, I am acutely aware that the new school year brings additional anxiety and whilst I hope to provide reassurance, I must be open and honest regarding the scope of my control.  This does not extend to school transport or the journey to and from school.  Whilst we will provide clear guidance to all students, I ask you to stress your expectations to your child for their own safety.

Lincolnshire County Council is working with transport providers to ensure that children are able to travel to school as safely as possible at this time. The numbers of children travelling on each vehicle have been adjusted to support social distancing, the wearing of face coverings by pupils has been recommended (this is mandatory on public transport) and providers must frequently clean their vehicles.

LCC ask that children entitled to education transport continue to only use it where absolutely necessary and that parents and carers support them to follow all guidance and advice that is issued.  We have requested further clarity on behalf of students who use school transport; we will ensure this is passed to you as soon as we have more information.

The end of term

If you have a question, a concern or personal circumstances you wish to make staff aware of, please get in touch.  Our school website has many resources which may be of use to you and your child in preparing for the new academic which begins 3rd September (Year 7 only).  Our Staff Inset days on 1st and 2nd September will be used to adjust plans further and respond to the latest guidance as necessary.

The school will close to all students on Friday 17th July at 3pm.  As we approach the end of a truly unusual time, particular thanks must go to all our key worker parents for your professional and personal efforts during this time; for keeping us all safe and helping our community to function.  Whilst this chapter is certainly not over and we prepare for what may lie ahead, I shall look back on this 4-month period with enormous pride.  Our school community has pulled together and LCA staff have been remarkable.  In the new academic year, we will return to what we do best; we will settle students into new routines, we will ensure lessons are rich and fulfilling and we will teach!  Whilst much will feel different, the return to a school with students’ laughter, learning and hard work will provide some eagerly awaited normality and we look forward to it.

In the meantime, thank you all for your support during this challenging time. I wish you and your family a restful happy restorative summer.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs Louise Laming

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