Information for Parents - Reopening

Information for Parents - Reopening

As you know, the government has set out plans for all children to return to school in September.  

We are very much looking forward to welcoming all students back to The Deanes in September 2020 but there are five major steps we must take to prevent the spread of the virus and students will be expected to cooperate fully to help us ensure those five major steps are implemented every single day of school:  

  1. Minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school. 
  2. Clean hands thoroughly more often than usual. 
  3. Ensure good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.
  4. Introduce enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often, using standard products such as detergents and bleach. 
  5. Minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing wherever possible.

We have spent a great deal of time ensuring that we have followed the government’s guidance about the full reopening of schools in September, which can be found here.   We have a detailed Risk Assessment in place which has been signed off by The Challenger Multi Academy Trust Board.  The Risk Assessment can be viewed here.

Whilst the threat of spreading Covid-19 still exists, we have put in place a number of new arrangements to ensure we minimise the threat of spreading the virus whilst delivering a full curriculum for our students. We feel certain that The Deanes is as safe as it can possibly be and we want to welcome back every single one of our students in September, including those with certain medical needs who may have been classified as clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable during the lockdown.

This will mean a number of important changes to how the school runs next term. Please be aware some details may change but we will keep you updated: 

●      When students are in school, they will remain in their year group ‘bubble’. We will be avoiding mixing of year groups at all times.

●      ‘Bubbles’ will be zoned within the school so that students have access to a minimal number of classrooms. Older students will have access to specialist teaching spaces where appropriate. Each zone will have allocated toilets and an outdoor and indoor space that students will be able to access for break and lunch. A map of the Zones can be viewed here.

●      Students will be in different zones on different days so they can access specialist rooms where appropriate

●      We will be operating a one-week timetable for the Autumn Term.  These will be issued to students in September.

●      Staff will be able to move between the Year Group “bubbles” so that we can have the right teachers in front of the right classes at the right time.  

●      There will be minimal practical work.  

●      There will be no extra-curricular activities, including revision, for at least the first half term. 

I understand that many parents and carers may feel anxious about their child returning to school. Below you will find more information about how things will operate.

Issue / Concern


Recovery curriculum

We will continue to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for all students.  In order to do so, it has been necessary to move to a one-week timetable and for the number of lessons in some subjects to be changed.  Practical activities, for example in PE and Music, have been modified in line with guidance.  

To support students to catch up, Programme Leaders have adapted curriculum plans to prioritise key concepts and skills in each subject.  

We will continue to run intervention sessions during the school day, arranged within ‘bubbles’.   

For the first half term, there will be no after school revision sessions, with students instead completing guided revision at home.  This will be reviewed after half term.  

There will be no educational trips or visits in the Autumn term.



We will continue to provide excellent pastoral care for all students, but additional support has also been planned.

All students will complete an emotional health and wellbeing questionnaire to enable us to assess each student's pastoral learning needs.

The first term of our tutor programme will focus on mental and physical health.

Students in Years 7-10 will complete a 10 week ‘Life after lockdown’ wellbeing programme during curriculum time.  

Staff delivering this programme have received extensive training from the ‘Strengthening Minds’ team.  More details can be found here.

PE lessons will provide an opportunity for supervised physical activity.

Our school counsellor will be available for additional drop in sessions.



We are not expected to implement strict social distancing between students, but are being asked to put in place structures to reduce the likelihood and scale of any transmission of Covid-19. 

Students should maintain a social distance from each other where they can; furthermore, touching other people in school is prohibited.

Where possible, we want to ensure that adults in the school maintain 2m social distancing from other adults and students.

We will be insisting that staff maintain a 2m distance at all times. 


Zones / Bubbles

When in school, students will not be allowed to mix with other students outside their year groups and will be taught in their own year-based areas of the school. These zones are shown on this map:

Zone 1 (pink):  Technology Block and the Renaissance Block

Zone 2 (green):  Music, Hall, Library and Languages

Zone 3 (yellow):  Humanities and Social Studies

Zone 4 (blue):  English

Zone 5 (red):  Maths and Computing

Some areas of the Sports Centre will also be used.  These areas will be restricted to allocated ‘bubbles’ at specific times.

Each ‘bubble’ has its own outdoor and indoor area that can be used before school, at break time and at lunch time.  Students must not leave their allocated zone, for the safety of others.

Outdoor Space

Zone 1 (pink):  Court 2

Zone 2 (green):  Outside Music

Zone 3 (yellow):  Front of School

Zone 4 (blue):  New Car Park

Zone 5 (red):  Court 1

Indoor Space

Zone 1 (pink):  R01

Zone 2 (green):  Hall

Zone 3 (yellow):  Canteen

Zone 4 (blue):  Gym

Zone 5 (red):  Sports Hall

All Zones will be clearly marked and colour coded.  Paths between areas will also be marked.

This map shows the paths and the locations of the indoor and outdoor spaces.



Students must understand that good behaviour is essential at all times to enable a safe and successful school. During this pandemic, good behaviour becomes even more important. To ensure the safety of our students and staff, any breaches of our Code of Conduct (including social distancing) could result in students being removed from lessons or in serious cases being sent home.

Parental support for our high standards and expectations will be crucial in helping us run school, and I would like to thank you in advance for your help in emphasising to your children how important it is that they play their part in the full reopening of school.



The government has made it clear that school attendance will be compulsory again from the beginning of the autumn term. This means that, from that point, our usual rules on school attendance will apply. 

We continue to work closely with the families of students who are particularly apprehensive about coming back into school. Please speak to a member of our Attendance Team if you feel you would benefit from additional support. 


Travelling to and from school 

The Department of Education has updated guidance for parents and carers. 

Parents, children and young people are encouraged to walk or cycle where possible and avoid public transport at peak times.

APT Coaches will be operating a coach from Basildon.  Please contact APT for further details. email:

phone:   01268 783878

A school minibus will be available for those students from Southend who have signed up for this service.


Dropping Off Students

Parents / Carers who are driving their children to school must use the marked drop off points.  Parents / Carers must not leave their vehicles.

On arrival at school, students must go to their allocated Zone for that day. This will enable us to maintain distinct groups and limit interaction, sharing of rooms and social spaces.

These Zones are clearly marked on this map.

Drop Off Points

Zone 1 (pink):  New Road by Sport

Zone 2 (green):  Top Car Park

Zone 3 (yellow):  Front Turning Circle

Zone 4 (blue):  Front Turning Circle

Zone 5 (red):  New Road by Sport


Picking Up Students

The school gates will be closed as usual before the end of the school day.  Parents / Carers must arrange to pick up their children off-site.  To limit the amount of students leaving the site at the same time, we will stagger the dismissal times.

Zone 1 (pink): Usual finish time

Zone 2 (green): 4 minutes after the usual finish time

Zone 3 (yellow): Usual finish time

Zone 4 (blue): 4 minutes after the usual finish time

Zone 5 (red): Usual finish time


Students will wear full school uniform as per our uniform policy.

Black non-marking trainers may be worn in place of school shoes until further notice. 

PE Kit is not required for the first half term as all PE practical lessons will not involve strenuous physical activity or the need to change. There will be no changing facilities available.



In order to limit the sharing of resources, it is essential that students are equipped with their own pen, pencil, ruler and reading book every day.  Students will also need their own headphones.  

Students will be provided with an exercise book for each subject.  Students may wish to bring in other stationery (such as coloured pencils) for their own use.  

Any sharing of learning resources, such as textbooks, will be limited to ‘bubbles’ and will be sanitised after use.  

Students will be able to access library books using an online booking system; returned books will then be quarantined before being made available to other students.


Classroom Layout

All unnecessary furniture and equipment have been removed from classrooms in order to maximise space between desks.

Student desks will be positioned so that all students face the teacher at the front of the classroom.  The boundary around the teacher’s desk and teaching area will indicate the recommended distance of 2m between teacher and students.  

Windows will be open in classrooms to improve ventilation. 

In PE, outdoor sports will be prioritised as far as possible and large indoor spaces will be used where this is not.


Extra-Curricular Activities

There will be no after school extra-curricular activities.  Any lunch time extra-curricular activities will be year group specific and take place in the appropriate zone.  Information will be provided to the students in due course.



Our free breakfast will be suspended for the first term.  Parents are encouraged to ensure that their child has an adequate breakfast before leaving home.

The canteen will operate a pre-order and delivery service.

A new system will be installed over the summer.  The system works in the following way:

  1. Students and staff can login online anywhere with their email address and password.

  2. They can view their balance and select the menu pre-order option.

  3. They will be presented with all menu items including hot, cold, drinks, snacks with various prices per item.

  4. They can select by day, days or a full week and their balance will be debited immediately. 

  5. All orders placed will be sent as a global report to the kitchen.

  6. The kitchen will print off a label corresponding to each order with year group, name and the order which they can apply to the produced order.

  7. Orders will then be delivered to each year group bubble.

  8. Students can simply collect their order from their allocated location.  This map shows the location of the collection points.

Toilets and Drinking Water

Following the advice of Public Health England, we are focusing some of our increased hygiene practices around toilets, which need, for obvious reasons, to be kept extremely clean. 

Consequently, we are expecting students to manage the day so that they do not have to go to the toilet during lessons unless it is an absolute emergency. 

At break and lunch only one student is allowed in a toilet at a time. 

Drinking water fountains have been turned off as they are a potential site for spreading the virus. 

If your child wants to drink water during the school day, they must bring their own full drinking bottle with enough water to last for the day.



All visitors and members of the school community will be reminded of the importance of good hand and respiratory hygiene. Students will be taught how to wash their hands effectively and will be required to wash or sanitise their hands upon arrival to school, after sneezing or coughing, before and after handling food and after using the toilet.  

Extra hand washing facilities will be provided (see map) and hand sanitiser will be available in each classroom.  

As part of the ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ approach we will provide tissues and lidded bins in each classroom.  We will educate students on how to safely use and dispose of / store a face covering as these are required for all travel on public transport.



The school has undergone a thorough deep clean.  We have employed more cleaners and we have increased the number available throughout the school day.

An enhanced level of cleaning will be maintained, with high traffic areas and surfaces that are frequently touched by many people being cleaned routinely throughout the day.  Communal areas, including the canteen and toilets, will be cleaned frequently.

The classrooms in each zone will be thoroughly cleaned after ‘bubbles’ have used them.  All equipment and resources, including IT equipment, will be cleaned regularly; resources that are shared between ‘bubbles’ will be cleaned before another ‘bubble’ uses them.  

Bins will be emptied regularly and waste disposed of safely.


First Aid and medicine

First aid will continue to be administered by a trained first aider. When administering first aid, PPE will be worn if necessary. 

We will continue to administer medicine in line with our policy. If your child requires medication, please ensure you have informed us and have the medication required.


Fire Regulations

Students will leave the building through the nearest Fire Exit and gather at their allocated Fire Assembly Point (see this map).  These are:

Year 7 - Court 1

Year 8 - New Car Park

Year 9 - New Car Park

Year 10 - Court 2

Year 11 - Court 2

Students must ensure they make the way to their Fire Assembly Point promptly, then maintain social distancing and remain in their ‘bubble’.


Visitors to school

Access for parents and visitors to the school site restricted to essential purposes. Admission by prior appointment only.

Parents/visitors to the school will read signs in reception regarding good hygiene and be informed of site rules.

A log will be kept of areas visited and people they have been in contact with.



Year 7 students will have access to lockers which will be situated in the canteen.  

There will be no student lockers available for Year 8 - Year 11 due to the zoning of the site.


Vulnerable and extremely vulnerable

Individuals who were considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable and received a letter advising them to shield are now advised that they can return to work from 1 August as long as they maintain social distancing. Advice for those who are extremely clinically vulnerable can be found in the guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19.

People who live with those who are clinically extremely vulnerable or clinically vulnerable can attend the workplace.

This guidance also applies to students.


Symptoms of Covid 19 Procedures

The main symptoms of Covid-19 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 

To help us keep the school safe and open, please do not send your child into school if they are feeling ill and especially if they have even just one of the symptoms listed above. 

If students are poorly and show any of these symptoms, we will contact their parents to come into school to collect them from our Covid-19 isolation room. 

If in any doubt, please look after your child at home. Students who show any of the main symptoms of Covid-19 must be tested for the virus. 

Details of how to be tested can be found here. Students who are symptomatic will not be allowed back into school until they have been tested for Covid-19 and school has been able to verify the result of the test.


Contingency Plans

We have a Distance Learning Protocol in place (click here to view the protocol), in the case of an individual or ‘bubble’ isolating or in the event of a whole school closure.  

Departments have agreed an approach for the delivery of the curriculum using the style most appropriate for their subject.  

Instructions for lessons will be shared with students and parents on ePraise and lesson resources will be made available using Microsoft Teams.  

In the event of school closure or a period of isolation, students will be required to continue their learning at home and follow their timetable as far as possible.  

We have invested in laptops to support the Distance Learning of students should this be required.