The COVID-19 pandemic poses serious challenges and this is an continuously unclear and daunting time for us all. By working together and providing you with as much up-to-date information as we can, as a school community, we want to support our parents and carers to help their child(ren) to engage in learning outside school and to manage their return to the classroom.
On this page you’ll find links to letters we’ve sent home over the past year, advice from the government and details about how we plan to welcome your child(ren) back into school as well as any other appropriate advice, resources and useful links.
This page is updated regularly with new information, so please keep checking back. There is also a link to this page from the school information tab on the school app.
Update to Risk Assessment
Our school Risk Assessment has been updated for:
Confirmatory PCR tests following a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test result are to be temporarily suspended from Tuesday 11 January. This will mean that anyone who receives a positive LFD test result will be required to self-isolate immediately and will not be required to take a confirmatory PCR test.
Face covering advice has been reintroduced
The DfE is advising that staff, adult visitors and pupils in Year 7 and above should wear face coverings in communal areas and when moving around the premises inside, unless they are exempt.
From 2 January, it is recommended that face coverings are worn in classrooms where pupils in Year 7 and above are being educated. Teachers are not expected to wear face coverings if they are at the front of the class, to support education delivery. Schools should, however, consider the needs of individual teachers. The government has said this is only short-term advice and will be in place until 26 January when Plan B regulations are currently scheduled to expire, at which point the advice will be reviewed.
Face coverings should also be worn by pupils in Year 7 on dedicated school transport. It is also mandatory for face coverings to be worn by people aged 11 and over on public transport, unless they are otherwise exempt – fines will be given to people who fail to wear face coverings on public transport.
The self-isolation period for people with coronavirus has been cut from 10 to 7 days if they have a negative test
Since 22 December 2021, individuals who have tested positive for coronavirus have been able to end self-isolation after 7 days instead of 10 days if they have negative LFD test results on days 6 and 7. This applies to all people regardless of their age or vaccination status.
The two LFD tests need to be taken 24 hours apart and the first test should not be taken before the sixth day.
People should only end their self-isolation period before 10 days if both tests are negative and they do not have a high temperature. People who end their self-isolation before 10 days are still advised to remain cautious, limiting contact with vulnerable people, not visiting crowded or poorly ventilated spaces, and working from home. In education settings, if the conditions for ending self-isolation early are met, an individual may return to their setting from day 8.
Update to Coronavirus Risk Assessment
Our school Risk Assessment has been updated for:
End of Autumn Term letter to all parents/carers from Mrs Twist - arrangements for last day and testing for the first days back in January
As we come to the end of the school term we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support at this challenging time. It seems that every day there is a new concern and changes to restrictions that have implications for our young people and our community, however this term we have tried to ensure that our students not only get on with their learning but that they get opportunities for extra-curricular activities and celebrations.
Important letter to all parents/carers from Mrs Twist - update about new measures
Due to the introduction of new temporary measures being put in place, as a result of the Omicron variant, Mrs Twist has written to all parents and carers to let them know the most up to date information.
The Prime Minister announced on 27 November the temporary introduction of new measures as a result of the Omicron variant. These measures are precautionary, while the variant is tracked and assessed. As a result, the DfE has issued guidance for schools, most directly a temporary recommendation on the wearing of face coverings in schools and changes to isolation requirements for confirmed and suspected cases of the Omicron variant and their contacts. This advice remains subject to change as the situation develops.
Letter from St Helens School-Age Immunisation Team - Vaccinations for 12-15 year olds
An update from St Helens School-Age Immunisation Team about the COVID-19 vaccination programme being provided to children and how to book a vaccination if your child is eligible.
Importance of testing and updated consent
A letter to all parents of children at St Cuthbert’s asking them to regularly encourage their children to test and to report each result.
End of Autumn Half-term letter to all parents and carers
At the end of a very busy first half term, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our community for all for their support in helping us ensure that our young people have enjoyed a full school learning experience, amidst the continuing national COVID situation.
Vaccination Consent Letter
A letter sent to all parents and carers regarding consent for the Covid-19 Vaccination roll out for students.
Important Letter to all parents and carers
An important letter from Mrs Twist regarding the increase number of positive LFT cases.
Letter to all parents/carers from the Local Authority
A letter from the Local Authority regarding the start of term and Covid-19.
Advice from St Helens Borough Council regarding local COVID measures
The Government has announced that the whole of the Liverpool City Region, including St Helens, is to be designated as an Enhanced Response Area (ERA). This is because COVID-19 cases are increasing and doubling weekly, and we know that this is linked to the Delta variant which is easier to spread with a 64% increased risk of household transmission and is 40% more transmissible outdoors compared to previous strains.
The importance of testing and reporting in schools and colleges
Testing continues to play a crucial role, in and out of classrooms, in our fight against COVID-19. Staff should continue to test themselves and report results whilst encouraging secondary school and college students to do likewise. Reporting test results can be done simply and quickly, from mobiles, online or by phone, and should be completed straightaway. Reporting not only supports contact tracing in the event of a positive case but also assists our understanding of community rates of infection.
Letter from Mrs Twist regarding face masks/coverings inside school building
In response to the Prime Minister's briefing on Monday, Mrs Twist has sent the following letter to parents/carers concerning the wearing of face masks/coverings inside the school buildings.
Letter from Secretary of State for Education
The Secretary of State for Education has written to children and young people today to recognise the impact of the disruption they have faced over the past year and to thank them for their resilience. He outlines his continued commitment to supporting children and young people to recover from the disruption now that they have returned to school and college. The letter also highlights the importance of coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and the vital role this plays in helping to prevent the virus spreading.
Arrangements from 29th March onwards
Please click here to view a letter from Mrs Twist regarding arrangements from the 29th March 2021.
Community Collect testing service for households and support bubbles of school children
From today, households of school children, members of support bubbles, childcare and those in related occupations can collect Covid-19 home testing kits from selected sites across St Helens Borough, subject to availability.
A step-by-step guide - How to report your results to school and the NHS
A step-by-step guide - Testing at home
Testing students at home
Students will be able to collect home test kits from their form tutors following their third test this week. We would like them to take their tests before school on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Update about return to school on 8th March
Upon return to school, from 8 March, all secondary aged students (year 7 and above) will be tested 3 times on site at the school testing site. The tests will be taken 3 to 5 days apart. Once students have had one negative test result they can return to school.
Return to school - 8th March
On 22nd February the Prime Minister announced that from 8 March, all children and students should return to school and college. All secondary students will be offered testing from 8 March, and those who consent to testing should return to face-to-face education following their first negative test result. Students are strongly urged to engage with the testing arrangements. However, if you or your child (if they are aged over 18) do not consent, they will not be stopped from going back and will return in line with school's arrangements.
Testing in schools
The government is delivering a programme of rapid asymptomatic testing from the start of January for children and young people in year 7 and above (or equivalent) in secondary schools, FE colleges, special schools and specialist colleges, AP academies, PRUs and registered independent AP.
The objectives of this programme are to:
All these settings will receive an initial delivery of lateral flow device test kits to support asymptomatic testing from the start of the spring term.
Rapidly identifying and containing any asymptomatic cases, which comprise up to a third of all cases, will help avoid individuals carrying the infection unknowingly spreading it. This is all the more so in the settings covered by this guidance, where education often involves close proximity between children or young people and staff and social distancing can be harder to observe.
Testing is voluntary and no child or young person will be tested unless informed consent has been given by the appropriate person.
No one will be prevented from receiving face-to-face education if for any reason they are not tested.
Testing is similarly voluntary for members of staff.
School will remain open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until 8 of March at the earliest. Details of Lockdown Learning can be found here.
Updated guidance for parents and carers
The DfE have updated the guidance for parents and carers on what they need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This update provides information on the national restrictions that came into force on 5 November, the latest advice for clinically extremely vulnerable children and young people and advice on the use of face coverings in education settings. This guidance can be shared with your parent networks.
Education in the media blog: Exams 2021
On Monday 12 October the Department for Education confirmed that exams will go ahead next year. Most AS/A level and GCSE exams will be delayed by three weeks to give pupils more time to catch up on their learning.
Update from Mrs Twist to all parents/carers
We would like to reassure you that our reconnect plans for our Year Group bubbles will continue unchanged. We will give advance notice if and when we deem it appropriate and safe to make any changes. Thank you for your continued support in ensuring the safety of all our school community.
Please also be advised that we have received the following message from The Department for Education to share and circulate to all parents/carers:
|Letter for parents about COVID-19 symptoms
Public Health England have produced a letter for schools to distribute to parents which explains when a person requires a coronavirus test and what the symptoms of coronavirus are.
The intention of the letter is to help prevent children being taken out of school unnecessarily and answer some of the questions parents may have around testing.
The NHS COVID-19 app is launching 24 September
The free NHS COVID-19 app is a vital part of the NHS Test and Trace service in England, and the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service. It will be available to download on Thursday 24 September.
Click on the image below to view the Introductory Booklet for full details of how to download the App:
Back to School Website from St Helens Borough Council
Check out the newly created "Back to School" website by St Helens Borough Council. This is a new website for parents, carers and their children and is part of the ‘All in’ attendance strategy. The site contains the latest government guidance for parents, some videos relating to top tips and will be added to as new documents are developed.
We have studied the Government guidance meticulously and taken all appropriate advice to ensure that we can have the students back in September whilst maintaining the safety of all students, staff and families as much as possible. We have thoroughly reviewed our Health and Safety risk assessment and have drawn up plans for the autumn term. Please note that these plans could change if circumstances change and that they will be constantly reviewed and updated as the term progresses.
Please note that this phase is a replication of the Y10 face-to-face events, which took place at the start of June and worked exceptionally well so we feel confident that with everyone’s cooperation it will work for the whole school.
Year 7 and Year 11 will return to school on Monday 7th September and the remaining years 8-10 on Tuesday 8th September.
Each year group will have their own area of the school in which they will stay and they will also have their own entrance/exit point and specific toilets to use. Children will stay in their areas and staff will move to them. There will be a one-way system in each of the areas.
Break and lunch arrangements will be staggered so that no two year groups will mix. For the first few weeks, the food served will be from a limited menu and will be grab and go bags. There will also be food available to buy at break.
The highest of standards and responsibility will be expected from all students regarding the safety of everyone and any defiance of the safety procedures will not be tolerated.
All children will be expected to be in FULL school uniform. Chewing gum is most definitely banned and all other school rules will apply from day 1.
Unless there are exceptional circumstances children should arrive at school no earlier than 8:15am and no later than 8:30am.
All staff and students will have a temperature check on entry and will be expected to adhere to appropriate social distancing and hand washing procedures.
Each year group will have specialist teachers for their core subjects and then blended learning for foundation/option subjects. For KS4 there will be some face to face and an element of online learning both in school and at home. KS3 will have project based learning in foundations subjects. In addition to their academic subjects, all students will have appropriate pastoral support.
This first phase approach will enable us to get all students back in and routines in place that will ensure learning takes place in a safe environment. It is expected to remain in place for two weeks before being reviewed and will very much depend on the national and local COVID-19 pandemic situation.