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Reopening School Information


Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope you are all well and making the most of the Summer despite these worrying times. I would like to thank you again for all the help you have given us during the lockdown, whether it was helping with home-schooling or the messages of support we received.

We have spent a considerable amount of time studying the guidance that has been published by the authorities and trying to construct a way to reopen our school in a safe and secure manner that will give you confidence. Remote learning had many benefits but we feel that it does not replicate face to face teaching. With this in mind we are aiming to reopen St Joseph’s 5 days a week, with all pupils in attendance.

We are hoping that the school day will take the following form:

Key Stage 3 (Years 8-10)

Pupils will remain in “protective bubbles”. This means they will be staying with their form class, in one room, for the whole school day. In Key Stage 3 pupils will not be travelling around the school. Teachers will be travelling to the pupils. For this reason, pupils will not have practical lessons (apart from PE which can take place outdoors). In the protective bubbles there will be reduced social distancing as the guidance has suggested. These bubbles will reduce the interactions between groups until further easing of measures is possible based on the public health situation. The rooms that the Key Stage 3 pupils occupy will be in the same block of the school. These pupils will be returning to school following the normal staggered start (one year group per day during the week beginning the 24th of August). All Key Stage 3 pupils will be returning to a full timetable on the 1st of September.

Key Stage 4 (Years 11-12)

Key Stage 4 pupils are not permitted to be in “protective bubbles” as the guidance has made clear. These pupils will be adhering to normal social distancing guidelines. They will be moving from class to class and taking part in practical lessons so that GCSE courses can be completed. Key Stage 4 pupils will be returning to a full timetable on the 24th of August. This is so that Year 12 pupils can begin to make up for lost contact time during lockdown and so that Year 11 pupils can get acquainted with their GCSE courses. These year groups will be returning to school full-time on the 24th of August.

I understand that the return to education will not be easy and problems will arise. I know you will be patient with us as we develop this new way of teaching. I also know that this correspondence does not address many issues such as uniform, lunch arrangements, equipment etc. More detailed communication will follow after the 17th of August. However, I believe it is important that you are made aware of the form that we hope the new academic year will take.

I would also like to make you aware that these plans are based on the current guidance from the authorities. Should the guidance change in the coming weeks, so will the plans outlined above. If this is the case new information will be distributed as quickly as possible.

I hope you and your family make the most of the Summer and thank you for your patience and understanding.

Best wishes

Declan Murray

Principal

Contact

20 Armagh Road,
Newry,

County Down,
BT35 6DH

02830 262595

02830 264420

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