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rapidly transitioned to new structures, so they can continue providing essential pastoral support to students. Staff now switch routinely from being unmasked in their designated


teaching zones, (situated two metres from students), to wearing masks when supporting students individually. Fortunately, as summer arrives, the copious amounts of ventilation required in classrooms no longer demands the same steely resolve as chillier classrooms did in December. Exams have continued, not least to support the evidence required for Teacher Assessed Grades. T e Sports Department have adapted PE and Games lessons to allow the Sports Hall to become an exam centre and with eff ective social distancing in place, students have not had to wear masks in their all-important exams. Be it keeping marquees warm in December, or the rapid deep clean of classrooms following a suspected COVID case, or the enhanced cleaning regimes - the Estates and Housekeeping teams have simply been amazing in keeping us COVID safe.


What has been completely new? Implementing self-isolation rules has been key. Simple systems so parents can notify the school promptly of a positive COVID case have allowed the school to respond rapidly. By tracing student interactions to identify potential close contacts and then contacting parents, sometimes even overnight, to ask that children self-isolate at home, the School has been able to respond quickly to reduce transmission risk. T e support of our parents and students has been outstanding, especially as every student self-isolation brings second-order consequences for families. Without doubt, organising mass testing on site presented a


signifi cant challenge. How to test over 600 students and 200 staff safely and efficiently, three times, over a period of two weeks,


without impacting on teaching. Suffi ce it to say it was remarkable team eff ort, the Estates team transforming our chapel into a testing centre, the Medical and Administration teams running an incredibly eff ective testing system, with a raft of additional staff supporting the testing eff ort. What was most notable was the time staff spent undertaking additional roles to help out; training staff, briefing and guiding students, processing tests, recording results and so much more. Parents were once again fundamental to success, by kindly bringing students into school for Test 1 before the offi cial return, we were able to maximise student return on March 8.


So what have we learned? T e devil is still in the detail, either in understanding offi cial guidance or working through plans to cover second-order eff ects. Stay fl exible - every plan this year has been amended and adjusted countless times to arrive at the best solution. Be collaborative – COVID has shown that no one has all the answers, everyone can add value in arriving at a plan that the whole team has confi dence in. And lastly, try to maintain clear and open communications with key stakeholders - no one expects all the answers, but they do like to know ‘Why?’ whenever possible.


Find out more about Wellingborough School at www.wellingboroughschool.org


ALL THINGS BUSINESS


27


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