Latest from the Head Master

LATEST UPDATE: Friday 27 August 2021

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope you have enjoyed a very happy summer and we are very much looking forward to the start of the academic year and to the return of all our pupils. It is an exciting time and it has been lovely to welcome the first cohort of pupils back who had made arrangements to stay with us prior to the start of term. 

What follows are important details about practical arrangements for the start of the new academic year:

1. Information on COVID testing
This includes arrangements for all pupils and our request that all parents bringing children into school for their first day of term take a Lateral Flow Test and only attend if a negative result is returned.

2. General information about the school routine
We look forward to a return to life as near normal as possible – but within that will also maintain key mitigations to ensure the wellbeing and safety of all in the community; the details explain the general pattern as well as information about vaccination for pupils.

Testing
Please note below some important details about supervised Lateral Flow Testing (in line with Government requirements and for the reassurance of all) before our pupils re-join their House communities. This will have a minor impact on times of return – but we hope to manage this with minimum disruption to the start of term programme and to ensure maximum safety and sense of security for all.

All parents bringing their children in for the start of the school year
We ask that all parents bringing children in to school for the first day of term and meeting with other families and members of staff take a Lateral Flow Test before coming into school and only attend if a negative result is returned.

Returning/Joining pupils
We will conduct supervised Lateral Flow Tests for all pupils in the Sports Hall at the following times. We ask parents and guardians to drive first to the Sports Hall carpark on arrival and wait there whilst tests are conducted; this should take around 20 minutes. In the event of a positive test, your child will need to return home to self-isolate for a 10-day period. A negative test result means that you and they can make your way to their House and they can be welcomed for the start of the year.

Timings for Testing:

Wednesday 1 September
All Third and new Fourth Form Pupils and assisting House Captain and Prefects

16.00 – 17.15 Pre-return supervised LFT in the Sports Hall. Please seek to arrive within the following times so we can stagger testing by Houses:
16.00 – 16.30 Second’s, School, Field’s, Manor
16.30 – 17.00 Gibbs’, Teme, Handford, Sankey’s
17.00 – 17.15 Head’s and Saints’
17.30 Welcome and meeting in Houses (in home clothes)
18.15 Welcome by the Head Master and Chapel Service – Chapel
19.00 Supper for Third and new Fourth pupils in the Dining Hall; reception and buffet supper for their parents (in House groups) in Great School and Neptunus 2

Thursday 2 September
All Lower Sixth Form Pupils and new Fifth Form pupils

10.30 – 12.00 Pre-return supervised LFT in the Sports Hall. Please seek to arrive at the following times so we can stagger testing by Houses:
10.30 – 11.00 Second’s, School, Field’s, Manor
11.00 – 11.30 Gibbs’, Teme, Handford
11.30 – 11.45 Head’s, Sankey’s and Saints’
12.00 Welcome and meeting in Houses
12.30 Lower Sixth and new Fifth Form pupils (in school uniform) to meet with the Head Master in Chapel and parents to meet with HMMs and tutors in Houses
13.00 Lunch for Lower Sixth and new Fifth Form in the Dining Hall; reception and buffet lunch for parents (in House groups) in Great School and Neptunus 2

Thursday 2 September
Returning Fourth, Fifth and Upper Sixth Boarders

18.00 – 20.00 Supervised LFTs for Fourth, Fifth and Upper Sixth Form boarders prior to returning to Houses (by 20.45)

Friday 3 September
Returning Fourth, Fifth and Upper Sixth Day Pupils

07.15 – 08.15 Supervised LFTs for Fourth, Fifth and Upper Sixth Day pupils
08.30 Call-over in Houses for all pupils, followed by House meetings
09.00 Head Master’s Assembly – Chapel
Those pupils returning to school via airports are welcome to join the cohort of their year group for LFTs but will have had a recent negative PCR test so are able to return directly to Houses on arrival.

The start of the school year
The school is full; our pupils’ examination results at GCSE and A Level were a testimony to their hard work and the expert guidance of their teachers and this is a hugely exciting time. We look forward to a return to life as near normal as possible – but within that will also maintain key mitigations to ensure the wellbeing and safety of all in the community; the first few weeks of term will be ones of some caution as pupils and staff return. To that end:

• We will ask that pupils wear face coverings when making their way to and from lessons and queuing for meals – and in whole-school or large-group gatherings. We will provide a Lancing College mask for all – but please ensure that your child has a supply of their own face coverings to supplement this.
• We will require those travelling on school transport to wear face coverings for the duration of the journey.
• We will maintain a rigorous cleaning programme at the start and close of lessons and in Houses and emphasise the importance of hand and respiratory hygiene.
• We will enable occasional overnight stays for day pupils from the start of the academic year – where space permits and by prior arrangement in good time with HMMs.
• For the first three weeks of term we will not permit visiting between Houses or access by boarders offside at weekends (eg to Brighton or Shoreham) – but we are very happy to support the invitation home of boarders by friends and indeed a return home over the weekend.
• We will enable those overseas boarders who cannot go to guardians to be resident over the Exeat Weekend (25-26 September), whilst strongly recommending that pupils seek to stay with guardians or friends over this period. The opening weeks of term are very full and an Exeat is designed to give a break and a pause for all.
• We will do a further supervised testing session for all pupils in the first week of term and then provide Lateral Flow Tests to be taken at home or in school twice-weekly for all pupils until the close of September (as the Government requires).

In essence, in the early weeks we will exercise some caution as the term gets underway, whilst seeking to make this as full, rich, exciting and communal an experience for our pupils as possible.