Cllr Anntoinette Bramble welcomes Hackney students back to school for Autumn term
Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Education, Young People and Children’s Social Care, writes as Hackney students start returning to school for the Autumn term:
I want to wish all of our students who are returning back to school this week, and in the coming weeks, the very best for the new Autumn term.
The last academic year was another challenging one due to the coronavirus pandemic, but I am proud of how our staff, students and their families equipped themselves in the face of unprecedented challenges.
It was great to see so many of our students enjoying themselves over the holidays at Young Hackney or other summer events, or reuniting with their peers on GCSE and A-level results days, but we are now looking ahead to the new academic year.
I wanted to remind students, staff , parents and carers of a number of key changes relating to Covid-19 restrictions as we enter a new term:
- Schools no longer trace close contacts of Covid-19; except in exceptional circumstances. This is undertaken by NHS Test and Trace.
- The use of “bubbles” is no longer recommended and pupils will be able to mix more freely. Assemblies, all school trips, drama, music and sporting activity will be able to resume as normal.
- Children under the age of 18 years and 6 months old who are direct contacts of positive Covid-19 cases will no longer be required to self-isolate.
- Face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff and visitors either in classrooms or in communal areas.
- The Director of Public Health, Dr Sandra Husbands, may advise a setting to temporarily reintroduce some controls where required.
There is further information on managing local outbreaks of COVID-19 in education and childcare settings here, while schools must have control systems in place to:
- Ensure there is a good hygiene for everyone
- Maintain appropriate cleaning regimes
- Keep occupied spaces well ventilated - risk assessments should identify any poorly ventilated spaces and steps should be taken to improve fresh air flow
- Follow public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Staff and secondary aged students are encouraged to continue undertaking regular (twice weekly) lateral flow tests at home until the end of September when this will be reviewed. Furthermore secondary aged students are asked to undertake two on-site lateral flow tests on returning. Most secondary schools have taken up the proposal to stagger the return to school this month to allow time to test all returning students on the school site. All pupils will be back in school full time by the end of the first full week of term (10 September), with most returning by 8 September.
We continue to ask all schools and settings to notify Hackney Education as soon as they are alerted of a child or staff member testing positive for Covid-19. This information will be used by Hackney Education and Public Health to support schools and settings and to implement local measures where required.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination & Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended vaccination for the following groups of children and young people:
- 12-15 year olds with specific vulnerabilities
- Those aged 12 years and over who live with individuals who are immunosuppressed
- 16-17 year olds at increased risk of severe infection.
The Government may decide to extend this offer in the coming days.
Once again, I want to wish students, parents, carers and staff all the best for the autumn term and the academic year ahead. It has been an incredibly challenging 18 months for Hackney’s schools, but together you can continue to make the borough proud.
Cllr Anntoinette Bramble
Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Education, Young People and Children’s Social Care