Our weekly message (16 October 2020)

Friday 16 October 2020

This week’s message includes reference to the Health and Safety Executive and to coronavirus contacts. (There’s no connection whatsoever between these articles and the last feature, which is about ghastly ghouls and beastly bugs!) Most  importantly, though, we start the message with a reminder about an important Sphere Federation survey…

Relationships and Sex Education

A chance to tell us your views about an important policy update…

From September 2020, Relationships Education and Health Education are now statutory and form part of the National Curriculum. As a result of the changes, we’ve updated our Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) policy and we’re now consulting with parents, staff and governors. Your views are important to us. We welcome your feedback on the policy via this short survey. The survey will be open until Friday 23 October.

To help you understand the requirements further, we’ve emailed you with additional information, including the draft policy itself. Contact us if you haven’t received this. In addition, you might like to look at the following websites:

Looking after our children, looking after our staff

We’re confident in our Sphere schools that we’ve done everything we reasonably can to make sure they’re happy, healthy and safe places to learn

Since schools opened in September for the new school year, representatives from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have been contacting schools to check on procedures in place to make sure schools have taken enough precautions to safeguard children and staff in the context of coronavirus. None of the Sphere Federation schools were contacted. However, from a wider perspective, it’s reassuring to note that it’s been reported that the HSE has been highly impressed with the work schools have done.

People have told us that Track and Trace staff have sometimes been sending out mixed messages, and sometimes the messages don’t match the advice schools have been given. When in doubt, we’ve been able to contact a Department for Education helpline. The advice we’ve been given on the helpline has been helpful. They advise we follow closely our own risk assessments.

Employers must protect people from harm. This includes taking reasonable steps to protect staff, pupils and others from coronavirus (COVID-19) within the education setting.

Department for Education, 01.10.20

We want our schools to be happy, healthy and safe places to work, too…

We’re doing our best to look after our staff, too. All staff had the opportunity to have flu jab recently, and they’ve all got access to the Employee Assistance Programme, a service that provides a variety of support for education staff. These aren’t new things we’re doing because of the pandemic – we’ve provided them for a few years now.

What’s counts as a contact?

Someone from Public Health England has communicated with us recently, and we thought some of the information about contacts which they sent to us might be useful for you to know about…

A ‘contact’ is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 any time from two days before the person was symptomatic up to ten days from the onset of symptoms. This period is when they are infectious to others. For example, a contact can be:

Beastly bugs and ghastly ghouls

Any plans for half-term? Perhaps a trip to Temple Newsam House is in order…


Beastly bugs have discovered 5 star accommodation at Temple Newsam House. They’ve booked their staycation for Halloween week when the ghastly ghouls from years gone by pay their annual visit. Meet past residents and hear ghostly tales as you explore this 500 year old building. Follow the bug trail around the house, spot the miniature bug rooms and pick up your own Beastly Bug Craft pack to take home.

Visit between 11am to 4pm from Saturday 24 October to Friday 30 October (and be aware the house is closed on Monday 26 October). Pre-book your tickets to avoid disappointment. 

Following lockdown, Temple Newsam House has been open to the public for a few weeks now. They’ve had great feedback on the Covid precautions that they’ve put in place.