Update from Balcarras 3.1.22

Important Message from Balcarras 

Dear Parents,

Happy New Year to you all. I hope you had a pleasant Christmas break.

I thought I should provide you with an update before the start of term tomorrow.


The Department for Education made the following announcement at the weekend:

From today, Sunday 2 January, it is recommended that face coverings are worn in classrooms where pupils in year 7 and above are educated. The advice is short term only, to support pupils and teachers as they return to school this term and builds on the existing proportionate guidance that recommends face coverings for all adults in communal areas of all settings. We are updating our guidance to reflect this. The advice on face coverings in classrooms will be in place until Wednesday 26 January, when Plan B regulations are currently scheduled to expire, at which point it will be reviewed.

So from Tuesday 4th January we will require students to wear facemasks except when they are outside or eating in the canteen. 

Testing on Tuesday 4th January

As you will be aware we have been asked by the DfE to conduct lateral flow testing for all students on their return after the Christmas holidays. All pupils for whom parents gave consent in September will be doing a Lateral Flow Test with their Tutor during period 1 tomorrow (Tuesday). They will bring home a card and we would be very grateful if you could register their result within 24 hours of the test. If your child has a positive result the school will contact you to collect them, and you will need to arrange a PCR test. Please can pupils continue to test at home twice weekly. Lateral Flow Tests are available at school for your child to take home.

The DfE guidance includes the following advice which you should be aware of:

Even if someone has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days, they are strongly encouraged to take part in LFD testing on-site through ATS or at home once they have completed their isolation period for their prior infection.

Self-Isolation period for those who test positive for COVID 19

The DfE have issued the following guidance on self-isolation for those who test positive for COVID:

Since Wednesday 22 December, the 10 day self-isolation period for people who record a positive PCR test result for COVID-19 has been reduced to 7 days in most circumstances, unless you cannot test for any reason.

Individuals may now take LFD tests on day 6 and day 7 of their self-isolation period. Those who receive two negative test results are no longer required to complete 10 full days of self-isolation. The first test must be taken no earlier than day 6 of the self-isolation period and tests must be taken 24 hours apart. This also applies to children under 5, with LFD testing at parental or guardian discretion. If both these test results are negative, and you do not have a high temperature, you may end your self-isolation after the second negative test result and return to your education setting from day 8.

Daily Testing for those with close contacts of COVID 19

The DfE have issued the following guidance about what to do if your child is a confirmed contact of someone with COVID 19. 

People who are fully vaccinated, or children and young people aged between 5 and 18 years and 6 months, identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, should take an LFD test every day for seven days and continue to attend their setting as normal, unless they have a positive test result or develop symptoms at any time.

COVID related absence

If your child is absent due to COVID but is well enough to do work, then we would like them to join live Teams lessons or access work on the VLE. Their teacher will decide which is the most appropriate method to provide work and this will depend upon what they are covering in the curriculum.

Year 13 Mock Examinations

The Year 13 Mock Examinations will go ahead as planned. Any exams missed due to illness / isolation will be rescheduled for the week beginning 17th Jan, and with alternate papers to protect integrity of the results in the event that they need to be used as evidence for Centre Assessed Grades. 

Year 12 Parents Evening

The Year 12 Parents Evening scheduled for Thursday 6th January will go ahead but will be on-line using the School Cloud system. The Sixth Form team will email parents separately with the details.

Extra-Curricular Clubs 

Extra-curricular clubs will run as normal. 


That is it for now. We will issue updates if the need arises.

We look forward to welcoming the students back into school tomorrow.

Kind Regards

Dominic Burke

Monday 3rd January 2022

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