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Principal’s Update – 28/05/2020

Posted: 28 May 2020

Dear parents and carers,

On 24 May the Prime Minister outlined the phased return of some pupils to schools, subject to the government’s 5 tests being met. From the week commencing 15th June the government is asking secondary schools to offer face-to-face teaching to supplement the remote education of year 10 and year 12 pupils. The ambition is that remote learning should remain the predominant mode of education during this term for pupils in these year groups and others.

The government’s assessment, based on the latest scientific and medical advice, is that schools need to continue to control the numbers attending school to reduce the risk of increasing transmission of coronavirus. Therefore, schools are only able to have up to a quarter of the year 10 and year 12 cohort in school at any one time. Because of this, it will not be possible to guarantee that pupils will be taught by their current teachers. 

Full expectations are given in the DfE guidance:


Tavistock College will be adhering to the expectations for secondary schools. This decision is based on our guiding principle that we are all committed to pupils returning to school as quickly as is possible, whilst ensuring that all health and safety considerations have been taken into consideration and acted upon.  

In addition to bringing Y10 and Y12 into school, we will continue providing full-time provision for vulnerable pupils in all year groups (including year 10 and year 12); continue providing full-time provision for children of critical workers in all year groups (including year 10 and year 12); continue to use best endeavours to support all other pupils remaining at home, making use of the available remote education support and ensuring a high quality offer.

We will have comprehensive risk assessments in place which will minimise the risk for our staff and pupils. Parents, carers and pupils should be aware that, in order for us to maintain our strict 2 metre social distancing requirements, the school will be a very different place from how it was when pupils left at the commencement of lock down. Changes that have been implemented are described in the DfE guidance on implementing protective measures in educational settings. 

Steps we will be following will create an inherently safer environment, where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. These include:

  • Minimising contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that pupils or staff who have coronavirus symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school
  • Cleaning hands more often than usual – pupils and staff will be encouraged to regularly wash their hands, or use alcohol hand rub or sanitiser which will be available in every classroom.
  • Ensuring good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach
  • Cleaning frequently touched surfaces twice a day
  • Staggering break times and starting times so pupils do not mix. 
  • Minimising contact and mixing, as far as possible, by keeping pupils in small groups of 5 for face-to-face teaching and keeping those groups as consistent as possible whilst in school especially in break times (no socialising with friends, leaving their seat or contact with others)
  • Altering the school environment (e.g. changing classroom layouts so desks are further apart or dividing groups into different classrooms)
  • Preventing unauthorised pupils from entering the school grounds unless for agreed contact time or attendance as above.
  • Operating a rota system for pupils to attend. 
  • Adjusting our behaviour policy to provide greater sanctions to pupils who do not comply with expectations.


Thank you to those of you who have completed the survey indicating that you would like to send your children back to school. This has helped considerably with our planning. If you have changed your mind regarding sending your son/daughter to school, please let us know. 

Further information will be sent closer to 15th June. In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding anything I have included here, please feel free to contact us through office@tavistockcollege.org

Best wishes


Sarah Jones


Principal’s Update – 14/05/2020

Posted: 14 May 2020

Dear Parents/Carers,​

The Prime Minister announced on Sunday that schools would begin to open from June 1st. On Monday, the DfE provided the following guidance;​

‘From 1 June 2020, we expect that secondary schools and colleges will be able to offer some face to face contact with year 10 and year 12 pupils. This will not be a return to full timetables or pupils back in school or college full time, rather some support to supplement pupils’ remote education.’

We are receiving updates from the DfE on a daily basis, and there is, in our opinion, a chance that things may change further as the DfE consults with Trade Unions, the Local Authorities and other organisations connected with the education sector.  If this is the case and timelines were to change then we would obviously keep you informed, but at the time of writing we are giving due consideration to the logistical requirements needed to be able to widen our provision from the 1st June, 2020.  

​As always, our priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and families. Therefore, we are working hard to formulate plans to ensure that the government’s guidelines can be implemented, without causing undue concern to our communities. Therefore, if you have a child in year 10 and or 12 you will be receiving a separate email containing a link to a survey that we ask you to complete as thoroughly as possible at this time. 

Following the results of this survey we will then be in a position to plan effectively what any potential provision may look like for those year groups which we will communicate with you fully. 

However, the provision will not be full time education. We will only be providing some face to face tuition. Strict social distancing rules will be applied to everyone attending the school site. Students will not be allowed to interact with others outside of their classroom. This could be with as little as 4 others, remaining in the same classroom for all lessons. Social times will be staggered and although food will be available, there will be no socializing in the refectory or public spaces. We will also inform you of the additional procedures we will be putting in place to minimise any potential risk to students, staff and families. 

Along with the face to face contact  for year 10 and year 12 students, we will continue to provide supervision for children of critical workers and those considered vulnerable, as well as providing home learning to all students. We will also continue to provide a free school meal parcel service.

​You and our students, will have many questions and we thank you in advance for your patience and understanding. We hope that our communication with you over the next two weeks should answer any questions you have, but as always, please let us know if you have any urgent concerns.​

Principal’s Update – 11/05/2020

Posted: 11 May 2020

Many families will have heard the Prime Minister’s address on Sunday 11th May in which he stated that:

“At the earliest by June 1 – after half term – we believe we may be in a position to begin the phased reopening of shops and to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6. Our ambition is that secondary pupils facing exams next year will get at least some time with their teachers before the holidays.”

Tavistock College will continue to offer places for vulnerable children and those of key workers, but we understand that many other parents will want to know more about when their children will return to school. Schools across the country will also have heard this news for the first time on Sunday and over the course of the next week or two, we will be reviewing the detailed guidance the government has said it will provide. We will then take any action required to open the school to the year groups identified in a safe way. When we are in a position to do so, we will provide information on the website and in other communications so that you  will know exactly when Tavistock College will be able to once again offer a place for your children.