Principal’s Update – 28/05/2020

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

Best wishes


Sarah Jones