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56 Brixton Hill, London SW2 1QS

020 7738 6115

www.southbank-utc.co.uk

Coronavirus Updates

19th April 2021

 19th April 2021, 

Dear Parent, 

In recent days, Lambeth has experienced an outbreak of a new variant of Covid-19. This variant is known as the ‘South African’ variant. As a result, we have been instructed to offer a one off PCR surge testing to all staff and students at the UTC, along with all other schools in Lambeth. These tests are similar to the LFT tests however, they are analysed in a laboratory and offer a more accurate result. The tests will be self-administered under staff supervision, as per our previous round of testing on site in March. These tests are entirely by consent and we ask that parents of Key Stage 4 students complete the following form here. Students in Key Stage 5 will be able to consent on the day in person. Students and parents will be informed of a positive result by the school once the results are made available to us. Negative results will not be reported. 

We intend to test students on Thursday 22nd April during the school day. 

If you have any questions please contact my Vice Principal Rob Harding; rob.harding@southbank-utc.co.uk 

Yours Faithfully, 

Austin Sheppard 

Principal 

 12th March 2021, 

Dear Parent, 

It has been excellent to be able to welcome back so many of our young people into the building this week. It has been heartening to see them reconnect with their peers, teachers, and the building. 

The initial rounds of COVID testing have been phenomenally successful with operations running very smoothly. This testing has given the whole community increased confidence to start lessons. 

I have been particularly impressed with the mature attitude that all our students have shown to both testing and the COVID safety plan. It really is important that we remain vigilant to the risks and follow our plans, which includes: 

• Wearing masks in the building, including during lessons (*Not those who are medically exempt) 

• Following the one way system 

• Using hand sanitiser regularly form the dispensers that are positioned throughout the building 

• Dispersing quickly from the UTC at the end of the day 

• Remaining socially distanced (2m) where possible 

In addition, it is important to be aware of the symptoms of COVID-19 these remain: 

• An elevated temperature or fever 

• New persistent cough 

• Loss of sense of smell or taste 

Please do not come into the UTC if you are experiencing any of these and seek guidance via NHS 111. This link offers the latest information and advice. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/. Please report all absences to the UTC via 020 7738 6115. 

We will be starting to issue tests for students, who have consented, to complete when they are at home from Thursday 18th March. Students will have completed three tests on site and are well placed to complete tests independently moving forward. In the case that the test returns a positive result, please contact the school to inform us. The student should not attend the UTC until they have had a negative result from a testing centre PCR test or have completed 10 days of isolation. 

The UTC will be fully operational from Monday 15th March and beyond, with lessons beginning at 8:50am. All students should attend as normal, and all absences reported as normal. 

If you have any questions regarding the reopening or anything else, please do get in touch. 

Kind Regards, 

Austin Sheppard 

Principal 

 4th March 2021, 

Dear Parents, 

I am writing to you regarding the return to onsite provision for students at the UTC. As you know, our absolute priority remains keeping our students and community safe. Students and staff are to be offered three onsite tests during the first 2 weeks of their return, with tests scheduled to be between 3 and 5 days apart. These will be lateral flow tests that return a result in 30 minutes. The tests are self-administered with staff at the UTC on hand to provide guidance and support. These tests will provide a key line of defence against potential outbreaks of Covid and play a role in keeping the community safe. We ask that parents/students provide consent by completing the online form provided by text. Some will not wish to give consent to testing and those children should still attend school for all sessions as we complete important preparations for the start of term. 

Once three tests have been overseen on site we shall be moving to a system of testing at home, where by students are issued with a testing kit that they can then administer themselves at home. In the case of positive test at home, we ask the student to isolate and seek a further test. 

Whilst these tests offer additional safety we are, still asking that everyone remains vigilant to the symptoms and to remain isolated should you be experiencing any of: 

 The high temperature 

 A new persistent cough 

 A loss of taste or smell 

In this instance, you should seek support from the NHS on 111. 

We will be implement some key Covid safety measures within the building to ensure that our community remains safe. These include: 

 The wearing of a face covering inside the building (unless exempt). This will include during lessons. The two main exceptions will be, whilst eating and when outside of the building. 

 Students must bring their own face covering and may be denied entry to the building without. 

 The following of the one-way system. 

 The regular use of hand sanitiser. We now have the installed throughout the building to supplement those carried by students. 

 The bubbling of year groups during lunch. Year 12 will now have lunch from 1:20pm to 1:50pm in order to allow further space during lunchtime and outside access for this year group. 

 Teaching staff will be asked to wear a face covering when within close proximity to students. 

 Students are asked to vacate the building at the earliest opportunity after their lessons/Detentions are complete. This includes quickly dispersing from the area close to the UTC. 

We also ask that: 

 Students wear appropriate clothing in line with the school uniform policy, for students in key stage 4 this the issued polo shirts and for students in key stage 5, appropriate business wear, including collar and plain black trousers, skirts and footwear. 

 Students are to bring all their own equipment, including stationery, as the UTC cannot lend these. 

 Students consume all hot food purchased outside of the UTC, off-site. Food purchased in the canteen and cold packed lunch is the only food permissible on site. 

The plan for the return can be confirmed as:

Day  Year 10  Year 11  Year 12  Year 13 
Friday 5th March  World book day activities – remotely 
Monday 8th March  Remote learning  Test and Trace and Induction in UTC 9am to 11am  Remote learning  Test and Trace and Induction in UTC 1 pm to 3pm 
Tuesday 9th March  Test and Trace and Induction in UTC 9am to 11am  Remote learning  Test and Trace and Induction in UTC 1 pm to 3pm  Remote learning 
Wednesday 10th March  Remote learning  Remote learning  Remote learning  Remote learning 
Thursday 11th March  Remote learning  Test and Trace and lessons 8:50am to 3:50pm  Remote learning  Test and Trace and lessons 8:50am to 3:50pm (as per individual timetable) 
Friday 12th March  Test and Trace and lessons 8:50am to 3:50pm  Remote learning  Test and Trace and lessons 8:50am to 3:50pm (as per individual timetable)  Remote learning 
Monday 15th March  Lessons as normal 

This schedule allows for the safe and structured return of all students. 

We have updated the planned parents evening for this half term to: 

Year 11 Wednesday 17th March 4pm to 7pm (via telephone) 

Year 13 Wednesday 24th March 4pm to 7pm (via telephone) 

Staff will be reporting on student progress towards their data driven target grades and giving clear concise bullet points on how each student can improve. We will also be providing clarity on our planned end of year assessments and how they will look. These assessments will form a significant part of the centre assessed grades and should treated in the same way as the GCSE and A-level examinations had they gone ahead. We will be providing further clarifications of the process and in particular the processes for the award of BTEC qualifications. 

We will be putting together a full programme of support for students that includes Easter revision classes for students sitting their final examinations this summer. The dates of these sessions will be publish as soon as we are able. 

We very much look forward to seeing all our students back the UTC in the coming days as we return to a more normal way of working. 

Kind Regards 

Austin Sheppard 

Principal 

 23rd February 2021, 

Dear Parent/Carer, 

I hope you and the whole family are well? It has certainly been a testing few months since the start of 2021 and the third national lockdown. Firstly, I would like to thank you for your support in keeping the young people of the UTC learning during this time. It has taken a big effort from all the students and teachers to make sure that we have remained productive and focused on our goals and aspirations. The role of parents to has been a vital element of support throughout this process, thank you. 

As you will be aware, Boris Johnson has now announced that schools will be able to begin the process of reopening to all students from Monday 8th March. We are delighted to be able to start welcoming students back on site and take the first few steps of a return to normality. As you can imagine the return to school is going to take some significant readjustments for all involved hence, we are laying out the following timetable for our planned return: 

Friday 5th March – Staff INSET (students will be set work remotely via TEAMS to complete during this time) 

Monday 8th March – Year 11 and Year 13 induction day including first test and trace (Year 10 and 12 to work remotely) 

Tuesday 9th March – Year 10 and 12 induction day including first test and trace (Year 11 and 13 to work remotely) 

Wednesday 10th March – Students taught remotely 

Thursday 11th March – Year 11 and 13 Only return to lessons and 2nd Test and trace 

Friday 12th March – Year 10 and 12 Only return to lessons and 2nd Test and trace 

Monday 15th – All students return to ongoing lessons in full Day  Year 10  Year 11  Year 12  Year 13 
Monday  Remote learning  Test and Trace and Induction in UTC 9am to 11pm  Remote learning  Test and Trace and Induction in UTC 1 pm to 3pm 
Tuesday  Test and Trace and Induction in UTC 9am to 11pm  Remote learning  Test and Trace and Induction in UTC 1 pm to 3pm  Remote learning 
Wednesday  Remote learning  Remote learning  Remote learning  Remote learning 
Thursday  Remote learning  Test and Trace and lessons 8:50am to 3:50pm  Remote learning  Test and Trace and lessons 8:50am to 3:50pm (as per individual timetable) 
Friday  Test and Trace and lessons 8:50am to 3:50pm  Remote learning  Test and Trace and lessons 8:50am to 3:50pm (as per individual timetable)  Remote learning 

This schedule will allow students to settle back in and to get to grips with their routines prior to the full student body return on the 15th March. Further details of these days will be provided in due course. 

Keeping our students safe remains our top priority and, as such, this means the prioritising of following the Covid safety measures. These will include; 

 Wearing a mask at all times in the building, including lessons. The main exception with be during lunch time whilst eating (Students must attend prepared with a suitable face covering, they may be refused entry to the building without) 

 Following the one-way system with in the building 

 Using hand-sanitizer at regular intervals, including every time you move from one space to another 

 Making sure that you do not gather in large groups (6 at most) 

 Keeping a safe distance from others, 2m where possible 

 Moving home swiftly when lessons have ended for the day 

Year 12 will have a later lunch at 13:20, to ensure smaller numbers of students at social times 

It is imperative that no students attends the UTC if they are experiencing symptoms of Covid. The main symptoms are; 

 High Temperature 

 New continuous and persistent cough 

 Loss of taste or smell 

Please contact the NHS direct on 111 to seek advice and guidance should symptoms present themselves. 

In line with government guidance, all schools are required to operate Test and Trace and as such, we will be administering three tests at the UTC in the first two weeks of our return, spaced at intervals of 3 to 5 days. Following this, we will be issuing home tests twice weekly and will be asking parents and students to report positive and neutral test results to us. We will require consent for testing from all parents of students in key stage 4, we will be informing you of the process in the near future. 

This return to the building has allowed us the opportunity to start to make plans for the Internal Examination series that will take place this summer. We are still awaiting further confirmation of details but student performance in these exams will be a significant part of the grade awarding mechanism for schools this summer and therefore it is imperative that students prepare diligently, in a way akin to the GCSE, BTEC and A-level examinations as normal. We anticipate that our students will be sitting a series of modified exam papers during the weeks beginning 17th and 24th May 2021. These papers will cover the content that students have covered during their studies and reflect a fair sample of the content. Full details of each paper will be provided in due course. Students in Year 10 and 12 will sit their end of year exams as planned in June, whilst it is not anticipated that these exams will be used for the awarding of grades, they are non the less extremely important. 

To support our assessment process we will also be holding virtual parents’ evening for students in their final examinations year. Year 11 will take place on Wednesday 17th March and Year 13 on Wednesday 24th March. This will allow staff the opportunity to provide high quality feedback to students ahead of the Internal Examination series. Our students in Year 10 and 12 will have parents’ evening towards the end of the summer term. 

We will continue to keep you updated with the latest information and details regarding the reopening of the UTC. Please do check our website for the latest updates at www.southbank-utc.co.uk . If you have any questions please email info@southbank-utc.co.uk . 

Stay Safe 

Regards 

Austin Sheppard 

Principal 

 11th January 2021 

Dear Parent, 

I hope that everyone is safe and well? I am writing to you to give you a brief update on the UTC and the current remote learning plan. As you will most likely be aware we are expecting to be facing school closure until at least 22nd February. This will mean that we will be teaching using remote learning, facilitated via the Microsoft Teams platform. Lessons will be available daily from 8:50am until 3pm in line with the timetable shared last week (available to view on the UTC website). It is very important that students engage with these sessions and their class teachers. 

I have asked teachers to make themselves available during their scheduled lessons during the hours of 8:50am and 3pm via TEAMS. They will be very happy to support at this time. Can I ask that we try to limit the out of hours contact with staff, with the exception of emergencies. 

Whilst it has been announced that GCSE and A-level exams will not take place in their usual form, it is clear that a series of significant assessments (tests) will take place and form a critical part of the grade award decision. We will publish the detail of how this will work as it becomes available. All students should be prepared for exams as normal in order to ensure that they get the grade they deserve. In addition to this, it appears that BTEC exams may go ahead as planned, as they have done this January. Therefore, it is imperative that BTEC students work closely with their BTEC teachers on assignment completion and exam preparations. Rest assured that the UTC will do its best to ensure that our students get the grades they deserve and reflect the grades that they would capable of. 

We remain open to a small group of Critical worker children and vulnerable students, who are being supervised to complete their remote learning. We remain open and committed to supporting the front line workers as the country pulls together to beat Covid. Can I please remind parents that this is an emergency provision should only be utilised where a student cannot safely remain at home? 

London remains at the heart of the most recent wave of infections and as such we should all remain extra vigilant for the next few weeks. With this in mind, can I signpost the UTC website and the Covid resource hub that has page dedicated to highlighting the latest advice and guidance and places where support is available. 

Stay Safe 

Regards 

Austin Sheppard 

Principal 

 5th January 2021 

Dear Parent, 

I am writing to you today following the government announcement made at 8pm Monday 4th January. As a parent I understand first-hand the disruption and difficulties caused by this announcement and am resolute to make sure we do everything we can to keep our community safe and our students learning. With the announcement of a 3rd national lockdown and school closures, I would like to try and further clarify the implications for our students and community. As of today, Tuesday 5th January the UTC building is closed to most students. The exception is for the children of critical workers and those considered vulnerable*. You can find the latest definitions here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision 

We anticipate that this lockdown will end in February with students not likely to able to return to on site provision until Monday February 22nd. Learning will however continue for all our students remotely via Microsoft Teams, we are trying our utmost to have this operational ASAP and lessons will be fully in place by Monday 11th January. Whilst Mr Johnson alluded to disruption to the summer exam series ‘we recognise that this will mean it is not possible or fair for all exams to go ahead this summer as normal’, we are yet to understand what this truly means. We will be continuing to guide all our learners to be ready for the summer examination series. We will update parents and students as soon as further information and detail is confirmed, including details of any examinations. 

Please use the UTC website to keep informed about all the latest resources and information that is available https://www.southbank-utc.co.uk/

I have included a timetable for our learners that we would like all students to adhere to during this lockdown. It has been carefully considered and it involves our learners being actively engaged for 3 hours 40 minutes each day, as a minimum expectation. For students in key stage 4 we have deliberately placed the focus on the core subjects of English, mathematics, and science, ensuring that each is delivered daily. For students in key Stage 5 the focus remains on preparation for A-levels and the completion of the BTEC assignments and should be completed during the 3 sessions during each day. 

Teachers will be providing regular lessons available via Microsoft Teams and will typically involve narrated PowerPoint lesson and activity that will be turned in via Teams. Staff will be available via the chat and call function during the lesson to support learners. In addition to teachers providing lessons, we will have a core team of colleagues calling to regularly check in with students and help deal with any pastoral or support issues. I have included a contact list of emergency staff details that can be used to access support during lock down. 

If your child is eligible for Free School Meals, we will be supporting this via a voucher scheme with Wonde. These operate via email and you will be sent a voucher and code to use online or in store and several supermarkets. Please let us know if you require any support with this. 

The symptoms of Covid-19 remain; high temperature, persistent cough and/or a sudden loss or change is sense of taste or smell. Please be vigilant and seek a test should you be displaying symptoms. The website https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 is a useful source of help and guidance or call 111. Please inform the UTC of any positive test results as even during lockdown as we must keep track of cases. Please contact Kim Field kim.field@southbank-utc.co.uk in the first instance. 

Lockdown’s are difficult for everyone and young people as such I should like to remind everyone about the Kooth.com resource that provides online support for young people. Kooth is a web based confidential support service available to young people. Kooth provides a safe and secure means of accessing mental health and wellbeing support designed specifically for young people. 

Kooth offers young people the opportunity to have a text-based conversation with a qualified counsellor. Counsellors are available from 12 noon to 10 pm on weekdays and 6pm to 10 pm at weekends, every day of the year on a drop-in basis. Young people can access regular booked online counselling sessions as needed. Outside counselling hours’ young people can message our team and get support by the next day. When students register with Kooth they will have support available to them now and in the future. Support can be gained not only through counselling but articles, forums, and discussion boards. All content is age appropriate, clinically approved and fully moderated. To find out more visit www.Kooth.com and it is available via the App store or Google play. 

You can also contact Childline, which you can contact by phone, 0800 1111 or through the website childline.org.uk 

Lambeth council can provide extensive support to families during lockdown and further information can be found here: https://beta.lambeth.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19 

I will endeavour to keep everyone up to date with the latest information available, please do reach out if you require any support. 

Stay Safe 

Regards 

Austin Sheppard 

Principal 

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