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Exmouth Community College

Exmouth Community CollegeAcademy Trust

Parent & Carer Update

Dear Parents & Carers

I hope this newsletter finds you and your family safe and well.

Apologies for the length of this update, however, the local situation with regard to Covid infections is currently changing rapidly and we want to make sure you are well prepared should we need to send a year group home or implement other restrictions to the number of students on site. Probably the most pressing issue of all of the areas below is to ensure that everyone has access to Teams and Class Charts or paper versions of school work so please do let us know if this is going to be a problem for you since we may be able to provide a solution.

To help you navigate the areas of the update I will cover:

1. Arrangements for Tier 2 operations

2. What should I do if my child has to self-isolate?

3. Microsoft Teams and Class Charts

4. Logging into Teams/Checking student emails/Checking Class Charts

5. Problems with access to ICT?

6. Changes to the end of the school day/changes to bus times

7. Face coverings

8. Students hanging around at the end of the school day particularly near the Granary on Withycombe Road

9. Knowledge Organisers

10. Homework Club

11. Uniform

12. Parents’ Evenings

1. Tier 2 operations

At the start of term the Government introduced a new Tier system about how schools could operate depending on the level of Covid infections in their area.

Currently our area is in Tier 1 which means we are operating as close to normal as possible. Given the increasing number of infections being reported in Exeter, Lympstone, Exton and East Devon as a whole, there is an increased risk that we may be moved to Tier 2. This is particularly the case given that we have schools in Exeter who have sent students home as well as from schools from our surrounding areas including Ivybridge, Torquay, Tiverton and Axminster.

In Tier 2 we would be expected to rotate year groups every two weeks to reduce the chances of contact in school. This would therefore look like Year 7, 9, 11 and 12 in for two weeks and then at home undertaking remote learning for two weeks when Year 8, 10 and 13 could come in.

Full details of our plans for this are in our Parents and Carer guide for Remote Learning (available shortly on our website). This also explains in more detail the different Tiers of operation and which students would be allowed to come on to site. To reassure you, whatever the Tier our local area is operating under, even Tier 4, we intend to remain open to Key Worker and Vulnerable children.

2. What should I do if my child has to self-isolate?

If your child is asked to self-isolate by Public Health England or the College because, for instance, they might be linked to a positive case then please let the College know immediately. We will then contact your child’s Head of Year who will make the staff who teach your child aware of the situation. Obviously your child’s teachers will still be teaching all their classes, however, each subject has developed Knowledge Organisers for every year group (Yr 7-11) which are available on our website along with other online resources linked to the subject they are currently teaching to ensure your child does not fall behind. They will check in with you from time to time to see how your child is doing and obviously if there are any problems (eg not enough work, work is too easy or too hard) please do not hesitate to get in touch. If you are in any doubt about whether your child should come in to school please take a cautious approach by keeping them at home and contacting school for advice.

3. Microsoft Teams and Class Charts

Should we have to start teaching remotely or your child needs to go into self-isolation it will be important that they can log in to both Teams and Class Charts. Class Charts is for day to day work including homework for when school is operating normally. Teams will be prioritised should we send a whole year group home since resources are far easier to store and access for longer periods of time on Teams. It is really important that your child is able to access both of these programmes. All students now also have their own College email. Email, along with Class Charts and Microsoft Teams, can all be accessed by clicking on the Unify Staff/Student option at the top of our website at

4. Logging into Teams/Checking student emails/checking Class Charts

In preparation for remote learning it is really important that you and your child re-familiarise yourselves with how to log onto Teams, access Class Charts regularly and check their student email account. Over the next few days can you please check that your child knows how to do this and can remember their usernames and passwords. Your child has now been allocated a class on Teams for each of their teachers so that they can access resources through Teams during a period of remote learning far more easily. If there are any difficulties please let us know. We will shortly send out instructions for how students can log in to Teams for all new students or in case you have forgotten.

5. Problems with access to ICT?

Since returning we have undertaken surveys with students across all year groups to check on their ability to access ICT at home. We are still concerned that some of the answers may not accurately reflect some of the difficulties you face. If you are having any problems accessing work remotely then please let us know – it may well be possible for us to loan you laptops and other equipment to enable your child to learn more effectively so please get in touch.

If you are unable to log on to remote learning and, for some reason, we cannot solve the problem then we are happy to organise paper resources to be posted or picked up from school as we did during the previous lockdown period.

6. Changes to the end of the school day/changes to bus times

After numerous discussions with School Transport we have now managed to get our school buses to leave slightly later. Pleasingly experience has shown that actually the majority of our older students are dispersing and going home at the end of the day and so don’t need such a big gap at departure.

The later end times for Year 10 and 11 students have also been a problem for students who live in outlying areas since the bus companies had said they were not able to leave any later. This meant we have been providing taxis for those students which is quite expensive.

For these reasons from Monday 12th October the staggered end times will change to the following:

3.00pm Year 7

3.05pm Year 8

3.10pm Year 9

3.15pm Year 10

3.20pm Year 11

Post-16 students 3.00pm

As the buses are leaving later the bus companies have informed us that the buses will also arrive into College at the end of the day slightly later. Students should therefore be particularly careful around the bus area and ensure they stay behind the railings until all the buses have arrived and they are called forward.

Face coverings are to be worn on buses at all times and on all journeys.

7. Face coverings

As I have already stated, the infection rate both locally and nationally appears to be increasing quite rapidly. As you know we recently made face coverings mandatory in the lunch queues, lunch halls and wet weather indoor spaces and the students have been brilliant at wearing them to make sure they and the staff are as protected as possible. Thank you. As many students will know I am around the site all the time reminding students to put them on and the vast majority of students do have a covering and are happy to put it on when reminded. Unfortunately a far smaller minority will remember to put it on even if they are not asked and some students choose to take it off again at the first opportunity when staff are not around.

This is also happening on the buses home after Mr Turner in particular, has spoken to students as they leave or on the bus on their journey in. This is particularly worrying since on the bus students are in different year groups in an indoor and not particularly well ventilated space.

Can I therefore please ask again that you talk to your child about consistently wearing their face covering around the College and also if they travel by bus? My thanks to those students that are doing this all the time.

Given the infection rate we are now actively considering making them mandatory across the site (but not in lessons) and we will send more news on this shortly.

8. Students socialising in large groups at the end of the day

As I mentioned in my previous update we have had various reports of students meeting up at the end of the day outside the Granary to buy food and socialise. Staff have visited the area and encouraged students to move on, however, we do not have the capacity to attend that area every afternoon. We have informed the Police to ask if they can also assist us in making sure students are not standing in large crowds. Students are not misbehaving, however, they are mixing with different year groups which will obviously undermine all the work we are putting in each day to keep year groups separated. As I mentioned previously it is predominantly Key Stage 3 students and mainly Year 7 students involved. Could I please ask you to help us by advising your child to return straight home at the end of the school day.

Thanks to the overwhelming majority of students who are going straight home each day to keep them and their families as safe as possible.

9. Knowledge Organisers

As part of our support for students we have now created Knowledge Organisers for every subject in every year group from Year 7 to Year 11. These provide a summary of the key knowledge that students need to know and on our website there are ideas about how students can make sure this knowledge goes into their long-term memory.

10. Homework Club

Unfortunately up to now Homework Club has not been able to operate as it would normally from Monday to Thursday in the School Library. Mrs Hunter has been working behind the scenes to get things ready and we are delighted that the Club should be able to start next week. It will operate on the following days for the following year groups:

Monday Year 7

Tuesday Year 8

Wednesday Year 9

Places are limited due to social distancing, however, should you wish to book a slot for your child to get support with homework please email Mrs Hunter on

11. Uniform clarifications

Thanks for all your support with making sure your child is wearing their uniform with pride. Please remember that students should not be wearing a coat without a jumper and where students are persistently breaking this rule we are, where appropriate, contacting home or confiscating coats This is also true of days when students have PE – the only top they can wear over their PE shirt should be a current PE hoodie or school jumper. Designer or any other hoodies and anything other than black tracksuit bottoms are not allowed.

We have seen a few more extreme haircuts where hair has been cut very short indeed or is very long on top and very short around the sides without any gradation. Given that students have already been out of learning for a long time we have just spoken to these students, however, moving forward if hair is unnaturally coloured or cut very short then students will need to be isolated until it is resolved.

Finally, hoodies worn under coats are not allowed; students should be warm enough with a thermal vest or white T shirt if required under their shirt, school shirt, jumper and good waterproof coat. For those persistently choosing to wear hoodies parents/carers will be contacted and the hoodie confiscated.

Many thanks again to the vast majority who consistently look brilliant in their uniform.

12. Parents’ Evenings

For the foreseeable future Parents’ Evenings will be moving to being delivered remotely with Year 12 being our first remote Parents’ Evening after half term. We have purchased some software to enable us to link via video with parents and carers with an online booking system. More details will follow in due course.

Finally, once again our thanks for all your support at this really difficult time. I think many of us are concerned about the future as infection rates start to climb again. As we have done previously we will do our best to keep students safe and provide support where students become concerned about the situation. If you need any help please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Please rest assured we will continue to do our best to make things as normal as possible for students whilst they are in school or learning at home despite the very abnormal times we are living through.

With very best wishes


Andrew Davis