Updated: Friday 20th March 2020
In the light of the UK Government’s announcement, Wells Cathedral School has now ceased its usual on-site operation, moving instead to a largely online method of delivering teaching and learning during term-time. The wellbeing of our whole School community is of the utmost importance at this time.
We will keep our entire community aware of any developments, and any expected time frame for the resumption of normal operations.
Most boarding pupils have left the site, but boarding accommodation will remain available to all boarders who require it until the planned end of Term on Friday 27 March.
Children of Key Workers
We have made arrangements for children of Key Workers and vulnerable pupils to access supervision from Monday 23 – Friday 27 March between 8.30am and 4.00pm. Details have been sent to all parents directly.
Although the physical school site is closed (with the exception of boarding for those boarders who require it, children of Key Workers and vulnerable pupils), the School will be offering a full programme of online teaching and learning, and will be expecting all pupils to complete work remotely. During term time, teachers will be online daily, and able to respond to pupils’ needs.
The Government have released details of how they plan to manage the award of GCSE and A Level qualifications this summer. Click here for their statement.
At this point in time, the School do not have any further information other than that included in this statement.
On the basis that schools will be asked to submit a range of attainment evidence for their Year 11 and Upper Sixth pupils, it is still important that all these pupils continue to work hard and to complete work requested of them by their teachers in the coming weeks since this will inevitably be indicative of any grade judgements made. There will also, it seems, be an opportunity for pupils to sit exams at a later date and so, if pupils wish to take advantage of this, they will still need to ensure they work appropriately now to be ready for that time.
We are sure that more specific details will emerge in the days to come which will help answer any further questions parents and pupils may have. For the moment, this link to the Education Secretary’s statement and the School’s initial response here are all that we can currently share with pupils and parents. We will, of course, be in touch with pupils and parents as soon as we are in receipt of any further information.
We have cancelled or postponed all public events planned at Cedars Hall, and are contacting all ticket holders.
The School is taking whatever steps it can to minimise the risk both to our own community, and to other people coming into this community. As a result, we have decided to postpone all non-essential school events (such as Sing and Swim, Busy Bees and Chickadees Open Afternoon, Be a Mathematician for a Day, Be a Specialist Musician for a Day) between now and the end of term on Friday 27 March. We will announce new dates for the events as soon as possible.
We appreciate that this will be disappointing news, and we have not taken this decision lightly. But we hope that you will understand our reasons for doing so. If you have any questions or queries which we can answer remotely then please do not hesitate to get in touch on 01749 834200 or [email protected].
Our Admissions Office will remain open as usual, and we will continue to conduct interviews, auditions and virtual tours via Skype. We will be very pleased to hear from anyone considering Wells Cathedral School for September 2020 or beyond. Please email [email protected]
Head Master’s statement
Alastair Tighe has commented: “May I thank all parents/guardians for your support and understanding at this most difficult of times. I would also like to pay tribute to the heroic efforts of the School staff who have been managing this situation with me for a significant number of weeks now and whose tireless dedication and commitment to help manage it – alongside their other ‘usual’ responsibilities – has been immense. I’d also like to thank all our pupils for the stoical and calm way they have been responding to an increasingly anxious situation. I wish our entire community a safe and healthy time ahead.”
The wellbeing of our whole School community is of the utmost importance at this time. Houseparents, Tutors and the School’s Medical Support Staff are all available to talk with pupils and to try and allay any anxiety or worries they may have; pupils have been informed that they should not hesitate to talk with any of these staff if they wish.
On-site arrangements for children of Key Workers, vulnerable children and boarders
Pupils and staff are also being regularly reminded of the need to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds more frequently than usual, to cover their mouth and noses ideally with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, and to avoid touching their faces, including mouth and eyes.
In line with the most recent Government advice, pupils or staff who have within the last 7 days had either a high temperature and/or a new continuous cough are now required to self-isolate for 14 days from when symptoms started. We have taken medical advice, and a ‘high temperature’ is defined as 37.8 C, and a ‘new continuous cough’ is defined as a cough which has started within the last 7 days.
Any day pupil with these symptoms is required to remain at home for 14 days from the onset of their symptoms and should not come into School.
Any UK boarder who thinks they have these symptoms is being asked to report to our medical centre, St Andrew’s Lodge, to be assessed. If our medical staff consider them to have the symptoms which require them to self-isolate, they will contact parents and request that they return home as soon as possible.
Any international boarder who thinks they have these symptoms is being asked to report to our medical centre to be assessed. If our medical staff consider them to have the symptoms which require them to self-isolate, we will arrange that they are isolated for14 days in School accommodation which is separate from their usual boarding house and other pupils.
International school trips
In line with advice, all planned international trips over the Easter break have been cancelled. Parents of affected pupils have been contacted separately.
The latest advice from PHE and the UK Foreign Office is as follows:
We have established that no members of the School community have recently visited the above restricted countries and returned to the School.
PHE and the UK Government are not currently advising against travel to any other country/territory as a result of coronavirus risks.
Currently, there are no plans for parents, pupils or visitors from any of the travel restricted countries to visit the School unless they have been in the UK for at least 14 days previously and have not developed any symptoms. We have also strongly advised all parents from the other affected regions not to travel to the UK at any time, and not to come into contact with any members of the school community. We have no planned visits to and from the affected regions.
The School will continue to monitor the situation and update policy as official advice changes.
For anyone needing more information, the Department for Education has launched a new helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Email: [email protected]
Opening hours: 8.00am to 6.00pm (Monday to Friday)
In addition, anyone can click here for further information and the latest Government advice.