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Dear parents and carers,

Following my message of 29th November, I write to provide clarity on the arrangements for the start of term 3 at The Canterbury Academy, including the offer of a single Lateral Flow Device test on campus.

Like all schools, in line with most recent government guidance on COVID testing, we continue to ‘strongly encourage’ families to engage in LFD testing twice weekly at home. To further strongly encourage this, through next week we will be circulating test kits to those students who may wish to take some home to continue testing through the Christmas period.

In addition to this, the Department for Education have directed all secondary schools to offer a single LFD test to all secondary aged students at the beginning of next term, at school. With that in mind, you will recall that I asked those families who may wish to have their children tested on campus at the start of next term, as a supplementary measure to home testing, to register via an online consent form by the deadline of Monday, 13th December. The uptake for on-campus testing would then, in turn, determine the arrangements for the start of term and how we might prepare our testing station.

Despite the DfE’s offer of staggering the start of term by a day or two to cope with the demands of mass testing, it is our view that we should have our children return to school as soon as possible, with as little delay as possible; they have lost enough learning already over these last two years. I’m also conscious, of course, of the impact a staggered start to term can have on families and parents/carers having to take additional time off work to look after children at home.

Taking all of this into consideration and based on the number of families who have already consented to a LFD test on campus, we will need to delay the start of term ever so slightly. So, in order to provide clarity, term 2 will end on Friday, 17th December at 1pm for Years 7-11 and at 11am for Sixth Form students, where students will be dismissed and able to make their own way home. There will be no bus services available directly from the campus that afternoon. Term 3 will start for all students at The Canterbury Academy on Tuesday, 4th January at the slightly later time of 11am. Students will go directly to their mentor rooms for an 11am mentoring session, and then straight to their period 3 lesson. Sixth Form students should arrive in time for the start of Period 3, should they have a timetabled lesson. The rest of the day will then run as usual, with a normal school day continuing from Wednesday, 5th January.

All staff will return to campus at the normal time on 4th January, but by starting the ‘school’ day at 11am, it will allow us the chance to initially divert enough staff to run our mass testing centre for those that have consented to a LFD test. Testing will start at 9am and conclude at 10.40am. If you would like to book an on-campus LFD test for 4th January, please follow this link to the same online booking system that we have used before

The link will be live for booking upon receiving this message, and will close on Monday, 13th December. As you book your slot you will be taken directly to a consent form. Please give consent on the link, even if you have already completed the separate form circulated last week. That way we can be doubly sure we have all of the necessary information.

Once bookings close on 13th December, we will have a clear idea of the size of venue needed for testing. Once your child has tested on campus and, depending on outcome, received their result, they will be free to leave the campus should they wish; returning at 11am for mentoring and the start of term. Similarly, if you would like your child to remain on campus after testing until mentoring at 11am, they should be more than welcome to do so; with supervised area(s) on campus that they will be able to report to and wait until mentoring begins. All other children should arrive directly for mentoring for 11am.

Heads of Schools will provide a further reminder on all of this next week in their end of term communications; including clarification on where our testing centre will be located and where students can go, should they wish to stay on campus, post LFD test.

I hope this will provide immediate reassurance and clarity about the end of this term and the beginning of next, so families can plan in advance. I also hope you will forgive me when I say this could all be subject to last minute changes in government guidance…and should that happen I will be sure to let you know as soon as possible. However, if you do have any immediate questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s Support Manager in the first instance.

On a related note, I have also been asked to inform you that the Canterbury Vaccination Centre, based at the Sea Cadet Hub on Vauxhall Road, Canterbury (CT1 1ZN) will be holding a COVID Vaccination Clinic over Saturday and Sunday of this week (11th and 12th December) for people aged 12 years and over. The clinic will be open from 9am until 5pm on both days and able to administer first and second doses of the vaccine, including boosters. Appointments can be made online through the National Booking System, or via 119; with those that have booked in advance taking priority.

As I say, Heads of School will be in touch again next week and I shall write to you all, as is usual, on the last day of term.

Until then, as always, my very best wishes to you all.


Jon Watson

Trust Executive Principal