Parents/carers: Important information and frequently asked questions

As you can imagine, we are receiving a lot of questions from parents/carers at this time. We have done our best to compile some of the most frequent enquiries we have received from parents/carers as follows, as we may be unable to respond to your questions individually at this time. This will be updated daily for as long as we are able.

The government has also put together some information specifically for parents/carers which you may find helpful:


Can my child wear a coat or additional jumper in lessons? (Added 16/10/2020)

As a result of increased ventilation in classrooms, with doors and windows being kept open, we are continuing to allow students to wear a coat or an additional jumper on top of their school jumper in lessons. It is also acceptable for students to wear an additional layer underneath their school shirt, such as a plain white t-shirt. Our expectations for all other uniform items remain the same.

Will half-term be changed to a two week break? (Added 9/10/2020)

Our half term week will remain as per the calendar and will run for one week from Monday 26th October to Friday 30th October. There is also a staff INSET day on Friday 23rd October, when students will not be expected to be in school. At this time, we are in a good position in being able to keep the school open for all of our students, and continue to put their safety and their education as our priorities.

Should I keep my child off school if they are feeling unwell? (Added 18/9/2020)

You must keep your child at home if they have:

  1. A new continuous cough
  2. A fever (high temperature over 38°C using a thermometer)
  3. A complete loss or change of smell or taste

Speak to 119 or go to the website and arrange for a test to be done. Your child and your household must self-isolate until you have the results of this test.

If your child is unwell with other illnesses and you would normally have kept your child off school, keep your child at home. Children with mild colds, runny noses, sore throats (without temperature) can still attend school.

Please also refer to the flowchart provided for parents which can be found on the college website.

Should my child access online learning resources if they are absent from school but have not opted for blended learning? (Added 18/9/2020)

All lessons are now available on Satchel One (SMHWK). If a student is absent from school for any reason, including self-isolating, shielding or personal/family reasons and if they are well enough to access online learning, they should complete the classwork tasks for each lesson which are accessible on Satchel One. Lessons will appear as per their normal timetable. This provision is in place to support students and avoid anyone missing out on learning.

What is the difference between classwork and homework tasks on Satchel One, and which should my child complete? (Updated 18/9/2020)

Tasks are divided on Satchel One into two categories.

  • Classwork tasks should be accessed at home by students who have opted for blended learning. These resources are the same as those used in lessons in school and therefore students who are attending lessons do not need to access these tasks. These appear as ‘red’ tasks in students’ assignments.
  • Homework tasks are set by staff in addition to classwork tasks and these should be completed by all students, both attending school and completing blended learning. These appear as ‘green’ tasks in students’ assignments.

Can my child wear their PE kit to school if they have PE in the morning? (Added 7/9/2020)

If your child is timetabled to have PE LZ1, we are happy for your child to arrive at school in PE kit but they must ensure that they have all items of their school uniform with them, ready to change into after the lesson. Similarly, if a child has PE LZ3, students will not be expected to change back into uniform to travel home.

Does my child’s school uniform need to be washed daily? (Added 7/9/2020)

In accordance with government guidance, there is no expectation that school uniforms are washed any differently or any more regularly than usual. For hygiene reasons, we would however, encourage clean facemasks to be worn each day.

How do students pay for their food at the canteen? (Added 7/9/2020)

Students can give their name, or use their PIN number at the till in the canteen to pay for food, rather than using the biometric thumbprint system at this time. They are able to use their PIN to top-up their accounts using cash at the top-up machines located in each canteen. Students will sanitise their hands before and after buying food from the canteen.

How will students be bubbled in September? (Updated 27/8/2020)

In accordance with government guidance, students will be bubbled as separate year group bubbles, and Year 12 and 13 will be bubbled together to form a single Sixth Form bubble. Students will only be allowed to mix with other students within their own year group bubble whilst in school, both socially and in lessons. Where possible, in Years 7 and 8, students will also be taught in smaller tutor group bubbles.

School staff will be in individual bubbles with each staff member socially distancing from each other and from the students.

How will mixing between year group bubbles be avoided? (Updated 27/8/2020)

Separate social areas will be allocated for each year group to congregate before school and during break times, and use of canteens will be staggered to enable access for one year group bubble at a time, with cleaning in between. For some year groups, movement between areas of the school will be controlled by staff picking students up from meeting points and escorting them to lessons, to minimise mixing between different bubbles as students move around the school. One way systems and designated routes around school will also be in place. Movement times will be staggered to avoid mixing.

Where activities such as clubs, detentions or specific interventions may involve students from different year groups, additional measures such as 2m social distancing and/or use of screens will be in place.

How will social distancing work in September? (Updated 27/8/2020)

Students will continue to be expected to maintain social distancing wherever this is possible. As we have a large open site and a small number of transition points in our three-lesson day, we are already in a strong position as far as enabling distancing between year group bubbles. Within year group bubbles, and during lessons, it will not always be possible for students to maintain a 2m distance, however a range of other measures will be in place to reduce the risk of transmission in these situations. This includes:

  • Blended learning offer to reduce class sizes
  • Seating plans facing forwards
  • Sanitiser units, tissues, bins, cleaning spray and paper towels in all classrooms
  • Face coverings, where appropriate
  • No sharing of books and equipment
  • Open doors and windows, where appropriate
  • Additional cleaning of shared surfaces during the day

Will students be expected/allowed to wear facemasks in school? (Updated 27/8/2020)

Students are encouraged to wear face-coverings in corridors, communal areas and in classrooms where it doesn’t inhibit learning and will be taught how to use them safely. Staff will be provided with visors and may also wear face-coverings where it does not inhibit learning. Face coverings may be plain or patterned, shop-bought or home-made but must be appropriate for school with no offensive designs. For environmental reasons we would discourage disposable face-coverings and recommend at least 2 face-coverings to allow regularly washing. The following links may be useful:

Will there be staggered start and finish times in September? (Updated 27/8/2020)

For parent/carer convenience, we have tried to keep staggering of start and finish times to a minimum. In order to keep bubbles separate and manage movement around school, most of the staggering of timings will take place within the school day with adapted timings for lessons, breaks and lunchtimes. There is a slight staggering to the end of the school day for Year 7-9 students to avoid mixing. Specific timings for each year group have been sent out in the parent update. Students will be free to depart at their finish time or to wait in their allocated zone until 3.30pm. If students are catching buses, they will wait at the bus bay.

Will transport be affected? (Updated 27/8/2020)

In most cases, students will be able to follow their normal transport arrangements, although we would advise avoiding car-sharing and public transport if possible. Where this is not possible, government advice should be followed.

Students should avoid mixing with students outside of their year group bubble whilst travelling to school, unless from the same household. Students will be expected to wear face masks when using school buses, taxis and public transport. If travelling by bus, students should wait and be seated with students from the same year group or household. This will be in year group order with youngest at the front and oldest at the back.

Further guidance from Cornwall Council regarding school transport can also be found here:

Will students be expected to wear uniform? (Updated 27/8/2020)

Yes - we will be following government guidance that advises a return to wearing normal school uniform in September. We appreciate that the events of the last few months may have had an adverse financial impact on some families. We have always been mindful of the cost of uniform and have always provided support for families experiencing financial difficulty. This September is no different. If you are struggling to purchase uniform or PE Kit, please get in touch in the usual way.

Will students be able to attend normal lessons? (Updated 28/8/2020)

Yes. Because we are able to stagger movement around school, students will be able to enjoy their normal lessons, in their normal classrooms with their normal teachers. This includes PE, as well as subjects taught at our Vocational Centre at Woods Browning.  Use of shared resources will be minimal and subject to strict hygiene measures. Teachers may use demonstration as an alternative to students undertaking practical work in order to reduce use of equipment. It is essential that students have their own stationery as per the updated equipment list sent to parents/carers.

Will parents/carers be able to come into school for meetings with staff? (Updated 27/8/2020)

If you wish to meet with your child’s head of year or any of your child’s teachers, you will need to make an appointment in advance. We regret that we are unable to accommodate visitors without a prior appointment at this time.

Where can I access all of the key documents and information for parents/carers? (Updated 27/08/2020)

There is a dedicated page on the college website where all the key information and updates for parents/carers can be found in one place. This can be accessed by following the link on the college homepage or here:  Here you will find advice and guidance to support every aspect of learning and wellbeing during this time. Additionally, these FAQs are being updated regularly and provide a summary of essential information as it becomes available.

Please use the ‘Contact us’ form on the website for any enquiries.

Where can I seek further support for myself and my family during this time? (Updated 10/7/2020)

There are a number of organisations, both locally and nationally, who may be able to offer support in a range of situations. This is not an exhaustive list, but you may find some of these contact details useful.

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Opening hours:

8am to 6pm – Monday to Friday
10am to 4pm – Saturday and Sunday

For students, there is also the college student support email which is being monitored by pastoral staff daily:

Where can I find advice about supporting my child with their mental health? (Updated 16/4/2020)

We know that these are challenging and stressful times and it is important to take care of your family’s mental health and wellbeing. There are lots of things you can do and a good place to start is which offers advice to parents of children from 0-19 on a range of issues, such as anxiety, behaviour and finances. The government have also released guidance for supporting young people’s mental health and wellbeing:

As blended learning arrangements are not able to continue, what should I do if I am concerned about sending my child to school full time? (Added 25/09/2020)

If your child has been accessing blended learning and you are concerned about your child returning to school full time for whatever reason, you may apply for a Covid IEP (individual education plan) which will be considered by the pastoral team in conjunction with the Cornwall Education Welfare Service. This application constitutes a formal request from parents/carers for a temporary education arrangement which would be reviewed at the end of October. If agreed, this arrangement would enable a full educational timetable but with a proportion to be completed at home.

The application form can be found here: Covid IEP

More information can be found here:

How will students with a Covid IEP access their learning? (Added 25/9/2020)

Students will follow their normal timetable of 3 learning zones and 1 tutor activity per day. Lesson resources will be available on Satchel One (previously SMHW) which will be added each day. Students should complete these on the day they are set and at the usual timetabled time. Students should spend no more than 100 minutes per lesson and 30 minutes on a tutor activity. There is no requirement to print off worksheets as tasks can be submitted electronically. As part of the monitoring process, students will also be required to attend a daily live MSTeams tutorial to discuss their progress. Details of how to access this and a code of conduct will be issued if your Covid IEP application is successful. Lessons themselves will not be delivered through MSTeams live but may include pre-recorded video episodes or video clips from other sources.

Should my child access online learning resources if they are absent from school but have not opted for blended learning? (Added 18/9/2020)

All lessons are now available on Satchel One (SMHW). If a student is absent from school for any reason, including self-isolating, shielding or personal/family reasons and if they are well enough to access online learning, they should complete the classwork tasks for each lesson which are accessible on Satchel One. Lessons will appear as per their normal timetable. This provision is in place to support students and avoid anyone missing out on learning.

Will lessons be live-streamed for those learning remotely? (Added 28/8/2020)

For safeguarding purposes, we are unable to live-stream lessons which are taking place in school to students who are accessing learning remotely. In some cases, staff may decide to upload pre-recorded episodes containing demonstrations or explanations of tasks; any lesson resources required will be made available through SMHW.

What will blended learning involve for my child? (Updated 27/8/2020)

We are offering parents/carers the option of a fortnightly rotation that would comprise of 1-week in school, 1-week remote supported learning.

Following the introduction of MSTeams we have worked hard to develop the quality and effectiveness of our remote learning provision. All lessons will be available via SatchelOne so the resources online will mirror the resources used in school.

All students will be required to attend the first day for their year group in order to receive the same introduction to the new arrangements. From the next day onwards, students taking up the offer and with surname A-L should attend during week 1; students with surname M-Z should attend during week 2. This will not affect a student’s attendance record providing they engage appropriately with their remote lessons.


Surnames A - LSurnames M-Z
In School LearningRemote LearningIn School LearningRemote Learning
w/c 7th Septw/c 14th Septw/c 14th Septw/c 7th Sept
w/c 21st Septw/c 28th Septw/c 28th Septw/c 21st Sept
w/c 5th Septw/c 12th Septw/c 12th Septw/c 5th Sept
w/c 19th SeptHalf Term ReviewHalf Term Revieww/c 19th Sept

Where fortnightly remote-learning is not possible (due to family work commitments or otherwise) or where fortnightly remote-learning would not be in the students’ best interests, normal full-time schooling will be in place. Engagement with the remote learning provision will be monitored and where there are concerns, a student would be required to resume full time attendance in-school immediately.

Parents/carers need to opt-in to this offer by clicking here and completing the form.

What is Satchel One? (Updated 27/08/2020)

Satchel One is the parent company of Show My Homework. When students log on to SMHW on a computer, they may notice that the website they are taken to is actually called Satchel One. Students who wish to access SMHW on a smartphone or tablet will need to download the Satchel One app which will allow access to SMHW.

What happens if my child has issues with their SMHW or RM Portico log-in? (Updated 27/8/2020)

We have a computer support helpdesk available which students can email directly to contact our IT technicians who will do their best to resolve any problems with SMHW and RM Portico access. In this event, students should email: Once logged in, the SMHW website also provides a helpdesk and online chat support for parents and students:

What does my child need to do to upload their work onto SMHW? (Updated 27/8/2020)

Students can complete tasks directly on SMHW using the word processing tool or upload work from their saved documents, Dropbox or Google Drive. The following guide also includes instructions about how work can be uploaded through the SMHW mobile app.

If a resource is in PDF format, it might be the case that you do not have the software to enable editing of the document, in which case, please encourage your child to complete the work in a Word document or to take a photograph of a handwritten response, which can then be uploaded as outlined above.

What if my child has limited access to technology and/or is struggling to work on a mobile phone? (Updated 27/8/2020)

We are aware that not all students have access to the technology and equipment which they may need to easily access the remote learning resources being set. In this situation, we would recommend that students return to normal full-time schooling.

Will my child be set homework in addition to daily lesson tasks? (Updated 27/8/2020)

Yes. Tasks set through SMHW will be split between classroom tasks and those which have been set in addition as homework tasks. These will appear as different types of assignment on SMHW so that students are clear which is which. During the week that students are accessing remote learning, they should try to complete the homework tasks in addition to the class resources being set. Students attending school will only need to complete the homework assignments.

How can I ensure my child is safe online? (Updated 30/4/2020)

The government have released an update for parents with advice on keeping their children safe online.

There is a lot of support available to keep your child safe online. Below are some useful links to help parents and carers:

  • Thinkyouknow (advice from the National Crime Agency to stay safe online)
  • Internet matters (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)
  • Parent info (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)
  • LGfL (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)
  • Net-aware (support for parents and carers from the NSPCC)

Additionally, there is some guidance here for parents about ensuring that children are safe using video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Houseparty etc. for social networking.

General information for parents and carers about the wider opening of nurseries, schools and colleges, transport, attendance, free school meals and remote education.

Guidance for keyworkers about educational provision:

Online education resources for home learning:

Support with online safety:

Support for mental health and well-being:

Information about awarding qualifications (GCSE/A-level/BTEC etc) (updated 27/8/2020):

Information about protective measures in educational settings:

NHS Test and Trace service:

Taking public transport (added 19/6/2020)

Keeping children safe from abuse or harm (added 3/7/2020):

Information related to return to school in September (added 10/7/2020):

Guidance on face-coverings (added 27/8/2020):

Government FAQS - What you can and can’t do (added 25/9/2020):

Government guidance for parents/carers regarding school opening can also be accessed in a range of translations. Below are links to those we think some parents may find useful. Please contact us if you require an alternative language (added 2/10/2020).