january 2021 – reopening and mass testing

UPDATE – 4th January 2021:

As you are aware we are looking to mass test the school population. Therefore your consent is needed if you wish your child to be tested. Please can you complete the consent form below ASAP so we  have an idea of numbers, as you can appreciate it is a complex process logistically.



UPDATE – 31ST DECEMBER 2020 – Please click here for the 31st December 2020 Parent Update letter sent to parents/carers.


Dear Parents/Carers

I hope you are well and keeping safe. I appreciate it is a difficult time with the changing Christmas restrictions, however as long as we all remain fit and well then that is a blessing in itself.

Following on from my letter on Thursday 17th December 2020, I think it is important that you are kept fully briefed and updated.

To summarise what we already know

  • Primary schools are operating as normal
  • In the week commencing 4th January, only the children of critical workers, vulnerable children, students in Y11 and those students in Year 10 doing BTEC courses who will be sitting January examinations are in school. Mr Koltan has personally phoned all the parents/carers today to ensure they know to come in to school.
  • Critical workers is clearly defined as including teachers and school staff as given on this link Critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
  • There will be a full remote package in place and critical worker/vulnerable students who are in school will attend their normal lessons. Those learning remotely will need a workbook to keep all their online learning in as stated in the first correspondence. The online workbook standards (Recall 5 etc.) must be adhered to, as if they were in the classroom. We have high expectations of all our young people, whether they are learning remotely or attending school and therefore their attitude to learning and behaviour must reflect this.
  • The guidance at the moment provides for mass testing of Year 11 students and staff in the first week as well as serial testing of close contacts. We are expecting further information regarding this to come out soon as we will need consent forms to be completed.
  • The guidance is unclear at the moment as to what the expectations are going forward on mass testing, but again we will keep you posted.

The full details around the January return can be found on the link below.

Schools and childcare settings: return in January 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The rationale behind the staggered start and testing

Since the start of the academic year, the continuing efforts of leaders, teachers and staff across education and childcare have ensured that settings remain as safe and COVID-secure as possible.

To support public health efforts during the return to school in January 2021, secondary schools in England are being offered access to additional coronavirus (COVID-19) testing from the first week of January. This will help deliver the national priority of keeping as many students and teachers as possible in school beyond the start of term, minimising the spread of the virus and disruption caused by coronavirus (COVID-19) cases arising in education settings.

Secondary-age pupils are being prioritised for testing in response to the recent high rates of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. Primary schools will return as normal and these measures do not apply to early years providers.

Rapidly identifying and containing any asymptomatic cases through this testing programme will contribute to public health efforts and support the effectiveness of the regular rapid testing programme that schools with secondary-age students are being supported to set up and deliver once this initial testing is concluded. This will enable school staff to be tested weekly, as well as daily testing of both staff and pupils who are close contacts of a positive case, to avoid the need for self-isolation.

Schools delivering this programme (such as Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School) will enable as many staff and pupils as possible to get tested from the first week of term, the week commencing the 4th January 2021 (we are trying to set this up as quickly as possible, however the guidance only came out as we finished for the Christmas holiday). This will be done with lateral flow device tests. If the student’s first test is positive, they should immediately self-isolate and have this positive test confirmed with a standard Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test (they take more time because they are usually processed in a laboratory). If the student’s first test is negative, they should be tested again ideally 3 to 5 days later (no fewer than 3 days). If this test is positive, they should self-isolate and confirm this with a PCR test.

As a school we will be encouraging testing but it is optional. We need our young people in school learning and by doing the testing we will ensure that we are as COVID secure as we can be.


  • Keep up to date by checking for emails and text messages. Also keep an eye on the website. There will be a button called January 2021/Mass testing where all the information we send out and direct you to will be.
  • Talk to your son./daughter about what is happening ion the 4th January 2021 and the relevant expectations.
  • All young people should continue to comply with the rules set out for the tier they are in (Warrington is currently in tier two, but this may change), and please help us to ensure their children are following these rules. That particularly includes those related to mixing with other households when they are not at school and when they are travelling to and from educational settings.
  • All student who are in school must wear full school uniform including the correct school shoes.
  • Please purchase am A4 notepad to do the online learning (Y7-10)
  • All PE kit must be correct when the students return, no alternatives will be permitted (Year 11 please take note).
  • If you are intending to send your child in because you are a critical worker then please email criticalworkers@boteler.org.uk , this is really important and will enable me to get an idea of numbers so I can inform the canteen staff. Even if you have emailed me already, please would it be possible for you to email this mailbox again, so we have all the data in one place.
  • Any worries or concerns please email me directly bscott-herron@boteler.org.uk . I may not answer as promptly as usual over the festive period, but I will always get back to you.

As ever, I am so appreciative of your support and kindness. Please have a wonderful Christmas and I will be in touch in the New Year.

“Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer.”  Romans 12:12

Yours sincerely

Beverley Scott-Herron



Click here for Mrs Scott-Herron’s letter dated 17th December regarding January staggered return. 

Schools and childcare settings: return in January 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Schools_Colleges_Testing-Handbook_version-3.3-Copy.pdf (schoolsweek.co.uk)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) asymptomatic testing in schools and colleges – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School by STB