Where relationships are at the heart of the school and
the school is at the heart of the community

School Closure Updates and Advice

Tuesday 31 March 2020 - Update


31 March 2020

Dear Parents/Carers,

School Update

I hope you are all well, just a quick update from us. The Swanage School staff e-mails have been going crazy with pictures and videos of the staff zip wire craze. We will be posting them on the website for you to behold.

Virtual School - update

We are working with The Cloud Box development team to build our virtual learning environment. Show My Homework has been great getting us through this transition period but it was not built to deliver virtual learning and I think we are quite close to breaking it!! So here is a sneaky preview of what is in store after Easter …..THE VIRTUAL SWANAGE SCHOOL

Good news stories

We have had so many emails and pictures of home learning and positive feedback, thank you. We know there are still issues to sort out, and we are working on them. We took the decision to make sure students do not run out of work, but at the same time please REASSURE all students that we won’t be setting any detentions if deadlines are missed, please do not feel overwhelmed just be assured that there is always plenty to get on with in idle moments.  

Year 9 Options

All year 9 parents & carers will receive access to our options booklet via a website link or a hard copy in the post tomorrow. We want to get our year 9 option groups organised ready for delivery very soon after Easter. Please watch out for communication regarding this. There is also a dedicated page on our website where you will find our year 9 options booklet.

The Zip-Wire Challenge

I have discovered that civil engineering is not my strength. Encourage students to take part, staff really have gone to town and it’s only Tuesday.

Finally, please get in touch if there is anything you need. If we can’t help we know who can and will sort it out. Watch out for our phone calls and keep safe.

Kind regards

All Staff at The Swanage Schoo


Friday 27 March 2020 - Update

27 March 2020

Dear Parents/Carers,

What a week! I hope this letter finds you and your family well. Thank you very much for all the e-mails of encouragement and your patience with log in issues as we work together through these difficult times.

Hopefully you would have all heard from tutors and/or teachers this week. Tutors will be checking in at least weekly speaking to you and students, primarily to let you know we are here and check that you are all OK, but also to find out if there is anything we can do to help.


The geeky tech TEAM has made great progress in setting up the virtual school this week. When it launches after Easter, it will be so much easier to set work, collect work, give feedback, broadcast lessons, have interactive chat with students and communicate with parents.

We are working on getting laptops out to students who need them very early next week. We have had to reconfigure them and set them up with different firewalls so that they can be used safely at home.


The show of solidarity and support for our frontline workers last night in Swanage at 8pm moved me to tears. The town roared with pride and respect. Our heartfelt thanks and gratitude go out to all our key workers, those who are cleaning our schools, hospitals and shops, those working in transportation and logistics, all of those working in Swanage taking care of our community, the list is long. Thank you.


Each week we will be pitching staff against students in a mystery challenge and keeping score over the coming weeks, the format is easy:

  • Students complete challenge and email photos/videos to tutors
  • Tutors send their favourites to the HoH – best ones are shared on website
  • Staff complete their challenge and email photos /videos to their curriculum area leaders
  • The best staff and student challenges get shared on our website and then the public decide

This week’s challenge is to design and build a free standing zip-line that will transport a plastic figure (or equivalent object) over the space of 1m. The travel time must be as close to 3 seconds as possible. My money is on Mr Duke or Mrs Lardner.

Finally, please watch out for our phone calls and keep safe,

Kind regards,

All Staff at The Swanage School


Tuesday 24 March 2020 - Update on what the school is doing

Dear Parents/Carers,

During these challenging weeks ahead, while we are all staying in our homes and trying to stay sane, I want to assure you that your team here at The Swanage School are working very hard behind the scenes to provide support to the community and to ensure effective curriculum delivery via on-line platforms.

To help us do this effectively we have set up various on-line virtual TEAMS. Each TEAM has different tasks and aims. These are just a few of our TEAMS:

The Community Support Team – Mandy Sands, Andi Knapman, Nicky Taylor, Nicky Birch & Sue Fletcher

Aims to:

  • ·       Ensure all our available resources are at the disposal of the community as and when needed.
  • ·       Make sure we fully support all our keyworkers at a time when they need us most.
  • ·       Collaboratively work with other schools, agencies, local support groups, churches and the food banks to help families and the most vulnerable in our community – whatever that looks like.

On-line Curriculum Delivery Team – AKA geeky tech nerds

Core Aims:

Mr Walling, Mr Forster and the team are all over the internet researching the very best way we can move forward with delivering high quality teaching and learning. They will be setting up the virtual school and classes and working with the Curriculum Area Leaders and classroom teachers to get up and ready to start teaching virtual lessons ASAP. We are aiming for after Easter, fingers crossed.

Communication Team

Aims to:

  • ·       Keep you regularly updated
  • ·       Keep informed and work with the Community Support Team to share information with you
  • ·       Post pictures and stories about what students are doing at home
  • ·       Focus on sharing the good news stories in the community, there are lots of them, everything else you will hear on the news
  • ·       Keep our social media platforms up to date.

Year 11 ‘Next Steps Team’

Aims to:

  • ·       Ensure everyone is prepared for their next phase of education/training
  • ·       Ensure students are given work that prepares them for the next step – most of our teachers have taught A level and vocational courses
  • ·       Ensure EVERYONE has a next step sorted.

I will email out an update letter on Tuesdays and Fridays; we will be posting photos and stories and ideas on the website and Facebook. Please send them in!

The tutors have been asked to call home once a week to check in with you all. You may get a call from a withheld number, it will probably be your child’s tutor as I think it’s safe to assume the call centres are closed! If they don’t manage to touch base by phone they will email, but we think it’s really important that we get to speak to each other, especially given the new guidance.

That’s all from us for now, please be assured we are all working from home, can be contacted by email and will be checking in regularly. Take very good care of yourselves, send in any photos and good news stories for us to share.

Kindest regards


Jenny Maraspin




Friday 20 March 2020 - Key worker information

20th March 2020

Dear Parents and Carers, 

IMPORTANT: Key worker Government update

As previously shared, schools have been directed to close today and remain closed until further notice except for children of key workers and vulnerable children, as part of the country’s ongoing response to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

I am writing to confirm that at ten past midnight today, the UK Government issued the following guidance -


I have highlighted some key points below -


The government is asking “parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.”

“It is important to underline that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.”

“Schools are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children - children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.”

“Vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.”

“Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined below (in the linked document). 

Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

“Please, therefore, follow these key principles:

  • If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
  • If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
  • Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
  • Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below (in the linked document), and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision.”

Further advice and guidance for parents and carers is available here -



These are exponential times and in such times we will do everything we can to stand together with our community.

We commit to sustaining this provision for as long as required, Monday to Friday including through the upcoming Easter Holidays (FOR KEY WORKER CHILDREN ONLY AND ONLY ON DAYS WHEN THEY NEED TO WORK). We will do everything we can to help this national effort.

If you are a key worker and planning to use our provision, please ensure you complete the form we sent yesterday via both email and hard copy urgently and by 12pm at the absolute latest.

I thank you for your continued support. 

Jenny Maraspin
Acting Headteacher


Wednesday 18 March 2020 - School closure

18th March 2020

Dear Parent/Carer(s)


School Closure

By now, most of you will be aware that the UK Government have taken the unprecedented action of closing UK schools from Friday for almost all students.  As a school we are committed to continue to provide high quality curriculum delivery during this period of closure and welcome your support in keeping our students learning.


We are aware of which students have access to IT and are equally aware of those that don’t have computers or reliable access to Wi-Fi. As such we will use a variety of different platforms to provide curriculum support activities as well as providing students without IT with learning packs.


You will find that we have provided a comprehensive scheme of work (SoW), for all year groups in all subjects, on the noticeboard section of Show My Homework (SMH).  It can also be found on our website with online platform login information (see our "Students' Working from Home" page). In the days leading up to Easter teachers will be uploading all resources and support materials onto (SMH) needed to support the SoW.  In turn, students will be able to upload the work that they complete onto the platform, so that teachers can monitor, mark and respond. We will make other arrangements for submitting work and receiving feedback for those students working from packs, details will follow.


At school, in the days leading up to Easter we will be developing and preparing a range of customised remote teaching modules to ensure that our students can remain engaged in learning should the school closure continue for a prolonged amount of time. 


Unless otherwise directed, staff who are able, will be in school working. Staff who are in self isolation and well will be working from home.


The news that the GCSEs will not run this summer will be extremely disappointing for our year 11 students who have worked so hard and have made us so proud – we will be talking to them tomorrow.  With regards to making provision for our most vulnerable students and the children of key workers, we will be having strategic discussions and making decisions very soon.  Once we have formulated a plan of action we will share this with you and continue to keep you fully updated on key information as it becomes relevant.


Thank you very much for all your support, the team at The Swanage School are working hard to ensure that teaching and learning will continue to remain strong in these extreme circumstances.


Yours faithfully,

Jenny Maraspin

Acting Headteacher


Tuesday 17 March 2020 - what the School is doing

Yesterday, the government significantly stepped up its advice regarding reduction of social contact and self-isolation in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic. Two letters have been emailed to parents today to provide updates on what the school is doing and reflecting these changes, as follows:

17th March 2020

Dear Parent/Carer(s)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

I am writing to provide you with an update on what we, as a school, are doing to keep your child safe and ensure that learning continues should the school have to close.

What the school is doing:

·     We are ensuring that all learning instructions and resources will be available on Show My Homework.

·     We have a range of online platforms for students to access if they are not in school. A pack of login details and user instructions will be sent home very shortly.

·     We will also provide learning packs for students that don’t have access to computers or reliable Wi-Fi.

·     We will monitor advice on a regular basis from Public Health England and keep you updated.

·     We have postponed whole school assemblies.

·     The following events have been postponed either by the school or by other agencies:

o   Year 10 Work Experience

o   Year 9 Options Evening

o   Year 10 Big Bang event

o   Year 10 Mandir trip to Southampton

o   Year 10 Dungeness

o   Year 10 Mocks

·     Staff are greeting students every morning in the atrium to keep spirits up and ensure they are ok.

·     We continue to remind students to wash hands during the day, particularly before eating.

·     Our cleaning team are completing a thorough whole school clean every night and staff are continuously cleaning door handles and high-usage areas during the day.

·     We are ensuring that students have access to hand sanitiser gels around the school.

·     We continue to ensure that toilets are well stocked up with soap and toilet paper.

What we ask parents/carers to do:

·     Keep up to date and comply with all government advice

·     Inform us immediately if anyone in your family is being tested for COVID-19.

Please be assured that we will continue to monitor this situation and update you if there are any further developments or changes to our calendar or current situation.  Government information can be found on our website.

Thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely

Jenny Maraspin        

Acting Headteacher



Tuesday 17 March 2020 - Government guidance

17th March 2020

Dear Parent/Carer(s)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance

Dear Parent/Carer

Please read the linked government guidance. It provides information and advice for those who are at increased risk and also outlines steps you can take to reduce social interaction and the guidelines around self-isolation.

Please be assured that parents/carers isolating their child at home because they have a temperature, or a new persistent cough will not be penalised for non-attendance.

We will imminently be providing information and links to effective home study for all students who are currently off school. Learning packs will be provided for students without computers or reliable Wi-Fi.

Thank you again for your support, we will continue to keep you up to date and well informed as the situation develops.

Yours sincerely

Jenny Maraspin       
Acting Headteacher 





Tuesday 10th March 2020 - what the School is doing

10th March 2020

Dear Parent/Carer(s)

Coronavirus (COVID-19)                             

I am writing to inform you of the steps that we are taking as a school to keep your child safe from the Coronavirus.  We are determined to keep the school free of COVID-19, and thus would request your support in working with us to ensure that we follow current Government guidelines.        

What the school is doing:

  • Ensuring students are informed of the need to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly (20 seconds minimum) with warm soapy water or hand-sanitiser gel.
  • Ensuring students understand the importance of covering their mouth when they cough or sneeze (with tissues being disposed of immediately afterwards), and sanitising their hands afterwards.
  • Reminding students to avoid touching their eyes nose and mouth.
  • Providing student access to hand sanitiser gels in the front entrance, main office and canteen area.
  • Ensuring toilets are well stocked up with soap and toilet paper.
  • Introducing a ‘no hand shaking’ policy for parents and visitors attending meetings with staff.
  • Ensuring resources are available on the Show My Homework, Dr Frost and Seneca for students to access in the unlikely event of us having to close or partially close the school.
  • Taking advice on a regular basis from Public Health England.

What we ask parents/carers to do:

  • Talk to your son/daughter about the importance of hand washing.
  • Provide your son/daughter with enough tissues to get through the day, if needed.
  • Contact 111 if you or any of your family develop symptoms of a virus (cough, high temperature, shortness of breath).
  • Inform us immediately if anyone in your family is being tested for COVID-19.
  • Inform us if anyone in your family has recently returned from a Coronavirus hotspot (e.g. northern regions of Italy like Lombardo or Veneto).
  • Respect our no hand-shaking policy at Parents’ Evenings and other meetings in school.

Please be assured that we will continue to monitor this situation and update you if there are any further developments.  Government information can be found on our website.

Thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely

Jenny Maraspin
Acting Headteacher


School closures

On 18th March 2020, the UK Government announced that schools are to close for all students except those of key workers who cannot otherwise be safely looked after and vulnerable students. We will be following all the advice and will keep in touch. 

Self-isolation (staying at home)

As of 16 March 2020, the UK Government is asking any person and their entire household to stay at home for 14 days if they have either:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough

This will help protect others in the community while you are infectious if you do have the virus. There is no longer any need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you are self-isolating, only if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse
  • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

and then to only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

You should not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.


Please read the UK Government "stay at home" guidance for further information.

Social distancing

As of 16 March 2020, new social distancing measures are recommended for everyone, and particularly for vulnerable groups. The guidance on social distancing can be found here. At present schools remain open.


As at other hospitals throughout the country, an isolation pod has been set up at Wareham Hospital as a precautionary measure.


The Department for Education has launched a new helpline to answer questions about the virus related to education, which staff, parents and young people can contact, details are as follow:

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Email:  DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)

If you have any concerns, are self-isolating or have travelled from one of the affected countries (see further information and links below), please contact Ms Maraspin (Acting Headteacher), Ms Lawton (Acting Deputy Headteacher) or Ms Sands (Safeguarding & Welfare Lead) without delay. 

Further information

Advice is being regularly updated by the UK Government. The following sources of information will be helpful in keeping abreast of developments and in providing guidance if you have any concerns, have symptoms, have returned from other countries or have travel plans, or believe you or your child/ren may have been in contact with someone who has the virus or is at risk of infection.

UK Government website - Coronavirus: UK Government Response

NHS advice page

Guidance (Department for Health and Social Care, and Public Health England)

Travel Advice (Department for Health and Social Care and Public Health England)

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Travel Advice

Public Health England Blog

UK Action Plan

On 3rd March, the Government launched a Coronavirus action plan. This document sets out what the UK as a whole has done to tackle the Coronavirus, and what it plans to do next. The action plan can be found on the Government's website here: Coronavirus Action Plan. The document includes:

  • what is known about the virus and the disease it causes
  • how the UK has planned for an infectious disease outbreak, such as coronavirus
  • the actions the UK has taken so far in response to the current outbreak
  • what the UK is planning to do next, depending upon the course the current coronavirus outbreak takes
  • the role the public can play in supporting this response, now and in the future

Current advice to schools is that no school should close in response to a suspected (or confirmed) coronavirus case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.


Public Health England Coronavirus Advice Poster