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Frequently asked questions

COVID-19 REOPENING Frequently asked questions – September 2020

If you have any queries your child’s return to school, please read these FAQs first. We hope these will answer most questions. If you haven’t found the answer you require, please submit your query using this form.

These FAQs are supporting our Parent and Student Guidance Booklet September 2020.

When do students return to school?

Year 7s will return to school on Monday 7th September.  Year 8s to 11s will return on Tuesday 8th September.  We will return on a week 1 on your child’s timetable.

Will the timings of the school day remain the same?

There have been some alterations to the length of some lessons, but lessons will still start at 8.55am.  To ensure that we keep the mixing year groups to an absolute minimum and to give us time to carry out enhanced cleaning both before and after school, we do ask that students do not arrive on-site until 8.30am (unless the bus arrives before) and that they leave site by 3.45pm.

It is vital that students arrive on time for school and are in their classrooms ready to learn at 8:55am. Students who are late should report to Reception via the intercom at the front entrance.

  •  08.55 – 09.40 Lesson 1a
  • 09.40 – 10.25 Lesson 1b
  • 10.25 – 11.10 Students will have a Pastoral session with their Mentor, alongside their break during this time. Break will be staggered and co-ordinated to allow access to the canteen for year groups at specific times. Mentor groups have been organised into single year groups, not mixed.
  • 11.10 – 12.00 Lesson 2a
  • 12.00 – 12.50 Years 7 & 8 lunch time; Years 9 – 11 lesson 2b
  • 12.50 – 13.40 Years 7 & 8 lesson 2b; Years 9 -11 lunch time
  • 13.40 – 14.30 Lesson 3a
  • 14.30 – 15.20 Lesson 3b
  • 15.10 – 15.20 Years 7, 8, and 9 leave their classrooms in a staggered, controlled way
  • 15.20 – 15.30 Years 10 and 11 leave in a staggered, controlled way (students wait in their classrooms to be dismissed)

Handwashing and toilets

Students will wash their hands or use hand sanitizer on arrival, at the start and end of lunchtimes and breaktimes as well as at the end of the day, in addition to their usual handwashing hygiene when they use the toilet. As part of the summer refurbishments, the toilets have already been upgraded with new taps and soap dispensers in preparation for the students starting back in September.

We have placed hand sanitiser stations in the college building so staff and students can hand sanitise whilst travelling to classrooms and to social spaces. However, students are also advised to bring their own hand sanitiser to be used appropriately and reduce use of the communal stations.

When students arrive on site or before they leave, they will be directed by staff to go to the toilet and wash their hands. All toilets are supervised and visits to the toilet will be co-ordinated to ensure minimal contact between students.

Where does my child go when they arrive in school?

Each year group has its own entry/exit doors, set of toilets and outdoor social space.  Students should go straight to the allocated arrival areas when arriving at school as detailed below.   If the weather is wet, then another space will be allocated.

Year 7 zone (Orange) – English rooms

  • Site entry and exit: Front entrance
  • Classrooms for lessons: Rooms 1, 2, 3, 6, 7
  • Toilets: The Hive
  • Social space:
  • Arrival to school: Front Field – South End side / English classrooms
    • Break time: Front Field – South End side
    • Lunchtime: Front Field – South End side

Year 8 zone (Purple) – Maths rooms

  • Site entry and exit: Rear entrance
  • Classrooms for lessons (these are on the opposite side of the building to the classrooms in use for Year 7): Rooms 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
  • Toilets: Main Building
  • Social spaces:
  • Arrival to school: Creative Arts Field/ Maths classrooms
    • Break time: Front Field – Science block side
    • Lunchtime: Front Field – Science block side

Year 9 zone (Blue) – MFL and Room 26

  • Site entry and exit: Through MFL doors and Technology workshop fire exit
  • Rooms for lessons: Rooms 33, 34, 35, 36, 26
  • Access also to the Hall, 18, 21, 23, 27, 28, 45 for specialist lessons
  • Toilets: The Hive
  • Social spaces:
  • Arrival to school: Outdoor Eating Area / Canteen blue zone
    • Breaktime: Front Field – South End side
    • Lunchtime: Creative Arts Field

Year 10 zone (Red) – Top corridor

  • Site entry and exit: Through the double doors between MFL and the main building
  • Classrooms for lessons: Rooms 14, 15, 16, 17, 20
  • Access also to 18, 21, 23, 27, 28,45 for specialist lessons
  • Toilets: Main building
  • Social spaces:
  • Arrival to school: MFL courtyard / Drama Studio
    • Breaktime: Front Field – South End side
    • Lunchtime: Front Field – South End side

Year 11 zone (Green) – The Science block

  • Site entry and exit: Through the Science block fire exits
  • Classrooms for lessons: Rooms 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 46
  • Access also to 18, 21, 23, 27, 28,45 for specialist lessons
  • Toilets: Science block
  • Social spaces:
  • Arrival to school: Front Field – Science block side / Hall
    • Breaktime: Front Field – Science block side
    • Lunchtime: Front Field – Science block side

Is this the definitive plan for September?

We are following government and scientific guidance. Currently, the balance of risk is overwhelmingly in favour of children returning to school. We will be constantly reviewing the situation, Government guidance and our Risk Assessment to ensure that your child’s return to school is managed as safely as possible for all involved.

Do I have to send my child to school?

From the autumn term of 2020 the government have stated that a student’s attendance is mandatory and that the usual rules on attendance will apply:

  • parents’ duty to ensure that their child of compulsory school age attends regularly at the school where the child is a registered student
  • schools’ responsibilities to record attendance and follow up absence
  • the ability to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices, in line with local authorities’ codes of conduct


Although school attendance is mandatory from the start of the autumn term, there are some circumstances where students cannot attend school due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and parents will not be penalised for this. These circumstances are as follows:

  • students who are required to self-isolate as they, or a member of their household, has symptoms or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • students who are required by legislation to self-isolate as part of a period of quarantine
  • students who are clinically extremely vulnerable in a future local lockdown scenario only

If your child does have a medical condition that would put them into the vulnerable categories and you feel that there would need to be an individual risk assessment for your child, please contact the school office immediately.

Do I have to send my child to school even if someone at home is displaying Covid-19 symptoms?

It is imperative that your child (and the rest of the household) self isolates in accordance with government guidance, and that you contact NHS England.  You must contact school immediately if your child or a member of your household develops symptoms: report the absence and your child may not return until the required period of self-isolation has been served.  Parents must continue to contact the school office on a daily basis to notify us of all student absence unless you have informed us that your child will not return until the end of the quarantine period.  We will expect your child back at school at the end of the quarantine period.

Do I need to provide my child with a face mask?

Recent government guidance is that face masks should be worn in school when moving around the building, when going into the canteen and when social distancing is not possible, although masks do not need to be worn in lessons.   Our first aid staff will wear PPE when dealing with emergency situations. PPE will also be worn in situations where a child or member of staff develops suspected Covid-19 symptoms.

We recommend that your child brings in their own hand sanitizer, and if your child comes into school on a bus, a mask must be worn at all times.

What if my child is exempt from wearing a face mask?

As wearing a face mask isn’t compulsory, students will not be challenged if they do not wear a face mask in school.

Can my child wear a face mask in lesson?

Yes, if your child wishes to do so.

What is the “bubble system” and how will it work at Bassingbourn Village College?

We will be keeping year groups separate within the separate areas of the school building. Pupils will spend more time in one room, with staff moving between classrooms.   When specialist rooms are needed in Years 9 – 11, and for PE in Years 7 and 8, students will go to different locations via a strict movement system using specific doors to enter buildings. Records will be kept of seating to assist with Track & Trace.

I have children in different year groups.  Can they see each other during the day?

Whilst we appreciate that we have many sets of siblings in school, we ask that they remain within their bubbles during the course of the school day.

What social distancing measures will be taken in classrooms?

Teachers will teach from the front of the classroom, distanced from the pupils. Pupils will be sat at forward-facing desks (rather than in groups) in accordance with government guidance.

Do pupils have to follow social distancing rules between themselves?

Social distancing between pupils should be observed outside of school at all times in accordance with Government guidelines.  Inside school, within year-group bubbles, pupils will need to be closer together, but in as controlled a way as possible.

 My child is taking more practical subjects.  How will this impact those lessons?

Unfortunately, at the start of this new academic year, there will be fewer practical lessons in Key Stage 3.  Instead, theoretical course content will be concentrated at the start of the year. We hope that we will be able to lift restrictions as the year progresses and reintroduce more practical lessons.

What about access to specialist rooms, such as Art rooms and laboratories?

We will limit access to specialist rooms to pupils in Years 9, 10 and 11, with additional cleaning between year groups.

Won’t the corridors be busy?

Most movement will be via the outside of school. We will also have more one-way systems in place.  Face masks should be worn in corridors according to the latest Government guidance.

What about break and lunchtime?

Pupils will be using their social areas and lunch will be eaten in year groups.

Between 10:25 and 11:10 students will be based in their teaching zones taking part in pastoral based activities. Students will also have a 15 minute break within this time. The different year groups will have staggered breaks and use different zones of the canteen if they wish to purchase food or drinks.   Students should wear face masks when going through the canteen.  If the students are not moving through the canteen to get food or drinks then they should be in their designated area. The start and end of break time will be controlled by staff to ensure safe movement around the school.

Lunch time has been split across lesson 2b and our original lunch time.

Lunch arrangements are as follows:

  • 12.00 – 12.50 Years 7 & 8 lunch time; Years 9 – 11 lesson 2b
  • 12.50 – 13.40 Years 7 & 8 lesson 2b; Years 9 -11 lunch time

Will my child be able to buy food at school?

Our catering company, Chartwells, will be offering grab and go meal choices with a specific servery for each year group during lunch break. Free school meals will continue to be provided. There will be a reduced menu with meal options individually packaged to enable quick collection by students during lunch time. There is no requirement to pre-order, but students are encouraged to know their meal choices ahead of lunch times so there is little waiting at the collection areas. Menus will be posted on our school website. Year groups will have a set time for their visit to the canteen to allow for safe movement of students around the school and for the canteen staff to clean between year groups.

We will continue to operate the biometric system, but to ensure that this remains as hygienic as possible, students will be required to sanitize their hands before entering the canteen area, and the biometric reader will be cleaned at regular intervals. These procedures will be strictly monitored by members of staff.  The new Year 7 students will have their biometric data taken in their classrooms on their first day (7th September).  Again, students will be required to sanitize prior to this being taken and the reader will be cleaned regularly.

There will be no seating in the canteen so students will need to eat in their designated areas. There is an expectation that all litter will be put in a bin and students keep their social areas clean and tidy.

Lunchtimes will be supervised by staff on duty and students will spend their lunchtime in the allocated areas for their year group. In the event of wet weather at break or lunch, students will remain in their Year Group teaching zones and be escorted to and from the canteen at their designated times.

Due to current social distancing guidelines, Year 11 will not currently be allowed off site for lunch. When national guidelines are changed, we will review this decision. It is therefore important that students bring either a packed lunch or have money available in their cashless catering account.

All students should bring in a water bottle.  Students will be able to buy drinks at break and lunch, but there will be no extra facilities available for students to get drinks.

What if my child has fallen behind during lockdown?

Our staff will be assessing pupil knowledge and skills, and seeking to address any knowledge gaps at appropriate times over the next year.

How will pupil work be marked? Will the teachers be taking exercise books home?

Feedback will be given to students that indicates how they can improve their learning outcomes. This will be either through verbal feedback in lessons, written feedback in books or via Google Classroom. Teachers will select the most effective method to suit learner, subject and work being assessed. Current guidance indicates that teachers are able to collect in exercise books to assess work, however, this will only be done when it is considered to be the most effective feedback method.

Will my child be able to borrow equipment?

For safety reasons we need to limit the number of objects passing from one person to another. In order to reduce sharing of equipment, we are providing each student with a pack of equipment that must remain in school. This includes the following: pens, pencil, green pen for self-assessment, rubber, sharpener, 30 cm ruler, a highlighter, glue stick, scissors mini whiteboard, whiteboard pen and cleaner, protractor, and a zip-lock folder to keep everything in. Students will need to provide their own subject specific equipment, such as calculators. Students will need to ensure they bring the relevant exercise books with them but should limit what they bring to only what is necessary as they will not have access to lockers.

Will my child be able to use books in schools?

Books and resources can be shared within year groups/ bubbles, and we will support this with enhanced cleaning. The start and end of lessons for Years 7 and 8 will feature silent reading so students will need to ensure that they have a book to read. There will be a selection of age appropriate books within each classroom for those students who do not have their own.

 Where can I buy uniform? What do pupils need to wear?

Information about school uniform can be found here.

Due to safety in the changing rooms, we have taken the decision that on the days when students have Core PE or Fitness on their timetable, they must come to school in their BVC PE kit, so they do not have to use the changing rooms to get changed. Students must bring their uniform with them in case of unexpected wet weather and their PE kit getting wet. In this circumstance, changing will be supervised and changing rooms cleaned before and after use. If students are in PE kit, they must only be wearing official BVC uniform, including jumper and tracksuit bottoms. No student should be wearing a hoodie in school.

If students in Years 9-11 study Health & Fitness, Construction, Dance or Drama, they must come to school in their usual school uniform, bringing their relevant subject clothing with them, as they will be able to use relevant changing spaces to get changed for their lesson only.

Will there be any trips?

Sadly, there are no school trips planned for the first term or Curriculum Days.  We hope to be able to offer additional trips later in the school year.

Will there be any clubs for my child to join?

Clubs will be introduced gradually on a year group basis where possible.

I’m anxious about my child returning to school in September.  Is there someone I can talk to?

You can continue to contact the school in the usual way by using office@bassingbournvc.org or by telephone.

Parents should not expect to talk to a member of staff immediately either by phone or in person without having contacted the college reception. If a parent/carer has an urgent concern then they should contact the college reception.  We will then alert the appropriate member of the teaching staff or pastoral support team who will then contact you either by telephone or email.  Members of staff will continue to respond to communication from parents/carers within 2 working days.

What if I need to drop something into school during the day for my child?

Please note that parents/carers are not allowed into the school. If you need to drop off items for your child then you can contact Reception via the intercom at the front entrance. The receptionist will speak to you and ask you to leave the item outside the main doors. Once this is placed down and you have moved from the area, the receptionist will open the door and pick up the item and ensure that it gets to your child.

We do request that you make sure your child has all the equipment they need for the day, so we can avoid the need for items to be dropped off as much as possible.

What does my child do if they had things in their locker prior to lockdown?

Lockers will no longer continue to be used at the present time.  All lockers have been emptied, the contents have been bagged up and will be handed over to your child during the first week of term.

How can my child who’s in year 11 get their year 11 tie?

Year 11 ties will be given to students during the first period on Tuesday 8th September.

I am confused about what my child should wear if they have PE

To clarify the situation regarding your child’s first day back on Tuesday (years 8-11), if they have PE during the day we would like them to arrive in their PE kit. We are aware that the weather is getting colder, therefore your child can wear plain black jogging bottoms but we would ask that students wear their PE shorts underneath. If students are wearing skorts, then they can also wear opaque black plain leggings under the skort (or shorts).



General FAQs – pre Covid-19

How do I find out what the term dates are?

Our term dates can be found here

How do I buy uniform?

The full list of list of uniform we expect students at Bassingbourn Village College to wear can be found here.

The branded items we expect students to wear are available to purchase from our supplier Total Clothing.

Are all items compulsory?

There are compulsory elements to our uniform which are clearly highlighted on Total Clothing website.  Elements that are not compulsory can be purchased from a shop of your discretion. The school will have final say in relation to the suitability of uniform items.  Uniform should be worn in a ‘smart and business like’ manner at all times when inside the building.   This means shirts tucked in and ties done up properly.  Skirts without a logo must be of the same style to that which can be purchased from Total Clothing.   

How do I make payments for school trips and visits?

Parents will receive a log in for an on-line payment system called Wisepay when your child joins Bassingbourn Village College.  There is a link to Wisepay on the front page of our website.  All payments for school trips, food and drink and additional items, for instance revision guides, are to be purchased through Wisepay.

What bus routes operate to and from Bassingbourn Village College?

There are a number of bus services which enable our students to travel to us from in and around Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

For students that live in our catchment area, Cambridgeshire County Council run a bus service. This must be applied for in advance as a valid bus pass must be shown to board.

For those students who live outside our catchment area, Cozy Travel Limited runs a number of different routes.  If you are interested in finding out about these routes and costs please contact Cozy’s directly on 0345 265 8888 or visit   https://www.cozy.travel/NewBVC

I have a concern which I would like to discuss with someone how do I go about it?

We take any concerns you may have, however big or small, seriously.  If you have questions regarding homework or classwork for a certain subject contact their teacher directly over email and they will come back to you as soon as possible.  If your child has friendship issues, their Mentor would be the first point of contact.   Please contact their Mentor via email and again they will respond to you.  Alternatively, you can call the school office and we can leave them a message to contact you by phone if you would prefer.  Please visit our Policies page for our protocol on responding to parental communication.   Your child will also have a Head of Year Achievement Leader if their Mentor cannot resolve the issue. A full staff list, with email addresses can be found here.

How do I find out what’s on the daily menu?

We take our responsibility of catering for our students and staff really seriously.  We know it’s not just the food on the plate that’s important, and our menus change weekly.  Details of the menus can be found here.

What are the timings of the school day?

Our lessons start at 8.55am and pupils will be expected to be in class ready to learn at this time .  Lunch is between 12.50-1.40pm and our Year 11s are allowed into the village.  Our school day officially ends at 3.20pm, although there are always a number of clubs running if your child wishes to participate.

How do I report my child absent?

If your child is ill, please contact the school on 01763 242344 or email absence@bassingbournvc.org on each and every day of absence.  We do ask that you do this before 8.15am as this allows us to ensure our attendance registers are accurate.  If your child has poor attendance or has been off school for more than 5 school days, we may then ask for medical evidence of the illness in the form of a note from your GP.

My child needs to take medication, can this be administered in school?

Yes, if your child has been prescribed medication by your doctor which needs to be taken during the school day we are able to support this.  We will need documentation to provide us with permission to administer the medication which can either be emailed into school via office@bassingbournvc.org or completed in person on the first day you bring the medication into school.  Medication in school will need to be in its original box with your child’s name on the label.  Once the medication has been finished this will need to be collected.


Bassingbourn Village College

South End, Bassingbourn, Royston, Hertfordshire, SG8 5NJ

01763 242344