Skip to content ↓
Pupil Return & Wellbeing

Senior School September 2020 Frequently Asked Questions

As families around the world start to look ahead to September 2020, we know that you will have questions regarding the safety and wellbeing of students returning to college.

Like most families, our priority is to look after, protect and support those in our care. To assist in this, we are delighted to have signed up to the BSA's Covid Safe Charter and adhere to it's principles.

We are operating on the basis that all students will be able to return in September. Our magnificent natural setting offers our students a fantastic environment to learn and develop in, providing significant advantages for their protection and wellbeing and parents peace of mind.

Under the circumstances, things may need be done slightly differently than normal. Our planning and response team have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions to assist both our international and domestic families who are joining, and considering joining us in September.

We invite you to contact us should you have any further questions and our admissions team will be more than happy to help.

Rob Jones

Head of College

Returning to school   

If you have any concerns regarding you son or daughter’s health, or they are showing any symptoms of COVID 19 please keep them at home and follow the Government advice. The main symptoms of coronavirus are:  

·         a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)  

·         a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)  

·         a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal  


How is the College going to be organised in September?   
  • While pupils will continue to socially distance there will be times where this is not possible. Following Government guidance, the College is going to be split into five ‘bubbles’ of pupils. Pupils within each bubble can interact with one another and are kept apart from the other bubbles. The bubbles will be
  • Nursery 
  • Junior School 
  • Years 7-9 
  • Year 10-13
  • There will then be a separate boarding bubble for times outside of the working day.

 The pupils have been organised in this manner to minimise the potential spread of the disease, while also ensuring that we can continue to offer excellent pastoral care, sports and activities. The biggest bubble is approximately 140 pupils which is in line with government recommendations and considerably less than the 240 maximum.  

What is the Visitor and Parental Access plan?   
  • In order to reduce the risks, we are minimising the number of people that come into and out of school buildings. Parents are asked not to enter houses so that we can preserve our bubbles. If you need to contact the College please email or phone in the first instance. If you do need to come into the College please contact Reception so that we can book an appointment at a time of low footfall through the Main Building.  
What happens and the start and finish of the day?   
  • The College will have multiple drop off and collection points as detailed below. Pupils will then sanitise their hands on entry to their boarding house or 6th Form Centre.   

    Drop off and collection points are as follows:  

    Junior School – in front of Main Building  

    Years 7 –9 Boys – outside Old Rectory  

    Years 7-9 Girls – outside Godman House  

    Year 10-11 Boys – outside Lawn House  

    Year 10-11 Girls – outside Stable House  

    Sixth Form – outside Main Building for pupils to walk to the Sixth Form Centre  



What is the plan for mealtimes?    
  • Breakfast will now be taken in houses with food being delivered from the school kitchens. Lunch times will be segregated according to bubbles, with lunch being served in the dining room.  Dinner for boarding pupils will be served in the dining room and will work as a complete boarding bubble. Our catering team will constantly manage any additional required changes. 
How will classrooms be arranged?   
  • All classrooms have been assessed and adapted to meet with the government guidelines. Desks will face forward and be spaced to give maximum space between pupils. Thankfully we are blessed with large rooms, high ceilings and good ventilation in our classrooms.   
How will movement be managed around the site? 
  • Senior, Junior and Nursery School pupils will be kept apart and have their own access and facilities. Pupils will be expected to wait outside classrooms and are then allowed to enter and leave under the guidance of the teachers. We will be implementing social distancing measures to ensure that pupils are reminded to preserve space between one another when moving around site.
How will toilet facilities work? 
  • In order to reduce the risk of transmission in common areas, pupils will use toilets in their houses thereby preserving bubbles. Godman House –years 7-9, Lawn and Stable –years 10-11, Sixth Form Centre years 12 and 13. These toilets will be subject to additional cleaning. Boarders and day pupils will have different facilities to preserve this boarding bubble.   
What is the plan for Assembly and Chapel?   
  • Chapel and Assemblies will be shown in tutor groups via Youtube or live stream. 
Can my child access the Library?   
  • In order to preserve bubbles, the Library will only be open to pupils in Year 10-13. We will make alternative arrangements for pupils in Years 7-9 as required. 
What is the plan for sport?   
  • All pupils will continue to partake in their sporting activities. For Years 11-13 this will be Monday and Wednesday afternoon and for Years 7 to 9 and Year 10 this will be Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.  Due to the Government’s requirements to maintain bubbles throughout the school we will be unable to run inter-school fixtures, which will be reviewed at half term.  We will be running a full sporting programme, including touch rugby, hockey, football, badminton, basketball, gym and dance. This is liable to change due to government guidance and a full plan will be published to pupils at the start of term.  
What is the plan for activities? 
  • We are looking to run our wide-ranging activity programme as usual with some slight tweaks. Due to the bubbling of year groups we will ensure that all activities are undertaken within the Year 7 to 9, Year 10 and Year 11 to 13 bubbles.  This will mean a slight change to how some activities are grouped throughout the week.  Those activities which take place off site, such as horse riding, will not take place initially and will be reviewed throughout the term as to when we are able to transport pupils for off-site activities.   
What is the plan for music, Individual Instrumental, and Singing Lessons?
  • Individual lessons will be in person from the beginning of next term, with lessons beginning on Monday 14th September. Lessons will be run following the guidelines issued by the Government (guidance dated 1st July 2020) and the advice given by the Incorporated Society of Musicians, as follows: 

·         Six large well-ventilated rooms, in various locations throughout the College, have been identified as suitable venues for individual music lessons for the Michaelmas Term. These rooms will only be used for music lessons and will be cleaned and sanitised regularly. The larger of these rooms will be used by singers, woodwind and brass players for obvious reasons. 

·         The small practice rooms on the top floor of the music department will not be used for tuition until January 2021 at the earliest.  

·         As advised by the ISM where possible there will be gaps of at least ten minutes between lessons to allow for the room to ventilate. 

·         All rooms in which piano lessons are taught will continue with two pianos, so that pupil and teacher can be suitably distanced, and will not have to share instruments.  

·         The department will continue to loan instruments by the term as normal, but will not be able to loan instruments for individual lessons or ensembles in the event that a pupil forgets to bring their instruments. 


·         The termly Pupils' Concerts will take place virtually in the Michaelmas Term, and will be released on the department's social media channels.   

·         Coffee Concerts which take place within the school day will continue, but will be dedicated to bubbles. The audiences for these events will be restricted to the relative bubbles, and unfortunately will not be open to parents. These events will also be recorded and released via social media channels.  


Strict adherence to bubbles and to Government guidance, which currently restricts ensembles to 15 or fewer pupils, means that this term the College Choir and College Orchestra will not be able to run. Ensembles will begin Monday 21st September. The department's exact co-curricular offering will be confirmed in September, but is likely to include the following: 

·         Chamber Choir (year 10-13) 

·         Lower School Choir (year 7-9) 

·         Senior Show Choir (year 10-13) 

·         Lower School Show Choir (year 7-9)  

·         Lower School String Ensemble (year 7-9) 

·         Senior Woodwind Ensemble (year 10-13) 

·         Lower School Woodwind Ensemble (year 7-9) 

·         Senior Rock Band (year 10-13) 

·         Lower School Rock Band (year 7-9)  

·         Lower School Piano Duet Club (year 7-9)  

·         Supervised practice will be available in bubbles 

What is the plan for Drama?   
  • The Senior School production will go ahead in the Michaelmas term, involving students in Years 10 to 13: the production will be recorded and made available for parents to view remotely. Assuming current Government recommendations remain in the Lent term, then the Lower School production for Years 7 to 9 will follow the same format of recording and remote viewing in the Lent Term. LAMDA lessons will continue from the start of the Michaelmas term and arrangements for these remain unchanged.  
What is the plan for trips?  
  • There will be no overnight trips at present and any day trips are restricted to those required by exam boards.  
What happens to school uniform?

In order to make it easier to change and wash clothes we will not be asking pupils to wear jackets or ties. It will therefore be summer uniform at the start of term and this will be reviewed on 1 October 2020.

Can pupils wear masks?    
  • Pupils can wear plain colour masks if they chose to do so but it is not a requirement in school. If pupils wish to visit the tuck shop then they must wear a face covering.  
Can pupils go to the tuck shop?   
  • In addition to wearing facemasks we are organising a rota to reduce the queues at the tuck shop. As always, a teacher or prefect will be on duty at key times to oversee queue management and social distancing.  We will aim to ensure that year groups can visit the tuck shop on at least one occasion each day.  A rota will be published in houses at the start of term and this must be stuck to completely.  
What is the situation regarding sharing pens, books etc?   
  • Pupils will be expected to provide their own materials and will be given textbooks as required. Sharing resources will be kept to a minimum and will be subject to a cleaning plan.  
Will the school buses run, and what will this look like timetable-wise and from a safety point of view?   
  • We are following government guidance closely and it appears that we will be able to operate school buses in a very similar manner to last year. Mrs Endersby is currently finalising route details and will be in touch shortly with parents who have expressed an interest in using the bus. For any queries please contact
Late stay/occasional boarding/Flexiboarding?   
  • Pupils will be allowed to stay until 6pm but, in order to preserve boarding bubbles we will not be able to run late stay or occasional boarding this term. Pupils who regularly flexiboard will be able to continue to do so.   
What is the testing process if my child becomes ill, as a boarder?    
  • If a boarder requires a test, then depending on the advice from 111 this may be a postal test, or it may be at a local drive-in testing centre. If at a testing centre, a member of the Medical Centre team will accompany them. Once the test is taken the pupil will return to the Medical Centre where they will remain in a Covid-specific room until the test results return. The pupil will be looked after by the medical team throughout this period. If a test is negative, then the pupil may return to College immediately. If the test returns positive, then the pupil must remain in a Covid designated room for 14 days under the care of the medical team. This may either be in the Medical Centre or in Garden House (situation dependent) and can carry on with their schoolwork remotely if they are well enough.  
How will the school manage a pupil showing symptoms?   
  • If a pupil feels unwell with any of the symptoms of Covid-19 (severe headache, fever, loss of sense of taste and smell) they should immediately report to reception. A Sister will be called and the pupil will be taken directly to a room in the Medical Centre designated for isolation due to Covid-19 symptoms. There the pupil will receive an examination from a nurse wearing suitable PPE equipment. Should the symptoms be deemed to be Covid related, 111 will be called immediately and a test booked, which will either be postal or at a drive-in centre. If the pupil is a day pupil parents will be called immediately and asked to collect their son/daughter immediately to allow them to be tested. Once the test has been taken the pupil must remain at home until the test results are produced. If the test returns negative the pupil may immediately return to College. If the test returns positive then the pupil must stay off school for 14 days.  
How will students self-isolate if they become ill with COVID19, as a boarder? How do they report their illness?   
  • Once a pupil has been diagnosed with Covid-19 and a positive test has been returned the boarding pupil will isolate in the designated Medical Centre rooms for patients. They will have their own washing facilities and meals will be delivered. As they improve, or when they are able, they will be able to join the remote learning programme on offer. If required, we have made arrangements for an overspill location on site that pupils recovering may be housed in. Again, all meals will be provided there. All symptoms should be reported immediately to the Medical Centre via the reception desk as stated earlier.  
How is the medical centre going to work?   
  • Our Medical Centre will continue to operate as it did in the last school year. There is a fully qualified nurse on-site 24 hours a day from Monday 7am until Saturday 4pm. Over the weekend period a fully-qualified nurse is on call to open the Medical Centre if required. Pupils exhibiting symptoms should immediately report to reception and will be taken to an isolated room in the Medical Centre and the process as above will commence.   
I live abroad: will my child need to quarantine before term starts?    
  • Pupils from the following countries need to quarantine before the start of term. The current countries that are exempt from quarantining are listed here :  

What will happen during half term?
  • Boarding pupils will be allowed to stay at school throughout half term and until the Christmas Holiday so that we can maintain an infection-free sc
What are the arrangements if my child needs to quarantine before term starts? 
  • Pre-term quarantine will take place in Park House. Mr and Mrs Silverthorn (Park Houseparents) will be overseeing the pupils, aided by other members of staff. Pupils will be able to use the Park House facilities including a full kitchen, common room, multiple bathrooms and plenty of outside space for games and relaxation. A programme of activities will be put in place and new pupils will have a basic induction, including gaining access to the school internet and WIFI. Food will be a self-service breakfast, followed by lunch and dinner in the house. The building will be cleaned every day and additional cleaning protocols will be in place to ensure the highest possible cleanliness. We will be charging £48 per day to cover the additional costs of staffing, food and cleaning. If you would like to use this service, please contact or make the arrangements via your agent. Please contact our travel team in the usual manner who will make arrangements for your collection at the airport.
What are the transport arrangements to and from the airport? 
  • Transport from airports for boarders will be overseen by Angela Davis in our International Office. We will endeavour to use transport methods which allow us to space pupils out should they wish.
What will happen if my child cannot attend school for a period of time? E.g. quarantining, ill, unable to return to the UK? 
  • We are looking forward to welcoming all pupils back to College in September and will be operating as such.For students who are away, provision will be made for remote learning. The level of service will not be as full as when the College was closed, because we expect pupils to be in school and teachers will be engaged in teaching live classes.
  • Your child can expect to receive suitable work for each timetabled lesson and contact from the teacher through MS Teams. Work that is returned to the teacher will be marked and feedback provided.
  • The College will not live-stream lessons or make full recordings of lessons; however, all classrooms will have the technology to allow segments of a lesson to be recorded. Teachers will use their discretion to decide what segments of lessons are appropriate for recording. For example, this might be a teaching explanation, worked example or practical demonstration. These recordings will be made from a pupil's eye view and made available in MS Teams along with teaching materials to support learning. The work will be stored on MS Teams so that it can be accessed in the future.
  • If your child is unable to attend school for a period of time please make sure that you have informed the Head of College’s personal assistant, Hannah Thompson, using the following email address as soon as possible:
How will you support my child? 
  • We are extremely proud of how the pupils have managed throughout this difficult time. Rendcomb prides itself on its outstanding pastoral care and there are many ways that pupils can be supported through this time. Our pastoral team across houses and tutor teams will be on hand for any pupils who need assistance. The Medical Centre will be on hand to also provide pastoral support and our new School Listener, Mrs Amanda Fletcher, will be running sessions for pupils specifically to talk about the Covid-19 pandemic and the issues that have arisen by it. If any pupil or parent has any worries please do contact your son/daughter’s tutor, Houseparent or the Deputy Head Pastoral, Jonnie Howorth on who will be very happy to help.
How will you support the academic needs of my child? 
  • While we have been extremely pleased with the progress made through remote learning, there will undoubtedly be situations where pupils will need to catch up work. We will be running a number of clinics to support pupils as needed. These will be within their designated bubbles and we will be carefully monitoring the amount of work they will be required to do.
What will happen to boarders if the school has to shut temporarily? 
  • We will follow the advice of Public Health England but we expect to switch to a full programme of remote learning for this period. Boarders would remain on site and be taught remotely from their boarding houses.
What will happen if a child or staff member tests positive for covid19 at college 
  • Should we have a positive result for COVID19, we will immediately inform Public Health England (or the new alternative) to implement track and trace procedures. We will then follow their advice regarding information and would expect to keep families informed to prevent any spread.