It is safe to say that this October half term contained all the elements we have come to expect in our ever-changing and ever-demanding roles as educational guardians. With a team that thrives under pressure, and with one lockdown already under our belts, it is even safer to say that our team remained calm and resilient throughout.
Following the recent return of our guardianship students, as expected most students opted to remain in the UK during the first clear break in the academic year. With travel restrictions and quarantine requirements a deciding factor for many of our parents we set about reminding our students the importance of staying safe during their time away from school.
Our #StaySafe film was sent to every Bright World student and parent to help keep them protected during their holiday. The film outlined the need to follow social distancing rules and the restrictions within local areas and helped students prepare for their first extended stay away from school since the first UK lockdown in March. Parents were reminded that their child would be staying in single rooms, only sharing if they arrived from the same household as another student, or if the room was of a sufficient size for social distancing to be possible.
Covid-safe drivers ensured all students who chose to travel reached the airport safely. Our drivers took precautions to protect themselves and our students from infection by wearing appropriate personal protective equipment and adhered to our rigorous hygiene and distancing practice. We are delighted to report that all students who intended to travel boarded their flights and enjoyed a safe, relaxed half term at home with their families.
The Italian students who chose to travel home for the break were in for a shock. With their home country on the 'Safe list' they hoped to avoid quarantine upon their return to the UK. Italy was, unexpectedly, removed from the list on 15th October, which was right in the middle of their holiday at home and so some of our students suddenly needed to quarantine on their return. Our Quarantine & Settling In Programme became a much needed solution for these students and has meant they can come back and return to school after 14 days.
The UK Government guidance is clear and helps us know exactly how to act in the event one of our students becomes unwell. When one of our guardianship students reported a fever on the first day of half term, our Director of Guardianships sprung into action. Because our student was still at their boarding school when they began experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, the responsibility fell with the school to provide isolation facilities and to take care of the child during their illness. Su also advised the staff that a COVID-19 test was required immediately and following an agonising wait for our parents and indeed the school boarding team a positive result was returned.
The student remained at school under their care which follows government guidance and we are also happy to report that the student in question is recovering well with very mild symptoms of the virus.
The Bright World judges; Louis, Charlotte, Cory and Lana crowned Nate as the very worthy winner of our pumpkin carving contest this Halloween. His intricate design won over our judges but the competition was tough with Prince taking second place with his inspired Phantom of the Opera themed entry.
Now in our fourth year of operation at Cambridge Melchior College, Bright World really has developed the ideal programme structure to suit all age groups. Our understanding of boarding school students’ needs has been instrumental in making this programme a success and although this year things have been slightly different but it seems the students have adapted excellently to the changes. All Bright World residential Relax & Revise holiday programmes have their own Coronavirus Contingency Policy and plan which includes the provision of isolation facilities should a student fall ill during their stay.
Following a much needed break, all our students have now returned back safely to school. Our Guardianship Care team worked closely with our partner boarding schools to ensure a safe return of our students for the second half of the Autumn term and are now busy preparing and making arrangements for Christmas, when we expect that most of our students will stay in the UK.
Lia and Charlotte are joined by Bright World Director of Guardianships & Operations, Su Warren and Guardianship Care Manager, Robbie Piper to chat about the first half term of a year.