Re-opening Boarding

We are delighted to welcome children back to Highfield, to an environment a great deal closer to normality than we have seen for many months. Naturally, the safety of the children remains our paramount concern and we continue to follow all the government advised protective measures against Covid-19, while providing a first-rate boarding education for every child, whether from the UK or overseas.

The following information provides details about our approach which we review and update as the guidance on Covid-19 evolves and according to the advice we receive from the Government Public Health England (PHE) and the Boarding Schools Association (BSA).

LAST UPDATED: 6th September 2021

Is boarding fully open at Highfield?

Yes, our boarding provision is fully open. New boarders are welcome, and regardless of when they start at Highfield, they are given a friendly and thorough induction to the school and boarding school life. Our boarding children receive the highest levels of pastoral support and guidance as well as the support and friendship of a peer mentor to help them through their first weeks and months at Highfield.

What are the current travel restrictions for children arriving from overseas?

The UK Government has published three lists of countries; a Green, Amber and Red List with different rules for each. Foreign travellers from ‘Red List’ countries are currently not allowed to travel to the UK.

Green List Rules

You need to follow these rules even if you have been fully vaccinated in the UK or overseas.

BEFORE TRAVEL:

ON ARRIVAL IN ENGLAND:

You must take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 after you arrive.

You do not need to quarantine unless the test result is positive.

Amber List Rules

Boarding school pupils who are ordinarily resident in the UK, including those who are unaccompanied, and who are attending boarding schools on a child student visa are exempt from the requirements to quarantine and take a day 8 test. They must follow the rest of the Amber List rules below.

Non-UK residents arriving from countries on the Amber List, who have not been fully vaccinated in the UK, must do the following:

BEFORE TRAVEL

ON ARRIVAL IN ENGLAND:

  • Quarantine in the place you are staying for 10 days - this can be shortened to 5 days if you pay for a private COVID-19 test through the Test to Release scheme.
  • Take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8. 

** New Amber List Rules for Arrivals from EU Countries **

You are no longer required to quarantine or take a day 8 test when you arrive in England if you are under 18 years of age, or you’ve been fully vaccinated with an authorised vaccine in Europe. View further information and the full list of countries this new rule applies to. You must still follow the other rules above for arrivals from Amber List countries.

 

While this information is correct at the time of writing, the restrictions change frequently, so please do check the up to date information on the government website.

 

Will my child have to quarantine when they arrive in the UK?

Travellers arriving from countries on the ‘Green List’ do not have to quarantine on arrival in the UK unless they receive a positive test result. Testing is required before travel, and 2 days after arrival.

Travellers arriving from EU countries on the 'Amber List', are no longer required to quarantine or take a day 8 test if they are under 18 years of age, or they’ve been fully vaccinated with an authorised vaccine in Europe. View further information and the full list of countries this new rule applies to.

Arrivals from other countries on the 'Amber List', who have not been fully vaccinated in the UK, must still quarantine for 10 days. This can be shortened to 5 days with the ‘Test to Release’ scheme. 

 

While this information is correct at the time of writing, the restrictions change frequently, so please do check the up to date information on the government website.

 

 

Where can my child quarantine on arrival in the UK?

If your child is required to quarantine, they can quarantine by staying with their guardians, friends or family, or with you in a hotel or other temporary accommodation.

Amber list arrivals cannot quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel – these are for red list arrivals only.

They must quarantine in one place, for the full quarantine period. Read the guidelines on how to quarantine on the government website. 

Sadly, we are unable to offer quarantine at Highfield for arrivals in the UK, and children must quarantine, if required, before coming to Highfield. Our boarding is highly popular with international and local children alike so unfortunately we don't have spare capacity that can be allocated for quarantining arrivals.

Provision is in place should children be required to isolate/quarantine during the school term. Where children are unable to be looked after by family, host families or guardians we will work with parents to ensure children are well cared for.

If you are looking for a guardian or host family for your child, you may find it helpful to consult the AEGIS website. AEGIS is the organisation that accredits and inspects guardians so they will be able to recommend suitable options. 

How is the school keeping children safe during Covid-19?

As with all our planning over the course of the pandemic, the safety of the children remains our absolute priority and paramount concern, and we continue to work hard to ensure that our school community is as safe an environment as possible. Our objective is to ensure that the school remains open and runs smoothly, offering the children an education that is as rich, inspiring, and effective as possible, no matter what the necessary limitations.

We have conducted a thorough Risk Assessment detailing our operating procedures which can be found on the school policies page.
 

Is wearing face masks obligatory at Highfield & Brookham?

Face coverings are discretionary and are no longer required to be worn by teachers, or pupils in Year 7 and 8, either in classrooms or communal areas, but are recommended in enclosed and crowded spaces where pupils and teachers mix with people they do not normally meet.

Guidance also clearly states that they should be worn on designated school transport. Consequently, we recommend that pupils and colleagues wear face coverings whenever travelling on any minibus or coach.

All catering staff will wear face coverings in the Dining Room, as will the Nurses in the Health Centre.

What are the current procedures for testing and isolation?

As part of our efforts to quickly identify any asymptomatic COVID cases in school, children boarding in years 7 and 8 are requested to take a lateral flow test twice weekly. 

Further to the change in regulations in the UK on August 16th, close contacts will no longer be required to isolate if they have been double vaccinated or are under 18 years of age.

If a child becomes unwell with possible COVID-19 symptoms:

  • International (or long distance) boarders who develop possible Covid-19 symptoms will be isolated in their appropriate designated isolation area, supervised by one of the nursing team, who will conduct a PCR test.
  • Day children or local boarders will be collected from school as soon as possible, and parents will be asked to arrange a PCR test.

If a boarder tests negative: local children will recuperate at home and international (or long distance) boarders will be cared for at school, until their illness improves and they can return to normal school life.

If a boarder tests positive: they will continue to isolate for 10 days and close contacts from the 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms will be identified, and their parents will be advised to arrange a PCR test for them. Close contacts will not be required to isolate whilst awaiting the result.

Following the result of the PCR test, close contacts will either remain in isolation and be cared for at school, or be looked after by either their guardian or parents, if this is practical, until they have recovered and can return to lessons.

 

Although current guidance does not require it, we will maintain an internal Track and Trace process so that we are able to move quickly in the event of a positive pupil case.

What health care facilities are available for boarders at Highfield?

Highfield has a Health Centre which is situated within the main boarding areas of the school building and is comprised of a nurses’ office and a resting room with beds and comfortable chairs. There is also a separate bathroom. Most importantly the Health Centre has a cosy, homely feel where children can recuperate and feel cared for.

The Health Centre is managed by our two qualified and experienced paediatric nurses. Both are passionate about the health and well-being of the boarders and all the children at Highfield and Brookham. They are on duty from 8.00am until 8.00pm, Monday to Friday and until 5.30 pm on Saturdays. They work closely with all staff, but especially the boarding team, to ensure that boarders receive excellent medical and pastoral care at all times.

I am interested in my child starting as a new pupil at the school, but worried about making a financial commitment right now. What is the current fee/deposit policy?

The coronavirus pandemic presents us with extraordinary circumstances and an unprecedented level of uncertainty, which especially affects our families overseas. We completely understand the challenges for international parents trying to make plans. That's why we introduced our ‘Covid-19 Guarantee’.

 

  • If, after paying your deposit, your child is unable to start at the school for a Covid-19 related reason, we will return your deposit, or allow you to defer your place (subject to availability). You will not be liable for the term’s fees.
  • If attendance at the school is still subject to Covid-19 restrictions when they are due to start, and we are only able to offer your child remote teaching, you will be given the option to defer your place until they are able to attend in person. 

Read more about our ‘Covid-19 Guarantee’.

My child is due to start as a new pupil, but what would happen if they arrive late because of visa or quarantine issues?

We understand that the coronavirus pandemic has caused delays with visas, and that quarantine requirements can fluctuate. We are happy to be flexible and allow new pupils to start later in the term, or to defer their place, as long as there is space available. We will make sure the child is brought up to speed academically, and helped to integrate and make friends quickly. New pupils whose start date is delayed to part way through the term, will only be charged for the part of the term’s fee that they are able to attend.

The coronavirus pandemic presents us with extraordinary circumstances and an unprecedented level of uncertainty, which especially affects our families overseas. That’s why we have introduced our ‘Covid-19 Guarantee’.

 

You may also find our Visa Information page helpful.

Does my child need a Visa to study at your school?

Following Brexit, the UK immigration rules have changed. However, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens are still able to study in the UK for less than six months without having to apply for a visa. For longer periods, you need to apply for a 'Child Student Visa' under the new points-based immigration system.

The new streamlined process makes visa applications simpler and easier for international students who wish to study at UK independent schools. To find out more about what visa you may need, please visit our Visa Information page.

 

Please also note that from 1st October 2021, a passport will be required to travel to the UK as EU Identity Cards will no longer be valid.

 


Register with Confidence - Covid-19 Guarantee

Our Covid-19 Guarantee means that if you are a family based overseas, you can register your child for a place at Highfield and Brookham, safe in the knowledge that you will not lose out financially if the Coronavirus Pandemic interrupts your plans. Read More...


Stay Informed

If you are a family based overseas and would like to be kept up to date, please do sign up to our International Parent Groups on Facebook or on LinkedIn where we will also announce further updates to this information.

 

 

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