Latest Updates for NCEA Trust School Parents/Carers…


Updates to government guidance around the use of face coverings in classrooms (Updated 21/01/22)

From today (21/01/22) pupils in secondary schools will no longer be required to wear face coverings in classrooms. Pupils will still be required to wear masks while moving around school and in all communal spaces. This rule will be reviewed next week at the earliest. This update applies to all pupils from Year 7 through to Year 12 at Duke’s Secondary School.

Updates to Covid rules around testing and self-isolation (Updated 17/01/22)

There have been a number of significant changes to the rules around self-isolation and lateral flow tests. From Tuesday 11th January 2022, children and adults who test positive with a lateral flow test do not need to order a follow-up PCR test if they do not have symptoms. Anyone who has symptoms will still need to take a PCR test regardless, and anyone who tests positive with any test must self-isolate.

For further guidance, please refer to the flow chart below:

Revised Covid measures for Duke’s Secondary School (Updated 30/11/21)

The Department of Education has reintroduced the wearing of face masks in school. Face masks are now compulsory in communal areas and on buses for all year groups (unless medically exempt).

Can we also please ask that students continue to take lateral flow tests, twice weekly, at home.

These measures have been put in place to protect each other and hopefully ensure everyone gets to enjoy a wonderful Christmas.

We thank you for your continued support.


Revised Covid measures for schools in light of Omicron Variant concerns (Updated 29/11/21)

In an address over the weekend in light of rising concerns about the new Omicron variant of Coronavirus, first detected in South Africa, the Prime Minister has reintroduced a number of safety measures to help control the spread of the virus, some of which impact school settings.

From today (29/11/21) staff and pupils in Year 7 and above in all UK secondary schools will be strongly advised to wear face coverings in all communal areas. This is in addition to the mandatory ruling that masks once again be worn on public transport and in shops, and to the additional measures already in place in Northumberland schools as outlined in the 01/11/21 update below.

The Department of Education (DfE) said that this guidance was temporary and would be reviewed in three weeks time – which takes us neatly up to the Christmas holidays. We will of course advise further should these guidelines change in the coming weeks. For now, stay safe and remember, if your child is unwell, keep them off school until a PCR test can be arranged. All close contacts of cases of Covid-19 should also arrange a PCR test as soon as they can. Close contacts can continue to attend school, but should take a daily LFT until they have received a negative PCR test.

Additional Covid measures for schools in Northumberland (Updated 01/11/21)

We have received a letter from Northumberland County Council, regarding additional Covid measures that they would like all schools in Northumberland to implement as soon as possible. This is in response to the well publicised increasing infection rates all around the country. There are a number of recommendations they have suggested, most of which are feasible to introduce at Duke’s Secondary School, without too much disruption to the running of the school day. Therefore we will be introducing the following measures as from tomorrow (2nd November).

  • Parents and staff are advised that all close contacts of cases of Covid-19 should arrange a PCR test as soon as they can. Close contacts can continue to attend school, but should take a daily LFT until they have received a negative PCR test.
  • The expectation will be that staff and students wear a face mask in communal areas around school
  • Enrichment sessions indoors will minimise mixing of year groups by keeping different year groups seated apart from one another in classrooms
  • Unfortunately we have had to cancel the year 11 parents/open evening planned for the 4th of November (This will likely be held virtually later in the half term)
  • Limit multi-year group educational visits to a minimum
  • Ensure that all classrooms are well ventilated

Hopefully these increased control measures will only be temporary. If anyone has any questions, please contact Duke’s Secondary School on 01670 816111.

An Open Letter from the Secretary of State for Education (Updated 01/11/21)

The Secretary of State for Education, Nadhim Zahawi, has written an open letter to parents, carers and guardians about the importance of children aged 12 to 15 getting their COVID-19 vaccine either at school, or at a local vaccination centre. The letter also reminds parents about the importance of testing.

Students and pupils should be encouraged to take a lateral flow device (LFD) test at home and report the result before returning to school or college after half-term, and then to test twice-weekly after that. This is a key part of reducing transmission and case rates in secondary schools and colleges, and keeping children and young people in face-to-face education.

Contingency plans for Covid-19 (Updated 07/09/21)

On Monday 10 May, the government announced that from 17 May, there will be further relaxation of Covid-19 rules, some of which apply to schools and other educational settings. You can find a summary of these changes on our Safety Measures page.

Revised safety measures for educational settings (Updated 11/05/21)

A comprehensive contingency plan for all Trust schools can now be found on our Safety Measures page.

Important Covid-19 testing notice – Please Read (Updated 06/05/21)

Can parents and carers of pupils who are completing twice-weekly Lateral Flow tests (LFTs) please be extra vigilant when reporting absences due to Covid-19.
If your child is showing any symptoms of Covid-19, please call NHS 119 for advice as a full PCR Covid test may be required.


  • Only a PCR test can diagnose a positive Covid case
  • LFT tests are only used to identify people with the Covid-19 virus who are NOT showing symptoms

If your child is showing any symptoms of Covid-19, they must isolate until guidance has been sought from 119 and/ or a PCR test has been taken.

The LFT is not effective when symptoms are showing.

Any queries, contact your school Attendance team or reception.

Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme (Updated 22/03/21)

Parents and carers of children who have been asked to self-isolate can now claim financial support through the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme Claiming financial support under the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme – GOV.UK. Parents and carers may be eligible for a £500 test and trace support payment if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • They are the parent or guardian of a child in the same household who is self-isolating, and they need to take time off work to care for them
  • The child is aged 15 or under, or aged 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, normally attends an education or childcare setting, and has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or by their education or childcare setting
  • The parent or carer is unable to work from home and will lose income because they have to care for the child while they are self-isolating
  • They meet all the other eligibility criteria for a Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment (i.e. they are receiving or are the partner of someone in the same household who is receiving specified benefits as set out in the guidance, or if not on these benefits they could be eligible for a discretionary payment if they are on a low income and will face financial hardship as a result of self-isolating).

If a parent or carer is applying for this payment they will also need to provide their child’s NHS Test and Trace Account ID or a communication from the school telling them to self-isolate, please therefore be aware that parents may request a formal letter and there are templates on the DfE document sharing platform for this purpose.


Home Testing – (Updated 22/03/21)

The DfE has issued the following reminder for all school staff, students and parents to ensure:

  • To test twice a week at home
  • To report test results online

Test kits for schools will continue to be supplied through the DfE’s education testing programme. Please also remember that any positive test at home using an LFD kit must be followed up by a PCR test to confirm the result.


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