Reading Girls' School newsletter - 20 NOVEMBER 2020

Principal's message: Feedback from Public Health England

Instructions that schools follow…

You will be aware that I have written to you in recent weeks informing you when we had positive cases of Coronavirus. I thought it would be useful to share with you the guidance that Public Health England (PHE) give to schools when we call to report a positive case.

Isolation periods…

They first thing they say is that the person must self isolate for 10 days. The starting point of that isolation period depends on two things. If the person is displaying symptoms, then day 1 of isolation should be counted from the first day that those symptoms were displayed.

If the person is not displaying symptoms but still tests positive, then he/she must isolate for 10 days counting the day of the test, as the first day of isolation.

Who are contacts..?

PHE will advise schools on how to identify ‘contacts’ of the person who has tested positive. To this end, they have a set of criteria. A contact is:

  1. people who spend significant time in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19
  2. sexual partners
  3. a person who has had face-to-face contact (within one metre), with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, including:
  • being coughed on
  • having a face-to-face conversation within one metre
  • having skin-to-skin physical contact, or
  • contact within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
  • a person who has been within 2 metres of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes
  • a person who has travelled in a small vehicle with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or in a large vehicle or plane near someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

Where an interaction between 2 people has taken place through a Perspex (or equivalent) screen, this would not be considered sufficient contact, provided that there has been no other contact such as any of those indicated above.

Ending isolation…

The advice is arguably not common knowledge amongst the public and certainly something that we have learned in our recent conversations with Public Health England.

A person who has tested positive for Covid-19 and has been isolating for 10 days can end that period of isolation if he/she does not have a temperature of 37.8 degrees or more. If a person does have a temperature at or above this threshold, he/she must continue isolating.

This means that it is acceptable for a person to stop isolating if he/she has a cough and/or a continued loss of sense of smell and/or taste. The reason for these two exemptions, is because it can take a number of weeks for these symptoms to clear and isolation for that period of time is not necessary.

But there is no rhyme nor reason…

Finally, some people have commented on how we have not had any cases on a large scale amongst pupils given the fact that we are a school of over 600 people that is fully open during a pandemic.

Aside from admirable cooperation of our girls with the safety steps that we have put in place, we cannot control people’s behaviour outside of school. The lack of prevalence of Covid-19 in our school, is simply good fortune. The ‘cases’ that we have had, have actually been at a time when those who contracted the virus where away from our school environment or it was transmitted in another context.

I want to reassure you that we will continue to be as vigilant as possible and put safety at the forefront of our daily work. Our hybrid classrooms register is an example of this. If pupils and/or parents report symptoms, we immediately initiate a 10-day isolation period. We have an average of 10-15 pupils each day on our hybrid classrooms register and at the time of writing, thankfully no pupils have reported a positive case of the virus but we know this can change at any time.

Jon Gargan, Principal


This week STEM was for the girls from Year 7 - they learnt about KPMG, made their own teddy bear company, met Dr Adam Wright from Oxford University and made some very long paperchains.

Year 7 STEM Ambassadors


Students looked at how computing technology has changed and how it will develop in the future with many exciting developments coming over the next few years, such as 4D printing, human augmentation and smart dust. They were also asked to work in teams to think of a technology idea to help the emergency services and to name different technologies from A-Z.

Dr Adam Wright

Dr Wright lived in Reading and went to Cambridge University to study Natural Sciences before taking his PhD at Oxford, Corpus Christie. Dr Wright now researches solar cells and how they generate electricity. He talked to the girls, via video link, about his work and career path and what he wants to achieve and they asked him lots of questions about his life and work.

Two further activities completed the Year 7 STEM Day.

Firstly, the girls had to create their very own teddy bear factory of five people. Each group was given a template which had 3 teddy bears in different sizes. The largest one selling at £1, the medium sized at 50p and the smallest just 20p. Each group then had to buy a newspaper for £5 to actually make the different sized teddy bears to sell. The group with the most profit would win and take their prize.

Lastly, the girls also made paper chains out of one sheet of newspaper and had a competition to see whose was the longest – over 7m!


In their history lesson this week girls learnt about the three claimants to the Throne of England after the death of Edward the Confessor in 1066. Each group was given information about one of the three claimants (Harold Godwinson, William of Normandy and Harald Hardrada). They had to create a group presentation explaining why their candidate was the one most suited to the job. They were allowed to come up with their own format for the presentation and to create props.

Reading for Pleasure

Over the summer Marcus Rashford was very prominent in the news regarding Free School Meals - his latest venture is launching a book club along with publisher Macmillan Children's Books focusing on reading and literacy. Follow the link below for the full article published on the BBC Newsround website.


Has your lesson been REAL (Relevant, Engaging, Active Learning)?

Using REAL tokens students have the opportunity to give instant feedback to staff about their experiences within the lesson.

Students are provided with a token and at the end of the lesson, are asked if their lesson has been R.E.A.L. (Relevant, Engaging, Active Learning). Students theen place their token into the 'Yes' or 'No' box, which is in every teaching classroom. Staff then uses this information to make any modification to their delivery of their lesson. These tokens are then collected in at the end of every week and counted.

Results for this week: Monday 16 to Friday 20 November 2020

YES - 2959 tokens

No - 177 tokens

Increasing Student Participation

"Talking Tokens"

Talking Tokens are issued by the classroom teacher and/or teaching assistant to pupils who participate to questions and/or ask questions during lessons. Pupils are encouraged to write their name and year group on the back of the 'Talking Token' and place them into the relevant 'Talking Token' collection box for their year group. At the end of each term, all 'Talking Tokens' are placed together and a pupil is selected at random. The more 'Talking Tokens' a pupil collects for contributing answers to questions in class, the more chances they have to win a prize.

At the end of this week the following number of 'Talking Tokens' collected by each year group were:

  • Year 7 - 572
  • Year 8 - 301
  • Year 9 - 6
  • Year 10 - 339
  • Year 11 - 14
  • Total number of 'Talking Tokens' collected this year across the whole school are 11081.

All meals are provided by Chartwells - a school meal consists of a main meal and a dessert for £2.40 a variety of snacks and drinks are also available.

Chartwells operate a cashless till system, operated by cards. The cards are topped up online using a secure website called ParentPay, if your daughter is eligible for free meals, £2.40 is credited to her card each day. Your daughter will be provided with her card and ParentPay login details on her first day at Reading Girls' School. You can find more information about ParentPay on their website http://www.parentpay.com. The school office is also happy to help with any enquiries.

Follow the link for details of the school menu.