COVID-19 Information (LAST UPDATED 29/09/20)
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent government measures to control the virus pose a number of challenges to our work. We intend this page to provide you with as much information as possible about how we're responding to the rapidly changing situation and the plans we have in place.
We've answered some of the key questions that we've been asked on our COVID-19 FAQ page.
Our Safer Working Practice
1. How has our COVID-19 safe working practice been developed?
In the development of this policy the following guidance documents have been consulted:
Space for Learning: Covid Secure guidance for museums, galleries, heritage and performing arts sites
We had the opportunity to visit a few schools to lead workshops during the summer term 2020. This allowed us to explore the possibilities of how participatory drama can take place with social distancing, and as a team we are sharing and disseminating what we learnt from this. We’re confident that it is possible to deliver high quality drama and that it can be very effective despite the restrictions currently placed upon it.
We know that schools are all working to make their environment as safe as possible as for staff, pupils and visitors. Where the school’s COVID-19 health and safety policy permits us to do so we are visiting schools, and our team will adhere to our minimum Safe Working Practice guidelines.
Where our work takes place in theatres, we are working with the organisations concerned to provide the most accurate information on our practice, but please be aware that this information is emerging as theatres begin to look towards reopening and many of their employees are currently furloughed. We will update this document in light of further information as and when it becomes available.
2. What general measures are we taking in order to safely work in schools?
We will ALWAYS liaise closely with school staff to ensure that we comply with individual school’s policy, but in addition to any measures the school requires us to take, North West Drama will ensure that:
All booking forms, consent forms and other paperwork will be completed digitally where possible
Share our risk assessment document and safe working practice document prior to any visit being confirmed
Take responsibility to confirm with schools the space being used (ensuring adequate ventilation), group size and specific needs to be accounted for, the number of adults who will be supporting pupils and any social distancing measures that we are required by the school to take
Practitioners will travel directly to the school and ensure social distancing if they need to use public transport. They may also request to adjust session timing in order that they can avoid travelling at times when public transport is busier
Practitioners will, as a minimum standard, sanitise their hands on arrival at the school and before meeting a new group of pupils
Practitioners will wear a face covering when moving around the school, and will remain in the designated space as much as possible during their visit. They will not stay in the building any longer than necessary
Maintain a safe distance (+1 metre) from staff and pupils during workshops, and/or wear a face shield if it is judged that this is not possible OR if school policy requires it
If weather permits the workshop will be delivered outdoors, but if is delivered indoors doors and windows will remain open as long as this is feasible and safe
Practitioners will use vinyl markers on the floor to help pupils to remain socially distant. These will be sanitised before being used by another group
Work will be planned to avoid physical contact between individuals and will avoid activities if they are considered high risk (such as singing or projecting voices)
Avoid using paper handouts and objects that could be passed from person to person
3. What measures will we take in order to mitigate the risks associated with the delivery of the Children's Shakespeare Festivals in 2020/21?
We're expecting to go ahead with all planned Children’s Shakespeare Festivals (CSFs) for 2020/21. Operating large-scale, inter-school performance festivals during this time presents a number of challenges, and these require a responsive and flexible approach. In order to ensure that this year's CSFs can take place, we may need to make adaptations to the project as the situation changes and guidance is updated. In addition to the general measures for working in schools identified in section 2 (see above) we also have a number of CSF specific measures in place, or which we are able to implement should we need to:
We will hold a physical non-residential CPD event if there is demand for it
We will deliver a series of 1.5hr virtual workshops throughout the spring term
Scheme of Work
This year's scheme of work will:
take account of the restrictions around social distancing in schools
feature a new 'Home Learning' element for use in the event of bubbles needing to self-isolate
Workshops in school (with a NWD practitioner)
The general measures identified in section 2 (above) will form the basis of our safe working practice in schools, but we will ensure we comply with schools’ health and safety policies.
As it’s not yet clear whether restrictions will allow us to hold a final performance at the theatres as we usually do, we’ll work with an open and flexible approach to the final sharing of work. The final performance will always be our preferred outcome of course, but alternative outcomes may be:
A final performance at a partner theatre, with all or most classes performing as usual in front of an invited audience (but with the possibility of alternative contributions from classes who are have been unable to create a final performance due to circumstances relating to COVID-19 - see list below)
A final performance which is filmed on stage at a partner theatre, with classes attending for a non-mixing slot to rehearse and record their performance (the final film will be produced by North West Drama)
A film compiled of class performances that are self-taped in their own schools (edited and made into a final film by North West Drama)
4. What measures will we take in order to mitigate the risks associated with delivering Speech Bubbles in 2020/21?
Speech Bubbles will take place in 2020/21, though due to the age of the children and the nature of the small group drama work, in addition to the general measures identified in section 2 (see above) a number of Speech Bubbles specific measures will be in place:
The induction day (September) and collaborative learning sessions (January and July) will be delivered on-line where appropriate
The project start date will be a little later than usual in order to allow for pupils to settle back into school and their new classes before the project begins
Practitioners will wear a transparent face shield during the delivery of the session
Sessions will be planned so that activities avoid physical contact and the passing of objects (such as a mascot) from person to person
Please also see our COVID-19 Risk Assessment policy document. This document is subject to updates in line with changes in government guidance, and will be updated by North West Drama on or before 11th December 2020. This will be shared with all schools with whom were are working during this academic year, but you can request a copy of our risk assessment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
5. How is the process for invoicing and payment for 2020/21 going to mitigate financial risk to schools?
We fully appreciate that schools are facing increased financial pressures as a result of implementing their COVID-19 safety measures, and in order to help mitigate the financial risk of our projects being unable to take place, we have implemented a new payment structure for this year. Project fees for 2020/21 will remain unchanged, but all schools will be invoiced in accordance with the following structure:
If you have any questions or require further information on the payment structure or any aspects of our COVID-19 safe working practice, please email email@example.com.
Children's Shakespeare Festival
Project Timeline and Notes for 2020/21
Our COVID-19 Safer Working Practice Document
Our COVID-19 Risk Assessment Document
Please note that this is the information on this page in PDF format
Updated Jan 2021