Covid-19 updates

Boarding during the pandemic

Children’s safety remains our primary concern as we continue to follow government guidance on protective measures against Covid-19 while continuing to provide 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: 29th November 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 rules for children arriving from overseas?

Different travel rules apply depending on where you are travelling from, and whether you qualify as fully vaccinated in the UK.

Please check the up-to-date information on the government website. This page tells you what you must do before you travel to England and after you arrive.

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.

Is wearing face masks obligatory at Highfield & Brookham?

Face coverings are required to be worn in communal areas by teachers, staff and pupils in Year 7 and Year 8. Guidance also 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 wear face coverings, as do the school 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. 

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 while 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 pupil testing positive.

What healthcare 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 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and until 5.30pm 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. 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 because of Covid-19, 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 below.

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

The new streamlined process makes visa applications simpler and easier for all international students who wish to study at UK independent schools. 

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

To find out more about what visa you may need, visit our Visa Information page.

*Please 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.

Our Covid-19 Guarantee

At Highfield and Brookham, we understand that we are living in unprecedented and uncertain times which makes it very difficult to plan and make decisions, especially for families overseas. We also understand that securing the best education for your child is still important to you. That’s why we have introduced our 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 coronavirus interrupts your plans.

Main School Term:

  • If your child is unable to start at the school for a Covid-related reason, we will return your deposit and any fees paid in advance, or allow them to start later in the term, or defer to the following term/year, as long as there is space available. If their start date is delayed to part way through the term, you will only be charged for the part of the term’s fee that they were able to attend.
  • If schools in England are required to close again and we are only able to offer remote teaching when your child is due to start, you will be given the option to defer your place (subject to availability) until your child is able to start at the school in person.
  • The Covid-19 Guarantee is in place for new overseas registrations to start at the school up to and including April 2022 and may be extended as the situation evolves. All other Highfield and Brookham Terms and Conditions remain unchanged. Please inform us of any changes by email.

Summer School:

  • If your child is unable to attend the Summer School for a Covid-related reason, you will be able to defer your place to the following year, or receive a FULL REFUND on any fees or deposits paid to us in advance. Please inform us of any changes by email
  • Covid-related cancellations are fully refundable up to the designated arrival day. All other Highfield Summer School Terms and Conditions remain unchanged.

***Covid-related reasons could be government restrictions on travel (such as quarantine requirements in either the UK or your country of residence), or that you or your child are unable to travel due to a positive test result or being required to self-isolate. Our Covid-19 Guarantee is there to reassure you that you will be able to defer your place (subject to availability) or receive a full refund on any fees or deposits paid in advance.