Arthur Mellows Village College

Delivering learning for life within an aspirational culture

Practical Subject Information

As the new term approaches, I thought it important to give parents/carers an overview of the main procedures for Practical subjects (Art and Textiles, Design and Food Technology, Drama, Music, PE and Science) along with the use of computers in light of COVID-19.  Our priority is ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of staff and students and details below reflect that. 

Art and Textiles

  • Acrylic paints will be dispensed into small tubs. More than one set will be created and these will then be changed for each group. Each set can then have the pots cleaned.
  • Watercolour tins/trays can be used by students and then wiped after each use.
  • Paintbrushes will be kept in a holder, after students have washed in the sink they should be put in the block and sprayed in between classes. The number of students at the sink will be limited with a clear queuing area marked on the floor.
  • Students will use sketchbooks or teacher will sanitise hands before giving out paper to students. Paper will be collected from a new stack in the store cupboard and sanitise hands before touching the stack.
  • Ready cut sizes of fabric given out for Key Stage 3. For Key Stage 4, students to provide their own fabric or use fabric given to them from the teacher which has not been handled by anyone for 72 hours. Students should not use fabric from the fabric boxes if these have been touched by others. Boxes or supplies of fabric should be kept in class sets.
  • Each sewing machine is numbered. Each student should only use one machine.  Wipes to be kept next to the machine and students to wipe them down after use. If a student needs help on a machine, they should wipe it down before a member of staff accesses the machine. Once resolved the member of staff should also then clean the machine.
  • Thread colours limited especially in initial phase. Black thread to be ordered for each machine and left threaded. Students to be taught how to wind their own bobbins themselves. Once bobbin and thread are in the machine it should not be changed.
  • Each student to have one needle each which will be kept with work in a pack. Embroidery threads limited in colours being used by students and supplied to each student in their pack. One pot of pins will be provided to each table and multiple pots will be stored in tray and a new set issued to each group.
  • Scissors/ knives will be kept in a tray. In between lessons they are returned to block and sprayed to disinfect. Paper towel can be used to dry the scissors before usage.
  • Glue sticks will be kept in a tray. In between lessons they will be returned to blocks and sprayed with disinfectant. Paper towel can be used to dry them before usage. PVA containers to be wiped down with disinfectant after use.
  • Shared aprons will be removed and students will need to bring in their own suitable covering.
  • For printing rollers, plates and slab roller, disinfectant to be used after usage to clean the roller handles printing plates to be washed thoroughly and left next to sink area to dry. Inks pots and palette knives to be wiped down after use. Printing press to be wiped down after use.
  • Disinfectant and wipes to be kept next to the cameras and students to wipe them down after use. If a student needs help on a camera, they should wipe it down before a member of staff accesses it. Students to stand back by 2 metres so teachers can demonstrate. Once resolved the member of staff should then clean the camera also.

Design Technology

  • Classes will be split for large groups with half completing practical work and half theory work to enable social distancing during the practical activities.
  • Tools used will be sterilised. These will either be dropped into a solution or wiped down.
  • Shared aprons will be removed and students will need to bring in their own suitable covering if they wish. 
  • Students will be given practical demonstrations from the front of the classroom by the teacher. If a student needs one to one support they will need to seek the help of the teacher from a social distance.
  • Storing of resources will be kept with the class and only handled by the class.
  • No alcohol hand gel should be used in the rooms –non-alcohol hand gel which kills bacteria/viruses will be used instead.

Food Technology

  • Classes of the same Year Group will cook on the same day and then remove all equipment from the units so that it can be cleaned and left out of action for 72 hours before the next Year Group uses it.
  • Wherever possible, students from different Year Group bubbles will not share equipment or cook on the same day. However, if equipment is needed by another bubble then it will be sanitised and quarantined for 72 hours before being used by a different Year Group.
  • Ingredients should be brought into school, weighed according to the recipe wherever possible to prevent the use of shared scales.
  • Seating plans will correspond with the labelling of the unit positions, so that we can carefully monitor who has worked where.
  • Class ingredients will be kept separate using cool bags.
  • Students will need to bring in their own aprons from home to use.
  • No alcohol hand gel should be used in the room – non-alcohol hand gel which kills bacteria/viruses will be used instead.
  • All lessons taught in D8 will be accessed via the fire door by the Year 7/8 playground.
  • All ingredients should be in labelled bags or boxes. Labels should include the student’s name, Year Group and if possible the class title, for example 7f1.
  • Ingredients should be dropped off in the Food rooms before registration.


  • Classes for rooms P1 and P5/6 will line up in usual place. For room P7 students will line up on the Basketball court and enter and exit this way. 
  • Class for rooms P5/6 will enter first, directed by teacher in their SET groups. The furthest group bubble should enter first. Class for room P1 will then enter in the same way. 
  • Hand sanitisation will be required as students enter and exit the department. 
  • The floor on rooms P1 and P5/6 has been marked with large 3m square bubbles. Each bubble has a 1m walkway.
  • Students will work in groups of ideally 4. They remain in their bubble for the entire lesson.
  • Students should work in the same groups every lesson and in the same working space each time in the studio. No physical contact is allowed.
  • Practical group tasks should be limited to an absolute maximum of 15 minutes followed by a significant task or tasks which can be completed whilst social distancing. No more than 2 practical group work sessions should be run per lesson. 
  • Scripts will not be shared. Props cannot be used unless they are bought in by the student, and only used by that student. There can be no sharing of resources. 


  • No singing will take place at Key Stage 3, or in the form of a choir. At Key Stage 4 and 5, singing will be allowed, but in small groups, all facing the same direction and spaced at least 2 metres apart. The usual scenario would be one singer in a band, easily separable from other students.
  • All equipment will be sanitised after use, and students will use sanitisation stations before entering the classrooms. 
  • No woodwind or brass instruments will be used in lessons.
  • No extracurricular activities will take place in the first term.
  • There is a one-way system in place throughout music.
  • Group work will be allowed, but students will always work in the same space with the same students (from the same Year Group).
  • Paired work will be with the same pairs, and students will face the same direction. 
  • Keyboards will be sanitised, and students will be encouraged to use their own headphones. Any shared headphones will be sanitised before re-use. 
  • Instruments that are not able to be sanitised (eg Djembe's) will not be used to start with.

Peripatetic Music lessons

  • Only room PR1 will be used for lessons.
  • Only one peripatetic teacher will teach per day to allow for cleaning to take place.
  • There will be no sharing of instruments (with the exception of the piano which will need to be cleaned after every student).
  • Singing teachers will ensure that students are facing away from them when singing.
  • Woodwind teachers will also ensure that students face away when blowing.
  • The door to the room will be left open if possible, to minimise the touching of shared surfaces.

Use of Headphones

In the music department we rely heavily on using headphones to create a positive working environment. Although we have plenty of headphones at school, to keep students as safe as possible at this time it would be good if students could bring in a set from home for their personal use. Any type of headphones are fine, either in-ear or over-head, with a standard 3.5 or 6.5mm jack end. Please avoid valuable ones if at all possible as we cannot take responsibility if they were to be lost.  

Students will be informed when they will need headphones as not all projects require them. 

If you do not have a set, students are able to use school headphones. These will be appropriately sanitised before and after use. 


KS3 Lessons  

  • Students will take part in practical PE lessons during 50% of their timetabled lessons. The other 50% will take part in classrooms exploring theoretical aspects of PE, linking back to practical aspects as much as possible.  
  • Lessons will be timetabled to either a changing area (Fitness/Gym/Sports Hall) or a specific classroom. Students should follow their timetable for specific lessons. 
  • If group lessons are not equal over a timetable cycle, a swap will take place at half term to ensure all students get as much practical lessons as possible. A new timetable will be issued to students where this is the case. 

KS4 Lessons 

  • Students will take part in as many of their practical PE lessons as possible.
  • There may be some lessons, where social distancing measures do not allow this to take place, we expect these occasions to be kept to a minimum but they will be formalised on students’ timetables and explained to them when they occur.  
  • When such lessons do occur, a classroom space will be provided for students to explore different theoretical aspects of PE or serve as a study period. These will be rotated each half term to ensure it is fair for all students. 
  • Lessons will be timetabled to either a changing area (Fitness/Gym/Sports Hall). Students should follow their timetable and change in designated areas.  


  • At Key Stage 3, the reduction in practical lessons allows for lower numbers in changing enabling greater social distancing to take place.  
  • For Key Stage 4 the maximum numbers of changing areas will be in use each lesson to allow greater social distancing to take place.  
  • Students will be required to line up outside their designated changing room until a member of staff allows them to enter.  
  • On entry into the building students will be required to wash or sanitise their hands with the gel provided.  
  • On entrance students will need to remain within a marked ‘stall’ and change as quickly as possible.  
  • On return to the changing room after the lesson, students will change again, as quickly as possible, staff will then spray each stall with a disinfectant, students will then be required to wipe down the area they have used with the cloth provided.  
  • Students should then wash or sanitise their hands once more as they leave the building through the door they entered.  

PE Kit 

  • Regular AMVC PE kit (as set out on the school website) will be required for all practical lessons. 
  • However, with current government guidance restricting the playing of contact sports, the specific equipment important in some contact sports will not be required for a September start. This includes gumshields, studded footwear and shin pads.  
  • This will be the case up till October half term when we will review our curriculum in line with any new government guidance. 


  • In addition to the measures taken when changing the door handles will be wiped down by staff at changing of each Year Group bubble.  
  • Where equipment is handled it will be sanitised at the conclusion of the lesson. Sharing of equipment will be reduced as much as possible and never outside of bubbles without cleaning taking place.   

Facilities and expectations

  • Where possible, we will look to maximise opportunities for lessons to take place outside, enabling greater social distancing to take place.  
  • When this is not possible, we will be looking to use our wide range of indoor spaces to facilitate social distancing as much as possible.  
  • All students to follow instructions of staff for everyone’s safety 
  • Ensure full kit is brought to every practical lesson, no kit will be lent to students until further notice.  
  • Be conscious of social distancing.  
  • Assist in the cleaning of equipment and spaces used 

Extra-Curricular Clubs 

  • Lunchtime and after school clubs will not take place until further notice.  


  • All classrooms will have a visualiser so all demonstrations can be projected onto the screen to prevent the need for students to have to gather around close together.
  • Each classroom will have a set of PPE in case of emergency, should a student become injured and need immediate first aid.
  • Equipment will be bubbled within a Year Group.
  • On the rare occasion where equipment needs to be used by more than one Year Group it will be isolated for 3 days before a different Year Group can use it.
  • No practical’s for Year 7 and 8 – we are unable to maintain social distancing due to class sizes and the need for the teacher to be more hands on with the health and safety for students learning how to use equipment like Bunsen burners. This will be reviewed at October half term.
  • Years 12 and 13 practical’s will continue as normal.
  • GCSE students will still be able to do practical’s, but the number of practical’s may be reduced due to the need to socially distance and bubble equipment. As teachers need to maintain a social distance, any practical’s that may require the teacher to be more hands on to ensure health and safety will be swapped to a demonstration.
  • Students will be told where to complete their practical work and who they are to work with when they have to work in pairs.
  • Equipment will be placed around the room to prevent students having to collect equipment from one trolley/area.
  • No alcohol hand gel should be used in a lab –non-alcohol hand gel which kills bacteria/viruses will be used instead.
  • Safety specs will be sanitised after every use.
  • We are unable to provide lab coats for Sixth Form practical’s.
  • Any practical’s that involve biological material, eg measuring lung capacity, observing cheek cells, will not take place.
  • Any equipment used by staff will be isolated for 3 days and the students will not be able to use it.

Use of computers

In computer rooms we will be following a procedure of cleaning computer keyboards and mice at the start and end of each lesson.  At the start of a lesson students will be given wipes and will use provided spray to clean their keyboard and mouse.  This same process will repeat at the end of the lesson before students leave the room.  If students are unable to bring in their own headphones, the school headphones can be cleaned also.  This will ensure that equipment is cleaned before a new student enters the room, and the new student will feel more confident in their protection by cleaning these before their use of the equipment.


Procedures in all subjects may need to be adapted as the weeks go on to ensure the continued safety of students and staff.

We appreciate that some students and parents are anxious about the return to College in September and we hope these measures alleviate some of this.  

Kind regards

Mr R Watson
Assistant Headteacher