Return on 8th March
As you will recall, I wrote to you recently about the good news of the school reopening fully on March 8th.
We have now studied the government guidelines in detail and this letter contains all the information you will need for the return.
The government guidance we are following is detailed in the following document:
A similar document has been produced for parents:
We are delighted to be able to provide the opportunity for all children to come back. I do understand if some of you feel nervous. Please contact me if this is the case and I will talk through your concerns and try to allay your fears. As before, we will implement the government recommendations and, although there is no such thing as a completely risk free environment, will do everything we can to maximise the safety of children, staff and parents. Please note that attendance is now mandatory and any absence unless related to illness will be unauthorised.
School will look very much like it was in the autumn term. We will be grouping children together in ‘bubbles’ and clearly identifiable groups. We will try, wherever possible, to reduce interaction and crossover between these bubbles. Details of the groups or ‘bubbles’ we will continue to operate are below.
As always, we will be resuming the full, broad and balanced curriculum and have arranged our bubbles to facilitate this. We are not expecting the children to socially distance within their bubbles but will still try to reinforce this where possible, particularly with the older members of our school. We recognise that younger children will not be able to maintain social distancing and do not expect them to do so within their ‘bubble’.
Attendance from March 8th will be compulsory and we will resume the previous attendance monitoring and follow our Attendance Policy (available on the website). You may well be fined if you do not attend school. As I have said previously, please talk to me if you feel this may be difficult.
Class and ‘Bubbles’
Children will be taught in the usual class groups and these will be the ‘bubbles’:
- Class 1: Reception and Nursery
- Class 2: Years 1 and 2
- Class 3: Years 3 and 4
- Class 4: Years 5 and 6
Classrooms will be kept ventilated and doors left open where health and safety and the British weather permits! Please bring in extra layers to wear on top of your uniform in the event of colder weather. Classrooms will be fully ventilated during each break and lunchtime. There will be a hand sanitising station within each classroom for use by the children once they have put their belongings away.
Drop off and Pick up
This will be staggered as before. The times are as follows:
Drop off times:
8:30 am: Class 4
8:40 am: Class 3
8:50 am: Class 2
9:00 am: Class 1
If you have a younger sibling who needs to be dropped off earlier, you may drop them off in their classroom. All other early drop offs should be booked into Breakfast Club.
3:00 pm: Class 4
3:10 pm: Class 3
3:20 pm: Class 2
3:30 pm: Class 1
Siblings can be collected together but the eldest child should be collected first. You may then take a younger sibling home early if you really need to. We would encourage you not to do this where at all possible as we have found many younger children are missing the last part of the school day.
The register will close at 9.05am; arrivals after this time will be marked as late. The gates to the school grounds will close at 9.10am.
To minimise the number of adults on the premises, we would ask that only one parent or carer brings the children to school and that children are dropped off directly into the playground. We would ask that parents do not enter the school building.
We would, of course, ask that you observe social distancing when entering the premises and maintain this around the vicinity of the school gates.
If you need to speak to your child’s class teacher, they will be available outside the class (at a distance of 2m) at drop off and pick up. We will also be able to offer phone and Zoom calls and email correspondence as usual.
Wrap Round Care and extra-curricular provision
We will continue to offer breakfast and after school club from 8.00am until 5.30pm. This needs to be booked via the school office with a minimum of 24 hours’ notice. Separate details of costs together with booking forms will be sent out over the next couple of days.
We will maintain the school bubbles during wrap around care by ‘zoning’ areas of the hall. Each bubble will have their own area and children, where possible, will not mix.
At this time and until we are advised otherwise, there will be no extra-curricular clubs or sporting fixtures as this is very difficult to achieve without the mixing of bubbles. If we can provide a ‘bubble only’ solution, we will let you know.
Where you are using other childcare providers or out of school activities, we would encourage you to seek assurance that these providers are carefully considering their own protective measures and only use those providers that can demonstrate this. Please limit this where possible, at least initially.
On our return, we will continue to offer a full, broad and balanced curriculum. The guidance is very clear that the school arrangements, in terms of classes and bubble groupings, should be compatible with offering a full range of lessons and activities. Music will be an exception to this where we will not be singing or playing wind instruments as a class. PE will be scheduled across the school to avoid sharing apparatus or PE equipment and will largely take place outside. Please ensure that your child has appropriate warm PE kit in school for this.
It is possible that teachers and other staff will operate across different bubbles in order to facilitate the delivery of the school timetable. Where this happens, social distancing will be maintained and rigorous hand hygiene followed.
Unfortunately, there will be no whole school assemblies at the moment but I will continue to do a remote Zoom assembly each week to ensure our reward system and ‘SMART stars’ continue.
Once we have settled the children back in and prior to the Easter holidays, we will assess the children in the basic skills of reading, writing, phonics and maths. From this, and where necessary, we will devise any catch up plans and interventions. These will, on the whole, take place in the Summer term before or after school or, where possible, within the school day. We had a very successful Catch Up programme from September to December and have a very good understanding of effective interventions. We have also been very impressed by the level of engagement with home learning so are hopeful that any small gaps can be rectified very quickly. We will speak to you individually if we feel there is a need for an intervention in any aspect of your child’s learning.
I would also like to emphasize that we have a full programme of social and emotional support ready for when the children come back and will very much focus on this alongside academic learning. During the first week back, our main aim will be to settle the children back into school and address any anxieties they may have.
Robust hand and respiratory hygiene, alongside enhanced cleaning, will continue to be a key aspect of our school routine. Children will be required to sanitise their hands on entry to the school and at regular points during the day. Hand sanitising stations will be set up in every classroom as well as in all areas accessed by children and adults. Hand washing and good hygiene will be actively promoted and taught across the school. We will also be ensuring good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach with tissues and have invested in pedal bins for tissues which will be emptied twice daily. Where children, particularly the younger members of our school, require support with this, we will obviously be there to help them.
Classroom surfaces that are regularly touched will be cleaned throughout the day and all classrooms will have a box of cleaning supplies. There will obviously be a thorough clean at the end of the school day.
Break times and Lunchtimes
These will be staggered to keep groups of children together throughout the day and to avoid larger groups mixing. We will have 2 bubbles on the playground at a time but the area will be split in half and interaction between the bubbles will be discouraged. Each bubble will have their own box of play equipment.
Lunchtimes will also be staggered in 2 sittings; 2 bubbles will be playing while the others are eating. They will the swap over with all tables cleaned between sittings. Whilst eating in the hall, children will be socially distanced and no more than 2 bubbles will eat in the hall at any one time.
You will be able to order lunches via School Grid in the usual way and a full menu will be provided.
Resources and equipment
All groups will have their own sets of equipment to avoid too much sharing of resources between bubbles. We would ask that children limit the amount of essentials they bring in each day; a pencil case, lunch box and water bottle is fine. PE kits can be left in school until the holidays.
Any reading books you return to school will be quarantined for 48 hours and then put back into circulation. This will apply to any resources shared between home and school.
We will be particularly vigilant about children being ill or, in particular, showing signs of COVID 19. Any child showing signs of Coronavirus will need to be tested and we will insist that they do not come back into school unless they have a negative test result. Any children who have a positive test will be ask to self-isolate for 10 days along with their household. If there are any cases confirmed in school, we will contact Public Health England who will advise us on the next stages. A rapid risk assessment will be carried out and we will then be provided with definitive advice regarding who should be sent home to self-isolate for 10 days. This may be the whole school or a specific bubble.
Please do not send your child into school if any members of the family have COVID symptoms. If any member of your family has been tested for COVID, the whole family must self-isolate until a negative result has been received.
All staff now have access to home lateral flow tests to be used twice weekly. All staff will test at the beginning of each week, prior to coming into school.
Public Health England does not recommend the use of face coverings for primary pupils and staff mixing in consistent groups. Staff will have the use of PPE if they are looking after a sick child and may choose to use it if carrying out intimate care. Some staff may also choose to wear masks when moving around the school or working in communal areas.
Our usual normal uniform policy will apply and therefore we expect children to be wearing full school uniform on their return to school in March. Uniforms do not need to be cleaned any more often than usual or in any different way than normal due to Coronavirus. If you are struggling with uniform because your child has grown over lockdown, please talk to us. If you have to make any ‘adaptions’, please ensure they are as close to normal uniform as possible. This also applies to any extra layers being warn due to increased ventilation.
These had been scheduled to take place next week but will now take place over Zoom on our return after Easter. Precise dates will be communicated shortly but they are likely to be week commencing 19th April. By this point, the children will have been back at school for 4 weeks and we will be able to talk to you about how they have settled back in and discuss any catch up plans, where applicable.
The routines and logistics detailed above obviously apply to our immediate return. We are very much hoping that, alongside the national ‘road map’ for the easing of lock down, we will also be able to ease restrictions in school. We will communicate these to you at each stage, as and when they happen.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about any of the current arrangements, please do get in touch.