School Re-opening to pupils in Reception, Y1 and Y6
Thank you for your patience and understanding whilst we have been planning how best to support the pupils and staff to return to school after 1st June 2020.
As I am sure you are aware, schools have been asked to begin phasing children back into school from 1st June, starting with Reception, Year One and Year Six pupils. The political situation is changing rapidly, so please be aware that this date or government expectation may change before 1st June. However, until further notice, we are planning towards that date.
I apologise for the length of this letter, but believe that it is important that you are given as much information as possible to inform your decision about whether or not to send your children back to school this term. Also, I hope that the level of detail will give some confidence in the things which have been put in place to ensure the safety of all. I fully appreciate that this is a difficult decision to make.
We are working hard to ensure that every step is taken to manage the safety of pupils, staff, families and the wider community. In doing this, we have considered the following in planning for reopening (this is not an exhaustive list but a general overview):
- Pupils – how to continue to support all pupils in the school with their education in a safe and fair manner, safety of pupils in school, pupil anxiety, pupil wellbeing etc
- Staffing – ratios of pupils to staff, staff vulnerabilities, use of PPE, staff anxiety, staff wellbeing, continuing to support online learning whilst also teaching in school etc
- Our school environment – teaching spaces, social distancing, safe movement around the school site, entrances and exits, use of resources and equipment, cleaning etc
- Families – maintained good health, anxiety, returning to work, continued support with home learning etc
To enable the school to prepare for reopening there will be no home learning set for the week beginning 25th May – this is the official half term week. We need all staff to have a break from managing online learning so that they can refresh for the half term ahead and start to get things in place for reopening. Online/home learning will start again in the week beginning 1st June 2020, this will look different to the class online learning that has been set since the school closed, but should be easier for all to manage. More information about online learning will follow on Monday 1st June.
Preparing for Reopening
Pupils in YR, Y1 and Y6 will not return to school on Monday 1st June.
Teachers and TAs will return to work from Monday 1st June, they will prepare classrooms and other school areas for the returning children. This will be a difficult job as classrooms will need to have furniture removed and rearranged to enable social distancing. Many resources will need to be put into storage, whilst sets of stationery, play equipment and other resources will have to be organised for individual children and groups.
Pupils in YR, Y1 and Y6 – Returning to School
We have developed a phased plan for reopening to year groups on a part-time basis, this will be reviewed at the end of the third week to consider extending reopening to other year groups or increasing provision for YR, Y1 and Y6 to full time. Initially pupils will return to school for two days every week.
Each class has been split into two groups (A and B). Groups average between 10-12 pupils. Group A pupils will attend school on Mondays and Tuesdays. Group B pupils will attend school on Thursdays and Fridays. Pupils will not mix with other groups when they are in school, and should not mix with pupils from other groups out of school.
Our first group of children will return to school on Thursday 4th June, with other YR, Y1 and Y6 pupils returning from 8th June. You will be informed by class teachers via Class Dojo whether your child is in Group A or Group B and the days they will attend school each week. We will not change your child’s allocated group.
Dates to Return to School
Robins Group A
Monday 8th June
Robins Group B
Thursday 4th June
Owls (Y1 only) Group A
Monday 8th June
Owls (Y1 only) Group B
Thursday 11th June
Kingfishers Group A
Monday 8th June
Kingfishers Group B
Thursday 11th June
Pupils in Y2, Y3, Y4 and Y5 – Returning to School
At the moment there are no dates set for the return of pupils in Y2, Y3, Y4 or Y5, so at this time we will not be informing you of your child’s group or days in school. There is a possibility that pupils in these year groups will not return to school before the autumn term. I hope that this is not the case and we may be able to offer part time school days later this term. If these year groups do return, we have arranged the rota so that siblings will attend school on the same days.
To avoid large numbers of parents and children arriving and leaving school at the same time, we have staggered the school’s start and finish times. You will be informed of these timings when you are told which group your child is in.
Parents will also be asked to access the school grounds by a set gate/route. Each child, including Y6 pupils, must be accompanied by a single adult on the way to and from school. Until further notice, parents will be unable to enter any school building without a pre-arranged appointment – this includes the main reception. Please call the main office on 01392 255540 or school mobile 07955787667 with any enquiries.
It is important that you arrive and collect from school on time. Please do not arrive on site before your allotted drop off or collection time. We must avoid groups of parents congregating at the gates or on the drive. Please ensure that you keep at least 2 metres away from other parents and children. If you need to bring other children with you when dropping off/collecting please ensure that they are not running around.
Staff and pupils must not attend school if they are feeling unwell. Any child at school with a high temperature and/or continuous dry cough will be immediately isolated and sent home. Staff and pupils displaying symptoms of Covid-19 will be expected to isolate at home for 7 days or until a negative Covid 19 test result has been received; family members should also isolate for 14 days or until they have received a negative Covid 19 test result.
Each group is a ‘pod’ of pupils and staff and is kept separate from all other pods. Staff are allocated to one pod. Your child may be taught by their teacher, a teacher from another class or a teaching assistant. Our highly skilled teaching assistants will work collaboratively with the teachers to ensure that provision is the same for different groups. Strict social distancing procedures are in place for staff (between staff) whilst they are in school, to ensure that each pod is protected.
Class sizes mean that we are able to keep the size of each pod small and therefore support social distancing within the classroom. Social distancing is going to be difficult for all, but especially for our youngest children. Changes to classroom layouts will help to manage distancing as much as possible and there will also be changes to routines. Each pod has its own allocated toilets, handwashing facilities and play area. On the first day back in school, children will be taught how to follow the new routines and behaviour expectations.
Our children love to hug and touch, and these are a very important part of positive human interaction. However, we will be talking to children about alternative ways to communicate or console each other in school e.g. air hugs
Pupils will be based in their normal classrooms. Please note that pupils in Robins’ class will be based in the learning hall rather than the smaller classroom. The school will be closed to most pupils (not the key worker group) on Wednesdays; this enables us to complete a deep clean between Group A and Group B using the classroom and its resources. This deep clean will be repeated on Friday afternoons in preparation for Monday.
Children will be supervised to wash their hands with anti-bacterial soap at various points in the school day:
- On arrival at school
- Before and after playtimes
- Before eating
- After sneezing or coughing
- After using shared resources
- After using the toilets
- At any other times in the day when the pupils or staff feel it is appropriate
Hand sanitiser is available in the main reception area and all classrooms
Use of PPE
Most staff will not be wearing PPE when they are working in the pods with children. However, we have PPE in school to protect staff if they are supporting a child who becomes unwell. We have masks, face shields, gloves and aprons available to staff (if required).
Pupils should not wear masks in school, as they are uncomfortable and children struggle to wear them properly for extended periods of time. However, if a child is feeling anxious about returning to school and wearing a mask would support them to be in school, we can discuss this possibility with you.
Although meal time assistants (MTAs) are assigned to groups, we have a limited number of staff so they will supervise 2 pods across a week. To protect both pods, the MTAs will wear a face mask and gloves and will try to maintain a 2 metre distance between themselves and the children. The member of staff who is responsible for the learning of the children in the pod will remain nearby during the lunch period to support anything which may require closer working e.g. first aid or managing behaviour.
We do not expect children to wear school uniform for the rest of this term – home clothes are fine. Many of the children have grown considerably since we last saw them and are likely to have outgrown uniform and school shoes. We do not expect parents to go out and purchase new uniform before the start of the autumn term. However, please ensure that your child wears footwear which is suitable to run around in – no flip flops please.
To ensure that we keep everyone safe we expect that after a day in school, clothing is washed before being worn again. Staff will also be following this expectation.
There will be regular cleaning of shared areas and resources throughout the school day. Classrooms will be cleaned at the end of each day, with an intensive deep clean between pods.
Items that are difficult to clean will be stored away from the children until safety measures can be relaxed – e.g. soft furnishings, cuddly toys, intricate toys with lots of parts.
Resources which are shared in the pod will be wiped with anti-bacterial wipes between uses. They will be cleaned thoroughly between group A and Group B pods – e.g. Chrome books, sports/art/science equipment.
The children will not be permitted to use the climbing frames or outdoor exercise equipment until further notice.
The only items that children can bring from home are: coats (if required), lunch boxes, water bottles, sun hats and sunscreen (if required and the pupil must be able to apply it themselves). They cannot bring toys, pencil cases, books or stationery from home. Y6 pupils cannot bring their mobile phones to school.
Pupils in most year groups, not Robins Class, will be given a small pencil case with essential stationery items in it. From Y1 upwards pupils will be sat at individual desks in the classrooms. Each desk will be a personal work station and will include a tray under the table for storing coats, lunchboxes and pencil cases. All work done in school will be done in one work book or on paper and kept in a file which will also be kept in the tray. Pupils in Robins Class may share pencils and white board pens but these will be wiped clean between uses.
All pupils in YR and Y1 are entitled to a free school lunch when they are in school. We will order a packed lunch for every YR and Y1 pupil when they are in school. However, you may send your child in with their own packed lunch if you wish.
Pupils in Y6 or the key worker group who are in school and receive free school meals because of benefit entitlements will also be given a school packed lunch.
We will continue to issue FSM vouchers to pupils who are not in school. This includes pupils in YR, Y1 and Y6 where parents chose to keep their children off school. Vouchers will also still be issue for the 3 days a week that pupils are not in school if they attend part time.
If your child brings a packed lunch from home, we ask that you ensure that they can open packaging without assistance.
At the present time, parents who decide that it is not the right time for their children to return to school will not be fined for keeping them at home.
Key Worker Group
Pupils who have continued to attend school since the school closed in March, will remain in the key worker group. The arrangements for this group remain unchanged. You must pre-book places for your children – this can be done by calling the school or by sending Mrs Herbert a ClassDojo message.
From 1st June, any child who attends the key worker group will be unable to join their class group if and when their year group returns to school. It is important that there is no mixing of children between two pods.
Thank you for your continued support and positivity. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch via ClassDojo or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I am having a few days off over the half term week so may not respond immediately.
I hope to be able to see some of you again soon.