20th July 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
As you are aware, the government has announced that schools should fully reopen from the start of the upcoming autumn term in accordance with the following government position: ‘Given the improved position, the balance of risk is now overwhelmingly in favour of children returning to school. For the vast majority of children, the benefits of being back in school far outweigh the very low risk from coronavirus (COVID-19)’.
They have decided this on the basis of:
This means that we are planning to be open to all of our pupils in September.
As you know we have been looking after key groups of children since the closure on the 23rd March and have built up our groups throughout this time welcoming back children in every class.
We are now looking forward to welcoming everyone back on Thursday 3rd September.
We recognise that you may have some concerns about your child returning school and that the past few months have been very challenging for all of us. However, please be assured that we will do all that we can to ensure that children feel safe and secure as they transition and adapt to school life in September.
Maintaining a safe school environment
I would like to take this opportunity to reassure parents that our focus on hygiene and strict cleaning regimes will remain in place. We have followed the LA Health & Safety Risk Assessment and Advice to provide a safe site for everyone’s return. Children will be regularly asked to wash their hands and practice good respiratory hygiene. Should a child (or staff member) present with symptoms of covid-19 – they will be required to self-isolate, get a test and inform the school of the result as soon as possible. If the result is negative they are able to return to school as soon as they are well enough. Should the result be positive, any bubble that a child/staff member is connected to will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. If this should occur, or if there is any further local or national lockdown, home learning will be provided for any children affected by the closure.
The following actions for infection control remain in place:
• Displaying coronavirus infection control measures information posters around the school;
• Encouraging good hygiene by promoting the importance of hand washing for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap or use of hand sanitizer;
• Ensuring pupils and staff understand that they must cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue away (Catch it, Bin It, Kill it);
• Ensuring frequently touched objects and surfaces are cleaned and disinfected more regularly than usual.
What do I do if I think my child has symptons?
You must keep your child at home for seven days if they develop coronavirus symptoms. If someone in your child’s household has symptoms, your child must self-isolate for 14 days from the day the other person’s symptoms started. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
If you think your child may have been exposed to or has coronavirus, please contact the school at the earliest opportunity. Schools expect tests to be done if a child or anyone in the family is symptomatic.
We ask that parents:
• Make sure we have your up to date contact details as you must be contactable during the school day;
• Provide their child with what they need for the whole day – packed lunch / drinks bottle; all resources for school are provided in school. (No big bags please);
• Continue to encourage good infection control practices, such as thorough hand washing, at home and keep your child informed about the things they can do to discourage the spread of infection;
• Do not enter the site unless you have an appointment or to pick up your child. This means not coming to the reception area, but checking the website if you have queries, or phoning or emailing instead. If you do need to come to the reception area, we have a ‘one in, one out’ system and apologies, but the glass partition will have to remain closed;
• Observe social distancing with other parents and with school staff at all times;
• Observe all signage displayed at entrances;
• Collect your child at the correct time;
• If school phones you to say your child is unwell and needs to be collected, come straight away;
• Prepare your child for school, based on the information in this booklet, including the need for them to listen carefully to instructions about hand washing and hygiene;
• Continue to treat staff in the way you wish to be treated; appreciate that everyone has their own experience of this pandemic;
• The updated Home-School Agreement outlines expectations of our way of working together.
Thank you for your co-operation in helping to keep everyone as safe as possible.
Start and End of the Day
Please follow the ‘in and out’ system that we have established in school to drop off and pick up your children from the school wooden gate. Only children and staff are allowed past this point in order to help keep our site safe. Initially we will also continue with the temperature checks that we have put in place to ensure that all children and adults on site are healthy.
We will open the gates at 8:35am for KS1 and KS2 with no siblings (in order to reduce congestion and contact at the start of the day) and from 8:40am for those with Siblings.
All children need to be in class for registration at 8:50am.
For the first couple of weeks EYFS children will be starting at 9:00am – in order to reduce waiting around at school, if you have a sibling they can also start school then during the induction period.
At the end of the day please walk up the left hand path; line up from the dots starting at the path in front of the wooden gate that will be marked out across the ‘car park’ and when your child comes out of the gate walk towards them to collect them and then walk down the path by the opportunity centre. We are trying to reduce the amount of adults / children gathering together for the safety of all at the school. Please be aware that staff will not be able to chat to individuals at the end of the day. If you need to contact them please email them through the class page or contact the school office. Please also appreciate that staff are extremely busy preparing classes, resources, lessons, teaching, marking and therefore will not be able to reply immediately.
Children can be collected at the end of the school day at the following times:
KS1 no siblings 3:00pm
KS2 No siblings 3:10pm
We ask that you please be patient and do your best to co-operate with us as we all try to adjust to these new timing arrangements in the interest of everyone’s wellbeing.
Break and Lunch
Classes will be separated during the school day with staggered break and lunch times – inside and out; including zoned areas in the playground.
EYFS and KS1 will eat their lunch in the hall – again at staggered times.
KS2 will eat their lunches in the classrooms.
Initially we will be offering Packed Lunches for FSM and parents are also able to purchase these; but when we have the kitchen fully opened we will be offering hot lunches. We will provide further details for this in September. The Government will be stopping the FSM Vouchers as everyone should be in school from September.
All children in EYFS and KS1 are entitled to a Universal Free School Meal.
If you think you are entitled to Free School Meals please complete the on-line application form.
Although we can’t join together for worship in the hall at the moment, we will be continuing with our worship themes and values within our classrooms. This will include bible and moral stories, well-being; church links, videos and zoom sessions. We will work hard on maintaining our whole school sense of community and school vision of ‘Belonging, Believing, Becoming’.
Our value for Term 1 is Belonging.
Please note that at this point we do not envisage being able to invite you in for any of the traditional events usually held in the Autumn.
Wrap around Care before and after school
We will be offering wrap around care provision from September. This will be in the school and not the cool kids building and children can be dropped off and picked up from the main office door.
In order for us to provide this support you will need to book in and pay in advance.
Schools are allowed to mix children from different bubbles for this as numbers will be small and infection control measures are clear.
Please ensure your child dresses in the school’s uniform including the school PE kit and provide a raincoat and suitable footwear.
Bags and belongings
All children will need to bring a named drinks bottle in with them with only water or squash.
EYFS and KS1 children DO NOT need to bring in their own snack – we provide fruit and veg as part of the government scheme and therefore children do not need anything else.
KS2 children shall bring into school a healthy snack (preferably fruit and vegetables).
Children cannot bring big bags or rucksacks to school. We do not have storage room and are limiting any clutter so that surfaces can be cleaned properly, so please do not buy a new special bag ready for September.
The government has relaxed the rules on attendance during lockdown. However, this will change in September. The government guidance says:
‘Missing out on more time in the classroom risks pupils falling further behind. Those with higher overall absence tend to achieve less well in both primary and secondary school. School attendance will therefore be mandatory again from the beginning of the autumn term.’
This means from that point, the usual rules on school attendance will apply, including:
Your child will be supported well to settle back into school life and teachers are planning lots of activities to help with this. Staff will be sensitive to your child’s needs and will work with you if your child is finding it hard to adjust-please keep in close contact with us. The first few weeks will include lots of familiar routine activities so your child quickly feels confident and staff will be observing and assessing the children as we expect children to be coming back at different points. We are all determined that they will absolutely not be ‘a lost generation’ and we will ensure that the curriculum is broad and balanced enabling children to enjoy a varied range of subjects and activities.
We will be able to send reading books home; these will be sent home on a weekly basis and then will go into ‘quarantine’ on their return. Please do not allow your child to bring in toys or any personal items.
We do not underestimate how difficult the past few months have been for us all and no doubt, we will all have our own personal stories to tell on how this current coronavirus pandemic has had an emotional impact on our lives; both personally and collectively. This said, and with your continued help and support, we now need to move forward and focus on our pupils’ educational journey whilst maintaining emotional support for all our children and their families.
Parents are advised to take this opportunity to visit the schools website for a list of support agencies that can provide excellent emotional and welfare support for those families who are finding this whole coronavirus pandemic stressful.
I trust that you will find the above information useful in supporting your child’s return to school and to conclude, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you all once again for your continued help and co-operation in supporting the school during these most unprecedented times.
Staff and Governors believe your children deserve a great and safe education and by us all working together, we can ensure that this happens. We look forward to seeing you all again in September; have a wonderful summer.
Bishop David Jenkins, Pam Howell and everyone at St John’s C of E Academy