In our recent newsletter we spoke about the possibility of school opening from 1st June if the Government deemed it safe at the time to do so. We anticipate that a final decision will not be made by them until 28th May, however we have been very busy planning for this behind the scenes to make sure that it is safe for both our children and staff to return.
The Government has made it clear that, when planning for the potential reopening of school,
we need to think about the prioritising the following children:
- Vulnerable children, defined as those with an Education and Health Care Plan or those with a social worker
- The children of critical workers (we have shared this definition with you in previous letters).
- Children in F1, F2, Y1 and Y6 and we believe we are in a position to offer places to our 30 hours children.
Guidance also says that class sizes should be a maximum of 15 and after risk assessing our classrooms / learning spaces we feel we can do this. These classes of around 15 children will stay in a ‘bubble’, not mixing with other children or moving round school and possibily having different breaks from others. Should one child or adult in a ‘bubble’ become ill and test positive with symptoms of Covid-19, all children and adults in that ‘bubble’ will need to self-isolate and be tested.
Due to the extenuating circumstances in which we find ourselves and where safety is of the
utmost priority, please note that school will not be operating ‘as normal’ and that our provision
will not be of the same high quality that we are proud of in terms of the variety and opportunity
of learning and enrichment. In order to minimise contact and follow social distancing as far as
possible, it is with great regret that there will be none of the events that make our end of year
so special and memorable – particularly for our Year 6 class. It is unlikely that there will be any assemblies, sports day, or Y6 Leavers’ play. This makes us, as well as you as parents and carers,
extremely sad! In addition there will be no breakfast club or after school clubs at this time.
Lessons will continue, but on a much smaller scale with no group work and with little physical
interaction other than what a child can do individually in order that movements can be
controlled as far as possible. For our very youngest children, the provision will be slimmed
down in order to try our best control access and hygiene. We hope to offer a daily English lesson, maths lesson, an outdoor sporting activity that involves no physical contact between pupils and another session which will be rotated between subjects. Children may not have their regular teacher but should be familiar with some of the adults that they are with.
Here are some of the things we are putting in place to safeguard you, your children and staff:
Entering and leaving the school grounds – We will be operating a one way system. The gate at the top of the steps will be locked. Parents and children will enter the school grounds by the gate near Foundation and leave by the long path from the main office. Lines will be drawn on the ground to help with social distancing.
Please note the school office will not be able to deal with any queries, medicines, payments etc until after 9.30am. In relation to medicines, at this time due to social distancing, we are unable to accept medicines unless children can administer it themselves which can be overseen by an adult. Please consider, if your child needs medicine, school may not be an appropriate place for them to be at present.
Y1s, Y6CW/CG and any vulnerable children or children of critical workers will enter school by the main school gates.
Y6VD/RL and Y6KH/NS will enter by the door they normally leave by.
All Foundation children and 30 hour children will enter by the Foundation yard. Please note parents will not be allowed in the units. If a child is upset parents will need to calm and reassure their child before they leave as staff will be unable to comfort them due to the need to social distance. Children who return to school must bring a water bottle with them so they can have a drink.
Social Distancing – Children will be reminded about social distancing of two metres regularly and we would appreciate you reminding your children about this. Signage is in place. Social distancing cannot be guaranteed as children are children!
Hygiene – Children will be encouraged to wash their hands as soon as they arrive at school and at regular intervals throughout the day.
Masks – Whilst the Government has advised the public to consider wearing face coverings in
enclosed public spaces such as shops, trains and buses to help reduce the spread
of coronavirus, it has also been advised that this is not appropriate for schools. If a child or
member of staff wishes to wear a mask out of personal choice, then this is permitted,
and we will wear it if a child develops symptoms, as recommended by the government.
Cleaning – Our cleaning staff are absolutely dedicated and are working continuously to ensure
that the school is a safe environment in which to learn and work. Daily deep cleans
take place at the end of each school day and all school staff have a cleaning routine
to follow throughout the day on classroom surfaces (handles, equipment, etc) at very
regular intervals. Our toilets are already cleaned at lunch time and this will continue to happen.
Play times – Breaks will either be at staggered times or in different areas of the school grounds
(weather permitting). Children will remain in their set social groups in order to minimise contact.
Lunch times – Children with packed lunches will be supervised eating in their own classroom whilst children who order a school dinner will eat in our dining areas (socially distanced). Following lunch children will again be allowed to ‘play’ with their social group in their designated area.
Illness – Any child complaining of feeling ill or who has a temperature will be cared for following
our usual procedure but will need to self-isolate and parents/ carers will be contacted to pick up as soon as possible in order to minimise contact with others.
If your child or someone in your household is unwell or shows any of the symptoms of Coronavirus, then please do not send them to school under any circumstances in order to prevent the spread of the illness to other children and staff. In this instance, the child should be self-isolated wherever possible for 7 days and all fellow household members should self-isolate for 14 days. Please let us know urgently if this is the case as ‘where a child tests positive’, the rest of the class/group should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. The other
household members of that wider class/group do not need to self-isolate unless the child, young person or staff member they live with in that group subsequently develops symptoms.’ (DfE Guidance).
Attendance – The government recognises that some of our parents and carers may prefer (if their circumstances permit it) to continue to keep their child/ren at home and therefore
has confirmed that absence rates will not be tracked and fixed notice penalties not
issued for non-attendance during the summer term.
As you know, the Government plan is for all year groups to return to primary schools before
the finish of the summer term. We will of course be carrying out ongoing risk assessments of
the present situation with a mind to planning for this eventuality.
We will keep you informed and let you know when we feel we are in a position to do this safely for all concerned.
We will continue to offer Home / School learning packs for those children not at school. When you are ready for a new pack please let the school office know and we will telephone you when it is available for you to collect. We will continue to offer packed lunches for collection between 12 o’clock and 1 o’clock for children (not in school) in receipt of the free school meals benefit.
If you are a 30 hour child, in F1, F2, Y1 or Y6 a member of school staff will be contacting you shortly to find out what you would like to do about your child returning to school.
Once again, thank you for all of your support during these difficult & challenging times.
We wish all of our families the very best of good health,
Mrs Benton and Thornhill Staff.