Key Information for the New Term
We are writing to give you some updated information about school opening. We have followed the government guidance carefully and have completed a risk assessment to ensure that the school environment is as safe as possible for a full reopening of school. I would therefore like to welcome the whole school community back to school on Monday 7th of September, with the new Reception starting with half days from Wednesday 9th September until Friday 18th September - for more information please see school diary. I would also like to welcome new families to the school and trust and pray that you will be able to know God’s hand of blessing upon you as you join us in these rather unusual and challenging times. Having met as a senior leadership team earlier in the week and again as a whole staff yesterday we were all very encouraged that the Lord is with us.
Please could all parents read the following information thoroughly as there are a number of changes which you should become familiar with. I would appreciate your support and cooperation as we start the new term.
School groups or ‘bubbles’:
According to the guidance, we have divided the school into 4 distinct and separate groups. These are:
Lower School (LS) - Years R to 3
Middle School (MS) - Years 4 to 6
Middle School (MS) - Years 7 and 8
Upper School (US) - Years 9 to 11.
Staff who teach or support pupils are permitted to move between bubbles, but the pupils themselves will stay in these groupings at all times. Staff will maintain 2 metres apart from pupils for most of the time, except where essential support is required, but in LS the expectation of distancing is minimal. Staff will also remain 2 metres apart from each other as much as possible throughout the school. Desks will be set out to be front facing in most classrooms in Middle and Upper School.
The School day: Pupils are expected to arrive between 8:30am and 8.45am. Middle and Upper Schools will wash their hands at the new outside sinks, as directed by the staff member on duty and will go to classrooms via designated doors. LS will go straight in and wash hands inside. There will be no lining up at the beginning of the day. All pupils will be directed into school via specific entrances dependent on their year group and bubble - please click here for information about which entrances and exits are used.
From 8:30am the teacher will direct the pupils to the correct entrance, as follows:
- For Reception: Parents can settle their children in the outside learning area and help them with hand washing.
- For Year 1: pupils enter through the side entrance to the new Year 1 classroom (formerly Year 3).
- For Years 2 and 3: pupils enter through the LS door. A teacher will be in the LS corridor overseeing handwashing in the cloakrooms before entry to the classrooms.
- Years 4: pupils wash hands at the outside sinks and then go straight up to their form rooms via the LS door.
- Year 5, 6, 7 & 8: pupils wash hands at the outside sinks and then go straight up to their form rooms via the MS door.
- Years 9 and 10: pupils will wash hands outside and go through LS door.
- Year 11: pupils will wash hands and go in through the MS door.
Please note that staff on duty will direct children into school as they arrive and after handwashing. Pupils will not be lining up or going to cloakrooms. Pupils should not arrive onto the school playground before 8:25am. In recent years, pupils and parents have been arriving earlier all the time. However, during this season where special measures are in place, we would ask that you do not arrive any earlier.
For MS and US, cloakrooms will not be in use, and all coats and belongings will be kept in form rooms. Please ensure pupils have a good sturdy lunch box which is thoroughly cleaned at the end of each day. They must also have a large full bottle of water with them for the day. These must last them all day (two bottles may be needed for some children) refilling of bottles will not usually be possible.
Mobile phones: Pupils in Years 7 to 11 may bring their mobile phones in by arrangement however, we would suggest that they only do so if they are walking/cycling or using public transport. Phones will be handed to the form teacher at registration rather than to the Office which is our usual arrangement and will be stored in sectioned-off trays to prevent cross-contamination. Pupils must not keep their phones on them even in their bags. Please complete an updated mobile phone request form to give explicit permission on which will be available to pupils to bring home on Monday.
Middle and Upper School pupils will be having most of their lessons and their lunches in their form rooms. This is to minimise interaction between the bubbles. Break times will be staggered between the bubbles, although on occasions the playground will be marked out in zones if more than one bubble are outside together.
Pupils are discouraged from buying food from Jack’s on the way to school.
Please ensure that all pupils have the items on their equipment list with them from the first day. Please note that every child needs to bring their own supply of tissues, hand sanitizer and wipes, and these items will need to be replenished regularly. Pupils cannot share their resources. Surfaces and books will be regularly wiped and cleaned both in and out of the classroom and in science labs etc. PE lessons will take place on the school premises for all classes, at least until half term. Instead of swimming, we will be running another form of physical activity.
Uniform: We expect pupils to be in full uniform as usual and would like to remind you that all items should be kept in good order and regularly washed. You may consider washing items more frequently than before. In order to help with the practical aspects of getting changed, we would ask MS and US to come to school in their PE uniform on the days their class has PE; Please be aware that all pupils must wear jogging bottoms on these days - please see uniform lists. Furthermore, we plan to have as many windows open as possible for increased ventilation, and there may be times when pupils will need an extra layer eg. vests which again should be worn according to the dress code policy.
At the end of the day: pupils will be brought out to the playground through the same doors as they used in the morning, although the timings will be a little staggered to avoid congestion in corridors and exits.
LS parents should have arrived by 3:25pm. Reception will leave through the Reception door, Year 1 through the Year 1 door, and Years 2 and 3 from the playground.
MS parents should arrive at 3:30pm and wait near but distanced from the class until the teacher can spot you and send your child over to you.
Upper School will leave via the playground and not through the front door at 3:45pm, and parents need to wait for pupils on the playground. Pupils and parents should not congregate by the front gates.
All parents and families are kindly asked to leave promptly at the end of the day. Pupils will not be able to play on the yard at the end or the beginning of the day.
We would strongly encourage parents to maintain 2 metre social distancing on the playground, and also on the route to and from school. It is easy to become relaxed about this but, in case of infection, it would be very helpful to have high confidence that contact at school between parents has been minimal. Some parents may choose to wear a face covering on the yard, but we do not require this of our pupils, unless our local area has specific restrictions imposed by Public Health or the Local Authority. We recognise that as a close community this aspect of our community life is compromised; especially for parents at the school gate.
Face Coverings: because of the nature of our small school, we do not expect pupils to wear face coverings in school. We do not expect to have crowded corridors or other communal areas and have organised the day so any crossover of bubbles is minimised. If pupils arrive by public transport and will have a face covering, we suggest that these are reusable and they should be carefully put away in a plastic bag in their school bag to be washed at home.Please ensure pupils are carefully prepared for this. Pupils should have a fresh face covering for going home on public transport (kept in a different part of their bag). It is important that pupils learn to use masks/face coverings correctly to minimise cross-contamination. Please see government guidance.
In case of local restrictions for Covid 19, this guidance will be reviewed.
Office contact: Please do not pop into the school Office as you would normally. If you need to see teachers, please contact us by phone or email: email@example.com marked for attention of the relevant teacher (eg. use a Subject of “FAO: Teacher Name or FOA Office etc)”, and we will follow up your request as best as we can in a timely manner. We hope that a teacher can get back to you usually within 24 hours.
For Years R to 6, you can also hang back at the end of the school day and request a quick chat with the class teacher who is on the yard, but please be patient in these circumstances and your children must stay with you at all times.
Symptoms: If children, parents or anyone in their household display symptoms of Covid 19, ie. a new persistent cough, high temperature or loss of taste or smell, then they must not come to school, and must request a test through NHS 111. They should isolate at home as a family for 14 days until the results come back and are clear. This is extremely important to adhere to. We recognise that this will cause disruption for everyone, but the effective monitoring of cases is dependent on this approach.
If someone has a positive test in the household, you must please inform the school immediately. The school is required to let the Local Authority and Public Health know of any positive cases. The school will then be informed by the Local Authority/Public Health about any actions which need to be followed up in terms of others at school isolating.
If a child is taken ill with Covid symptoms at school, the office will inform parents immediately and look after the child in the medical room wearing PPE until they are collected and taken home for testing. Therefore please ensure that school has up to date parent and emergency phone numbers.
What to do in case of illness when Covid 19 is not clearly indicated: We expect that it will sometimes be challenging to know whether your child has a cold or other illness rather than Covid 19, however, if you are in doubt and think that your child has a heavy cold, they should be kept off school even if in the past you would have given them Calpol and sent them to school. It is extremely important that in case of diarrhoea and or vomiting children stay home for 48 hours after the symptoms are cleared before they come back to school. The medication policy will be modified for the 2020/2021 academic year and made available on the website.
If your child has a medical or orthodontic appointment, please inform us as soon as possible and before the day of the appointment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also phone the Office if you are not able to email. When you arrive to collect your child, please ring the bell and wait for them to be released to you outside. Sending notes is still useful for the class teacher but an email/ phone call to the office is now also required.
Curriculum and Learning: We are confident that we are able to provide a broad and rich curriculum despite the restrictions to our school day. Staff are working hard to prepare their material as imaginatively as possible. We know that many children and young people have struggled with not seeing each other for so long and that school life will not be what they are used to next term. However, as a small school we are in a good position to be able to follow most of our curriculum, with the exception of swimming and aspects of music for the first half term at least. Families and children engaged really well with the home and online learning programme last term, which we are very grateful for and thank God for, and we trust that pupils will be looking forward to being back in the classroom environment. However, we also feel it is important to prioritise the emotional and spiritual wellbeing of our pupils, and we will endeavour to sensitively work through issues and provide children opportunity to process what they have experienced. This is obviously an ongoing matter for prayer and we would value your support in this area, as well as in practical areas, as we return to school.
Behaviour expectations: Pupils will receive lots of regular and clearly explained information about the expectations and safety measures in the first few days and weeks. We will start with a friendly and age-appropriate pupil email, which will be sent via mailchimp to parents’ email addresses, and also directly to MS and US children via school email addresses. Please look out for this email and go through it with your children and young people. We will also be posting our risk assessment, behaviour expectations, absence protocol and other related information on the website and will keep these regularly updated for your information.
We are very grateful for the support of our parent body throughout this season, and would like to thank you in advance for your cooperation with the measures outlined above. We recognise that as a close community, our community life will not be as we would wish especially for parents at the school gate but please do greet and chat with one another in the playground whilst maintaining distancing, especially when you are waiting for children and perhaps after they have gone into school in the morning. Please also look out for new parents too as you normally would to help them settle into the community.