Returning to School
Below is information for parents whose children are in the groups that are returning to school.
The proposed phased reopening for children, is focused on Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils (in addition to continue supporting critical worker children and vulnerable children). Among the many challenges are:
- Keeping families safe when dropping and collecting children
- Keeping children safe and, as much as possible, socially distanced when in school
- Adequately staffing and cleaning the number of classrooms / learning areas required
We have prepared for the re-opening of school using this key guidance from the government.
It states that we must endeavour to:
- avoid contact with anyone with symptoms
- ensure frequent hand cleaning and good respiratory hygiene practices
- ensure regular cleaning of settings
- minimise contact and mixing
How are we trying to keep everyone safe?
We are following Government guidance and our Risk Assessment will be available on the website for parents to see in the next few days. Any wording with ‘ensure’ has been removed. We will be doing our best and what is practicably possible i.e.:
Can we guarantee that your child will not catch Covid-19 at school?
Concept of the ‘Bubble’:
The Government has proposed that children should return to classes of no more than 15 pupils. Our classrooms, at most can accommodate no more than 10 socially distanced pupils and no more than 3 adults, but this means movement is very restricted. We do understand and accept that social distancing is not possible in schools but we will take every measure recommended to minimise the risks to all members of our community. The small groups that we will set will be known as ‘bubbles’. The Government has set very strict rules around the organisation of Bubbles which aim to reduce social mixing and allow for greater social distancing. Once a child has been allocated a Bubble, they will NOT be able to join any other Bubble. All children will be allocated a Bubble based on responses received. If children return to school at a later stage, the school will require at least a week’s notice – they should be able to join a Bubble but the expectation is that they then remain in this group on a consistent basis (10 max). A child will spend all day in their Bubble, including break and lunch times. Staff will also be allocated to Bubbles and remain in their ‘Bubbles’ as far as possible. Staff will organise the children into their Bubbles and endeavour to place children so that they are with a small friendship group. Please do not ask for Bubble groups to change as this cannot be catered for. Each bubble will be permitted to access only a very limited amount of resources, with no sharing of resources or materials. To be clear, children will not necessarily be with their friends, with their normal teacher, nor in their usual classroom. There will be no hot food provision as sandwiches will be provided to all Reception and Y1 children and those in Y6 entitled to FSM provision. FSM hampers will continue to be provided for pupils in other year groups.
Equipment for returning children
Named water bottle, morning snack & lunch box (if required), no toys from home. Children will be allocated a plastic zip wallet in class containing their own personal equipment provided by school to avoid sharing of stationery etc. Soft cushions etc. will be removed from all rooms and all children will be allocated their own seat & desk. Additionally, if you are a critical worker you have the choice for your child to join one of their cohort ‘bubbles’. If they join one of the cohort bubbles then you will need to adhere to the school times and will not then be able to access the earlier start times and later finishes.
Parents and Carers of Returning Pupils
- There will be no face to face meetings between parent/carers and staff inside school and dropping your child off must be swift.
- Staff will be avoiding physical contact with children throughout the school day, this includes drop off and collection. Where children are upset, they will need to be settled by their family member prior to leaving them at school.
- If your child needs to be accompanied to school, only ONE parent/carer must accompany them.
- Anyone displaying symptoms of Coronavirus should NOT enter the school.
- You will be given allocated drop off and collection times and will be asked to enter and exit the school through specific points or controlled social distancing measures.
- Parents and carers should NOT gather at entrances and adhere to social distancing at all times.
- Outside of drop off and collection, parents and carers should only enter the site if pre-arranged. School reception office is not open.
Dropping off and Collecting Children
Main Gate Entrance to EYFS, KS1 and Y4 classrooms from front gate will all be via a marshalled/cordoned off one-way system - In around rockery at front of school then flow into the narrow corridor outside SENCo’s office (Westover Little Stars parents will continue on the path direct to Little Stars and on way out will be able to see others, maintain social distancing and flow back out along main path).
All other parents must exit via the middle gates in EYFS / KS1 playground and through the disability parking spaces as marshalled / signposted.
Parents using the front gate to drop off Y6 pupils will be marshalled to drop their children at the pencil fence by hall and leave via the diagonal pathway back out of the main gate.
CW/VP parents and children will follow a one-way flow into Cedar and Larch and enter via the ramp and leave via the steps.
Rear Pedestrian Gate: If parents and pupil are entering via the back gate, then staff using walkie talkies will maintain an appropriate flow. If this is not seen as workable then a one-way system may be introduced, and the use of the rear gate restricted.
What else will change?
The school day start and finish times will be staggered to avoid congestion and minimise contact at the beginning and end of the school day. There will be no early and late club provision available (except for Critical worker children).
There will be an appendix to the school’s behaviour policy. Risk assessments may be made for individual children and if it is felt that there is a slight risk that they may not follow exact instructions from all staff (may not have their normal teacher) then they will not be permitted to have a place. Any breach in this amendment will also lead to losing a provided place. This may impact on some of the many children that are usually so well supported in school.
Travelling to School
The Government has advised parents to avoid using public transport wherever possible. Children that use County transport will be contacted re safety suggestions. Can I please remind you there will be NO use of school car park except for usual permissions and we will politely ask that Westover Green is not used to park cars as we will open to use the width of road to help us maintain social distancing.
Does my child have to wear school uniform?
This is optional – some children will want to wear uniform to make it feel like normal schooling but I am happy for you to choose what to wear (being mindful of the weather). Trainers may be worthwhile as the children will be outside for many parts of the day so footwear must be practical.
What if there is a case of Cornona Virus at school?
Does my child have to come to school?
I understand that there may be some parents who will choose not to send their pupils back to school at this point and would like to assure you that this decision rests with you. There is no obligation for your child to attend school there will be no action for absence or penalty fines. If we discover that the numbers of pupils who will return on 1st June in Reception and Year 1 are low then we may be able to speed up the return of some children in Y6.
Will home-learning provision continue?
We will continue to provide home-learning for all year groups, although the capacity of staff to set and respond to tasks will almost certainly be affected by the increased demands on their time here in school: we will need to deploy teachers from all year groups to support with the gradual re-opening of school.
Will the free-school meals weekly hampers still operate?
Yes – this has been hugely successful and appreciated and exiting collection arrangements will continue on a Monday.
Universal Infant Free School Meals (Reception & Year 1): If your child attends school, you can either send them with a packed lunch OR order a packed lunch via the Aspens website (you will receive a text message when the menu has been uploaded).
Free School Meals: (Reception, Year 1 & Year 6) If your child attends school, you can either continue to collect a weekly hamper and send your child with a packed lunch OR order a packed lunch via the Aspens website (not both).