Firstly an apology for sending such a long message. I have tried to include everything you need to know!
We all remain very excited about welcoming back all children to school on the 8th March. We have been working very hard planning out the details to ensure the transition back to school for everyone is seamless and safe. Please remember that it is compulsory for all children to return full time from the 8th March.
We sent out a survey to parents and received a fantastic number of survey responses back – over 100! Thank you, we really do value your opinions and read every single comment.
I have taken a few themes from the survey feedback and tried to highlight our thinking below each point.
- Parent suggestion: could children begin with half days – either mornings or afternoons? Without lunch in school there would be less gathering.
The Government has stipulated that it is a legal requirement that all children are expected to return full time on the 8th March as normal. Carrying out half days is logistically very difficult firstly for parents who have children in different year groups and secondly for working parents. We have staggered year group playtimes and lunch will be eaten within classes to ensure no mixing in the dinner hall.
- Parent suggestion: could we have a staggered start date for the different year groups to monitor any positive cases?
We will certainly be carefully monitoring positive cases. As stated, the expectation is that all children return on the 8th March for Primary aged children. There is only flexibility around this for secondary due to the necessity of secondary children needing to do regular testing.
- Could there be a staggered start and end time of the day to avoid too many people on site at once?
Staggered start/end times really don’t work for parents who have children in different bubbles and actually causes us more concern as parents waiting for their other children’s bubble to open, are left waiting on site for this to happen. It also causes issues for key worker parents who have to work around strict work patterns. The guidance states that we must keep the length of the school day the same but can stagger to avoid rush hour times. We have done this with the 8.30 – 9 arrival window and 3 – 3.10 finish times. We will have staff onsite making sure that we only allow the numbers on site that are safe.
- Maybe years N, 1, 2 and 4 could use the main gates and years 3, 5 and 6 use the back gates to ease congestion?
Using separate gates only causes more issues for parents with children in multiple year groups. Please make sure you do not gather in a group on entry into school or at other key points around or on our site.
- Parent suggestion: can we continue using email for teacher communication? It is useful if any issues arise or to inform about appointments etc.
We will be carrying on the use of year group email communication until at least Easter and we may continue this beyond that date. Reading diaries will be collected in on a Friday and re allocated on a Monday for the week.
- Parent suggestion: could we please confirm the PE days for each year group?
All year groups will update you with PE days before the 8th March and will update you about any other requirements. Children will be able to come to school in their PE kits on these days.
- Parent suggestion: maybe the first hour of school could be a catch up within the class? An opportunity to talk as they will want to re-engage with friends and will get this out of their system so it will not disrupt the rest of the day.
All children will be given time to catch up with their friends. We know from talking to children that this aspect is what they have really missed. We also know that children will be looking forward to normality and routine. We are very confident that they will slot back into ‘normal’ school life very quickly.
- Parent suggestion: if breaks were made shorter due to covid, is there any chance to now extend them a little?
The children have plenty of time outside with a full quota of PE and forest school/basecamp.
Here are some reminders to reassure you and help you prepare for the 8th…
- Staff are required to wear masks in communal areas at all times. There is no recommendation for children to wear masks at school and we ask that you allow us to have consistency in this and therefore do not send your child with a mask. ‘Children in primary schools do not need to wear a face covering’ Department for Education operational guidance February 2021.
- A brand new Risk Assessment will be uploaded onto our website after we have received the model from the local authority and amended it to suit our school.
- Though we will have full size class groups, we will be careful how each group mixes with other children beyond these groups.
- Assemblies will continue to be delivered in smaller class groups.
- Please ensure your children are dressed appropriately as we will be ensuring ventilation in classrooms is high, with extended periods where the doors and windows are open to keep air circulation levels up.
- Equipment needed: lunchboxes, water bottles (which will come home daily for cleaning), coats etc with names in. Older pupils are permitted to bring in mobile phones (which are turned off on site) for the purpose of safety when walking home alone. These need to be handed into staff on entry / these are not the school’s responsibility whilst on site if you choose to do this. No other equipment is permitted in school at this time please.
- Full school uniform is required, other than on PE days where children are allowed to wear PE kit all day.
- We are hoping to resume after school sports clubs after Easter, but will keep you updated. Afterschool club and breakfast club will continue from the 8th March.
- Parents will not be permitted into the school for any reason, so please use our email address email@example.com or use your child’s year group email or call school on 01952 387720 if you have any messages. Teachers won’t be able to talk to you at the classroom door so please continue to use the class email address for additional communication.
We hope your children are as excited as we are in welcoming them back to school. There really is a light at the end of this long rocky tunnel, but we need to continue to work together to keep the virus away from our school. If you are in any doubt about positive contacts or symptoms we urge you to consider the implications of risking it and sending your children in to school.