The questions below were asked by parents through our Return to School survey in July. Many of your questions will be answered fully in our information letter that will be sent out to parents in August.
What changes have been made?
- Children will stay in their class all day: they will not move to other classrooms for Literacy and Numeracy groups, as this would mix class bubbles.
- Start and finish times, as well as break times and lunch times, have been staggered.
- Additional cleaners have been employed during the school day to ensure that ‘touch points’ and toilets are cleaned regularly.
- PE lessons will be non-contact and, for the first half term at least, children will not get changed into their PE kits.
- Each child will have their own set of equipment for classroom use. Other classroom resources will be cleaned regularly.
- Children are required to bring packed lunches (or order one) that will be eaten in the classroom, with the exception of their day on which they can order a hot school dinner.
- We have increased the hours of some Teaching Assistants (TAs) and appointed a temporary TA to ensure that each class has a full-time TA working with them.
- Hand sanitizer stations will be available on every entry to the school building.
What social distancing will be in place?
The guidance states that children will not need to socially distance within their class bubbles but that adults must continue to do so. Children will be encouraged to avoid physical contact with their classmates as much as possible. In the classroom, the children will sit side by side in rows to avoid facing each other and activities will be planned to avoid this also. Children will be with teaching staff whenever they are moving around the school and staggered lesson times will help to reduce the chances of them passing other classes in the corridors. In the dining hall, tables will be placed at least 2m apart to ensure class bubbles do not mix.
How many children will be in a class bubble?
Our smallest class is currently 28 children and our largest is 32.
Will my child be separated from her friends with the phased return?
All children are returning to school in their class bubbles with their friends. They will not be able to play outside at the same time as friends in other classes, as we have to keep classes separate to keep the risk of transmission low.
How will school ensure that children understand the precautions?
Key messages will be given to children on their first day back at school, with the chance for them to ask any questions if they are unsure or concerned about anything. Children will be given regular opportunities to wash their hands and reminded about the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach to respiratory hygiene. Staff are keen for this to feel like normal classroom practice and for the children not to be fearful.
Will school staff have regular testing?
We are not aware of that being something in the government’s current plans for school staff, but will be something that we will review when the children are back in school.
How will school keep parents safe?
We are concerned with the safety of you and your children when walking to school, particularly knowing how crowded and congested the jitty can be. We would urge parents to ensure they are on time to drop off their children (not too early or too late) as this will reduce the number of people travelling to school at one time. It may also be wise to avoid using the jitty where you can, even if this adds a little travel time to your usual walk to school. School staff will be outside each morning and afternoon and will continually review how effective our systems for drop off and collection are and will make changes if necessary.
We completely understand the concerns of many parents about your child bringing COVID home or passing it on to others in school. We hope that you will be reassured that the measures we have taken will reduce the risk of transmission in school.
What happens if a pupil’s family member tests positive for COVID? How would this affect the rest of the school?
If that pupil is in your child’s class, we would let you know so that you can be extra vigilant in looking for symptoms in your own child. The pupil would be expected to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to school if they have no symptoms. If the pupil was to develop symptoms, we would have to close the class bubble and ask all children to self-isolate.
Will the children be required to wear facemasks when they return to school?
The guidance suggests that this will not be necessary as the risk of transmission between children is low, however, we will leave this to parental choice. Wearing a facemask all day is likely to be challenging for children of junior school age, including avoiding touching it too often, so the effectiveness of wearing one is incredibly small.
How will my child cope when he/she has had little contact with others for such a long time?
We will be using the book Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers in all classes when the children return to school. The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education has developed a ‘Recovery Curriculum’ based on the book which we will use as part of our daily PSHE lessons during the first three weeks, during which children can share their thoughts and feelings, if they wish to discuss them. Mrs Clarke, our Learning Mentor, will be on hand to further support those children who need it. The mental wellbeing of all pupils is a high priority for September.
Will the curriculum change?
No! We are really pleased that the government chose not to narrow the curriculum as they had initially intended. Key skills can be taught through all subjects and our planning supports this. Teachers will carefully informally assess and observe the starting points of all children in September and ensure their planning for reading, writing and maths in particular, meets the needs of all pupils, those who need stretching as well as supporting. It is likely that some curriculum content from the previous year will need revisiting and staff will plan carefully to ensure that this content is covered and consolidated, moving children on as soon as they are able.
How will gaps in children’s learning be addressed?
This will be done through precision teaching: either through whole class learning, small groups or individual support from the class teacher or TA as necessary, in and out of the classroom. Mrs Costema, our SENCO, will be non-teaching for the first term to provide support for children with significant gaps in their learning.
We have had some additional questions from parents that you may have been wondering about yourselves and thought they were worth sharing and a couple of additional things which we need to let you know about.
1. Mobile phones – if your child will be walking to or from school by themselves, you may wish to send them with a mobile phone for their safety. If they bring a phone to school on their first day back, these should be handed to the class teacher until home time. They will give children a copy of our policy and permissions form for you to return to school please.
2. Medicine forms – if your child requires medication routinely during the school day, such as inhalers or diabetes medication, you will need to bring this with them on their first day back. Please download and fill out a medication form before you come. All medication should be brought to school by a parent or guardian. Please bring it to the main entrance, where Mrs James will collect it from you. The form is available on the app for Year 4-6 parents.
3. Trainers! Children may wear any trainers to school for the first few weeks – they do not have to be black in line with our normal uniform policy. If you would rather they change into these for PE, they can be brought to school in a PE bag to hang on their peg and should stay in school please. Please do not send in PE kit, as these take up a lot of room and we are limited for space!
4. Packed lunches – children who are eligible for Free School Meals may order a packed lunch to be provided from our caterers each day. They may also order a hot dinner on their day and a sandwich and chips on a Friday. Other children may order packed lunches too if you wish, at a cost of £2.20 each day. Packed lunches will consist of a sandwich (child’s choice), a carton of juice, a bag of fruit/veg sticks, a packet of crisps and a biscuit.