Please see responses to the most frequently asked questions below. If you have any other queries or concerns please send these to firstname.lastname@example.org
YES - you can find this here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers
YES - we have recently sent out a new booking form for all children who are eligible for this support. If you think you might be eligible and have not contacted us yet, please send an email to email@example.com
The Government has yet to confirm this will be the case, but we are preparing for re-opening from this date. We will open as soon as we can and will communicate the start date for our 'Phased Return Strategy' (you can see this on the web-page below).
The Government has made clear this is a parental choice. If it is confirmed it is safe to start opening schools from 1 June, we will encourage you to send your child in for some time before the end of the school year. It is however important for pupils who are extremely vulnerable OR live with someone who is extremely vulnerable, to stay at home for now.
The Government has made clear this is a parental choice. Schools will not be held accountable for attendance data during this period of time and parents and carers will not be prosecuted with fines for poor attendance.
The Government has made clear in this situation your child should stay away from school to adhere to the strict social distancing requirement to support shielding. More advice can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19
Although we support the principle of social distancing with children, we are realistic this will not be enforceable 100% of the time. We will not be placing children in isolated areas alone or creating unnecessary anxiety for children by 'telling them off' for unintended breach of this advice. We will use age relevant approaches to make social distancing possible, including singing songs, encouraging children to devise rhymes and shared expectations. Ultimately, we know all children can learn about ways of staying safe during this strange period of time, but also want children to have a positive experience engaging at school again for their wellbeing and associated learning benefits.
Please be reassured that social distancing, although useful in reducing transmission of Covid-19 in school, is only one layer in a school-wide approach to making the environment safe. Deep cleaning, good hygiene routines, and regular hand washing are considered more effective approaches in reducing likelihood of catching the virus and I want to ensure you all these strategies are in place.
You can see a more about our strategies for infection control in the diagram below the FAQs section.
ABSOLUTELY! - we will confirm arrangements for this in the near future but there are some things we already know:
- Adults will have limited access to the school site,
- All adults completing this routine will need to adhere to the 2-metre social distancing advice,
- Only one adult should bring a child to school (avoiding bringing non-attending children where possible),
- We will be instructing you to drop-off/collect at staggered times,
- We will indicate specific gates for you to use, depending on the age of your child (and whether you need buggy access)
The instructions will be specific and non-negotiable, so thank you in advance for your obedience and cooperation!
To provide you with as much flexibility as possible we will be allowing children in Reception and Year 1 to wear their MBLS PE kit in addition to normal uniform items (MBLS green PE t-shirt and black shorts, trainers and school jumper or hoodie for colder days). This will reduce the need for children to change during the school day for PE activities and be comfortable in the warmer weather. If you chose to send you child in their traditional uniform, please also send in a PE kit for relevant activities. Please be aware that your normal clothes-washing routine is sufficient, no special plans need to be made for bagging or sterilising your child's clothing because they attended school.
The school has a significant responsibility to ensure all government guidance in place is followed, for all pupils. By starting with part days we can evaluate our ability to meet all these requirements before increasing numbers of pupils or the length of the day. Our first priority is to continue to provide a safe environment. Limiting the day length is also the best way of us meeting the requirement to open daily for as many pupils as possible, avoiding rotas or part-time timetables for Reception and Year 1 pupils.
The Government guidance limits the number of children we have in the same space. We want to provide the same opportunity for all of our seventy-two 3 & 4 year olds to help them re-establish positive experiences that will support with their next education setting. When you do the calculations this means we can only offer two (good quality and supportive!) mornings per week.
With limits on space we have to make difficult decisions about who to prioritise. As the vast majority of 3 and 4 year olds are due to start school in September, we feel they require as much time in the setting as possible to help them prepare for this important transition. This means we will begin Stage 1 by welcoming 3 year olds who are starting statutory school in September. When we re-open, we will be in touch with the parents or remaining 3 year olds to ascertain whether a place is needed, so we can plan the next phase(s) with this in mind.
Will the Front Desk be available to visit?
NO - please be aware that the guidance we are following does not allow ad hoc visits into the school. If you have a question or need help please call the school phone line (01525 373017) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If an appointment is required, this will be arranged for you.
We are preparing to deliver age-appropriate curriculum content, relevant to the needs of the pupils. Staff have spent time considering the impact time away from school may have had, and we are keen to ensure the social and emotional needs of children are met as well as the core curriculum content that will help them transition into their next year group.
As we move into the re-opening phase, this will place a new daily demand on teachers' time. We will commit to providing:
- Home learning resources for Year groups not yet returning (2,3 & 4)
- Home Learning resources for any child unable to attend school due to shielding advice
Depending on staff capacity we will also do everything we can to help signpost learning for younger children remaining at home, although as you will understand, this will not be a priority.
We are not able to offer Fun Club for now due to the guidance about restricting pupils mixing on site. Once Government advice relaxes further (possibly not this term), we might be in a position to offer some space in Fun Club, and will will contact you about this as soon as this is an option.
It is crucial if your child displays symptoms of Covid-19 they are kept away from school. This is also the case if someone in your home shows these symptoms. You will need to isolate following the government advice. If you wish to, your child (age 5+) will soon be eligible to get a test to determine whether they have Covid-19 or not. If this test is negative, your child can return to school and your family at home cease isolation.
YES - we will be preparing packed lunches free of charge for children in Reception and Year 1 daily when they return. You are welcome to send in your own packed lunch for your child if you prefer. The ordering system we will use will be confirmed when information is sent out finalising arrangements for re-opening.
During the first phase of re-opening we need to restrict movement of children and adults on site and cannot share a space - such as the dining hall. Children will eat in their class groups in their class base or allocated outside area if the weather is fine. Class-based cleaning routines are in place over lunchtimes also to ensure eating inside does not lead to further spread of infection. When we have more freedom, we will offer warm lunches again.
YES - from the date school reopens, we will be required to take the register as normal. This means we will need to know the reason your child is not in school, whether due to illness or a decision to keep your child at home during this re-opening phase. If you are keeping your child home we will ask for a weekly update rather than expecting you to call daily. You can leave a message 24 hours a day on the school phone line or email email@example.com to let us know.
We will not be providing face masks for children to wear and as indicated in the advice below we will not be allowing children to wear their own masks from home, due to the added risks that these create.
"Wearing a face covering or face mask in schools or other education settings is not recommended. Face coverings may be beneficial for short periods indoors where there is a risk of close social contact with people you do not usually meet and where social distancing and other measures cannot be maintained, for example on public transport or in some shops. This does not apply to schools or other education settings. Schools and other education or childcare settings should therefore not require staff, children and learners to wear face coverings. Changing habits, cleaning and hygiene are effective measures in controlling the spread of the virus. Face coverings (or any form of medical mask where instructed to be used for specific clinical reasons) should not be worn in any circumstance by those who may not be able to handle them as directed (for example, young children, or those with special educational needs or disabilities) as it may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission."
(Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings, Updated 12 May 2020)
Used PPE and any disposable face coverings that staff or children arrive wearing should be placed in a refuse bag and can be disposed of as normal domestic waste unless the wearer has symptoms of coronavirus.
Any homemade non-disposable face coverings that staff or children are wearing when they arrive at their setting must be removed by the wearer and placed into a plastic bag that the wearer has brought with them in order to take it home. The wearer must then clean their hands.
(Guidance: Safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care, Published 14 May 2020)
Children in Preschool will be in pre-arranged groups of up to 10 children who will be cared for by a small team of staff they will be familiar with. Children will have access to inside and outside areas during their time on site. The Preschool setting will be adapted to meet health & safety guidelines, which will include dividing the space and the removal of some resources from the setting. Staff are working to ensure there will still be ample opportunity for play and learning.
Children in Reception will be in pre-arranged groups of up to 15 children who will be cared for by a small team of staff, including a teacher and at least one member of support staff. Children will know at least one member of staff in the team very well. Children will have access to an allocated inside and outside area during their time on site, using the three classrooms in the Reception unit, plus the Rockpool (School Readiness Room) as group-bases. The setting will be adapted to meet health & safety guidelines, which will include the removal of some resources from the setting. Staff are working to ensure there will still be ample opportunity for play and learning. Each room will have an interactive screen and familiar resources.
Children in Year 1 will be in pre-arranged groups of up to 15 children who will be cared for by a small team of staff, including a teacher and at least one member of support staff. Children will know at least one member of staff in the team well. Children will have access to an allocated inside and outside area during their time on site, using the Year 1 and 2 classrooms and the group-bases.
Child groupings are being determined by class teachers, taking into consideration the spaces and staff available, relationships with adults and peers and any individual needs of children.
Toilet access: Wherever possible groups will have access to their own toilet area. Where toilet areas need to be shared this will be managed using a combination of agreed access times and staff assistance outside of these to ensure access without mixing groups of children. All toilet areas and frequently touched surfaces in shared spaces will be continuously cleaned during the day.
Reception & Year 1 lunches will be taken in either the inside or outside area allocated to your child, to avoid groups of children mixing. If you want a packed lunch to be prepared by the school kitchen you can indicate this on a lunch order form that will be sent to you soon before your child returns to school. This food will be delivered hygienically to your child’s class-base. You are welcome to send in your own packed lunch if you prefer.
Staff teams have been allocated to maintain consistency and to avoid mixing. This means your child will come in to contact with the minimal possible number of children and adults.
YES. Key Worker Childcare: In line with government expectations, children of critical key workers will now be allocated to a group-base in their own year group, to avoid mixing across the school. This means that the care hours being offered to children of Key Workers will follow normal school-day timings from the date school re-opens – I have contacted Key Worker parents and carers directly concerning this.
Children feeling nervous: Some children may initially feel nervous about returning back to school. Especially if you are dropping them to a different location and unable to enter the room with them. Staff will be on hand to encourage them to leave you if this is needed. We will have limited space around drop off points, it may be that if your child is upset or reluctant we will direct you to a nearby area where you can wait for some additional staff support. There is no pressure for this to work on the first day, so if you want to, we also understand that you may decide to not make too much of an issue of your child staying and trying again the following day.
We will still be providing the same level of care your child is accustomed to. If they need assistance, we will be there to help them and social distancing will not stop us meeting your child's needs. If there is a situation where we offer to take your child's hand for reassurance, we will simply make sure we visit the hand washing station with them as a precaution. If you child needs assistance with a toileting need, we would apply the same level of PPE as we normally would.
Dear Parents & Carers,
Many of you will have tuned in to the Ministerial Announcement last evening, hoping to gain some understanding of how the Government intends to bring schools back into operation. I want to make clear that School Leaders up and down the country are hearing messages shared about school reopening at the same time as the general public. Currently I have no other information from the Government or the Local Authority to further advise you about the next steps.
What was clear from the briefing from Boris Johnson is that any move to partially re-open schools is dependent on growing evidence that this is a safe move to make. In the short term I am not anticipating any change to Key Worker eligibility criteria and until I receive any further information about the planned re-opening of schools, arrangements in our school will remain unchanged.
If you heard the Prime Minister’s message you will have noted the emphasis on the priority for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils to return to school first. In principle, I am supportive of a move to provide support for our youngest school-age learners, who are likely to gain most from spending some time in school during the summer term. Year 6 is typically the year group transitioning to Secondary schools, so I will be seeking clarification about whether the focus in our locality might be altered due to the different age of transitions in our three-tier system. I believe that children transitioning to new schools, regardless of their curriculum year, would also benefit significantly by having some time in school before the end of this academic year.
Ultimately we are reliant on the advice and instruction from the authorities. Please be aware that there are likely to be additional requirements and expectations impacting any groups of children returning to school during the summer term. This might include reducing the number of children in any classroom environment and applying, as far as practically possible, social distancing measures. I am sure during the weeks ahead I will be receiving further information, guidance and advice from the Department of Education and the Local Authority and I would reassure you that I will share any relevant information with you that might help you best plan for the months ahead.
Please be aware that I am working with Headteachers locally to ensure that our approach in the town is consistent and fair. I thank you all in advance for you continued patience and understanding as we begin plans to return to some normality.
Mr Kristian Hewitt
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