Returning to school - what to expect
We pride ourselves on being a friendly and welcoming school and we will be absolutely delighted to see all children return in September. However, there are many measures to be followed to ensure our environment is as safe as possible for children, staff and the wider community. Many of these go against our ethos of a warm and open welcome and some arrangements may present a challenge to parents, but as a small school with very limited space, we have had to make difficult decisions in order to follow government and local authority guidance. We have an extensive risk assessment which will be reviewed on a weekly basis and we welcome your feedback on our return to school.
Please read the following information carefully, there is a lot to take in but it should answer the majority of your questions. If you have any further queries, please don't hesitate to contact us. The government is expected to launch a "return to school with confidence" campaign over the summer and it is recommended that all parents read their guidance "What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term."
All children should return to school in September and full attendance is expected. Children in Years One and Two return to school on Thursday 3rd September and our new EYFS children start their induction on a rota basis from that day. Our attendance policy will resume in full from September, including no authorisation for holidays in term time. All absences will be followed up with parents. Absences must be reported daily via ParentMail, by 9am.
Procedure for suspected Covid-19 symptoms
If a child develops symptoms of Covid-19 at school, they will be isolated and parents will be asked to collect them immediately. It is essential that your contact information is always up to date and that you are able to collect your child quickly in an emergency. We will inform the rest of the bubble if a child has developed symptoms and update them with the results of testing and any next steps required.
All families must observe government rules on self-isolation and testing if any member of their household has symptoms of Covid-19. Everyone can now access coronavirus testing and the school will work closely with NHS Test and Trace and local public health teams if necessary. While we cannot insist that a child is tested, please note that they will need to isolate for 10 days and their household for 14 days in the event of displaying symptoms, in effect meaning that the child cannot return for 2 weeks. It is therefore in your best interests to arrange a test, as a negative result means that the child can return to school and the household can end their isolation.
Bubbles and social distancing
While social distancing between children is not required, adults in school should distance from both children and other adults. Each class will operate as a separate "bubble", which includes both children and adults. Foxes and Squirrels will be treated together as one bubble, as their outside space, crucial to the Early Years curriculum, is too small to be split into two. The bubbles will not mix, so children will learn, play and eat lunch separately from other classes. Children will no longer run errands around the school and only one bubble at a time may use the corridor. In the event of a positive case, members of a bubble (including staff) may be required to self-isolate for 2 weeks.
Although social distancing may not be expected between children in the classroom, different rules apply outside of an educational setting and children should distance from anyone from another household. Parents must maintain social distancing on school premises and supervise their children to do the same, as you would in any location outside your own home.
Please note, children may be in contact with different bubbles during before and after school care. This is something the school cannot control, but if a child at a before or after school facility comes into contact with a suspected case, this could have an impact on their bubble. For this reason we also ask parents to carefully consider who their children socialise with outside their bubble, for example at play dates or extra-curricular activities.
Drop off, pick up and wraparound care
Drop off and pick up times will be staggered in order to facilitate social distancing for parents and keep bubbles separate, particularly as the school has only one possible entry and exit. Please arrive promptly for your allocated drop off/pick up time and leave the site as quickly as possible, observing the distance markings on the paths/playground and avoiding any roped-off playground equipment. If your child is upset, we will do our best to support you, but parents may not enter the building. We appreciate that the timings outlined may cause difficulties for those with children in other year groups. However, our cleaning schedule, staff availability and the need to keep bubbles separate means that we cannot offer additional childcare. We are unable to see out siblings at the same time in the afternoon, again due to a lack of spare staff.
If you require breakfast or after school care, please contact The Duckling Nursery on 07771 645270. We are awaiting information from the YMCA as to whether they will be able to offer wraparound care. We will not be able to offer before and after school clubs for the time being, as this would mean mixing children from different bubbles, which is not permitted.
Please note, the school day is usually 8.55am to 3.10pm. By starting the school day earlier and shortening lunchtime by 15 minutes, the teaching time remains the same as if we had normal drop off and pick up times. The playground gate will open at 8.40am.
|Class||Drop off (am)||Pick up (pm)||Location||Notes|
|Sharks||8.45||2.45||Near door*||If you have children in Y2 and Y1, you may wish to arrive closer to 8.55am and 3pm, to avoid a long wait between drop off times|
|Turtles||9.00||3.00||Far door||If you have children in Y1 and EYFS, you may wish to arrive closer to 9.10am and 3.15pm, to avoid a long wait between drop off times|
|Foxes||9.15||3.15||Foxes gate||We appreciate that there is a long gap between drop off times for Y2 and EYFS. Please try to stick to these times.|
*Near door is the first one you come to, opposite Sharks.
**Far door is the opposite end of the playground. Staff will direct you.
Please ensure that children practise washing their hands thoroughly over the summer. We recommend the NHS child-friendly video guide to handwashing. Children will be required to wash their hands when they enter the school, before and after eating, after coming in from outside and after using the toilet. We will also adopt the "Catch it, Bin it, Kill it" mantra in our approach to coughs and sneezes. Children are not allowed to wear masks in school – this follows government advice. If a child wears a mask to school, the parent/carer must take it home with them - we will not store or dispose of them in school.
Resources may be shared within a bubble, but they will be cleaned regularly and we have an enhanced cleaning schedule for all classrooms. Please let us know if your child is allergic to any cleaning products. Children should bring a named bottle of hand sanitiser and hand cream to be left in school. Children in Years One and Two should also bring a pencil case to school containing items for individual use only (details below). Children in Years One and Two will each have a plastic box under their desk in which to store personal items.
Other illness, medicines and personal care
If your child is unwell, they should be kept at home until they are feeling better. This includes 48 hours quarantine after any incidence of vomiting or diarrhoea. No medicines will be administered in school, apart from those named on a medical plan (e.g. asthma inhalers or epi-pens). If your child has a medical plan, please ensure you bring all their medicines to school on the first day, checking that they are full, in date and in original packaging with the pharmacy label showing the child's name. If your child has a condition such as asthma that requires a medical plan, or their medical needs have changed, you must contact the school before the start of term.
We will endeavour to deal with children who need a change of clothes due to a toilet mishap, but we may need to call on parents more often than usual, particularly in the afternoons when there are fewer staff members on site.
Uniform and what to bring to school
We are switching to an online supplier for our uniform and details will be sent to parents as soon as we receive them. This may be at the beginning of the summer holidays, but if you want to buy uniform before then, please buy non-branded uniform from supermarkets. PE kits will not required in September to avoid children changing clothes during the day. Therefore, please ensure that children wear grey or black leggings, trousers or shorts that are easy to move around in, with black or white velcro trainers. This will enable us to continue PE activities without the children getting changed. Children will not need to bring a book bag to school in September, just the following named items every day: a coat, a full bottle of plain water and a fruit/vegetable snack. Children should also bring the following items to be left in school - a bottle of hand sanitiser, hand cream and, for children in Years One and Two, a pencil case containing the following named items for individual use: writing pencils, glue stick, ruler, coloured pencils, rubber, pencil sharpener, felt-tip pens. All clothes, shoes and personal items must be labelled to ensure that individual belongings are not shared. Please try to bring everything necessary at the start of the school day, including packed lunches, as office staff are not permitted to enter the bubbles to drop off forgotten items.
As bubbles must be kept separate, we cannot serve lunch in the hall. Therefore we will offer a cold menu that can be eaten in the classroom, which can be ordered in advance via ParentMail. Children are welcome to bring their own packed lunch.
We are very aware that most children will not have been in school for many months and that some may be anxious about their return. In the autumn term, therefore, our curriculum emphasis will be on well-being and settling the children back into the routines of school, as well as hitting the ground running with the key subjects. We will also have a remote learning offer that is ready to be enacted immediately in the event of any local lockdown, or a bubble having to isolate.
We urge parents to interact with our online reading programme, Bug Club. This is because we cannot send home books at the moment, given that the virus can stay on them for at least 72 hours. We will monitor use of Bug Club and contact you if there seem to be any problems. If you cannot access Bug Club, please talk to us.
In extreme circumstances where we do not have enough staff to supervise children, we may have to close to particular classes. This will be a last resort, but as we cannot mix children from different bubbles, or permit staff to work in different bubbles on the same day, we may be left with no other option. If a member of staff tests positive for Covid-19, children and staff who have been in contact with them may need to self-isolate for 14 days. This too may impact on staff availability.
Contacting the school
We continue to offer a warm welcome to all our parents, but for the time being this has to be at a safe distance. Parents are no longer permitted to enter the school building, so if you have any queries or messages, please call or email us and a member of staff will contact you. Any absences must be reported daily on ParentMail, by 9am. Messages for the class teacher should be emailed to email@example.com.
Meetings will be conducted over the phone or by pre-arranged appointment at a safe distance. Events to which parents would normally be invited will not take place until further notice, but we will offer virtual meetings in the autumn term to keep in touch with you all. We will continue to update you about life in school via Tapestry (for EYFS), ParentMail, our website and social media. Once again, we welcome your queries and feedback, so please get in touch if you need to.
Checklist for September
We appreciate there is a lot to remember for next term, so please use this checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything!
- Isolate and test if anyone in the household has symptoms
- Report absence via ParentMail by 9am
- Arrive promptly for drop off and pick up
- Bring any medicines named on a medical plan
- Uniform - non-branded clothes, or bought through our online supplier
- Joggers/leggings/shorts suitable for activity
- Velcro trainers (black or white)
- Sun/winter hat
- Water bottle
- Daily fruit/vegetable snack
- Packed lunch, or order free cold lunch in advance via ParentMail
- Hand sanitiser
- Hand cream
- Yr 1 & 2: Pencil case containing writing pencils, glue stick, ruler, coloured pencils, rubber, pencil sharpener, felt-tip pens
- PLEASE LABEL EVERYTHING!