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27th May 2020

Dear Parents/ Carers,

I am updating you with the details for the wider opening of school which is due to start on June 8th 2020. We welcome back our Year 6 students to start off with. Once we have settled these children back into school our plan would be to welcome back year 5 children hopefully from 22nd June 2020.

Throughout this unprecedented time we have tried to include parents in our decision making. The response from the survey showed us that many of you were worried that Early Years and KS1 children were too young to follow the socially distancing rules to keep themselves and others safe. The Trustees were in agreement and after looking at all the evidence: scientific, guidance from Ministers, information from the DfE and guidelines from Unions they decided that the risks for younger children were too high to bring them back into school in larger numbers at the moment.

I know that some of you may be planning to return to work as businesses begin to reopen and are wondering about child care. If you have a child in Early Years or KS1 we can still have your child in school as part of the working parents / key worker provision. Please contact school to organise this. We are just asking those parents of the younger children who can keep them at home to do this for a while longer whilst the spread rate of the virus reduces. (R number)

We have tried to make contact with every year 6 parent so that we can discuss their child’s return to our learning ‘bubbles’ which have been set up so that the risk of catching Covid19 is as low as possible. We will let you know how well this has been going when we have met to feed back to Trustees. This review will take place before we open the doors to the Year 5 pupils.

Every parent has the option to send their child in or not however, staff within school have worked hard to make sure every plan is in place to limit the risks of catching the virus.  The children will be asked to follow certain routines devised to keep everyone safe and parents will have to be truthful and guarantee that their child has no symptoms and that they have not been in contact with anyone who has the virus in the last 14 days. This is important because the risk of not doing so is that children and adults will catch a virus that can result in death.

If you are aware of families who have not been self-isolating but they are returning their child to school please ring school anonymously so that we are able to investigate further before we allow the children from these families back into school.

The school day is going to be different from how it was. Key workers can drop their children at the classroom door at 7.45am, non-key workers would arrive at 9am. The school day would be until 3pm for non-keyworkers and children would have to be dropped off and picked up by 1 adult at the classroom door.

The children would stay in one room all day – now called ‘bubbles.’ The learning that would take place are the same planned tasks from the on line learning teachers have planned. Playtimes outside would be just outside the bubble door. In class the children would be sat 2 metres as part. As we do not have classrooms that can accommodate every child sitting 2 m apart we would have a maximum of 10 children in each bubble.

I have included the response to the parental survey – hopefully it will answer some of your questions. Please feel free to ask any question you have about a return when we ring as we know that this is a very difficult decision to make as a parent.

Survey to find parental view point for a return to school with Covid 19

Thank you for sharing your views with us to help us plan for a return to school. 195 people responded to our survey and also shared their viewpoints. A lot of very sensible questions were asked which I hope I can give clarity to, in the table below.

School has been open to key worker children throughout this pandemic. It has been a challenging time not only for staff but for parents and pupils. Through this journey we have learnt a lot and it has been quite a task to get some of the Governments systems up and running to help our community. Thank you for your patience and messages of support through these times.

We initially followed Union’s guidance about the tasks that teachers were to undertake during this time. We were able to make some quick plans and have successfully continued to look after key worker children, whilst plan tasks that have been available on the website and also continue with the safeguarding procedures that we have to undertake. We are aware that this has left parents of children in years Nursery to Year 5 in a situation where there has been a limited educational input. As the initial thought was that we would all be over the virus in a short space of time we used an interactive learning environment with year 6 only.

As you are aware we are in the process of organising learning platforms on Microsoft Teams so each teacher can teach your child with daily face to face input. This may ease the decisions that you face when deciding whether to send your child back to school or not as they will access the same learning online at home as the children in school will. We know not everyone has internet access or a suitable device and we are working on a plan to remedy this.

The viewpoint is quite mixed about a return to school. There is a 50/50 split for those who do and don’t want to return. Which is ok? We hope to plan for those who want to return and those that don’t. About 17% of those that responded shared they did not have suitable access to the learning platform.

So that you have the full picture – here are some of the answers to your questions / concerns.

Does my child have to return to school?

At the moment - no. It is your choice.

Will I be fined?

Not at the moment. The Government have stopped the fines whilst we are in the pandemic.

Which year group will be back first?

As many of you have pointed out it seems most sensible to start with year 6 as they are old enough to be able to follow the social distancing rules.

My child has an underlying illness – such as diabetes.

Stay at home and access the on-line learning material if this is possible this can be done on a smart phone, iPad, laptop or PC.

My child struggles with their emotions / behaviour either at home or in school.

You have to make a decision about returning to school that is in the best interests of your child and the wider family. We can help you decide but you know your child the best. If you feel they won’t cope in school that is absolutely fine – we understand it will look completely different for a period of time.

I don’t have access to IT for home learning.

Be patient with us – we are trying to find out how many families are in this position as we have limited funding within school we are organising learning packs for those parents with no IT – that can be picked up and returned to school, however remember a phone will connect to Microsoft Teams and using the camera your pupil will be able to make contact with the teacher and find any tasks to complete.

How will you organise small class sizes?

To start with we plan to bring back year 6 children. They will work in small groups, not move around school and have playtime supervised outside the classroom door.

Will my child be in for a full week?

Yes from 9am – 3pm.

Breakfast club will continue to only be for key worker children and will move to the ‘bubble’ the pupil will be in for the rest of the day.

I have distanced my family – what if other families have not?

Before any child is allowed to enter school, parents will have to sign to agree that in the best of their knowledge their child has no symptoms and has not been in contact with anyone who has.

Will you have individual desks for children?

The rooms have been measured and a seating plan made where children sit 2 metres apart. This is why we can only have a small number in each class.

PPE

Children can wear PPE as long as it is provided for by the family.

Cleaning / hand washing

There are systems in place for those entering school to sanitise their hands. In the classrooms there are sanitising pumps and wipes. A system has been devised to allow for regular cleaning and Wednesday will be a deep clean day before the switch of pupils for Thursday and Friday.

School Uniform

If your child only has one set of uniform or it is difficult to get it washed and ready for the next day then they can come in their own clothes as long as it is not a football kit.

Playtimes/PE

Yes this will be different but as we have such large and lovely grounds we will not be drawing chalk squares for children to stand in. We will talk to the children about activities they can join in with and then supervise the children to follow the instructions closely.

 

Can we see an on-line video before return?

This is a good idea. Parents can then use it to discuss what school will look like and discuss any anxieties that children face as they return to school.

As a parent it is your decision about returning your child to education. The decision has to be right for your family. If you have relatives who need shielding or children with health issues - it may be your decision to keep your child at home. Education is not all about learning from books. Parents play a huge role in the education of their children. If your decision is to keep your child at home but you are finding the balance of education and working from home difficult, try and think about the learning opportunities in your daily routine. Conversations with language that relates to your job will broaden your child’s vocabulary and the fact that you are working is an excellent role model for your child to aspire to. Also time management, organisational skills and completing small tasks independently are all very important life skills that make a huge impact when applying for jobs.

We are developing our on line learning systems so that any child learning at home will have the same experience as a child sat in a bubble within school. This is so that no child is disadvantaged from where they are learning and also gives parents the peace of mind that their child will be educated if there is the need or desire for the child to be at home during the pandemic.

Thank you for your continued support through this unprecedented time,

Sarah Rudd

Head Teacher

By Lisa Redford on 27th May, 2020

© Newall Green Primary School