September opening – information for parents/carers
***Term begins for all pupils on Wednesday 9th September 2020***
Dear Parents and Carers,
You will have heard the government announcement that schools will be open for full-time education to all pupils’ from September 2020. Our school has been welcoming pupils in different year groups back to school since June 1st and for key worker and vulnerable pupils this whole period. We approached this with great caution, reviewing all the scientific advice to ensure that we could be as safe as possible. This has gone extremely well. Thank you to all those parents who sent your children back into school as requested – it has been lovely to see them.
We are delighted that we can now look forward to seeing all our pupils back in September. We will be very busy in the next couple of weeks planning, completing new and detailed risk assessments, and working out exactly what school will look like and feel like when your child returns.
The Government has stated: ‘Given the improved position, the balance of risk is now overwhelmingly in favour of children returning to school. For the vast majority of children, the benefits of being back in school far outweigh the very low risk from coronavirus (COVID-19)’.
We’re working hard to consider how we group pupils together, ensure that we reduce contact between different groups of pupils, and keep the stringent cleaning and disinfecting processes we already have in place to ensure that our school is as safe as can be for your child.
We understand that many pupils will be feeling anxious about coming back to school after a significant period of time away. To support our pupils with this, I would like to welcome them back for the first 2 and a half weeks of term, to their old teacher and teaching assistant in their old classroom which is familiar to them. This is someone who they know, feel comfortable with and can support them with any well-being issues that may occur. During this time, teachers will be able to assess exactly where pupils sit in terms of their learning, and will complete an assessment baseline to be able to share with the new class teacher and outline any gaps in knowledge. These teachers will have detailed conversations to be able to support your child moving forward. This will also give pupils an opportunity to finish their school year as such and say a proper goodbye to their teachers.
There are a few cases where staffing or classrooms need to change. Nursery will be taught in the Nursery 1 classroom by Mrs Elver, Mrs Webber, Mrs Twitchin and Miss Dixon. Our new reception starters will be taught in their old nursery 2 classroom for the first few weeks by Mrs Wilde their usual teacher and Mrs Emery, who is returning from maternity leave and supported by Ms Manning. They will have a detailed transition which I will outline to parents in detail, in a separate letter. Mr Correy will move into Miss Gobel’s old classroom. Miss Gobel will unfortunately not be returning with us in September as she is shielding and will be about to welcome her first baby. Instead, Mrs Dudley will be taking over this class and has worked closely with these pupils all year and the pupils will be taught in her classroom, which is next door to Miss Gobel’s.
From the week beginning Monday 28th September, pupils will move up full time to their new class teacher. I will write to you again in the first week in September to let you know who that teacher will be. Over those two and a half weeks in September, we will be building in transition time for the pupils and staff to get to know each other and spend time together, starting with short periods of time, and building up to longer periods of time. There will also be an opportunity to ‘meet the teacher’ for you and speak with them as we usually do. We felt that for pupils’ well-being and learning purposes, this idea would be the best to support our pupils moving forward. We will then begin a detailed recovery curriculum, prioritising core areas of learning to begin with so that pupils can secure their fundamental skills in reading, phonics, writing and maths. We will then in Autumn 2 begin our full curriculum. Our PPA time for teachers will recommence and Outdoor Learning and PE by Mr Ball and Mrs Henry will resume. Therefore, we will no longer need to close on a Friday afternoon. Our breakfast and after school club will also begin. More details to follow on this in September.
I would like to take this opportunity to update you that sadly two staff will be leaving us: Mrs Knight who worked with many pupils across the school, supporting with first aid, attendance and pastoral care, and Miss Moore who has worked supporting interventions across the school and who will be leaving to go on maternity leave and welcome her second child. We have loved having them on our staff and both have brought a huge amount to the school in a short time. We wish them every success for the future.
In preparation for our September return, there are some key points that you need to be aware of to ensure that your child is safe. Please be aware some details may change; we will keep you updated via the school website and app.
1. You must ensure that if anyone in your household has COVID-19 symptoms, your child does NOT attend school. Any child or staff member who develops symptoms in the school day will be sent home immediately. If anyone in your household, or your child, tests positive for COVID-19 you MUST inform your school.
2. The government has advised walking or cycling to school wherever possible to reduce the use of public transport.
3. Attendance at school will be compulsory for the vast majority of children. The government has relaxed the rules on attendance during lockdown. However, this will change in September. The government guidance says: ‘Missing out on more time in the classroom risks pupils falling further behind. Those with higher overall absence tend to achieve less well in both primary and secondary school. School attendance will therefore be mandatory again from the beginning of the autumn term.”
4. Pupils and staff will not be wearing face coverings in school. The government advice is quite clear that this is not necessary. If face coverings are used on public transport to get to school, they must be removed and safely disposed of or stored before entry to the building.
5. Your child will be expected to follow strict behaviour rules relating to physical contact with other pupils, and keeping their hands clean. Pupils will be expected to wash their hands regularly, and/or use hand sanitiser.
6. Our school kitchen will reopen in September, and lunches will be available again. For the month of September whilst the weather is still warm, these will be a school packed lunch with a different variety of options each day. These will be eaten in the classroom or outside. Once the weather becomes colder, we will open up the school hall for hot meals. Vouchers for the Summer holidays have been sent to those eligible with your child’s report. If you think you may be eligible and have not received this, please contact our school office.
7. In order to maintain social distancing during social times, the playground and field will be zoned. It will be really important that your child stays within the area that they are asked to.
8. It will be more important than ever that your child has their own equipment in school to ensure that this does not need to be shared. Each child will be provided with a set of equipment; please do not send pencil cases into school.
9. Pupils will be expected to wear school uniform and the expectations of daily washing have been relaxed. Our uniform shop at Exeter Road is closing so I will be in touch later this week with details of how to purchase uniform moving forward.
10. There will be staggered starts and endings to the school day. Please see below.
We understand that some of you and your children will be anxious about returning in September, after some months out of school. Please be reassured that we are taking exceptional measures to make our schools as safe as can be. We will be providing additional emotional and wellbeing support for all pupils, and will also be providing additional opportunities to support learning where this is required. Although very many of our pupils have worked hard using our remote learning resources provided by our dedicated teachers, we are fully aware that learning has been lost. We are all determined that we will do everything we can to address gaps in learning and we’re adapting our curriculum to make sure that they get the learning and knowledge that they need to achieve success in the future.
Your children deserve a great, and safe education – we will not let them down.
See you in September!
Head of school
There will be a one-way system to enter and exit. Only one adult to drop off pupils please. Timings below will need to be adhered to and social distancing. If you have more than one child, you may pick up and drop off at either the earlier or later time.
Staff will be on hand to direct you and welcome you back.
Anyone who does not arrive by 9.30am will need to be dropped off via the main office. We respectfully ask that everyone makes every effort to arrive, and collect children, during their time-slots.
If pupils attend breakfast club, they will go straight from there at 8.45am to their classroom. For those attending after school club, they will finish learning and be taken to the hall.