5th June 2020
On behalf of everyone at school, we hope that you and your family are all keeping well and are still managing to keep positive as we approach our 12th week of lockdown.
We are delighted that we have started to see the relaxation of lockdown in school and have begun to welcome back pupils in certain year groups. As you are aware, school has been open continually since lockdown was announced, but from Monday this week we welcomed back some of our year six pupils. This was followed on Thursday by some of our year one pupils.
At the moment there are around fifteen key worker pupils, ten year 6 and fourteen year 1 pupils in school and we have been very pleased with the way our pupils have returned and the way they have approached the new systems in school.
There are around sixteen members of staff in school supporting these groups, with our admin, caretaking and cleaning teams working as normal. The preparations all of these groups have put in to make sure that pupils can return safely have worked extremely well and we have had pupils who, although initially anxious, returned to school with a smiles on their faces and an eagerness to get back to work.
Within the first week of activities, teaching staff have concentrated on settling our pupils into their new classrooms areas, demonstrating the routines and systems that will be used around school and discussing the concerns, questions and worries they have about their time away from school and the implications of coronavirus.
On top of this, classes have then started to get back to working on areas in English and Mathematics, so that pupils can pick up where they left off in March.
Across school we have set up classes so that they can accommodate more pupils, and do expected our numbers across school, and in these classes to increase over the coming weeks. If parents of children in year 1 or Year 6 would like their children to attend school, please contact the school office so that a start date can be arranged. Unfortunately, due to the set up in the classroom, pupils will not be able to just turn up on the day and get into school, prior notice must be given to school.
Within the keyworker groups, if parents do feel that they are a key worker and their child would be entitled to a place in school, again, please contact school on firstname.lastname@example.org, where a place can be arranged. Please click on the following link to see if you qualify for key worker status. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision
As the key worker group is set up to provide care to the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils, there is still an expectation that if parents can look after their children at home; they should. This is unlike the pupils in year 1 and year 6, and from next week reception and nursery, where, as their class is open, there is an expectation that they should attend.
From the 8th of June two classes of reception will be welcomed to school, with nursery pupils attending from the 11th of June. Again, if any parents of pupils in these year groups would like to now send their child to school, please contact the office on email@example.com, where a place can be arranged.
This phased return to school is supported by a rigorous risk assessment process which has been approved by the Galileo MAT. Through out the week the risk assessment has been continually monitored to ensure that the systems in school keep our children and staff are safe. This will continue to happen as more pupils attend school.
If any parent would like to discuss the steps we are taking as a school to keep our pupils and staff safe, please contact me on 01642 486392.
Reopening for other classes
At the beginning of May the Prime Minister announced that, depending on the meeting the 5 tests, there could be plans to reopen school for all pupils for the last month of the school year. At present we are preparing for the phased increase of nominated groups within school and have had no information from the Department for Education to consider the wider reopening as of yet.
Free School Meal Vouchers
For parents of pupils who are entitled to Free School Meals, the school will continue to issue Free School Meal vouchers – even for pupils who are attending school. At present there is an expectation that this will continue until the end of the summer term, with the scheme stopping for the summer holidays.
For pupils who are attending school next week, pupils in reception, year one and year two pupils in the key worker groups, will be provided with a packed lunch from school. Parents can provide a packed lunch if they would like to, but at the start of the day teachers do check that pupils have a packed lunch and take an order of cheese, ham or tuna sandwiches from pupils so that a meal can be provided by pupils. It is hoped in the coming weeks that a hot meal will be provided to pupils.
It has been wonderful to see more of our pupils and more of our staff back in school this week and we look forward to seeing our reception and nursery children next week. One group of pupils I would give a pat on the back are the children of our key workers. Just like our staff, they have been in school throughout school closure and have approached all activities in a positive and supportive way. They came into school so that their parents could go to work. I can imagine with their friends at home, this might have been hard to do, but they came into school at 8:45am and got on with it. They have been fantastic.
On a final note, although we are slowly reopening school for certain year groups, it is important to note that the risk from coronavirus has not gone away. The precautions we can take in school can only be supported by families and our wider community making sure that we all stick to the guidelines about social distancing, handwashing and isolating if you have symptoms of a temperature above 38.1°, a new and continuous cough or issues to do with taste and smell.
The gov.uk and NHS websites have a wealth of information about coronavirus and what we can and should do to protect ourselves, our families and communities. In addition to this, there was an excellent programme on the radio yesterday about the return to school and Covid 19. Follow this link to hear it https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000jn9x.