Back to School in September 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
Minster Update – Part 2 for September Restart
Nearly to the end of term and time seems to have flown by! If your child has been in school, I hope they have enjoyed being back! If your child is returning for the first time in September we can’t wait to see them and hope they have found the home learning provided an important stepping stone to the next year’s curriculum.
Please rest assured that all children will be supported to make any catch up progress needed. We know that children will have had a very varied experience with home learning and will ensure that support and guidance is in place for them. I will be sending out another video to update you on the changes. There are only slight variations from the original video, but at least you and your children will be able to see what they are returning to in September.
Essential Measures Outlined for Schools by the DFE
· a requirement that people who are ill stay at home
· robust hand and respiratory hygiene
· formal consideration of how to reduce contacts and maximise distancing between those in school wherever possible and minimise potential for contamination so far as is reasonably practicable (Pods)
· enhanced cleaning arrangements
· active engagement with NHS Test and Trace
I have put an updated link for the DFE guidance on our school website – this shows in detail the current expectations (see Parents tab and Covid 19).
Below are additional details to my first update. I hope you find them clear and support us in their implementation to ensure the safety for all. It will be very challenging scaling up by over 50% and still maintaining the necessary safety measures, but with the Team Minster attitude I am sure we will be very successful!
School attendance will be compulsory again from September – the government outlined its expectation for all schools to adopt normal expectations with attendance.
Start and End of the Day
The advice to implement a staggered start/end time to the day has been trialled today as we are now pretty much up to capacity. As you will appreciate, this is to reduce congestion and to aid social distancing. A massive thank you to all of our parents/carers who have been extremely supportive of the school and also each other. Parents have been amazing in supporting the social distancing at the school gates and this makes things so much easier for us – thanks. As this has been so well supported and to help those parents/carers who have children in more than one year group, we are going to make the following adjustments:
Start of the Day
Gates will open at 8:30am to all.
We will continue to use the big double gates at the front of the school for most children (EYFS-Y4). Year 5 and 6 will use the small green gate at the top by their classes. Children will go straight to class – this will help us ensure distancing from other pods effectively. SLT and TA’s will be on the playground ready to greet your children and direct them to their new classes. You will have already received information of who your child’s class teacher and TA’s are for next year and we will all be out to help and support to ensure they all get safely to their new classes on the first day back.
Once you have dropped off your child, please move quickly away from the gates and fence line so that parents and children can maintain social distancing.
GATES WILL CLOSE AT 8:55am. Children must be in by this time, as there is no entrance via the school office. Please ensure you are on time – thank you.
End of the Day
Whilst the start of the day naturally staggers itself, pick up time is much more challenging to manage. It is impossible to have the same pick up time for all and ensure social distancing for our children, staff and parents/carers. Equally we cannot have children from different pods leaving with their siblings as this also causes a problem with supervision, safeguarding and also cross contamination. Parents will need to line up along the fence line prior to the gates opening and distance markers will be in place. Please keep the flow going and save any socialising for away from the school site please to ensure we don’t get any congestion.
We have tried to condense the timings, so that parents are not waiting around too long if they have more than one child to collect.
The timings are as follows:
3:00pm – EYFS when in full-time
3:05pm (6 classes)
· Year 1, 2 and 3
3:15pm (6 classes)
· Year 4, 5 and 6
We appreciate your support and understanding with this matter. Unlike the start of the day, a staggered approach at the end needs to be enforced. To ensure we can maintain this, both staff and parents will need to keep strict timings – thank you.
Hot school dinners will be available from September and can be booked in the usual way. Universal Free School Meals for EYFS and KS1 children will operate as normal.
Full school uniform will be worn from September. The DFE guidance is now that clothing doesn’t need daily washing. PE kits can therefore remain in school and be used as normal.
We will not be running clubs in Term 1 but will assess this as we progress and let you know when our normal schedule of clubs starts up again.
Children will play within their designated zone as class/year groups. Children will not be able to mix with children from other year groups. Children will have designated play equipment for use within their pod. Supervision at play and lunch will be by the year groupTA’s.
Children will be doing PE as normal but this will be based outside as much as possible. Where weather dictates, the hall will be used with distancing measures in place. You will receive information about the days your child does PE but as a rule, they should have PE kit in school all week so that it is available if needed.
Facemasks / Coverings
Children and staff are not expected to wear face coverings whilst in school. Guidance suggests that risk of transmission in school is very low and this combined with the school safety measures negates their use. Staff will wear full PPE when dealing with a suspected Covid case or for first aid that can’t be dealt with by the staff in that pod.
Virtual Collective Worship
Children will still not be able to gather in large groups, so whole school or key stage Collective Worships will not be able to happen in the hall. We will however use our newfound technological skills to deliver Collective Worships virtually so that children can access these in their pods. As a Church of England school, collective worship is a very important part of school life so we are really pleased to be able to still engage children as a whole school, albeit in a slightly different way.
It is important that all children, staff, parents, carers and visitors to the school follow the rules and guidance from school to the letter. This is for the safety of everyone and enables us to open the school confident in the knowledge that we are all doing our very best to minimise risk.
This re-opening of school requires all parties to understand some key principles to minimise risk:
· You must report immediately any Covid 19 symptoms of your family members, friends or work colleagues that you and your child may have come into contact with
· No parents, carers or visitors to come onto the School Site – please telephone or email if you need to speak to a member of staff
· Please only one adult to drop off/collect per family - this is via the top gate that leads onto the Active playground.
· Please drop off and pick up at your allotted time, punctuality is key to facilitating social distancing.
· Please work with your child to reinforce the social distancing and hygiene rules
· Small bags / book bags can brought into school, no other personal belongings other than a sandwich box, water bottle, coat, reading book and PE kit please.
· Please continue to socially distance as you move away from the school premises.
· Please be aware that if a supervising staff member is ever concerned about what they see with regards to social distancing they will issue a friendly reminder.
We are well aware that coming back into school for those children who have been away for some time will be daunting, we will do our very best to re-assure your child and make them feel safe and settled. The school that they are coming back into is not the same as when they left it and the curriculum may need to reflect this as we get children back into learning and routine again. Well-being and fostering that feeling of security will be top of the list on our agenda in the early days.
Here is a summary of some of the changes they will encounter:
· There are 2 metre markers on the floor to indicate social distancing and also show the one-way system around school.
· All soft furnishings and soft toys have been put into storage
· The classrooms look very different, furniture is reduced in all classes and sides are clear for ease of cleaning
· Some play equipment is not able to be used, toys outside that cannot be easily cleaned will no longer be available
· Each child will have certain allocated equipment that they use regularly. This will be in their own tray and will be provided by the school.
· Children will be table based where this suits the curriculum content
· Tables will be in rows and facing forward - these are distanced within the classroom
· Handwashing will be increased and pupils will be expected to wash hands on entry to school, regularly during the day, at meal times and before they go home
· We have lots of signs up around the school to help everyone stay safe
· Lunch will be in class for packed lunches and in the hall for hot school dinners.
· Playtimes and lunchtimes will be for year group pods, children will not be able to play with friends or siblings in other pods
· The classroom will be cleaned down and sanitized regularly during the day
· Children will go into the toilet one at a time and socially distance accordingly
So that children are clear on what is expected of them we have some new rules to keep everyone safe. Please share these with your child/children before they come into school on Wednesday 2nd September. We will be reminding them of these rules on a regular basis so that they are able to follow and remember them with ease.
· I will not mix with children in a different pod in school
· I will not touch other children and will try to stay 1m+ away from others
· I will regularly wash my hands for 20 seconds
· I will tell an adult if I feel unwell
· I will only bring things from home that I’m allowed to
· I will tell an adult when I need to use the toilet
· I will use the catch it, bin it, kill it, rule when coughing and sneezing
· I will cough or sneeze into my elbow if I do not have a tissue
· I will use my ‘indoor’ voice at all times
· I will follow the rules at all times to maintain my own safety and the safety of others
I know this list may seem daunting and very long. It is in line with Government Guidelines and ensures that the school fulfills its duty of care to the best of its ability. We are taking every possible step that we can to ensure the safety of all of our school community.
If we do get a local outbreak we may be instructed to close the school. We will obviously keep you informed should there be a threat of this happening. If the school does close again we will resume the home learning previously in place to ensure there isn’t a break in the educational offer available to your children.
Once we have reconfigured the school for September I will send out an updated video, just like we did with the original Covid adjustments, so that you can share with children what school will look like on their return.
For those parents with new children joining us in EYFS, additional information will come out separately regarding the staggered introduction into school. Mrs Alentis will be sending this information out soon.
We are really looking forward to seeing you all back in our school in September. The school is a much better place when it is full of children eager to learn and enjoying the social time and friendships. For some the isolation and segregation from other children has been a long and lonely time. We hope that a return to school and the curriculum we have in place supports all of our children both socially and educationally so that they can get back on track very quickly.
Together we can make this work; together we can keep each other safe.
And one more thing!!
A massive thank you from all staff for all of the gifts and kind words of support during the lockdown period. It has been an extremely challenging time. I am very proud of the Minster effort to ensure a quality education for our pupils and your kind recognition of this means a lot!
Head of School