Firstly, let me apologise for what will be a lengthy letter outlining our plans for September. The plans that we have made fit into different categories – plans to keep our whole community safe and plans to restart all our children’s education – sparking their imaginations and enthusiasm once more. Thank you, once again for your efforts in home schooling your children (In the last week alone, there were 2191 posts to Seesaw) – however, as I have also said previously, it is now
time for us to give the children the education they need.
It is important to note that these are draft plans and are subject to change depending on government advice. Please refer to the school website for any changes. We will also contact you should these plans change.
As per government guidance, it is our plan to reopen to all children as of 3rd September (1st/2nd September will be INSET days). The last few months have been difficult for us all and this is not the end of term that any of us ever expected or wanted. Although we have had close to 100 children accessing school, many more have not and therefore it would be strange for them to come back to school to a new teacher. Therefore, on Thursday and Friday of the first week back (3rd/4th September), children will complete 2 transition days. These days will be split, with children working with their current teacher in the morning and their new teacher in the afternoon. This will allow children to have the familiarity of coming to school to their current teacher and classroom, followed by sessions getting to know their new teachers and classrooms in the afternoon.
Reception and preschool will return to school on the week beginning 7th September. This will be a transition week, with groups split between mornings and afternoons. All Reception and Pre-school children will return on 14th September full time.
Children will start full time with their new teachers from the week beginning the 7th September. During this week, children will complete assessments. This will allow teachers to analyse gaps in knowledge and understanding; once gaps are analysed, teachers will then be able to set timetables and the curriculum accordingly – this will be done in conjunction with phase leaders and the senior leadership team. As the government have suggested, this may result in more time being spent on core curriculum up until half term. This will be decided on a class by class basis, depending on assessment results. Timetables and curriculum will be assessed at or before the half term point, to see whether they should be adapted or returned to normal.
Movement around school/phase bubbles
As has been suggested by the government, for safety reasons, children’s movement around school and working groups will be restricted.
We have decided that we will have the following ‘bubbles’ which will be based on phases:
• Year 1 and 2
• Year 3 and 4
• Year 5 and 6
Year groups will work in their own classrooms, but will be allowed to mix within their phases. Having these phase groups will allow us to manage the school day successfully and efficiently - being able to have three drop off and pick up times, three break times and also allow us to reopen wraparound care (children will then be able to enter the three phase bubbles within wraparound, staffed within correct ratios). Having the phase bubbles will also allow us to consider afterschool sports groups. As sessions will then not be restricted to year groups, more children will be able to attend making them a viable option.
We will introduce a system where there will be staggered starts and ends for phases, so that school is not overwhelmed. One adult only should accompany children to be dropped off and picked up. If you have siblings in different phases, you will be able to drop them off/pick them up at the same time – we will try our best to accommodate you with this, but please be mindful that in the first weeks of this system, there may well be teething problems. Drop off and pick up times
are as follows:
• Reception/Year 1/Year 2 – 8.35am / 3.15pm
• Year 3/4 - 8.45am / 3.25pm
• Year 5/6 – 8.55am /3.35pm
Please try not to arrive too early to drop your children off and pick them up – the system has been put in place to restrict people gathering on the playground.
All children will need to go to their current entrance, where teachers will be waiting to pick them up. Children may be asked to line up (it is not expected that children will socially distance) by their teachers – however, where it is possible, children will go straight into classes.
To allow for social distancing, there will be one-way systems in place in school – staff will be on hand in the first weeks, to help direct you. For parents taking their children to Reception and Pre-school, they will flow from the Reception playground, through to Pre-school, then out alongside the car park.
All other parents will be asked to continue to the main KS2 playground – the one-way system will then follow the building round to the main car park. Measures will be put in place over the Summer to make this safe for everyone.
In school, one staircase will be used to go upstairs and one to come down. Where it is impossible to create a one-way system, everyone will walk on the left. However, corridors within school are wide enough to distance.
Other Teaching and Provision
Although children will not socially distance within their phase bubbles, the expectations around hygiene will still remain high. Children will be encouraged to wash their hands or to use hand sanitiser on arrival to school, after visiting toilets, after break times and lunchtimes.
Children will use their currently designated toilets – all children will continue to be encouraged to use toilets throughout the day, so that backlogs are not created at breaktimes. A queuing system will be in place so that only two children can enter the toilet at one time.
Break times will be staggered so that phase bubbles do not cross – bubbles will also have sections of the playground allocated for lunchtimes so that contact is kept to a minimum.
For the first half term, lunches will be restricted to packed lunches and grab bags available from the school kitchen. This will be assessed in the first weeks to see whether hot dinners can be reintroduced.
Collective worship will take place in classes until further guidance has been received. This is to restrict mass gatherings of children and staff.
Due to restrictions that will be in place, parents will not be able to enter the school building without an appointment, until further notice. This may also impact on ‘Parent’s evening’. It is vitally important to us that we continue to liaise with you on your children’s education. We will therefore continue with Seesaw as a home learning platform; year group emails will continue to be in operation and as always, please pick up the phone or talk to class teachers if you need to.
Children should wear their usual uniform as per the uniform policy. The guidance from the DfE states that, “Uniforms do not need to be cleaned any more often than usual, nor do they need to be cleaned using methods which are different from normal.”
Based on our recent survey, 95% of parents either strongly agreed or agreed, that they would be happy for their child to wear a tracksuit on days they have PE. Therefore, children may now wear an unbranded tracksuit to school on their PE days. The PE uniform is as follows:
A navy-blue jacket or hooded top
Navy-blue jogging bottoms
A white t shirt
Trainers (these do not need to be plimsols, due to children’s comfort in wearing them all day, however, they must also be suitable for a PE session)
These items do not need school branding; however, they should also be plain.
Children are still welcome to bring in a PE kit - they may want to wear shorts for their lesson or change their t-shirt after.
Further details of this will be outlined in the new academic year, however, some parents expressed the need to know that this change is happening so that clothing can be sourced for September. Teachers will also inform you of the days in which their class will do PE in the first week back. PE lessons will not start until the week beginning the 7th September. PE will be taught outside unless there is no alternative. Any equipment used in PE sessions will be sanitised after its use.
We are awaiting further guidance as to when swimming sessions can restart. We will inform you as to when our programme of lessons can go ahead.
As previously stated, wraparound care will now reopen. Children will be dropped off and picked up from the school office, but during their time in wraparound, will be kept in their phase groups. Children will need to be booked in for any sessions using SchoolComms.
The school meeting room, will continue to be used as an isolation space. As per government guidance, any member of staff performing first aid will be required to wear full PPE. In the event of a child showing any COVID-19 symptoms, they will be referred to the meeting room immediately. Arrangements will then be made for collection. Children will not be left alone, and members of staff will be available to support during this time.
In the event of any groups of students having to be at home due to COVID-19 lockdown, isolation or quarantine then ‘online’ remote lessons via Seesaw will replace ‘in school’ lessons. Online lessons will not be widely available to students who are off school.
Homework will continue to be set using Seesaw – this will allow teachers to view homework without the need to bring in books from home. This is something that has worked extremely well over the past months and something we will continue to utilise beyond the current situation. If you have difficulties in using the system, please contact your child’s class teacher.
We completely appreciate that there is an enormous amount of information to take in. We have been thinking about and working on these plans now for a number of weeks now. We have tried to create a system which is manageable and efficient for all, but also has the safety and education of our children at its heart.
It is not straightforward however, to communicate these plans in a letter, and there is more than likely going to be questions that you have. If there is anything at all we can do to help, then please contact us.
We really want this to work – we are desperate to have the children back and return to some sort of normality, as I’m sure you are too. We have survived these last months by working together and together we can make this work from September. Our children both need and deserve to be back at school and we really look forward to welcoming you all back, but most importantly, we look forward to welcoming the children back.
Mr Anthony Brown
Interim Head of School
Our Lady and St. Hubert’s Primary