Dear parents and carers,
Thank you for the many replies to the opinions page on the website. If you haven't done so, please follow the link below and click on the Y6 link or 'all other year groups':
I would like to address some of the questions and concerns raised in the messages below.
We continue to work with governors and the Local Authority, writing new risk assessments and implementing completely new safety measures to minimise any risk from Coronavirus to children, staff and parents as we plan for the gradual re-opening of school to more children in the coming weeks.
It is ESSENTIAL that any children coming back to school are observing the government's social distancing guidance with their family at home. If children and families are not following government guidelines at home, they will potentially be putting themselves, other children and their families, and school staff at risk when they come to school. Our many social distancing and safety measures can only be effective if the same is happening at home.
Our risk assessments and safety measures, including photos of classrooms, corridors etc. will be published before any year groups return to school. Some parents have asked whether they would be able to come into the classroom to see the environment; this will unfortunately not be allowed due to the risk assessment guidelines, which stress the need to minimise people coming into the school building. However, we will attempt to post a video explaining entrance, exits and some of the other changes for the younger children and their parents when we have further details from the Local Authority.
I can assure you that we know the children individually and are sensitive to their needs. Depending on numbers, we cannot guarantee that your child would return to their usual teacher or classroom; however, we will ensure that children are personally greeted, feel comfortable, understand and practice new routines for staying safe and learn to adapt to the new style of schooling. We understand that pupils and parents may feel very anxious initially, but we will do everything we can to make sure your child receives the personal care, nurture and attention they need to feel happy.
Parents have asked about uniform expectations. The most important factor is that clothes worn to school must be washed at the end of each day and clean clothes should be worn each day. While we always prefer uniform to create a sense of normality and focus, we do understand that after a long break from school, children may have grown out of uniform and school shoes since March and with a few weeks of the year left, it would be unfair on parents to expect clean uniform that fits, every day. We certainly wouldn't want parents to feel they need to go out and buy new uniform. Therefore, uniform will not be enforced. If parents would prefer their child to wear uniform and/or find that easier to manage, that is fine. We do stress that good quality, safe footwear is essential - no open-toe sandals please.
If parents decide to send their child back into school, it is important to understand that this is school, not an extension of the 'hub' style childcare during lockdown. The usual high expectations of behaviour, attendance and punctuality will be expected. Teachers will be planning a sensitive curriculum that responds to the confusing and worrying times we have been living in. The local authority have helped to produce curriculum guidance that will focus on children's social skills and understanding of the world we live in, alongside the usual important skills such as English and Maths.
Hot dinners are available as usual. Where possible, we would encourage packed lunches that the children can eat outside in good weather or in their classroom bubble. When the weather is good, the school kitchen may prepare packed lunch meals that can be eaten outside as a picnic. Free school meals will be available as usual. If your child is attending school each day and you are entitled to free school meals, your online voucher order will stop.
Arriving and collecting from school
Children and parents will notice big differences in arrangements at the start and end of the day, ensuring social distancing and avoiding contact between children and parents.
For example, when Year 6 children return on 15th June,
parents and children will enter and leave school via the vehicle gate on Brownbill Bank by the junior yard from 8:50am, while the key worker and vulnerable children from other year groups will continue to arrive through the front pedestrian gate. Staff will be there to welcome children and give instructions on lining up safely. Further details will be given specifically to individual year groups when they return.
There will be signage outside the gate on the fence indicating how parents should wait for the gate to open in order to maintain social distancing. When we know more about which other year groups will return and when, similar specific arrangements will be made and communicated with parents so that the process is sensitive, safe and simple for the returning children.
High standards of cleaning are essential and we have new guidance and standards to work to. Cleaners are working before, during and after each day, ensuring that all areas are thoroughly cleaned each day. In addition, teaching and support staff will also have responsibility to clean door handles and commonly used surfaces in the classroom throughout the day.
Children with Special Educational Needs
We understand that there may be some children with particular needs and anxieties about returning to school. We will work with individual parents to address concerns and discuss how best to cater to their needs. If a class is split into more than one classroom, children with particular areas of sensitivity will be prioritised for remaining in their usual classroom with their familiar adults as much as possible.
I realise there may be other questions you may want to ask. We have started calling parents who have not yet e-mailed their thoughts and we hope to speak to everyone in the next couple of weeks to answer questions and check in with you and your child.
In the meantime, if you have any specific worries, please e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to answer as soon as possible.
Thank you for your support and partnership.