Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope you have managed to have a restful and enjoyable summer break despite the local restrictions and the disappointing weather.
As we approach the return to school for all our children I wanted to update you with our arrangements and plans. I am sure you will have seen the very recent guidance for schools from the Department for Education and I am sure you will have lots of questions. I hope this newsletter helps in answering them prior to the return for the children in the next few days.
You may find that some of my letter is a reminder of previous correspondence but there are some slight amendments and further detailed information so please take time to read it as it may help explain new and different procedures for everyone.
Attached to this letter is an updated Home/ School Agreement. It is similar to the agreement sent out in the summer but it is important that every parent signs and returns the form on our return to school.
We are happy to receive paper copies, signed on September 7th or to receive an email to the office acknowledging you agree to the terms outlined. It is particularly important that you understand and support the actions around possible Covid symptoms and safety precautions as a family you must take.
To allow for a punctual start and for little opportunity to queue we will be opening gates from 8:40am but would request that you only arrive five minutes before your child’s allocated start time. This has worked well since our opening of bubbles in June but we may need to adjust start times if we are unable to support a flow of children through the gates. Please do not arrive earlier than this as it is difficult to manage social distancing for adults on the narrow pathway outside the school gates.
In addition to my previous correspondence Eyam Road gate and path will be open for children who need to access the Junior playground. Parents will be requested to drop off and meet their children at the end of the path where the chickens are as staff will be meeting children from that point.
We will be instructing childminding groups to access the junior playground pathway and will be allocated zones for drop off where children will then be taken to bubbles by a staff member. Further messages will be sent to childminders via parents to express when and where drop off and pick up takes place.
As you face the school from Shepley Drive with the car park directly in front of you, the gate and path to your left is the Junior gate and the gate and narrow path to your right is the Infant gate and path.
Reminder Our Bubbles – Where to enter and pick up and what time?
** Parents of these year groups only are permitted beyond the playground gates and identified zones.
Sibling groups have already been contacted with arrangements. It is important that we stick to a single collection for sibling groups to reduce additional adults entering the playgrounds at the staggered times.
Please be mindful that arrangements for such a large number of children is new for all of us and however frustrating it may be, dropping off and picking up may well be slower than usual. We may well make changes over the coming weeks to suit a smoother operation and I ask that you remain as calm and patient as possible. Everyone will be trying their best to keep our community safe, so please bear with us.
For now, in line with Government guidance we ask that for everyone’s safety, please adhere to the following rules:
• Only one responsible person per child
• Only learners enter the building. Nursery and Reception children to be accompanied to the exterior gate to classrooms with parents. Staff will signpost this from the infant gate entrance.
• No face to face communication with other parents, carers or staff members other than initial queries at the gate on the first day.
• Late attendees will not be permitted into school once the gates have closed and the bubbles have begun their sessions. Gates will be locked promptly at 9:30am
In the event of a local lockdown we may request that adults wear face coverings at drop off and pick up times. At this stage, as Stockport has had local restrictions lifted, there is no expectation to do this but if you feel more comfortable wearing face coverings please do so. There will be little opportunity to discuss matters with the Leadership Team at the gates as we need to move the children in swiftly.
Some of our staff may choose to wear face coverings during these sessions but at this stage we will not be wearing masks during teaching sessions.
Only parents for Nursery and Reception will have opportunity for a short engagement with staff at the classroom gate.
All necessary communications in the short term will be made via telephone or email conversations. You should already have received email details for your child’s classteacher as they are the same as the Zoom invitations. Teachers will of course, be unable to respond to them in the teaching day. They will be available to respond to messages or telephone calls Monday to Friday only from 8am – 8:30am and between 3:30pm and 4:30pm Monday to Thursday and 1:45pm – 4:15pm Friday.
Any queries or concerns you need to bring to my attention can come through the school office, via telephone or email. As always, I will endeavor to get back to you with an appointment, return call or email as soon as possible.
If your child is in Year 1 or above Zoom invitations will be emailed out to you today (Wednesday). This will be a generic hello and a chance to reassure the children about our plans to return.
During this second Zoom the children will have a tour of their classroom as it will have been set up ready for the children starting on Monday 7thSeptember. There will be an opportunity for the teachers to answer questions your child may have submitted via email before the session.
As previously mentioned the teachers have prepared welcome letters to introduce themselves or reintroduce themselves to the class and these will be emailed out tomorrow as well as being posted on the relevant website pages as we update the website in August.
Holidays and Return
If you have managed to take a break abroad and have been affected by quarantine changes please inform school prior to September 7th of your period of self-isolation so that we can record this appropriately on our returns to the Department for Education.
We usually hold a Meet the Teacher session in September to share classroom organisation and plans. We plan to post a short video and relevant information on the school website for your information. We anticipate the information being available for you to look at your convenience from next Wednesday 9th September.
Our fruit supplier has informed us that fruit will be delivered for children in Early Years and KS1 from Wednesday 9th September. If you would like to send your child with a piece of fruit as a snack for Monday and Tuesday please do. The children will be able to keep their snack in their bag until breaktime.
Those children from Y3 to Y6 will be able to bring their own healthy snack daily. We advise that if the children have a piece of fruit it will remain in their bag until break. If they are bringing a snack bar or something in a tub or wrapper please label the snack and again, the children will keep it with them in their bags.
As we approach the new term, I am mindful that our children will be coming back to school with a range of different experiences, emotions and feelings. Our team are currently working hard to identify bespoke starting points for all our children and are developing the design and structure of a curriculum that will focus on core skills linked to reading, spelling and phonics as well as developing writing and understanding mathematical concepts. At the same time we intend to invest time into managing feelings and wellbeing and our overarching theme for the autumn term is designed around a series of quests. The children will work in their bubbles together to solve problems and dilemmas and seek solutions and ways forward. We have factored in expertise from Kay, as our resident play specialist to further enhance our strategies for being mindful and to offer support where our learners may need it.
I am mindful too that for many of you this will be a very challenging time. I would like to reassure you that the whole team is committed to making our school environment as safe and welcoming for our community as possible. We will communicate more often in more detail about any changes to guidance and arrangements as soon as we can so that you are fully informed. We have found the last few months as demanding as any other place of work and as a team have benefited greatly from the experience of our wider opening in June so we are positive about our offer to all children from September.
If you are anxious about the return of your child to us please contact me to discuss our plans.
The following section may well help support you with some of your concerns.
Who will ensure my child gets into class each morning?
For those children in Year 1 and above, when you arrive at the designated gate and time you will be received by one of our Senior Leadership Team, Mrs Rice, Mrs Adnett, Miss Wood or myself. We will then direct your child to a receiving member of the Teaching Assistant team who will lead them to their classroom where their teacher will be waiting with morning activities. We ran this system in the summer term and it worked well.
How will I pick up my child at the end of the day?
We ask that you return to the gate you dropped off at and access either the main car park for pick ups from the infant gate or move into the junior playground as far as the chicken coop for access via Eyam Road gate or the junior gate. We ask that you help us by socially distancing and arrive only 5 minutes before your designated pick up time so that we can get the children out at regular intervals safely and efficiently.
A member of staff who has been working in your child’s class will bring the children out to you.
What does my child need to bring with them?
Your child needs to attend in school uniform from Reception upwards and should have PE kit in a PE bag in school that can be worn for outdoor sessions. It is advisable that they have a warm tracksuit or sweatshirt and joggers with plimsolls and trainers and shorts and t-shirt for warmer sessions. Everything should be labelled.
Children can have a small reading book bag to use to transfer reading books and records between home and school. We are reducing peg space so smaller bags are preferable as the children will carry very little to and from home.
Lunch boxes are now able to come into school but please be mindful that children must take them home every night for cleaning.
Drinking water will be provided in school – bottles are not needed at this stage.
Up to date medication such as inhalers will be stored in classrooms for those children who require them.
School will provide all stationery.
Which adults will my child be in contact with?
Your child will work alongside their class teacher and one other key member of our support staff. They will have a dedicated adult to support their bubble at break time and at lunchtime. If your child works with an additional agency to support their learning we are waiting to see when face to face sessions resume. It is likely at this stage that sessions from LSS or Speech and Language will be held remotely.
Will my child be participating in PE?
As previously indicated all physical activities will take place outside this term, weather permitting the children will participate in non contact sports. Swimming will resume for Year 5 and will follow national guidance published for the Local Authority provider. More information will follow regarding this next week.
Will my child be able to continue with music sessions?
Unfortunately, as a result of our extended learning spaces we are unable to support instrument tuition for this term. We are hopeful that as things return to normal we will be able to offer lessons in the new year.
The children will participate in class music sessions however.
How will I be updated on my child’s progress?
We are mindful that this new normal will pose challenges to many of our children and we are confident our bespoke plans for your child will support and reflect their learning needs. We are planning to update you with a pastoral check in and short ‘settling in’ report at the end of week 2 and a more informative update of progress to targets report at the end of week 5. We plan to give you a further, more detailed update of progress and performance in November when our usual parent teacher meetings take place. At this stage it is difficult to determine whether these will be telephone based or face to face sessions.
If the school goes into local lockdown, what will happen?
As a primary school, we will continue to remain open to all our children. Things should continue as they are right now.
If the school goes into a national Tier 4 lockdown what will happen?
Tier 4 is where all schools will close for pupils with the exception of those children who have parents classified as key workers. In this event, we will remain open to children of key workers in line with working patterns. All children will receive a blended learning folder that will comprise of a combination of signposted live lessons, learning grid activities covering key curriculum outcomes differentiated for your child, access to activities using web based platforms (Bug Club, My Maths etc) and a series of paper based independent revision and extension activities for the children to complete. Packs will initially host work activities for 14 days and will be ‘topped up’ if the isolation period extends.
What are the arrangements for break times and lunchtime?
The children will take their lunch times and break times at staggered intervals in the school day and will be allocated zones at a distance from other bubbles. They will be supervised by the same key adults and will be expected to take their break outside as much as possible. The children need appropriate clothing to support all weather patterns.
Lunch will be eaten in the classrooms and additional cleaning rotas are in place to sanitise the learning spaces after eating and before the next learning session.
If my child is symptomatic what should I do?
Book to get a test as soon as possible, wait at home until you receive the result and then based on your result either quarantine as guided or return to school. Symptoms can vary and as we are discovering more about the virus we are seeing anomalies in reported cases. A temperature – above 37 degrees, loss of taste or smell and a new persistent cough remain the key symptoms identified through PH England and NHS. The World Health Organisation updated the list to include secondary symptoms likely in children which include, fatigue, sore throat, joint pain and diarrhea. We would advise that if your child has more than one of the symptoms indicated that it is safer to be tested and is helping us keep the chance of risk reduced. Results are usually back within 48 hours.
If someone in my child’s bubble is tested positive what will happen?
If anyone in your child’s bubble tests positive we will inform you as soon as possible. You will be advised to take your child for a test and follow guidance based on their result. If we have a positive case there will be a temporary closure of the bubble in line with others getting tested and an opportunity to review any further contamination across school. Where several cases result in a positive test we may be subject to on site testing and wider bubbles may have to close.
If my child is ill with a non Covid related illness what do I do?
Telephone the school office as you would normally to report the absence. We will ask you for a list of symptoms around your child’s illness and record that to support our registration returns to the Department for Education.
It is important that all sickness is supported with the relevant period of recovery so that we do not have others quickly infected and result in staff members being unwell and unable to attend and potentially close bubbles if staff numbers are reduced.
What happens if I need to pick up me child early or return them to school after an appointment?
Telephone the office to inform the team of your plans and pick up drop off through the office entrance. Please use hand sanitizer at the entrance and speak at a distance to the office team at the window. A member of staff will bring your child to you or pick up your child from you. At this stage, you will be unable to accompany your child to class and enter school beyond the entrance doors.
How will I know if my child has received first aid in school?
You will receive the usual first aid slip for minor events and injuries. For more serious first aid treatment we will telephone you to discuss.
How do I request a leave of absence?
Leave of absence requests are still permitted under exceptional circumstances and should be submitted using the blue form at least four weeks before your intention to travel. Additional time for quarantine will not be granted however. Forms can be requested electronically via the school office and it is likely you will receive a follow up telephone conversation from me to determine the purpose of the absence if necessary.
Who do I talk to if I have a concern or query?
Initially, use the window identified to talk to your child’s class teacher on the telephone or via email. Teachers will return calls and emails when not teaching in the times identified earlier in this letter.
You can also use this approach to speak with your child’s Phase Leader, the teams are supported by a senior member of staff who has an overview of the phase plans and may well be able to support your query.
For Nursery and Reception this is Kerry Robinson
Year 1 and Year 2 Sara Turner
Year 3 and Year 4 Becky Towner – Yates
Year 5 and Year 6 Hannah Garrett
If your concern is linked to additional needs and agency support you can contact Julie Rice.
If you would prefer to speak to myself or Becky Wood as Deputy Head then please telephone the school office in the first instance.
Will special events like assemblies and Sports Day take place?
It is unlikely that special events including PA events will take place this term. We will be putting cohort assemblies on hold until the summer term and will replace the Christmas term performances with alternatives for Early Years and KS1 in the summer term too.
We will be unable to hold discos or the Christmas Fair this term.
Primary Sports are working on plans to offer provision for our children, the details and venue will be confirmed soon.
What are the arrangements for the children using the toilets?
The children will be permitted to use the toilets when they need them but will only use the toilet one at a time to reduce congestion and queues in and out of the toilet cubicles. The children will be reminded regularly to use the toilet and will be instructed to hand wash as well as use sanitiser when returning to the learning spaces.
How will hand washing be made a priority throughout the day?
The learning spaces have two hand wash stations so that the children can move through the handwashing process a little quicker. From the first day the teachers will reiterate the way to wash hands properly and will have regular reminders as well a timetabled breaks to wash hands between activities and play based sessions.
I appreciate that there is much to take in and hope that as we approach the new term my letter gives you a little more insight as to how school will run from next week.
Thank you for your patience and understanding. We look forward to seeing you back next week.
Please help us to plan for revised opening under a Tier 4 Lockdown. In the event of a national lockdown school will be open only to children of key workers. To help us plan and prepare in advance for such an event we need the following information. Please complete and return to school on Monday 7th September along with the Home School Agreement.
I am a key worker
My job/ role is _________________________________________
My employer is ________________________________________
I would require my child to attend school during a national lockdown
I would not require my child to attend during a national lockdown
Please delete as appropriate
Child’s Name _______________________________
Parent(s) Name and signature _______________________________