Information Letter to Parents on Arrangements for Return to School
Letter sent to all parents on 29th May
Instow Community Primary and Pre-School
Friday 29th May 2020
Dear Parents, Carers, Children and Friends of Instow
This has been an unprecedented period in our lives, with a mixture of anxieties for our safety and those of our loved ones. Our staff team have been incredible in supporting continued learning and we teachers have had a confusing range of re-opening guidance that has needed to be interpreted in the best and safest way forward for our school site and community. We understand that your child has experienced both the pleasure of home learning alongside missing their friends or a school routine and we are keen to support the changes they will experience. I would like to take this opportunity to praise you parents and our amazing Instow children for engaging with our learning platforms and developing your home-schooling skills!!
I am sending out this document to you ahead of our survey, which will be sent to you on Monday 1st June. I make no apologies that this reads like a list of statements; however we are aiming to give you clear and concise information, so that you can make an informed decision at home and comply with any phased re-opening of our school community.
- Since their initial statement on reopening schools on the 11th May, the Government is now offering schools more flexibility to plan and do what is sensible and safe for all of us, however our learning spaces will feel very different in order to comply with stringent and complex safety guidance.
- Government guidance tasks us to maintain small teaching groups. We have calculated that Instow classrooms can only cope with 8 pupils in a teaching group in order to maintain a safe working distance.
- The social distancing rules are being reviewed over coming weeks, which will impact on the advice we receive on our ability to consider more pupils in teaching groups.
- The phased reopening of school means that we can only cope with 40 pupils at any one time on the school site initially, as well as up to 8 pre-school children at one time in the Parish Hall. Social distancing rules are also there for our staff on site and parents near the school site.
- Key Worker’s children and EHCP pupils without pre-existing medical conditions will be the priority group, alongside a phased return for Pre-School, Reception and Year One pupils initially.
- We have additional plans to provide contact and celebration for our beloved Year Six pupils at a later date.
- If your child is due to start in Reception Class in September 2020 we will be writing to you very soon with additional information, but the 11th June on-site meeting cannot go ahead as normal. Our Early Years Team will be contacting you during the week of 1st June onwards.
- In order to provide space between tables in the classrooms, our school hall will be required to store additional furniture and resources from each classroom, as well as school meals preparation. Any P.E. will be outdoors around the school site, as well as local open spaces.
- There will be markings around the school site in order to help us all maintain social distancing. Everyone is expected to keep to these rules until further information is sent to us from gov.uk.
- We have arranged for additional cleaning of surfaces and contact points to take place, as well as training children to maintain good hygiene routines.
- We have installed four outdoor hand washing stations, soap dispensers and paper towels dispensers around the school site, so that children can have easier access to wash their hands more regularly without needing to visit our toilets.
- During the week of 1st June, we will be creating a children’s information pack with photographs so that you can see the changes and support your child to understand the reasons for these changes.
- We plan to offer a KS1 and a KS2 key worker and EHCP pupil teaching group who will remain together as KS1 and KS2 groups until further review.
- From Monday 1st June – key worker children and EHCP children without pre-existing medical conditions are in school, as previously offered and booked online– you may have already booked them in via the 1st June booking questionnaire – we are expecting these booked-in children.
- If your child is already booked in from 1st June in school, please also complete the 1st June questionnaire, so that our results are collated together and we can also gauge our on-line learning provision with you.
- During the week of 1st June staff will work in small groups to organise the spaces at school and the parish hall; move furniture, store resources, organise the classrooms and comply with robust risk assessments. We staff also need to carry this out while maintaining social distancing, which will be a challenge!
- From Monday 8th June, only on-line booked-in children will be expected from Reception and Year One year groups. Pre-School children in the Parish Hall will also be able to return in specified groups.
- If anyone brings their child to school or pre-school without an on-line booking confirmation then they will be required to take them home again. The phased school offer will be:
- Up to 8 booked-in Reception pupils will be based in Class One.
- Up to 8 booked-in Year One pupils will be based in Class Two.
- Up to 8 booked-in Key Worker children in Years Two and Three.
- Up to 8 booked-in Key Worker children in Years Four, Five and Six.
- Additional Year Six pupils will be able to be based in Class 5 at a later date in the term, once we have assessed the site suitability with the identified children mentioned above.
- Completing the survey that will be sent to you on 1st June is very important, as we may have to plan a rota or part-time timetable if we know that more than 8 pupils in any year group will take up an offer of a school place from 8th June to 17th July.
- Children and their staff will remain within their teaching group for the school day in order to comply with the risk assessments and minimise any unknown virus spread.
- Each allocated Teacher or Teaching Assistant will provide comfort breaks for each other during the school day. Any assemblies will be in small teaching groups and held outside where possible.
- Each group will have their own PE equipment.
- Children will have staggered starts and ends to the day / break-times / mealtimes in their class / smaller assemblies within their group classroom / in order to comply with DCC risk assessments.
- Breakfast club - Some key worker children have already booked in to arrive in school for 7.50 a.m. and Breakfast Club: New food hygiene regulations now mean that parents will be required to pack their child’s own breakfast to eat in school as we are not allowed to prepare food in the same way as before.
- Any Breakfast Club charges now need to be paid on-line and will be £2.00 per child and £1.50 for siblings rather than the usual £2.50 and £2.00 temporarily.
- There is no after school care available currently.
- School will close at 1.00 on Fridays in order to allow for any deep cleaning. This will also enable teachers to have time for in-school and home-school planning and preparation. Children will need to be collected by 1.00 p.m. on Fridays until the situation is reviewed on Monday 21st June with Governors.
- Government guidance tells us that parents and visitors are to remain outside of the school site; a member of staff will be at the gates to meet and greet your child and direct them to their teaching group space. In our experience a quicker parting is more helpful to your child in the long run.
- Reception/KS1 children and their KS2 siblings are asked to arrive between 8.30 and 8.45 a.m.
- Where possible, any siblings will remain in the same teaching group until review on 21st June in order to minimise contact.
- KS2 children are asked to arrive between 8.45 a.m. and 9.00 a.m.
- Parents are asked to keep to social distancing rules along the pavement opposite to school when collecting children. Staff will bring children to the gate at these allotted times.
- Reception/KS1 children and their KS2 siblings will need to be collected between 3.00 and 3.15 p.m., with Friday collection at 12.45 – 1.00.p.m.
- KS2 children will need to be collected between 3.15 and 3.30 p.m. with Friday collection from 1.00 p.m.
- Where possible do not wait around by the gates, or park up extra-early, in order to keep to a minimum gathering at drop-offs and pick-ups. Any families walking up the hill are asked to wait out by the garden until their group comes in to school.
- We advise that only one parent brings and collects their child, in order to minimise the number of waiting adults near the school site.
- Despite our carbon footprint aspirations, we will not be considering our walking bus currently, due to social distancing rules, but will consider the walking bus once we have reviewed the setting on 21st June.
What we ask you to prepare:
- Your child will need to wear school uniform and we understand that they have grown! Any comfortable footwear will be fine for this period of time. No open-toed sandals, as they may work in grassland during the day.
- Ensure your child brings sun protection with them to school – a named sunhat and named sun block will be essential. Your child will need to bring their own named water bottle. The drinking fountains have been blocked off for hygiene reasons.
- Your child will also need to bring their own plastic coated and labelled pencil case if they have one, which will remain with them on their table. If they do not have one, we will provide them with a little zipper wallet to keep their own writing and drawing materials in.
- It is our intention to allow children to work outside in allocated zones as much as we can – weather permitting – in order to minimise risk.
- Stringent measures of hygiene are being implemented, for staff and children’s safety, however there will be times we will not be able to remain two metres away from others, e.g. passing in corridors, queuing to use facilities, walking past a friend’s table, running past each other in the playground, being comforted if they are hurt, etc.
- Our observation of working with our key worker children who have been in school for the past few months is that they do gravitate towards each other, especially in the playground and that they really want to play with each other and many are desperate to see their friends.
- School Meals are continuing to be provided for your child and we have a menu of two choices each day. Children will be able to collect their meal and return to eat it outside weather permitting, or in their teaching group base, until review on 21st June. We encourage your child to have a school meal at the usual cost of £2.30 daily – you can pay online ahead of time for these via Parentpay.
- We are preparing a set of videos to help children with these changes and intend to help them to learn about a new way of working on the school site.
- We are acutely aware of pastoral issues and anxieties that children (and parents) are expressing and will work with you to support transition in to school. We have set up video tutorials and 1:1 sessions for some identified children and will work with you to enable your child to feel supported.
- With all of this in mind, we are continuing with a dual curriculum plan and an expectation that children remaining at home do engage with their learning. We have a team of teachers who will be co-ordinating any home schooling, alongside the teachers able to work on site with those phased year groups.
- In addition to Seesaw and Tapestry, it is our intention to use Google Classroom to liaise with children, so that there can be some interaction – more information and support will come out next week.
- In order for us to plan, we require you to complete this new survey which will be sent to you on Monday 1st June, for all year groups. Thank you and know that we are all supporting each other to find the best solutions for our dear school and pre-school community in these uncertain times.
With fond and heartfelt best wishes, Mrs Knight and team