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School Re-opening Guidance

SEPTEMBER 2020 RE-OPENING INFORMATION

 

Dear Parents/ Carers,

 

As we approach the end of term we feel it is important to explain how the beginning of the new school year will look. Following Government guidance, unless circumstances change due to COVID 19 peaks, all pupils will return to school. However, due to advice around social distancing and measures to keep all children, staff and parents safe, there will be some changes to school routines.

 

Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 2nd September are INSET days for staff training. Children do not start until Thursday 3rd September.

 

- Staggered times for start and finish:

Please think carefully about which Year group your child will be in from September!

 

To ensure we follow social distance guidance, year groups will be starting and finishing at staggered times. They will only be allowed to enter through specific gates to help ease congestion around the school site. Please check the map attached to this letter to see which gate your child MUST use.

 

 

School START time

School FINISH time

Gate

Year 1

9:00

3:15

A

Year 2

8:45

3:00

A

Year 3

9:15

3:30

A

Year 4

9:15

3:30

B

Year 5

9:00

3:15

B

Year 6

8:45

3:00

B

 

Only one parent per family will be allowed on site to drop off pupils. Pupils will enter through their outside classroom doors and will be required to sanitise their hands as they come in. If a parent needs to drop off siblings in different year groups, each sibling will need to be dropped off through the correct gate for each year group. Parents must try to maintain social distancing when on school grounds.

 

Reception- Week beginning 7th September- pupils will attend for one day in groups of 6. Staff will contact you to let you know which day your child needs to attend.

Week beginning 14th September- ALL RECEPTION PUPILS 9:30- 2:15 every day

 

Attendance will be mandatory- Your child must attend every day.

 

Breakfast and Afterschool clubs will NOT be running until further notice. Following guidance around maintaining Bubbles for pupil safety, it will not be possible to provide this service.

 

Uniform will be compulsory. All children are to wear correct school uniform and shoes every day - check the school website for details.

 

PE- Your child’s class teacher will let you know which day PE is on. On this day your child is to come into school in their PE kit. They are not to bring it in separately as they will not be able to store items on pegs.

 

- Lunches- Widden School will continue to offer hot school lunches in September which pupils can order daily.. Please remember that Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils are eligible for a Universal Free School Meal daily but normal payment arrangements apply for those in Years 3,4,5 and 6 who are not eligible for Free School Meals. Please pay online as access to the school office will be strictly limited to maintain social distancing.

 

Finally, we want to thank you for all of your support through the last four months. It has been a difficult time for everyone and we look forward to welcoming pupils back in September. Please keep checking the school website and Facebook page for any updates between now and September as Government guidance changes and the situation moves forward. 

 

Please use the Site Map below to identify Gate A, Gate B and Gate C.

SCHOOL RE-OPENING SITE PLAN AND ENTRY GATES

Widden Plus Summer School

We are going to offer, for the first time, a summer school for Widden pupils.  We will be offering sessions on Thursdays from 11.00 until 2.00 for children from Reception to Year 5 but places will be limited in order to allow us to keep everyone safe from risk of infection.

At each session the children will do some maths and some reading, some sporting and creative activities and will be given a school dinner.  The children will be given reading books that they can continue reading at home with parents/carers or on their own.

If you are interested in a place for your child we ask you to register your interest by phone or in person as soon as possible as places are likely to be filled up very quickly.  We will collect in names and then let you know by the end of the week if we can offer your children places.

The sessions will run on the following Thursdays:

Thursday 23rd July

Thursday 30 the July

Thursday 6th August

Thursday 13th August

Thursday 20th August

All of the staff have agreed to give time to this project for free which once again shows their amazing commitment to the school and our community.

Re-opening update

We  are now able to welcome children in Year 5 if parents are happy for their children to start back.  Staff have already been in touch with parents and the first  day for the children will be THURSDAY 2nd July.

 

We now  have established groups attending in the nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 and these will continue now until the end of the school year with those children who have already been attending.

 

Unfortunately we will NOT be able to admit any other year groups in the last few weeks because of infection control measures that make it impossible to bring in more as that would mean sharing toilet facilities for example.

 

Although the government does not expect schools to be open in the summer holidays we are planning to open a Summer School on one day a week for some of the children so keep checking back for further details of this offer.

COVID 19 RECOVERY CURRICULUM TIMETABLES: RECEPTION, YEAR 1 AND YEAR 6

 

We will begin a phased re-opening of school for some children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 from Monday 15th June.

 

The structure of this will be different in each year group so please ensure that you are familiar with the timings on the timetables provided below.

 

If you have not had confirmation of your child's place to return and you wish for this to happen then you should contact the school office to make this request. Due to stringent preventative measures we have put in place we will not admit any pupils who have not reserved and had confirmation of their place.

 

 

PARENTAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR REOPENING

  • Only 1 parent is permitted to bring a child to school.  All enter via main pedestrian gate at the indicated time on your child’s timetable and maintain social distancing as indicated while waiting to be let in to the school grounds by staff on duty.
  • Parents must leave their child at the inner school gate as directed by a member of staff.  Any child who gets distressed at this point may have to be taken home again as staff will not be able to comfort in the normal manner because of social distancing.
  • Parents will leave the school by following the route marked out.  Parents who must contact the school office are asked to do so via telephone or email but if absolutely essential they will have to wait at the back of the queue until all of the children have been admitted.
  • At pick up time parents must again line up outside the inner gate leaving space as indicated and collect their child one at a time.
  • Children must not bring book bags, toys or other items to school. All equipment will be provided.
  • Children and parents need to know that our new safe and fair rules must be followed by everyone all of the time
  • School uniform will not to be compulsory but clothing must be clean and machine washed each day. Children should also be dressed ready for PE each day.

Phased Re-opening from Monday 15th June

The governors and school leaders have agreed that the conditions now seem favourable for beginning a return to school from Monday 15th.  Parents of the children in the Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6  have been contacted already this week and have indicated if they wish to send their child or children back to school at this time. 

On the basis of the responses staff have been busy organising safe classrooms and other areas and planning the activities that the children will tackle when they return to school.  They have also been organising groups of children that can be safely accomodated in classrooms and they will be  in touch on Friday 12th to let you know on which days that group will be coming in and the exact times for drop off and collection.

If you have indicated that you are not yet ready to see them start back we will be in touch next week about further homework packs and also to see if you have changed your mind.  We will need at least a weeks notice if you want your child to come back at a later date.

If your child or children are not in the year groups that are re-starting next week please remain patient as we  wait to see if there is room and staffing to accomodate more children whilst retaining social distancing rules.

Please do be aware that the government  has now acknowledged that it is unlikely that there will be a full return to school for all of the children before the summer break.

Stay safe and well

Re-opening Review 8th June

 

The governors met again today and we are all in agreement that we do not believe that it is safe to re-open next week but that we will work on plans for opening from the 15th June for groups of children as suggested by the government as long as there is no spike in infection rates.

Staff will be  in touch with you next week to tell you more about these plans.

 

Mr Cooper

Opening on 1st June; the case for and against

The government has asked all primary schools and nurseries to work towards a phased re-opening from the 1st June; at no stage has it insisted that this is implemented in full for any year groups from this stage but it is aiming for every primary age child to be back in school before the summer break.

“Plans for a cautious, phased return of some year groups from 1 June, at the earliest, are based on the best scientific and medical advice. The welfare of children and staff has been at the heart of all decision-making.” Dept for Education Spokesperson

The PM has reported today that the science indicates that it is safe to begin re-opening and many schools seem to be ready to do this but are we ready?

Parents

Telephone conversations with nearly all of the Reception parents following on from texts and letters on the website and on facebook have overwhelmingly shown that our parents are not ready:  We currently have only THREE children due to attend next week if we are open.  Indicative numbers for Year 5 are not much higher (11/60) for the following week at this stage and numbers for the nursery sessions are also very low  (11/60) even though we were offering more sessions per week.

Staff

Staff are very concerned about starting back too early especially our BAME members of staff (who account for well over 50% of the full staff complement).  All have engaged in the planning for a re-start and are committed to serving our community but are concerned that the appropriate assurances have not been received.

The fact that almost all the GPs who have died from Covid-19 so far have been from BAME backgrounds is a cause for particular concern (NHS Guidance 28th May)

Professional Opinions

Dr Zubaida Haque, an Independent Sage committee member*, said it was “not clear” why the government settled on its proposal – which is to bring reception, year 1 and year 6 classes back on 1 June.

The plan “isn’t a model that has been modelled for”, the interim director of the Runnymede Trust said at a press conference, adding: “That is a huge concern”

“There may be some schools that are ready to open on the 1 June, however, speaking to colleagues within schools in inner city areas, they certainly aren’t ready as yet,” Professor Kamlesh Khunti, who sits on the committee, said at a press conference.

“They also have the concerns that have been mentioned because these are in deprived areas with a high proportion of black and minority ethnic teachers and students where the risks are much higher,” the University of Leicester professor said.

Speaking about the plans to reopen schools on 1 June, Sir David Anthony King (Committee Chair) said: “Whilst we totally understand the imperative to get the nation’s children back in the classroom as soon as it is safe to do so, the evidence clearly shows that the government has jumped the gun here.”

He added: “Crucially we conclude that the best way forward cannot be one size fits all. It requires localised case by case responses to ensure that the risk of flare-ups is kept to a minimum.”

The committee of independent scientists says that schools should not re-open until local ‘test, track, and isolate’ systems are in place. ‘There is no clear evidence that these conditions are met. Until they are it is not safe to open schools on June 1,’ they conclude.

New modelling shows delaying school re-opening by two weeks approximately halves the risk to children.

The National Education Union (NEU) also does not agree that schools should reopen on 1 June. “We are concerned that the Government’s test, track, trace and isolate system will fail to work effectively. And we are worried about the implications of a wider school opening for school staff, particularly vulnerable staff, children and communities.”

Despite these concerns, some schools will open on Monday. However, many will not open according to Government guidelines…

Feedback from NEU primary school reps around the country shows that:

  • Many schools are opening for a much more limited pupil intake eg. year 6 only;
  • Many schools are delaying wider opening until 8 or 15 June to give more time for test, track and isolate to bed in and for the number of cases in their localities to reduce.

Conclusion

Whilst we totally understand the importance  of getting our children back in the classroom as soon as it is safe to do so we do not believe that the necessary conditions  have been met and that opening at this time puts staff, children and the wider community, that Widden serves, at risk.

We will continue to offer support to keyworker families and to our most vulnerable pupils as we have been doing but will not begin wider re-opening for at least one week, subject to monitoring and review.

 What re-opening might look like

Dear Parents

We are making plans to start re-opening the school in June but we know that we need to do this very slowly and carefully to reduce the risk of infecting children, staff and parents.  Please take note of the following

  • The earliest we could re-open is in the week beginning 8th June but, on government advice, this will probably be only for some children.
  • Parents will not be fined if they decide to keep children at home if they continue to feel that this is the safest option
  • Children who are not in school will continue to be given work to do at home and staff will continue to stay in touch to help and support.
  • Children are not going to be coming in full time any time in the near future, depending on the scientific evidence about the effect of the limited return to school.
  • Children will be taught in small groups by teachers, not necessarily their class teacher.
  • All classes will be split into small groups and will attend for 1 day only to start with.
  • The groups will be based on children from a class but the children will not be able to mix with other groups, even from their own class.
  • We cannot guarantee that we can maintain social distancing: we will take lots of steps to reduce risks to children and staff but we know that children will not maintain distances and that school buildings are not built to enable social distancing
  • Children will not be able to access most of the play based equipment in school because it is too hard to keep clear of possible contamination.

All other year groups will be re-admitted, if all is well, in the weeks that follow so that all the children will have the chance to attend school again before the summer break.  However we cannot guarantee that this will happen as it will depend on rates of infection.

We will continue to provide daycare for the children of keyworkers where this is required.

We are desperate to see all of the children back in school but we have to be very cautious to make sure that we keep everyone in our community safe and well.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Mr Cooper

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