Returning to School
Download the January 2021 Covid Risk Assessment HERE
Download the September 2020 Contingency Plan HERE
Download the FAQs Information for Parents HERE
Download the Behaviour Policy Covid Addendum HERE
Download the reassuring 'Back to School' story for children HERE
Watch the 'Keeping You Safe in PE' video HERE
Although we are currently living under the latest lockdown measures, with only the children of critical workers and vulnerable pupils attending the school site each day, we are very much looking ahead to when we can open the school more widely and welcome back all of our children. The government has announced that schools could start to re-open from March 8th and we will follow all announcements and await the confirmation of a return date.
We all have to accept that a number of factors have to be considered before a wider opening will be given the green light, factors including:
- The prevalence of Covid-19decreasing
- The numbers in hospital with Covid-19 decreasing
- The required % of the population having been given their first vaccination
As we look to all pupils returning, it is important to be clear on what you can expect from us and equally, what we will expect from all of our parents, carers and students.
We will await further guidance on attendance but, if the government makes the decision that all children can return to school, it is likely to be the case that attendance will be mandatory, as it was in September. The usual rules would apply, meaning we will be recording attendance and following up on any absences.
However, if you have received clinical or public health advice that your children should still remain at home, please let us know and continue to follow that guidance. We will be offering remote education to these pupils.
When your children come into school, like the Autumn term, we will have a large number of protective measures in place as we want to ensure that all of our pupils and staff remain safe throughout the school day:
- Our procedures for going to and from school, such as our changes to drop off and pick up times and routines and the entrances that different year groups can use must be adhered to
- Our clearly marked one-way systems in all areas of the school
- Our clear rules on what pupils can take to and from school: pupils only bringing in ‘essential’ items (e.g. bags, stationery, lunch boxes)
- The classrooms being specifically set up to maximise space, following DFE guidance, so excess furniture and resources has been removed
- We will continue to ensure good personal hygiene and responsible behaviour, with clear expectations about regular hand washing, social distancing where possible and avoiding physical contact
- We will be ensuring that our pupils remain in their class ‘bubbles’ for teaching and year group bubbles for playtimes and lunchtimes, with specified zoned play areas for the different year groups
- We will continue to clean key areas and surfaces more frequently throughout the day
- After another extended time away from school, we will work hard to ensure that all of our pupils are clear on all the protective measures and offer regular reminders and good role modelling
- If a pupil or staff member develops Covid-19 symptoms, we will actively follow the guidance and will be clear in our communications regarding confirmed cases and informing those who may need to self-isolate
- Our staff will be participating in the twice weekly testing programme so that we can identify any staff members who may be asymptomatic carriers of the virus
- We will not be planning any trips for the time being and will continue to monitor the situation carefully before planning for any future trips and outings
- Large gatherings, assemblies, presentations will be avoided and we will look to other ways for celebrating success and showcasing learning
Just as we did in September, we will recognise that not all pupils will have experienced and accessed the same learning opportunities during this latest lockdown. However, we will still be doing our very best to provide an ambitious, broad curriculum for all of our pupils.
When the children return we will be aiming high, working hard and caring deeply so that we can do the following:
- Provide a strong focus on wellbeing so that all pupils are emotionally ready to learn
- Identify any gaps in knowledge created over this lockdown period and ensure that they are well supported to catch up on lost learning, using additional teaching staff to provide intervention support as needed. This will be done through ‘light touch’ assessments and not any sort of formal testing
- Focus on the most important concepts when teaching which will act as a strong foundation for the next stages in the children’s education: we recognised that we were not able to cover all the missed learning from the spring and summer terms of 2020 so we will prioritise accordingly
- Teach all subject areas so that all pupils can have access to their favourite lessons
- Mark and provide feedback so that pupils can understand their next steps
- Provide an extracurricular offer including breakfast and after-school clubs within year group bubbles if it is deemed safe to do so
We are only too aware that yet another lockdown has been a difficult time for many of us, including our pupils.
Please let us know if you think your child(ren) might need extra support when returning to school, such as if they feel anxious about coming back or they are experiencing bereavement.
We will continue to actively support our pupils’ wellbeing and working hard to develop their resiliency this academic year. It will, once again, be important for us to measure wellbeing once our pupils return so that we can have a whole school snapshot to help inform our planning and identify pupils who will benefit from support and interventions.
Staff have worked very hard to form a three-tiered graduated response process which includes the following:
- A universal response that all pupils will benefit from, including Jigsaw PSHE and PiXL wellbeing lessons, regular class circle times, mindfulness minutes, class worry boxes and lunch clubs
- A selected response for some pupils that provides ELSA sessions, access to our Mental Health first Aiders, Nurture interventions, Lego therapy sessions, counselling
- A targeted response that may include access to dramatherapy sessions, CAMHS support or involvement with the Getting Help team
We are extremely grateful for all the support we have received so far from the school community and want to continue to work in strong partnership with you to keep all of our stakeholders safe and happy. We will continue to keep in touch if there are any updates to our plans or if we need to make changes due to new or updated government advice.