We have made it to the end of what of the most unexpectedly strange year in my 20 years in the profession. We made it through together, and hope the team spirit helps us through any challenges we may face in the next academic year.
I write to you now with some extra information regarding the September start.
Staggered Start and Finish
The information we have received through the guidance recommends that we have staggered start and finish times. It would seem that this is to prevent a large number of adults congregating in one area. With our school building having such a pinch point at the front gate we feel that this is even more important for our context.
Therefore the times for the school day will be as follows from Tuesday 8th September until the guidance changes:
Reception and Year 6
Arrive between 8.30am and 8.45am
Collect between 3pm and 3.15pm
Year 1, Year 3 and Year 5
Arrive between 8.45am and 9am
Collect between 3.15pm and 3.30pm
Year 2 and Year 4
Arrive between 9am – 9.15am
Collect at 3.30
We have looked at the siblings groupings and most either have the same timings or have a crossover time with another group. I have been in touch with the nurseries that offer before and after school provision to arrange timings for them to drop off.
In Reception and Key Stage 1, we ask that you bring your children to the classroom door and line up on the blue dots, waiting for an adult to welcome your child into the cloakroom (unfortunately we will not be able to allow parents to come into school). The same at the end of the day, lining up on the blue dots and your child will be sent out to you.
For Key Stage 2 children, the classroom door will be open during these times and we ask that the children flow in through their allocated time. At the end of the day, you will be able to collect your child from the classroom door although we know that many of the older children make arrangements to go home on their own in some cases.
If you have any difficulties that arise from these changes, please contact the school via e-mail.
Changes in the Classroom and School Day
We will endeavor to keep the curriculum as broad and balanced as always under the new arrangements. The Key Stage 2 classes Year 3, 4, 5 and 6 will be seated in rows facing the front. The information we are receiving suggests the younger the child the less the risk of infection but for our Key Stage 2 children, we feel it is better to limit risk where possible.
The children will eat their lunch in their classrooms and have staggered playtimes to further reduce risk. We will have virtual assemblies and have altered the staff timetable to avoid the staff from working with a large number of classes.
The children will be introduced to a routine of regular handwashing and other good hygiene policy.
Visitors into School
We will be making every effort to reduce the number of visitors into school, by holding meetings remotely where possible. We have a code of conduct for all visitors that need to be in school.
We will need to reduce the number of parents coming into school but please use other forms of communication to contact us such as telephone and email.
The DFE has made it clear that attendance from September will once again be compulsory for all children and will resume monitoring of our registers. We feel it is especially important now that the children have good attendance to allow staff the opportunity to make a good impact on progress. The DFE has informed schools that statutory assessments such as SATs will resume next year.
Despite the need for regular attendance, we will still need any children or adults with any symptoms of COVID to self isolate and be tested. Classes may then need to isolate at home for the required length of time.
With any other illness, the usual isolating time frames remain (we will send out a reminder of these early in the Autumn Term).
We understand this is going to remain a challenging time until the worldwide infection rate has significantly reduced and we will continue to be guided by central government in the best interests of all.
Can I end by saying what a pleasure it has been to see most of our children back in school at some point in this last week. They really are a joy and a credit to you all. The children seemed to really enjoy their time on the school grounds and I am sure it will have helped some of the anxieties children may have had before we meet again in September.
However, we aware that for many children returning to full-time schooling will be an enormous challenge for many different reasons. We are ready to support all of our families in the best way we can. But for now, I am sure you will join me in thanking the school staff for their dedication to the children and wish you all a good summer, hopefully enjoying a little more freedom.