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4.9.20 Letter to Y6 parents regarding admission to secondary school. Secondary Admissions letter for parents 2021
September 2020 information
The leaflet below has been produced by the Government. It can be read in conjunction with the information specific to our school. Please click on the image to access the pdf version of the leaflet. Parents are also encouraged to visit Gov.uk\backtoschool
The most up to date letter to parents is below.
I hope this letter finds you all well, and that you and your children are as looking forward to next Tuesday 8th September, when school finally re-opens after what has been a prolonged period of absence for many of our children.
This letter follows on from my previous correspondence last week, and whilst much of the information is repeated, it gives further detail, reflecting the latest updated guidance issued by the Government last Friday night (28th August 2020).
Hopefully it also answers some of your questions and queries. Thank you to everyone who has phoned or sent in a text or email to clarify these arrangements – thinking through your queries helps us to clarify processes and procedures.
For those who like to look at the detail first hand, the full Government guidance can be found here.
School will re-open for all year groups on Tuesday 8th September 2020.
The Government has stated that attendance will once again become compulsory for all children, and they have reinstated the process for issuing fines to parents who do not allow their child to return to school. England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, has further emphasised the importance of school attendance by making a statement in which he warns that failing to return children to school in September would pose a greater risk to them than catching Covid-19.
I appreciate that some of you may have some anxieties about the return to school, this is only natural after such a long period of absence, but I write to assure you of the steps the school has taken to look after the health and safety of the entire school community; pupils, staff and parents. If you are at all worried, I would encourage you to contact school, so we can talk through your concerns and put your mind at ease. Returning to school is vitally important for your child’s development: socially, emotionally and physically as well as academically.
In accordance with Government guidelines, we have undertaken a robust risk assessment regarding the safe return of staff and pupils
As an overview the guidance for schools focuses on these main elements;
- good and regular cleaning and hygiene routines;
- limiting opportunity for the transmission of the virus through the provision of year group ‘bubbles’ Within those bubbles there is no requirement for social distancing.
- diligent reporting of illness and staying away from school where there is any suspicion of illness and full engagement with the track and trace programme;
The following information is provided to inform you of how the school will operate to manage and minimise the risk of infection.
The Government are asking schools to reduce, as far as possible, the number of contacts a child encounters each day, through the provision of bubbles of children and staff, who remain together as a group, with minimal interaction with other groups throughout the day.
Accordingly the arrangements are as follows;
- The children will spend the vast majority of the day in their classroom with their class bubble and class staff.
- Break times and lunch times are staggered and the play spaces have been divided with each year group allocated a particular area of the playground.
- Entrances and exits, stair cases, walking routes and corridors around school have been allocated to specific year groups.
- Start and finish times have been staggered and separate gates allocated to distribute and minimise the number of people at any one gate at any one particular time
Further details are outlined below.
Staff are able to work across bubbles if this is necessary to ensure the broad and balanced curriculum continues to be available and specialist teaching can be provided. This means that Mrs Smith will continue to teach art across all the Ks2 classes, however, the art room will be thoroughly cleaned between each am and pm session. Furthermore PE specialists will be able to deliver PE lessons, however these will be out doors.
Children with additional needs will continue to get the high level of support as previously, but staff will be continually mindful of the amount of close interaction they can engage in. Staff that need to provide close contact care, will be able to wear face visors to prevent the transmission of the virus from adult to child. This will include speech therapists, educational psychologists and other specialist staff who work with some of our children.
Bolton Public Health officials have recently advised that staff in all schools ( including primary schools) wear face coverings ( visors or masks) when in enclosed communal spaces, or moving around school where 2m social distancing from other adults cannot be maintained. This does not include inside the classroom bubble.
Children may therefore occasionally see staff wearing visors around school.
The purpose is to prevent adult to adult or adult to child transmission, rather than to prevent infection.
In accordance with other Government guidelines on the use of face coverings for adults, we would also encourage parents to wear face coverings when collecting or dropping off children, in case social distancing is difficult to maintain, as part of our social duty to care for our community.
It is still recommended that primary school pupils do not wear face coverings in school at any time. This is due to the increased risk of wearing the mask incorrectly in primary age children. Wearing dirty masks, constantly touching and fiddling with masks, taking off and misplacing masks, the potential for masks being mixed up or at worst shared, all lead to a greater risk of transmission of the virus. Consequently we agree with and endorse the Government’s current position that pupils do not wear face coverings in school.
PPE i.e., gloves, aprons and masks are all available in school should they be needed for first aid incidents or intimate care.
We are very fortunate that each classroom has its own sink. Children will use the ‘cleaning station’ upon first arrival at the classroom, after break, before and after lunch and will be further encouraged to use it continually throughout the day.
Each class has also been stocked with cleaning products, additional paper towels and disinfectant wipes, so staff can regularly clean surfaces throughout the day. High contact areas, such as stair rails, the door entry button and photocopiers also have disinfectant wipes and lidded bins close by for the safe wipe down of frequently touched areas.
Children will be taught the ‘catch it, kill it, bin it’ technique for safe coughs and sneezes.
Normal school uniform regulations apply. This can be found here on our website.
Thank you to everyone who engaged with our ‘good as new’ uniform sale. This venture has proven to be very successful, and not only has it helped your purse strings, it has also helped the environment, whilst also raising some cash for school fund. This is something we shall continue throughout the year, so please send any worn but good as new uniform in to school and we shall restock our rails.
PE kit should be brought to school on the first day and will be kept in the child’s classroom, or alternatively brought to school on PE day and taken home that evening.
Some high schools are suggesting that their pupils attend school in PE kit on PE days. This is so the children do not have to enter changing room spaces that would inevitably have to be used by multiple groups across the day thus risking cross contamination across bubbles of children. As our children will be remaining with their class bubble in their classroom, this risk has been mitigated and therefore the children can continue to attend in uniform on PE days.
In the past we have been able to loan out PE kit to those children who forget it on their PE day. Under current circumstances this will not be possible and therefore it is even more important that children have their PE kit in school on their designated PE day. Teachers will be reminding the children about this regularly.
Please could you ensure that all items of clothing are named, particularly PE kit. This will ensure ‘lost’ items are returned to their owner as quickly as possible. Items left lying round school will be very difficult to return to their owner without names and children will not be able to ‘wander’ around school seeking out their missing items.
Arrival and pick up
The staggering of start and finish times and the distribution of entrance and exit gates has been introduced for everyone’s safety.
It is vitally important that children arrive at the correct time and through the correct gate. This is so we can minimise the number of social interactions that we all encounter during the day, thus minimising the chance of transmitting of the virus.
Prior to the gates opening, we request that should you arrive a couple of minutes early, you form an orderly, socially distanced queue along the path alongside the school perimeter fence. Staff will be on hand on the first day to help co-ordinate this.
Upon arrival at the gate, children will proceed straight to class via the designated route, which will be pointed out by staff. Many staff will be available during the early days to help establish routines and offer support and guidance. Children will not be loitering on the playground, as previously, or lining up before being collected by the teacher. School staff will be on duty by the relevant gate and will direct the children to the appropriate door. Children will be expected to sanitise their hands upon arrival. This will be supervised by the staff.
It would help with social distancing on school premises if parents of children Y4 upwards, allowed their children to enter the school gate on their own. Parents of younger children may wish to escort their child to the classroom door, but it is vital that social distancing is maintained at all times and parents do not gather at the door.
Children arriving late, after the gates have been locked, will need to enter through the front doors. These children will be given a late mark, which counts as unauthorised absence. 20 counts of unauthorised absence is the trigger for further action from the LA and a possible fine.
At the end of the day parents are asked to wait in the appropriate space, at the appropriate time. (See the timetable below)
These arrangements have been very carefully thought out and are in place to protect us all and ensure school is enabled to stay open through minimising the risk of the transmission of the virus.
NB – reception children have a two week induction period. The arrangements for this have been shared with those parents already.
The staggered start and finish times and entrance and exit gates are shown below.
|Year group||Start time||Gate||End time||Parent waiting area|
|Y6||9.00||Side gate on Lark St. by side doors near ICT suite||3.25||Basketball area – or beyond the gate if possible as this is quite a small space.|
|Y5||9.00||KS2 gate||3.25||Ks2 playground|
|Y4||8.50||KS2 gate||3.15||Ks2 playground|
|Y3||8.50||Side gate on Lark St. by side doors near ICT suite||3.15||Basketball area|
|Y2||8.50||KS1 gate/Ks1 door or fire door to Miss Brown’s room||3.15||Ks1 front playground|
|Y1||8.50||KS1 gate/Y1 fire doors classrooms||3.15||Ks1 playground
(near class fire exit)
|EYFS||8.50||EYFS rear gate Lark St.||3.15||EYFS fire doors|
Please do your very best to arrive at the time specified, neither too early nor too late.
For parents with siblings, please drop off the youngest child first. We will of course be understanding of those of you that need to be at different gates, and will keep the gates open for at least 10 minutes, allowing you to make the journey around the perimeter fence with your children. Please do not take short cuts across the school playgrounds, this will defeat the object of separate entrances and exits. As stated earlier, please consider allowing children of Y4 upwards to make their own way in through the gate.
Breaks will happen as usual, however, each year group will have a designated play area. There are specific routes that they will take from their classroom to their designated play area, which will only be used by that year group at any particular time. Break time will be supervised by staff from the year group bubble.
Morning snacks will be available, but these must be paid for in advance through parent pay (more information about parent pay can be found here) and will be delivered to the classroom to those who have paid, to avoid handling money and also avoid snack queues at break time. Snacks and juice will be charged at 35p each per day.
Alternatively children can bring a snack from home, eat it outdoors in their designated play area, and use the bins provided. These snacks should be simple e.g., a packaged cereal bar; a piece of fruit etc. and must not contain nuts.
Milk and fruit is available for free and will be placed in the child’s classroom each day for them to choose on their way out to play.
All children should bring a named water bottle to school each day to keep on their desk throughout the day and take home each evening, This should be filled each morning, at home, with a sugar free drink (ideally water), and can be replenished throughout the day from the school taps.
Our website has been updated with a sample dinner menu for September 2020. This menu may change at short notice, but has been provided by Bolton Council (our meal providers) as a sample of what will be served.
Whilst school dinner service will be available, unfortunately initially there will not be a wide choice of menu (although a vegetarian option will be offered each day). We will be operating a ‘family service’ whereby the same children will sit together at a table as a group and dinner will be served to them in a grab bag. This will be a lovely social event rather than a quick speed through the hatch. The same children will sit in the same places each day and will sit with the children from their own class, to maintain social bubbles.
The tables will be thoroughly cleaned in between each sitting.
Unfortunately whilst the range of what can be offered will be somewhat limited initially, this will be reviewed regularly as the situation evolves and we will add additional choices as soon as we can.
If you would like your child to transfer to school meals from packed lunches please let us know.
As previously children may bring a packed lunch. Should your child bring a packed lunch, it will be necessary for us to dispose of any containers left in school at the end of the day. For health reasons, lunch boxes must be taken home each evening and thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to avoid any virus transmission. Recyclable/disposable paper bags would be preferred each day. Packed lunches must be in a named container. Prior to lunch they will be stored in the classroom.
Children in YR, Y1 and Y2 get a free school meal every day. Children in Ks2 may get a free school meal if they are entitled to one, on the basis of their benefits claims. Other children in Ks2 who require a meal will be charged; these must be paid for in advance using parent pay. School meals cost £1.80 per day.
What if I need wrap around care?
Breakfast club runs from 8am each morning and will continue to do so, however, there will be some slight changes due to the restrictions around COVID,
Breakfast club but MUST BE BOOKED AND PAID FOR IN ADVANCE, via the parent pay system. Spaces will be limited and children will not be able to turn up at 8am on the day and pay on the door as previously. The booking system will operate through parent pay and will open in September. Children will sit in year group tables and will go straight to class from breakfast club. There will not be playground time before school for any child.
Walking bus will not be operating initially, unless the guidance about minimising interactions and contacts changes.
What does my child need to bring?
In addition to your child’s water bottle and PE kit, there is very little else your child needs to bring to school. All stationery and equipment will be provided and children from Y1 upwards will have their own pencil case with their own equipment, so as to avoid the need to share and possibly aid transmission of the virus. There is no need for money as the new parent pay system has been introduced to allow pre-payment for all snacks, lunches etc. and to minimise the need for anyone to handle cash.
All the children need, therefore, is a small bag for their reading book (which will continue to be sent home) and their home- school communication book, along with any letters or work that we send home. Please check your child’s bag daily and restock each day.
How you can help?
- A key part of the guidance is ensuring that anyone who feels ill is tested and does not attend school. Full cooperation with the test and trace programme is crucial. This is where we need your help. It is important we all act collectively to keep us safe individually and to keep school running well. Please do not send your child to school with COVID symptoms. This, however, does not offer an excuse to stay at home regardless. School attendance is now compulsory again, so it is expected that anyone with symptoms will get an immediate test and follow the guidance accordingly, including attending school if the test is negative, or isolating if the test (or anyone in the household) is positive. It is expected that test outcomes will be shared with school.
- If your child is absent due to COVID guidance, arrangements will be made so they continue their studies. Obviously, they cannot do work on days when they are actively ill, but there may be times they are well but must not be in school e.g., if isolating due to a member of the family having a COVID positive test. Work will be set and monitored (either through the blog or paper copies of learning activities) so that they can continue to learn and make progress.
- You can also help at the school gates. When meeting your child please remember that you must be socially distant from other adults as you would be anywhere else. We also encourage you to wear a mask. Please also only gather at the appropriate collection point for your child, collecting your youngest child first then walking round to the collection point for older siblings. If possible arrange to meet your Y4 upwards child at a point a little further away from the gate.
- If you need to speak to someone at school please do so via email, text or phone as far as possible, rather than visit the office. If you do need to visit the office, please bear in mind that the entrance area is a confined space and can only accommodate one adult at any one time. Please be mindful and maintain a social distance.
Our visitor protocol is below should you need to enter the school building.
Please follow these simple steps to keep us all safe.
- Sanitise your hands using the dispenser on the wall.
- Sign in on the inventory system. You will be asked some health related declaration questions.
- Once signed in a badge will be printed. This badge must be on display all the time you are in the building.
- Make use of the cleaning station inside the door if required.
- Please keep a 2m distance from other adults. If 2m social distancing from other adults is not possible, you will be required to wear a face covering.
I am well aware there is a lot to consider and read here, but I am delighted that we are making plans to be back in the school together. The prospect of the children getting together and sharing their news, catching up with one another and enjoying the company of others is exciting. School has been all too silent in recent months and it will be good to see the children again. I believe when we return, although aspects of the arrangements I have outlined will feel very different, we will quickly feel safe and get into a new set of habits that form our school life. I am sure we can cooperate as a community to make things work.
I look forward to seeing you all next Tuesday – even if it is from a distance. I shall be sure to wave!!
Mrs Williams and the St. Peter’s team.