15 Jun Update on School Re-Opening
Dear Parents and Carers,
Thank you for your continued support during the Coronavirus pandemic and supporting your child with their home learning.
Our number one priority is the health and safety of our children, their families and our staff.
We have been undertaking thorough risk assessments, based on Public Health advice to enable our children to return when the risk assessment shows it is safe for the whole community to do so. This will be a phased approach and will be closely monitored.
We are pleased to share some updates regarding the phased reopening of our school.
This week staff will take part in an INSET over two days to allow for social distancing.
Thursday 18th June: we will hold an orientation day for the year six children who intend to return to school.
Monday 22nd June: we will welcome the children who have chosen to attend school from year six and year one. These children will attend school Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
If you are a year six or year one parent, and you answered YES to the parent questionnaire last week then we will confirm your child’s bubble with you.
On Thursdays staff will focus on supporting Home Learning for children.
On Fridays staff will use the time for planning, preparation and assessment. The school will be cleaned thoroughly.
At this time, we are unable to confirm a start date for the reception group.
As with all other arrangements we will keep this under constant review and we will not open the school to any year group unless we are satisfied that we have done all we can to reduce risks.
Last week we sent a parent questionnaire to the parents of children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. We appreciate the information and feedback as it supports the school in planning.
Some parents were happy about the school re-opening, many parents were worried or anxious (some felt a mixture of both). Overwhelmingly, the concerns were due to safety. The school leaders understand this concern, as no environment can guarantee that it is safe from Coronavirus.
Arrangements for the start and end of the school day
The beginning and end of the school day are the busiest times for children and adults congregating together in one place and maintaining safe distances within normal arrangements can be a challenge. We have implemented different start/end times, drop off and collection points for when year six and year one pupils return to school. Parents must remember to keep their social distance when dropping off and collecting children. Parents/carers will not be able to enter the school premises. It is vital that children are not late for the start or end of the day as the staggered arrangements are a protective measure for us all. If you miss your start time, it is unlikely that child will be able to attend that day.
|Who?||Year 6||Year 1||Keyworkers & Vulnerable||Keyworkers & Vulnerable|
|Start & End Time||8.45 – 2.45pm||8.45 – 2.45pm||9.00-3.30pm||9.00-3.30pm|
|Days||Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday||Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday||Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday||Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday|
|Drop off and Collection Point||Fowler rd gate||Shillingford st gate||Fowler rd gate||Fowler rd gate|
The school day
For the children who will be at school, the day, the environment and learning will have changed. This is because the school are following the government guidelines for the school re-opening. The guidelines are to help keep children and adults safe. There are social distancing markers throughout the school to help everyone keep to the distancing rules. When walking to the toilets the children will learn to walk to the left of the corridor, the markings on the floor will help with this.
The furniture in classrooms has been moved and the children’s and adult’s desks have been spaced two metres away from each other.
Children will be placed into small group with two adults. This group is called a bubble, the bubble will stay together in the same classroom and have their playtime and lunch together. Bubbles will start and end the school day at different times and will not mix.
Children will be able to have a school packed lunch which they will eat at their desk in the classroom. Children will need to bring their own water bottle which they will keep on their desk. At their desk, children will be given their own stationery to use which they will not share with others.
Not all children will have their usual class adults (teacher or learning) in their bubble. The bubble will stay in their allocated classroom and outside space, and will not be able to explore the rest of the school.
Each classroom has handwashing and hand sanitiser facilities as children and adults will be required to wash their hands regularly throughout the day.
Socialising and play will look different. The use of the playground will be staggered throughout the day.
Each bubble will use an allocated set of toilets.
We understand that school uniform is designed for multiple wear, but have decided that children will be able to wear their own clothes, which must be clean on each day.
During the official closure, the school has been thoroughly cleaned throughout and soft furnishings have been removed. The school is cleaned daily and will close on Friday for thorough cleaning.
Education settings still have the flexibility to provide support and education to children attending school in the way they see fit during this time. We have chosen to follow Islington’s recommended resources. Children will have short lessons with an English and Maths focus. They will have an outdoor physical session, with a focus on wellbeing. In year six, they will focus on: Wellbeing, Transition from primary to secondary, Reading, Writing and Maths. In year one, the focus will be on: good hygiene, well-being lesson, Phonics, Reading, Writing and Maths.
If a child appears unwell, a first aider will attend to them. If needed, parents will be contacted to collect their child. Please note, children with suspected Covid-19 symptoms will be isolated, whilst waiting for parent collection. If required, children are now eligible for a Covid 19 test. If a child tested positive, then all members of the bubble will be sent to their homes for isolation. Parents must notify school of test results.
Critical Keyworkers and Vulnerable children
Since we are accommodating more children and staff on site, this means that we will need to make some adjustments to the childcare provision which we have had in place since 23rd March for children of critical keyworkers and vulnerable (those with an EHCP or social worker) children. Children in the critical keyworkers and vulnerable provision will form a bubble of mixed age groups. This bubble will also work in the same way as the year group bubbles described above. This critical keyworker and vulnerable provision will be offered from Monday to Thursday 9.00-3.30pm. Please ensure your child has had breakfast at home before arriving at school.
Please be aware that bubbles may have to close if there are insufficient staffing levels. If this is the case then school will contact you as soon as we are aware.
On Fridays the school will close to children for thorough cleaning. If you decide you no longer need this provision, please do let us know as these spaces are becoming limited as more critical keyworkers return to the workplace. If you are a key worker living in Islington and need advice about childcare, you can contact the Family Information Service on 020 7527 5959 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone lines are open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 4pm.
Maintaining a safe school environment
I would like to take this opportunity to explain to you of the preventative measures the school has put in place in order to minimise the spread of infection.
Based on the latest public health and national advice, the following actions for infection control remain in place:
• There will be coronavirus infection control measures information posters around the school
• We will be encouraging good hygiene by promoting the importance of handwashing for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap in the following circumstances:
– Before leaving home
– On arrival at school
– After using the toilet
– After breaks and physical activities
– Before food preparation
– Before eating any food, including snacks
– Before leaving school
– At regular intervals throughout the day
• Increased alcohol-based hand sanitiser dispensers that contain at least 60 percent alcohol throughout the school
• Ensuring pupils and staff understand that they must cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue away
• Ensuring frequently touched objects and surfaces are cleaned and disinfected more regularly than usual
• Calling NHS 111 if someone becomes unwell, isolating any unwell people in a separate room, and providing a separate bathroom, where possible
• Telling staff to stay at home for seven days if they develop symptoms of coronavirus or until a test result is negative for coronavirus
• Providing staff training on PPE, rubbish disposal, mental health and well-being
As an important part of our school community, I would ask that you continue to encourage good infection control practices, such as thorough handwashing, at home and keep your child informed about the things they can do to discourage the spread of infection.
In line with the current NHS and government advice, you should keep your child at home if they develop coronavirus symptoms for a period of seven days, unless they test negative for coronavirus. Symptoms include a high temperature or a new, continuous cough. Where symptoms continue after seven days, or begin to worsen, you should call 111. If someone in your child’s household has symptoms, your child must self-isolate for 14 days from the day the other person’s symptoms started. This is because it can take 14 days for symptoms to appear. More information regarding symptoms and actions can be found on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
All staff and students who are attending an education or childcare setting will have access to the national testing programme if they display symptoms of coronavirus, and are encouraged to get tested in this scenario. To access testing parents will be able to use the 111 online coronavirus service if their child is 5 or over. The government has now expanded testing availability for children aged under 5, to help support the phased opening of schools and childcare settings in England from 1 June. For further information, please use the link below: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-nhs-test-and-trace-service
Where the child, young person or staff member tests positive, the rest of their class or group within their childcare or education setting should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. The other household members of that wider class or group do not need to self-isolate unless the child, young person or staff member they live with in that group subsequently develops symptoms.
If you think your child may have been exposed to or has coronavirus, or if your child receives a positive test result for coronavirus, please contact the school on 020 7359 1870 at the earliest opportunity.
You may be aware that the government has decided that Years 2, 3, 4 and 5 will not be eligible to return to school this term. We appreciate that this may be disappointing for some families. Please know that we continue to be committed to your child’s learning.
We welcome feedback and parents have shared that: they like Busy Things, the interaction with the teacher on Class Dojo is helpful, Twinkl resources are good, Mathletics is fine, children are enjoying reading at home, parents like the home learning packs the school has printed, parents are learning about how their child learns, BBC Bitesize is good, some children have filled gaps and made progress from the one to one attention, it’s fun, entertaining, and it’s keeping the children active.
Some families have expressed they need more support, they have limited technology, children engaging with writing is challenging, it’s challenging if there is more than one child or if parents are working from home, children find it more difficult to focus at home, lack of space, sometimes families forget to send work in, can be hard to keep a routine, and sometimes logging in doesn’t work.
Parents have also shared brilliant ideas such as using virtual media for their children to read to relatives, making sure your child has breaks so they don’t get upset, having a desk area, teaching children to cook and bake, doing science experiments, and learning languages with the family.
We found this feedback very useful in creating a plan going forward.
There will be two routes for Home Learning: Online or Printed Home Learning. The main content of the learning in school, online and the printed packs will be taken from the same Islington recommended resource. This is to support consistency for all children. Teachers will provide support through the Google Classroom and Class Dojo.
The Google Classroom (for Years 2-6) and Class Dojo (Reception and Year 1) will still set learning activities which can be completed online.
Printed Home Learning will be in the form of weekly packs which can be collected from school on a Thursday afternoon between 1-3pm from the Fowler road gate, you will be asked to book a time slot for collection.
For those families who have chosen not to send their child back to school this summer term and for the year groups who are not yet eligible to return, you will be contacted and asked to confirm which Home Learning route you prefer for your child.
Please see the government advice about home learning which was posted on the school website in April. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-primary-school-children-continue-their-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19
What about exams and the curriculum?
At this stage the government have cancelled exams for this academic year. The local authority is working with school leaders in the borough to develop a recovery curriculum which aims to support children’s learning. This is called a recovery curriculum, supported by a core skills focus, which enables each child to remember previous learning and resume progress from their March 2020 baseline. This is informed by ‘Five Levers’ – Relationships, Community, Transparency, Metacognition and Space (more on this will follow).
Transition from Year 6 to Year 7
We recognise that this is a really important time for our Year 6 pupils as they are preparing for secondary school in September. Whilst we will not be conducting any on-site visits to secondary schools we will still be doing everything that we can to support these pupils to be ready. This includes:
• Liaising closely with our secondary schools to make sure they know all of the important information about your child.
• Providing bespoke lessons and guidance for year 6 pupils about transferring to secondary school.
We will answer any questions that they have and support them with any anxieties so that they can make the best possible start.
Free School Meal Vouchers and Magic Breakfast
The provision of food vouchers for those eligible under the benefits criteria will also continue to be available where needed for those not attending school. Our Magic Breakfast supplies will continue to be available on a Thursday afternoon between 1-3pm from the Fowler road gate for all families (please remember to bring your own bags and book a time slot for collection).
Support for pupils and families
We do not underestimate how difficult the recent weeks have been for us all and we all will have been touched in some way by the coronavirus pandemic. We recognise the need to focus on pupils’ emotional wellbeing as well as their return to learning. If you feel your child needs support for bereavement and loss, then please discuss this with us.
Parents may wish to seek support for themselves from the following support agencies:
• Children’s Services Contact Team Social on 020 7527 7400
• For information and advice regarding issues of domestic violence please use the link below to access a range of services in Islington
• Samaritans – call free 24 hours a day on 116 123
• Shelter provide free confidential information, support and legal advice on all housing and homelessness issues if you call 0330 0536 083 (please note, this is not a free phone number and your call will be charged). A free webchat is available at https://england.shelter.org.uk/get_help/webchat
Thank you for all you are doing to support your child at home during these challenging times. We very much look forward to when schools will in time return fully.
We will work to settle the children back to school whilst we continue to support home learning and the phased reopening of the school.
With our best wishes,
Genevieve Prayag, Laura Mayende, Holly Britton and Kirsty Oliver
Senior Leadership Team