|Coronavirus : Reopening of School||
As you know, the Government have announced that it will would like primary schools to reopen, following a period of school closure due to coronavirus, for some pupils from the week beginning Monday 1st June. Recent Government briefings and interviews with ministers have suggested that, despite some ongoing concerns from schools, education sector unions, medical advisers and local councils, this plan will go ahead. We are expecting an official confirmation on Thursday 28th May 2020.
We are now making concrete plans for pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to return to school. As you can imagine, the safety of everyone is our first priority and we have taken on board a range of advice, information and concerns in the last week to be ready to reopen school. Taking all of the latest information and concerns into account, we have decided to be a little more cautious in our pace of return and will now not be opening to more pupils until the week beginning Monday 8th June 2020. Year 6 will now return on Monday 8th June, Year 1 on Wednesday 10th June and Reception on Monday 15th June.
We are providing all of the information below so that parents:
In planning for more pupils to return to school, we are:
Parent Response – Reception, Year 1 and Year 6
If you are a parent of a child in Reception, Year 1 or Year 6, please complete the online form to let us know if you wish your child to return to school from Monday 8th June. If you wish to discuss any aspect of our provision or want to discuss the specific anxieties or needs of your child, please email Mr Beard, Headteacher, via firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can arrange a telephone call with you or provide some additional support for your child. We are aware that many of you have shared your thoughts during your telephone calls with class teachers and that some of you at this time are unsure about your children returning to school, not just for health reasons but because it will look and feel different. Some parents are asking for flexibility. Please read the following information and complete the online form by Monday 1st June so that we can plan our provision for each group.
The Government has asked that Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils return to school. Nurseries and Early Years settings are also being asked to return. At this time, given that all classes will have to be split into two groups in separate rooms, we are not in a position to invite our Nursery children back to school as their classroom will be used by Reception children and there is no other suitable accommodation in the school (that will not be used by other groups) to meet the needs of our youngest children. We feel that the arrangements we are putting in place are manageable – regretfully, we simply do not have the capacity to offer anything more at this stage.
We will be offering all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 the opportunity to return to school for four days each week, that is Monday to Thursday on a full-day (taking into account staggered arrival and leaving times – see below) basis. Parents may choose for their children to attend on a part-time basis but this must be arranged with the school and must be consistent. We cannot accommodate children arriving and leaving at different times of the day. Pupils should not attend school on any day that they have an appointment outside of school.
The school will not open on Fridays except to vulnerable children and the children of key-workers. This is so that staff can have their planning time on the same day (as it is difficult to cover staff at other times given we are not supposed to mix staff in different groups) and so that the school can be thoroughly cleaned on Fridays. Most teachers will be planning for class-based learning alongside home learning so they will need time to do this during the school week. This is in line with many other schools, some of which are closing to all pupils, including those whose parents are key-workers, on Fridays. Some schools are also only offering part-time places each and every day. We feel that our approach is consistent, is enough for pupils to cope with in the circumstances, and still offers the parents of key-workers childcare support for the full week.
We are encouraging all children in the three groups to return to school. However, the decision will ultimately rest with parents. Where children do not attend, we have been asked to speak with parents about this and record the reasons for children not attending school. Government have announced that parents will not face fines if their children do not attend school. Schools will not be accountable for pupil attendance during this school year. Given that all attendance percentages will be skewed this year, we will not be including attendance records in pupils’ reports this year. (We are yet to decide if will present attendance certificates this year; if we do these will be based on pupils’ attendance up to February half-term only.)
Before-School and After-School Club
From 8th June 2020, we will only be offering before-school club (from 8.00am) to children of key-workers as we have been doing for the last ten weeks. We will not be offering before-school club to other children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. At this stage, we are not offering After-School Club for any children. All children will therefore need to be collected from school at the appropriate time.
Classroom-based learning will be offered to children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. Each class will be split into two separate groups (each group known as a bubble) and each group will be taught by a teacher (not necessarily the class teacher) and supported by a teaching assistant. Each group will have no more than 15 children, less if this can be achieved by fewer children than the whole year group returning. Each bubble will operate as a unit and contact with other small groups (including at playtimes) will be avoided. Please note that this bubble arrangement is manageable only for the three year groups returning at the beginning of June; it will impossible to teach the whole school in this way if the Government decides that all pupils should return to school. When (and if) Government announce that other classes are to return to school before the end of the summer term, we will have to review how safely we can do that. Please note that the school has no plans (nor does Government) to open schools, including for childcare of key-workers, during the summer holidays.
Class-based learning will obviously look and feel different to the way in which we normally operate and children will not have as many freedoms as they usual do. Children will, where possible, be allocated their own desk and resources. Pens, papers, rulers and other equipment will be provided in a sealed and named wallet and the use of shared resources will be minimised, if not avoided. Classroom resources which are not easy to clean or sanitise will be removed from classrooms. We will attempt to teach children at a social distance from staff of 2 metres and children will be encouraged to work independently (or at least engage in paired work at a distance) whenever possible. We accept that this will be easier to achieve with Year 6 than it will with Reception and Year 1 children. Staff will need to support children with SEND ‘at a distance’; staff will not be expected to work in close proximity to any child if this can be avoided. This will obviously change the way in which we teach and support children but we will do this as sensitively as possible.
Accommodation, Staffing and Curriculum
We will continue to run our provision for the children of keyworkers.
Whilst we initially announced that all three classes would return to school in the same week, we are now wanting to be a little more cautious in our approach. Manchester City Council are not opposing the reopening of schools (some local councils are) but are advising schools to go at a pace that is manageable and safe. They have said that it is unlikely that all schools will return to school during the week beginning 1st June. Many schools are phasing pupils’ return over a period of at least one week or are limiting attendance in a number of ways. Having reviewed everything that we need to put in place and that we want to be a little more confident that the national and local infection rate has reduced even further (which it will hopefully do by 8th June) and that testing, tracing and tracking systems are in place, we have decided to plan for the children to return to school as follows:
Staggered Arrival and Leaving Times
Given that the aim is for each separate ‘bubble’ (including their parents) to avoid contact with another group, it will be necessary to put measures in place to avoid overcrowding in the school playground and potentially long queues in the street when children arrive at and leave school premises. We have decided to allow parents to access the school playground but in a controlled and socially-distanced way. There will therefore be staggered arrival and leaving times for each class as follows:
After the first few days and as we get ‘quicker’ at our routines, we may adjust these arrival and collection times whilst maintaining some separation between groups. It is very important that everyone arrives at school at the allocated times, otherwise the playground will become too crowded with parents and children. If children miss their slot, it may be necessary for parents and children to wait in a designated area until a later time to enter the building. Year 6 children are encouraged to enter the school premises from the vehicle gates by themselves (perhaps with parents on the first day) to speed up the process of entry to school. Given that some queueing and waiting may be necessary, everyone is advised to wear a coat and bring an umbrella. Parents are asked not to engage in anything but a quick “hello” with staff at the beginning or end of the day. If specific things need to be discussed, please call the school by telephone, preferably during the week beginning 1st June so that any anxieties or questions can be resolved.
Arrival/Drop-Off at School
Parents and children will enter via the main vehicle gates. These will be supervised by a member of staff who will greet children briefly and offer some direction and reassurance, if needed. On entry via the vehicle gates, everyone should veer left to the side gates and then proceed to the school playground, observing social-distancing (and waiting to queue if necessary). Children must remain with their parents – children must not run on ahead. When entering the playground, there will a barrier system in place to filter groups to allocated waiting points for each small group. These will be signposted and coloured ground markers will indicate standing points to maintain social distancing parents and children. Children from the same bubble will be called in smaller groups of 3-4 to enter school, hang their coats and wash their hands. Parents will then follow a route via the Key Stage 1 playground to exit the premises via the After-School Club corridor, then turning left to exit the school ground via the pedestrian gate. Barriers or markers will be in place to mark out the one-way route. Parents must not park on Bazley Road – we need to manage how people arrive at school and keep everyone safe.
Collection / Leaving School
When collecting children at the end of the day, parents will be asked to arrive at school at the designated times and stand in the playground at the markers for each group. Children will wash their hands before leaving school and will be dismissed a few children at a time, in their small groups. Parents are asked not to be late collecting children from school.
Next week we will take some photographs and produce a video walk-through of the premises so that everyone is familiar with the one-way system and group markers before returning to school.
Manchester Fayre (caterer) will only be providing sandwiches (with some occasional extras) as a school meal for the foreseeable future. Given that we cannot have all children eating in the hall at the same time, children will eat their lunch in their classrooms. We are hoping that our reception class will be able to eat in the school hall (socially distanced); if not, they will eat in their classroom. The school lunch will include the sandwich choice (ham, cheese, egg mayo or tuna mayo), a piece of fruit, a biscuit/cake and an occasional additional items such as bread-sticks. Chilled water and milk will also be available. Parents will be asked to let us know about their child’s meal option.
A full risk assessment is currently being completed by school, taking into account many different questions, challenges and demands presented by the Government, Manchester City Council and education sector unions. A summary of the key points of our risk assessment is shared below:
COVID-19 risks, Scientific Evidence and National Context
Hierarchy of Controls
In order to minimise the risks of COVID-19 infection, the school has/will be putting in place a number of different measures and routines to keep children, staff and parents as safe as we can while on (and off given that we are still expecting everyone to follow the lockdown rules when not in school) the school premises. These measures include a hierarchy of controls as follows:
It has been recognised that social distancing between children, particularly younger children, will not be fully achievable in schools. Our experience of managing just a small group children in key-worker childcare for the past ten weeks supports this observation. Children naturally want to be close to one another and gravitate to each other without thinking, particularly during their free play. Older children will understand and follow social-distancing more easily than younger children. However, we do feel that social-distancing is still important and we will continue to promote this as best we can by:
School Day Routines
School life and what we can offer will be a little different in that:
Hygiene and Cleaning Routines
While providing childcare, we have already put in place a number of additional cleaning routines including:
We will increase our cleaning schedule to include more of the above from 8th June 2020.
Routines and Rules for Parents
In addition to some additional rules and routines for children, there are also some things that we need parents to do to support the school and keep everyone safe. If you would like your child to return to school, we are asking you to following these routines and rules. If you cannot support us in this, please keep your child at home to reduce the risks of infection to children in school and to staff.
Pupil Progress Reports
Teachers will be writing pupil progress reports which will be issued towards the end of the academic year. If pupils are not in school to receive their report, it will be emailed to parents. Reports will be in the same format as in previous years. We are yet to decide how to report pupils’ attainment. We will not be reporting pupil attendance for the 2019-2020 school year.