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COVID-19, New 'normal' for our school

As the country moves to Step 4 of the roadmap, the government has published new guidance to schools this week:

This marks a new phase in the government’s response to the pandemic, moving away from restrictions on everyone’s day-to-day lives, towards advising people on how to protect themselves and others, alongside targeted interventions to reduce risk. The government says that direct risks to children are low and every adult will be offered two doses of the vaccine by mid-September.


We will continue to assess and control risks so that our staff and pupils continue to be as safe as possible at school. Emphasis will shift to:

  • keeping good hygiene for everyone but less frequent hand-washing during the school day;
  • regular cleaning, including high-touch surfaces;
  • well ventilated rooms by keeping doors and windows open, at least for part of the day with blasts of fresh air;
  • following public health rules on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases.


Our road map to relax restrictions in school is in several stages:

  • to the end of this term;
  • for the summer holiday period;
  • from 1 September;
  • from 1 October.


To the end of term

Continue with current arrangements to end of term so that pupils and staff start the school holiday period with as little risk of coronavirus infection as possible.

  • Year 6 parents may wish to drop-off and collect children from inside the school site during the last 2 days of term. We are relaxing our preference for these parents to avoid the school site.


We will check uptake and places at specialist clubs for the Autumn Term. These were organised and booked by year group bubbles. Where year group bubbles are now removed, we will offer spare places to oldest pupils first so they have a chance to catch-up on missed opportunities. 


Summer holiday clubs for childcare and Nursery

Nursery and year group 'bubbles' are removed:

  • Nursery becomes a single Nursery bubble;
  • Holiday childcare for all other age-groups returns to pre-COVID arrangements with no bubbles;
  • Nursery holiday care is separate from all other holiday childcare as before COVID-19.


All COVID-19 signage and 2m distance marking inside the school is removed.


From 1 September

The government has told schools that priority is delivering face-to-face, high quality education. We must use proportionate control measures as part of an on-going risk assessment. This means:

  • class and year group bubbles are removed;
  • class bubbles will not be sent home for remote learning if there is a positive confirmed case;
  • all parents are welcome on-site for drop-off and collection of pupils;
  • all gates are open for use by any age pupils and their parents;
  • hand-washing after using the toilet and before meals during the school day;
  • face coverings are removed (for the few staff who were choosing to wear a face covering);
  • letting of our indoor rooms to community groups restarts.


We will be keeping some things the same to keep staff and pupils as safe as possible until all adults have been offered 2 doses of the vaccine:

  • parents continue to meet school staff by video or telephone call;
  • no face-to-face parent events on site;
  • staff continue to meet one another by video call;
  • assemblies for pupils continue to be by video;
  • continue good ventilation with open doors, windows and/or blasts of fresh air;
  • continue regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces;
  • positive, confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to self-isolate at home.


Other things are running more smoothly as a result of COVID changes and will also stay the same:

  • flexibility for Year 5 and 6 pupils to travel to/from school alone for all/part of their journey. It is for each family to decide if, when and/or how often this happens, helping children become more independent and prepare for travel to High schools at Year 7;
  • vehicle gates at Wyndham Road to remain open at drop-off and collection time, along with the one-way system;
  • play times remain unchanged because timings give children more space to play but they will no longer need to stay in their bubble zone;
  • lunchtime timing and seating arrangements will stay the same;
  • pupils sitting in rows because attention on the teacher is better but teachers have the flexibility to change to group arrangements if there is a good educational reason or need.


We will review use of Breakfast Club and the need for childcare before school. As national restrictions relax, more parents may return to office-based work more often in the week, resulting in an increase in the need for morning childcare. If not, we will need to review the viability of offering Breakfast Club before school.


From 1 October

All staff will have been offered 2 doses of the vaccine by mid-September. We will further relax our restrictions, including the changes made from 1 September, and return to pre-COVID arrangements:

  • face-to-face assemblies for large groups of pupils in the halls;
  • class sharing assemblies for parents to join us in school;
  • singing assemblies for pupils;
  • face-to-face events and meetings for parents at school;
  • continue hand-washing after using the toilet and before meals during the school day;
  • continue good ventilation with open doors, windows and/or blasts of fresh air;
  • continue regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces;
  • positive, confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to self-isolate at home.


Some things have worked better as a result of COVID-19 changes and we will offer a flexible approach:

  • parent consultation meetings with teachers by video call or face-to-face in school. Parents make their choice.
  • staff team meetings by video call or face-to-face in school, giving staff more flexible ways of working when not teaching in class.


We all need to be ready to return to class and year group bubble arrangements, including class bubbles being sent home for remote learning, if any local restrictions are implemented by the government and/or Ealing Council.


I remain worried that national restrictions will lift, infections increase and staff are not able to work as a result of becoming infected and unwell, even with the vaccine. We will monitor, review and manage this as best we can.

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