Welcoming pupils back to school in September
Returning to school is vital for children’s education and for their well-being. Time out of school hinders children’s cognitive and academic development, particularly for disadvantaged children. This impact can affect both current levels of learning and children’s future ability to learn. We need to ensure all pupils can return to school sooner rather than later. We have 4 key principles, in line with government guidance, which underpin our approach:
- every pupil returns to school and receives a high-quality education and prepares them for the next stage of their learning, the opportunities and responsibilities of later life;
- we identify and fill gaps in pupils learning so that as many as possible meet the standard expected for their age in English and maths;
- our curriculum is broad, balanced and ambitious. All pupils continue to be taught a wide range of subjects where we balance opportunity against risk of infection;
- remote education, where needed, is high quality and matches learning in school as closely as possible.
We have a detailed plan for how the school will run from September. Keeping pupils and staff safe continues to be our highest priority. The control measures in our plan seek to reduce the transmission of any coronavirus infection through:
- a requirement that people who are ill stay at home
- robust hand and respiratory hygiene
- enhanced cleaning arrangements
- active engagement with NHS Test and Trace
- reducing contacts and maximising distance between those in school wherever possible by:
- grouping pupils together in 'bubbles'
- avoiding contact between groups
- arranging classrooms with forward facing desks
- staff maintaining distance from pupils and other adults as much as possible
- minimising potential for contamination as much as we can.
To help keep everyone safe, we need parents’ understanding and support. Full details may be read in our risk assessment. A short version (although I know this still looks very long) of the most important points:
Reduce the risk of contact with someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19)
Parents must ensure that their child does not come into school if they have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or have tested positive in the last 7 days.
We will ensure that anyone developing symptoms during the school day is sent home. If anyone in the school becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or high temperature, or has a loss of or change in their normal sense of taste or smell, they will be sent home. We will expect the child to:
- follow ‘stay at home guidance’
- self-isolate for at least 7 days
- take a coronavirus test and report outcome to our admin team (email@example.com)
- other members of household, including siblings to self-isolate for 14 days
If a child is awaiting collection from school, they will be moved to our Welfare Room (which then becomes our Isolation Room):
- They will be looked after by an adult, who will maintain a distance of 2m or will wear personal, protective equipment. The child will have access to their own bathroom, which will then be cleaned and disinfected before use by others.
We will make sure that pupils clean their hands thoroughly and more often than usual, including:
- when they arrive at school
- when they return from breaks
- when they change rooms
- when they use resources shared from other classrooms
- before and after eating
- before they leave the site
Catch-it, kill-it, bin-it
We will encourage pupils to cough and sneeze in a safe way by carrying on with the ‘catch-it, bin-it, kill-it’ approach. There will be enough tissues for everyone in every classroom.
Face coverings are not recommended by Public Health England for use in schools because pupils mix in consistent groups and misuse may inadvertently increase risk of transmission. If pupils wear a face covering on their journey to school:
- disposable face masks. Parents to remove from their child and dispose of face masks worn by pupils before entering school site. Lidded bins will be at every entrance gate.
- re-usable face masks. Parents to remove from their child before entering the school site and store in sealable plastic bag, provided by parent.
We will clean surfaces and classroom resources more often and more thoroughly.
We are minimising contact and mixing between everyone who uses the school site.
We will do this by balancing and blending two control measures:
- keeping groups of pupils separate in whole class (and sometimes) year group ‘bubbles’, by class wherever we can and then by year group;
- adults maintaining distance between others of 1m+ to 2m. Where adults who work in schhol must cross bubbles to support pupils or teach our curriculum, they distance at 2m.
Classes follow a range of simple measures to reduce the risk of spreading any infection. This includes things like desks facing forwards with pupils and adults working side-by-side rather than face-to-face.
Parents can support our distancing measures at drop-off and collection time:
- extended staggered start from 8.30-9am
- use preferred entrance and exit gates for each age group to spread everyone out across the site and avoid as much crossing paths as possible:
- Nursery, Nursery gate,
- Year R, Coombe Road, P & S classes, Wyndham Road, H & F classes
- Year 1, Coombe Road
- Year 2, Fielding Walk
- Year 3, Wyndham Road, pedestrian gate
- Year 4, Wyndham Road, vehicle gate
- Year 5, any gate (pupils only preferred)
- Year 6, Wyndham Road, vehicle gate (pupils only)
- parents are grown-ups and are asked to use gates and times sensibly to maintain 2m distance rather than us trying to check that you are keeping to the preferred gate.
- as few adults on-site as possible. All Year 6 and as many Year 5 pupils as possible to walk alone, or part-way, to and from school
Break and lunch times are staggered with playground zones and resources for each class/year group. Pupils will avoid mixing with other classes and keep to their own zone.
School events involving parents face-to-face on site are postponed. Some cannot take place while others, like class sharing assemblies, will be live streamed and recorded. While partially open this term, parents have supported us by arriving on time, with everything that pupils need for the day so that there is no need to visit the school office. We will continue these arrangements and talking to you by telephone or email.
We ask that our whole community engages with the NHS Test and Trace process, as follows:
- book a test if they are displaying symptoms. Staff and pupils must not come into the school if they have symptoms, and must be sent home to self-isolate if they develop them in school. All children can be tested, including children under 5, but children aged 11 and under will need to be helped by their parents/carers if using a home testing kit
- provide details of anyone they have been in close contact with if they were to test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or if asked by NHS Test and Trace
- self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone who develops coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or someone who tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)
Anyone who displays symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can and should get a test. Tests can be booked online through the NHS testing and tracing for coronavirus website, or ordered by telephone via NHS 119 for those without access to the internet. Essential workers, which includes anyone involved in education or childcare, have priority access to testing.
Parents should tell us immediately of the results of a test:
- if someone tests negative, if they feel well and no longer have symptoms similar to coronavirus (COVID-19), they can stop self-isolating. They could still have another virus, such as a cold or flu – in which case it is still best to avoid contact with other people until they are better. Other members of their household can stop self-isolating.
- if someone tests positive, they should follow the ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’ and must continue to self-isolate for at least 7 days from the onset of their symptoms and then return to school only if they do not have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste. This is because a cough or anosmia can last for several weeks once the infection has gone. The 7-day period starts from the day when they first became ill. If they still have a high temperature, they should keep self-isolating until their temperature returns to normal. Other members of their household should continue self-isolating for the full 14 days.
We will take swift action when we become aware that someone who has attended has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). We will take immediate advice from the local health protection team. This team will also contact schools directly if they become aware that someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) attended the school – as identified by NHS Test and Trace. The health protection team will carry out a rapid risk assessment to confirm who has been in close contact with the person during the period that they were infectious, and ensure they are asked to self-isolate.
We will contain any outbreak by following local health protection team advice
If the school has 2 or more confirmed cases within 14 days, or an overall rise in sickness absence where coronavirus (COVID-19) is suspected, there may be an outbreak in our school community.
In some cases, health protection teams may recommend that a larger number of other pupils self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure – perhaps the whole site or year group.
Where transmission risks are minimised, whole school closure based on cases within the school will not generally be necessary, and should not be considered except on the advice of health protection teams.
In consultation with the local Director of Public Health, where an outbreak in a school is confirmed, a mobile testing unit may be dispatched to test others who may have been in contact with the person who has tested positive. Testing will first focus on the person’s class, followed by their year group, then the whole school if necessary, in line with routine public health outbreak control practice
Ready for remote learning, where needed
Where a class, group or small number of pupils need to self-isolate, or there is a local lockdown requiring pupils to remain at home, the school will offer immediate remote education.
Teachers will use a blend of nationally available resources eg Oak National Academy and their own resources available through the school’s digital education platform, Microsoft Teams. For pupils in Year 1-6 teachers will:
- use a curriculum sequence that allows access to high-quality online and offline resources and teaching videos, and that is linked to the school’s curriculum expectations
- give access to high quality remote education resources
- select the online tools that will be consistently used across the school in order to allow interaction, assessment and feedback
- provide printed resources, such as textbooks and workbooks, for pupils who do not have suitable online access
For pupils in Nursery and Reception teachers will:
- provide a range of on-line materials for parents to support their child at home
For pupils with special education needs (SEND), the SENDCo and teaching assistants may modify curriculum materials for use at home and provide support.
When teaching pupils remotely, we will:
- set assignments so that pupils have meaningful and ambitious work each day in a number of different subjects
- teach a planned and well-sequenced curriculum so that knowledge and skills are built incrementally, with a good level of clarity about what is intended to be taught and practised in each subject
- provide frequent, clear explanations of new content, delivered by a teacher in the school or through high quality curriculum resources and/or videos
- gauge how well pupils are progressing through the curriculum, using questions and other suitable tasks and set a clear expectation on how regularly teachers will check work
- enable teachers to adjust the pace or difficulty of what is being taught in response to questions or assessments, including, where necessary, revising material or simplifying explanations to ensure pupils’ understanding
- plan a programme that is of equivalent length to the core teaching pupils would receive in school, ideally including daily contact with teachers
Classes 2F, 3F, 4F and 5F have started to trial parts of this approach with pupils at home this term. We are using Microsoft Teams as our digital education platform.