I hope that you and all your loved ones continue to stay safe and well.
As you are aware, schools have been asked to extend the provision we have been offering since lockdown began from June 1st. Children of critical workers and those considered vulnerable, including those with an EHC, will continue to attend school as they have been doing since lockdown began. The new guidelines are that children in Years R and 1 should be returning to school from June 1st. Schools have been given clear guidelines about what needs to be considered and in place so that children can return to school.
We have been considering many different scenarios this week which would enable us to extend provision whilst ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all members of our school community-children, parents and staff. As you can imagine this has been challenging and complex. Please be reassured that the following decisions we have made have, firstly, been driven by prioritising the safety of our children, staff and parents and then adhering to the guidelines we have been asked to follow.
The principles we have been given are that children will be taught in groups of no more than 15 children in a dedicated teaching space which will not be shared with another group of children. In considering this, we have carefully looked at the space available in school and the rules in place on social distancing. We have identified that to abide with this social distancing safely in our setting, the children will be in groups of no more than 12 and that we would have to use all the classrooms across the school. Whilst in their group we will be minimising the social distancing between the children.
Dependent on numbers this may mean we could accommodate critical worker/vulnerable children and year R children only. If there are less of the children from these categories then we would consider whether we would be able to offer year 1 as well.
The children will be taught by familiar adults but this may not be in their own classroom as we will need to share the groups out around the school.
We will have staggered start and finishing times so that we minimise the contact between different groups of parents and children. There will be a one way system in operation to enter and exit the school site.
Health and safety
On entrance to school children will be met by their adult on the playground and parents will be asked to drop their children quickly and leave. Children will then be taken to their dedicated learning space to wash their hands thoroughly. Each child will be given a bag which will contain a pencil etc so that they have their own equipment.
Each learning space will have access to handwashing facilities and we will be ensuring regular handwashing throughout the day - this will be on any transition, for example going out to play and at the end of play. We will also be cleaning the table surfaces at these points too.
Each group of children will have a dedicated toilet which only their small group can access to minimise contact with others. We will plan in regular opportunities to go to the toilet to again minimise contact with other groups. If a child is in desperate need of the toilet outside of the planned times then they will be accompanied by an adult to ensure social distancing.
Movement around school will be limited to play and lunchtimes and this will be carefully timetabled to avoid contact with other groups.
Throughout lockdown the school has been cleaned daily with Norokill which is a viral cleaner to ensure the school is safe for the children. There has been, and will continue to be, a robust daily cleaning schedule.
Play and lunchtimes
The children will remain in their small group at these times and we have divided the outside spaces into zones so that each group has their own zone and they will not be able to play in another zone or with children from a different group. This is so we can maintain their safety in school.
We will be providing food each day but this will be served in a container which the children can take away from the servery and eat either outside or in their dedicated learning space. This will again support social distancing from other children not in their group.
As we have communicated with you we are currently having to review our plan based on new guidelines received late yesterday. I hope the above information will help you make an informed decision. To assist us with planning, please email email@example.com by midday on Monday 18th May to let us know if you plan to send your child back to school from 1st June.
Ultimately it is your decision whether you feel it is right for your child to return to school and no parent will be fined if they keep their child at home. We will respect which ever decision you make.
Beverly Corbin- Headteacher