Return to School September 2020/2021
As a Senior Leadership team we have been working on plans for the return of all children to school in September. Throughout this pandemic we have worked successfully with our community to ensure they feel listened to and their concerns and thoughts are taken into consideration, we have made sure to the best of our ability that everyone is kept as safe as possible.
We have received great praise for our clear, effective and timely communications, ensuring everyone feels able to make informed decisions and plan accordingly. This is something we did not want to sacrifice now, as many parents are, rightly so, asking questions regarding the September start.
Therefore, we have made some informed and sensible plans based on the ‘Full Opening of Schools Guidance’ published on 2nd July, our experience so far and the feelings of our community, alongside ensuring that we deliver quality teaching and learning and take care of the wellbeing of our children and staff.
All of the information provided below is intended to be in place until October half term when it will be reviewed. However, if there is a further peak in infection rate and more stringent conditions need to be enforced, the arrangement may need to change sooner.
Year group/phase bubbles
As stated by the Government all children will be expected to return to school in September, therefore full size classes will resume. Our understanding is that the return for pupils will be based on keeping year/phase groups apart as much as possible in separate bubbles, while limiting staff movement as much as feasibly possible.
Therefore, we have adjusted the way we work, allocated staff teams to bubbles and reduced staff and student movement around the school. On the whole, children will stay with their teacher or group of TA staff, supporting adult and peers for lessons and unstructured times of the school day. These measures will ensure a limited school closure, should we receive a positive test result for COVID. In the week before the return of all staff and children, my team have agreed to take COVID tests to ensure we are all as safe as possible.
Teacher and Supporting Adults
Early Years Nursery These children will have a phased return into school. They will not come over to the main school for the first half of the autumn term. Stay and play 3rd, meeting 4th, staggered start from 7th. Small group start. Full 15 hours by 14th September
Miss Poynton Rodgers
Early Years Reception These children will commence full time schooling after a phased return… compulsory parent meetings 3rd and 4th. All children start full time on 7th – if the meeting has been attended.
Key Stage 1 All children start on 3rd September, staggered start and end times of day.
Lower Key stage 2 All children start 3rd September, staggered start and end times of the day see below.
Upper Key Stage 2 All children start 3rd September, staggered start and end of day times, see below.
In order to create the smoothest transition possible after such a long period of time away from school, where possible children will move to their next classes they will undertake lots of transition work where they will once again get used to being in school, get to know their friends and get used to their new teachers and different routines. Parents have been informed of the classes by letter and all children are invited into school for a “bacon butty picnic” (or alternative) on the school field to meet their teachers in the last week of the summer term. We will text to remind you all BUT it’s imperative that your child is brought to it.
Year 6 will consist of 2 classes. On a Wednesday, a maths teacher whom we employ for one day a week will teach across both classes, supporting all year 6 children. We absolutely believe this has many advantageous factors. We are aware that gaps in pupils’ knowledge and learning will have occurred, therefore it will be highly beneficial for one adult to understand the ‘whole picture’ of a child rather than for one subject alone. High quality assessment for learning will be far more precise in this structure.
During the last few weeks staff across our school have been working very closely with each other preparing for a smooth transition for pupils from all year groups into the next ensuring an effective movement to the new year groups. We feel this is imperative for our children and their needs.
Food hampers, provided by the school, have been a very much valued support to our families during the crisis. As we return to the new normal in September we will cease this provision. If times get hard please do tell us and don’t suffer in silence, we have access to supplies and will be able to help you.
Wellbeing and Mental Health
Since COVID we have learned new ways of how to support each other, the schools relationship with families has changed dramatically and for the better. This will change the way the school works in the future and we will do MORE than ever to support you and your family. We recognise that the school family will need to help each other work through the re-opening of Westmorland respond to difficulties as they arise.
We have a wide range of support on offer to children families and staff. Support ranges from internal staff and mentoring support, mutual staff support to referrals to agencies employed by the school for parents to Local Authority Services for staff and children when necessary. Where necessary we have a strong PSHE curriculum in place to support the children’s understanding of the current issues. We therefore feel we are in an informed position to support our children and families re-entering school and realise that some children will need a bespoke approach to supporting their mental wellbeing and transition back to school.
We strongly feel that a mixture of wellbeing tasks, social activities and the Westmorland “MORE” approach to high quality teaching, learning and pastoral support available for all our school family will be the best recipe for children, staff and parents feeling safe, secure, confident and happy. We are incredibly fortunate to have an experienced and confident pastoral team that will help support everyone.
The school has worked incredibly hard over the last year to ensure that our “MORE” curriculum intent is in place. The curriculum offer will not be diluted at Westmorland Primary School when we return. We will continue to teach in the way we know excites and motivates children; which is what they truly deserve after such a long break from education. Children will once again gain access to all resources, including reading books. We will use various techniques and tools to assess children more practically during the first few weeks of the Autumn Term academically. This will allow the team to stablish starting points for teaching.
SEND (Special Educational Needs)
For children who are in receipt of an Educational Health Care Plan, Vulnerable Children or children who have a Support Plan, staff at Westmorland will continue to work in partnership with parents to ensure the smooth transition of pupils back into school. We are aware that some children will require a little MORE support and have a team of staff ready to respond this includes staff from other services including LSS that will work with children directly maintaining a social distance. Both teachers and teaching assistants assigned to classes will deliver interventions to the children linked to their year group in class However, our priority must be ensuring our children return feeling safe, secure and have the opportunity and time to re-build bonds of trust and positive relationships.
The ‘Full Opening of Schools Guidance’ published on 2nd July states overnight educational visits cannot take place during the Autumn Term. Furthermore, we will not be inviting any unnecessary visitors into school. Specific teachers who deliver specialist teaching and intervention services will be invited into school but must adhere to our risk assessment and maintain an appropriate distance from pupils and adults. Our guidance, will be reviewed at October half term or earlier if necessary.
A detailed risk assessment has been carried out in accordance with government guidelines and is in place. We have used the Local Authority format. This remains under constant review, and as and when conditions change, the risk assessment with be amended accordingly.
In order to minimise the risks of Coronavirus transmission whole school assemblies will not be taking place. Instead, children will take part in brief assemblies within their classroom. Additionally, no class assemblies will be scheduled for the first half term at least.
Planning, Preparation and Assessment Time (PPA)
Since 2005 all teachers have been entitled to 10% of their teaching timetable for PPA. This is a crucial part of teacher time and an essential chance for teachers to come together as a collective to plan and subsequently deliver the most effective and appropriate content for our children. Never before has this been more necessary, with children potentially needing a great deal of support after school closure. The PPA staff will cross bubbles in order to deliver PPA. PPA staff are Mrs Gray and Mrs Johnson.
Arrival and Departure Times
The plan to bring all children back in September will necessitate staggered start and finish times, break and lunchtimes. In order to support families with siblings, the most effective way to ensure safe arrival is for a staggered start based on year groups.
Please find details below:
Time of Arrival Monday to Friday
8.45am Nursery, Reception, Year 3 and Year 4
9:00am Year 1, Year 2, Year 5 and Year 6
Time of Departure Monday to Friday
2:55pm Nursery, Reception, Year 3 and Year 4
3:15pm Year 1, Year 2, Year 5 and Year 6
It is imperative these times are adhered to, to ensure the safe arrival and departure of ALL children and their families. Children will walk straight into school and will be greeted at the door by a member of staff for a temperature check, then by their teachers in their classroom. Adults must not congregate in groups on the playground or attempt to come into school. A member of the Senior Leadership Team will be on duty to assist. Year 5 and 6 children will be allowed to go home on their own and if possible should come to school on their own as well. Please maintain a social distance from other families whilst on site and whilst going home.
Once children have arrived in school, staff will ensure that children know where they are going and what they are doing. Children will enter through the normal school gates and access their classroom via their nominated outside door. Again, a member of staff will be on duty to assist. Further details will be sent in September.
This staggered start will ensure children are in their classroom for lessons commencing five minutes after the scheduled arrival time.
At departure time, parents collecting will through the normal school gates and proceed to the appropriate classroom doors, where we ask you to stand in a socially distanced manner. Children will then be dismissed from their usual outside door.
Designated areas for break times will be established for the phase bubbles. Toast will be on offer for each phase at the usual price.
In order to resume a more normal style of lunchtime, children in Reception to Year 6 will eat in their relevant school halls. They will need to vacate their halls before the next groups are brought in after the tables have been cleaned down. If necessary due to potential time constraints, the year 5/6 phase bubble may eat in their classrooms after collecting their lunches from the hall. Each year group will be given an allocated time and the lunchtime staff will be responsible for cleaning the areas before the next year group enters. Hot meals will once again be provided and the full menu offered. Once children have eaten they will all go outside, where an outdoor space will be allocated to their phase. Children will be supervised by the lunchtime staff as normal, ensuring where possible these are the same adults as linked to their year groups.
Before and after school provision
After School Provision will resume in September once the school has settled, these groups will be linked to each phase bubble. Such provision will help ensure pupils have opportunities to re-engage with their peers and the school. Breakfast club provision will we hope be re-established within the first few weeks though families requiring this will be required to book in advance for the week, at £1.50 a day. There will be separate KS1 and KS2 groups for breakfast when it is established and the rooms used will be different. Important safety measures will be in place to minimise the risk of transmission at clubs, such as children washing their hands and regular cleaning of surfaces and touch points.
Cleanliness and Hygiene
During the reopening of school to “phase Bubbles” in the Autumn Term, children and staff will become well versed in an enhanced and thorough cleaning regime. Therefore, we will continue with the cleaning routines we have now established during the summer term. School will be cleaned thoroughly every night. Hand sanitisers will be available at each entrance to the school. Children will be told to wash their hands before and after each break time and before and after lunch.
After careful discussion we have decided that the wearing of PPE equipment will only be used for specific tasks in school, though some staff may choose to wear it if they are in an at risk group. We feel that creating a sense of normality and calm for the children is of great importance to us. Children do not need to wear face masks.
It is imperative that pupils, staff and other adults do not come into school if they have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or have tested positive in the last 7 days, and anyone developing those symptoms during the school day will be sent home immediately. These essential actions will reduce the risk in schools and further drive down transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). If anyone in the school becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell, they must be sent home. Anyone in our school community displaying symptoms must follow ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’, which sets out that they must arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus (COVID-19). Other members of their household must all isolate until the results of the tests are known. Tests can now be booked on the same day as symptoms are noticed and results often return that same day.
If a child is awaiting collection, they will be taken to the hall office where they can be isolated behind a closed door, depending on the age and needs of the child, with appropriate adult supervision If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they must use the closest bathroom opposite the Headteacher’s office. The bathroom and isolation room must be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else.
PPE must be worn by staff caring for the child while they await collection if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained (such as for a very young child or a child with complex needs).
From September attendance in school will once again become compulsory and therefore the usual attendance policies will be in operation. Home learning will no longer be set (from the start of the summer holidays) children MUST come to school. If a parent feels their child will not be able to attend school on any one day, we ask them to phone school as soon as possible so that we are aware of the reasons for absence.
If staff absence occurs our first priority will be to ensure consistency by providing cover from a Westmorland member of staff. However, in the unlikely event that this is not possible school will use supply staff as stated in the ‘Full Opening of Schools Guidance’.
We look forward to welcoming children back to school on September 3rd. We will text over the holiday period to confirm arrangements.
Have a happy and safe holiday.
*All information is correct at time of going to print. 20/7/20