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18th May2020

 

Return to school for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children

 

Dear Parents,

 

Even though it seems like a long time ago now, it is hard to believe that it has only been a week since the Prime Minister informed the nation that from 1st June, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children would be allowed to return to school.  Since then, my staff and I have spent many hours trying to create a plan that meets government guidelines and which is as humane as possible for the children and staff returning.  Several parents, quite understandably, would like additional information before finally deciding on whether or not to allow their child to return to school.  Hopefully, the information below will help you decide on the right course of action for you and your child.

I would like to emphasise that even though our plans are based on what we consider to be the safest option, they are not foolproof and cannot guarantee 100% safety.  Every family must independently come to a decision which they feel is right for them.  In the same way, my leadership team and I have planned what we feel is right for our school community – it isn’t a perfect plan, but no plan is.

Please be aware that school will inevitably be very different from what it has been in the past.  The focus of the plan is very much on keeping children and staff safe.

 

Our plans for reopening:

We plan to open on a rota system.  This means that each class will be divided into two groups of 15.  From this point onwards, please think of each group as a ‘Bubble’:  Bubble 1 and Bubble 2. 

  • The children in Bubble 1 will come to school on a Monday and Tuesday. 
  • The children in Bubble 2 will come to school on a Thursday and Friday. 

As each teacher and TA is only allowed to work with one Bubble, this does mean that not all the children will be able to have their class teacher as their Bubble teacher.  Where this is the case, the Bubble without their class teacher will be led by another teacher associated with the year group (eg an adult who would usually take the class for PPA).  Each Bubble will also have a TA.

When not at school, there will be three days of home learning per week on the class page of the school website.  There will also be additional work that the children can do from the orange and red pencils.

On Wednesday, the school will be closed to allow for:

  • A longer clean of the building
  • Teachers to plan and prepare work to support the children with their home learning.

 

The reasons behind these decisions:

  • Children and staff will only be exposed to one small ‘Bubble’ of up to 15 children – perhaps think of it as a safety bubble
  • Bubbles can be kept separate from each other: they will work, play and eat only with the other children in their Bubble
  • Each teacher will be with the children for two days of each week, allowing them to still plan and prepare home learning and continue to email feedback to pupils.  This will mean that children not attending school will still get access to three sessions of online learning a week rather than having no online learning because all teachers are in school
  • The potential for future growth will be built into the system rather than having to plan again if more children from the relevant year groups say they are coming in at a later date.  This gives parents the opportunity to watch and see how the virus spreads before committing to sending their children in.

 

What will this look like in practice:

All children will be allocated a place at a table (or on the carpet at times if in Reception or Year 1) which will become their place.

Children are asked to bring in their own pencil case (containing a pencil, ruler, colouring pencils or felts) from home which only they will be able to use.  The school will make up similar packs for those children who do not bring in their own pencil case.

Reception children will have activities set out on tables and the carpet eg Lego or Mobilo.  Once the equipment has been selected, the children will be encouraged to play in their own space.  Sadly, children will not be able to access the home or reading corners.

Most teaching will take place from the front of the class.

The allocation of children to specific Bubbles will be based on our teachers’ knowledge of each child and their previous friendship groups.  It will not be possible for children to swap Bubbles.

We will make every effort to ensure that siblings in Reception, Year 1 or Year 6 can attend on the same two days.

Children will be able to choose a packed lunch from school or bring one in from home.  They will then eat their lunch with the other children from their Bubble in their classroom (or in the case of Reception, in the Infant hall).

The government says that masks / PPE will not be necessary, but I think that staff and children need to make their own choices and I will support anyone who feels safer using such equipment.

PPE will be used by any member of staff looking after a child who becomes unwell – this will include any child who says they do not feel well.

 

Start and end times of the day:

These will be staggered to support social distancing.  Start times will range from between 8.40am and 9.10am.  Exact times will not be allocated until we know how many children to expect.  Parents will be given a 5-minute slot in which to drop their child off at their classroom door.  If arriving early, parents should wait with their child 2m away from other adults and children.  While waiting for school to start, parents must keep their child with them at all times.

End of day times will range from between 2.45pm (first Reception Bubble) and 3.15pm.

When coming onto school grounds, a one-way system will be in operation.  Parents of Reception and Year 1 children are asked to enter the school grounds through the Infant pedestrian gate and then walk past the Year 1 classrooms, through the Reception outside area, round the building past the Year 2 classes and back out through the Infant pedestrian gate.

Year 6 children will come down the Junior pedestrian path as usual.  Each child is only meant to have one adult to accompany them to school. 

Parents must not congregate at the school gates for any reason.

 

Health and Safety:

Hand hygiene and safe distancing will be a key feature of each day.

Classrooms and communal areas will be cleaned more often than usual, with door handles being cleaned several times a day.  Doors will also be propped open to allow a breeze to circulate through the building.

 

What should my child wear?

Children will need to have a clean set of clothes for each of the two days they are at school.  Own clothes should be worn.  Trainers may also be worn.

 

Behaviour:

I do not think this will happen at Burleigh, but, due to the seriousness of the national situation, have to make it very clear that if any child deliberately endangers the safety of another pupil or member of staff eg. refusing to wash their hands when asked to do so; deliberately breathing on or deliberately coughing over another person, they will be excluded from class for the rest of the day.  Should they then choose to repeat such behaviour at some point in the future, they will be asked to stop attending school and remain at home permanently. 

 

Other points to remember:

The above plan may only be for two or three weeks as the government has said that it wants all primary school pupils to return to school for the last 4 weeks of term.  If this happens, all children will inevitably have to go into larger groups.

Children of key workers will still be offered a place at school on the days that they need it.

For children in Years 2, 3, 4 and 5, home learning will continue as usual for 5 days a week.

These plans may not happen at all if the ‘R’ number goes up.

 

Emotional and mental health:

Although the above does sound rather different, scary and worrying, my staff are keen to support the children emotionally, and will be delivering some lessons which support the children in understanding and accepting the ‘new normal’.  Much time will be spent focusing on wellbeing.  Also, as much time as possible will be spent outdoors as this too is good for everyone’s mental health and general wellbeing.

 

Letting us know:

Please let us know by 3.30pm this Wednesday whether or not you will be sending your child back to school on Monday 1st June.  If you have not already done so, please email your child’s class teacher on the class email address used for home learning.  As I said before, we do not need to know the reasons for your choice, and will respect whatever decision you come to.

If you do not want your child to return to school now, but at some point change your mind, please let us know by ringing the school office.  Please be aware though, that once you have notified us, your child won’t be able to return until the following week.  This will enable us to make proper preparations.  Please do not just turn up at the gates with your child. 

 

And finally…

As I said at the beginning of this rather lengthy letter, no plan is perfect, but we are doing our best to keep everyone safe!

 

Nick Norman

 

Head

 

 

Working together for the good of the children

 

 

 

 

 

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