Head Teacher's letter to Parents
Welcome Back to potters green school
Academic year: 2020-2021
10th July 2020
I am writing to update you regarding the plans for the whole school reopening in September at the start of the new academic year. This has been a really difficult time for staff and for families during the lockdown and with all the children not being able to attend school. As a school community we are looking forward to the time when all the children are back together and staff can deliver the curriculum and support that they deserve. When the school reopens to all year groups it will not be exactly back to normal but not that different. Personally I am really looking forward to having all the children back in school and getting to know its families and the wider community and trying to get back to some level of normality.
According to the government the prevalence of COVID-19 has decreased, the NHS Test and Trace system is up and running and there are clear measures which can be put in place to create safe environments within school. Therefore it is time for all children to return back to school. It is no longer a choice whether to send your child to school but a statutory duty. Failure to return children at the start of the new academic year could lead to fines and external agency involvement. Where a pupil is unable to attend because they are complying with clinical and/or public health advice, the school will endeavour to offer them access to remote education. If a child is following clinical and/or public health advice, absence will not be penalised.
Returning to school is vital for children’s education and for their well-being. The risk to the children themselves of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 is very low. Although schools cannot provide a totally risk free environment, the balance of risk is now overwhelmingly in favour of children returning to school. For the vast majority of children the benefits of being back in school far outweigh the very low risk from coronavirus. As a school we continue to work extremely hard at making the school environment as safe as it can be.
Although the school is planning to fully reopen on Wednesday 2nd September there are two essential dates when the decision will be finalised. The Prime Minister in mid-August will declare if the country is still on track for schools to fully reopen based on scientific evidence. By 25th August Coventry City Council will decide whether its school will be reopening. If the infection cases are extremely high within Coventry or certain areas within Coventry, it may be decided that these schools cannot open just yet and residents would be back in lockdown. This is what has happened recently in Leicester. The school will notify you if this is the case. However this is extremely unlikely to happen. Parents also need to be aware that if infection rates increase significantly as the academic year progresses then local areas/school may have to go in to lockdown.
It is a really positive sign that the schools are finally fully reopening in September and this will bring back a bit more of a normality for all. The school is committed to following the government guidance to create an environment where children learn and are happy and as safe as we are able to make the environment. We need our families support to do this and ask everyone to please not only read the guidance but to follow it. Every decision made has a purpose behind it and ultimately this is to keep children and staff safe.
I wish you all a lovely summer holidays and look forward to meeting you in September.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How will the children be returning to school?
All year groups and all children are returning to school from the Wednesday 2nd September (excluding Nursery). School attendance is compulsory. Classes will form Bubbles of 30 children. However children in Reception will be one bubble of 60 (year group bubble) as Reception is an open plan environment. Year 1 will also be one bubble of 60 (year group bubble) as Year 1 is also an open plan environment. Children will spend the majority of their time in their bubbles. They will eat together, have breaks and playtimes in their bubbles. The school is required to operate staggered start and finish times for the different year groups. There are certain times when children can join other children from other bubbles eg group music lessons, Thrive or intervention work and Wraparound care. Teachers and staff can cross bubbles. To help maintain social distancing pupils are told not to touch staff or their peers where possible. To support social distancing pupils are to be seated side by side facing forwards rather than face to face or side on.
Is school open and closing at the usual times?
No: As part of putting in place protective measures to reduce risk, for social distancing, the opening and closing times of the school day have to be changed. The school will have a staggered start and end times with the overriding aim to reduce contact between different groups and adults. The curriculum time is the same with dinner times and breaks being altered. New timings are: Nursery Reception Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6
Session 1 8:30-11:30
(1 week only)
Are there any changes for parents from September?
Reception and Nursery Children can be escorted up/down the school drive by ONE parent and they will enter the school site via the nursery gates.
Parents are not permitted on the school site and should adhere to social distancing when bringing and collecting their children at school. Only one parent should accompany their child/ren to school. Parents are not permitted to enter the school office unless they have rung and got permission from the school by appointment. Drop off and collection times must be strictly adhered to and parents must not hang around the school gates. From 8:30 and 2:30 the school gate will be closed to vehicles. If collecting children for appointments etc. parents should not drive on to the school drive.
What can children bring in to school?
Older children are allowed to bring in their own stationery equipment to school eg pens, pencils, pencil case but they are not permitted to share these items. If having a packed lunch it must be brought to school in a disposable bag and not a lunch box. Water bottles (only filled with water) are permitted in classrooms. Children should have their PE kit in school on a daily basis. No other items will be allowed in school. Please remember to apply sun cream on your child before they start their school day.
Will staff or pupils be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?
The majority of staff in education settings do not require PPE, beyond what they would normally need for their work, even if they are not able to maintain a distance of 2 metres from one another other. PPE is only needed in a very small number of cases:
Children whose care routinely already involves the use of PPE due to intimate care would continue to have this (e.g. if a child has toileting needs, first aid).
If a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained from any child or adult displaying coronavirus symptoms.
Can my child wear a mask in school?
NO: Children are not able to wear masks in schools. Masks will only be worn by adults as described in the PPE section. Any homemade non-disposable or disposable face coverings that staff or children wear when they arrive at the school must be removed by the wearer and placed into a plastic bag, that the parents have brought with them, in order to take it home. This must be done before children enter the school site.
What is my child allowed to bring in to school?
For frequently used equipment e.g. pencils and pens it is recommended that staff and pupils have their own items that are not shared. Therefore children can bring in to school their own pens and pencils which are not to be shared. Classroom based resources such as books and games, can be used and shared within the bubbles but are to be cleaned regularly. Children should limit the equipment they bring in to school each day: a disposable packed lunch (if required)-not lunchboxes, hats and coats. Bags are allowed. Pupils and teachers can take books home.
Do the children need to wear uniform?
YES: All children are required to wear the full uniform.
How do I wash the uniform when the children have been in to school?
There is no need for anything other than normal personal hygiene and washing of clothes following a day in a school. Uniform that cannot be washed should be avoided.
Will the children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 receive a lunch as before?
Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are able to have a free packed lunch. Free School Meal children in Years 3 to 6 also are entitled to a packed lunch. Packed lunches can also be booked for all children at a cost of £2.20 a day (this has been increased by the provider by 10p). Hot meals are not provided during this time. Parents will be informed when hot meals becomes an option again.
Can children attend school if they are symptomatic of COV19?
No: Symptoms of coronavirus: high temperature, a new persistent cough or a loss or change in the normal sense of taste and smell (anosmia).
Anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19, or whose household members develops symptoms, should immediately self-isolate. They should not attend school and should follow the steps below:
Parent/carer to notify the school of their absence by phone.
Child and family should stay at home and self-isolate for 7 days starting from the first day of their symptoms and the reset of their household for 14 days.
The child should be tested via NHS UK or by contacting NHS 119 via telephone if they do not have internet access. This would also apply to any parent or household member who develops symptoms.
Staff and their household members can also get tested.
Parents/staff will be contacted through Test and Trace and advised on next steps.
If test is negative and the child feels well they can return to school.
What happens if a child becomes unwell with symptoms of coronavirus whilst at school?
If anyone becomes unwell with: a new, continuous cough or a high temperature or a loss or change in their normal sense of taste or smell children will be sent home as soon as possible.
When a child is waiting to be collected they will be moved and placed in the Sunshine Room. No other children are in this room and they will be with an adult. A window will be opened for ventilation. They should be 2m away from other people.
If they need the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they should use a separate bathroom which will be cleaned and disinfected before it is used by anyone else.
PPE will be worn by staff caring for the child while they await collection ONLY if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained (such as a very young child or a child with complex needs).
The local authority education/public health team will be contacted.
The child will be collected and parents told to get self-isolate and get the child tested ASAP.
School must be informed of the result of the test.
What happens if a child is breaking social distancing?
The behaviour policy has been temporarily amended in light of the recent pandemic. Although schools cannot guarantee social distancing and it is an unrealistic expectation of particularly young children, pupils who purposefully and consistently breach the routines they have been asked to follow, will be dealt with in accordance with the behaviour policy. Decisions to exclude will not be taken lightly.
How do parents communicate with school and/or teachers?
Parents are not permitted onto the school site without permission sought in advance and cannot gather at the entrance gates or doors. All non-urgent communication should be via email or telephone to the office. Anything that is urgent please telephone the school.
Will the school be allowing external agencies/visitors in to school?
The school will be able to allow visitors in to school when it has been agreed in advance and is essential to the educational outcomes for the children.
Will the school be taking temperatures of the children and adults?
No: The guidance makes it clear that parents and schools do not need to take the temperature of the children in the morning. Routine testing of a child’s temperature is not a reliable method for identifying coronavirus symptoms.