Dear St Wilfrid’s,
Following the Government’s announcement on Monday, we are delighted to be welcoming all our children back on Monday 8th March and looking forward to our school ‘buzzing’ with all the children in school again.
I am sure there will be a mixture of emotions for you and your families as the majority of you prepare your children for the return to our school after their time under lockdown restrictions and, while the majority of other restrictions on society remain in place, we are grateful for this opportunity to have all our children back with us. We will continue to work in partnership with you to ensure the return to school is as smooth as possible.
Alongside concerns we all might have about safety and wellbeing, there will understandably be concerns about your child’s learning development after the year of disruption we have had. Our approach continues to be to identify how the latest lockdown has impacted children’s learning and build a long term plan for our school to provide the right support to ensure our children continue to develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed now and in the future.
Therefore, we are writing to update and remind you of the arrangements we have in place to lessen the risk to everyone. While we are confident in these arrangements being how we need to proceed on Monday 8th March there maybe the requirements for adjustments and further information and therefore we will update you if this is the case.
Also, please be aware that there is our scheduled INSET day on Friday 5th March.
When all children return, will it be safe?
Many parents, staff and children across the country continue to quite rightly express concern about whether the return of all children to school will be ‘safe’ in March. As we have said before, we believe ‘safe’ means to work hard to lessen the risk for everyone involved. No school can guarantee a child or staff member will not become ill if they return to school, but we have worked to reduce the risk, following the government guidance and learning from our experience so far. The guidance released by the government outlines the two key areas to focus on as a school – Prevention and Response to Infection.
For ‘Prevention’, firstly we must ask anyone with symptoms to not enter the school site, self isolate and to contact NHS Test and Trace. Alongside this, we will be continuing to wash/sanitise hands regularly, emphasise the ‘Catch it! Bin it! Kill it!’ message and organise our school to ensure we minimise contact between groups within our school. This minimising of contact has influenced how we will organise our classrooms and the structure of our school days and this follows the government guidance. The school will continue to be cleaned thoroughly every day to also reduce the risk of infection.
For ‘Response to Infection’, we will follow the procedures set out in the guidance for if we have any confirmed cases amongst our school population, following the direction of Public Health England.
How will the children be organised?
Each year group will be in a ‘bubble’ and there will be limited mixing even within these year group bubbles.
As before, the classrooms in Years 2 to 6 will be set up with children sat side by side at tables facing the front of class. The guidance recognises this will not be possible in Reception and Year 1 and these classroom environments will be set up differently.
For most of the time, children will have the same adults with them throughout the week, but there will be times during the week when other adults may take the class or work with groups of children from the same year group. The government guidance allows for this and will help us to support our SEN children, children needing additional support and give teachers the time they are required to have to plan, prepare and assess.
How will the day be organised?
The guidance instructs us to limit the number of adults on site at any one time and to not have large groups gathering. Therefore, to lessen the risk we will continue to have staggered starts and ends to the day to avoid large groups of adults on our site.
In the mornings, the timings are as follows,
8.35am – Year 1 and Year 4
8.45am – Year 2 and Year 5
8.55am – Reception, Year 3 and Year 6
Children will enter through the same doors they were before Christmas and these will be labelled.
At the end of the day,
3pm – Reception and Year 4
3.10pm – Year 1 and Year 5
3.20pm – Year 2 and Year 3
3.30pm – Year 6
The Junior (Years 3 to 6) classes will exit from either the ‘boys’ entrance or the ‘girls’ entrance onto the Junior playground and signs will be up in the windows to indicate which doors they will come out from. This will allow you to stand on the correct half of the playground. Mr Hateley and Ms Strange will be on the playgrounds to support you in finding the right place to wait.
The Infant playground will be split into sections to allow people to stand in the area for the correct class. These will also be signposted in the relevant windows or on stands.
For both playgrounds we are asking for the rear of the playgrounds to be non-waiting areas to allow people to access the site quickly and safely. Please do not arrive on site until your allocated pick up times to avoid having too many people on site at any one time.
As with the morning drop off, we will continue to operate a one way system, entering through the main gate and exiting through the infant gate. Please exit the site as soon as you have your children to avoid having too many people on site at any one time.
Also, we would insist that if you have more than one child arriving and leaving at different times that you drop off and pick up at the later as this will avoid families waiting onsite. Due to the structure of the days, it won’t be possible for children to be looked after until it is their time to arrive.
Finally, due to the limited space on the playgrounds we are asking people to be mindful of each other when waiting as we all endeavour to keep each other safe. The restrictions are still in place and we are not allowed to ‘meet’ with others even in these circumstances.
Should my child wear their school uniform every day?
Yes, unless it is a PE day. On PE days children should continue to come into school wearing their PE kit, this avoids bringing unnecessary bags into school. Also, we hope to spend more time using the outdoor space, especially Forest School and so children may need to come in their ‘Forest School’ clothes. We will let you know the days your children need to come in PE kit/Forest school clothes.
Who needs to wear a mask?
We are asking all those who can wear a mask to wear one when on the school site and this includes at drop off and pick up times as was the case before the Christmas break. This will include school staff as they move about the building and they may even choose to wear them in the classroom.
Will my child need to be tested?
Currently, the instructions from government are for only school staff to undergo regular lateral flow testing at home and staff in school have had these since the end of January. There would appear to be no plans to ask primary aged children to have to do these tests. However, if your child displays symptoms then it remains a requirement that you book a test for them as soon as you can.
Will there be before and after school wraparound care?
At the moment, the government guidance allows for 'Treetops' to operate before and after school, as they provide a service to parents/carers who need the childcare support to be able to work.
All other clubs will not return until the summer term at the earliest and we are hoping updated guidance at the start of the summer term will guide us in how we arrange these to continue to keep the risk low.
How do I communicate with my child’s class teacher?
As we maintain social distancing, the best way to communicate with the class teacher will continue to be via the year group emails.
These will be checked between 8am and 8.30am and between 4pm and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday and staff will aim to respond within 24 hours. If it is urgent then please contact the school office.
Thank you for your support and patience in these challenging times.