School re-opening following COVID-19 closures
4th June 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
Firstly, I hope that you are all healthy, safe and well after what has been a really challenging time and that you also enjoyed your Eid celebrations.
Following on from a Trust Board meeting on Wednesday morning, the Trust Board and CEO have taken the decision to begin a phased reopening of Highfield School beginning on Monday 15th June 2020. This will not affect the keyworker provision which will continue to run for those parents who need it.
Before the half term break, senior leaders called the parents of children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to establish how many children were planning to return to school. These numbers have now been confirmed and all children who said ‘yes’ to returning have been assigned a class group (also known as a ‘pod)
If you have decided not to return your child to school, they will continue to learn from home. We will continue to signpost online learning and projects via our website. We will also signpost useful resources and activity ideas via our school Twitter page so please keep checking both of these regularly. Staff will continue to call pupils every 2-3 weeks but where staff are working in school with assigned bubbles, their calls will be picked up by a different member of staff.
In order to minimise the risk to both pupils and staff, school will temporarily close to all pupils, including keyworker children, at 1pm on Friday afternoons. This enables staff to have their legal entitlement of planning, preparation and assessment (PPA) time without additional adults working in multiple pods across the week. It is an essential part of minimising the risk posed by Covid-19 so we thank you in advance for your co-operation and understanding with this.
A second letter will follow this via post to all parents who have requested their child returns to school from Years 1 and 6. This will detail start dates/times/gate locations. It will also contain an updated ‘Parental Code Of Conduct’ which must be fully adhered to for children to be able to attend. Letters to Reception will be sent ahead of their return date but this start is dependent upon outcomes of the constant review of the risk assessments in place. (For more information on this, please refer to the letter from our CEO)
In the meantime, if you need to contact school, please use the firstname.lastname@example.org email address where will endeavour to help.
If your child is returning to school soon, things are going to feel and look very different to how they did before we closed. I want to give you as much information ahead of time so that you are prepared. We will need all parents and children to comply with all new procedures. Read on for some FAQs for your consideration, which highlight further some of the measures in place to protect all stakeholders.
How will children be grouped?
Children will need to be split into smaller groups with a maximum number of 10 children in one classroom. These groups will not be able to mix with other children or siblings during the school day. A timetable and rota will be used to ensure that there is minimal contact between groups of pupils and staff in school. Each year group will have its own start and finish time to stagger footfall traffic at each of the school gates. These times will be shared closer to the date that your child returns.
What will happen at lunchtime?
We will not be able to provide hot lunches during this time so there will be a cold lunch offer instead. Lunch will be eaten within the classroom that groups have been assigned. If children bring their own packed lunch, this will need to be in a disposable bag as no normal lunch bags or boxes can travel between home and school. Children will need a labelled water bottle filled with water or squash. We will not be able to use water fountains within school at this time.
Will my child be in their normal classroom?
Unfortunately, it may not be possible for children to be based in the classroom they are familiar with and they may also be with a different teacher. The use of resources will be limited to those that can be cleaned and we ask that children do not bring anything into school. The children will not be bringing reading books or homework home during this time but can continue to access all the home learning content on the school website.
Can my child bring in their own resources e.g. a pencil case or their normal school bag?
No, unfortunately we cannot permit any personal items on site other than a coat and disposable lunch bag. The children will have their own desk for working on and a pack of stationery/resources will be provided. This pack will stay in school each night so it is ready for the next day and be used only by your child. The timetable of the day will be designed to enable us to maintain the safety measures we have put into place.
What if my child became poorly whilst in school?
Should your child show symptoms or become unwell at school, they will need to be isolated from others. A first aid trained member of staff will wear protective clothing and support them while they wait for you to collect them. We ask that if we have to call you to collect your child, you come to school straight away – this is for the safety of your child and everybody else. Please do not send your child to school if they are unwell, even if their symptoms are mild.
What happens if I choose to say ‘no’ to my child attending?
The Local Authority will not be issuing fines if your child does not attend school at this time. It is purely parental decision. Please make the choice which you believe is right for your family. If you do state that you would like your child to attend during your phone call, you will be asked for two working phone number contacts to be used in the case of an emergency. No child will be permitted on site until these have been checked.
At this difficult time for us all, I appreciate how daunting this may seem. All measures that we have outlined here, and any others in our risk assessment, are intended to help minimise risk to our staff, children, parents and community.
Take good care and best wishes to you all.
Head of School
We recognise that settling into a new school is a big step for you and your child. Our aim is to make this a very happy and smooth transition. We want to encourage all our children to reflect on the positive memories and experiences they have had in their primary schools and to encourage this positive mind-set moving forwards to this new and exciting chapter in their life. We appreciate the challenges that families are facing and want to provide as much support as possible. With this in mind, the Pastoral Team at PACT have been looking at the best way of supporting all year 6 children in these unprecedented times, with the transition to secondary schools.
One of the ways we thought would be helpful was to produce the enclosed booklet. It has a lot of thought provoking material in and should be really useful to get your children thinking about what they will need in regards to uniform etc. as well as getting them to think about any anxieties they may be facing.
It could be useful for you to work through this booklet with your child and to talk about what they should expect when moving to ‘BIG SCHOOL’ as this may help to support any worries or anxieties that they may have. This booklet is for you and your child’s personal use and can be kept at home or taken to their new school with them. It does not need to be returned to the PACT. They may find it helpful to take it with them to their new school if they have any questions that they need answering or are unsure about anything.
I hope you find the booklet helpful. We are missing all of the children very much and hope that you are all keeping safe and well. We look forward to seeing your children as soon as it is safe to do so.
The Pastoral Team
Dear Parents and Carers,
I previously wrote to you on 22nd May with regard to the date a decision on opening schools to more pupils would be made. This morning, the trust board of the Prince Albert Community Trust met to make this decision. As I am sure you can appreciate, there are many things to consider when trying to decide what is best for our children, staff and parents in this situation. In all my years of leading schools, this is by far the most difficult situation my team and I have faced and making the right decisions for our school community has been exceptionally challenging.
Our number one priority, has been and will remain, the safety of our pupils and staff. As a trust board, we have decided to open our schools to year 1 pupils on Monday 15th June. On Monday and Tuesday of that week, we will review all risk assessments and if it is safe to do so, we will open for year 6 pupils from Thursday 18th June. Again, we will review all risk assessments and if it is safe to do so, we will open for reception pupils on Tuesday 23rd June. We will also assess the situation carefully before deciding to open for other year groups. The decision on opening for further year groups will be made during the week beginning 22nd June.
You will receive a more detailed letter about the specific arrangements for your child’s school from your head of school by the end of this week. If you have any further questions once you receive the letter from the head, please use the ‘email@example.com’ email address for the school to get in touch.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the PACT trust board for their support and guidance during this difficult time. These are testing and unprecedented times and I would like to assure you that when all of our children are back at school, we will make sure that they catch up on the learning they have missed.