Covid - updates & changes
What parents and carers need to know about returning to school from 8th March
From 8th March all children should return to school and attendance will be mandatory once again from this date.
Mandatory attendance means that it is your legal duty as a parent to send your child to school regularly.
Local authorities and schools have a range of legal powers to enforce attendance if a child or young person misses school without a valid reason.
We know some parents will be feeling anxious about their children returning to school or college. If you have concerns about your child attending, you should discuss these with school.
You should plan your holidays within school holidays as usual. Avoid seeking permission to take your children out of school or college during term time. You should make sure any travel is in line with national travel guidance.
Keep in mind that you and your children may need to self-isolate when you return from a trip overseas.
Social distancing in school
School will minimise contact and encourage maintaining distance as far as possible. This will involve asking children to:
- stay within specified separate groups (or bubbles)
- maintain distance between individuals
We know that younger school children and those with special educational needs (SEND) may not be able to maintain social distancing. It is likely that for those children the emphasis will be on separating groups.
Consistent groups reduce the risk of transmission by limiting the number of pupils and staff in contact with each other to only those within the group.
Maintaining distinct groups, or bubbles, that do not mix makes it quicker and easier in the event of a positive case to identify those who may need to self-isolate and to keep that number as small as possible.
Adults (including staff and visitors) should wear face coverings in situations where social distancing between adults is not possible. They will therefore ask you and other visitors to use face coverings if you come on site.
It is really important that face coverings are worn correctly.
Some pupils, students and adults may be exempt from wearing face coverings.
Our school is taking part in the asymptomatic testing programme.
Primary aged pupils do not need to be regularly tested. However, staff will be taking part in the programme to help reduce transmission of the virus and keep everyone safe. Testing is voluntary but has been strongly encouraged.
Managing cases in school
School will take swift action when they become aware that someone who has attended has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). They will contact their local health protection team if they:
- have 2 or more confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) among pupils or staff within 14 days
- see an overall rise in child or staff absence rates where coronavirus (COVID-19) is suspected
The local health protection team will advise what action is required. Closure will not usually be necessary, but some groups may need to self-isolate.
Actions you should take
Do not send your child to school if:
- they are showing one or more coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms
- someone in their household is showing symptoms
- someone in their support bubble has symptoms and they have been in close contact with them since the symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started
- they or someone in their household has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)
- they are required to quarantine having recently been out of the country
Book PCR a test if you or your child develop symptoms. Inform school of the results.
If the test is positive, follow guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, and engage with the NHS Test and Trace process.
Other household members (including any siblings) should self-isolate from the day your child’s symptoms started (or the day they took a test if they did not have symptoms), and the next 10 full days.
If your child or someone in your household has tested positive while not experiencing symptoms but develops symptoms during the isolation period, they should restart the 10 day isolation period from the day they developed symptoms.
If your child displays symptoms, or has a positive test, while at school or college, they should not use public transport and, wherever possible, be collected by a member of their family or household. In exceptional circumstances, if you cannot arrange to have your child collected and they cannot walk, cycle or scoot home, alternative arrangements may need to be organised by the nursery, childminder, school or college.
Your child does not need a test if they:
- have a runny nose, are sneezing or feeling unwell, but do not have a temperature, cough or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste
- are advised to self-isolate because they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), for example, another pupil in their class, but are not showing symptoms themselves
Please help school to create the safest possible environment by following this advice and the wider public health advice and guidance.
Arriving at and leaving school
School will stagger start and finish times (see below).This helps keep groups apart as they arrive and leave the premises. This will not reduce the amount of time we spend teaching and learning.
Please help us manage these arrangements, for example by keeping your distance from others when dropping off and picking up your child.
We are still operating the one way system, so please enter through Cooke St. (No parking here, please, as manoeuvring cars cause a danger to children and parents walking this way)
Y2 and Y6
Rec and Y5
Y1 and Y3
If you have more than one child is school, please bring them at the earliest start time and collect at the latest start time, so everybody gets a full day in school, and nobody has to wait on a cold playground. Thank you
Communicating with staff
We would be grateful if during the next few weeks you could continue to communicate with staff via the office. Please email, or telephone school and your child’s teacher will arrange to get back to you as soon as it is convenient. Please do not approach staff on the yard in the morning or at pick up time. There is still a risk of transmission and we do not want to take any chances. Hopefully it will be easing soon.
Using public transport
Everyone needs to play their part in reducing the demand for public transport. If possible, you should look for alternative transport options, especially walking or cycling or scooting, particularly at peak times.
If your child needs to share a car to school or college with someone outside of their support bubble or household, they should:
- share with the same people each time
- open the windows for ventilation
- wear a face covering if they are aged 11 or over
School will continue to teach a broad and balanced curriculum in all subjects, and will adapt teaching and curriculum planning to ensure pupils cover the most important content. In some exceptional circumstances, school may consider it appropriate to suspend some subjects for some pupils, but only where this is in the best interest of the pupils and in discussion with parents.
We know that extended school closures have had a substantial impact on children and young people’s learning. Your child may be offered some opportunity to catch up. We hope to work with you if an after school offer is made.
We will continue to provide remote education for pupils who are not eligible to attend on site.
From 8 March, attendance is mandatory for all school-aged pupils. However, where a pupil cannot attend school on site because they are complying with government guidance or law relating to coronavirus (COVID-19), for example if they need to self-isolate or shield.
Where it is needed, school should provide remote education equivalent in length to the teaching your child would usually get in school. This will include recorded or live direct teaching time, as well as time for pupils to complete tasks and assignments independently. It should be suitably tailored if your child has special educational needs or a disability. The amount of remote education should be a minimum of:
- 3 hours a day for key stage 1 (years 1 to 2) on average, with less for younger children
- 4 hours a day for key stage 2 (years 3 to 6)
If you have concerns about the amount or quality of the remote education your child is receiving, please talk to their teacher or Mrs Alcock.
It is important to have regular conversations with children and young people about staying safe online. Encourage them to talk to you if they come across something worrying.
Find out how to talk to your child about online safety issues and set up age-appropriate parental controls with the following guidance:
- coronavirus (COVID-19): support for parents and carers to keep children safe online
- coronavirus (COVID-19) - staying safe online
Assessments in primary schools
Statutory key stage 1 and 2 tests and teacher assessments planned for summer 2021 are cancelled.
Schools will continue to use assessment during the summer term to:
- inform teaching
- give you information about your child’s attainment in their annual report
- support your child’s transition to secondary school if they are in year 6
Routine, graded Ofsted inspections remain suspended for the spring term across early years, state schools and colleges. The intention is for these inspections to resume in the summer term.
Admissions are not suspended during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. You can apply in the usual way and admissions authorities will consider your applications. They will either offer your child a place or, if they refuse to offer a place, offer an appeal.
We will be inviting children back to school on 8th March in their usual uniform. Uniforms do not need:
- to be cleaned more often than usual
- to be cleaned using different methods
Increased ventilation may make school buildings cooler than usual. Therefore, your child may need suitable indoor items of clothing in addition to their uniform. (extra vests/tshirts)
Don’t forget that we now have a PE day, when children come to school in their PE kit and sweatshirt (see your child’s class page on the website). In colder weather a pair of jogging bottoms should be worn. The children can come in trainers, and leave their pumps in school for indoor PE.
School uniform information can be found on the website.
Schools will continue to provide meal options for pupils who are in school. Meals should be available free of charge to all infant pupils and pupils who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals.
If your family needs support during the Easter break, you should contact your local authority to access help through the COVID Winter Grant Scheme.
Education health and care (EHC) plans
If your child has an EHC plan they should receive the support they need as usual when they attend school.
Schools will not go on educational visits at this time.
Wraparound childcare, extra-curricular, and out-of-school or college activities
The government have published separate guidance for parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This sets out who can attend before and after-school clubs and other out-of-school activities and the measures in place, and the position for the Easter holidays. Vulnerable children and young people can access this provision in any circumstances.
If eligible, you should try to:
- send your child to the same setting consistently
- limit the number of settings they attend
- ensure they attend only one out-of-school setting in addition to school or college
- use settings local to your home or child’s school or college, such as settings within walking or cycling distance
Mental health and wellbeing
Some children and young people may be experiencing feelings of anxiety, stress or low mood as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
School will continue to offer pastoral support to any pupils who need to work remotely.
Support for children and parents
Online resources to help you support your child with mental health and wellbeing, including:
- MindEd - a free educational resource on children and young people’s mental health
- Every Mind Matters - an online tool and email journey to support everyone in taking action to look after their mental health and wellbeing
- Bereavement UK and the Childhood Bereavement Network - information and resources to support bereaved pupils, schools and staff
PHE’s advice and guidance for parents and professionals on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing includes key actions you can take to support your child. It also emphasises the importance of children continuing to remain fit and active and, wherever possible, having the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity. Youth Sport Trust and Sport England have advice and support on helping children and young people stay physically active.
Use the DfE blog to find mental health resources for children, parents, carers and school staff.
NHS mental health services remain open, and have digital tools to connect with people and provide ongoing support. Please use your local children and young people’s mental health service when needed.
Support for children and young people
Get free, confidential support at any time by:
- texting SHOUT to 85258
- calling Childline on 0800 1111
- calling the Mix on 0808 808 4994
Find help online through:
- Young Minds - information on coronavirus (COVID-19) and mental health
- Think Ninja - a free app for 10 to 18 year olds to help build resilience and stay well
- Every Mind Matters - building resilience and supporting good mental health in young people aged 10 to 16
PHE has also launched new e-learning which can help parents and carers to support their children and young people in emergency or crisis situations.
Barnardo’s See, Hear, Respond service, provides support to children, young people and their families who are not currently seeing a social worker or other agency, and who are struggling to cope with the emotional impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19). Use the See, Hear, Respond self-referral webpage or Freephone 0800 151 7015.
It is also vital to report any safeguarding concerns you have about any child. Contact the NSPCC helpline.