Message from Mr Applegate
I trust you’ve had a bit of a break this week during half-term. This week’s newsletter is short, containing key information for those attending school from Tuesday, and those remaining at home – including a new Google Meet schedule.
Home learning restarts on Monday for all children. Remember, school is closed for all children on Monday, including those who are key workers.
For those attending school from Tuesday:
- You will have been sent an email with confirmation that you are returning on Tuesday. If you believe your child should be returning, but have not received an email, please contact the school immediately.
- Please make sure you have read this post in full. It includes all the important information for returning to school.
- We will do all we can to help the children in school join in with Google Meets, but bear with us as we work out the logistics of it all. Please note the schedule has changed – details below; there is a different timetable for this week, and also for subsequent weeks.
- We will be sending out a video/pictures asap, to support the children in their return.
For those remaining at home:
- Google Meet schedule has changed – please see the new timetable below- there is a different timetable for this week, and also for subsequent weeks.
- Google Classroom home learning will still be set each day, and staff will be supporting you in it.
- Year group emails will still be used if you need help.
It’s really important that everyone – in school or not – continues to social distance where ever we are. I’ve been informed by several members of the St Mark’s community that children are out playing together without adult supervision, and are not socially distant. This really is unsafe, and particularly if they are returning to school,
Have a good week, Mr Applegate
Have a spare laptop? Or does your company have some spare?
We’re aware that a number of families don’t have access to a laptop or computer – particularly necessary for Google Classroom. Can we as a community help them?
If you have any old or unneeded laptops, please do let us know. We will wipe or replace the hard drive and put all new software on it. The laptop just needs to work – we’ll do the rest.
Alternatively, could your company help us? I’m sure there are a number of laptops just being stored in cupboards! We can support with an official letter if required.
Either way, just let us know by completing this school here. Let us know if you want them back or not, too. Thank you so much.
Need a laptop?
As laptops come in, we will allocate them out according to need. If you think your child would benefit from a laptop, please complete this form. No promises, but we’ll do our best.
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Dear parents and carers,
SCHOOL PLACES FOR JUNE WIDER REOPENING HAVE ALREADY BEEN ALLOCATED
Despite what local media sources may say(!), the following is taken from the 40+ government publications and updates about ensuring a safe as possible wider-opening of schools. I’m sure there will be more this week, too. We promise we are not trying to be difficult, and have the interests of the children and staff at heart.
- We are only open for key worker families and possibly those in Years R, 1 and 6.
- School attendance will be optional: you do not have to send your children in, and will not be fined.
- The government has not yet confirmed that schools will actually be open, and will do so on Thursday 28th. However, we believe it is highly likely to open.
- Home learning will still continue, albeit with a reduced ability to respond or comment. We will try to run as many Meets as possible; however the days and times may well change.
- Teacher unions are yet to make their final positions clear, which could impact our capacity.
- This system below would start from Tuesday 2nd June (Monday 1st June will be a staff preparation day).
- On Mondays-Thursdays, we finish at 2:30pm latest. On Fridays, we finish at 12:30pm latest.
- Parents will not be allowed in school unless in emergencies. Email/Phone is the way to communicate with the school; please refrain from long conversations at the door.
Drop off and pick-up locations – one-way system (Please see the school map attached)
- There will be a strict one-way system in place to enter and exit the school site.
- Please maintain a 2m distance from all other families at all times.
- If you are waiting for the gates to be opened, please stay 2m from the school gate.
- Please enter the school site via the KS1 gate only and make your way to your child’s allocated classroom via the main pathway. The KS2 gate is an exit only.
- Once you arrive at the classroom, there will be a 2m line marked where you may stand to send your child into their classroom. Please do not come any closer to the school building than this mark.
- Once you have dropped your child at their classroom, please make your way to the KS2 gate via the main pathway and leave the school site. This is your exit point.
- YR parents (if your child is in a YR classroom), please make your way to the YR area first. Enter the YR from the top gate and take them to their allotted classroom. Please leave via the bottom gate and make your way to the gate between Dandelions and the school. This is your exit point. Please Note: If you have an older sibling to drop off, please leave YR via the bottom gate and turn left to rejoin the main pathway to drop-off your other child/ren.
Staggered Start and End times
- The point of the staggered timings is to reduce the flow, and this is fully based on government guidelines.
- Please remember to socially distance yourselves as families.
- Children can arrive from 8.20am until 9.00am (all entering via the KS1 gate only). This is being done by a child’s surname.
- 8.20 – 8.35: A-H
- 8.35 – 8.45: I-Q
- 8.45 – 9.00: R-Z
- If absolutely necessary, you are able to bring your child in earlier than the allocated time.
- Children can be picked up from their classroom doors at the following times, again based on surname. Please enter only via the KS1 gate.
- 2.00 – 2.10: A-H
- 2.10 – 2.20: I-Q
- 2.20 – 2.30: R – Z
- If a child is in After School Club, they will will remain with their class after 2:30pm. We will inform you by the end of the week of collection location (it may not be the main hall, depending on numbers).
- Breakfast Club will start from 8am. The drop-off will be at the top of the ramp or the fire-exit to the main hall; we will inform those requiring this at the end of the week.
- We will be closed on Fridays from 12pm. This is for cleaning, planning and preparation time for staff.
- Children can be picked up from their classroom doors at the following times, again based on surname (enter the site via the KS1 gate).
- 12.00 – 12.10: A-H
- 12.10 – 12.20: I-Q
- 12.20 – 12.30: R – Z
- Children will be given a lunch to take home, where required (for example Universal Infant Free School Meals for KS1, or Free School Meals, or paid meals otherwise).
- For key worker children, where necessary: Friday After School Club is available from 12:30pm. Again, the children will remain in their class bubbles. Numbers are strictly limited. See below for more information.
Breakfast Club and After School Club – Key Worker Children ONLY
- This is only available for key worker children who request this now, there will be no capacity to increase it at a later stage.
- ASC provision is required if a child will be in school after 2:30pm (Mon-Thur) or after 12:30pm (Friday).
- However, places are also strictly limited, so please only use the service if absolutely required.
- Children will always remain in their bubbles. If a child requires BC or ASC just once, they must always be in this group.
- Because of bubbles, BC and ASC children will be in the same class all day (ie not with their year group).
- The more BC and ASC places required, the less classes we are able to run for Years R, 1 and 6.
- Breakfast Club and After School Club will be at normal cost.
- ASC cost is £12 (it is being overseen by SCL). After School Club must also be registered through SCL.
Key workers / Year Groups / Priorities
- Key worker definitions have not changed.
- Key worker families have priority, and can continue to send their children in, if necessary.
- Children in Years 2, 3, 4, and 5 are not allowed back (unless they are key worker children).
- If we do not have the staffing capacity for all key worker children and Years R, 1 and 6 to be in (and the space to have them in!), the government has said we are to prioritise opening school for those children in order. The priority order is key worker children first, then Year R, then Year 1, then Year 6. So for example if we are short on staff or space, then it would be some or all of Year 6 children who may not be able to attend. If staffing becomes a bigger issue, then Year 1 would also not attend, and so on.
- Because of an expected increase of key worker children, and the fact that they take priority, it is unlikely we will be able to have all Year 6 children back, and this is entirely dependent on Key Worker, Year R and 1 take up.
- Remember, the whole point about the return is to create bubbles of a maximum of 10 children and up to 2 adults, who stick together all the time and do not mix with other groups.
- All children may not (or most likely won’t) be with their actual teacher, or adults they know, or indeed in their actual classroom. This is because of space and staffing restrictions.
- Unfortunately we cannot tell you now which class your child will be in. It is all dependent on numbers, including those needing BC/ASC. Therefore, if you feel that your child won’t cope if they don’t have their teacher or known adult, then you may choose to keep them at home.
- They may not be with their friends, and no guarantees can be made about this. Teachers will have some input on who is where, but it will be mainly to do with numbers and BC/ASC for key workers.
- You will be informed by the end of the week which class your child will be in. Once set, these cannot be changed, so please don’t ask (thank you!!). It is a logistical nightmare!
What will the school look like?
- Classrooms will be stripped back to aid cleaning and reduce spread.
- Children will be kept to their new class only, and will not socially integrate or mix or play with other children (including at break and lunch). Break and lunch times will be staggered, and class bubbles will be allocated an area on the playground/or field (and they will rotate around these areas).
- They will not be using the halls or walking around the corridors or offices.
- Children will be kept to their new classrooms or zoned areas of the playground, but not able to go into the halls or office areas.
- Children in school will be doing home learning activities plus other activities. Social distancing requirements make normal teaching very difficult!! And anything used will need to be cleaned thoroughly.
- Wherever possible, the staff must socially distance themselves from the children. This includes preventing physical contact as much as possible, which we know will be difficult for the younger children.
- Outdoor equipment such as trim trails, gazebos etc cannot be used because of difficulties cleaning.
- 1-1 support is not available, although there will be 2 adults in a class for general support.
- See photos at the end of the information.
First Aid & Handwashing
- Regular hand-washing (6 times/day at least) and cleaning regimes will be in place. As before, please bring in named-soap or moisturiser if required, and ensure if does not have nut products.
- Any intimate care may be required to be carried out by parents, so please be available if required.
- Staff may be wearing PPE if first-aid is required. This will be carefully and sensitively administered, although remembering that adults will want to be mindful of their own health and the children’s.
- Only packed lunches will be available. This will be eaten in the classroom.
- School lunches can be ordered as normal. No hot meals are available though. These will be delivered to the classrooms. Those who have free lunches (Year R, 1, and 2, and those on Free School Meals) can still either have a school lunch or bring one in.
- Friday lunch will be eaten at home (school lunches can still be ordered, but will be taken home).
- Lunchtime will only be 30 minutes.
- See the school menu at the end of this post.
- Fruit snacks and milk will not be available from the school.
- Unfortunately, HC3S are unable to provide lunches for children with specific requirements (e.g. allergy/dietary) because of their policies. Children must therefore come in with a lunch from home. If this is a problem for those who are entitled to Free School Meals or KS1 free meals, please let us know.
What can/can’t my child bring in?
- Please only bring in a lunch (if required), a water bottle, soap (if required), inhalers or other medical items, and a coat (if required!).
- Please don’t bring in a school bag, PE kit, toys, or anything else.
- Space is very limited and children will have a tray to keep their items.
What should my child wear?
- Children do not need to wear school uniform.
- They should wear comfy clothes that can be used for all activities, including going outside.
- Toes must be covered, so no sandals.
- Please make sure that clothes are washed every day, and that fresh clothes are worn each day.
What happens if someone in the class/bubble has, or is suspected of having, coronavirus?
- If someone in the bubble has symptoms of the coronavirus, they will be sent home and are required to self-isolate for a period of 7 days. Until a test result is returned, the rest of the class bubble AND the person’s household should isolate for a period of 14 days.
- We cannot insist that you have a test but we strongly advise you get a test as it affects everyone else in the bubble.
- If the test is negative, the bubble will be able to reform again as soon as this result is known.
- If a child is showing symptoms, then their siblings will also be asked to remain at home for the same length of time.
- We will communicate with all parents in the class bubble if a child is showing symptoms. No names will be mentioned.
- If a positive case is confirmed by a test, then all parents in the school will be informed. Again, no names will be mentioned.
Can my child wear a face mask/shield in school?
- Young children wearing a face mask/shield can be a greater infection risk due to them being unable to fit them probably.
- However, should you wish your child to wear a face mask or shield we will allow it, providing that it is changed to a new one immediately before they enter the school and that your child can do this themselves.
- Our experience is that children have found masks quite difficult to manage, as well as being uncomfortable, and have given up using them quickly!
Will adults be wearing masks/shield?
- Some adults may choose to wear a mask. However, if they travel to school in a mask they will be asked to change it to a clean one before entering the building.
- PPE will also be worn for essential first aid.
Can my child walk to school alone?
- We would be very concerned about this because of ensuring a child’s safety and ability to socially distance on the way.
What about car parking?
- HWCC car park will be open.
- The school car park will not be available.
- All parents must use the KS1 entrance to get into the school for drop off and collection. The main office must not be used.
- The government’s guidance is that public transport and car use should be limited as much as possible.
Can I wait to see what happens, and send my child in later?
- No, unfortunately not. It is just too complicated to rearrange numbers, and there is likely to not be the capacity to make this happen anyway.
What happens if my child is anxious at drop off?
- We would request that you take them back around the one-way system to give them time to recover, and then try again.
- Please be mindful of holding up the queue of children waiting to come in.
What if my child is going to be late to school?
- Please phone the office. Alternate arrangements will need to be made.
I work part-time or only want my child to attend part-time. Can my child come in on just the days I work, or the days I want?
- Yes, whilst this is possible, remember you are taking a place for the whole week, even if your child is in for a few days. We cannot manage a system where different children are in on different days, and only count as one space across the week. This breaks the class bubble, and is highly complicated to organise.
Can my child attend a childminder for 3 days a week and the school for 2 days a week, assuming they are allocated a space?
- No. This would cause complications with bubbles and social distancing; it would be against the principle of trying to reduce mixing and contact between different groups of people.
Thank you for your understanding and support.
Questions and Answers
What about sun-cream?
Please apply sun cream at the beginning of the morning, before school. Adults at school will not be able to top-up the sun cream during the day. The children can do this themselves if able to.
If my child does return to school could they wear school uniform if they choose?
A child could still wear school uniform, but it needs to be comfortable. We are just trying to avoid the need to change when going outside, and also regular taking jumpers on and off, being left around, and additional items to clean. The key point is that they need to wear clean clothes each day.
Can my child bring in a fruit snack as this is not being provided?
Bringing a fruit snack is fine. We just can’t clean them when they arrive in bulk to us, and therefore the requirement to bring their own.
Will you be prioritising the rest of year 6 for any future July openings? Even if it was for just a day or two a week.
Yes, we will aim to do that in some way as we desperately want our Year 6 children to have time in school before the summer! However, the caveat is that we are bound by what the government dictates. They have said they want all children to return before the summer, but there has been no guidance released for this.
If we decided to not send our child back next week, does it mean they wouldn’t be able to come back at all before the summer?
It’s really tricky to say, as there are a couple things at play. The government hasn’t said how long this system will be in place for, but they have hinted at wanting all of primary to return before the summer break. Again, no details have been released. Also, it very much depends on numbers of children returning, priorities groups, key workers, and staffing capacity.
Can you clarify arrangements for toilets?
Toilets will be cleaned twice during the day, and then after school too. Adults will also be checking them regularly. Children will be washing their hands regularly, especially after going to the toilet. The doors and handles will also be cleaned several times each day. In KS1, toilets are single entry, and in KS2, we will be limiting the number of children entering the toilets at any time.
I am a key worker, and I could really do with dropping off my child at 8:30am and picking up my child at 2:30pm. Is this possible?
Yes, if it is absolutely necessary. Remember, the purpose of staggering times is to reduce the flow of people and therefore improve social distancing. If more and more parents do this, then it will become an increased danger to all those on site, and we will have to enforce the staggered times.
What plan will there be for the current Year R children going back in September?
We will be reviewing our entire provision for September. We are very aware of the need to support them in their learning and general development having missed so much school, and will share plans about this when we have them.
Do the children have to be dropped off and collected by a parent/carer, or other responsible person?
Yes. If all is going well, we may reconsider this for older children.
My child goes to a childminder before or after school. Is this ok, and is the child minder allowed to pick them up?
The guidance states that where possible, parents should limit the opportunities for children mixing in different groups – such as child minders and school. Child minders also need to adhere to the guidance. Only 1 adult should pickup a child, and preferably not with additional children. IE the principle is about avoiding everything that isn’t necessary, thus improving safety for all.
Is 12.30 on a Friday the closing time for key worker children too?
ASC provision is required if a child will be in school after 2:30pm (Mon-Thur) or after 12:30pm (Friday).
Does intimate care cover first aid care? What happens if a child cuts/hurts themselves?
We will be providing first aid, but it may be done with PPE. If it is an issue that we feel parents need to support/manage, we will phone them to ask them to support it. In emergencies, we will all do our very best as usual.
Will children be allowed to cycle to school and leave their bikes?
Yes, as long as they are accompanied by another responsible person. We do need to ensure that children social distance. For some children, they will be tempted to meet up with friends.
What if the child has a question in the classroom, how will this be discussed/answered at a safe distance?
With difficulty, unfortunately. We are trying to avoid close contact at all times. Questions will be answered verbally.
For children in year 6 will the teachers from the secondary school come into school to meet with them?
We are still working on this, and it would happen in July if at all.
Will there be any activities for Year 6 for the transition from Primary to Secondary school?
To a degree, but again more likely in July. We are expecting only a portion of Year 6 pupils back at first, and therefore transition activities will be limited.
Will the work in the classroom be paper based or computer based?
Both, but mostly paper based because of limited technology.
If my child returns to school and doesn’t feel safe/comfortable can they return to home schooling?
Will the children be kept in their own zones/bubbles at break times?
Yes. The children will be in their bubbles all day. They will only have contact with 2 adults leading their bubble, and the children in their bubble. At break and lunch, they will still remain in their bubble.
Will you be taking the children temperatures as they get to school and throughout the day?
No, we won’t be taking temperatures. Government guidance says that this is not necessary or required.
If a child was to show symptoms where would I get a test done and how long does it take to come back with a result?
If someone in a bubble had a positive test would the family need to isolate for 2 weeks or would they only have to isolate if the child showed symptoms or had a positive test?
According to the guidance, if someone in the bubble has symptoms of the coronavirus, they will be sent home and are required to self-isolate for a period of 7 days. Until a test result is returned, the rest of the class bubble AND the person’s household should isolate for a period of 14 days. The other members of the other children’s families do not need to self-isolate unless that child show symptoms themselves.
An example class-room
How do I get into school?
For clarification, on Monday 1st June itself, we are closed to all pupils, including those of key worker families. No children will be allowed on site.
I appreciate that for some of you this will be tricky to make arrangements, and I do apologise for this. However, to setup school and give training to all staff in preparation for a likely opening on the Tuesday, we must have the Monday available. This was previously an INSET day.
We are unable to take key worker children because all staff require training, and we have to prepare all classrooms, with a full deep clean. These are not small tasks. Many staff are also working this week to get ready, but it will not all be ready by the Monday.
Some schools are not opening until later in the week, or even the following week, and we are doing our best to try to provide an essential service for all, from Tuesday 2nd June. Home learning activities are still available on the Monday.
Thank you for your understanding.
Best wishes, Charles Applegate.