20th May 2020
Exemplary education for all, through God’s amazing grace
Learning, Integrity, Dignity, Love, Confidence.
RE: Wider opening of the school for year 6 pupils and more critical workers
On the 10th May, the government announced that Primary school provision should expand school openings to include year 6 children in addition to children of critical workers and vulnerable children. Since this date, we have been working hard to put plans into place to make the school as safe as we can for children and staff alike.
I am writing to let you know a brief outline of how this will work, so that you are informed. A further letter is going to those who are critical workers, where their children are coming to school after the 1st of June, and to the parents of Year 6 children who are planning to attend school after the 1st of June.
Our classrooms, with social distancing being strictly adhered to for the safety of children and staff, hold between 7 and 10 children. This means that we have created ‘pods’ where we aim to keep the children and staff together as much as possible. Pods 1-3 are for critical workers; pods 4-12 are for Year 6 children. Year six have been mixed and have been assigned to a ‘pod’. Due to the numbers in each class, it was impossible to guarantee that every child would be with their own teacher. Pods of children will be managed by a teacher and a member of our support staff. In accordance to government guidance, the pods of children and staff will stay together each day, including break times, and are not allowed to mix with other children from other pods. Therefore, as this is unavoidable, we have sought to be as fair as possible. This uses every classroom in the school.
In order for us to facilitate this, we have put in place a range of safety measure such as staggered start and end times of the day, break and lunch times for the pods. Although three pods will arrive and have break times at the same time, they will be in different parts of the building and assigned a different area of the outside space to play in. Limited resources to play with have been assigned to children within pods and will be cleaned after use. Children are not allowed to play on the large outdoor apparatus. The site supervisor will stay on site daily to help with extra cleaning.
In the first week our aim is to ensure that everyone understands the safety planning and is familiar with it, so that they can adhere to it. Only critical worker children and school staff will return on the 1st of June. Most of the critical workers’ children have been inducted in to some of the new systems this week, however after half term they will move to their new pods, with the staff that they have been allocated. Whilst the staff have been informed this week about how the school will run, we want to make sure that we are well organised and have not forgotten anything, which is why only staff and critical worker children will be in school on the 1st of June.
Pods 4-6 will come in to school on Tuesday; pods 7-9 on Wednesday and pods 10-12 on Thursday; – again to familiarise. On Friday, only critical worker children will be in school. Teachers will then plan for the next week: for the home learning for their own year group, as now, and afternoon activities for the pod that they are leading. Teachers will continue to have opportunities to make fortnightly phone calls to their own class in order to keep in touch.
We envisage that Year 6 will finish school on the 9th of July, because we would like to work with Year 2 children in order to facilitate some kind of transition. We have an outline for this but it is not yet fully planned. We will work on that when pods 1-12 are settled and staff are familiar with the safety routines.
At this stage, I am afraid that I cannot foresee the re-introduction of Years 3,4 and 5 in the current safety restrictions. It seems very strange to be writing this and leaving year groups out of our plans, although necessary. It is also impossible to predict what the plans for safety for September will look like. I have not even begun to think about which teacher will have each class and we also need to re-consider what reports look like this year. Please continue to be patient as we take one step at a time. We will deal with everything when we can.
Continuing to think of the whole school and wishing everyone well.
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