September Opening Information
September Start/Finish and Entrance Information
As a result of the announcements by the government, we aim to provide our families with as much information as possible. To achieve this, we will publish some ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ regularly on this page, which we hope will answer many of your queries. In addition to this, parents are invited to send any specific questions that they wish to raise. These will be collated daily and we will publish responses that we feel will benefit all on the website.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Which year groups are returning to school?
It is the Government's plan that all pupils, in all year groups, will return to school full-time from the beginning of the Autumn Term.
2. Does my child have to attend?
School attendance will be mandatory again from the beginning of the Autumn Term.
The guidance states:
You should note however that a small number of pupils will still be unable to attend in line with public health advice because they are self-isolating and have had symptoms or a positive test result themselves; or because they are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19)
Shielding advice for all adults and children will pause on 1 August, subject to a continued decline in the rates of community transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). This means that even the small number of pupils who will remain on the shielded patient list can also return to school, as can those who have family members who are shielding.
3. How big will the classes be?
Classes will return to full numbers from September with Covid precautions in place across school.
Siblings will be in their own year group class.
4. Will the children always be 2 metres apart? Can you guarantee that my child will be 2 metres away from others at all times and that social distancing will be enforced?
Staff or children cannot maintain distancing, particularly with younger children in primary schools, the risk will be reduced by keeping pupils in class-sized groups.
Small adaptations to the classroom will be made to support distancing where possible, seating pupils side by side and facing forwards. Adults who work in different classrooms will work at a distance whenever and wherever possible.
5. Will my child be expected to share resources, such as pens and pencils?
Where possible, children will be given their own equipment, which they should not share with anyone else. They must not bring any equipment in from home (except Year 6). Any resources that are shared (e.g. school laptop) will be disinfected after use.
Government guidance states that different groups don’t need to be allocated their own toilet blocks, but toilets will need to be cleaned regularly and pupils will be encouraged to clean their hands thoroughly after using the toilet. In September, as a school we have decided to keep each class with their own set of toilets, this decision will be reviewed regularly.
6. What will the pupils be taught?
When the children return to school in September, the expectation is that we deliver a broad and ambitious curriculum and that we will have resumed the full National Curriculum by the Summer term. In the first week, which consists of three days in school, we will be concentrating on ‘reconnecting’ with children. This will include settling children in, re-establishing routines and expectations and focusing almost entirely on Personal, Social and Emotional aspects of learning and well-being. For the next month or so, we will concentrate on what we will refer to as ‘catch-up’. This will mean that we will identify and address gaps in learning. We will work to help children 'catch-up' on missed learning opportunities form the Summer term. Learning will focus on Maths, English, Phonics, SPAG, topic, Science, PE and PSHE. In EYFS we will focus on the prime areas of learning, including communication and language, personal, social and emotional development and physical development. This will be followed by a period of assessment to establish a baseline from which to move learning on throughout the Autumn term and into the rest of the year. Following this assessment it will be our aim to resume the full curriculum.
The guidance states:
- “education is not optional: all pupils receive a high-quality education that promotes their development and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
- The curriculum remains broad and ambitious: all pupils continue to be taught a wide range of subjects, maintaining their choices for further study and employment.
- remote education, where needed, is high quality and aligns as closely as possible with in-school provision: schools and other settings continue to build their capability to educate pupils remotely, where this is needed.”
The guidance also states:
“Teach an ambitious and broad curriculum in all subjects from the start of the autumn term, but make use of existing flexibilities to create time to cover the most important missed content. Aim to return to the school’s normal curriculum in all subjects by summer term 2021. Plan on the basis of the educational needs of pupils
Develop remote education so that it is integrated into school curriculum planning
Relationships and health education (RHE) for primary aged pupil schools and relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) for secondary aged pupils becomes compulsory from September 2020, and schools are expected to start teaching by at least the start of the Summer Term 2021.”
Schools will provide a broad and ambitious curriculum. There will be a heightened focus on Maths and English in the first half term to support catch up in the key areas, but retaining a wider curriculum with support for pupils' mental health and wellbeing.
School will prioritise identifying gaps and re-establish good progress in the essentials (phonics and reading, increasing vocabulary, writing and maths). The schools will continue to teach a full range of subjects.
7. Will SATS return in years 2 and 6 this year?
The guidance states:
Statutory primary assessments will take place in summer 2021. The early years foundation stage profile, and all existing statutory key stage 1 and 2 assessments, should return in 2020 to 2021 in accordance with their usual timetables.”
8. Will everyone arrive at school at the same time causing an increase in risk?
School will have slightly staggered start and finish times to keep groups apart as they arrive and leave school. Staggered start and finish times will not reduce the amount of overall teaching time that your child receives as break times have been adjusted to accommodate.
9. Will the school have assembly?
Class groups will have a reflection time within their daily session, but there will be no mass gatherings or daily acts of worship as a school. Achievement assembly will take place on a Friday via 'Teams'.
10 . Will staff and children wear masks or PPE?
The following measures will be taken as directed by government to protect the children with masks deemed unnecessary:
The guidelines state:
'Wearing a face covering or face mask in schools or other education settings is not recommended. Face coverings may be beneficial for short periods indoors where there is a risk of close social contact with people you do not usually meet and where social distancing and other measures cannot be maintained, for example on public transport or in shops. This does not apply to schools or other education settings. Schools and other education or childcare settings should therefore not require staff, children and learners to wear face coverings. Changing habits, cleaning and hygiene are effective measures in controlling the spread of the virus. Face coverings (or any form of medical mask unless instructed to be used for specific clinical reasons) should not be worn in any circumstance by those who may not be able to handle them as directed (for example, young children, or those with special educational needs or disabilities) as it may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission.'
Staff will have PPE available if required for:
- Caring for pupils with intimate care needs
- First Aiders where there is close contact with pupils
- Caring for a child with Covid.19 symptoms before collection to go home
- Where required in close contact with a pupil is required due to illness or injury for example.
11. Will my child need to wear school uniform?
Children will return to school in their normal school uniform. Please send in their PE kit in a draw string bag. PE lessons will be outside weather permitting.
12. Will the breakfast club and after school club be open?
School will be running wraparound care as normal but will observe enhanced hygiene regimes to avoid transmission of the virus.
The guidance states:
“Schools should consider resuming any breakfast and after-school provision, where possible, from the start of the Autumn Term.
Both the approaches of separating groups and maintaining distance are not ‘all-or-nothing’ options, and will still bring benefits even if implemented partially. Some schools may keep children in their class groups for the majority of the classroom time, but also allow mixing into wider groups for specialist teaching, wraparound care and transport, or for boarding pupils in one group residentially and another during the school day.”
13. Will we allow visitors and volunteers into school?
At present school volunteers are not returning. Specialist teachers, therapists and essential contractors will be will returning. Where visits can happen outside of school hours, they will. A record will be kept of all visitors. The school will expect all visitors to follow the schools Covid standards.
The guidance states:
“Schools can continue to engage supply teachers and other supply staff during this period.
Supply staff and other temporary workers can move between schools, but school leaders will want to consider how to minimise the number of visitors to the school where possible.
Specialists, therapists, clinicians and other support staff for pupils with SEND should provide interventions as usual.
Consider how to manage other visitors to the site, such as contractors, and ensure site guidance on physical distancing and hygiene is explained to visitors on or before arrival.
14. Will extra-curricular clubs run (football club, dance club etc)?
Some clubs will return and we will send out details in September. School will constantly review advice to maximise the clubs we are able to offer.
15. Will the school office be open?
The Office will remain closed. We encourage parents to contact school by email or telephone wherever possible. Please send slips, dinner money, etc. with children to put in their class boxes.
16. Will children be confined to the same classroom environment most of the day?
Government advice on the Scientific evidence shows that the outdoor environment is much more manageable in terms of virus transmission. Where possible the outdoor environment will be used e.g. for PE, staggered breaks and other play areas. Children will otherwise be based in one class area as usual.
17. Will you continue to provide online home learning activities?
School will only provide online activities where a class, group or small number of pupils need to self-isolate or a local lockdown requires pupils to stay at home. There is a plan in place to provide remote education using our new learning platform.
18 How will lunch time work to ensure children are safe?
The school will run a staggered lunchtime to maintain as much spacing as is possible in the hall. Lunches will return as the government has requested “schools are expected to reopen their kitchens and ensure that meals are able to be prepared and served safely”. Free School Meal children will continue to receive meals including Universal Free School Meals for Reception and KS1 children. There is an interim menu in place which can be found on the school dinners page of the website.
19. What powers do schools actually have to enforce social distancing with parents and those who won't adhere to it?
Schools have no power under the law to enforce social distancing with parents other than to make that request. The school would have to contact the police where particular issues arose.
20. Will children and young people be eligible for testing?
The government advice is:
Schools must ensure they understand the NHS Test and Trace process and how to contact their local Public Health England health protection team. Schools must ensure that staff members and parents/carers understand that they will need to be ready and willing to:
- book a test if they are displaying symptoms. Staff and pupils must not come into the school if they have symptoms, and must be sent home to self-isolate if they develop them in school. All children can be tested, including children under 5, but children aged 11 and under will need to be helped by their parents/carers if using a home testing kit
- provide details of anyone they have been in close contact with if they were to test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or if asked by NHS Test & Trace
- self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone who develops coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or someone who tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)
Anyone who displays symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can and should get a test. Tests can be booked online through the NHS testing and tracing for coronavirus website, or ordered by telephone via NHS 119 for those without access to the internet. Essential workers, which includes anyone involved in education or childcare, have priority access to testing.
The government will ensure that it is as easy as possible to get a test through a wide range of routes that are locally accessible, fast and convenient. We will release more details on new testing avenues as and when they become available and will work with schools so they understand what the quickest and easiest way is to get a test.
By the Autumn Term, all schools will be provided with a small number of home testing kits that they can give directly to parents/carers collecting a child who has developed symptoms at school, or staff who have developed symptoms at school, where they think providing one will significantly increase the likelihood of them getting tested. Advice will be provided alongside these kits.”
“Schools should not request evidence of negative test results or other medical evidence before admitting children or welcoming them back after a period of self-isolation.”
21. Will teachers and other staff be able to get tested if they have symptoms?
Access to testing via: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/
22. What happens if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in a setting?
“Schools must take swift action when they become aware that someone who has attended has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). Schools should contact the local health protection team. This team will also contact schools directly if they become aware that someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) attended the school – as identified by NHS Test and Trace.”
23. How do I explain social distancing to my child?
Be open and honest, using language they will understand. Explain that they are helping others by their actions. Use drawings if needed and use a positive tone.
For younger children, you and your child can find out how the Gruffalo handles social distancing at www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/52153696.
24. Will the school take my child’s temperature every day?
No, but we may use a non-invasive thermometer which points to the forehead if we suspect a child of having symptoms.
25. Will there be any swimming lessons or trips once school opens on September 1st?
There will be no school swimming lessons next academic year. Day visits are allowed to commence. There is a Key Stage 2 visit booked in November. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed.
26. How can I speak to the class teacher if we are socially distancing?
You can contact your child’s class teacher by Class Dojo. If you are unable to do this, you can email the office via email@example.com who will then pass the message on. If your message is urgent you can phone the school office on 01777 818468.
27. What should my child bring to school each day?
Your child should bring their book bag, water bottle and lunch if required. Water bottles and lunch boxes must be taken home daily. PE kits must be in a draw string bag and can stay in school all week and must be washed at the weekend. No rucksacks please. (Year 6 children may bring their own pencil case. This should be of a reasonable size and only contain necessary items. Items cannot be shared with others.)
28. Will there be parents evening in the autumn?
There is no specific guidance as yet. We will review the guidance regularly and will keep you informed.
29. Where can I find more information about returning to school?
Information for parents can be found here:
30. Is the school bus service running as normal?
Yes, the dedicated bus service will be running as normal. It is not compulsory for children to wear a mask on transport but they may if you so wish. We will remind children to sit in their class/family groups on the bus.
If you use public transport, please refer the Government guidance: safer travel guidance for passengers -https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers
Do you have a question that hasn't been answered?
There will be a lot of communication over the next week or so but if you have read all the information above and you still have an unanswered question, please use this form to ask us.