Issue 25 - Wednesday 20th May 2020
POTENTIAL SCHOOL REOPENING – Monday June 1st – Keyworkers and Vulnerable Children only
Dear Parents and Carers
I hope you and your families are well and first of all I’d like to thank those that completed the questionnaire I sent out last week stating whether you’d be sending your child back to school if we open on June 1st to other year groups.
The responses I received demonstrate the mixed feelings amongst parents given the current circumstances. Of those that responded:
- 20% of our families were willing to send their child back to school.
- 30% did not want to send their child back to school.
- 50% were undecided about sending their child back.
- 72 children have parents that are keyworkers.
Furthermore, the range of questions that you asked show what a challenging task we have ahead of us and prove that I’m going to have to clearly communicate how this will affect Parkfield. I hope to address many of these questions in this letter.
Since the government’s announcement, staff and I have been planning for the potential reopening on June 1st. The plan for reopening is incredibly complex and as a result, the governors and I, have taken the decision to reopen Parkfield on Monday June 1st for keyworkers and vulnerable children only. We will then increase the provision for other year groups when it is safe to do so. We understand that this may be frustrating to some but the health and safety of our pupils and staff are our number one priority.
Some of the hurdles we face as a small school are linked to staff availability and the limited space within the school. When children return we will be following the current government advice which says:
- To reduce the risk of infection, children are to stay in ‘social bubbles’ of 15 children or less and these ‘bubbles’ cannot mix.
- Staff cannot move from one ‘social bubble’ to another.
- 2m social distancing needs to be implemented where possible. For us this is our older KS2 pupils – we know that younger children will be unable to socially distance.
Following the advice means that having just one class in school would require a minimum of 3 classrooms and 6 members of staff. As you can see above, we could potentially have 72 children of keyworkers attending on June 1st and this doesn’t include some of our most vulnerable children or those that have an EHCP. These numbers demonstrate the reason why we can’t yet open the school to other year groups and we will be using the first week to ascertain the numbers of pupils attending, preparing the school environment for a wider opening and ensuring we can manage our provision safely and effectively.
If the government do announce that schools can open from 1st June for those in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, it is likely that any additional provision from Monday the 8th June will only be available on a part time basis and I will be questioning parents and carers the week before.
The government also announced that they would like to see all pupils (Y2, 3, 4 and 5) return to school for a month before the summer holidays. Welcoming our children back across the school this summer is something that all our staff would love to see. However, with the current restrictions in place, you can see that to implement this would be incredibly difficult for our school. However, throughout the summer term we will be constantly reviewing our provision, in line with any changes to government guidance, and seeing if we can safely increase our provision.
Understandably, many parents and carers have said they want to know what school will be like before they make a decision on sending their children back. The information below includes some of the measures we are likely to put in place. Unfortunately, Parkfield will look and feel very different to what we are used to.
Opening and Closing
- School will open at 8.45am and finish at 3.15pm for keyworkers and vulnerable children.
- Parents and children will have to queue outside the school gates following social distancing guidelines.
- Children will be in one classroom within their ‘social bubble’ of no more than 15 children and 2 members of staff. Children will stay in these groups until the end of the summer term. It is likely that these groups will include children from different year groups.
- We will go outside as much as possible, staying in allocated areas for each bubble.
- In classrooms, children will sit at their own desk which will be kept apart from others. Children will only work at their own desk. They will be given stationary and equipment that only they can use.
- Classrooms will only contain basic equipment and furniture. Soft furnishings and toys will have to be removed.
- Lessons will not be normal and will not follow the usual Parkfield curriculum. However, we will be supporting the children with the lessons and activities that are being set for home learning. There will also be a focus on the mental health and wellbeing of pupils.
- Dinners will be delivered to classrooms and children may bring packed lunches that can be completely disposed of. We are developing a menu that is easy for pupils to eat whilst in the classroom (e.g. packed lunch, finger food).
- The start and finish times of dinner for each group will be staggered so that they aren’t mixing coming in and out of school.
- For the time being, there will be no before and after school club, no assemblies, no PE lessons, no use of the ICT suite, no use of the library, no tuck shop and reading books will also be unable to be taken home.
Health and Safety
- There will be regular handwashing for all groups.
- There will be additional tissues, hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial wipes available.
- There will be additional cleaning taking place throughout and after the school day.
I will share the full risk assessment with all parents once it has been finalised.
If you are a keyworker and require provision from June 1st, please complete the questionnaire on the link below. If you do not complete the questionnaire, your child will be unable to attend.
We will be contacting the parents and carers of vulnerable children, including those with an EHCP as we may not be able to offer full time provision.
Following half term, we will continue and develop further, the home schooling that is being offered to those that remain at home. We will also continue our regular phone calls and the popular whole class zoom video conferences.
I have included a number of FAQ’s below that will give further information about the potential reopening.
Stay safe and thank you for your continued support at this difficult time
Frequently Asked Questions
We have attempted to answer many of the frequently asked questions we are being asked. If you have any further questions, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org
What risk assessment has taken place to ensure children are safe coming back to school?
A comprehensive risk assessment has been carried out to ensure that all pupils and staff are as safe as possible.
Can you guarantee that my child will not catch coronavirus?
No. The measures we have put in place are to reduce the risk. We cannot eliminate the risk.
Will I still receive my childcare vouchers if my child is not in school?
Yes. These will continue if you’re entitled to Free School Meals. If your child returns to school they will receive a free school meal and you will not be entitled to the vouchers.
How will the social ‘bubbles’ work?
Children will have to remain in their social bubbles at all times. Unfortunately, if a child is in the ‘keyworker’ group and their year group are able to attend in future weeks they will not be able to join them as this will be a different bubble.
What will my child have for dinner?
We are developing a menu that is easy for pupils to eat whilst in the classroom (e.g. packed lunch, finger food). There will be a limited choice but we hope to offer hot food for a number of days.
Will they be able to bring in a lunch bag?
Yes. These are allowed as children won’t be sharing the contents of their packed lunch.
Will my child have access to the water fountains?
No. Children will have to bring in a water bottle from home that can be taken home and washed daily. On hotter days, children may want to bring in more than one water bottle. Please be assured that if your child forgets their water bottle we will be able to provide them with a drink.
What will my child be able to bring into school?
They will only be able to bring in a coat and packed lunch. No other items will be allowed.
Can I just turn up to school if I change my mind and want to send my child to now attend?
No. We will be keeping registers of the children attending each day. We will require a minimum of 7 days’ notice as we may have to rearrange and increase staffing levels.
I’m a key worker, requiring childcare, does my child have to attend full time every day?
We would prefer your child to attend every day, full time as staff will be in place for this provision. However, we understand that you may not want to be in every day. Our expectation is that children attend for a full day (8.45am – 3.15pm). Both school gates will be locked during the day and we may not have the staff available that can meet parents.
Will I be fined if I don’t send my child to school?
No. Currently, the government have said they will not fine parents if they decide to keep their children at home.
Will I lose my child’s place at Parkfield if they don’t come in for the remainder of the term?
No. Your child will still be a Parkfielder in September.
If my child does attend, what are my options if I don’t want my child to attend anymore?
Let school know and we will accept your decision.
What will happen if the member of staff in my child’s bubble is poorly?
If it is not coronavirus related symptoms, we will first attempt to cover the group with another member of staff that hasn’t had contact with another social bubble. If we have no members of staff available we will send a message as early as possible to let parents know that we can’t provide any provision and children will have to stay at home.
What will happen if my child is displaying symptoms from coronavirus?
They must stay at home and you must follow government guidance. You will be entitled to have your child and household tested for the virus. All children in their social bubble will also be sent home and will be able to be tested.
If the poorly child has a sibling that is in a different social bubble, the children within that group and adults would also have to be sent home. For this reason, we will be keeping siblings together.
If your child is poorly at school, a member of staff will support them. The member of staff will be wearing PPE and will accompany them to an area of the school away from anyone else until they can be collected.
Our household has someone that is clinically vulnerable. Should I send my child to school?
What will you be doing for those children that are not in school?
We will continue and develop further, the home schooling that is being offered to those that remain at home. We will also continue our regular phone calls and the popular whole class zoom video conferences.
If my child is only attending part-time, what do we do on the days that my child is at home?
Home learning tasks will continue to be provided on Showbie and Tapestry (Reception)
Can you make sure siblings are able to start school at the same times?
Where possible we will keep siblings together.
Will my child be grouped by ability?
Unfortunately, we will not be able to group children by ability.
Will my child be grouped with their friends?
We will do our very best to group children with their friends. However, if they are in a ‘keyworker’ bubble they will be unable to mix with children from their class that attend part time and are in a separate bubble.
Can my child change the social bubble they are in?
We would only consider this in extreme circumstances and a period of time (possibly a week) would have to be spent away from school before any change.
Will my child have to wear uniform?
No. It will be optional. We understand that many children have grown and may not fit into their uniform. We also appreciate that many of our children like dressing in their uniform and would prefer this. You will have to make the decision. What we do ask is that clothes must be washed daily and cannot be worn the following day.
Will you be covering the curriculum as planned?
Unfortunately, no. We have an amazing curriculum at Parkfield and our whole staff are upset that they can’t deliver it. Our focus within class will be to support the home learning tasks being set and support the pupil’s emotional health and wellbeing.
Can you guarantee that my child will be taught by a teacher?
No. We don’t have enough teachers for the number of bubbles required. Teachers will also have to spend time contacting other members of their class and supporting home learning. We also have some members of staff who are unable to attend school as they’re shielding.
I’m a key worker and my child will have to be in school full time. Will they be with their class on the days their classmates are in?
Unfortunately we can’t guarantee this. We understand that this can and will cause some upset.
What arrangements are in place for Y6 transition to high school?
We have been in contact with all the high schools that our Parkfielders are attending and we have sent over important information – including predicted SATS grades. These scores will be shared with parents in an end of year report near the end of term. If high schools arrange a transition day at a later point in the term, we will contact parents. Members of staff from high schools will not be visiting any Y6’s at Parkfield as we’re not allowing any visitors.
Has anything been arranged for Y6 pupils leaving?
It is really upsetting for the whole school community that many of our Y6’s may not attend Parkfield again. When it is safe to do so, school will arrange a leaving party that our Parkfielders fully deserve.
Who will be allowed into the school building?
We will be reducing the number of people coming into school by having only essential services come in – such as workmen. Parents will not be able to come into school. All communication will be via phone, email or video conferencing.