Dear Mums, Dads and Carers,
Apologies as I start this update, it may well be a long one with a lot of information. I hope you are all well and enjoying the non-existent summer weather.
To start on a positive note we have now welcomed back small groups of children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, as well as those children of key workers. The precautions that we put in place appear to be working well and we have only had to make a few alterations with regards to timings for moving safely around school. Thank you to those parents/carers doing the drop offs and pick-ups for helping us by being patient and following our requests.
Most of you will no doubt be aware that the Government have now indicated that the pupils from Yr2, Yr3, Yr4 and Yr5 are not expected to return to school until September, at the earliest. This is probably information most primary school Headteachers could have shared if anyone had asked us, as by halving the class sizes to a maximum of 15 means that you need at least twice as many classrooms and twice as many teachers (Mrs Needham calculated that we would have need 17 portakabins to accommodate all of the children, plus 17 additional teachers). This information and the potential of not returning fully in September has left us with another problem to solve of what we will do next as a school to best support our children and since the announcement we have has discussions with senior leaders and Governors about the direction we aim to take. Please note that the information I am about to give you is an ambitious plan to get every child into school for at least a couple of days before summer in order to say goodbye to their old teacher and meet and have transition with their new teacher and also to allow us all to prepare for whatever school will look like in September. There are many things that could prevent this from happening, such as available space within school, safety of all children and staff, plus the time limitation.
Point 1: In order to accommodate however the school will look like in September, Tuesday 1st Sept, Wednesday 2nd Sept, Thursday 3rd Sept and Friday 4th Sept are all going to INSET days. This means the children will not return until Monday 7th September, whether that be full time, part time or whatever the Government guidelines instruct us to do. I do appreciate for some this may seem odd to have the children away from school for an additional week after all of the time they have been away, but all staff will need to prepare for the return of the children and at this current point we do not know what we are preparing for. This additional time will allow us to ensure the school is safe, routines are in place and we can keep you informed for what will be happening.
Point 2: Any parent/carer of a child in Nursery, Reception, Yr1 or Year 6 must inform us if their child/ren will be returning by Wednesday 17th June for a start on Monday 22nd June. If the child/ren are not on the register to return by that date we will assume that you do not wish your child to return until September. The reason for this deadline is this, the children currently in school need to work within a secure ‘bubble’ (group). As a bubble they can interact to some level with one another, but they do not have any interaction with any other children in school, so lunchtimes, playtimes, etc are all different. These bubbles hold no more than 15
children, if the space allows. Our classrooms are not that big, the Moon building bubbles can contain only 12 children and Star building only 9 (for the older children with larger furniture) and 10 for the younger. We have also, through experience over working with key worker children, decided that each bubble from Monday 15th June must have at least 5 children within it. Any less than this is a challenge for the children and adults. Therefore some people will be on a waiting list for their child to start whilst the next bubble fills up. By giving parents/carers the deadline of 17th June we
will be able to know how many children we will have attending from the 22nd June until 17th July, it will also allow us to see if we have a spare classroom/s available so that we can allow all other children to return to school, even for a short period of time to undergo some transition.
For those parents/carers of children in Nursery, Reception and Yr1 who do not want their children to return, but do want them to take part in transition we will attempt to accommodate this in the same way that we are for pupils from Yr2, Yr3, Yr4 and Yr5. Obviously for parents/carers of children in Yr6 the transition for secondary school will be different, but again if you do not want them to attend, but do want the transition we will ensure all relevant information and dates are shared with you. Also I know many of the Yr6 parents/carers are concerned/disappointed about the manner of which their primary school education is ending. Our plan (and again there are many things to consider, including second waves, etc) is to host a socially distanced picnic on the school field one day/evening in the last week of term. Risk assessments would obviously need to be carried out and some careful planning but we believe this will give the children a memory to take away with them. We are also looking into planting a tree in the school grounds for the Yr6 pupils where we hope they can attach a memory about the school and allow it to grow with these memories attached, again something at least to help them have an ending to their primary school life. We are also hoping to have a second tree in school for all of the other pupils, where they can all put their names to a rainbow ribbon and attach this to a branch to commemorate what will undoubtedly be a significant event in all of their lives. Dates for all of the above will be sent as soon as we can if these things are possible to do.
Point 3: I have asked a selection of staff to begin to develop a plan for a series of age appropriate lessons to support well-being, resilience and supporting trauma for all of our children for their return. Of course English, Maths and Phonics will be a focal point, but moving forward this body of work will take a priority over the other curriculum areas to ensure that we can identify and support any concerns and fears that may have manifested over the time of the pandemic. The usual curriculum will of course return at some point or alongside this work, but ensuring our children are in the right place to learn will be the main priority once they return.
These are the plans. I must stress again, that they may never happen, due to something as simple as we will not have a spare classroom, but I hoped by sharing what we are at least trying to do would reassure you that we are still here trying to do what we can to support each and every one of our children.
Also….just when you thought I had finished. From Monday 15th June we are altering some of the times for the bubbles in Star Building. This is because the children are now moving quickly through the routine and it will prevent a lot of standing around outside of school. So from Monday Yr2/3 Key Worker children will start at 8:50 and Yr4/5 Key Worker children will start at 8:55, still through the hall door and finishing times remain the same. Yr6 Group 1 will continue to start at 9:00, but Group 2 will now start at 9:05, again through the same gate and finishing at the same time. Due to the number of Nursery children attending, we no longer need to have an afternoon session. Therefore Nursery will return to its usual times of 8:30 to 11:30, again using the main entrance in Moon as usual. Apologies for any inconvenience for the changes, but by doing this it gives us a little more flexibility if more children begin to attend and new bubbles need to be put in place.
Those parents that are waiting for a refund from the residential trip to Kingswood, please know that we are attempting to contact them every day on your behalf. As a company we assume, as they clearly will not be having any income at the moment, they are hanging onto any monies they can for as long as they can. We are confident that we
will get the money refunded, however the time frame is impossible to estimate. We will continue to pursue this each day and will get the money returned to you as soon as we can.
I usually do not share which teachers will be with each classes until nearer to the end of term, but again realise many of us have raised anxieties due to the unusual circumstances we are in. So next academic year (hopefully September!)
In Yr1 current Pluto class will be taught by Mrs Walker and current Rocket class by Mrs Cray
In Yr2 current Galaxy class will be taught by Mrs Hall and current Jupiter class by Mrs Bessell
In Yr3 current Lunar class will be taught by Mr Simmons and current Comet class by Mr Backhouse
In Yr4 current Neptune class will be taught by Mr Hague and current Eclipse class by Miss Gill
In Yr5 current Discovery will be taught by Mr Etherington and current Saturn V by Miss Oldknow
In Yr6 current Andromeda will be taught by Mrs Heppenstall and Miss Ripley and current Nova class by Mrs Brown.
We are still looking at where best to place our Learning Assistants and I will hopefully share this with you next week.
As always if you require any support or have any questions or thoughts about our plans please do not hesitate to contact us through the school parent email and we will endeavour to do our best to answer.
I hope you all remain safe and really look forward to seeing you all over the coming weeks if we can achieve this.