Opening of School 15th June
Head Teacher:L. Fadden B.Ed. (Hons)
ARCHDIOCESE OF BIRMINGHAM
ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA
CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL
GREAT COLMORE STREET
BIRMINGHAM B15 2AY
Telephone: 0121 - 692 1051
Fax: 0121 - 622 firstname.lastname@example.org
Wider re-opening of St Catherine of Siena School on Monday 15th June 2020.
Dear Parents and Carers,
As you are aware some schools opened to more pupils on Monday 1st June 2020 but many schools took the decision that this was too early. This was the decision that we made and we have subsequently delayed the wider opening of St. Catherine’s for a further two weeks, so that all the necessary safety precautions could be fully considered and put in place. This involved a lengthy Risk Assessment which was shared with all staff, governors and the Local Authority.
From the onset of this pandemic our key consideration has always been the health & safety and well-being of our pupils, staff and wider school community. Therefore we have taken a cautious approach to the wider opening of school. Levels of infection and the rate of daily deaths from COVID – 19 were still at an alarming level on 1 / 6 / 2020. These rates are now moving downwards and further confidence can be taken from the viewpoint of the Independent SAGE group that the risk to pupils in school is halved between 1st June and the 15th June. The element of risk can however never be ruled out completely.
All school staff that are able to will be working hard in school this week to ensure that all classrooms, the school environment and amended curriculum planning will be in place for the wider re-opening of St. Catherine of Siena School from Monday 15th June to specified pupils in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, as well as to those pupils who have been attending since the start of lockdown. We have a definitive list of the pupils whose parents have indicated that they want them to return to school at this stage. We will be contacting the parents of each child to confirm that they still wish to take up this place. We are unable to accept any other pupils in school at this stage.
We have been given guidance that outlines how we can best enable the children to return safely and the following link is a guide for parents to read. This covers the kind of things that are expected from us and the expectations from you, if your child or any member of your household becomes ill. From June 1st any child and any teacher who is ill can be tested as capacity. It assures parents that there is no penalty for not sending your child to school and that school’s attendance figures will not be judged over this period by OFSTED.
Following our Risk Assessment we have made a number of changes to what school will look like for your child. We are trying to keep it as normal as possible but these are not normal times so school will be different for your child but we also hope that it will be as safe as possible for your child to meet up with their friends again and to enjoy lessons in a classroom again. These lessons may not be with the class teacher or teaching assistant they are used to but their learning will be planned by their class teacher.
Key Changes to school that your child can expect:
Timings of the school day
The school day will have staggered starts and ends to minimise contact between bubbles. There will be markings outside entrances to guide parents and pupils in keeping a safe social distance from others before and after school.
Staggered Opening Staggered Closing
8.45 Y6 – KS2 Playground 3.00 Y6 – KS2 Playground
8.45 R – Reception entrance 3.00 R – Reception entrance
9.00 Y1 – KS2 Playground 2.45 Y1 – KS2 Playground
9.00 N – Nursery entrance 2.45 N – Nursery entrance
Please note that these timings must be strictly adhered to.
Latecomers cannot enter through the school office and will not be able to be admitted safely into school.
Full time provision
Please note that the wider opening for pupils is for full time provision, pupils must come in Monday to Friday and if days are missed then their place will be given to another child if more parents are requesting a place.
Increased Cleaning Schedule in school
Each class will have sanitiser spray and a cloth which can be used during the day to wipe down surfaces as required. Each ‘teaching bubble’ classroom will be cleaned thoroughly at the end of each day and there will be an additional deep clean on a Friday afternoon.
School will close at 1pm every Friday afternoon (until further notice)
In accordance with our Risk Assessment, we have taken the decision to close the school every Friday at 1pm so that a ‘deep clean’ of the school, especially the ‘teaching bubble’ classrooms can take place. This will mean that school is closed for ALL pupils from 1PM on a Friday – this includes children of key workers.
Hand Washing and hygiene
All children and adults MUST wash hands on entering and leaving the building and in any change between activities, e.g. going out and returning from break, lunch, PE etc. Each ‘teaching bubble’ will have its own classroom and all classrooms have a sink / hand sanitiser. The nearest toilet to each ‘teaching bubble’ will be identified to pupils at the earliest opportunity. There will be posters displayed around the school reinforcing the importance of hand washing and hygiene.
Smaller class sizes (Teaching Bubbles)
The main method to achieve isolation in terms of potential infection controls is to group children and staff into small ‘teaching bubbles’ with a maximum of 10 pupils (which is smaller than the government suggestion of 15 pupils). Children and adults within these bubbles will avoid contact with any other children or adults. Each bubble will have its own classroom and entry/exit points. They will eat together at lunchtime and play together in a designated area at playtimes
Classrooms have been set up with designated seats for pupils 2m apart in ‘teaching bubbles’ for pupils from Y1 – Y6. There is a capacity of up to 10 children per bubble. We realise that social distancing in EYFS will be extremely challenging, but children will be encouraged to wash their hands regularly. There will be signage around the school to remind pupils and staff of the need for social distancing. Please look at the photos on the school website which show how classrooms and corridors have been marked out to promote social distancing.
Resources for learning
Children from Year 1 upwards will have their own labelled individual pack of pencils, pens, whiteboard and additional resources. THIS MUST STAY WITH THE CHILD AND NOT BE USED BY ANYBODY ELSE.
Resources for practical lessons will need to be washed afterwards.
Book corners cannot be accessed. Children will be allocated boxes of books which will be rotated.
Children will be asked to bring a water bottle (labelled with name) into school (and a packed lunch if they normally have one), but nothing else, e.g. book bags.
Parents MUST apply sun cream to their child before coming to school if required.
Teachers will not be able to apply sun cream to children or allow children to share bottles
Identification and isolation of anyone showing symptoms
Advice will be provided and posters displayed as a reminder to enable staff to identify anyone with potential COVID-19 symptoms. If these are suspected, the procedure will be as follows:
- The child will be taken to the designated room, and supervised by a member of staff who MUST be wearing PPE. The member of staff will reassure the child in order to minimise the stress on the child. Staff will explain this process to the bubble on the first day so they are familiar with the procedure.
- All areas that the child has been in contact with will be cleaned and disinfected.
- Potentially contaminated equipment will be disposed of securely.
- A senior leader will contact parents who will collect the child and take them home.
- Parents will be given contact details of how to access a COVID-19 test and checks will be made to ensure they complete this.
- If the test comes back positive, all children and staff within the bubble will self-isolate at home for 14 days.
- This procedure will also apply to any staff showing symptoms.
The Curriculum during this time will encompass these areas:
English / Maths / RE / Creative work / Art / PE / PSHE.
This may seem a narrowing of the Curriculum, but remember that an outstanding Curriculum is designed to meet the needs of its pupils. Children will have academic gaps in learning which will need to be addressed, they will need physical exercise for wellbeing and to compensate for the fact that many of them may not have been outside during lockdown, and we need to ensure their emotional needs are met due to the current situation.
There will be no assemblies in the Hall for obvious reasons but class based worship can continue as normal.
PSHE will be delivered using all the available resources that we have, including the ‘Bounce Back’ resources we have recently purchased.
On-line teaching resources for pupils not in school
This provision will be able to continue as teachers will have time to plan and upload learning for their class.
Fire Evacuation Procedures
These will be slightly amended and each teaching bubble will practise these procedures within their ‘teaching bubble’. Fire drills will be scheduled more frequently than normal.
Behaviour Policy and Procedures
The school Behaviour Policy has been amended in light of the current pandemic and these changes will be discussed with each ‘teaching bubble’ from their first day back.
This remains the same although parents are encouraged to wash and or change uniform as often as is possible each week. This is crucial to avoid the spread of infection.
Book Bags - No books will be transferring between home and school to reduce the risk of infection.
This MUST be brought in on a Monday and taken home for washing on a Friday, It cannot be brought in daily as this increases the chance of spreading infection.
Safeguarding of Pupils
This is something which remains the highest priority. Senior staff with responsibility for Safeguarding will be in school at all times and concerns about pupils will be recorded and monitored in the normal way. The safety and well being of pupils not in school is monitored through regular phone calls home made by class teachers, SENCO and School Mentor. Vulnerable pupils and those pupils with additional learning needs continue to be supported by the school SENCO and Mentor in school and at home.
Parental Responsibility - Please follow government advice at every stage
Remember that members of our school staff will be here doing their very best for the children in school and like many of you have been shielding; some staff are concerned about underlying health issues and will no doubt be concerned about family members at home.
It is absolutely essential that all families are following government guidelines on meeting with others outside their household and if families do not follow the guidelines we will have no option other than to refuse to have them in school as it is putting other pupils and staff at risk.
We stress the importance of protecting your child and family unit, but also protect the need to protect staff caring for your child and lots of other children’. If you suspect a family household member has symptoms, act on advice immediately and you MUST INFORM US.
We are all in this together and there needs to be trust and partnership over the coming weeks and months.
There is a lot of information for parents to consider and we understand that despite all the precautions we are taking some parents may still be anxious, even if they have previously indicated that they want their child to return. We will review our procedures daily and we will amend them if we think that something needs to change. We are not scientific experts but we will do our best to ensure that your child and their staff are safe in school. At the end of each week we will review pupil numbers and consider whether any additional pupils from the specified year groups can be safely accommodated in school.
At this moment in time it very difficult to know when it will be possible to open safely to other year groups. We will continue to look at the advice from government, scientists and teaching unions as we both focus on the safety of those back in school from the 15th June, as well as the future return of pupils in other year groups. We will endeavour to keep you informed through text messages and information via the school website.
In the meantime please keep yourself safe and well and we look forward to seeing you back in school, whether that is on Monday 15th June or at a later date. Remember that if you need support and advice then the school phone line and email is always open – we are here to help and support you.
Mr L Fadden
Questions and Answers:
Q: Is it safe for my child to be in school?
A: Unfortunately, I cannot offer any guarantees – that is for the scientists. All I can do is assure you that the proper risk assessments will be in place and we will endeavour to apply all the control measures to limit infection spreading, as per government guidelines. The full guidelines are here, if you are interested https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-educational-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020/actions-for-education-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020
Q: Will my child be with their friends?
A: As far as possible. However, because children are in smaller groups, once they are within this group, they will be unable to meet with other friends, within other classrooms or groupings. This is to keep to infection control guidelines.
Q: My child has a brother or sister in Y2,3,4 or 5. Can they come to school, from June 15st?
A: I am really sorry but this is not possible, or within the guidelines.
Q: Will the children be learning in school, as normal?
A: Learning will not be ‘as normal’ and the requirements to teach a broad and balanced curriculum are disapplied. Of course, children will continue with the home / school learning, guided by the teacher, within school, but the primary focus will be on friendship (social and emotional development) and readjusting to school routine.
Q: How will you keep my child safe?
A: Through proper risk assessment, as far as possible we will:
- Ensure that children and adults avoid contact with anyone who has symptoms of COVID19
- Ensure frequent hand washing cleaning and good hygiene practices
- Clean the settings more regularly and throughout the day
- Minimise contact between other adults and children, once established in their group.
Children are NOT required to work at a two metre social distance because this is impossible for younger children, although the smaller classes will ensure that there is better spacing than usual.
Children and adults are NOT required to wear PPE, only in the case of a child needing first aid, toileting support or displaying COVID symptoms.
Q: Will I be fined if I decide NOT to return my child to school?
A: No, you will not be fined under any circumstance. This decision is for you to make, at an extraordinary and difficult time. The school will not be held to account for any non-attendance either.
Q: If I do not send my child to school, will I still get the Free School Meal vouchers I have been getting?
A: Yes, you will still be eligible for free school meal vouchers and these will be sent to you weekly, if you are eligible.
Q: Can my child wear a face mask?
A: Children will NOT be allowed to wear a face mask and this is in accordance with government guidelines. This is because children do not know how to wear them properly, adjust with their fingers and then potentially spread the infection. Some staff may choose to wear a mask / and or gloves.
Q: I am unwell and classed as clinically vulnerable. Should I send my child to school?
A: If someone in your child’s household is extremely clinically vulnerable, they should only attend if stringent social distancing can be adhered to, and the child is able to understand and follow those instructions. As a school we will be unable to promise stringent social distancing in any circumstance.