Dear Parents/ Carers,
Regents Park Community Primary School - plans for reopening to more pupils
As you know, some schools in England began reopening to more pupils in Y6, Y1, Reception and Nursery from Monday June 1st. However, many other schools haven’t reopened yet including Regents Park. On May 21st, I contacted parents to explain that I had decided that Regents Park would not reopen until we had assessed the situation further at national and local level. Having done so, I am now in a position to let you know that Regents Park will begin to reopen for more pupils from Monday June 15th.
We have used this time to consider how to reopen to more pupils in a way which is safe for pupils and for staff working in school. We totally understand that you may be unsure about sending your child back and acknowledge your concerns that you want to keep them safe. As a result, we have put together a detailed plan that meets all of the stringent criteria around pupil and staff safety. I am writing to share the plan with you and therefore it is a necessarily long and detailed news item.
Please read to the end so that you fully understand the plans we will be putting in place.
What follows are general principles to cover the period between now and a time when the school is able to open fully again. These principles must be understood and adhered to without exception and, although many of the measures outlined below may seem strict, they will be put in place to protect pupils, staff and parents.
Please note - the plan for reopening is subject to change at short notice as we continue to monitor the situation regarding infection rates and follow national and local guidelines. We need parents to accept any changes that are made as they will always be in the interest of pupils and staff.
Proposed dates for pupils to return to school
- Our reopening will be phased. This means that not all children will return on Monday June 15th. Initially, only Y6 pupils will return on June 15th along with the key worker/ vulnerable children we have been supporting previously
- We will then aim for Y1 pupils to return on Wednesday June 17th and for Reception pupils to return from Monday June 22nd, although this may be subject to change
- Depending on the success of these year groups returning to school and on further Government guidance, we will then look to make plans for other year groups at a further date, if appropriate.
Class groups (“social bubbles”)
- Children will be put into groups by their teachers and they will stay in those groups for lessons, break times and lunchtimes. The same two adults will remain with each group throughout the day. This arrangement is becoming commonly known as “social bubbles”.
- There will be no more than 15 children in any designated classroom at any time but, unfortunately, at least half of the children returning will not be in their usual classrooms or taught by their usual teachers or be with many of their usual classmates. We understand this may be unsettling for the children at first but they will soon settle into their new routines with our fantastic caring staff looking after them.
Attendance in school
- Having made plans to further reopen school, we hope that as many children will attend as possible; however, we recognise that some parents may not feel confident sending their child or children into school yet
- During this period, until full reopening for all pupils in school, there will be no consequences or fines for parents who choose not to send their children into school. It will be expected, however, that parents are encouraging children who remain at home to be learning and we will still be providing online learning or home learning packs to support these children
- Where parents choose not to send their child into school initially and then change their minds, children will not be allowed to start until the beginning of the following week. This is to ensure that we have adequate staffing in school for the children attending
- Parents of children not in school will be contacted each week or will be expected to have contacted school by the end of Wednesday of the previous week if children want to re-join their year group.
Social distancing in school
- When in the classroom, furniture will be arranged so that, wherever possible, pupils will be able to maintain a reasonable social distance from each other. However, as the Government have stated in their guidelines, social distancing between children will not always be possible in schools and, for young children in particular, it is neither natural nor easy to understand
- Children will be encouraged to remain a reasonable distance from one another when moving around school and when they are in the playground
- We will control movement around the building so that there is minimal contact between groups. The playground will be zoned into different areas and children will be given a specific space to be with their group when outdoors.
Cleanliness around school
- There will be stringent handwashing and hygiene practices (“Catch it, bin it kill it!”) in place throughout the day. Staff will also regularly wipe down surfaces and touch points throughout the day in addition to the daily cleaning provided by our cleaners in school.
- Children will be expected to wash their hands using soap and water regularly throughout the day
- There will be hand sanitiser available at all entrances and exits and we will be putting some mobile handwashing units into the playgrounds for children to use
Pupils who are not well/ self-isolating
- Children that are not well and are showing symptoms of Covid 19 must not attend school and should self-isolate for a minimum of 7 days with household members self-isolating for 14 days.
- Parents MUST contact school to let us know if a child is not well and not coming in for any reason
- Children that are well but are part of a household that is self-isolating must not attend school during that period and, again, parents should contact school to let us know
- If a child starts to feel unwell at school and, in particular, if they are showing Covid19 symptoms they will be isolated from everyone else and we will expect them to be collected immediately.
- All children and school staff can now access testing if they are showing symptoms. If a child is tested for COVID-19 and the test is positive, parents must contact the school immediately as the rest of the child’s class group will also have to self-isolate. We will liaise with Public Health England if there are any confirmed cases for further guidance and advice.
- If a child is tested and the test is negative, the child and their class group will be able to return to school.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Although you may choose for your child to wear PPE (face masks/ plastic gloves) on the way to school, the DfE are not recommending its use in school by either children or staff unless a member of staff is supervising a child who has been isolated and is waiting to be collected. Children that wear face masks and gloves on the way to school will be expected to bring a plastic bag to put them in to that can be tied up during the school day
Changes to the start and end of the day
- There will be staggered starts, break times, lunchtimes and home times throughout the day and parents must not drop off or collect children at times other than those they are given
- During the first week of reopening, we will only be using the Dixon Road entrance as a drop off and pick up point for Y1 and Y6 children and parents
- Only one parent will be allowed to accompany Y1 children into the playground and all parents will be expected to maintain appropriate social distancing from each other and from staff
- There will be markings on the playground (arrows/ 2m spots to stand on), signage for directions and staff on hand to guide children and parents
- Parents will be asked to drop off and pick up children at one of three times (9.00am, 9.15am or 9.30am in the morning and 2.30pm, 2.45pm or 3.00pm in the afternoon). In order to minimise contact between adults that are not from the same household, we insist that you follow the timings strictly and that you do not gather and remain by the school entrance at other times
- Pupils that do not arrive at the allocated time may not be able to be admitted late into school. Similarly, parents that do not collect pupils at the allocated time may not be able to send children to school on subsequent days
- Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer Breakfast Club or after-school clubs during the period of this reopening
- Regents Park Community Primary School has taken a variety of additional measures to ensure the safety of all children and staff on site when reopening. It is vital that these measures are followed and school will not tolerate pupils ignoring the rules set out or any deliberate attempts to endanger the health and safety of other children or staff, e.g. not maintaining reasonable social distance, coughing or spitting at or towards others. This will be regarded as a serious breach of the school rules and staff will follow usual guidelines set out in the behaviour policy and Covid 19 policy addendum.
- Where pupils do not comply with the amended school behaviour policy, parents may be asked to pick their child up and take them home. Continual behaviour issues that endanger pupils and staff may lead to individual pupils not being allowed to return until the school fully reopens at a later date
Communication with staff
- Due to the nature of dropping off your child in the morning, there will not be the opportunity to speak to a member of staff directly; however, you can ring the school office or contact email@example.com and any messages will be passed on. If a member of staff needs to speak to you they will contact you by phone
- Parents will not be allowed onto the site at any other time unless they have made a prior arrangement by telephone.
Early closing at lunchtime on Fridays
- Please note, school will be finishing early for all groups on a Friday so that cleaning staff can begin a thorough whole school deep clean. All children will be given a “grab and go” packed lunch on Friday unless they normally bring their own lunch.
- Parents must agree to pick up their children promptly at the allocated time on Fridays so that school can be closed and cleaners can begin work on the deep clean
- Pick up times on Fridays will be 12.00pm, 12.15pm and 12.30pm and will be from Dixon Road
Changes to lunches in school
- In order to reduce the need for children to carry in extra bags from home in to school, we will be asking for all children that attend to have a lunch provided by school during this period until full reopening.
- Those that normally receive free school meals or pay for school meals will continue to do so.
- Those that normally bring in their own packed lunch will be asked to pay for a school lunch, unless they are eligible for a free school meal.
Bringing in things from home
- In order to minimise possible contamination from home, we are asking children not to bring items in with them from home. This includes book bags, PE kits, etc. Children will be taking part in physical activities outside and will need to wear appropriate clothing and footwear.
- During this period of reopening, children will not be required to wear normal school uniform, although they may wear school uniform if they wish.
- However, clothes that children wear must be changed each day so that they can be washed and cleaned before wearing in school again
- Children should wear casual clothes that they can wear for activities indoors and outdoors appropriate to the weather, e.g. for general PE/ Forest School activities, etc
- Children may be best suited to wearing casual leisure wear, e.g. t-shirts, tracksuits, etc. with soft shoes for exercising in such as plimsolls or trainers. They should bring a coat as they may do a lot of their learning outdoors during this period.
Curriculum for children in school
- A big part of our focus when your children return to school will be on resocialising them and providing activities that reflect their need for mental well-being
- For Y6, a key area of focus will be providing the children with a curriculum that supports their transition to secondary school
- For children in Y1 and EYFS, we will be supporting pupils with learning in the core areas of English and maths, especially in the essential life skill of reading
- Depending on the weather, we will also be encouraging the children to spend as much time, and undertake as much of their learning, outdoors and to take part in creative activities and projects
Emotional support for pupils in school
- Families have been affected in different ways during the past few months and this will have been unsettling to all of our children. Children will be supported emotionally in a variety of ways throughout the school day, from planned teaching activities to bespoke support as and when needed.
- Our pastoral support staff will be available to provide one to one support for pupils although it will be following social distance guidelines
- Please let school know if your family has been affected directly by Coronavirus and school will work together with parents in order to try and help all children through these uncertain times
Other children not in school
- Unfortunately, although you may have more than one child at Regents Park, where one is eligible to return and others are not, we cannot accommodate the children from other year groups (Y2, Y3, Y4 or Y5) unless they have been previously attending school as key worker children or vulnerable children
- Online learning/ home learning packs will continue to be provided for those children who are still at home
- Staff will continue making fortnightly phone calls to speak to children at home
- Free school meal vouchers will continue to be provided for those pupils who are not in school during this period
Any other information
- Parents that require any further information should either ring the school office (0121 464 6746) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Apologies for the length of this notice but there is a lot of information that we have had to share with you. We hope we can work together to ensure families and children remain safe and well and look forward to seeing you soon.