Potential Return to School from 1st June 2020 – FAQs
Thank you to all of you who have shared your views with us about the possible re-opening to more pupils from June 1st at the earliest.
We hope that this Frequently Asked Questions documents will help to answer some of the queries and concerns you have raised.
Please contact us via the school office if there is anything else you would like to raise.
Will all pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 be able to come back?
- We are following the Government guidance on reopening the school. This means prioritising vulnerable pupils, children of critical workers and then others starting with the youngest.
- We will only open for as many pupils as we can safely manage and provide adequate staffing for. This may mean that we are not able to welcome back all year groups straight away.
For pupils who are able to return to school, will this definitely happen on June 1st.
- We will let you know if your children are able to come back to school. Please do not bring them in until you have had confirmation from us.
- We will only open if the government announce that it is safe to do so. We have been told that this announcement may only be 48 hours in advance of schools being allowed to open to more pupils.
- We will aim to open as close to the 1st as we can but there may be a slight delay whilst we finalise plans, prepare classes and carry out a thorough clean.
- We are also waiting for deliveries of cleaning supplies and PPE and will only be able to open if these are received in time.
Will all children of critical workers definitely be given places in school?
- Yes – children who have at least one parent who is a critical worker are entitled to a place in school.
- The times of their school day will remain as they are currently 8:45-3:15.
I am concerned that it will be bad for my child’s mental health to come back to such an unusual environment.
- There will certainly be a lot which is different and unusual when children return to school. This includes different arrival procedures and routines, the reduction in resources and play equipment available, smaller classes and for many, different classrooms and teachers. There will also be the need to maintain some level of distance from friends and adults.
- Some children will adjust quickly to these changes but we understand that others will find this harder.
- We will do everything we can to support children but only you can really decide if you feel that the benefits of returning to school outweigh the impact of the significant changes to the school at this time.
I am a critical worker with a child in Reception, Year 1 or Year 6. Will my child be in a mixed age critical worker bubble or in a bubble with their year group?
- If we are able to make arrangements for your child’s year group to return to school, then they will join a year group bubble.
- If, after prioritising critical worker and vulnerable pupils, we are not able to get all three year groups back into school as early as June 1st then any children of critical workers in the year groups we cannot accommodate will have the option of joining a critical worker bubble.
Will my child be able to be in the same ‘bubble’ as their sibling(s)? This would reduce our exposure to other people.
- If children are in the same year group (e.g. twins) then they will be placed in the same bubble as their siblings.
- If children are both in a mixed age bubble (critical workers etc.) then they will be placed in the same bubble as their siblings.
- Where one child is in a returning year group and the other is not they will need to be placed in separate bubbles.
- Where siblings are in different bubbles, they will not be able to see each other during the school day.
Will my child be in their own classroom or with a familiar adult?
- We are still finalising the arrangements for rooms and staff. Some staff are unable to return to work under the government guidance (e.g. because they live with someone who is shielding) and others have pre-school age children and need to secure childcare before they can return full time.
- We are trying, especially with the youngest children, to ensure that they are with adults who will be familiar to them but as only one bubble can use a classroom some of them will be in different spaces.
Will full 2m social distancing be in place?
- No – this is not possible in school.
- The government guidance is clear that full social distancing is not achievable with young children and they have said that this has been taken into account in the decision to return pupils to school.
- Children will not be made to keep a 2m social distance all the time.
- We will encourage the children to avoid large groups and close gatherings.
- Desks will be spaced as far apart as rooms allow but this will be nearer to 1.5m between children when seated and less than this when they need to pass each other (e.g. to go to the toilet).
- Where possible each bubble of 15 will be split into smaller groups with one half of the group working outside and the other half in the class room. There will be some times in the day though where all 15 children are in the classroom together.
How will lunch time and play time work?
- At break and lunchtimes each bubble will be given a space for outside play.
- Children will be able to mix and play reasonably normally within these bubbles but we will encourage them to avoid direct physical contact with each other.
- Children will not be allowed to mix with children from other bubbles.
- There will be a very limited range of equipment available to play with and the climbing frames will be out of bounds.
- Children will eat their lunch in their ‘bubble’ classrooms. School packed lunches will be delivered to the classroom to avoid queuing.
- School packed lunches will be available for those who want them or children can bring their own packed lunches. No hot meals will be available.
Will my child be able to wear their face mask?
- The Government has advised that no PPE is needed for children or adults.
- Adults will only wear PPE when administering first aid and during intimate care or if it is part of a pupil-specific risk assessment.
My child has asthma, is it safe for them to return?
- If you have any concerns relating to a health condition (either for your child or another member of your household) we would strongly recommend that you take advice from your GP/Asthma Nurse before making this decision.
How will the staggered day work?
- We are still finalising the plans for this but some groups will need to arrive slightly earlier or later than the usual school day to reduce the number of people on site at any one time.
- Different groups will come into the school grounds through different gates – we will let you know in advance what your child’s arrival and pick up times are and where to go.
- Staff will greet children at the gates at either side of the school in the morning and bring them to the gates at the end of the day.
- Parents will not be able to come through the side gates with their children.
- We will ask for only one parent per family to bring children to school or pick them up.
- Families will be able to arrive together – you will not be asked to drop children off at different times.
Will my child be taught the curriculum they should be learning?
- To some extent.
- Children who are in single year group bubbles will mostly be taught the curriculum appropriate to their year group.
- In Reception and Year 1 especially, there are some limitations to this as we have had to take many resources away from their learning environment and limit the sharing of resources.
- Children will not be able to work in groups or have adults sitting immediately next to them for support.
- For mixed age groups we will try to provide some teaching in a more formal way than the critical worker provision so far. This will need to be differentiated to the mixed age groups.
- We will also evaluate how children are feeling on return to school and spend more time on learning focussed on emotional health and wellbeing if needed.
- As much learning as possible will be taken outdoors to enable groups to spread out.
- We are planning to set up home learning to more closely mirror the topics being taught in school.
Will my child be with their friends?
- Teachers will do their best to ensure bubbles are set up with friendships in mind but we cannot accommodate preferences with these.
- Once a bubble is set it cannot be changed.
- We will not be able to share with you in advance the names of the other children in your child’s bubble because of GDPR.
Why are Year 6 not being prioritised? What will happen with leavers events and transition if they are unable to return?
- The priority order for return to school has been set by government and we are following this guidance. Unfortunately, this may mean that the school does not have the capacity to get Year 6 back into school straight away from June 1st. If this is the case, we will keep it under constant review and if there is any way to facilitate an opportunity for Year 6 to return before the Summer in groups we will do so.
- We are communicating with the High Schools about transition arrangements but the government guidance indicates that transition visits are not expected to take place. This will be at the discretion of the High Schools and is beyond our control.
- Leavers’ events (such as presentation assemblies and leavers’ plays) as well as end of year events such as Sports Day are not possible this year due to the social distancing restrictions.
- We know how disappointing this will be for children and families and we are considering other ways to appropriately mark the year 6 children’s time with us (including ways to make sure that Leavers’ Books and hoodies are still given to children).
What cleaning and hygiene measures will be in place?
- Levels of cleaning have already been increased in school and this will increase further with the return of more children. The school will be thoroughly cleaned at the end of each day with a particular focus on high contact areas (door handles, taps etc).
- Bins containing tissues or paper towels will be emptied at points during the day.
- Any equipment being used by more than one bubble (for example in the Reception outside area) will be disinfected between groups.
- Equipment such as laptops will be wiped down between users.
- Each child will have their own pack of equipment to use in lessons so that pens, pencils etc are not shared.
- Handwashing will be frequent for all staff and children (on arrival and before departure, before/after break and lunch, when moving between inside and outside activites etc).
- Hand sanitiser will also be available but this is less effective than proper handwashing. Children will be supervised when washing hands.
Will children need to wear school uniform?
- We know that some of the children will have grown out of their uniform. We will also be doing a lot of learning outside. For this reason, school uniform will be optional once we reopen.
What will children be allowed to bring to school?
- Children will be asked to bring their own water bottles to school as water fountains cannot be used.
- They will also be allowed to bring their book bag with only their school reading book in (books will be quarantined between children before being re-issued)
- No other possessions from home will be allowed.
- We understand that some children will be feeling unsettled and may want the comfort of an object/toy from home to support transition but this is not possible under the restrictions.