Dear Parents and Carers
Arrangements for September 2021
Government guidance for parents about what the changes at Step Four means for education is set out here.
We are looking forward to teaching the children in our usual way in September and not having to keep them in bubbles any longer. This will mean they can mix together outside at break time and lunchtime, eat in the dining hall again together and we can have assemblies once more. It also means the children will not necessarily need to sit in rows, making collaborative and group work easier to organise.
It also means we will not need to stagger the start and end of the day so our school times will revert to the same official times for all pupils – Infants 08.45am to 3.15pm. Juniors 08.45am to 3.20pm.
There will be some changes that we have introduced that will stay in place and some ‘COVID keepers’ that we have chosen to maintain where we think the arrangement is actually an improvement on how we run the school day.
What will stay the same?
Maintaining a robust hand and respiratory hygiene regime will remain part of everyday school life. Children will continue to wash their hands regularly and we will continue to have hand sanitiser available in classrooms and at points around the school. Every class will also have a supply of tissues and a pedal bin specifically to dispose of them once used so they can ‘catch it, kill it, bin it.’ All classrooms will remain well ventilated throughout the day.
Our rigorous cleaning schedule will continue. Our lovely cleaner works every evening so that each classroom and all shared areas, toilets etc. are cleaned every day. She will continue to place extra emphasis on frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, taps, light switches etc. Each classroom will continue with extra cleaning throughout the day as needed too.
School attendance is mandatory. We know how important it is for children to attend school every day and we know you agree. This is shown in our attendance rate this term, which has been over 95%.
However, it is incredibly important that children do not attend school if they are unwell. Any child that is showing any symptoms of coronavirus or is otherwise unwell should not attend school or visit the school site for any reason.
If your child is unwell, please do not administer a painkiller (eg Calpol or Nurofen) and send them to school. This could mask an infection and place others at risk.
Other than this, all other pupils should attend school, promptly on time, every day. It is extremely important that the reasons for any absence are reported immediately to the school office.
We would like your child to continue to wear their PE kit to school on the day they are scheduled to have PE lessons.
Please ensure that the children have trainers that they are able to put on and fasten themselves so they do not require adult help. If they cannot tie their own laces, for example, please choose trainers with velcro fastenings.
What will change?
Children will no longer need to stay in bubbles. This will mean they can mix in the playground and eat together in the hall. We will no longer need to stagger the start or the end of the day or break times and lunchtimes within the school day.
However, the government guidance states that should there be a local outbreak of COVID, measures such as bubbles, staggered start times etc, may need to be reintroduced. Let’s hope that this local measure does not need to be introduced.
Tracing and self-isolation
From September, the school will no longer be expected to trace close contacts. If a pupil or staff member tests positive for COVID, only their close contacts may need to self-isolate rather than the whole class. As with positive cases in any other setting, NHS Test and Trace will work with the positive case to identify close contacts. This is likely to be a small number of individuals who would be most at risk of contracting COVID-19 due to the nature of the close contact. As parents or carers, you may be contacted to help with identifying close contacts.
From 16 August 2021, children under the age of 18 years old will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. Instead, children will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed they have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a PCR test. All individuals will be encouraged to take PCR test if advised to do so.
If there is an outbreak at school or we are put into an enhanced response area, you might be advised that some control measures need to be temporarily reintroduced.
Measures for arriving at school
In September we will be trialling not having a one-way system – this may be reviewed and your feedback would be welcome. Year 1 and Year 2 children should be dropped off at the KS1 entrance (Mrs Swabrook’s gate) at 8.45am.
Children in Years 3, and above are to enter the school via the front gate, independently, at 8.45am. (Mr Davis’ gate ).
Measures for leaving school
At the end of the day, Reception, Year 1 & Year 2 children will be dismissed from their classroom at 3:15pm. Please collect Infant siblings first then come onto the playground to collect Junior siblings. Year 3, 4, 5 & 6 will be dismissed from the playground as we do now at 3:20pm.
Please collect your child and move through the grounds and surrounding areas quickly to avoid congestion on the pavements and also parking spaces.
Breakfast and Aftercare
The children will not need to be kept in bubbles at Breakfast or Aftercare Club. Booking arrangements will remain as usual.
Children should continue to bring their school bag and a labelled water bottle into school every day. All of the other classroom resources will be able to be provided and shared once again so children must not bring a pencil case to school. We will provide everything they need.
Primary school children have never been required to wear PPE but staff have been wearing face coverings this year. There will no longer be a requirement for staff to wear face coverings in the classroom or around the school but we will give staff members the option to do so if they choose to.
We have ensured the children benefit from a broad and balanced curriculum throughout the year and are happy that this will be further enhanced next year as teachers will be able to move freely between classes once more.
All of the statutory assessments will return next academic year, including the Phonics Check in Year 1, SATS in Year 2, the Multiplication Check in Year 4 and SATS in Year 6.
Meetings with Parents & Visitors
We have all embraced tools like Zoom to organise meetings and speak with you. We aim for this to continue as it offers the flexibility for staff, parents and outside agencies to meet successfully and more efficiently. For example, we will continue to organise our parent/teacher meetings on Zoom in October. Obviously, we will still be available for face to face meetings if needed and where this is preferable.
Visitors will remain by appointment only. If you need to contact your child’s class teacher, please do so by email during normal school hours from Monday to Friday. Please do not expect them to correspond with you during the evenings and at weekends.
We have managed to deal with your enquiries via the phone and by email over the last year successfully. We would like to continue to do so as much as possible. However, the School Office will be open at two points in the day for face to face enquiries should they be absolutely necessary: 8.30- 9.00am and 3.00-3.30pm. We will only be able to help a maximum of two people at the counter at once. Any queue should form outside the entrance door.
Bedfont Primary school