Oldham L.A. has approved our risk assessment so, unless there is activity from the government or unions which prevents it, we expect to proceed as planned, i.e.
Monday 1st June: Nursery children welcome to join the vulnerable and key worker children already welcome in school.
Wednesday 3rd June: Reception children welcome to come back to school
Thursday 4th June: School to make an announcement as to if and how Year One will be able to come back the next week. (I expect they will, but things have been so unpredictable recently I hesitate to make pronouncements with any degree of surety. I don’t want to over promise. Unanticipated staff absence would be a key factor inhibiting this happening. I am optimistic about welcoming back Year One, but I cannot yet say more.)
Monday 8th June (hopefully): Year One welcome back.
Year Six cannot currently come back as there is a government stipulated maximum class size of 15, and with only eleven classrooms there is no possibility of Hey with Zion accommodating the 189 pupils we would have to manage with them included too. We are already planning to use the school hall and perhaps the staff study as learning spaces to accommodate the younger classes.
Personally, I would have liked Year Six to have been higher up the priority list but the latest government guidance here stipulates that the younger classes should be prioritised:
“you should prioritise groups of children as follows:
- early years settings – 3 and 4 year olds followed by younger age groups
- infant schools – nursery (where applicable) and reception
- primary schools – nursery (where applicable), reception and year 1“
Some have suggested a week on/ week off system for all ages might have been fairer and I understand some scientists have advocated this but again, this is not allowed: the guidance states: “Schools should not plan on the basis of a rota system, either daily or weekly.”
I wish to be explicit: we are doing all we can to keep the children as distant from each other as possible- the Science appears to indicate that while children generally don’t suffer as much from Coronavirus as do adults, they can pass on infection therefore act as transmitters from one family to another, however 2 metre social distancing will not happen, nor does the government expect it to happen in a primary school:
Class or group sizes
We know that, unlike older children and adults, early years and primary age children cannot be expected to remain 2 metres apart from each other and staff. In deciding to bring more children back to early years and schools, we are taking this into account.
Much of the following has already been posted previously, as I have tried to keep parents informed as best I can of where we are up to with this. Some of is new, though, such as about P.P.E., and I request parents read it all.
The Hey with Zion timetable of return is planned as follows:
Monday 1st June: Nursery children start to attend. This will be in two groups of 10 to 15, one group with Miss Tammi and Mrs Hibbs, the other in the Reception classroom with Miss Broadbent and Miss Holt. If the numbers present exceed ten, it may be that Mr. Fletcher adds to the supervision. Parents have been informed into which group their child has been allocated.
Wednesday 3rd June: Reception children will also be welcome from then on. If there is high attendance, these will be taught as follows:
4 with Miss Cooper in a split class of 11 Reception/ Year One pupils
11 with Miss Holt in Year One/ Two classroom
10 with Mrs. Patterson in Year 5D classroom
11 with Miss Baxendale with Year Two classroom
4 with Miss Clarke and perhaps Mr. Fletcher in the “staff study” (where guitar lessons are held)
Parents will be informed before the day into which group their child has been allocated.
Thursday 4th June: an assessment will be made and communicated to parents as to whether and how Year One can be welcomed the following week. This will depend upon numbers of children present and developments e.g. availability of staff who are in the “clinically vulnerable” category.
Parents should be aware that in the case of staff sickness, with the exception of “vulnerable children” or those of key workers, if the member of staff falls ill, the children may be sent home as we do not have spare capacity and cannot safely increase the size of the “bubble.” It is stated in our risk assessment that “Classes will be cohorting (maintaining the same groups together in classrooms)” so I shall not move children from group to group once the new groups have been established.
If you know that your child will not be attending school again this summer term, please inform me as this will help our staffing ratio.
Monday 8th June: Year One may be welcome to start attending. As I have stated above, I am optimistic about this but can say no more than that just yet.
These would be taught as follows:
7 will be with Miss Cooper in her split Reception/ Year one class in her current classroom
11 with Mrs. Farrelly and Mrs. Worthington in the current 5M classroom
11 with Miss Morton (and on Fridays Miss Adshead) in the Year Three classroom
11 with Miss Daley in the current Year 3/ Year 4 classroom
The “vulnerable” children and those of key workers in other year groups will be taught in Miss Ogden’s room, Year Six and the hall if necessary. Teachers available are Miss Ogden, Miss Light and Miss Seton-Jones.
Parents of children in Nursery and Reception have been contacted with specific details of which class their children will be in, with which teacher and how they should enter school and so on. If school is to open for Year One, we shall inform those parents of class allocations on Thursday.
School will feel very different to how it was, but we shall do all we can to look after your children as safely as possible while allowing them something of at least a partial return to normality.
Arrival and collection times:
We want to stagger start and finish times as best possible, but understand that parents may also have work commitments and we want to accommodate them. The following allows for this as best I can and I ask parents to adhere to it if possible:
Those with surnames A-D should enter from 8.50- 9 a.m.; those with surnames E-M from 9- 9.10 a.m.; those with surnames N-Z from 9.10-20 a.m. IF POSSIBLE, but we shall accommodate particular needs e.g. those who need to deliver their children at 8.50 in order to get to work may do so.
Those with surnames A- D may collect their children from 3.10, those with surnames E–M from 3.20 and those with surnames N-Z at 3.30.
Lunchtime collection and lunchtime drop off for Nursery part time children will be at the usual times.
Which doors to use:
There will be one way (anti clockwise) travel around the school building for all parents (and I request only one adult bringing each child, please). The names below refer to the new groups, not the classes they have been in all school year.
Miss Tammi’s group will enter through Nursery door.
Miss Broadbent’s group will enter through Reception door.
Miss Cooper’s group will enter through Miss Cooper’s usual class door.
Miss Holt’s group will enter through the hall door.
Mrs. Patterson’s group will enter through the hall door.
Mrs. Farrelly’s group will enter through the red porch door (by the outdoor classroom).
Miss Baxendale’s group will enter through the red porch door.
Miss Clarke’s group will enter through the porch door.
Miss Morton’s group will enter through the Year Three door (Mrs. Soanes’ usual class door).
Miss Daley’s group will enter through the Year Three door.
“Vulnerable”/ Key worker children will enter, to start with, through the Year Four door (between Miss Ogden’s class and Year Six). These children will be split into three groups with Miss Light, Miss Ogden and Miss Seton-Jones as their teachers. They will be based in Miss Ogden’s classroom, and either the two ends of Year Six or Year Six and the hall depending on numbers. “Vulnerable” and key worker children in Nursery, Reception and (subject to school opening for Year One on 8th June) Year One will be taught with their own year groups.
Specific alterations to the usual routines, which I ask you to discuss with your child in advance to prepare them for:
1/ School uniform is not required– Throughout the school closure period I have advocated, and shall continue to advocate that all staff and children, on return home from school, immediately undress, shower and put clothes in the wash. Easily washable (but practical and modest) clothes are recommended- for staff as well as pupils. Currently, per head, Oldham has the 5th highest number of cases of Coronavirus in England: there is a recorded case of coronavirus for 1 in 221 of our town. With growing numbers attending school there is a fair likelihood that someone within Hey with Zion will have coronavirus- if the infection comes into your home at 3.30 p.m. we want your child and their clothes washed. Government guidance:
“Uniform that cannot be machine washed should be avoided.“
I have not been wearing usual headteacher clothes during the school closure period and shall continue, for this summer term, to wear appropriate clothing for cycling to and from school. What your children wear is up to you, with no expectation from school other than that we request it is washed immediately on return from school.
2/ Non attendance this summer term will not be penalised with fines. It is entirely up to parents and carers whether they wish to send their child to school.
3/ Reading books will not be sent home and we ask for nothing to be brought to school other than clothing, a tissue and a water bottle: government guidance states we should:
Limit the number of shared resources that are taken home by staff and pupils and limit the exchange of such resources.
4/ School will provide a pencil for each child for sole use by the child.
5/ Children will wash their hands immediately on arrival and at regular intervals throughout the day.
6/ Teachers will be vigilant about maximising social distancing within the classrooms. There is likely to be reduced mobility in classrooms.
7/ Staggered playtimes will exist so that, where possible, children remain in their “bubble” group, and do not mix with others outside their group.
8/ No assemblies will be held.
9/ Singing is not allowed– it is an activity which spreads the virus.
10/ NOBODY IS TO PASS ANOTHER IN A CORRIDOR as some of our corridors are less than 2 metres wide (some less than 1 metre wide).
11/ There will be no hot meals. Most children will eat in their classrooms and where school meals are provided they will be packed lunches. Free school meal vouchers will continue to be provided for those in receipt if their year group is not in school.
12/ Water fountains have been taken out of use, but there will be running water to fill drink bottles.
13/ All home learning for children who are not in school, including these age groups, will be provided by Mrs. Soanes (Year Three) and Mrs. Machin. From 1st June any questions concerning home learning should be directed to Mrs. Machin via firstname.lastname@example.org
We shall draw heavily on work by the government’s publicised “National Oak Academy”, for home learning and in school:
The only P.P.E. I want the majority of our pupils to wear is sun cream and a hat: one of the pieces of advice we have been given by the government is to “consider which lessons or classroom activities could take place outdoors“, which is eminently sensible as we understand the virus is transmitted less effectively outside. We shan’t be outside all day, of course, but may be outside a little more than usual, so please put appropriate sun cream on your child and provide a hat if you think desirable.
The government advice to schools about P.P.E. is below, in italics, and it discourages use of P.P.E., although I shall not prevent anybody from wearing P.P.E. should they wish to do so, unless I deem it a safety hazard- in such an instance I would contact the parents about my decision.
I myself shall not be wearing P.P.E. between 9.30 a.m. and 3.10 p.m. but you may see me wearing a mask first thing and last thing while monitoring arrivals and drop offs, until I am more sure of how these staggered arrivals and departures will work. We all “follow our instinct” sometimes.
Wearing a face covering or face mask in schools or other education settings is not recommended. Face coverings may be beneficial for short periods indoors where there is a risk of close social contact with people you do not usually meet and where social distancing and other measures cannot be maintained, for example on public transport or in some shops. This does not apply to schools or other education settings. Schools and other education or childcare settings should therefore not require staff, children and learners to wear face coverings. Changing habits, cleaning and hygiene are effective measures in controlling the spread of the virus. Face coverings (or any form of medical mask where instructed to be used for specific clinical reasons) should not be worn in any circumstance by those who may not be able to handle them as directed (for example, young children, or those with special educational needs or disabilities) as it may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission.
The majority of staff in education settings will not require PPE beyond what they would normally need for their work, even if they are not always able to maintain a distance of 2 metres from others. PPE is only needed in a very small number of cases including:
- children, young people and students whose care routinely already involves the use of PPE due to their intimate care needs should continue to receive their care in the same way
- if a child, young person or other learner becomes unwell with symptoms of coronavirus while in their setting and needs direct personal care until they can return home. A fluid-resistant surgical face mask should be worn by the supervising adult if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained. If contact with the child or young person is necessary, then disposable gloves, a disposable apron and a fluid-resistant surgical face mask should be worn by the supervising adult. If a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of splashing to the eyes, for example from coughing, spitting, or vomiting, then eye protection should also be worn
Will I tell parents if I learn of a confirmed case of Coronavirus in school?
Yes. I shall follow government advice of course, but while I would not inform all parents if one child was sent home with, say, a cough or a temperature, I would inform the entire school, not just the child’s group, if I learned a case was confirmed.
What happens if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in a setting?
When a child, young person or staff member develops symptoms compatible with coronavirus, they should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 7 days. Their fellow household members should self-isolate for 14 days. All staff and students who are attending an education or childcare setting will have access to a test if they display symptoms of coronavirus, and are encouraged to get tested in this scenario.
Where the child, young person or staff member tests negative, they can return to their setting and the fellow household members can end their self-isolation.
Where the child, young person or staff member tests positive, the rest of their class or group within their childcare or education setting should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. The other household members of that wider class or group do not need to self-isolate unless the child, young person or staff member they live with in that group subsequently develops symptoms.
As part of the national test and trace programme, if other cases are detected within the cohort or in the wider setting, Public Health England’s local health protection teams will conduct a rapid investigation and will advise schools and other settings on the most appropriate action to take. In some cases a larger number of other children, young people may be asked to self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure – perhaps the whole class, site or year group. Where settings are observing guidance on infection prevention and control, which will reduce risk of transmission, closure of the whole setting will not generally be necessary.