September 2020 - FAQs
We recognise that our planned re-opening is very different to how school has run prior to lockdown and that, if we could go back to normal, we would. We know it will not be easy for everyone to adapt but hope that you understand that these changes are all in the best interests of your children and our school community.
We want to be able to remain open for as long as possible and avoid the chance of any outbreaks which would cause individual bubbles or the whole school to close again.
We want our school to be the safe, secure, fun and nurturing learning environment that it has always been and we endeavour to ensure that every child settles back into school as soon as possible.
We have taken a lot of time to digest the guidelines and government expectations of re-opening and have spent many hours and days exploring possible ways to meet these.
The changes that we have put in place will not be forever. As yet, we do not know when they will be able to be relaxed, however what we do know is that for those children that have been at school during lockdown we have managed to ensure the safety and good health of everyone in our school community, the children in school have quickly adapted to the changes and they are happy to be in school.
Understandably we have received some questions about our re-opening plans. We thank you all for the kind and understanding approach that you have taken with your questions and we will endeavour to answer them as thoroughly as we can.
If you cannot see an answer to your question, please email the office and we will add it with our response to the website (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com)
Are bikes allowed on school site and if so can we use the bike shed?
Yes - bikes and scooters are allowed but must not be ridden on school grounds.
Yes - the bike shed will be available, however there should only be one person/family in the structure at any one time and social distancing must be adhered to whilst entering/exiting the shed.
Will children be eating lunch at school on a Friday?
Yes - we have an allocated lunchtime slot for each class along with allocated learning time in the afternoon for each class.
Are children back to wearing school uniform in September?
Yes - there will be an expectation for the children to in full school uniform as per our school policy.
Can I change the name of person I have listed for pick up and drop off at short notice?
Yes - the advice is that this person should live with you - just call the school and leave a message so that the teachers know who they are expecting. Remember only one adult per child/family should be on school site.
How do I notify the school if my child is ill - non Covid-19 related illness?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with full information - the child's name, Year group and reason for absence. Please report the absence before 08.30am each day of absence.
Alternatively, please call on 01733 574717 and leave full information - the child's name, Year group and reason for absence. Please report the absence before 08.30am each day of absence.
If this is suspected C-19 due to the symptoms that your child is showing, please let school know as we have clear procedures and reporting requirements that we have to follow.
Entry/Exit Arrangements Why have gates been allocated?
We are trying to reduce contact between class groups to reduce the likelihood of transmitting Covid-19 and therefore reduce the chances of any class bubbles needing to close.
I have more than one child attending school in different year groups. How do I get both of my children to class when they have to go through different gates?
We realise that travelling from one gate to the next is not ideal, however we are trying our best to protect the class bubbles. By reducing the number of people on site at any one time, children and adults are less likely to contract symptoms of Covid-19 and therefore less likely for class bubbles to be closed. If you have a child in a Key Stage 2 class, you may choose to drop your child off at the gate and then they can walk to the classroom without you. This will enable parents/carers to walk round the other gate to drop younger siblings off at their classroom door. If both of your children start at the same but are in different year groups, you may choose the most appropriate gate for you.
Can I arrange for other people to collect my child?
Yes. We will send out the adult collection form again so that you can share photographs and names of key people that you as parent/carer give permission to collect your child. As always we ask that you inform school if any additional adult is going to collect your child at the last minute. We are happy for you to arrange collection with other parents/carers in order for you to manage the different drop off/ collection times, as long as social distancing is maintained.
Is there a limit of the number of adults on site per family?
Yes. Please can only one adult per family bring the children onto site or collect each day to reduce the number of people on site at any one time.
Can I wait on the playground for the class door to open?
Please wait outside the classroom doors within the five minute window at a distance from people who do not live in your household. Outside of this time, we require that you are not on school site.
Is attendance compulsory?
Yes - the government has made it very clear that attendance expectations return as this is a full school opening - however if you have specific circumstances that you would like to discuss with the school, please make an appointment via email or telephone. We will work with families to ensure that the best approach to returning is planned.
I have children who have different start and finish times - why is this?
School did carry out a project to see if it would be possible to ensure that siblings all had the same start and finish times - this proved impossible due to the numbers and spread across the year groups.
Even though my children have different start and finish times, please can I drop them off and pick them up at the same time?
As the attendance and punctuality expectations return in September, children need to arrive and depart at their allocated times. We do understand that this could be difficult for a number of our families and recommend that parents/carers work with each other to support with this difficult situation.
Will my child still receive a free school meal?
Yes. All children who are in years Reception, 1 and 2 will continue to receive a free meal through the ‘Universal Free School Meals’ government scheme. If your child receives a free school meal because you applied due a low income, they will continue to receive a free school meal in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6.
Do I have to provide a packed lunch?
It is up to you if you would like your child to have a packed lunch from home. Caterlink will continue to provide High Five meals (cold packed lunches) for children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 and hot meals for children in all year groups.
Will there be any after school clubs taking place?
We have not planned any clubs for the first six weeks. We will review this decision for the second half of the Autumn term. As a school we would like to see how well the first half term progresses with the new guidelines for reopening before creating further mixing of pupils.
What will lunchtime be like? Will my child be able to play? Will they get to play in the MUGA?
Each year group will have two playtimes outside. One for morning break and one just before they eat lunch. Each class has been allocated space on the playground and a maximum of two classes will be out at any one time. Classes will either have the small playground and the MUGA or the large playground and the trim trail. As children under 11 years of age do not need to socially distance from one another, they will be able to play as usual.
During the children’s play just before lunch, the classroom will be cleaned.
Please be aware that due to the size of the hall and the need to keep the class bubbles separated, only children who are eating a hot meal, will eat in the hall. All children who have a packed lunch or High Five will eat in the classroom.
Should I provide my child with their own pencil case etc?
It is recommended that pupils limit the amount of equipment they bring into school each day, to essentials such as lunch boxes, hats, coats, books and mobile phones (Year 6 only). Bags are allowed.
We will ensure that each child has their own pencil case and equipment that they will not share with anyone else.
We request that no additional belongings are brought into school to reduce the chances of transmission.
Will my child still receive the attention he needs from adults?
Yes, however staff are expected to socially distance from one another and where possible limit contact with children when less than one metre away. The government recognises that this will be difficult with younger children which is why bubbles have been created to minimise the number of people coming into contact with one another. Where a child previously received 1:1 support or small group interventions, this will continue within the classroom environment.
Some members of staff are within the extreme or clinically vulnerable group. These adults will support children from a distance of 2 metres using technology where possible.
Will there be any catch up clubs for students that have missed out on school?
All children will have had different experiences of learning during school closures. At the beginning of September, our teachers will identify gaps in children’s learning within reading, maths and grammar, punctuation and spelling. We have identified the core objectives for each year group and will teach according to gaps within these core objectives.
Within the first six weeks, learning will focus on any gaps from the year that your child has missed e.g. Year 3 children will focus initially on core objectives from the Year 2 curriculum. This will of course need to be time limited, otherwise children will then be behind on the curriculum coverage for their new year group.
The government have advised that schools need to be ready to deliver a full curriculum by Summer 2021.
In Year 1, will they be allowed any toys/ free-play areas in the classroom or is it going to be a full desk-based set up? What is the plan to pick up where they left off? Presumably they aren't going to be expected to go straight to KS1 curriculum?
Children going into Year 1 in September will continue a Reception style of learning in order to ensure that they have grasped the key learning objectives from the Early Years curriculum before moving into the Year 1 curriculum.
The classroom will be set up similarly to Reception with areas of learning. Children will continue to receive small group learning with an adult in the style that they are already used to.
Will school still be using Tapestry and Seesaw?
We will continue to use Tapestry for our new Reception children and for the Year 1 children for September. This will support the Year 1 staff to identify gaps for these pupils and ensure that they have covered and grasped key objectives from the Early Years curriculum.
All other year groups will continue to use Seesaw as a platform to share communication regarding learning – as this has been so successful as a tool for those engaging with it.
Are the drop off and pick up times final?
The staggered drop off and collection times are in place whilst the government restrictions of large gatherings are in place. These will be reviewed as and when the Government review guidance for schools.
Will Year 3 get to do a play as we missed this years?
There will not be any parent/carer engagement sessions in school whilst the restrictions remain in place.
Is the Friday early closure permanent?
The early closure on a Friday is in place to help school to meet the legal requirement for school to ensure that each teacher receives their Planning, Preparation and Assessment time (PPA). Pre-Covid, this was carried out by two members of staff. One of these members of staff is now on maternity leave. If one member of staff continued to deliver PPA, this would compromise all bubbles.
The early closure on a Friday will end once restrictions are lifted.
You have previously stated that children may be removed if you know families have breached government rules. If our family bubble has to be breached due to difficulties collecting on a Friday due to you changing the times, can you confirm that we will not be forced to isolate him.
These rules were in place during the reopening phase between 1st June and 21st July in line with the government rules about mixing with anyone outside of your household.
All children are expected to attend school every day unless they are ill or isolating. Families are welcome to make their own choices regarding drop off and collection as long as these are in line with the most current government guidelines during the pandemic.
I've heard that Playhouse after school club will be mixing the bubbles which concerns me as it will be defeating what you are trying to do at school.
We do not have control over other providers, however we have been keeping in touch regularly with Playhouse and we are assured that they will only open if they can meet the government guidelines.
What is the plan for supporting children with additional needs to catch up?
We have identified core objectives for each year group curriculum and we will be using informal assessment methods to identify each child’s new starting point.
We will use the year group objectives that each child was working through before lockdown e.g. if your child was in Year 3 and working on Year 1 objectives, then Year 1 will be our starting point to identify gaps in their learning.
Learning will be tailored to address these gaps and where required individual and small group intervention will take place.
Due to the size of our school, there are no spaces to take children out of the classroom to work on individual targets and so all support will take place in the classroom.
In order to help your child to retrieve old learning or retain new learning will we send home small activities for them to work through with you at home.
As always, we will check your child’s progress to ensure that the right support is in place and inform you of this progress.
Can we please see a photo and learn some more about the new Year 1 teacher?
Miss Khina has worked with children up to the age of 6 using a curriculum similar to the Early Years curriculum. She is very excited about joining Norwood School.
We will be releasing a ‘Welcome Back’ powerpoint for children to help to relieve some anxieties about September. A photograph of Miss Khina will be on the powerpoint.
What will happen if there is a case of coronavirus in the class/bubble? If children have symptoms of coronavirus but test negative will they still need to self isolate? Will you keeping an eye on members of staff for any symptoms as well as children?
If a child or staff member develops any of the following symptoms at home, they must not come to school:
- a new and persistent cough
- a high temperature
- a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell
If a staff member becomes unwell with any of these symptoms, they will leave school site immediately. The staff member will be required to book a test and self-isolate until the outcome of the test which will dictate their next steps.
If a child in the school becomes unwell with any of these symptoms, they will be taken to a room away from other people. We have allocated two spaces in school for this purpose. The room has some colouring pencils and mindfulness pictures for the child to use to help them to feel at ease. Parents/carers will be contacted immediately to collect their child and take them home. A school adult will stay with the child until they are collected.
The parent/carer of the child with symptoms will need to:
- Book a test (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/get-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/ or call 119) Tests must be taken within 1-5 days of the start of symptoms.
- Provide details of anyone their child has been in close contact with
- Inform school of the outcome of the test as soon as possible
If the test is negative, the child can return to school if they feel well enough.
In the event of a positive test school adults will:
- Contact the Local Health Protection Team
- Work with the Local Health Protection Team to identify which pupils/staff members will be required to self-isolate and inform the parents/carers of these pupils as soon as possible
That the kids will be safe?
We will do everything we possibly can to ensure that the children are safe whilst maintaining as much normality as possible. Children and staff will be required to wash their hands regularly throughout the day. We have reduced contact between staff by separating into two staffrooms and reduced the number of adults that your child will come into contact with.
Cleaning regimes have increased with a classroom clean everyday before lunch and a thorough clean of all ‘touch points’ (light switches, door handles etc) throughout the day. At the end of each day, each classroom and communal area receives a thorough clean and a weekly ‘fog’ with our new fogging machine. The fogging machine emits an anti-bacterial mist into the air, filling the classroom space, and everything it touches is clean for up to 72 hours.
Will the kitchen staff be wearing gloves or taking any other safety precautions when prepping food?
Caterlink have to comply with food standards and Government guidance relating to food industries during Covid-19.
I worry about the staggered times and it fitting around his afterschool care as playhouse collects him 3 days a week and what will happen on a Friday with school closing so early. Not sure if playhouse will have him that early as I'll be working. I am concerned about how the staggered start/finish times will work with the out of school club pick ups.
Please contact Playhouse for advice on this: 01733 571187
Will childminders be able to collect?
Yes childminders will be able to collect but please can we insist that the children collected remain with the childminder in their own little ‘bubble’ when entering and exiting school site.
Will the whole class be one bubble?
The children within each class will only mix with one another and will not come into close contact with any other children. For those choosing a hot school meal, they will be in the hall with children from one or two other classes, but each group will be separated by a distance of at least 2 metres.
Our original plan ensured that adults within the class would be the only adults that your child would come into contact with. However, in order to meet the legal requirement of Planning, Preparation and Assessment time for teachers, we have had to allocate one adult to cover the teacher in each bubble. In spite of this, we have managed to reduce the overall contact to adults mixing within these bubbles:
- Reception and Year 1
- Year 2 and Year 3
- Year 4, 5 and 6
The adults within each of these bubbles will have reduced contact with each other as they have also been allocated separate staffroom and hygiene facilities.
If staggered start/finish times are to take place, can we wait in the playground if we need to collect multiple children? Otherwise we will have to wait by the gates which will cause a mass gathering in a tight space.
We are trying to reduce the number of people in any one space at any one time. If you have more than one child to drop off and the difference in wait time is ten minutes, please feel free to wait on the playground at a distance of two metres from any other family.
How can I drop off and collect 3 chn in different year groups with a younger sibling to look after too? Separate drop off and pick up times will make things incredibly difficult. Can I drop my child off early in order to get to work on time?
We recognise the difficulties for parents/carers with the new staggered drop off and collection arrangements. We have considered a lot of possibilities with safety at the forefront of our thinking.
These are only in place during the pandemic.
We will not know the full impact of these arrangements until they are in place and are prepared to make adjustments when required to ensure the safety of all.
We cannot make individual arrangements for parents/carers.