Dear Parents and Carers of pupils in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6
There has been a lot of discussion recently about when and how the reopening of schools will take place. I would like to set out the situation for the parents and carers at Woodcroft. Your child’s education is an absolute priority, but their safety always comes first!
Woodcroft staff have been working extremely hard throughout the COVID-19 crisis. We have been running Woodcrotf Online, a full-time virtual school with some amazing extra features such as quizzes, competitions, challenges, online singing assemblies, daily jokes, story times and our weekly news videos! We have also been open every day for key worker children, even during the Easter holiday!
The Government has now directed schools to plan to get many more children back into the classroom, starting from June. We have carried out a thorough risk assessment looking at the risks of returning more children to the classroom and how we can adequately staff and accommodate pupils who come back.
Please take note of the following points:
- No final decisions about reopening will be made until after Thursday 28th May when the government reassess the current risks to children and adults in school
- School will not reopen until the governor body have adequately tested our safety planning against the most up to date information
- It is entirely a parent or carers decision when their child returns to school
- The curriculum offered will be entirely the same for pupils in school as those remaining at home
- Be aware that plans for returning will be different for every school, as we must all take into consideration things like the layout of buildings, staffing availability and pupil numbers.
Woodcroft school staff and our governors, following guidance from the education unions and the Government’s Department for Education, are devising arrangements that will allow for social distancing where possible and a range of other measures to minimise the risk of infection.
This means it is likely that the return to school will happen in gradual, staggered phases. You can understand that this is a very complicated process, with lots of variable and changing factors.
The Government has currently indicated that they would like schools to prioritise the return of pupils from Year 6, Year 1, Reception and Nursery.
It is important to be aware that schooling WILL NOT be the same as it was before the COVID-19 crisis!
It is also important to realise that guidance is changing daily – so all planning is subject to change, often at short notice!
Current Reopening Plans
To summarise our plans for reopening:
- We are hoping to welcome back some pupils from the four priority year groups in a gradual and phased manner throughout the month of June.
- We are planning for 2 year groups to start from the 1st June with the second two year groups introduced after the 15th June.
- We can only fit a maximum of 12 pupils in each classroom to maintain social distancing
- These classroom groups will stay together with one adult throughout the day; this is called a ‘Bubble Group’
- Different ‘Bubble Groups’ of up to a maximum of 12 pupils will be kept separate at ALL times
- Pupils who wish to return will be welcomed back on a bi-weekly rota. They will be in school for one week and then stay at home the next as we do not have enough staff or room to fit everyone in!
- Pupils who are in school will:
- Stay in their bubble groups with an allocated adult. Bubble groups may not be supervised by their regular classteacher and it may be with a teaching assistant
- All pupils will complete the same ‘Woodcroft Online’ work on Google Classroom, set by their actual teacher, as those who stay at home
- Children will study at an individual workstation desk spaced out from other pupils
- They will eat a packed lunch at their desks (either brought from home or provided by the school kitchen)
- Have a staggered break time in an allocated section of the playground
- Follow strict behaviour expectations. Pupils who are unable to adapt to the new ways of working in school will be sent home
- Finish at 1.00pm on a Friday to enable a deep clean ready for the second group of pupils the next week.
It must be acknowledged that we CANNOT guarantee that pupils will remain socially distant throughout the school day. Parents and carers must accept that children will be children!
We have also begun to put in place detailed plans to ensure that the school site is able to receive pupils back safely. Woodcroft has a particularly complicated layout that requires extra measures:
To summarise current arrangements for access that we are planning:
- A soft start from 8.45am to 9.30am (to avoid everyone arriving at the same time)
- Parents will leave their children with staff at the school gates (front or back); this is referred to ‘kiss and drop’
- Socially distanced, one way, queuing systems will be put in place
- The school office will be closed – contact is via telephone only
- Extended collection time from 3.00pm – 3.15pm.
- Parents will follow marked one way routes to collect children. No stopping or gathering will be allowed
- Only one adult per pupil will be asked to collect
- Older children will be encouraged to leave independently and walk home alone or meet their adult carer at an agreed place away from the school
- There will be no Breakfast Club or Acorns After School Club
We will be employing strict hygiene measures in school. Examples of the detailed protocols in place include:
- Daily temperature and health checks for all persons on site
- All persons who enter the site (pupils and adults) will be required to wash hands or sanitise. All classrooms are set up with antibacterial hand washing stations
- Additional daily cleaning routines have been established
- Scheduled toilet breaks will be timetabled
- Uniform will be optional (daily washing of clothes is recommended)
- Friday afternoon additional cleaning will take place
- Allocated equipment to reduce sharing and cross contamination
- Reduction in movement around the school. There will be no assemblies, use of dining room or visits to the music room, library or computing room
Pupils who become unwell
- Pupils who are unwell will be quarantined immediately and then sent home.
- All families in the bubble group will be notified if a child is sent home unwell.
- If a child shows any COVID-19 symptoms we will require parents to arrange for immediate testing.
- If a child tests positive then every pupil and adult in the bubble group will be required to immediately self-isolate for 14 days.
- If a member of the school community has a positive test we will notify all parents and take appropriate action to inform the relevant authorities.
What to do next
Parents in years 1, 6 Nursery and Reception have now got to make an important decision. We are asking you to indicate one of three options by 3.00pm tomorrow, Friday 22nd May.
|Choose one option A, B or C and inform the school …
A) I would definitely like my child to return to school in June.
B) I am unsure at the moment. I would like the school to ask me again after half term as I would like to reconsider once I see how things go when schools start to return.
C) I definitely do not want my child to return until September at the earliest. I am happy for my child to continue learning with Woodcroft Online.
To indicate your decision you can either:
- You can change your mind at any time and either withdraw your child from school or ask that they be reintroduced to a bubble group
- Once we have received parental indications we will then allocate pupils into bubble groups and inform families of their school starting dates
- SEND children with an EHCP will be contacted separately as we are required to carry out an additional risk assessment and make individual plans
- If we do not hear from you by 3.00pm 22nd May we will record you as an undecided ‘B’ response and contact you again after the first week in June.
Is your child clinically Vulnerable?
- If your child is clinically vulnerable we need to know. For a definition of clinical vulnerability check here
We realise that this is a complicated decision. To help parents we will be publishing our risk assessments and other supporting documents on the school website.
You will also be able to find up to date information on the Barnet website: www.barnet.gov.uk/schools-and-education
But always remember, it is likely that things will change quickly and frequently.
Thank you for all of the support that parents have given their children during the lockdown. We hope that you have valued the work provided by Woodcroft staff to support your child at this difficult time. As we enter a new and unprecedented phase in the COVID-19 crisis we will continue to do our very best to maintain the education of all of our pupils, while at the same time implementing strange and unusual school arrangements.
Whatever decision you choose to make (option A, B or C), rest assured, the safety of everyone is always foremost in our planning.
Craig Tallon (Headteacher)
- Risk Assessment Consultation
A detailed risk assessment has been carried out following local authority guidelines and with the support of an independent Health and Safety Consultant. This risk assessment is now being shared with the School Governors, Staff, Parents & Carers, relevant unions and Barnet Local Authority for consultation purposes.
Please email the Headteacher directly if you would like to comment on the risk assessment by Wednesday 27th May … email@example.com
The school is working to introduce further control measures in order to reduce any of the identified risks, including those issues expressed during the consultation, to an acceptable level.
The risk assessment will be continually update prior to a reissued on Friday 29th May. After which, and following national guidance, a final decision will be made about the school reopening from 1st June.
4. A Brief Guide To Education and the Curriculum During A Phased Reopening After 1st June
A Woodcroft we aim to support all of our pupils and families maintain their learning during the crisis. This is a not an easy thing to do … but we’ll do our very best!
Parents and Carers can download a helpful PDF guide that outlines our plans to enable this to happen during the summer term: