Return to School September 2021
Letter from Mr Deane (September 2021)
Dear parents and carers,
A difficult and challenging school year is drawing to a close. The pandemic is still with us and no one can be certain about how the delta variant of the COVID 19 virus will develop over the summer closure. Will cases, hospitalisations and deaths rise, plateau and then be falling as we return to school in September? We simply do not know.
I felt it best to write today to explain the school’s current plans for our September 2021 return with the huge caveat that these plans could all completely change depending on what happens over the summer.
At the moment, school has received new guidance from the Department for Education (DFE) based on and reflecting the government’s intention to proceed with the re-opening of society and ending of many previously mandatory COVID related regulations from Monday 19th July 2021.
- School will re-open largely as normal on Tuesday 7th September 2021 for all children ( except the new nursery pupils)
- Lessons will begin for ALL pupils at 8.55am. Children will not be required to line up as they used to prior to the pandemic and can enter their classes from 8.45am giving children a 10 minute window to come into class and get settled ready for the start of learning at 8.55am.
- All children finish school at the same time at 3.15pm except on Catch up Mondays when the finishing time will be 3.45pm for all.
- Children and staff will be able to mix freely and the separation of classes/bubbles will end
- There will be no requirement to wear face coverings for either children or staff either in the classroom or in communal areas (although of course if anyone does wish to exercise caution and continue with face coverings they are free to do so).
Virus control measures
School has in place a new Risk Assessment for September 2021 which is available on the school website and sets out in detail our control measures. In brief these include:
- School will continue to ensure good hand hygiene for everyone. The “catch it, kill it, bin it” message will be re-enforced.
- School will maintain an appropriate cleaning regime
- School will ensure occupied spaces are as well ventilated as possible
- School will always follow public health advice on testing, self – isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID 19. In short, those with symptoms should remain at home and get a lateral flow test and if this is positive get a PCR test to confirm this result. Those pupils or staff with a positive result will be required to self –isolate.
- Children who have been in contact with a positive case of COVID will no longer be required to self –isolate. This will mean in practice that if there is a positive case in a class in September, whilst the child or adult testing positive will be required to self –isolate, the rest of the class can continue to attend school as normal.
As I stated at the outset, these plans are preliminary and subject to change should official guidance change. I will do my utmost to update all parents in a timely manner if changes to the plans set out above are required.
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch via the school office.
Thank you for your help and support of this most unusual school year. Let’s hope and pray the next year brings better times.
Mr Deane OBE
Letter from Mr Deane re School Opening - January 2021
FULL RE- OPENING OF SCHOOL FROM WEDNESDAY 2nd SEPTEMBER 2020.
Dear parents and carers,
As you will know, school has safely re-opened to some year groups for the last 6 weeks (since Monday 8th June). This has meant that 165 children, representing 1/3 of the total school population have safely and successfully re-started their education this half term.
Thank you to all the children, parents and staff who have so sensibly and responsibly followed our new safety measures around social distancing and working in bubbles.
There has been no reported transmission of the virus within the school community and NO pupil or member of staff has tested positive for COVID 19 since our return. This gives us confidence that our new safety measures are working well to minimise any risk of spreading the virus.
The government want all primary schools to build on this successful partial re-opening and now move to a full reopening for ALL PUPILS beginning Wednesday 2nd September 2020.
The government have made the return of pupils mandatory from September 2020 and I need to emphasise to parents that it will become unlawful to NOT send pupils back to school after the summer holiday.
We do recognise that some families and pupils may have some anxieties and worries about this, especially where they have not been in regular schooling since March. We want to support any families who are especially anxious about returning to school and we are here to help with this by explaining the many new safety measures we have already established this half term.
Notwithstanding that it will become unlawful again not to send children to school, can I also remind parents of the many benefits of all children returning to full time education in September:
- Children need to re-start their education so they can “catch –up” on missed learning and go on to reach their full potential at school and later in the world of work. We want to help all our children become successful.
- We know our children love learning and are stimulated and engaged by it.
- All children thrive on routine and they need to re-establish the good habit of coming to school each day, Monday to Friday, on time. This will help them re-instate a clear structure in their daily lives and also help their mental health and well-being.
- Children will have missed their friends in class and also their teachers
Below is a very brief outline of the safety measures we will be taking in school to prevent the spread of infection:
- Children will be educated in “Year Group Bubbles”. The children in each year group bubble will stay together all day, every day – whilst learning, eating lunch and at playtimes – to limit the spread of the virus.
- Children in each year group bubble will use the same classrooms, the same resources and be taught by the same adults every day – to limit the spread of the virus.
- Years 3 to Year 6 will sit in rows adjacent to each other facing the front. For younger children in the Early Years this will be more of a challenge but staff will encourage children to remain apart and explain why this is important now.
- The single most important measure we will take is to do everything possible to make sure that pupils within one year group bubble do not mix with other pupils from another bubble. THIS IS ESSENTIAL TO LIMIT THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS.
- Therefore playtimes and lunchtimes will be staggered and the playground itself separated into zones so bubbles don’t mix
- There will be a one –way system in use within school so pupils do not mix with other groups.
- A staggered start and end to the day to avoid pupils and adults mixing
- Regular, supervised handwashing and hand sanitiser - 6 times per day – on entry to school, before and after playtime, before and after lunch, and before leaving school.
- Enhanced cleaning procedures within each class on all hard surfaces and around school on frequently touched surfaces like door handles etc
Above are just a very brief summary of safety measures we will be undertaking. There are many other safety measures too numerous to mention here to keep all pupils and staff safe.
Parents can help by:
Parents can help by dropping off and picking up their children promptly at the new staggered times set out below;
Year 5 and Year 6
Year 3 and Year 4
Year 1 and Year 2
New drop off time
New pick up time
- Parents should enter the alleyways as usual, hand children over to staff immediately and leave via the pedestrian gate at the bottom of the staff car park. Please do not linger to talk to staff or other parents or congregate in groups.
- Please do not send your child into school if they are sick. The main symptoms of coronavirus are a new, continuous cough, a high temperature or a change to the senses of smell and taste; however, other symptoms include vomiting/diarrhoea and generally feeling unwell. It is important that if your child (or someone living in your household) has any of the symptoms identified, that you DO NOT send your child into school. If your child has a temperature and you have given them medicine for this, you must still keep them at home. The medicine will temporarily mask a raised temperature, but they may still have the virus.
- Please send children in clean school uniform every day.
Your child’s new teacher for September 2020 will be:
Name of current teacher
Name of new teacher in September 2020
Nursery ( Miss Partington)
Mrs McGuire ( Reception M)
Nursery ( Miss Cotton)
Miss Ward (Reception W)
Reception -Miss Ward
Mrs Clifford ( Y1C)
Reception – Miss Bates
Miss Sale ( Y1S)
Year 1 – Miss Sale
Miss Lavin (Y2L)
Year 1 – Miss Carlton
Miss Stephens (Y2S)
Year 2 – Miss Stephens
Miss Riley (Y3R)
Year 2 – Miss Lavin
Miss McDonagh (Y3M)
Year 3 – Miss Riley
Mrs Williamson (Y4W)
Year 3 – Miss McDonagh
Miss Platt (Y4P)
Year 4 – Mrs Williamson
Miss Robinson (Y5R)
Year 4- Miss Platt
Miss Chronnell (Y5C)
Year 5 – Miss Robinson
Mr Stenton (Y6S)
Year 5 – Miss Daly/ Mrs Williams
Miss Lomas (Y6L)
Other key changes to note
- There will be no breakfast club or after school club the first week back, although this will be reviewed
- There will be no toast for children in the mornings so please don’t send in any money. Children can bring a piece of fruit instead
- All queries and questions should wherever possible be managed by phoning the office or emailing school
- Only one parent will be allowed into the school reception/security lobby at a time and a queue system (2 metres) apart outside to be observed similar to supermarkets
- Any child who becomes ill will be immediately isolated within school and parents asked to collect them immediately
Medically highly vulnerable pupils :
There may be a very tiny number of pupils who remain unable to attend school because they are acting upon the written advice of a GP or other medical practitioner. School will require written evidence of this .School will continue to provide daily, on line learning for only these pupils until further notice.
Please note – school will not provide any home learning for pupils who should be attending but choose not to. School will have to follow the law and record these pupils as an unauthorised absence.
I do hope this letter sets out the school’s current position clearly and no doubt I will be in touch again in the near future with another update.
If you have questions or queries please use the school email address:
Mr Deane OBE
Returning to School Information for September 2020
We are continuing with our plans to open St Thomas of Canterbury to our keyworker and vulnerable children, as well as those children from Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 whose parents have indicated their child is returning.
Please make arrangements to bring your children at the times stated by Mr Deane in his last letter, which is also available on the school website (parents-letters).
Year 6 : 8:30am - pick up 2.45pm
Year 5: 8.30am - pick up 2.45pm
Year 4: 8:40am - Pick up 2.55pm
Year 3: 8:40am - Pick up 2.55pm
Year 2: 8.50am - Pick up 3.05pm
Year 1: 8:50am - Pick up 3.05pm
Acorn: 9.00am - pick up 3.15pm
Reception: 9.00am - pick up 3.15pm
Nursery: 9.10am - pick up 3.15pm
All children are to wear clean uniform each day.
If your child is bringing a packed lunch please ensure it is in a throw away bag. Please note there will be no toast, milk or fruit provided in school, but the children may bring a healthy snack.
May we also add, visits to the school office must be kept to a minimum. Please telephone or email in the first instance, and only visit where absolutely necessary. Social distancing is in operation around the reception area, so your patience would be appreciated. Only one family will be allowed into the school reception/security area at a time and a queuing system of 2 metres apart outside is to be observed.
Thank you for your cooperation in this matter,