Frequently Asked Questions

What have the government said about September?

The government have stated that all children should return to school at the beginning of next term:

  • In welcoming all children back this autumn, schools are asked to minimise the number of contacts that a pupil has during the school day as part of implementing a system of controls.
  • There cannot be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach where the system of controls describes every scenario. School leaders will be best placed to understand the needs of their schools and communities, and to make informed judgments about how to balance delivering a broad and balanced curriculum with the measures needed to manage risk.
  • The Prime Minister will confirm the details of the September return in mid-August.

When will children start back?

New Year Group (2020/21) Current class (2019/20) Start Date
Reception 3rd/ 4th September ‘Stay and Play’ visits (see separate info.)
Year 1 Reception Monday 7th September
Years 2-6 Years 1-5 Thursday 3rd September

What will they do when they return?

We are really conscious that we want the children to settle back into school, re-establish routines and expectations and provide any reassurances they might need. Children who are happy and settled will learn well. For these reasons children will return in September to their current classes and will be taught by their current teachers for the first few weeks. During that time they will make various ‘visits’ to their new teachers and classes until they finally ‘move up’ on Monday 17th September.

Why is the start date different for the new Year 1?

Because of Covid 19 risks we are unable to make home visits for the new Reception year group. As an alternative we have organised a series of ‘Stay and Play’ sessions for the new Reception children and their parents on 3rd and 4thSeptember. As a result of this their teachers will be occupied with these children. We want the new year 1 to come back to see their own teachers, and not a cover teacher and so that is why we have organised for the new year 1 to start on Monday 7th September.

Will the timings of the day be the same?

No. The government have asked us to stagger timings to minimise numbers of people moving on and off site. Timings will be as follows:

 

New Year Groups (2020/21) Arrive from

 

am

All children must be in school by

(Registration)

End of day/ Pickup time

 

pm

Routes and gates to use
R 8.45 8.55 3.15 As current- in Somerset/ out Reception gate
1 8.45 8.55 3.15 Church Road in/out
2 8.40 8.50 3.10 Church Road in/out
3 8.45 8.55 3.20 Somerset Road
4 8.45 8.55 3.20 Somerset Road
5 8.55 9.05 3.30 Somerset Road – In through back stairs/ out to MUGA
6 8.55 9.05 3.30 Somerset Road- In and out  through Main reception

 

NB. This routine will operate until the government advises that we can do otherwise.

What if parents have to pick up siblings in different year groups?

Parents are welcome to wait in the playground at the appropriate pick up points but are asked to maintain appropriate social distancing.

Are there any other arriving and leaving considerations?

  • Please could children only be brought into school by one parent or responsible adult. This reduces the numbers of people on site.
  • Please do not linger at either drop off or pick up. As timings are tight, it is important to clear the site asap

How will the children be organised?

Children will be taught in their own classes mostly, but there will be times when they will be working across their year group. We will be operating year groups as ‘bubbles’ and attempting to avoid cross over during the daytime. It is not practical in a school of our size to operate in smaller ‘bubbles’. Activities will be organised in year groups e.g. assemblies, lunches, PE etc. This way we will be able to maintain grouping and minimise potential for the virus to spread.

What about lunchtimes and other breaks?

There will be a full cooked lunch service available from 21st September (or sooner if we can organise it). This is due to the fact that Radish, our caterers will need to bring their staff off Furlough and can only do so when we have confirmed numbers for school dinners. Until that time children will receive packed lunches instead of hot dinners. We will assume that all children who had school lunches before lockdown will continue next term. Parents need to inform the school if they wish to change this. We will be staggering lunchtimes and break times to keep year groups separate. They will have separate zones in the playground and field to play in. Wet play will be in their classrooms.

What about clubs?

  • We hope our Breakfast Club. Please note the children will be in mixed year groups for this provision. Please ask for further information from Koosa (Tel: 01276 21884 or info@koosakids.co.uk)
  • We are planning to restart other clubs from the beginning of October. More details about these will be sent out early in the Autumn term. Some of these clubs will be in mixed year groups

Do the children have to wear school uniform?

Yes. We expect all children to be in full school uniform at the beginning of next term.

How are we making the school safe? (system of controls)

We have a comprehensive Risk Assessment that is constantly being updated. This includes a wide variety of ways to minimise infection possibilities. Amongst many other things these include:

  • A thorough and regular cleaning regime. During the partial return to school we have developed a rigorous Covid19 cleaning pattern during the day and after school.
  • Development of zones outside and around the school to keep year groups separate.
  • Careful management of classroom and other resources to reduce infection possibilities such as cleaning and ‘quarantining’ some books for 72 hours before reuse.
  • We will maintain the rigorous hand washing regime and the ‘Catch it, bin it, kill it’ philosophy.
  • Clear one way priority systems around the school and other social distancing measures where children might mix with other children.
  • Moving some homework and record keeping to Google Classroom to avoid bringing too many things in to school.

Do all children have to return to school in September?

The government have stated that all children are expected to return to school in September. We will be expecting all children back. Please also take a good note of the times above, because we want all children to be punctual as well.

What if I am worried about my child coming back?

We fully understand that for some children and their parents there may be anxiety about their children returning to school. For some families lockdown has been particularly difficult, whether through family members shielding or through illness and bereavement. For some there may be separation issues after 6 months of being at home. If you feel that you might be in this situation, please talk to us. We want to help. There are many resources for you to share with your children over the summer to get them ready for coming back to school. In addition we have extra capacity in place for emotional literacy support in school.

What will the curriculum be like?

We will be resuming our normal ‘broad and balanced’ curriculum and children will be studying all subjects. The curriculum for the year group is already planned and we will be continuing this in each year group. Teachers in each year group are looking carefully at their curriculum and identifying skills and concepts that will need to be taught to enable children to move on in their learning. Some of these have been covered over the last few months through the Google classroom and class teaching for R, 1& 6 and so we hope the ‘catch up will be minimal. We want to be able to provide time to consolidate learning, so there will be some topics which may get left behind if we need to. We did a huge amount to streamline our curriculum last year, so this puts us in a good place.

Will there be SATS?

The government are intending that all statutory tests will take place next year, including:

EYFS profile/ Y1 Phonics tests/ Year 2 KS1 SATS/ Year 4 Tables tests/ Year 6 SATs.

The exact level of expectations from children are not yet clear, but we will be adopting a balanced approach to learning. Our key aim is to develop confident and secure learners.

What will the classrooms look like?

This varies throughout the school. At Reception and Year 1 children will continue with their play based learning and as such the classrooms will look similar to normal. Where children are sitting more formally at tables we will aim to have them sitting two to a table, next to each other and facing the front of the class. There is no requirement for them to socially distance in the classroom. There will be sufficient room at the front of the class to ensure the staff are protected.

Will the children be able to go on educational visits?

We have been told that day trips can take place, although in the first instance we are being cautionary and not booking day trips. We will review this as soon as we can next term.

As far as year 4 and Year 6 residential visits are concerned, we have provisional bookings in place for next year. For Year 4 we are booked at a different centre as Sayers Croft are no longer able to accommodate us. Year 6 will hopefully be able to visit the Isle of Wight. We are not sure at this stage if we will be able to organise a residential trip for Year 5 as they missed their Year 4 visit.

Will swimming lessons take place?

We are hopeful that swimming lessons will recommence next term for Years 3&4. This will be subject to the pool reopening and us approving their Covid risk assessment.

What happens if there is a Covid 19 confirmed case in school or a local lockdown?

In each case we will take advice from Public Health Richmond, but if a confirmed case is in school then we are likely to have to send a year group home to self-isolate and we will follow guidelines. If we are instructed to lockdown or a year group is asked to self-isolate, we are planning to revert to google classroom as our principal form of teaching. We are advised that at the moment any of this is extremely unlikely, but that we need to be prepared for this eventuality.

What about children’s well-being?

We want children to settle back in to school as soon as possible, and teachers have been planning activities and opportunities for children to explore the range of feelings and emotions that may need to work through when they return. This is one reason why we want them to come back to the familiarity of their current class teachers. We want to develop an environment that is consistent for the children.  We will be introducing a new scheme called ‘zones of regulation’ across the school next term which will help children manage their feelings and behaviours. There will be more information for parents next term. For the few children who need extra support we have increased capacity for emotional literacy support. There will be a key focus on well-being through the next year.

What about Parents events?

For the time being there are not supposed to be any large gatherings. We will have to think about what this means for Friends events and parent gatherings next term. The ‘Meet the teachers’ will be virtual. We are planning Parent consultations later in the term in the hope that they will be allowed. If not, we will adapt accordingly.

What could possibly go wrong?

We have done a huge amount of work to try to identify potential problems and mitigate against them, but one thing the pandemic has taught us is that you can’t predict everything and flexibility will be needed as we adapt to the ‘new normal’. One thing we are certain of is that the resilience that has served us well so far will see us through. Please work with us, particularly when things do not go as planned!