We reopened school to all of our children, from Nursery to Y6, on Thursday 3rd September. New guidance is still coming in regularly, so please be aware that any of the points covered below could change at a moment's notice. As a Local Authority maintained school, we have to follow guidance from the government and Derbyshire County Council (DCC).
Please see the letter to parents/carers below from Dean Wallace, Director of Public Health for Derbyshire.
Can I see pictures of the site?
Please select the link below.
Will school definitely be able to remain open?
We're hoping so - but this will depend on whether Derbyshire schools have to close in response to a localised lockdown or whether Public Health England (PHE) advise us to close in response to a positive case in school. See the question below about school's response to a coronavirus test which returns positive.
How will I know whether school is opening?
You can assume that school will be open unless informed otherwise. If school has to close, we will text parents, and then publish the information on the front page of our website and Facebook. If you have changed your phone number, please let us know by contacting the office.
Does my child have to attend school?
The government has made it clear that children must attend school full-time, and that fines for poor attendance resumed in September. We understand that some of you may be worried about your children coming to school, but we have put many measures in place to reduce the risk. See the question below.
In case of closure, does school have a remote learning platform?
Yes. We are using Google Classroom. It allows teachers to interact with children by setting work and having children complete and submit this online, in case school or one of our bubbles has to close. We can switch to this system quickly in the event of a school-wide or bubble closure. Your child has a letter with their login username and password, and links to online pages with instructions for using Google Classroom. If you have any problems accessing remote learning, please contact us, and we can help. We will also keep updating our Home Learning page.
Is it safe for children?
Following government guidance, we have been working hard to reduce the risks. The government is basing their decision to reopen schools on scientific advice, but the virus is contagious so the risk is not zero. The guidance states:
"The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from coronavirus (COVID-19) is very low and there are negative health impacts of being out of school... Given the improved position, the balance of risk is now overwhelmingly in favour of children returning to school. For the vast majority of children, the benefits of being back in school far outweigh the very low risk from coronavirus..."
Thorough cleaning of the whole school takes place daily; regular disinfection of surfaces; and soap dispensers and hand sanitisers have been installed around the site. We are following government guidance regarding layout of classrooms and furnishings. Classrooms have been modified to have forward-facing desks as much as possible. Children have their own stationery, and frequent hand-washing is built into the school day.
Will school be checking children's temperature?
No. PHE is clear that routinely taking the temperature of pupils is not recommended as this is an unreliable method for identifying coronavirus.
What is a 'bubble'?
A bubble is a group of children who work, play, and spend their day together. In our school, each class is a bubble, and (in line with government guidance) we have taken steps to help keep bubbles separate.
What will happen if a child begins to show coronavirus symptoms while in school?
The child will be calmly taken to a well-ventilated room. Their parents will be contacted and asked to take them home, and engage with NHS Test and Trace. Their household should then self-isolate, following the government's "Stay at Home" guidance. If a child's test returns positive, we will contact PHE and follow their advice. This may mean that the child's bubble and staff members will be required to self-isolate and not attend school. This will also apply if a staff member tests positive. This situation is known as 'the closure of a bubble'. All children can be tested, including children under 5, but children will need to be helped by their parents if they are using a home testing kit. See the question below about getting a test, and the quick reference guide at the bottom of the page.
What if a member of a child's family becomes symptomatic?
The child must not attend school, and parents must contact the school office and engage with NHS Test and Trace. The household should then self-isolate, following the government's "Stay at Home" guidance. If the test returns positive, we will contact PHE and follow their advice. This may mean that the child's bubble and staff members will be required to self-isolate and not attend school. This situation is known as 'the closure of a bubble'. All children can be tested, including children under 5, but children will need to be helped by their parents if they are using a home testing kit. See the question below about getting a test, and the quick reference guide at the bottom of the page.
If my child's bubble has to close, can his/her siblings still attend school?
If a child's bubble is closed, but the child does not have coronavirus symptoms themselves, then their siblings can still attend school. Their household can still go about their daily business unless the child develops symptoms, in which case the household will need to self-isolate and the child should get a test. Whether the test is positive, negative or inconclusive, the child will still need to continue their isolation for 14 days in case symptoms develop during this time.
If we travel abroad to a country not on the list of 'travel corridors', will my child have to self-isolate?
Yes - the list of countries exempt from the restriction is here on the government's website. Your household will have to self-isolate for 14 days if the country is not on the exemption list, but the good news is that those 14 days will not incur a fine. See the quick reference guide at the bottom of the page. Please be aware that the government has reinstated fines for unauthorised holidays taken during term time. Our attendance page has more information about this.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
You can find a detailed video on the BBC's site at this link. The symptoms are:
As we approach the cold and bugs season, children will start to get colds. Runny noses are not on the symptoms list, and we are happy for children to attend with a cold if they feel well enough to do so. If you are in any doubt, call 111 (NHS) or 119 (coronavirus helpline) for advice.
Should we be self-isolating, and for how long?
There's guidance coming in from many sources, and a lot of people are finding it hard to know whether to self-isolate, who in the household should self-isolate, and for how long. The video at this link gives some clear and useful information.
Where can I get a coronavirus test?
There are three different types of test centres:
Some test centres will administer the test for you, and some will ask you to swab and pass the test(s) back. Then it gets sent to the lab. Almost all test centres are open from 8AM – 8PM. The test result will say whether someone has coronavirus at the point of testing - but not whether they have had the virus in the past (this is known as an antibody test, which is not yet widely available). See the government's 'Get a test' page.
Here are the test centres in the East Midlands:
|Corby||Local Test Site||James Ashworth Square||NN17 1QG|
|Kettering||Local Test Site||London Road||NN15 2CF|
|Leicester||Remote Test Site||Birstall Park & Ride||LE4 4NP|
|Leicester||Local Test Site||Highfield Centre||LE2 0DS|
|Leicester||Local Test Site||Overton Road Ballpark||LE5 0JB|
|Leicester||Local Test Site||Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre||LE4 6LF|
|Leicester||Local Test Site||Bushloe House, Wigston||LE18 2DR|
|Leicester||Local Test Site||Jubilee Square||LE1 5LB|
|Lincoln||Local Test Site||Lincolnshire Country Showground||LN2 2NA|
|Northampton||Local Test Site||Market Square||NN1 2DL|
|Nottingham||Remote Test Site||Motorpoint Arena Car Park||NG2 4LA|
|Wellingborough||Local Test Site||Market Square||NN8 1AF|
You can also use Google to locate a test centre. Open Google Search and enter ‘Covid-19 test centre near me’. You will see a list of test centres nearest to you on a map.
If at any stage anyone cannot cope with their symptoms or their condition significantly worsens, call the NHS 111 service – or in a medical emergency, call 999. You can also call the coronavirus helpline on 119.
What if I can't get to a test centre? Can I get a home testing kit?
You can go online and order a testing kit for yourself and up to three members of your household at this link or by calling 119. These kits will be posted to the address you supply, and you'll need to return the tests via a Royal Mail priority postbox. You can find your nearest priority box at this link (please tick the priority box). See the question below about how to use a home testing kit.
Can school provide a home testing kit?
School has a limited number of tests to supply to people who cannot get a test by the means above. The government is clear that these are only to be used under exceptional circumstances, and only where the person has developed symptoms while in school. Individuals should not visit school to pick up a testing kit, nor attend/visit school if they have developed symptoms outside of school premises. We regret that school cannot test children on site, nor give children a testing kit to take home.
How do I use a home testing kit?
A parent/carer will need to take charge of the test, and administer it to children under the age of 11. These test kits are suitable for any individual, including children of primary age.
Importantly, you must take the test, register the test and return the test via a Royal Mail priority postbox all on the same day.
What if a test comes back positive?
For individuals who are symptomatic and/or test positive for coronavirus please follow the latest NHS guidance, which can be found at 'When to self-isolate and what to do'. Households must then self-isolate for 14 days. For guidance on responding to coronavirus in children, please read the guidance at 'Coronavirus in children'. The current clinical advice is that the child may come back to school after the isolation period if they are well enough, as they are no longer contagious.
What if a test comes back negative?
Children can end their isolation if they have a negative coronavirus result and there are no symptoms. Children can come back to school when they are well enough to do so and if their bubble is open. However, if further symptoms develop, they will need to isolate again and take another test.
What if a test comes back inconclusive?
Another test should be ordered and taken. If the child has no symptoms, they can come back to school. If they are symptomatic, they should continue to isolate for 10 days, and until they are better.
Should everyone in the household be tested?
If they become symptomatic, then yes. Only people who become symptomatic need to be tested.
What are the children learning in school?
When the new school year started, our priority for all children was their wellbeing after lockdown. Staff ran activities designed to get children talking about their experiences, and to help them through any difficulties. Thankfully, we are now in a position where we can return to teaching school's full curriculum which includes good learning behaviours. We will continue to put additional measures in place for individual children who have specific needs, and will involve external agencies if that becomes necessary. See our Recovery Curriculum page for more information.
How are classes ('bubbles') organised?
We are adhering to the government’s guidelines which state that schools should put in measures to minimise the number of contacts that a child has during the school day. This has been termed the 'bubble' approach. Children working in the same class are known as a bubble. Unfortunately, as things stand, this does mean that different classes will not be able to play or learn together as we have to keep them separate. This will be kept under review and we will relax this as soon as we are allowed to.
What is the start of the school day like?
For social-distancing purposes, each bubble has been given a starting time and a specific school entrance. These begin from 8.45AM. The entrance and timing helps to reduce groups of children from other bubbles crossing paths. Please try your best to stick to the starting time. We want to avoid having queues as much as we can. Information about starting times and entrances for each bubble was sent out with school reports, and you can also find this here.
To reduce the number of people on site, we are asking for just one adult to bring their child to school, although if you have children in different bubbles, it's fine for other family members to help. We would appreciate adults wearing face coverings if this is possible. Adults also need to ensure that they socially distance themselves from other adults and children. This means queuing in a similar way to a supermarket. 2 metre intervals are marked. Some children walk to school on their own, and this is fine. They can join the queue. The government has made it clear that parents and families should not gather at the school gates.
What is the end of the school day like?For social-distancing purposes, each bubble has been given a finishing time and a specific school entrance. These begin from 15.15PM. The entrance and timing helps to reduce groups of children from other bubbles crossing paths. Please try your best to stick to the finishing time, and to avoid congestion as other bubbles leave, please try to leave the site as promptly as possible. Information about finishing times and entrances for each bubble was sent out with school reports, and you can also find this here.
To reduce the number of people on site, we are asking for just one adult to collect their child from school, although if you have children in different bubbles, it's fine for other family members to help. We would appreciate adults wearing face coverings if this is possible. While waiting for their children, adults need to use the markers to keep themselves separate from other adults and children. Some children walk home from school on their own, and this is fine. The government has made it clear that parents and families should not gather at the school gates.
What if I have children in different bubbles with the same start/finish times?
We can make this work. Please don't worry if your children are entering or leaving from different parts of the site. At the start of the day, teachers will know to expect these children in a few minutes late; and at the end of the day, these children can wait with their teacher for the adult to pick them up at their school entrance/exit.
What does EYFS (Nursery and Reception) look like?
The government guidance says:
"Early years settings only need to use reasonable endeavours to deliver the learning and development requirements set out in the EYFS. We understand that these are exceptional circumstances and the priority at this time is keeping children safe and well cared for. As far as possible, children should benefit from a broad range of educational opportunities."
In the Nursery and Reception bubbles, our children are accessing the EYFS curriculum through a range of independent and teacher-led activities. They are learning by interacting and playing together, both inside and outside of the classroom - but with a few extra measures in place.
You can drop off and pick up your child at the Nursery entrance, using the social-distancing markers. Children wash their hands as soon as they have hung up their coats, and are encouraged to wash their hands more frequently throughout the day - before snacks and lunchtimes, and after playing with playdough/messy activities. Children also have access to a 'snuffle station' which has soap and tissues, and they follow the government's 'catch it, bin it, kill it' approach to good hygiene. If you can get your child into good hygiene habits at home, then this helps them when they are doing it at school.
Rooms are well ventilated, and the outdoor area is always open for the children to access activities outside. We ask that you dress your child for the weather (coats, boots, etc.) as they have access to the outdoors whatever the weather. Our EYFS staff remain vigilant in cleaning the setting thoroughly throughout the day. Tables and surfaces are cleaned often and shared equipment (e.g. the playdough resources) are washed and cleaned the day before, to ensure they are ready for the next school day.
With all these measures in place, we want to reassure you that your child will still be nurtured and cared for as before. We will keep you informed about any changes through the 'Teddy Times' newsletter and our website.
What is the recommended way to travel to school?
In line with government advice, please try to avoid using public transport if you can. We have areas where children can leave scooters and bikes, and lots of families walk to school. If you must use public transport, then face coverings are mandatory. When arriving at school, children's disposable face masks must be disposed of in the bin next to their school entrance. Reusable face masks must be placed in a plastic bag which children can take home with them. Please talk to your child about not touching the front of the face covering when using it, or disposing of it. All children are asked to wash their hands when arriving at school, before heading into their classrooms.
What equipment/clothing do children need?
We are reinstating school uniform as we think it is important to return to some sense of normality (as much as possible). Please see the ordering information in the question below. The guidance says that uniforms do not need to be cleaned more often than normal, nor in any special way. Children will need a PE kit and water bottle. They can bring their own equipment (e.g. stationery, lunchboxes, hats, coats, gloves, etc.) but these must not be shared, and kept to a minimum as much as possible. Reading and homework books can also be taken to and from school. As usual, children in KS2 may bring a healthy snack; EYFS and KS1 children get a piece of fruit as a snack during morning break.
Can parents/carers come into school?
Unfortunately not, and we sincerely regret that, as we're all about our community. We are trying our utmost to ensure that the areas inside school remain sanitised as thoroughly as possible, and having other people in school risks compromising that. If you need to contact school staff, you can do so by phone or email using our contact details.
What if my child needs medicine during the day?
We are asking parents to give their child any medicine before they come to school, and to stagger the dosage times so that they are able to do this. Please call the school office if you have any further questions regarding medicine.
Will staff be wearing PPE (e.g. facemasks, visors, etc.)?
On a day-to-day basis, that is up to the member of staff. We need to support our staff if they are worried about their own health and safety, or that of a member of their household. Please help your child to understand that people sometimes wear masks, so that this does not come as a surprise. Teachers talk to children sensitively about people in school and the community wearing PPE. If a situation arises where an adult does need to get close to a child (e.g. an accident), then the member of staff who deals with it will be wearing PPE (facemask/visor, gloves, sleeve protectors, and apron).
Can my child wear PPE?
That is not recommended by PHE, and could be quite problematic for younger children especially; but that is parents' choice. The guidance states:
"Public Health England does not (based on current evidence) recommend the use of face coverings in schools. This evidence will be kept under review. They are not required in schools as pupils and staff are mixing in consistent groups, and because misuse may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission. There may also be negative effects on communication and thus education."
Is the school kitchen open?
Yes. Children receive meals as usual. Children in Reception, Y1 and Y2 still get their Universal Free School Meal, and children who are eligible for Free School Meals get those as usual. Children can bring packed lunches instead, if this is preferred.
How do I pay for school dinners?
Dinner money should be sent in with your child as normal at the beginning of each week. Please do not enter school to give this into the office personally. The cost of school meals is £2.20, which works out at £11.00 per week. It would be really helpful if you could send this in at the beginning of each week.
What if I need to drop something else off at school?
Please ensure your child has everything they need when you send them in. Due to the virus' ability to persist on surfaces, there is an increased risk of the virus being passed on if belongings are dropped off and passed along to children during the school day.
What if I need to buy some school uniform?
We are currently not selling uniform to parents from school, but you can order this directly from our supplier, Andrew Hyde. You can do this in three ways, and the order will be delivered directly to you:
Will specialist agencies be visiting schools?
We have many agencies who provide extra services to school to help pupils who have specific needs, e.g. Educational Psychology, Speech and Language Therapy, etc. At the moment, they are working remotely, and we don't know yet when they will be able to visit schools in person. Fortunately, the technology is working and we have had sessions delivered to children successfully via a video call. We’ll let you know when we know any more about this.
How do I get more information?
You can use our email@example.com email address to ask questions. We might not have all the answers, but we'll try our best!
Thank you all for your understanding and support during these strange times.
Please rest assured that we are doing all we can to reduce the risk and deliver the best education possible
within these restrictions.
We will keep you informed all the way.