Latest School News

We will now colour code the latest news, as we are aware that many of you have limited time at the moment - red is  essential info, orange is good to know and green is if you have time.

Friday 22nd May 2020 - Information from South Gloucestershire Council

South Gloucestershire has the following guidance for parents and carers in PreSchool Settings, Child Minders, Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.

The following FAQs have been devised for parents and carers on what to expect and how to prepare their child for increased contact with schools/settings in the re-opening, which will be phased for Primary Schools.

Are schools/settings re-opening after half term?

All schools are already open in South Gloucestershire for the children of key workers (KW) and vulnerable group (VG) pupils. We have been encouraging vulnerable families to send their children to school as we believe that this is the safest place for them in the widest sense and are grateful to South Gloucestershire schools who do not want to see children’s learning compromised at a very difficult time.  We have seen a number of settings remain open across the Local Authority and have ensured that there has been sufficient places for demand. 

How will schools/settings open differently after half term?

The government has asked Early Years (EY) providers to open for all of their intake by June 1st.  

Primary phase has been asked to open more widely to pupils from Nursery, Reception and Years 1 and 6, where it is safe to do so from June 1st.

What about other year groups?

The government has yet to issue its guidance to secondary phase education but there is an expectation that they will increase contact with Year 10 pupils and increase the offer to include Year 12 before the end of term.

How are schools preparing to open more widely and how will I know if my child will be getting a place and how to come to school?

All South Gloucestershire Early Years (EY) settings, primary and secondary schools are risk assessing their sites in relation to the need for social distancing.

They have been asked to prioritise as follows;

  • Maintaining the existing offer to Vulnerable Group pupils and Key Worker children
  • Keeping staff and pupils safe by maintaining social distancing and much smaller group sizes
  • Adding in other groups as and when the risk assessment allows

When they have risk assessed and converted their setting/school site for wider attendance at a safe distance, they will contact you and ask you about your needs and then explain what the changes will mean for you and your child.

Will all children in Year 1 and 6, Reception, Nursery and pre-schools get a full time place?

Schools and settings were not built for class sizes this small or with a need for this level of social distancing. Your school/setting leaders are going to accommodate as many pupils as they can safely do so whilst maintaining their existing commitments and the safety of everyone in school.

Will this opening happen in the w/b 1st June?

The government has confirmed that they will say whether they believe that it is safe to do so on the 28th May, so be prepared for changes in plans.  All schools/settings will continue their offer to Key Worker and Vulnerable Groups on this date, the wider offer will then depend on what the schools are able to deliver based on their risk assessments.  

I am a key worker how will things change for me and my child?

Schools have been asked to continue to prioritise the children of key workers, whose parents cannot work from home and vulnerable group pupils.

My school/setting has offered me a place for my child but I am afraid of sending them into the school/setting.

Schools/settings in South Gloucestershire care very much about the well-being of their workforce and their pupils/children. They and their Governing Bodies/Committees will not open unless they believe they can make this as safe as possible for all on site and the families they return to each day.

The government has decided that parents should be ‘strongly encouraged’ to have their children attend schools. However, parents will not be fined if they choose for their children not to attend school.  We see this ultimately as a parental decision.

How might schools/settings look different?

England will be the first place in the UK to have a gradual return of some pupils in Early Years and primary phase; however there are some places where this is underway elsewhere in Europe.

This article on Denmark’s educational settings, shows some of the things that your children can expect if they return to schools/settings in June or July.

Schools and settings in England have a different context and they are recommending smaller groups than the UK government, however some of the pictures in this article are helpful in starting to visualise how schools/settings will have changed since your child was last attending.

How can parents/carers support their child and settings/schools in preparing for increased contact with settings/schools?

Start to increase the number of times that you encourage your child to wash their hands and support them in maintaining social distance.

Look at how they could walk or cycle to the school/setting to reduce congestion and because being outdoors is a safer space and practice the journey together.

Read settings’/schools’ joining instructions, most will not want parents and other adults on site and will have set out safe entry and exit points. 

Arrive at the time you are asked to attend and don’t arrive early or linger later.

Explain any changes in behaviour policies to your child, social distancing is really important and although schools/settings and pupils have missed each other, it’s important that we keep each other safe.

 Schools/settings will tell you what children can/should wear and whether they can bring any kit or food with them; make your child aware of any changes.

It will help if you can explain that they will be in different groups to March and may have a different class teacher/TA/setting worker. This is because class sizes will be halved at least. Pupils will be in a “pod” or group with the same adults/s. This will mean that if there were a case of C-19 that just the class would be sent home for self-isolation.  The setting/school environment will also look different, so engaging them in conversations about their day and the changes will be really important.

Support for families away from schools.

Testing.

The guidance and access to testing is changed and updated regularly, so it is worth following the link to the latest guidance.

Government Guidance for Parents

This link is updated regularly and subject to change.

Thursday 21st May 2020

Dear Parents

Following on from recent communications, we would like to give you full details of how we intend to re-open our school in Term 6. We are sure you appreciate this situation is constantly evolving and when forming our plans we have been closely following guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) and Local Authority (LA).

It is our intention to start our phased re-opening to children on Tuesday 2nd June following a day of staff Health and Safety training on Monday 1st June. A number of rigorous safety and operational measures need to be put in to place to ensure the safety of pupils and staff as there will be significantly more people in school adhering to social distancing rules. Monday will provide time for staff to familiarise themselves with these and to ensure there is full understanding of all the new operational procedures. (Please note school will remain open for Key Worker children on Monday 1st June).

The purpose of this letter is to provide you with as much information as possible so you have a clear understanding of how the phased re-opening will work. Apologies if some of the information below is information you have already received.

General Information:

Following LA advice we will be introducing Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children in a phased approach. This is to ensure all groups are introduced in a safe and manageable manner.

Please see schedule below:

 

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3 

Key Worker/vulnerable children

Mon- Fri

Mon- Fri

Mon- Fri

Reception

In from Tues 2nd June – Thursday 4th

Mon – Thurs

Mon – Thurs

Year 1

In  Wed 3rd June and Thursday 4th

Mon – Thurs

Mon – Thurs

Year 6

Not in during week 1

Mon – Thurs

Mon – Thurs

 

 

In order to facilitate online learning for the rest of the school and carry out a thorough deep clean of the school and resources, the school will only be open for Key Worker children on Fridays.

Each year group will be split into smaller groups of no more than 15 pupils. Each group will be known as a ‘bubble’. Children will be directed to their bubble on their first day in. There will be no movement between the bubbles during the school day. Each bubble will remain together and separate from others at break and lunch time. Please note, your child may not be taught by their usual class teacher. It is important for your child to understand that with classes being split into bubbles of no more than 15 pupils, there will be members of their class that they will not be able to see or communicate with during the school day. This may be upsetting for them but is the only way we can try to maintain social distancing as recommended by LA guidance.

Having three year groups, plus children of Key workers, in school means that we need to have seven bubbles, see details below (this may increase if more key worker pupils attend). 7 classrooms are therefore occupied, leaving us little room for additional pupils.  Having this many pupils in such a small area under the current circumstances means that it is important all procedures and guidelines are understood by pupils, staff and parents, in order to ensure everyone’s safety and prevent germs spreading.

Social Distancing

Throughout this pandemic, the Government has clearly stated that we need to stay 2 metres away from each other to avoid spreading the virus. The Government has continued to maintain this advice for the phased return of schools. It states that people should ‘maintain social distancing where possible’.  Although we thoroughly agree with the two metre rule, we need to state from the beginning that this will not be possible at all times. Despite all the strict guidelines we have put in place, there will be instances of pupils not maintaining 2 metres and being in contact with items that have been touched by others.

 

On site safety

Maintaining social distancing within the school site is of the utmost importance so we ask you to closely follow the directions you will be given by staff and the signs that have been put up.

 

Drop off and Pick-up

Please ensure you check your child’s temperature and wash their hands before leaving for school.

Please do not send your child to school if they have a temperature above normal, a new and continuous cough or a loss of taste or smell. Please also note, if any member of your household is currently displaying Covid-19 symptoms, your child should not be brought into school.

Please drop off your child at your designated time at the front entrance to the playground and leave the site immediately by the route marked out. Please do not arrive any earlier than ten minutes before the time your child starts. Please follow the one way system in and out of the school site. At pick up, please come at your allotted time and stand 2 metres distance from others. Once your child is brought to you, please leave the site straight away. Only one parent should drop off or pick up. Year 6 pupils who normally walk home by themselves can continue to do so.

 

Staggered start times

 

Year Group

Start of day

End of day

Year 6 and key worker children / vulnerable children

8:55am

3:30pm

Year 1

9:15 am

3:15pm

Reception

9:30am

3pm 

 

Please note siblings can arrive together at the start time for the earliest child.

 

Cleaning and Toilets

Cleaning will take place by the staff throughout the school day. This will involve thoroughly wiping down surfaces, resources and cleaning toilet and sink areas etc. If possible children will be encouraged to clean their desk area at set points throughout the day.

Toilets will be allocated to a class and children will be supervised when walking to the toilet in order to avoid children from other bubbles mixing.

 

Handwashing and hygiene

Staff and pupils will be asked to wash their hands at regular intervals throughout the day. We will also maintain our procedures around coughing, sneezing and disposing of tissues.

 

Uniform

Pupils are expected to wear school uniform.  Guidance suggests that all clothes should be washed at a warm temperature as soon as a person gets home, to reduce the risk of potentially taking germs into the home.

 

Sun Cream

With the sunny weather and the hope that pupils are able to spend plenty of time outside, please ensure that pupils come to school wearing sun cream. We will not be able to apply this during the school day.

 

Classrooms and use of resources

Classrooms have been re-arranged so that tables are at the appropriate distance apart. All pupils will have their own allocated table and chair which they will use every day, including at lunch time. Each pupil will have their own individual tray of resources (pencils etc.) which they will use; these will be cleaned each day. They will record their work in their normal school books or on paper. Other shared equipment/toys etc will be cleaned regularly throughout the school day. Please do not send your child in with their own pencil case or reading books. Pupils should only bring their lunch, water bottles and sun hat.  Please do not let your child bring in any toys or other objects. Pupils in Year 6 who walk home alone may bring in a mobile phone. Their phones will be stored in a secure drawer in their classroom.

 

Organisation of Bubbles

 

Bubble

Reception

 

Bubble

1 a

Bubble

1 b

Bubble

Key workers 1

Bubble

Key workers 2

Bubble

6 a

Bubble

6 b

Staff

Mrs Lever/ Mrs Turnbull 

 

Mrs Deliot

 

Mrs Klawitter

Miss Eatherington

 

Mrs Herniman

Miss Molloy/

Mrs Atkins

 

Mrs Sweeney

Miss Westhead

 

Mr Burke

 

Mrs Hodges

 

Mrs Evans

Mrs Webster/

Mrs Sullivan

 

Ms. Cabrera

 

Mrs Thomson

 

Miss Horsley

 

Mrs Wedlake-Williams

Miss Fitzgerald

 

Ms Power 

These are the staff that we are currently expecting to be in each bubble over the course of the week – this may change due to any changes of staff availability and individual circumstances. Please note staff will not mix with other bubbles. You will be notified in due course as to which bubble your child is in. The allocation of children to bubbles is based on class teacher knowledge of the class.

 

Lunches and snacks

Lunches will be eaten in classrooms and will be staggered so bubbles do not mix.  Children will need a packed lunch unless they are Free School Meals or KS1, as a packed lunch will be provided for them. Pupils should bring their own water bottles and snacks - it is suggested that each child brings in two bottles, plus a drink in their lunchbox. Children will keep their lunch boxes under their chairs and place their water bottles on their desk. Any wrappers and food uneaten will remain in their lunchbox and sent home to dispose of.

Please note that we will no longer be providing a morning snack for Reception pupils.

 

Priorities for Teaching

As mentioned before the priority in terms of teaching and learning will initially be focussed on mental health, emotional and social needs. Children will need to share and have time to process their experiences at home and any anxieties they may have. Time will also be given to outside experiences as much as possible. Reading, writing and maths (and phonics in Reception and Year 1) will also be delivered where possible. Marking of work will be carried out mostly by the children or by a member of staff at a later stage. 

There will be no school Masses, assemblies or group events planned for the pupils during school time.

 

PE

We will be doing as much outdoor learning and activities as possible during this time, whilst keeping distance from other bubbles in the school. Guidance has been given that pupils should not be changing for PE and therefore it will be carried out in school uniform.

PE activities will be planned so that there will be minimum contact with equipment.

 

Behaviour

Normal school rules apply; we will continue to use our Good to be Green Behaviour policy. This has been amended with a few additional new rules added in order to maintain social distancing and good hand washing hygiene. These will be clearly explained to children and shared with parents. 

 

Communication

We will continue to update you with the latest news and information through ParentMail. Please also check our News sections on the website. We ask that all communication is carried out by telephoning the school (01454 866390), emailing (admin@stmarysbs.org.uk) or by Class Dojo if it is a question for your child’s teacher. The school office reception window will not be open for queries – if it is urgent please knock on the office exterior window and wait for someone to arrive.

 

Attendance

It is expected that attendance and punctuality procedures will be followed in line with our current attendance policy. This will mean that all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 should arrive at school on time, according to their year group staggered start time. Parents should collect children at the stated times at the end of the day on time too. Children from these year group bubbles will be expected to attend school every day (Monday to Thursday). Should your child not be able to attend on one of these days, then you should contact the school office by 9.30am, and advise the reason for absence. If you do not contact school before 9.30am we will follow up your child’s absence via our usual safeguarding and attendance procedures.

For children of Key Workers, the expectation is to be also punctual both when arriving and being collected. Key Worker children are able to attend school on the days that parents are working. Key Worker children are able to attend school Monday to Friday. If Key Workers are aware of their forthcoming rotas/shifts in advance, it is useful to communicate these to the school office so we are aware of potential numbers of Key Worker children in school on a daily basis.

Please note, it is parental choice to send your child back to school at this time. There is no penalty/fine if you choose to continue Home Learning.

 

Home Learning

Home Learning will continue for pupils in Year 2 to Year 5 and also for pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 whose parents have chosen for them not to attend school at this time.

 

First Aid

In the event of first aid being needed, a member of staff from the bubble the child is in will administer first aid wearing PPE equipment.

In the event of a serious injury, parents will be called and the child will be kept at a distance from others.  First aid accidents will be logged in accident log books. Each Bubble will have their own log book.

 

Pupils and staff that become unwell

Pupils and staff that display symptoms are Covid-19 should not attend school and those that experience symptoms during the school day will be isolated immediately. Any staff member with symptoms will be sent home immediately and the class covered for the remainder of the day by the remaining bubble staff. Parents will be notified of the situation and what will happen to the bubble. Pupils with symptoms will be moved to an isolation room, parents contacted and asked to collect immediately. You will be asked through a ParentMail form to provide the best emergency contact number should this happen.

It is important that should anyone display symptoms, that they are tested as soon as possible. This applies to everyone over the age of 5. The guidance says that should a person have symptoms of Covid 19, all members of their household should self-isolate and stay at home for 14 days.  A test would determine whether the person has the virus – if they haven’t, then the person and household can return to work/school. If the test is positive, school need to be notified immediately. All members of that particular bubble will then also need to self-isolate for 14 days (although not other members of their household unless the pupil/staff member starts to show symptoms). Anyone who has another member of their household showing symptoms should also self-isolate for 14 days and should not attend school.

As national policy and capacity develops testing, criteria are changing frequently so it is best to access the most recent guidance using the link here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested  Currently the main focus is on people being tested to identify those who do NOT have COVID-19 so that Key Workers (including education staff) can return to work without completing an isolation period.  The eligibility criteria and testing station provision continues to expand.

It is important to understand that the government will only make the final decision on whether to go ahead with the re-opening of schools when it reviews the latest science on (or possibly before) Thursday 28th May, and that if the evidence does not support this decision at that time, it will be delayed.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding. We would like to reassure you that we will do our utmost to keep our whole school community safe by following all the health and safety guidance and using a child friendly approach when possible.

We look forward to seeing you in Term 6.

Best wishes

 

Kathy Burden, Staff and Governors

 

Monday 18th May 2020

Dear Parents,

I hope that you are all keeping well. It is our intention to move to a wider school opening for Reception, Year 1, Year 6 and more Key Worker children from 1st June. However, the return of all these classes is dependent on us having the space and capacity to manage the children throughout the day adhering to the Government and LA guidelines. In the event of not being able to accommodate all classes, priority will be given to children of Key Workers and then working up the school – starting with Reception, then Year 1 and then Year 6. Please be reassured that we are currently compiling our risk assessment and will let you know which classes we will be able to accommodate as soon as possible and no later than Thursday 21st May.

You will be aware that there has been a lot of media attention around teachers/school staff and their concerns about the wider school opening. We would like to reassure you that, as a staff team, our primary focus is the safety and wellbeing of the children, families and our staff family. All decisions are made with the children at the forefront of our minds – including not only their education but also their mental wellbeing, health and keeping them safe.

Thank you for your support during this difficult time for us all.

Kind regards

Kathy Burden

Friday 15th May 2020 - Frequently asked questions (the answers may change as more information becomes available)


1. If we decide not to send our child to school, will home learning material still be available? Yes. The guidelines state that it is parental choice to send their child back to school. Online learning will still be available should not all the children return.


2. Will home learning will still be provided? Will it be the same work that children will do in school? Home learning will be provided for all children via our online learning platform. I cannot guarantee it will be the same learning as children do in school. Both learning in school and learning at home will be set by the class teacher based on needs of children. Learning for children at home will be set using a variety of learning platforms and links. Due to social distancing requirements learning in school will be very different to how learning was before Covid–19 virus. Children will have to sit by themselves at a table, practical / hands on work will be limited, staff will have to maintain 2 metre distance as much as possible and will not be able to handle work, books, paper used by children for a period of time. (72 hours). Recommendations state as much outdoor learning as possible. This is a new way of working within school and we will be constantly reviewing the processes in place so that we can provide the best and safest educational provision for the children possible under the circumstances.


The school day will look like this:
Morning:
Registration – outside in line (maintaining the 2 metre distancing rule)
30 minutes – Joe Wicks workout or something similar
Learning
Break (staggered)
David Walliams story time
Learning
Lunch (staggered)


Afternoon:
Learning
Break (staggered)
Learning
Home


3. The letter mentioned no book bags, does it mean the children will not bring in reading books and none will be sent home either? Government and LA advice is that no books or homework to be brought in and out of school. Reading will be carried out using online reading via interactive whiteboard or computer.


4. Given the situation, is there any guarantee that my child’s class teacher will teach them? Staff will be on a rota and there are no guarantees who will be teaching children – when possible the class teacher will be with the class.


5. Will you be measuring pupils’ temperature before getting into school? There are no plans to measure temperature of pupils coming to school. There have been no guidelines suggesting we do this – we do not have staff capacity to do this.


6. Can pupils decide to bring a packed lunch or can food can only be provided by school? Can children bring a snack in school? KS1 children and those entitled to Free School Meals will be provided with school packed lunch – this will be a pre-packed white bread sandwich with either ham/cheese/egg/tuna (we are not able to confirm which will be available each day), a piece of fruit and either a piece of flapjack or muffin. Parents can choose to send their child with their own packed
lunch. Children can also bring a snack with them. Please also provide your child with two water bottles a day.


7. Will school consider using face masks? PPE will be used when necessary but face masks have not been advised by the government or LA within schools. Any child requiring first aid will be cared for by a member of staff wearing a face mask, gloves and disposable apron.


8. Can parents come into the playground and wait with the children? Unfortunately not. In order to minimise contact, parents can come into the school car park
area but must leave their children at the main school playground gates. This applies to all year groups. Only one parent to drop and collect per child to minimise the number of adults on the premises. Both the main school and back gates will be open for pick up and drop off.

9. Can parents go into the office window hatch area to speak to staff? In order to minimise contact between adults i.e touching of door handles, passing each
other in a small space, no parents will be allowed into the window hatch area. Please knock on the front office window which will be clearly labelled – and open if it’s dry and warm enough!


10. What will break time and lunch time look like? Children will eat their lunch at their desk in their classroom with their pupil group. Due to the recommendations in place, children will not be able to use the play equipment, balls or any other toys. They will play within their pupil groups, socially distancing where possible.


11. With PE in place, how can we be sure children will use their own kit? Children will not be changing for PE. Guidelines state that changing for PE is not
appropriate.


12. How often will the children wash their hands? This will take place hourly. At the moment, key worker children that are in school are washing their hands 7/8 times a day.


13. How will parents know that the other children in their child’s pupil group are adhering to the social distancing rules out of school? This is out of our hands. Parents will need to make their own decision and effectively carry out their own risk assessment before deciding whether to send their child in. This is an area
that we do not have any control over.


14. Will staff be adhering to the 2 metre social distancing rule and be safe? Staff breaks and lunches will be staggered and more areas used, to minimise contact. All staff are bringing their own cups and water bottles to ensure that there is no sharing of equipment. 

 

15. How will you minimise children sharing school items? Each child will be using their school drawer tray as their base for all their items. These will be kept on their desk for just them to use. This will contain pencils, rubber, ruler, whiteboard, whiteboard pen and rubber and other learning aids they may need. 

 

16. My child is in Reception, will they be able to play with their Year 6 buddy? Unfortunately not. Children will only be able to mix with their pupil group.


17. What will happen if my child has a toileting accident? If it is a wetting accident, then the child will be supervised from a distance and guided through the process of changing their own clothes. If it is a soiling accident, then we will call parents to come and collect their child.

Wednesday 13th May 2020

Dear Parents

I would like to share with you our provisional arrangements for reopening St Mary’s school for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils. These will be subject to the Government’s decision that their five key factors have been met and with agreement from the Local Authority and the teacher Unions. We will endeavour to put these arrangements in place when possible. It is important to state that school will not be returning to the manner in which it was before the Covid–19 virus. Many social distancing measures will have to be put in place in order to keep the school community safe. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to maintain the guidelines strictly throughout the day.

Please see below a summary of how we propose to do this. More details will follow as the situation becomes clearer.

Date for return to school:

The proposed date for school to reopen for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils is the 1st June. (The reopening will only go ahead when the Government have met the 5 key factors.)

The intention at the moment is for all 3 year groups, plus key worker / vulnerable children to return to school on that date. However, as stated in previous letters to you, the ability for school to open for these pupils, including key worker and vulnerable pupils, depends on staff health and ability to work. If a reduced number of staff are available then decisions will be made as to which groups are still able to attend school. This will be communicated to you as soon as possible.

 School day:

In order to facilitate appropriate social distancing the recommendations are for a staggered start and end to the school day. With this in mind the school day will work as follows:

Year Group

Stat of day

End of day

Year 6 and key worker children / vulnerable children

 

8:55am

3:30pm

Year 1

9:15 am

3:15pm

 

Reception

9:30am

3pm

 

Please note to avoid parents having to wait siblings can start school and be collected at the same time.

After school club will open from 3:00pm to care for Reception and Year 1 children.

In order to reduce the number of adults on the school premises parents will be asked to drop children off at the front or back school gates. No parents will be allowed into the playground with their children.

Reduced class sizes:

The intention is to split each year group into 2 smaller groups (dependent on staff capacity). Each group will be accommodated in a different classroom with two members of staff- a teacher and a teaching assistant. In order to maintain hygiene, children will be allocated their own desk and a chair and have reduced equipment to use. The class teacher will set the learning for the class. Normal school routines will be established, with adjustments made when necessary. Learning will follow the curriculum as much as possible, however initially the priority will be to establish high levels of well-being, confidence and security amongst the children.  Learning will also focus on transition work to prepare the children for their next stage in education.

 

Break and Lunch time

Break time and lunch time will be staggered so that each pupil group will have their break and lunch at different times. Pupil groups will be unable to mix with other pupil groups. This will help children and staff maintain social distancing as much as possible.

 

KS1 children and FSM children will have lunch provided. It is not clear yet whether this will be a hot meal or sandwiches. However the guidance is that children will have to eat their lunch at the same desk they work at in order to maintain social distancing. Outside areas for lunch and learning will be used as much as possible

 

Please note we cannot guarantee children will stay 2 metres apart from their pupil group or staff. We will implement the distancing measures as best as we can.

Health and Safety

The health and safety of all pupils and staff will be of utmost importance; we will follow the recommended government guidelines.

These include:

  • Completing a risk assessment
  • Having a strict routine of handwashing
  • Having increased cleaning routines of key areas in the school e.g. toilet and handwashing facilities, desks and surfaces, door handles
  • Minimising the number of adults on the school premises
  • Minimising the number of belongings children bring onto the school site – this means no book bags or bags
  • If anyone should test positive for Covid–19 virus, all pupils in that pupil group will have to self-isolate for 14 days. Therefore, children that show any symptoms coming into school will be asked to go home and any falling ill within the school day will be isolated and need to be collected immediately. Normal household isolation rules will also need to be followed

 

Online school

For those children who have not returned to school online learning will continue. However, please be aware that staff will also be in school working  with other groups of children so will at times be unable to respond to Class DoJo work.

Attendance

Many of you may have reasons not to send your child into school, such as a vulnerable adult or child in the home, or you may feel that you simply do not want to yet. We completely understand this. You may also have individual questions/concerns that you would like answering and we are very happy to discuss these with you in the coming weeks.

Please be reassured that we want to reduce any anxiety in the current situation for all our families. As announced, there will be no sanctions for any family who does not feel able to send their child back to school on June 1st.

To help us in our planning for the proposed wider opening of schools, please complete the form that will be sent via ParentMail later today to let us know whether you plan for your child to return on June 1st. Please also let us know if, as a result of the proposed wider opening of schools, you now need the key worker childcare provision from June 1st. Please complete this form by 3pm on Friday 15th May.

Please be reassured that the school Leadership team will continue to review the plans we have put in place and make changes when necessary to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our school community. As more details become available and we will communicate them to you as best we can.

Take care

 

Regards

Kathy Burden and Staff

The ParentMail Form will read as follow:-

Possible Wider School Opening from Monday 1st June 2020

As stated in the letter, the additional classes will only return when certain criteria are met. Please indicate below whether you intend to send your child from Monday 1st June - this only applies if they are in Reception, Year 1, Year 6 or you are a key worker. Please complete this form by 3pm on Friday 15th May 2020. Further forms may be sent if the situation changes and also to confirm final arrangements. 

  • Do you intend to send your child from Monday 1st June?

  • I have read the letter from Mrs Burden and understand that the 2 metre social distancing cannot be guaranteed at all times?

    Comments

 

Sunday 10th May 2020

Dear Parents

The latest government announcement on Sunday 10th May has stated that a phased opening of schools may start on June 1st, beginning with Rec, Yr 1 and Yr 6 year groups. As stated in my previous letter to you ( Wednesday 6th May  ) we have already begun to make preparations for this.  The Local Authority (LA) are currently working on guidance to support schools with a phased reopening . This guidance will cover areas such as health and safety, internal logistics, curriculum, liaising with external providers, staffing, resources, alongside mental health and wellbeing. The LA aim to send this to schools on  Tuesday 12 May. Once we have had time to review the guidance provided  we will  contact you with further details.

Please be reassured that we will communicate with you the most up-to-date information from the government and LA. I also ask that that you are patient as we work to provide the safest possible environment for children, parents and staff.

Regards

 

Kathy Burden

Tuesday 21st April 2020

Good morning all

 I hope you have had a good start back to Term 5 and enjoyed getting back to some on – line learning.

Yesterday the children continued with their Jo Wicks work out, on- line learning and David Williams story. They also continued thinking about Easter and performed the last part of the Easter story – ‘Jesus rising from the dead ’ . Please see the clip below.

Yesterday the government launched 2 new online facilitates which you may have heard about:

The Oak National Academy.  This is an online classroom and resource hub. The Academy offers 180 video lessons each week for schools to use, across a broad range of subjects. The lessons cover children in Reception through to Year 10 and are free to use by both teachers and young people.

The Oak National Academy can be accessed here:

                https://www.thenational.academy/

BBC Bitesize  This is an education package across TV and online, featuring celebrities and teachers, helping to keep children learning at home and supporting parents.

BBC Bitesize can be accessed here:

                https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize

 

I am currently in discussion with staff about how these are best used to support children’s education. We will let you know as soon as we have had an opportunity to have a good look at them.

Have a lovely day

 

Mrs Burden

Friday 3rd April 2020 - Happy Easter

Dear Parents,

We hope you are well.

Please find below a Time Capsule document that was given to us by David's family in Year 3 - this will be an excellent way for children to capture this moment in time. If you cannot print it out, we will be leaving some in a box outside the front of school which you can collect (school will still be open over the holidays as OOSC  is running for key worker pupils)

Please continue to check our website for the latest news and to see what pupils have been doing at school and at home. we have some lovely Powerpoints of the photos we have so far. There are lots of sites with activities for children over the Easter break. Please continue to send photos in to admin@stmarysbs.org.uk

Take care and have a Happy Easter.

 

The Staff and Governors at St Mary's 

Tuesday 31st March 2020 - Our website pages

Dear Parents,

We have been busy adding as much information as we can on to the website. Please check all the pages under the 'Essential News and Information during the Lockdown Period' button. There is the latest home learning news, news from the church and a large assortment of information regarding safeguarding, mental health and well-being to support everyone through this difficult time. Jo Creese  has also included some excellent advice and information on work, benefits and other agencies under 'Parent Help - Advice and Services'.

To keep the children in touch, we are also uploading photos to 'What we have been doing at home' Blog. Please feel free to send a photo a week f your child/children to admin@stmarysbs.org.uk.

If you need any support during this period, please contact us.

Many thanks

Dawn Lane

School Business Manager

Friday 27th March 2020 - North Avon Food Bank

Dear Parents,

In this extraordinary time of uncertainty the North Bristol Food Bank have contacted us to confirm that their service is expected to remain open during the foreseeable future. We will be able to issue vouchers for families facing additional hardship with the isolation and school closure, and who are at crisis.

Every case will be considered on a family to family basis, against a set criteria issued by the Foodbank (for example benefit changes/delays, low income, no access to public funds, homeless, delayed wage, decreased income). Please do contact school if you feel you are in need of items from the Foodbank over the coming weeks. Contact can be made by emailing admin@stmarysbs.org.uk and marking ‘Confidential FAO Jo Creese/Dawn Lane’ or directly by telephone (although answering may be limited in the coming weeks) to ensure confidentiality around this sensitive situation. We encourage you to consider this during any hardship.

Kind regards,

Kathy Burden, Staff and Governors

Monday 23rd March 2020 - URGENT KEY WORKER INFORMATION

In view of tonight's announcement from the Government, St Mary's is reducing its staff to the minimum. School will now only be open to pupils who have both parents classed as key workers in order to protect both staff and pupils. This stipulation does not apply to lone parents, vulnerable children or those with EHCP. Please can everyone email admin@stmarysbs.org.uk as soon as possible to tell us whether your child will or will not be attending school tomorrow. Many thanks

Monday 23rd March 2020 - Essential Website Information

Good morning all,

So today we all start online learning, whether at home or at school if you are a key worker.  We appreciate that this is new to everyone and is going to be a challenge but we are trying to make it as smooth as possible.

Please take time to look at the main home learning/homework page on the website - it will be updated regularly. Everything for this week's online  learning can be accessed through the homework button in the normal way. There will be emails  sent over next few days with login details for different sites but we are trying to cut down on the number of other emails we are sending you and have therefore created a 'Home Learning News Blog'.

Please therefore regularly check the following pages on the website:-

Essential News and Information

We are working as hard as we can to ensure as much information is available as possible.

If you have an urgent query, please email admin@stmarysbs.org.uk, marking the subject as Home Learning, and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Many thanks and take care

Dawn Lane

School Business Manager

Sunday 22nd March 2020 - Key Workers

Dear Parents

Tomorrow we open as a Partially Open School for Key Worker Children. We currently have a relatively large number of parents planning to send their children in. I would like to reiterate that parents make sensible decisions about whether they need to send their children into school. The government guideline is that school places are only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors previously specified, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision.

It is important to underline that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children and staff . The fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.”

The Government have now placed a requirement on key worker parents to obtain confirmation from their employer that, based on business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service. Please can you provide this information as soon as possible as we have to record it for the Local Authority attendance data.

As mentioned in a previous message our ability to stay open depends on staff’s health and the health of their family members. Currently we have 17 members of staff off due to self-isolation because they or a member of their family are showing symptoms. This number may well rise each day. We will be operating on a rotation of skeleton staff from the school to ensure safe working practices at this time. The provision will be for school hours (8:55am – 3:30pm) and will have limited taught content; children will be following work set online by their class teacher as we will be catering for a wide range of ages. Please check the school website / Parent Mail daily as if we do not have enough staff capacity, we will have to close until there are sufficient staff members to provide a safe environment for your child.

To remind you – children should wear school uniform and bring their PE kit and a packed lunch unless they are KS1 or FSM.

Once again, thank you all for your continued support and patience while we move into our next stage.

Take care

 

Kathy Burden, Staff and Governors

Friday 20th March 2020 - Message from Staff and Governors

Dear Parents and Carers,

As stated in a previous letter, during the school shutdown period, staff will be busy preparing work which will be uploaded on to the school homework pages at regular intervals. (See previous letter for details). Alongside this there will be useful links to online learning platforms that all children can access – e.g. Jo Wicks – live streaming PE lessons.

Mrs Lane will be busy working over the weekend redesigning the homework website in order to facilitate home learning. It should be ready by Monday morning, however I ask that you are patient with us as we get this ready.

I suggest that during this time of school closure you run your child’s day as similar to a school day as possible. This will of course depend very much on the age of your child/ children and yours and their wellbeing/ health.

For e.g.:

9:00am – 10:30am – school related activity

Break

10:45am – 12:30pm – school related activity

Lunch

1:15pm – 2:15pm – school related activity

Break

2:30pm – 3:30pm – school related activity / learning

Other suggestions: board games, jigsaw puzzles, card games etc are also very valuable educational activities. Please ensure your child takes regular breaks, has plenty of fresh air and exercise when possible.

Finally I would like to say that as we close our school for a partial shutdown I would like you to remember that we are still a school community and although we may not all be together we will be thinking of you and supporting where we can. During our assembly today we will reflect on all that has been achieved so far this year and end with our School Prayer. (see attached) Please find time to share this prayer with your child / children throughout the coming weeks and remind them of our school values. (see details on website).

A special message to all Year 6 parents- Please be reassured that we will arrange a time in the future, when the school is fully open, to celebrate the end of Year 6’s primary school year.

Thank you once again for your continued support.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Yours sincerely,

Kathy Burden, Staff and Governors

Friday 20th March 2020 - Key Worker Information

Dear Parents

You or your partner have indicated that you are a key worker and therefore your child/ children will be attending school during this partial opening period.

Please see below details of school attendance for Monday morning:

Government guidance around self-isolation still applies – if your child or any member of your family has shown symptoms then please do not send them to school for 14 days

  • · School start time: 8:55am and end time 3:30pm – At present there is no Breakfast club
  • · or afterschool clubs available due to staff capacity
  • · OOSC is intending to open for current and any new children needing places. Please see link to make contact with Owner Cath Purchase www.oosc.co.uk
  • · Sandwiches, fruit and snacks will be provided at lunch time for all KS1 children and any Free School Meals children– other children will need a snack and packed lunch
  • · All children will need their PE kit in school
  • · Normal attendance policy applies – if your child is not attending school please phone the school to provide the reason
  • · There will be no tuck shop available
  • · Please remember the government guidelines on social distancing whilst on school premises
  • · Please check parent mail / school website daily as school opening depends on staff health – we will only be able to open if there are enough staff members able to come into school.

Thank you for your cooperation in this – Please be patient as we are currently working out the details of how school from Monday will function. We will do our very best to maintain a varied school day for your children.

Our intention is to keep school partially open for as long as we can to support all those in key roles doing such a fantastic job in helping the country manage this crisis.

Take care

Kathy Burden, Staff and Governors

Friday 20th March - KEY WORKERS - ALL PARENTS TO COMPLETE THE PARENTMAIL FORM

Dear Parents,

The government have now issued their official list of what is a Key Worker. Please see the document below.

If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision.

We ask that parents make sensible decisions about whether they need to send their children into school. The government guideline is that school places are only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

It is important to underline that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.”

Our ability to stay open depends on staff’s health and the health of their family members. Currently we have 16 members of staff off, due to self-isolation because they or a member of their family are showing symptoms. We will be operating on a rotation of skeleton staff from the school to ensure safe working practices at this time. The provision will be for school hours and will have limited taught content, children will be following work set on- line by their class teacher as we will be catering for a wide range of ages. Please check the school website / parent mail daily as if we do not have enough staff capacity we will have to shut.

Once again thank you all for your continued support and patience while we move into our next stage.

Take care

 

Kathy Burden, Staff and Governors

KEY WORKERS LIST

Thursday 19th March - Free School Meal Arrangements

Dear Parents

Due to school closure, we have made up some work packs to support home learning for children who receive Pupil Premium. However if you are able to access the school website please use the Class Homework site for school work and use the work packs as an extra support.

If your child is currently not in school or not likely to be in tomorrow, please contact the office to make arrangements for collection or delivery.

As you are entitled to Free School Meals this provision will continue through the form of vouchers. We can arrange food vouchers to be posted or preferably emailed (as an e- voucher) once this is in operation.

Please see link below for further government guidance.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools

As far as we know food banks will remain open in the usual locations.

If you need any other support during this difficult time please do not hesitate to email the school (admin@stmarysbs.org.uk) and we will do our best to help you.

Regards

Staff and Governors at St Mary’s

Thursday 19th March 2020

Dear Parents,

The government advice on who will be classified as Key Workers will be released at some point today. As soon as this is available we will send it out via ParentMail as a form. Please review this list immediately and  respond by 10:00 am Friday morning at the latest. I am sure you will appreciate that in order to make provision for partial school opening we need to know how many children will be attending.

I would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you for all the lovely comments, messages and offers of help we have had from you all. They are much appreciated.

 Take care,

 Kathy Burden, Staff and Governors

Thursday 19th March 2020

 

Letter from South Gloucestershire Council

 

Dear Parents/Carers,


I am writing to provide you with information on how South Gloucestershire Local Authority and school leaders will respond to the government’s announcement yesterday (18/03/20) on school closures.


Yesterday afternoon the government announced that schools will close on Friday 20th March 2020, until further notice, for all children, with the exception of the children of key workers and vulnerable children (defined as those with a social worker or Education Health Care Plan). The list of key workers is being published tomorrow and your child’s school will be sharing this information with you as soon as it becomes available. Each school will be contacting its parents/carers and asking whether you fit into these categories and wish your child to continue to attend school.


We need to get a sense of how many families may require this provision, so that we can plan to meet this need. We are working with school leaders to put plans in place rapidly to respond to the Government’s requirements.


A lot of the detail linked to the announcement has yet to be published, such as how the provision for free school meals will work and how qualifications will be awarded in the absence of exams. We appreciate that this could be really upsetting for young people who have worked so hard but the Government is committed to working with the relevant bodies to ensure that young people are able to move onto their chosen destination without disruption. We will of course, keep families informed about this once the Government has published their strategy.


During the school closures, schools will be providing resources and learning ideas, including online activities, for you to support your child at home. We know this is a different way of working for us all. Schools will ensure they keep in touch with their parents/carers via their website and through text/email communication to let you know when their school will re-open.


The last week has been very challenging for us all but staff in our schools are demonstrating enormous commitment to maintaining high standards of education to our children and young people. The Secretary of state said in his speech to the House of Commons that headteachers, teachers and staff who work in schools are central to the country’s response. Through working together, I know we will rise to this challenge and make the difference our country needs.


We thank you for your continued partnership in working to overcome this situation together.

Yours sincerely,

Hilary Smith
Head of Education, Learning and Skills

Thursday 19th March 2020

Dear Parents and Carers, 

I would like to share with you our preparations for school closure.

Staff are busy preparing work which will be uploaded on to the school homework pages at regular intervals.

See below for work expectations:

Work for children to complete per week

  • 5 x Maths lessons  (initially these will be based on revision, but will move to new learning depending on length of school closure)
  • 5 x English lessons (initially these will be based on revision, but will move to new learning depending on length of school closure)
  • Spellings
  • Reading every day
  • Times tables
  • Research project for class topic
  • RE work –related to Easter
  • Useful websites to support learning

 In order for the children to complete this home learning we will send home a new exercise book for all children on Friday. If your child is not in school we will have a table set up outside school on Monday morning so that you are able to collect the exercise book if you wish.

As the government announced yesterday schools are to be kept open for key workers and vulnerable children. More clarification about this will come from the government today. Once we know more about this we will send out further information.

 Thank you for your patience with this and for your continued support at this unprecedented time.

Yours sincerely,

 Kathy Burden

Acting Head

Wednesday 18th March 2020

Following on from the latest government directive this evening, schools will be closing from the end of the school day on Friday. We will now continue with our plans on how we can best support pupils in educating at home.

Further information will follow tomorrow when we have had advice from the local authority on how we will manage this difficult situation, including how to best support vulnerable pupils and those that have parents that are key workers.(Please appreciate school opening and all other support will depend on the health of staff and their families)

Please bear with us while we now focus on the next stage of what is undoubtedly going to be a challenging time for all of us.

Kathy Burden

Acting Head Teacher

Wednesday 18th March 2020

We have been asked by the  Local Authority Safeguarding Team to provide you with following information, should you require it.

Access and  Response Team – 01454 86 6000 (during working hours)

Emergency duty team – 01454 615165 (out of hours)

Police – 101 for non-urgent issues & 999 if urgent and an immediate response is needed

Domestic Abuse Concerns - Next Link South Glos domestic abuse telephone help lines are open 8:30am – 5:30pm Monday to Friday and
9:30am – 1:00pm on Saturday 0800 4700 280

Mental health support - CAMHS (if young person is currently under CAMHS) – 01454 862431 or if you are concerned that you are not able to keep your child safe or they are not able to keep themselves safe then take them to the Accident & Emergency department at Bristol Children’s hospital or call for an ambulance.

Food banks links for families living in South Glos

https://oneyou.southglos.gov.uk/eat-well/food-poverty-support/

Food banks links for families living in Bristol

https://www.trusselltrust.org/

https://eastbristol.foodbank.org.uk/get-help/how-to-get-help/

Parents worried about exploitation - https://paceuk.info/ or for confidential help and advice, call Pace on 0113 240 5226

CHILDLINE – 0800 1111 or visit their website www.childline.org.uk

Samaratins – 116 123

Mental health apps approved by NHS - https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/category/mental-health/

Wednesday 18th March 2020

Dear Parents / Carers,

I am writing to give you updated advice regarding our current situation at St Mary’s.


The government is currently still expecting schools to remain open (in order to reduce the impact of school closures on families and, in particular, workers) and we intend to do this as much as possible for as long as possible. We have, for example, many parents who work in health or other organisations dealing with the pandemic. Due to proactive and careful management we have been able to cover staff who are absent and will try to continue to do so in the coming days unless circumstances significantly change. As such, we will continue to be open, as normal, to all year groups and will update you on a daily basis. Please note in the event of too many staff being unable to work we will look at partial closure of the school and finally fully closure.


We understand that parents will naturally have concerns about schools being open given the general ‘social distancing’ advice being issued. If parents are particularly concerned about their children mixing with others and increasing the risk of contagion for vulnerable family members, then it is for you as parents to decide on the most appropriate action for your family. In terms of your children (or anyone else in the household) showing any possible symptoms, the advice on self-isolation is unchanged from yesterday and we would ask parents to use the online advice from the NHS / Public Health England to decide whether family members should be self-isolating.

When pupils are ‘self-isolating’ they can complete work using the web links sent out in a previous message. Please be aware that the ability of teachers to set specific tasks for pupils not in school is limited, as, if in work themselves, they are teaching their normal lessons. Should we progress to partial or full closure in the coming days or weeks, then we will be issuing more specific guidance to all pupils and parents about how we will be maintaining appropriate continuity in learning and clarify our expectations of students in that case.  If you think you will be unable to access online learning when the time comes, please contact the school and we will provide paper copies of work where possible.


We will continue to keep in regular contact with parents, with updated information on the school website.

Finally I would like to say the support and understanding from our school community:  staff, pupils, governors and families at this incredibly testing time has been wonderful. Everyone is ‘stepping up’ and taking on additional duties in order to keep our school open. 

Take care

Our thoughts and prayers are with you all


Regards,


Kathy Burden

 Acting  Head

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