How the school is re-opening safely
COVID-19 Risk Assessment Procedures
The school has a wide range of new procedures and measures in place as part of a comprehensive risk assessment to ensure that we can open as safely as we can. The main changes are summarised here for parents. All aspects of these procedures are kept under constant review and are subject to change; all changes will be communicated with parents, staff and children as soon as possible.
Groupings of children
- Children will be in “year group pods”. This means that they will not mix with other year groups for learning or for playtime. Staff will only work in these pods. If any staff cross between pods, they will be expected to wear a protected visor.
- Reception and Nursery will operate as one pod. Children will not cross over but some staff will work between Reception and Nursery in order to support specific children.
- Children will play in separate spaces at playtime.
- The school day will start and end at different times for different year groups, to ease congestion.
- At lunch, children will eat packed lunches in class where possible and lunch tables will be cleaned before each new year group is seated.
In the classroom
- Children will be sat facing forwards from year 2 upwards. This is not practical or conducive to good learning in the Early Years
- Teachers will circulate the class and support children ‘over-the-shoulder’ and only for brief periods. They will not be in “zones” at the front of the class.
- Classroom doors and windows will be kept open for ventilation
- There will be no assemblies in the hall, they will be pre-recorded and shown over video.
- We will not run any after-school clubs, breakfast clubs or enrichment until we are sure it is safe to do so.
- If children need to work in small groups, ie for catch-up interventions, staff will wear a visor.
- Children will not change into their PE kit; they should wear sports clothing to school on the day they have PE.
- Children will not share resources with other year groups and will have their own pens, pencils etc to use
- Any classroom resources that are shared with others will be cleaned after each use, eg sports equipment, laptops etc.
- Staff are not expected to wear masks, although may choose to wear a transparent covering if they require.
- We strongly discourage children from wearing face coverings in school.
- Where staff could be working with different year groups or in close proximity with children, they will wear a visor. This includes visiting teachers such as music teachers or staff supervising playtimes.
- Staff using a face covering on public transport will not use this face covering in school.
Movement around the school
- We will be asking parents to observe a one-way system around the school. Members of the senior team will be on hand to direct you and signage will be clear around the school.
- We ask that parents respect a “one-in, one-out” system at the school office.
- Staircases will be one way only for children
- Children will have different times and spaces for playtime and lunchtime.
Hygiene and first aid
- Toilets have been allocated to specific year groups and have limits on how many children can use them at a time
- An additional team of cleaners is on duty throughout every day to circulate the school cleaning high-touch points and toilets.
- Classroom staff will be cleaning high-touch points in the classroom throughout the day
- Children will be thoroughly taught about hand-washing, sanitiser and all other aspects of hygiene, such as coughing, sneezing
- First aid will be provided by first-aid trained teaching assistants where possible. We will also continue to provide first-aid from the medical team in the office by staff wearing a visor.
- Additional hand sanitisers have been installed throughout the school
- Mobile phones can no longer be kept in the school office and must be kept by children, in their bags, switched off. Additional guidance will be given to any pupil who needs to bring a mobile phone, strictly limited to year 6 pupils.
- Children should bring a water bottle, clearly labelled, which is taken home and washed each day. Water fountains will only be used to fill water bottles.
In the event of infection
Ark Schools have published clear guidance on how schools will respond to a child showing symptoms of Coronavirus, shown below:
Catching up on learning
- The school will be undertaking baseline assessments in September 2020.
- The results of these assessments will be communicated to you in an early parents evening on the 6th and 7th October 2020.
- We have been making adjustments to our curriculum to take into account gaps in learning.
- Additional time has been allocated in the timetable for pre-teaching of key concepts before the main teaching takes place
- Teachers will be taking intervention groups each day for additional catch-up
- Teachers have been trained on how to identify and rectify gaps in learning as they arise.
- Additional staff have been allocated around the school to enable teachers to spend time with individuals or groups of children as the need arises.
- We have faith in our ability to catch children up and will not be pressuring children or removing curriculum subjects in order to focus on English and maths; we believe children deserve to enjoy school and study a full curriculum.
As the government has made clear, attendance at school is compulsory from September 2020. However, we know that many of you will be concerned. Please get in touch, see us at the gate or arrange a meeting with me, either face-to-face or over video. It is vital that we get children back into school to continue their education and we will continue to work together and talk to each other to make sure we can do this safely.