Westwood Farm School

 

WFS Home Learning 

 

 

Covid 19 Information – School Return                                                                                      19.5.20

 

Dear Parents and Carers of Returning Year Groups (plus Key Workers)

Thank you all for your responses to our survey of who was wishing their children to return to school on June 1st - we have now heard from virtually all parents in the returning year groups and have almost a 60% uptake on places to return.

I wanted to share with you some further details, following our planning and the first part of our Risk Assessment.

Timings

We have worked out that all year groups will spend either a morning or an afternoon in school every day.  

The morning groups will come into school at staggered times between approximately 8.30 and 9.15 and stay to approximately 11.45/12.15.  They will have the option to purchase (or if they normally have a free lunch, have), a 'Take-Away' school lunch.  

The afternoon groups will arrive between 12.45 and 1.30, also with the option to have a 'Take-Away' (picnic) lunch to have at school. This group will stay until 3.45/4.30.  It will be important to stick to your allotted time slots so we are able to manage entry and exit to and from the school site, safely.

Grouping

The year groups returning to school will be placed into groups (called a 'bubble' by the government), which they will remain in for the rest of the term. They will have a teacher and a member of support staff who will be with them throughout their am or pm session (not necessarily their own class teacher or TA), and they will only be allowed out of the classroom at staggered times and only with their bubble.  They will need to stay distanced from each other and will not mix with any other bubbles around the school or in their year group.

Key Worker Group

If your child has already been in school most days due to you being a Critical Care worker, please note, there are some changes that have since been enforced.  Currently we have been implementing as much social distancing as has been possible, but we have not to date been given all the other extra restrictions to enforce.  Therefore, although this group will largely remain together in their own bubble (apart from Nursery and Reception), there will be changes to the way this group operates too.  They will also be in the Junior building and not the Infants and have less movement around the school than previously.

All children in the Key Worker group will remain in their already established, group and not mix with the other ‘bubbles’. Nursery and Reception children from the Key Worker group will go into the FS ‘bubbles’ and stay for the whole day where required.

 

Hygiene

This of course is crucial – children will be washing their hands frequently through the day.  This will take longer than before lockdown as they will need to keep a distance from each other whilst doing this (unlike before Lockdown when we had queues of children making it a quick and efficient routine!)

Children will be reminded about sneezing, using tissues correctly and not touching each other (virtually impossible for younger children!)  Everything will be cleaned every day with some areas in the morning and some in the afternoon – this will be a mammoth task to undertake.

I have been asked if children should return if they have a medical condition including asthma – I cannot make this decision for you but personally I do feel it is more risky for those children.

Any child who is unwell and needs to be sent home is likely to have to self-isolate for 7 to 14 days (depending on symptoms) and not return to their bubble in school.  As you know, the government is now rolling out testing to young children with symptoms too.  This will also be the case if a staff member falls ill – their bubble may need to ‘shut’ and may not return until the teacher has had a negative test.

Learning Environments

The children will be in classrooms laid out as seen in the pictures below. (We can get a maximum of 10/12 children in most classrooms).

 

They will have their own seat, with their own resources in a pack. Movement around the classroom will be limited due to social distancing expectations.

However, social distancing measures cannot be enforced with children in Nursery or Reception so creating a ‘normal’ learning environment for these children is going to be really challenging.  We have also had to ‘strip’ most classrooms of all soft furnishings and remove anything small with ‘intricate parts’ and difficult to clean.  Our classrooms are looking very bare already and you need to prepare your child for this.

Learning

We will endeavour to provide children in school with learning that is fun and creative, however the restrictions in place with regards to hygiene and social distancing means that we will not be able to teach the curriculum as would normally have planned and not in the manner in which we would like. (This will be hardest for the youngest children).

Well-Being and Anxiety

Personally, my biggest concern with all this is that we are asking our children (and more of the youngest children), to move from their lovely, secure place – being at home with you – hopefully doing some really worthwhile learning in a safe and nurturing environment, to this alien place we used to call school.  It will not be the same and I really cannot pretend it is going to be.  There will be no football, no games in the way they are used to at break times and very little socialising in any way. I have been asked by some parents if their children are upset and need comforting, will we be able to do this which is one of the toughest questions for me; I will have to instruct my teachers to keep safe and be reasonable – they will find this virtually impossible, but that is what I have to ask them to do.

We have been told that this is the best thing for the country, and I know everyone needs to return to work. My staff and I know more than anyone that we need our children back to school, but the hardest part now of the Risk Assessment is not just our ability to keep them all physically safe but to ensure they are not made even more anxious by returning to school too early.

I am not trying here to put you off, but you know I have always been transparent and honest with you and I am continuing to try and do that for you now, despite the pressure we are under as Headteachers.  I know some of you will have to send your child back so you can get back to work, all I am asking is that you are prepared and you prepare your child – school will not be normal and they will need to have this explained before you send them back – we cannot prepare them for this – only you can.

Please let us know if you have reconsidered your decision – either way – and/or let me know if you would like a chat.

More details will follow on groupings and timings, but I thought you needed this level of information as soon as I was able to give it to you. 

Kind regards

 

Barbara Hunter 

Executive Headteacher

Westwood Farm Schools