Issue 13 – July 2020
Yesterday, 2/7/2020, the Government finally released its plans about September reopening. Obviously as an Academy we have had plans for going forward but, as recent newsletters have suggested it seemed ludicrous to release information before the Government had produced its guidelines.
From September, the class structures will be as follows:
Nursery – Mrs Lampett
Reception – Ms Crossland
Reception/Year1 – Ms Fletcher
Year1 – Mrs Smith
Year2 – Mrs McNally
Year2/3 – Mr Robertshaw
Year3 – Mrs Milfull
Year4/5 – Mr Milfull
Year4/5 – Mr Lai
Year4/5 – Mr Morrell
Year6 – Mrs Dove
Year 6 – Mrs Harper
As you will notice, we have 5 classes which are split year groups. The reason for this is that, as we are a 45 placed cohort, and infant class sizes cannot go over 30, we have no other option but to mix year groups.
A “frequently asked questions” newsletter will be sent out on Monday 6th July to explain further about mixed classes.
Transition on return in September
Monday 7th September is an INSET day so children will not return until Tuesday 8th September. When they return, they will go into their new classroom with their new teacher. This is not the way we wanted to do transition, but with the guidance surrounding bubbles, this is the only way we can proceed. We have arranged that your child’s new teacher will send them a video, introducing themselves, to the children on Friday 19th July. Due to GDPR constraints, we will look to contact parents on Monday 6th July to let you know which teacher this will be, and which classroom children will be going into.
The children who will be starting in our Nursery will be brought in on a staggered start over the first 2 weeks to allow the rest of school to have a proper transition opportunity – further details to follow.
Due to the length of time most pupils have been away from the Academy, we are intending to revisit, in Autumn 1, the Core subject curriculum (reading, writing and maths) from their previous year to fill any gaps in learning. We intend to follow their new curriculum for Foundation subjects so the children will be looking at their specific year group topics.
We will look to carry out baseline assessments as soon as the children have settled into their new routine with their new teacher and classroom. This will then help support targeted intervention going forward. We appreciate that all children will require some forms of extra support, whether this is in certain academic subjects or in areas of wellbeing. We are offering to extend the school day on Wednesdays to 4.30pm starting from the 16th September (until the half term holiday) to all students in next year’s Y1-Y6. We are unable to make this compulsory, however we would ask parents to investigate managing their time so children can take up this offer. For many children this intensive refocus on previous skills and extended learning time over the first ½ term may be enough to catch up on missed learning. For those students who need longer, we will continue into Autumn 2 with individual children identified for further support and receiving this as part of after school intervention clubs.
The decision to not send out reports until the Autumn 1 term was taken because parents had all had the opportunity to discuss their child’s progress with their current teacher two weeks before the school went into lockdown. Teachers have completed all individual reports but without any attainment levels available or targets able to be set, it didn’t seem that they would be of much value. This, along with the current restrictions of not allowing visitors onto site, due to our Risk Assessment for Covid –19, meant that getting reports out to parents would also be a costly and time-consuming activity. Holding back the reports until baseline assessments can be completed and parents therefore directed towards what support they can give their children seemed a far more sensible and worthwhile approach.
Year 6 pupils will be given reports as they will no longer be with the Academy in September.
September Covid-19 measures
The Government have now confirmed that the strict social distancing and small bubbles will not continue into September – which would never have been practicable with all children returning to school. Some of the measures we will keep in place. Children will be taught in their class bubble and whole school activities will not go ahead until further restrictions have been lifted. Parents will not be allowed onto the playground in the morning but requested to drop children off at specific gates at specific times (see below). We will encourage social distancing, but not guarantee it, around the academy and through staggered breaktimes. We will encourage handwashing but will need to remove the handwashing stations. We would appreciate that parents ensure children’s hands are washed before they come into the Academy. Class home times will also need to be staggered but parents will be allowed into designated areas to collect their children if they ensure social distancing.
|Class||Start time||Gate access||Finish time||Collection point|
|Y2||8.30||Main gate||3.00||Grass outside of office|
|Y2/3||8.45||Main gate||3.15||Grass outside of office|
|Y4/5 Mi||8.45||Field gate||3.15||Field gate|
|Y4/5 L||8.45||Field gate||3.15||Field gate|
|Y4/5 Mo||8.45||Field gate||3.15||Field gate|
|Y6 D||8.30||Field gate||3.00||Field gate|
|Y6 H||8.30||Field gate||3.00||Field gate|
We currently have 106 children in the Academy and this system has proved to work well as long as parents/children stick rigidly to their allotted time scales. However, in September we will be catering for 370+ students and so we will need to see how the system goes. Your support will be greatly appreciated.
We are as eager as you are to get the children back into learning, but we must also be mindful of the negative impact the closedown could have had on our children. To this end the first week will have daily PHSCE sessions to help support the children’s well-being. These will be carried out by their new class teacher and supported by the Pastoral team, which will unfortunately be down a member of staff for the first part of the year. Mrs Hampshire will not be available to the Academy when we start back in September but will resume her place as soon as possible.
These have been difficult times for all of us. As an Academy we have provided weekly newsletters, weekly homework, emails and phone calls where needed or where requested and tried to keep parents informed of the ever-changing landscape for schools. Some may feel this has not been enough while others have understood and thanked us for the hard work. We have looked into applications such as Zoom etc but unfortunately due to our high numbers of vulnerable children, parents who have requested their children not be engaged in these forms of social media and our heavy commitment to safeguarding these have not been viable options for us. This has been contrary to some other schools who potentially have a larger infrastructure, fewer vulnerable cases or not as heavy a safeguarding load. Lines of communication have always been open, and this can be testified to by the plethora of children and parents who have been in direct contact with the Academy. We have asked all teaching staff to make a short video for the children in their class. We know this can never replace face to face communication, but we hope parents appreciate now the difficulties we have faced. The staff will all be in school in September so they can spend some time with their old class welcoming them back in. Mr Williams will add a link to the videos in each class folder and these should be ready sometime over the weekend.
Further information will come out of the Academy over the next 2 weeks and contact with individuals will continue. Can I also please remind parents that if you do require childcare facilities over the summer holiday you have until Wednesday 8th July to contact us.