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Tuesday 26th May 2020

Dear parents/carers

I hope that you and your families are well and staying safe.

I need to inform you that, based on the SAGE guidance released last Friday, the Local Authority has instructed all Rochdale school to delay opening until at least the 15th June 2020 for children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.

For us this means that the arrangements we made with you last week about which days your child attends will change.  We are now looking at the following:

• Year 6 to attend from Monday 15th June
• Year 1 to attend from Monday 22nd June. If this date is to be brought forward I will be in touch
• Reception -The governing body have significant concerns for this age group and at present have voted to NOT allow this year group to return.  This will be kept under review.

We will still maintain our provision for children of critical worker families and those identified vulnerable groups (those with an EHCP and those with social care involvement).

I am sorry if you find this confusing or disappointing. We do want to have our children back with us in larger numbers but it must be safe for us to do so. Rochdale has taken this step as the SAGE guidance does indicate a delay of two weeks reduces risk significantly, so they have taken this step with the best interests of children and families in mind. We agree that it wise to consider the advice from SAGE about risk reduction and timescales.

Thank you again for all of your patience and kind words, please stay safe and look after each other.

Best wishes

Ms Karen Martin
Headteacher

 

Friday 15th May 2020

Re: possible reopening of school to more pupils in June

I am sure that after the Prime Minister’s statement on Sunday regarding the opening of schools for reception, Year 1 & Year 6 pupils, there are lots of questions you will have. The government have released further guidance for parents and schools, but this new guidance has still left us as a school, and the local authority with lots of questions which need clarification too!

It’s a very unsettling time for us all, but rest assured that we’re going to be doing everything we can to make sure we’re ready to receive these year groups if it’s safe for our school to reopen in the coming weeks.

Please complete the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GFYLHWH

  • What is the current situation?

 At the moment, for us in school, there is no change to the current guidance. We will continue to provide care for children of those parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response and those that cannot be safely cared for at home. We know some employers will be encouraging you to return to work, but we’re not in a position right now to extend places to other children until we receive further government guidance.

  • What is the school doing to prepare for June 1st?

The senior leadership team have spent this week discussing what it will look like for Lowerplace and are continually reviewing based on new guidance that is coming out each day.

We’re creating an action plan which include the following precautions

  • Limiting class sizes
  • Staggering break times, and pick-up and drop-off times
  • Increased cleaning
  • Keeping pupils and staff with coronavirus symptoms at home

I do want to share our current thinking with you because we are a school family and I believe that you need all the facts about the direction which the government wants us to take.

  • Class groupings

With the number of small groups that we will need to offer (a maximum of 15 children in a group but preferably smaller so that we can maintain 2 metre distance), not all children will be looked after by their own class teacher. Some groups will need to be looked after by teaching assistants (who are all suitably qualified) – there are simply not enough teachers to go around.

It is also very likely that children will not be in their usual classroom or with preferred friendship groups, or following the usual school timetable and structure. Their classrooms will also have been stripped bare of all soft furnishings and resources, thus ensuring we can present children with a limited number of resources that can be cleaned periodically.

  • School Lunchtimes

Lunches will be brought to the classrooms and children will eat at their desks. They will have limited ‘play time’ in order to minimise the risks of breaking social distancing rules and to negate the risk of trips and falls which may require any kind of first aid.

  • Children who are classed as clinically vulnerable

If your child is clinically extremely vulnerable, or living with someone who is in this group, they should not come back to school and should continue home learning. If your child is clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable), you should follow medical advice to decide if they should come back to school. Please refer to government guidance for further details of these groups.

I want to reassure you that we’re not going to be pressuring anyone to send their children to school. Parents will not be fined for keeping their children at home. We’ll keep you updated with all our preparations for making sure the school is as safe as possible, so you can make an informed decision.

  • Home Learning

We will continue to provide home learning for all year groups and we will be in a position to launch the digital learning platform from 1st June. Further details regarding this will be sent out next week.

  • Parent Questionnaire

Bearing in mind the points above and the official guidance, I want you to know that we miss you and your children, and do want to welcome them back to school as soon as it is safe to do so! We remain committed to helping our school community feel safe and secure as we move forwards; if you as parents decide that the situation in school is too concerning, we would absolutely support you in the decision to keep your child/ren out of school. We will not fine for non-attendance or let it affect your child’s attendance record.

To help us plan please can you complete the parent questionnaire by clicking on the link to the survey. This will give us some idea of the numbers we can expect to be catering for if schools do re-open on June 1st. If this can be done ASAP, this would be of great help to us.

 

 

 

The latest letter from our Headteacher, Ms Martin, is below:

Letter to parents 04052020 (2)

Welcome to our new Headteacher, Ms Martin!  Please see a letter from Ms Martin below:

Headteacher introduction letter 27042020

 

 

If your child is worried about coronavirus

This Newsround story and videos from Childline may help: https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/51911025

Open Letter from Vicky Ford MP regarding children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

You can read the letter by clicking through to our SEND page here.

Staying at home guidance

On Monday 23rd March 2020 , the Prime Minister addressed the nation on coronavirus (COVID-19) and asked people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes.

There is no change in guidance for education settings, which remain closed except for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children. We continue to ask that parents keep their children at home, wherever possible.

The full stay at home guidance is available at:

School Closure

As announced by the government on Wednesday 19th March, schools will be closing to the majority of pupils from Monday 23rd March.  Vulnerable children, including those with EHCPs, as well as the children of Key Workers, will be able to come into school.

The Department for Education has published a list of “key workers” whose children will be prioritised for schooling during general closures because of coronavirus. Schools are being asked to continue to provide care for a number of children but will be closed to the majority from Monday 23 March.

We are aware that many parents who are ‘key workers’ will expect that their child/ren be offered a place at school, however we must limit the strain on an already reduced school workforce and reduce the chances of the virus spreading within school.  We have to drastically limit the number of children we can accept, so encourage the parents we have already contacted to offer a place to, to only send their child into school if there is absolutely no alternative.

Health and social care

Frontline health and social care staff such as doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, as well as support and specialist staff in the health and social care sector. In addition it includes those working in supply chains including producers and distributors of medicines and personal protective equipment.

Education and childcare

Nursery, teaching staff and social workers.

Key public services

Those required to run the justice system, religious staff, as well as those responsible for managing the deceased, and journalists providing public service broadcasting.

Local and national government

Administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the Covid-19 response or delivering essential public services, including payment of benefits.

Food and other necessary goods

Those involved in the production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery of food.

Public safety and national security

Police, support staff, Ministry of Defence civilian staff and armed forces personnel, fire and rescue staff, and those responsible for border security, prisons and probation.

Transport

Those who will keep air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the Covid-19 response.

Utilities, communication and financial services

Staff required to keep oil, gas, electricity, water and sewerage operations running. Staff in the civil nuclear, chemical and telecommunications sectors. Those in postal services and those working to provide essential financial services.

Update on assessments and examinations

The government has confirmed that we will not go ahead with assessments or exams, and that we will not be publishing performance tables for this academic year. We are awaiting greater clarity on how students and young people will be awarded the examination results that they deserve.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest advice

Public Health England (PHE), the Department for Health & Social Care and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government continue to monitor the evolving situation with the outbreak of the Coronavirus. Government advice is being updated regularly and PHE is addressing common questions on its blog.

New guidance for households with symptoms

On Monday 16th March 2020, the Government introduced new guidance on whole household isolation in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:

·         if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started

·         if you live with others and you or another member of the household have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community

·         for anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.

The symptoms are:

·         A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)

·         A new, continuous cough

The full stay at home guidance for households with these symptoms can be found here:

·         https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

The Prime Minister’s statement from Monday 16 March can be found here:

·         https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-statement-on-coronavirus-16-march-2020

Temporary suspension of Ofsted inspections

Ofsted is to temporarily suspend routine inspections of schools, colleges, early years settings, children’s social care providers and local authorities to reduce the burden on staff who are providing vital services to the nation in response to coronavirus.

The current medical and scientific advice is for schools and other educational establishments to stay open. If this changes and the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser say closing schools, colleges, and early years settings is in the best interests of children and teachers the Department will take that step.

The full announcement made by Gavin Williamson can be viewed here:

·         https://youtu.be/UkW7QcTsBcY

·         https://www.gov.uk/government/news/routine-ofsted-inspections-suspended-in-response-to-coronavirus

Handwashing advice

The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.

Watch this short NHS film for guidance:

·         https://youtu.be/bQCP7waTRWU

Department for Education coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday)

Please note, we are currently experiencing high volumes of calls. We appreciate your patience at this time and apologise for any wait that you may experience. To ensure that we answer your calls as quickly as possible, we have now extended our opening hours to cover weekends and are increasing the number of call handlers available to answer your calls.

If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UK PRN) available when calling the hotline.

Where to find the latest information

Updates on COVID-19:

·         https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Guidance for educational settings:

·         https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19

Guidance for social or community care and residential settings:

·         https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-social-or-community-care-and-residential-settings-on-covid-19

Travel advice for those travelling and living overseas:

·         https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

Educational resources:

·         https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/101-coronavirus-/resources

·         https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/schools

Latest Department for Education information:

·         https://twitter.com/educationgovuk

·         https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk/

 

 

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