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School Reopening Guidance

We recognise that your children will be attending a school that has temporarily changed.  What has not changed is the warmth and care that we will show them. We will do all that we can to ensure that they are safe and happy within their new environments. We will listen to them and look after them. In this context meaningful learning will take place.

1. Rationale for the plan

This plan is written to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the thinking behind our gradual re-opening and the protocols that we will be following to ensure that all within the school community remain safe. At the time of writing, key headlines of the guidance are:

  • Schools will only open if it is deemed safe to do so.
  • The government will not force parents to send children to school against their wishes.
  • The objective is to get as many Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children back into schools as possible, but it is ultimately down to individual schools to work out what they can accommodate based on their own circumstances.

Within this framework we have set out a plan for re-opening that relates specifically to our context and best meets the needs of our community. The government guidelines suggest that we should be planning for 15 in a class.  We will not be doing this initially as we feel that effective social distancing will not be possible with this many children in a class.  We have made a choice to cap class numbers at 10.  We have also made the decision not to open the Nursery provision due to logistical difficulties relating to staffing levels and space.  These plans will be under weekly review and the views of all stakeholders will be taken into account before adaptations or further planning is undertaken. The guidelines within this document have been drawn from a wide range of published documents including the DFE, Public Health England and guidance released by the NEU and NAHT.

2. The model

2a) Pods

Each year group will be divided into separate pods.  There will be no more than 10 children per pod.  Each pod will have a class teacher or HLTA teaching them.  The school building and timetable has been organised to ensure that the pods are self contained and do not come into contact with other pods throughout the day.  Effectively this means that pods will learn, break and have lunch together.  With the exception of break and lunchtimes they should not come into contact with any adults outside of their pod.  The make up of these pods will be decided by phase team leaders and class teachers. They will be formulated with the best interests of the children in the cohort.

2b) Weekly format

The school will open to children from Monday to Thursday and will be closed to all except key workers on Friday.  This is to ensure that teachers are given the opportunity to plan for online learning and adequate time is given for cleaning and decontamination.

2c) Proposed Timeline

We are adopting a phased return to ensure that the integrity of the pods is tested and any logistical issues are dealt with before more children return to site. Year 6 will return on the 1st and 2nd June and Reception and Year 1 will return on the 3rd and 4th of June. Following this first phase we will then have children in school from Monday - Thursday. We will await further government guidance on the return to school of other year groups but acknowledge the challenge this will present in having an appropriate number of classroom spaces available.

3. Protective measures & Arrangements

3a) Expectations of parents and staff

  • Pupils should not attend school if they are feeling unwell with symptoms of coronavirus (new persistent dry cough, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste of smell (anosmia) or high temperature of 37.8 or above). They should self-isolate for 7 days.
  • Pupils should also not attend school if a member of their household has symptoms of coronavirus. They should self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Parents are expected to collect any pupil who is unwell when notified by the school
  • Parents will be reminded to update their emergency contacts on Arbor so that they can be contacted easily.
  • Parents should continue to monitor the health of pupils, such as checking a child’s temperature.
  • Staff, similarly, should not attend work if they or a member of their household are feeling unwell with symptoms of coronavirus. Staff should follow the usual absence procedures which are set out later in this document
  • Staff are able to be tested for Coronavirus and are encouraged to do so if they develop symptoms. Details of how to get tested can be found on the government website.

3b) Hand hygiene

Hands are to be washed before entry to school, before and after break and lunchtime and before leaving school.  They will need to be washed after toileting.  All staff are expected to model and follow these guidelines.  Children will need to be supervised when washing hands and expected to wash for 20 seconds. Children and staff will be permitted to bring their own hand sanitiser into school. Posters will be displayed to remind children about how to wash their hands. Gloves are not recommended to be worn all the time, as they provide a false sense of safety and are difficult to take off without contamination. However, where a member of staff is treating a pupil or dealing with intimate care, it is recommended gloves are worn.

3c) Cleaning

Cleaning rotas will be adapted to ensure that areas of high risk are cleaned during and after the school day.  To reduce the possibility of contamination staff teams will be responsible for cleaning their classrooms during lunchtime.  Adequate stocks of cleaning products have been purchased to enable this. Doors should be left open unless kept closed for safety or security. Lights should be left on and pupils told not to use the switches. Any resources and play equipment (Early Years) used by children should be washed regularly.  Sports equipment should not be shared and should be cleaned after use if shared between groups. Staff should limit what equipment is being used.

3d) Classrooms

Classrooms will be organised to follow social distancing protocols as much as is possible.  Each child will have their own workstation which will be 2 metres apart from any other children.  They will have books and equipment that only they are allowed to use.  Movement around the class will be monitored by staff and children will be encouraged to stay in their own areas. Teaching will take place in the classroom space or by booking other spaces such as the hall or allocated outdoor spaces. Before moving to a new space hands must be washed. Windows should be open in classrooms for ventilation and the classroom door should be open to avoid touching of handles etc. Children should not use the interactive whiteboard.

In Reception and Year 1 equipment that is not easily cleanable or washable will be removed.  Teaching teams are encouraged to be innovative and proactive when overcoming these restrictions.  Toys can be separated so that there are boxes and bags that can be cleaned, quarantined and rotated as necessary. 

3e) Distancing

Social distancing will be promoted and encouraged across the school.  There is a recognition that it will be easier to maintain social distancing within Year 6 and there will be challenges in Reception and Year 1. It is important to consider distancing measures even when pupils ask to use the toilet. The number of pupils inside the toilets will be limited with queuing lines marked outside. Staff should be mindful not to send more than one child to the toilet at the same time. The only exception to this is for handwashing times and, if supervised, the number allowed in is equal to the number of sinks.

We have kept pod sizes small in order to ensure that we apply the same principles in Reception and Year 1.  Each child will have their own work space and carpet space.  There will however be more movement within these settings and 2 metre distancing cannot be guaranteed at all times. All staff must attempt to follow some of the principles set out below:

  • Do not sit face to face, always be away from areas where most droplets are spread from (mouth/nose)
  • Stand to the side or behind a child where possible
  • Staff should practise holding their own hands in a clasp to minimise touching things including their own face
  • Staff should be mindful of other staff in class and around the school, maintaining distancing, where possible

3f) Outdoor spaces

Each pod will have an allocated part of the playground with associated resources. In the Reception pods outdoor equipment will be shared so that all children have equal access.  This equipment will also be rotated on a weekly basis with the 72 hours from Friday to Monday allowing quarantining to take place before rotation.  The KS1 and KS2 playground space will be divided equally between the pods.  As each pod will have an allocated area which is specific to them, staff are encouraged to use this outdoor space as much as possible although staff should be mindful of sun exposure. Parents will be encouraged to be aware of this too and provide appropriate protection (hat and cream etc).  Where possible lessons or activities can take place in these areas. 

3g) Playtimes

There will be staggered playtimes to ensure that the integrity of the pods remains intact.  During breaktime children may be supervised by adults from outside of their pod. These staff will maintain social distancing unless there is a medical or health and safety issue. This is due to the reduced risk of transmission outdoors and the need to build in break times for staff within the pods.

3h) Lunchtimes

Parents will be encouraged to send their children into school with packed lunches.  School dinners will consist of a packed lunch provision.  These can be requested by parents in the usual way.  Each pod will have their lunches within their classrooms.

3i) Start and end of the day

There will be a staggered start and finish to the day to minimise congestion and encourage effective social distancing.  A one way system of dropping off will be introduced.  Members of SLT will be on duty to ensure all children will wash or sanitise their hands before entering the class. The different entrances to the school will enable us to ensure that children can be dropped off safely and for parents to be able to maintain social distancing.

3j) Wrap around care

This care will only be offered to key worker children.  This is to ensure that we limit the number of children who come into contact with children from other pods.

If your child is to attend school you will be sent further guidance as we approach their start date

4. Curriculum

It is important that we recognise that our community will have been challenged by the Coronavirus crisis.  We  all need to  take time to absorb and reflect on how this may have affected our children. When designing the curriculum and school day the following concepts will be taken into account.  Recognition of what has happened during lockdown and all our experiences have been different.  Empathy. How can we respond with empathy, compassion and self care whether we are staff students or parents? Safety. How do we help our children to feel safe in an uncertain world and in an unfamiliar school context?  Opportunity. An opportunity to change what needs to be changed, to reflect on what matters to us and if we would like to do anything differently. Relationships.  They will be the key.  How do we reconnect and  build inclusive, responsive relationships at all levels in schools.

 4a) Online Learning

We intend to maintain home learning for those not attending school. We will ensure that there is continuity of provision for pupils who are not in school - be that year groups who are not currently due to attend from June 1st (Nursery, Y2,3,4 & 5) or children whose parents have chosen not to send them to school.

4b) Feedback to Pupils

 Children will continue to need reassurance and feedback from their teachers. However, this needs to be balanced with reducing the risk of staff touching lots of books. Therefore, where possible, feedback will be orally and remotely. Best practice guidance will be shared regarding verbal feedback and marking load will be significantly reduced and where possible/appropriate, pupils will self-assess their learning.

If your child is to attend school you will be sent further guidance as we approach their start date. 

Please see below government guidance around school reopening.

Advice for schools staying open

Preparing for wider opening on the 1st June

Updated 14th May

Actions for education and childcare settings

Preparing for wider opening from 1 June 2020

Updated 12 May 2020

Managing school premises, which are partially open, during the coronavirus outbreak

Published 24 April 2020

This guidance is applicable to 31 May 2020 and will be reviewed before 1 June 2020.


Coronavirus (COVID-19): implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings

Updated 12 May 2020

COVID-19: cleaning in non-healthcare settings

Updated 15 May 2020