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Opening School from 8th March

Westwood’s plans to return to school in March

Dear Parent / Carers

Firstly I would like to apologies for the length of this letter, but please read it carefully; a copy will be available on the front page of the website for future reference if needed.

Last night, we all heard the news we have been waiting for, all children can return to school from Monday 8th March! This means remote learning and parents needing to stand in as teachers will come to an end. News I’m sure you are all grateful to hear. As we look forward to welcoming all children back we need to acknowledge that COVID-19 has not disappeared yet. Its presence is a fact of our everyday lives and we all still have a responsibility to be vigilant in ensuring we reduce the risk of catching and spreading the virus.

I understand that for some this may be a very anxious time, as again some children have been out of education for just over a half term. For this reason, I want to make sure their return is as seamless as possible and give you as much information as we can so you can prepare them for their return in September.

As this is our second time reopening Westwood to all children, I am confident that we have all measures in place to ensure a safe and happy return for all our children and the staff at Westwood are so excited about being reunited with the children again.

Obviously the precautions we had in place last time will remain, but with the decisions we have made I’m positive Westwood will still be able to be its fun, vibrant self and the children will love being back with us!

All I ask is that you have a good read of the procedures to remind yourself of what Westwood was like before the Christmas break.

Bubble Size

Westwood will continue to operate in Key Stage bubbles. The bubbles are outlined below:

Early Years – Nursery and Reception

Key Stage 1 – Blossom, Cherry and Chestnut

Lower Key Stage 2 – Elder, Mulberry and Oak

Upper Key Stage 2 – Rowan, Sycamore and Willow.

The reason why we have decided to continue operating in this way, rather than year group bubbles is due to numerous factors. Firstly Westwood is a 1 ½ form entry school. This means we have classes made up of children from 2 year groups. Secondly, the catch up of education for our children is again going to be our main priority when we return on 8th March. For this to happen, specialist teaching and grouping for phonics, reading, maths and writing is going to be essential. If children are operating in Key Stage bubbles this will allow this to happen with ease and ensure the children are always receiving the best quality of education. We also have limited outdoor space and unfortunately we cannot rely on using the field during the spring term due to the weather. Working in Key Stage bubbles means the children can still access outdoor space every day within their bubbles safely, without mixing with the rest of the school.

Teachers

As children are being grouped into Key Stage bubbles this will allow teachers to move around classes in their Key Stage. While children will mainly be taught by their teacher and teaching assistant, there may be occasions during the school day or week that they come into contact with other children from their Key Stage. This may happen during phonic lessons, maths lessons, interventions or booster groups.

As you will also be aware, under normal circumstances, Mr Frankland and Mrs Oates, teach every class in the school during teacher’s statutory PPA time. This is the time teachers are given out of class to plan, prepare and assess. During this time they are taught P.E by Mr Frankland and Computing and French from Mrs Oates. In order to reduce the amount of bubbles Mr Frankland and Mrs Oates work across, they will now teach in different key stages. Mr Frankland will teach across Key Stage 2 and Mrs Oates will teach across Key stage 1. This means they will deliver all the subjects they would normally receive from both of them to the children in their assigned Key Stage.

Equipment

The sharing of equipment will be allowed within Key Stage bubbles. This means each key stage will have their own P.E. equipment and playground equipment. However where possible, children will be given their own equipment, as they have been previously. In Key Stages where children learn in provision areas, such as Nursery, Reception and Year 1, equipment will continue to be shared. It is still recommended that children limit the amount of equipment they bring into school each day, to essentials such as lunch boxes, hats, coats and reading books. When children return on the 8th children will be allowed to bring a bag to school. In order to reduce the amount of items being brought into and from school, we ask that all children bring their P.E. to school on their first day back, clearly labelled. Their kit can then stay in school until Easter.

Playtimes and Lunchtime

During playtimes children will be separated, again into Key Stage bubbles. Each bubble will have an allocated time slot on the playground. This will then be repeated at dinner time with Key Stages having an allocated time slot in the hall to eat. In order to keep children in their bubbles at lunchtime Upper Key Stage 2 (Rowan, Sycamore and Willow) and 2 classes from Key Stage 1 (Cherry and Chestnut) will eat their lunches in their classroom. This is something the children are used to and it will allow all children to be served over lunch time and to keep within the timings of the school day.

School drop offs and pick-ups

Staggered drop off and pick up times will continue from March 8th. However we have reduced to two allocated times. This is to make sure children get the maximum learning time possible. For this to work we ask that you make a swift drop off on a morning and once you have collected your child/ren you leave the school grounds immediately. Your child’s allocated time will de dependant on their surname. We have based arrival and pick up times based on surnames as we appreciate that many families have more than 1 child and for ease we wanted you to be able to drop off and pick up all your children at the same time. If you have siblings with different surnames, please bring both children at the earliest specified time. Please see the table below outlining drop off and pick-up times.

Surname initial

Drop off time

Pick-up time

A to M

8:50am

3:10pm

N to Z

9:00am

3:20pm

In order to limit the number of people coming onto the school grounds during this time only one adult per family is permitted to drop off and collect their children at any one time. As parents are still not allowed to enter the building, if you wish to speak to the Headteacher or a class teacher in person an appointment must be made.

While on site we ask that social distancing is maintained. It is really important that during these drop off and pick up times that the social distancing rule of 2 meters is followed. Outside each class entrance there will be a 2 meter marking from the door, it is at this point, you must leave your child. All class teachers will be by their classroom entrance. If your child is bringing themselves to school, please can you talk to them about adhering to the social distancing rules. Teachers will be wearing masks when stood by entrance points.

In order to ease the flow around the building during drop off and pick up times each class must use an allocated entrance and exit. Please see below which door your child’s class must use:

Class

Entrance/Exit

Nursery

Nursery door

Ash

Reception door close to main entrance

Birch

Reception door located next to Reception’s playground

Blossom

Blossom fire door located under the shelter on the bottom playground.

Cherry

Main exit door onto the bottom playground

Chestnut

Chestnut fire door located close to the fence on the bottom playground

Elder

Elder fire door located next to Reception’s outdoor shelter

Mulberry

Mulberry fire door located opposite the portacabin

Oak

Portacabin door

Rowan

Rowan fire door, located next to the adventure playground. This door has steps leading up to it.

Sycamore

Main Entrance door

Willow

Main Entrance door

 

Water Bottles

In school all water fountains will continue to be out of bounds. For this reason, we ask that every child brings a water bottle, clearly labelled with their name on it to school each day.

Hand washing

As mentioned before, in previous letters, the children will wash their hands on entry to the classroom, after play, before dinner, after dinner and before they go home. This will take place in classroom sinks with the hand wash and paper towels provided. Each classroom also has its own hand sanitizing dispenser which can be used throughout the school day.

Breakfast Club

From March 8th Breakfast Club will be back up and running. However children will be grouped dependant on Key Stages. Unfortunately Breakfast club will still not be able to be used for ad hoc childcare purposes. If your child was already attending breakfast club your place will be honoured but until further notice we will no longer be accepting any more children.

After School Clubs

When we return on the 8th March after school clubs will be limited. This is due to teachers having to remain in their Key Stages and a heavy focus being placed upon catch up learning for those who need it. However over the next two weeks information regarding sporting after school clubs will be sent out via parent mail.

Assemblies

Unfortunately when we return on the 8th March whole school assemblies are still not permitted. However at Westwood we want to ensure that we keep our whole school community feel and celebrate children’s achievements. As a result, when we return on the 8th, whole school assemblies will be pre-recorded. Key Stage Celebration assemblies will still go ahead on a Friday though.

After reading this letter, I hope you all feel reassured and happy to join us again on March 8th. This year really has been like no other and although the precautions we have put in place may be with us for some time we can’t wait to get all the children back with us doing what we do best, having fun, making memories and learning with our friends around us.

See you all on the 8th!

 

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