Menu
Home Page

Opening school in September 2020

Westwood’s plans to return to school in September

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. Please remember that all these plans are open to change depending on local circumstances.

As we look forward to the start of a new school year in September we need to acknowledge that COVID-19 has not disappeared. Its presence is a fact of our everyday lives and we all have a responsibility to be vigilant in ensuring we reduce the risk of catching and spreading the virus. As Head, I would be extremely foolish if I did not recognise that, at some point in the next academic year, we may have a local or national lockdown. Therefore we need to make sure, that as a school community, we work together to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

The school risk assessment will be on the website from the end of August. If we should experience a local or national lockdown school will, as before, remain open for Key Workers and vulnerable children. It is therefore essential that if you work in education, the NHS, a care home or in the food industry you are on our Key Worker list. If your child has been attending school since June 1st as a key worker, you do not need to inform school as we already have your details and proof of key worker status. However if you are a key worker and you are not known to school, then please contact us as soon as possible by ringing the school office.

Since the government announced the return of all children to school in September, Westwood has been busy planning our return. We understand that this may be a very anxious time for some families, as some children will have been out of education for just over 5 months. For this reason, we 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.

After analysing the guidance set out by the government, we feel we have put 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 there are going to be some differences, some of which we have already had in place over the last few weeks but we feel with the decisions we have made 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 we have put in place for September below and adhere to the changes made.

Bubble Size

After much deliberation we have decided that Westwood will 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 operate 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 within the guidance it states:

‘Consistent groups reduce the risk of transmission by limiting the number of pupils and staff in contact with each other to only those within the group. They have been used in schools in the summer term in recognition that children, and especially the youngest children, cannot socially distance from staff or from each other and this provides an additional protective measure. Maintaining distinct groups or ‘bubbles’ that do not mix makes it quicker and easier in the event of a positive case to identify those who may need to self-isolate, and keep that number as small as possible’.

‘However, the use of small groups restricts the normal operation of schools and presents both educational and logistical challenges, including the cleaning and use of shared spaces, such as playgrounds, boarding houses, dining halls, and toilets, and the provision of specialist teaching. This is the case in both primary and secondary schools, but is particularly difficult in secondary schools’.

Obviously the catch up of education for our children is going to be our main priority when we return in September. 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 as we move in to the winter months. 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. Please can I assure you, this does still follow the guidance set out by the government, as you can see from the quote below:

‘All teachers and other staff can operate across different classes and year groups in order to facilitate the delivery of the school timetable’.

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.

Classroom organisation

When children return in September their classrooms may look a little different. As stated in the guidance desks where possible should be forward facing. This means children, from year 2 upwards, who access a more formal curriculum will be sat in rows. This is to limit transmission of the virus.

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 in pencil cases, as they have over the last few weeks. 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. From September 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 will then stay in school until half term.

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) will now eat their lunches in their classroom. This is to allow all children to be served over lunch time and to keep within the timings of the school day. As some children will be eating in classrooms the lunch menu has been tailored to meet this need and follow catering Leeds guidance. I have attached the new menu to this letter.

We will no longer have an afternoon playtime due to the school day being slightly shorter to allow for staggered drop offs and pick up’s.

School drop offs and pick-ups

As laid out in the government guidance: ‘schools should consider staggered starts or adjusting start and finish times to keep groups apart as they arrive and leave school’. For this reason, from September, children will arrive and be collected from school at a specified time dependent 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 G

8:45am

2:45pm

H to O

9:00am

3:00pm

P to Z

9:15am

3:15pm

In order to limit the number of people coming on to 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 rule.

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

Attendance expectations

In March when the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak was increasing, the government made it clear that no parent would be penalized or sanctioned for their child’s non-attendance at school. However in the recent guidance released, from September, the government’s stance on school attendance has changed. Below I have outlined the guidance stated by the government for you to read:

Now the circumstances have changed and it is vital for all children to return to school to minimise as far as possible the longer-term impact of the pandemic on children’s education, wellbeing and wider development’.

‘Missing out on more time in the classroom risks pupils falling further behind. Those with higher overall absence tend to achieve less well in both primary and secondary school. School attendance will therefore be mandatory again from the beginning of the autumn term. This means from that point, the usual rules on school attendance will apply, including:

  • parents’ duty to secure that their child attends regularly at school where the child is a registered pupil at school and they are of compulsory school age;
  • schools’ responsibilities to record attendance and follow up absence
  • the availability to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices in line with local authorities’ codes of conduct’

 

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 on the first day back. These bottles will then remain in school. Every child’s water bottle will be cleaned thoroughly by our staff at the end of the school day. If your child receives a school dinner, they will take their water bottle with them. This is due to water jugs not being allowed during this time.

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 September Breakfast Club will be back up and running. However children will be grouped dependant on Key Stages. The hall will still be used for Breakfast Club but it will be zoned for each Key Stage with a member of staff will be assigned to each zone. Unfortunately Breakfast club can no longer be used for ad hoc childcare purposes. If you already attend breakfast club your place will be honoured in September but until further notice we will no longer be accepting any more children. Mrs Russell will be assigned to the Key Stage 1 bubble, Miss Kelly to Lower Key Stage 2 and Mrs Wilson to Upper Key Stage 2.

After School Clubs

When we return in September after school clubs will be limited. This is due to teachers having to remain in their Key Stages and a heavy focus being placed up on catch up learning for those who need it. Mr Frankland will still be offering a sports club for Key Stage 2 children as will Miss Clive for Key Stage 1. We will also have the Leeds United Wildcats return for Key Stage 2 football. Mrs Oates will also deliver a Computing club to children in Key Stage 1. All other class teachers will be holding booster sessions within reading, writing and maths for identified children. Further information regarding clubs and how you sign up will be given out when we return in September.

 

 

Educational Visits

As of yesterday it was announced that swimming pools could open. Therefore we are very hopeful that year 4 will be able to access swimming lessons as planned. As swimming never takes place in the first week of any term we will update year 4 parents on this during the first week back. As stated in the guidance, schools are allowed to go ahead with any school trips planned. However overnight stays are still not permitted. We are keeping everything crossed that this will change so Year 6 will not miss out on going to Ingleborough in December.

Assemblies

Unfortunately when we return in September whole school assemblies are 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 in September, assemblies will be held over Microsoft teams. Although this may take a little getting used to, I am sure the children will enjoy showing off their achievements during good work assemblies and listening to important whole school messages.

After reading this letter, I hope you all feel reassured and happy to join us again in September. 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 in September.

Top