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School Return Questions and Answers - June 2020
1) Just wondering about the nursery return back in June. Would they still do the same days/sessions that they were doing before?
Yes they would, and if a session included lunch, they would need a packed lunch.
2) My only concern being after speaking to most parents they aren't sending their children back and I would hate for my child to be in a class with children she's never been in a class with before. More concern is for her mental well-being really more than anything else.
We will endeavour to ensure she is within a bubble with children she knows where possible. Emphasis will be on promoting mental well-being on children’s return.
3) If parents decide to keep children off longer are teachers going to be setting work to do at home as they are now or is that stopping?
It will continue, however, differing staff may monitor/support home learning, dependent on who is in school in a teaching bubble.
4) Will children have allocated drop off and pick up times or any time between the times offered? I’m just a little concerned if parents decide what time to pick them up they could all turn up at the same time. Also will the drop and collection point be the same as before as we could have to walk in close distance of others to find a spot safe to stand.
Parents will be given specific information (set gates, classroom doors and times) relating to their child’s bubble. A parent will be given a slot between drop-off times (8.45am to 9.00am) and collection times (2.50pm to 3.20pm). These timings also allow for flexibility if a parent is early/late. We will use outdoor signage reminding parents to keep 2m apart.
5) Please would it be possible to confirm if Year 6 who don’t return to school will continue to receive tasks to complete at home?
Yes they will. In addition Year 6 children at home will receive the same transition materials used at school.
6) The ‘bubbles’ that is mentioned in the document, will these bubbles (groups of 10) always remain the same going forward? From a ‘pairing’ point of view it could reducing the level of risk if the same children remain in the same groups...
Yes we will aim not to change children within a bubble. However, this will prove more difficult for staffing, due to working contracts, their own childcare etc…
7) Once the Risk Assessment is finalised (obviously it will be regularly reviewed to fall in line with ever changing guidance) will you be making this RA accessible for parents to view should they wish to see it? If not; I would strongly advise allowing this permission as it would ease a lot of people’s minds.
We will be happy to share anything that puts parents at ease. However, the risk assessment will first need to be approved by governors and the local authority.
8) Will siblings be in the same bubble?
Siblings would only be together if they were in a key worker bubble. Year group bubbles will not include siblings (unless in the same year group, for example twins).
9) When children left school in March, they rightly felt that it was a safe space for them. Now, with all the (necessary) changes, what assessments have made as to how that will affect children’s well-being? It may no longer be seen as a safe space and children need to feel safe to learn effectively. What support will they get? Have educational psychologists been involved in reopening plans?
The school has been working very closely with Jacqui Braithwaite the principal educational psychologist within the Local Authority to obtain information on how best to help children back into school. Once children are back in school, such information and resources will be used to gauge the level of support individual children need. Children will then be given individual support plans based on their needs.
10) Will children be tested for symptoms (temperature) on entry?
No, guidance from the local authority, has stated that temperature is not a guarantee that children are symptomatic.
11) What would happen if a child went into quarantine or was diagnosed with C19? Or a member of staff?
We will follow specific guidance as found on the following webpage:
12) Does my child need to wear a mask?
No they do not, but this at parent’s discretion.
13) We struggle to get parents to adhere to the 48-hour rule around keeping children off who have had vomiting and diarrhoea, how realistic is it that parents will adhere to the rules?
We have to rely that parents will take responsibility, and work with us during this very difficult time and follow set guide-lines.
14) Realistically, given what we already know about how children’s knowledge and skills drop during an average summer holiday, how much progress are we expecting children to make in such a short time period?
The emphasis, will be on well-being first, progress is secondary at present. We are equally concerned about those not given the opportunity to attend school.
15) Have children who have attended school through lockdown maintained their progress?
For the children who have attended school in mixed aged classes, the priority was to provide childcare to support those on the frontline and to provide a safe environment for our vulnerable children.
16) Just a question on the return... if we choose not to send our children back to school will we still receive a weekly rainbow? Also, once we’ve made our decision is that final or can we assess at a later date?
Yes the weekly rainbow will continue. We are asking parents and carers to make a final decision for the remainder of the term (6 weeks), so we can accurately plan our bubbles.
17) Will Reception parents be allowed in the building?
Unfortunately not, children will be dropped off at collected at allocated classroom doors.
18) If parents decide to keep children off longer are teachers going to be setting work to do at home as they are now or is that stopping?
It will continue as it is now.
19) Hi, hope you are all well, regarding returning to school my nursery child won't be returning, when and if Y4 go back, can I send them both back at the same time?
Yes that will not be a problem.
20) Since nursery start is looking to be another month, can we change our minds about attendance?
Ideally, we would like all parents to make a decision now based on the information they have so we can acquire an accurate estimate of numbers returning.
21) Would we be able to see a photo of the classrooms before making a decision?
Once we have adapted the school we will share images, unfortunately, this will not be until after the half-term holidays. Classrooms will only have furniture that can be easily cleaned. We plan to use smaller exam tables rather than larger desks. Classrooms will appear more spacious.
22) Also would we be informed of how many children would be going back and are you asking for input from parents for the groups of children as I know my child has stronger bonds with certain children and would prefer to be with them. I think if she wasn’t with certain people she would want to go over to another bubble.
We will certainly notify you of numbers returning in the June 2020 newsletter. Teachers will decide (for their year group) which children go into which bubble, based on their knowledge of attainment, friendships, behaviour, additional needs etc. However, please let your teacher know of significant changes since March 2020 that may help teachers create bubbles.
23) Following on from Question 16 answer - so if we say no for them starting at these times, they cannot return at all until September?
Not at all, it is just with having bubbles of 10 rather than classes of 30 it is possible that we will soon run out of class spaces or staff, and may therefore be unable to accommodate those who initially stated no. Unfortunately, until we obtain numbers and see who attends we cannot fully plan for Nursery or Year 6.
24) I have spoken to my child regarding the return, explaining about the differences. Her main concern is having a different teacher and being in a different classroom - when allocating teachers to bubbles, what steps will be taken to ensure the teacher is known to my child and how much notice will we have of who will be allocated to their bubble?
We will provide information about bubbles prior to children returning. If the child does not know the teacher, staff will introduce themselves via Class Dojo. Teachers will also ensure they pass all relevant information to staff who may be teaching children from their class.
25) If the teacher is a nursery teacher, what will happen once nursery returns?
Unfortunately, although the plan is for all children within the bubble to stay the same, staff may change. Rest assured changing staffing within bubbles will be communicated to parents, to try to ensure seamless transition.
26) Another concern of hers, is how she will bring her work home - I have explained that there will be no bags, other than a packed lunch if they bring them in - could completed work be photographed and sent via Class Dojo? It’s clearly important to her so I would like to be able to explain that to her.
As we did prior to reduced numbers staff will once again use Class Dojo as a means to show what children have been doing in class.
27) Is there the possibility of a phased return? I am concerned that after all of this time off to then just return full time under very different circumstances will be overwhelming for the children and personally feel returning for a half-day for a couple of days before full time may be beneficial.
Unfortunately, at present we are planning for children to return to their usual hours, as this allows children to experience routines such as playtimes and lunchtimes and enables parents to return to work. However, we will be as flexible as possible, based on individual circumstances.
28) I know that you are wanting a final decision but what plans are in place for if my child struggles to settle under the different circumstances? Is it possible for us to then consider keeping them home. I think this is unlikely, but I would like to consider it.
Of course, if the return is not a success a parent can revert to educating their child at home. The government has stated that parents will not be fined for non-attendance. We want what is best for our children.
29) What is the anticipated date of the return for Year 6?
If we still have sufficient staff and class spaces we would expect Year 6 to return from Monday 22nd June 2020.
30) I am interested to know why the decision to return the lower years before Year 6 was made?
The school is following government guidance namely to prioritise younger children (Reception) over older children (Year 6), please click on: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-primary-schools. Governors decided for Reception to return before Nursery as it was felt it would be more difficult to implement new measures for Nursery children, and it would be harder for this year group to adapt to a modified school.
31) I just had a quick question, in terms of transition. How will it work for Nursery children moving up to Reception? Understandably, the transition, prior to COVID, would look different, but will there be any kind of transition? i.e. the children staying for full days, etc. to help prepare them as best as possible for Reception in September?
Yes we will be providing transition, please keep on checking the following web-page: https://www.throstonschool.org.uk/nursery-and-reception-starters-september-2020/ as we will upload details once finalised with Early Years staff.
32) Can you confirm what you will be able to / have you thought about how you will try and comfort them if they are slightly upset / unsure / worried when they return?
Initially we will reassure children by informing parents and carers of details of a child’s ‘bubble’ and by showing multimedia of how the school looks prior to a return. Once children return we will work with parents/carers closely (for example via messaging) to let you know if children are upset and not settled. If being verbally supportive does not work, obviously we will make arrangements for a child to be collected. In reality, knowing our staff they will not allow a child to be upset without being proactive. As soon as guidance changes we will let you know.
33) As part of starting Reception, is there going to be any “transitional” activities which happen in September such as eating lunches in the school hall or returning Nursery children gradually by part time - full time?
We will share details/plans for transition on the following page: https://www.throstonschool.org.uk/nursery-and-reception-starters-september-2020/ and via school newsletters. Our priority for now is ensuring a smooth return from Monday 8th June 2020. Please bear with us.
34) Can I please ask how the dinner service will be carried out before we make a decision on packed lunch.
Bubbles will be given a time slot for which to enter the hall. They will then queue following markings in the school hall, and then sit at a allocated seat on a allocated table, spaced apart from other children in their bubble. Meal choice will continue as before.
35) Can I just ask about the hand washing facilities, what type of taps are fitted please? I'm just concerned whereby you wash your hands and then need to touch the tap again to switch it off.
All taps used for handwashing will be non-concussive. Meaning children press a button, wash their hands, and the tap stops automatically.
36) Adults can use hand towels to assist but I don't think Reception children would do this. Also, will children be supervised to ensure good hand washing?
Staff will ensure children within their bubble are taught to use hand towels correctly, we also ensure we promote good handwashing via resources such as: https://e-bug.eu/
37) Will school still be breaking up, as planned, for the summer holidays on 17th July or is it remaining open like it has been over the usual school holidays?
At present we expect to be closed over the summer holidays.
38) I’m currently working from home with no view to be returning to the office anytime soon, however, if I decide to continue with home learning but then get called back to work, say, on 1st July would my child be able to return to school or is the decision I make now an all or nothing situation? If he could come back would he be in a bubble with members of his current class group?
Unfortunately, if he could not be added to an existing bubble. Potentially, he could be included in a new bubble, but this would be dependent on sufficient class spaces and staff.
39) I currently use the key worker system but only for a couple of days a month, If I decide to continue with home learning will this still be an option?
Only if your child is in a year group not targeted for a return. Children in returning year groups have to join their year group bubbles.
40) Will we still receive a weekly home learning structure as we are now and in the same format (I find it very helpful)?
41) Is this ‘new normal’ the future or just temporary until things are looking a lot more positive - is it likely to still be in place in September?
At present we do not know what September will look like, we are awaiting more guidance from the government, I know this is not helpful!
42) Will there be any form of transition period in September from Year 1 to Year 2 and will we find out in advance who my child’s Year 2 teacher will be?
Yes, we will have transition activities for children in September, we will also inform parents/carers of arrangements and details of class teachers for September prior to the end of the summer term (government guidance pending).
43) Will there be something in place for wellness and mental health in September, especially for the children who continue to learn at home as they will have been outside the school environment for 20+ weeks which is a very long time for anyone, let alone primary aged kids.
Yes, this will remain the number one priority until we are happy to reintroduce curriculum tasks.
44) Totally unrelated to my decision but how do I access the ‘class bubble‘ on dojo?
As you would message your teacher, simply message ‘Bubbles’ via Class Dojo. If you are stuck please just ask.
45) How much of the curriculum will be taught?
Teachers will make this decision based on their assessment of the needs within their year group bubbles. Wellness is the initial priority.
46) I understand home schooling support will continue; however, will this still be their current teacher given that he/she will potentially have a bubble of ten to teach?
No, home schooling support will vary depending on staff availability. Class teachers at school will however be informed of anything that they need to know.
47) If bubbles are still required in September would my child be in the same bubble?
Unfortunately, we are still awaiting guidance for September. Our small bubbles could not exist if more year groups are asked to return.
48) What will happen with Reception children in terms of getting them ready for Year 1 given that many children may have fallen behind? Is there a plan to help children reach the level they should be at before moving up?
Yes, will be implementing plans for children to catch-up across the school once we have ensured children are mentally able to do this. Decisions regarding staffing and class structures for next year are still to be agreed by governors.
49) Would we be advised if social distancing within the bubbles was not been adhered to on a regular basis? We understand that this may be difficult with Reception children.
Yes we will provide as much information as possible via Class Dojo.
50) Is it possible to provide what a typical day will involve for Reception children?
At present we are planning socially distanced wellness activities, and table-based maths and English activities in the morning with table-based craft/theme activities in the afternoon. Each Reception bubble will be allocated a class space for directed learning and a designated area for social distanced child-initiated play using washable resources. Details of themes will be issued next week.
51) Would it be possible for me to wait to allow my Reception child to return until a decision has been made about if/when my Year 3 child can return?
Unfortunately, it is very likely with the targeted year groups returning that we would have space or staff to be able to accommodate Year 3. Unless, government guidance on social distancing changes.
52) My only concern, like most parents, is the return to school in September and how we move forward. My child is already emotionally worried about not being in Mrs Parker’s class and my concern is the transition period from Reception to Year 1. If at any point there is a transition period, even if it is a morning/afternoon or a day, could we still be considered for this?
Yes, most certainly, we definitely want to provide some sort of transition, even for those not in school bubbles. Once we have definite plans we will share with parents and carers.
53) Can my child bring their water bottle?
Yes, as water fountains are not in use. This is a sensible alternative. Obviously water bottles will need to be named and not shared (as with packed lunches).
54) My child is due to start Nursery in September, can they start in the summer term?
Unfortunately not, as we do not have sufficient staffing.
55) So I’ve been led to believe my child can go back 8th of June 2020 & if I decide he is not going back, then he cannot attend till September? & we have to decide by this Thursday (28th). I am really panicking and I think this is far too soon.
Unfortunately, due to having small bubbles, we may not be able to accommodate children after the deadline, as we may run out of teaching spaces or staff. We need to know as soon as possible to plan and inform parents/carers of our plans, sorry.
56) If my child doesn’t go back 8th of June then how will he do his 2 weeks transition to Year 1 & meet his new teacher etc.
As all year groups may not return this summer and there is not two weeks of transition for our Year 6 cohort at secondary school, transition will look different this term. We will share plans for transition at a later date. Please bear with us.
57) Will the 'bubble' teacher be someone my child knows & is familiar with?
We will endeavour to ensure we use a familiar face. If we cannot, staff will introduce themselves via electronic means.
58) If my child was to get hurt, fall over etc. then how will the teacher soothe him or clean him up etc.
They will do this as they have always done. Please note staff will wear aprons, gloves and a visor.
59) Will there be someone in the dinner hall with the children at all times as I have issues with choking.
Of course, each bubble will be allocated a member of staff at lunchtimes.
60) Has the school received any advice with regards to children returning to school if a parent is shielding?
It all depends on the level of vulnerability of parents at home namely ‘clinically vulnerable’ or ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’. If in the former category we cannot see a problem with a return, but if in the latter category we would advise against a return as we cannot guarantee the required stricter social distancing. Please click on: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19 for more information.
61) My only concern with us deciding to keep her at home is the possibility of her being behind on her learning compared to those who do return to school. I would appreciate as much as possible that tasks given on the rainbow are similar with what the children are doing in school so she doesn’t miss out on learning.
We will endeavour to ensure children at home have the same learning opportunities as those returning to school.
62) If we switch to the classroom bubble from a key worker bubble, if it turns out you are going to be open over the 6 weeks holidays (I don’t know what we would do if not) would my Year 6 child still be able to attend, as I still need my Year 3 child to attend on key worker days when I am at work.
Unfortunately, we have been given no guidance regarding the summer holidays at present. The assumption is we will be closed.
63) Also, if any child is poorly with Covid-19 symptoms in their classroom bubble, do all the children in that bubble have to self-isolate?
Below I have copied the guidance from the government on what actions we will take. More information can be found on: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings
When a child, young person or staff member develops symptoms compatible with coronavirus, they should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 7 days. Their fellow household members should self-isolate for 14 days. All staff and students who are attending an education or childcare setting will have access to a test if they display symptoms of coronavirus, and are encouraged to get tested in this scenario.
Where the child, young person or staff member tests negative, they can return to their setting and the fellow household members can end their self-isolation.
Where the child, young person or staff member tests positive, the rest of their class or group within their childcare or education setting should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. The other household members of that wider class or group do not need to self-isolate unless the child, young person or staff member they live with in that group subsequently develops symptoms.
As part of the national test and trace programme, if other cases are detected within the cohort or in the wider setting, Public Health England’s local health protection teams will conduct a rapid investigation and will advise schools and other settings on the most appropriate action to take. In some cases a larger number of other children, young people may be asked to self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure – perhaps the whole class, site or year group. Where settings are observing guidance on infection prevention and control, which will reduce risk of transmission, closure of the whole setting will not generally be necessary.
64) If I choose not to send my Year 6 child back to school with her fellow Year 6 students, can she still attend as a Key Worker?
I'm afraid not, Year 6 children will have to be with Year 6 bubbles as per government guidance.
Local Authority Website: https://www.hartlepool.gov.uk/covid-school-resources
Please, please, please contact the school office if you are not on Class Dojo. All home learning will be communicated via this platform.
Addendum to Child Protection and safeguarding Policy April 2020
Addendum to Behaviour Policy in light of Covid-19
Collections Form During Partial Opening
Throston Risk Assessment
Please click on the link below to access a collection of resources for parents and carers to help support youand your children's wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic. The resources have all been collated by the LA Psychology Team. Many of the resources are ideal for children with additional needs.
Boredom Packs, LA Psychology Team Downloads and Health Advice
Click on the links below to read Department for Education advice on home learning for children (including SEND):