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Headteacher Update: Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

Important – Latest Advice to Parents/ Carers regarding CORONAVIRUS (Covid-19)

18/09/2020

Re: Update and Information

Dear Parents / Carers,

Thank you for your continued support in getting all pupils back into school safely over the past month. We are committed to providing the best education and care possible for your child, while securing the health and safety of our whole school community. Thank you for continuing to follow public health guidelines and encouraging your children to do the same.

You are already aware of the steps we have put in place to ensure the safe return of all pupils to school. We know that you will be keen to understand the impact that we have had in our first weeks of the term, and what our plans are to ensure all pupils settle back in to school well and what will happen if a pupil is asked to stay at home over the coming months.

This is why I am writing to you today in order to keep you fully informed. This letter will also be published openly on our website and sent to our governors.

School Reopening

All pupils now have provision back on school site. Pupils are being taught in their classrooms and movement around the school buildings has been reduced to a minimum. We have divided the school into 3 ‘bubbles’ these each consist of 4 classes of pupils and their familiar teacher(s) and STLAs. In the event of staff absence, we have employed 3 Cover Supervisor TAs who are assigned to each bubble to try to ensure that bubbles remain in place.

Whilst we never plan to break a bubble it is sometimes necessary to effectively run the school – especially if dealing with high staff absence.

Pupils have settled in well and despite the difficulties with transition due to the government restrictions our 28 new starters have had an incredibly positive first couple of weeks.

As you will be aware, we have had issues with transport which has impacted on drop off and pick up times. Transport did not inform the school over summer of how many taxis would be coming on to school site and which children were in which vehicle. Several parents have also had issues securing places in transport for the start of the term. Fortunately, most of these issues have now been resolved and now drop off and pick up times are as follows:

Taxis-

Drop off: 8.55am-9.05am

Pick up: 2.20pm-2.35pm

Parents/Carers-

Drop off: 9.05am-9.15am

Pick up: 2.30pm-2.40pm

Thank you so much for your support and patience whilst we put temporary changes in with timings- I am confident that we will be able to maintain the timings above into the foreseeable future. These revised times still enable class staff to support through break and lunchtimes - limiting the changes of staff and breaking of bubbles.

Attendance

32 children have been absent with sickness since the beginning of the summer term. 96% of these had cold symptoms of which 2% recorded a cold with cough symptoms.

Tests have been incredibly hard to book. Many of our families have found they have had to refresh their web page several times over the course of a day in order to book a test. Due to the needs of our children, many children are self-isolating with cold like symptoms as parents do not think they will tolerate having a test. Of those children who have had a test and received the results all have been negative.

Throughout the pandemic there has been no confirmed cases of Covid-19 amongst either pupils or staff.

Coverage of the curriculum

All pupils have access to a full broad and balanced curriculum. Pupils have access to the teaching kitchen, hall, sensory and outdoor spaces. These spaces are timetabled to ensure cleaning happens in-between bubbles. Swimming sessions have a delayed start till after October half term and in discussions with the Local Authority- we suspect this maybe pushed back until after the Christmas break.

Pupils can engage in offsite trips where this is risk assessed as safe and important for their learning. For instance, travel training, such as taking a walk around the local area. 

Due to restrictions put in place by the college- currently only the Monday group are attending college.

Remote learning

In the possible event that we need to close your child’s bubble, you will be informed via Marvellous Me, text and email. You will be given clear information about what you need to do next which will be in response to advice given to the school directly from Public Health England. To ensure that all parents have received the message we will ask you to complete a form on receipt of this message, any parent that does not receive the message will be phoned.

Home learning packs will be available for your child in the same format as during lock down, there will be a link for these on our website and for those families that require, packs will be sent out in the post. Where possible we wish to limit items and work being transferred between home and school.

Mental health and wellbeing

We appreciate this is an anxious time for many children, and some will require further support in addition to their class pastoral team. Our Children’s Services team support mental health and wellbeing through:

  • Emotional Literacy Support Sessions – these are run by Fiona, our family support worker, who has extensive knowledge and experience of working with children and their families to support anxiety and is a trained ELSA.
  • Journey to Learn – our inhouse tool for helping to understand the root cause of anxiety in order to target interventions successfully.
  • Drawing and Talking Therapy – we have several staff trained in this approach to support children and their mental health.

In addition to this we also have work with CAMHS LD; Trailblazers and Specialist Community Advisors. These organisations work both with the staff team and directly with pupils to support mental health. We are hopeful that Trailblazers will be able to offer a parental clinic in the near future which would be designed to equip parents with the skills to support their children using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques. We will update you further as soon as we can.

INSET

An INSET day was planned for Friday 23rd October which meant that school was closed to all pupils for staff training. Due to the current covid restrictions and the essential nature of this training for all staff we have had to split the training over 3 days to ensure staff can stay in their bubbles and that we have a suitable space for training. Therefore, please note that school will be partially close for a bubble over 3 days:

Wednesday 21st October – Closed to Comprehend (Sycamore, Rowan, Beech and Conkers)

Thursday 22nd October – Closed to Communicate (Maple, Acorns, Willow and Elm)

Friday 23rd October – Closed to Decode (Poplar, Hazel, Ash and Oak)

Electronic Home School Diaries

We are currently trialling an electronic version of our home school diaries. This would replace the paper copies that come in and out of school and allow for more effective and easier communication between the class team and parents and also reduce movement of items in and out of school from a Covid perspective. . We will be trialling this in the coming weeks with 3 groups with a view to role out to all classes later this term.

Thank you for your support in these challenging times, I appreciate what a difficult time it is for both you and the children; we are committed to a continued dialogue and ongoing support for all our families through these constantly changing times.

Please remember to follow both the school’s and public health guidance to keep everyone learning safely. If you have any concerns please do not hesitate to contact us using the parents@brackenfield.derbyshire.sch.uk email box.

Yours Sincerely

Mrs Trish Tuner

Headteacher