Update regarding the potential phased school opening - June 1st

Information regarding the potential phased opening of Kidbrooke Park Primary School

Since 23rd March 2020, and in line with the scientific advice, Kidbrooke Park Primary School has been proud to have remained open to a priority group of children and young people, children of critical workers and vulnerable children. The school has provided this service each day including throughout the Easter Holidays and Bank Holidays.

Alongside this, the school has also provided home learning packs through its school website and learning platforms, ensured that the Free School Voucher System has worked as effectively as possible for families, delivered packs of work to homes, and staff have been present in school every day to support the children and families who are part of our school community. The government have now announced that schools need to plan for the phased return of children.

In the latest guidance from the Government, “Opening schools and educational settings to more pupils from 1 June: guidance for parents and carers”,  which was published on May 11th 2020, the government have clearly stated that they want to get all children back into education, as soon as the scientific advice allows. It is important to remember that this is conditional, and under review.  This is because the Government feels that school remains the best place for children to learn, and because they know it is good for children’s mental well-being - to have social interactions - with other children, carers and teachers. Therefore, as part of this strategy to reopen schools, the Government have asked that from the week commencing 1st  June:

  • Primary schools are to begin, in phases, welcoming back children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.  This does not mean that all children will start at the same time, as the logistics of who will start when, is still being decided by the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
  • All schools and childcare providers to continue to offer places to the priority groups – vulnerable children and children of critical workers – that they have been supporting since the end of March.  

The Government has stated, in reaching this decision, they have been guided by scientific advice at every stage and the latest scientific advice which states that:

  • There is high scientific confidence that children of all ages have less severe symptoms than adults if they contract coronavirus and there is moderately high scientific confidence that younger children are less likely to become unwell if infected with coronavirus
  • Limiting the numbers of children going back to school and college initially then gradually increasing numbers, guided by scientific advice, reduces risk of increasing the rate of transmission
  • Schools and other settings can make changes to how they are organised and put measures in place to reduce risks

This means that at Kidbrooke Park Primary School, we are now beginning to plan and prepare for at least some of the children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to return to school in June 2020. This will obviously have many aspects to it, including the fact that social distancing will be very challenging to enforce with the children, but we are undertaking specific tasks to determine if we are able to comply with the instructions that we have, and are to be given, to welcome some children back to school in June including:

  • Deep cleaning the whole of the school to ensure that it is ready for the children’s return
  • Examining and  identifying rooms and work areas in school which would allow reduced classes of children to work in
  • Considering how we will be able to limit the amount of contact between different groups of children (such as smaller class sizes with children and staff spread out more) and altering the environment as much as possible, such as changing the layout of classrooms
  • Planning the structure of the days so that we can reduce the mixing between groups through staggered break times or by introducing staggered drop-off and collection times
  • Returning to the promoting of regular hand washing for 20 seconds with running water and soap or the use of sanitiser as we did prior to the temporary closure and ensuring good respiratory hygiene by promoting the catch it, bin it, kill it approach
  • Planning how we will clean more frequently during the day to get rid of the virus on frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles, handrails, tabletops
  • Carrying out a risk assessment before opening to children. The assessment, which will be co-constructed with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, will directly address the risks associated with coronavirus so that sensible measures can be put in place to minimise those risks for children and staff, and make sure that our children do not attend if they or a member of their household has symptoms of coronavirus

At Kidbrooke Park Primary School it is our plan, to communicate with parents and carers to find out how many parents and carers of children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 plan to bring their children into school.  This is so that we can plan how we will organise the day, which teachers and staff will need to be available, how we will maintain the home learning platforms, and what curriculum and provision we will plan to deliver from June 1st.

In their document, the government have also produced some Frequently Asked Questions to help inform Parent and Carers which may answer questions or concerns that you have.  Please note, the information below is taken from the Government document “Opening schools and educational settings to more pupils from 1 June: guidance for parents and carers” which can be accessed by clicking here .

What if my child is in one of the eligible year groups to return to school but has siblings who are not?

We are asking that only children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 return from 1st June. We have been informed that this will be a phased transition back into school, and more information on start dates for specific year groups will be made available as soon as possible.  This does not include siblings in different year groups unless those siblings are in a priority group, for example, the children of critical workers.

Will any action be taken against me if my child is in one of the year groups and does not attend?

Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time.  We strongly encourage children and young people in the eligible year groups and priority groups (such as children of critical workers) to attend, as requested by their school, unless they are self-isolating or there are other reasons for absence (such as shielding due to health conditions).   You should notify your child’s school as normal if your child is unable to attend so that staff are aware and can discuss with you.

How will risks to children, teachers and families be managed?

The government has provided guidance and support to schools on implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings to help them to reduce the risk of transmission as more children and young people return.  To prevent the spread of coronavirus, schools and other settings will use a range of protective measures to create safer environments in which the risk of spreading the virus is substantially reduced. Whilst such changes are likely to look different in each setting, as they will depend upon individual circumstances, they are all designed to minimise risks to children, staff and their families.

Should I keep my child at home if they have an underlying health condition or live with someone in a clinically vulnerable group?

Children who are considered extremely clinically vulnerable and shielding should continue to shield and should not be expected to attend.

Can children be tested for the virus?

Once settings open to more children, staff and pupils in all settings will be eligible for testing if they become ill with coronavirus symptoms, as will members of their household. This will enable children and young people to get back to childcare or education, and their parents or carers to get back to work, if the test proves to be negative.  A positive test will ensure rapid action to protect their classmates and staff in their setting.

What happens if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in my child’s school, college or childcare setting?

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. 

Where the child, young person or staff member tests positive, the rest of their class/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/group do not need to self-isolate unless the child, young person or staff member they live with in that group subsequently develops symptoms.

Will education be provided as normal to children and young people who are attending?

Education settings still have the flexibility to provide support and education to children and young people attending school in the way they see fit during this time.  Schools and colleges should use their "best endeavours” to support pupils attending as well as those remaining at home, making use of the available remote education support.

Will school meals be available for children and young people who are in school?

The provision of food vouchers for those eligible under the benefits criteria will continue to be available, where needed, for those not attending. Schools should provide meal options for all children who are in school, and meals should be available free of charge where pupils meet the free school meal eligibility criteria

Will childcare, schools and colleges keep their usual opening hours?

It is possible that some settings will make changes to their start and finish times or introduce processes for drop-off and collection times to keep children and families safe.  Start and finish times will be clearly communicated to parents and carers alongside any other new arrangements.

This information is taken from the Government document “Opening schools and educational settings to more pupils from 1 June: guidance for parents and carers” which can be accessed by clicking here .

We understand that this information may raise further concerns for you and we would like to assure you that we are working with the Royal Borough of Greenwich to get further guidance and advice as it becomes available, to ensure you remain informed and to address any concerns that you may have.