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September Newsletter

Dear parent/carers,

I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to be sending you an actual monthly newsletter after all these months!  As I write, I can hear all the normal sounds of children in school and it is wonderful!  The first day (the point at which I am writing this) is going really well and all seem happy to be back!  The purpose of this particular newsletter is to give you a little more information about what school is actually going to be like over the next term.  I am also attaching with this newsletter a flowchart to show you exactly what will happen if somebody develops symptoms in school, and what to do if contacted by Test and Trace.  This is a very helpful document so please keep a copy handy!

Now that we have welcomed back the whole school this is how we plan to minimise the potential risks and disruption to learning. 

It would be helpful if, at the start of each day before you leave home, you check your child for any of the following symptoms:

  • A high temperature
  • A new persistent cough
  • A loss of, or change to, the sense of smell or taste

If any of these symptoms are evident DO NOT send them to school and arrange for a test.  Please contact the school office on 0113 2582685 or email office@broadgateprimary.org.uk to inform us of the situation.

Bubbles

Each year group will form a bubble in school which will remain separate from other bubbles.  Within the year group bubbles there will be two class bubbles (except for Y6) with their own teachers and support staff.  The year group bubbles will only come together at playtimes and lunchtimes and each bubble has its own designated outdoor space so that they do not have to mix with other bubbles.  This will make it quicker and easier, in the event of a positive case, to identify those who may need to self-isolate and to keep that number as small as possible.  If a member of a bubble tests positive for COVID-19, the whole bubble will be required to isolate for 14 days.

Learning resources

For individual and very frequently used equipment such as pens and pencils, pupils will have their own items that are not shared.  Classroom based resources such as books, colouring pens, scissors, etc. can be used and shared within the class bubble.  Shared resources will be cleaned regularly along with all frequently touched surfaces.  Subject specific resources such as sports or art equipment will be shared between bubbles, but cleaned meticulously or left unused for 48 hours (72 for plastics) between use by different groups of children.  Please do not allow your child to bring in any items from home.

Assemblies

There will be no traditional whole school or key stage assemblies during the autumn term.  Unfortunately this means it is highly unlikely that there will be any parent assemblies or productions this term.  This is also due to the fact that we are not being encouraged to do any mass singing indoors.  I am looking into ways of providing each class with a virtual assembly from me each week.

Reading books

Reading books can still be brought home, however on their return to school they will be placed in a box and left for 48 hours before returning to the shelf.  If your child has any school books still at home please return them as soon as possible.  Reading records will still be provided for you to record any comments, however teachers will not be writing in them.  They will keep their own file of reading records.

Enhanced cleaning regimes

Since lockdown and opening for key worker children our school has had enhanced cleaning systems in place.  We have adjusted our cleaning rotas with our site team to ensure that much more cleaning goes on during the school day – with particular attention paid to those surfaces that are frequently touched.

Bags and belongings

Children may bring to school a bag which should only contain a packed lunch (if appropriate), water bottle and reading book.  They should always bring a coat as we intend to go outside as much as possible.  Children do not need to bring a PE bag as on their PE day they can come to school in jogging bottoms and trainers (with their school jumper).

The importance of fresh air

Windows and doors will be left open as much as possible to aid ventilation.  Children may go outside more than they have in the past so should come suitably dressed for all weather possibilities.  As the weather turns colder, children may need additional layers as we will continue to leave windows and doors open.

After school activity clubs

There will be no outside providers for after school activity clubs in the autumn term.  In addition, clubs that are run in-house, by school staff will be unable to take place due to our use of year group bubbles.  All extra-curricular sporting activities are suspended until further notice.  However children may have the opportunity to work with our Leeds Rhinos coach who comes into school each Friday.

Swimming

Unfortunately our Y4 pupils will not begin their swimming lessons this term due to issues around transport and the use of the community facilities.  We will review this term by term.

School office

In order to maintain safety for all, parents will not be allowed to enter the school building, unless by prior appointment.  Parents should do all they can to ensure that children have everything they need for the day (e.g. packed lunches) when they arrive.  If however, they do forget something, there is a table outside the main office door where items can be left.  Please ensure they are labelled with names and classes, and we will ensure that they get to your child.  If there is a situation where a child needs to be collected for an appointment, parents should telephone the school to make arrangements.  We would encourage children to return to school after their appointment if time allows.  All other communication should be done by telephone or email as far as possible.

Parent consultation evenings

We will not be able to hold face to face parent consultation meetings this term.  We are, therefore, planning to hold telephone consultations with parents in the coming weeks.  More details will follow.

School lunches

All children will receive their normal allocated time for lunches (approximately one hour), however in order to ensure that each bubble can have their lunchtime without mixing with another bubble, there may some changes to the time of their break.  We are fortunate to have a partitioned hall, which means two bubbles can eat at the same time without coming into contact with each other.  All year groups also have their own outdoor play area.  Parents of children who have a school dinner will be asked to complete a form choosing their child’s lunches.  When children enter the dining hall they will be seated according to their colour choice of meal, and their meal will be brought to them.  Staff will then clear away their trays once they have finished.  Packed lunch children are able to sit with their friends to eat their lunch.  Please ensure that if your child has a packed lunch they have all the cutlery they need, and that their meal is easy for them to manage/open on their own.

Availability of water

All pupils should have their own water bottle that is untouched by staff or other children.  No water fountains are currently available in school, however we do have drinking water taps where children can refill their bottles.

Assessment

Over the next couple of weeks teachers will be assessing children to establish starting points for learning.  Wherever your child is, we will ensure that they are making the right progress in their learning journey.  The government is planning for the reintroduction of statutory testing in 2020/21.  This means KS1 and KS2 SATs in May, Y1 Phonics Check in June, Early Years Foundation Stage Profile in June and the introduction of the Y4 tables check.  In addition, Y2 children will sit the Phonics Check that they missed in Y1 some time in the second half of the autumn term.

You may have heard about funding that schools will receive in order to help pupils “catch-up”.  We have not yet heard when or how much we will be receiving. Once we have more information from the government we will share it with you.

Broad and balanced curriculum

Although there are some restrictions in place (e.g. singing and swimming) we fully intend to continue with our normal ambitious and broad curriculum in all subjects as far as possible.  There will be a deeper focus on key skills however we hope to achieve this through quality teaching and imaginative cross-curricular activities.

Personalised teaching

Staff will continue to be responsive to the needs of individual pupils and provide additional support where necessary.  Small group or one to one support may take a different form in the autumn term so that adults and children remain safe, for example sitting side by side or working at a greater distance from each other.  Staff involved in more individualised teaching may wear or use perspex visors/screens to keep everyone safe.

School trips

At present all trips that require public transport or a coach are suspended to reduce the likelihood of infection transmission.  This will be reviewed next term.

I appreciate that there is a lot of information in this newsletter for you to digest but I thought it might be helpful for you to have a clear picture of how school will look over the coming term.  A final request, please could you ensure that your contact details are up to date and that you are using the School Ping app as this is our primary method of communication, and any important school messages will be sent through the app. 

It is really lovely to be back and I am really looking forward to seeing you all again over the coming weeks and months. 

Please take care and stay safe.

Warm regards,

Elaine McLellan

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