Last updated: 22.05.20, following the Governing Body meeting on 21.05.20
Following the government’s announcements regarding increasing capacity in schools on Sunday 10th May and Hartlepool Borough Conucil's announcement on Friday 15th May, we felt that it would be wise to create an ‘Increasing Capacity’ webpage on our school website to provide you with information regarding what is going to be happening during the week beginning Monday 1st June and what will happen if it is safe to increase capacity later in the half-term.
This page will continue to be updated as necessary. Families will receive a text alert to inform them of any significant updates on the webpage.
Dear parents, carers and pupils,
Firstly, we want to thank every member of the #ClaveringFamily for your continued support during these unprecedented times and to reassure you that we continue to be here for you. Above all else, we want to emphasise that the health, safety and wellbeing of our pupils, their families and our staff will always be our number one priority, regardless of what requests the government might make of us as a school.
National and Local Announcements
In his address to the nation on Sunday 10th May, the Prime Minister stated that "at the earliest by June 1st – after half term – we believe we may be in a position to begin the phased reopening of shops and to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with Reception, Year 1 and Year 6." [emphasis added]
On Monday 11th May, the government added Nursery pupils to this list, asking primary schools "to welcome back children in nursery (where they have them), Reception, Year 1 and Year 6."
Then, on Friday 15th May, Hartlepool Borough Council stated that Hartlepool schools will not increase capacity on Monday 1st June. Further information about this decision can be accessed by clicking here. Other than Miss O’Brien and Mr McAvoy who have been in school every day, other staff members have been working in school on a fixed rota and then working from home on set tasks; however, all staff (unless they are ill, shielding, injured and/or pregnant) will be working in school from the 1st of June onwards.
The Clavering Response
Because the significant majority of our pupils will still be learning from home in the final half-term of the 2019-2020 academic year, teachers are currently producing learning packs for each of the seven weeks. These can be collected from school on the 1st of June (further information will be sent out regarding how to safely collect the packs). Any families unable to collect the packs for health reasons should contact the school to make alternative arrangements. The children in school will also be working on their learning packs during the final half-term.
Following the announcements from the government and then Hartlepool Borough Council, on Monday 18th May, we sent out an online questionnaire for families to respond to. We received data for over 96% of our pupils and we are very grateful for the feedback from families. All responses are being taken into account when looking at what is realistic and safe for staff members to achieve for pupils at school and at home during the final half-term. In particular, we recognise that we need to address how teachers (if possible) or other staff members are communicating with all pupils and not just our extended list of vulnerable pupils as well as families who have directly contacted us. This has been impossible so far because of the large number of teachers who have been ill, shielding, injured and/or pregnant; however, we are hopeful of being able to address this next half-term.
Data from the online questionnaires indicates that, currently, over 60% of our pupils are either children of critical workers and/or classed as vulnerable. Responses from their families indicates that from June 1st onwards we will need to allocate all of our Early Years Foundation Stage unit, every Key Stage 1 classroom and one Key Stage 2 classroom for children of critical workers and vulnerable children who will or may need child care. This will be provided by allocated teachers working in small bubbles of children.
This means that if the Local Authority give the go ahead to increase capacity whilst still maintaining social distancing, we would only have the space to include one more year group (spread across the remaining available Key Stage 2 classrooms). Obviously, we do not know when this will be; however, we can confirm that, if we are asked by the council to increase capacity, the Clavering Senior Leadership Team and Governing Body have agreed that this will be for Year 6 pupils (unless the rules from the government change to enforce inviting into school a different year group). We will contact these families if and when we are asked to further increase capacity.
Because of the projected large number of pupils who we have to allocate a desk for in a bubble with a teacher for the seven weeks (even if they aren’t in school every day), every teacher will be allocated a bubble and, therefore, it will be impossible - from Monday June 1st onwards - to continue to offer the extended hours (8:00am-5:00pm) to children of critical workers that have been offered for the first ten consecutive weeks of school closure.
Miss O’Brien is currently leading on the completion of our risk assessments for increasing capacity, working alongside the rest of our Senior Leadership Team and Governing Body, and in conjunction with Hartlepool Borough Council. We also continue to collaborate with cluster headteachers; our wider network of school leaders; teachers and education organisations; and our respective unions. We appreciate that it is paramount that all decisions and plans take into account relevant and reliable advice and we firmly believe that a cautious, calm and considered approach is likely to have the best outcomes for the whole #ClaveringFamily.
The government has also published guidance for families, which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/reopening-schools-and-other-educational-settings-from-1-june. We have included some of this guidance below, adding our own comments in italics.
Ultimately, if their child/children is/are invited to return to school, it will be down to the parent(s)/carer(s) to choose if they send their child(ren) back to school. The government has already - quite rightly - confirmed that families who refuse to send their child(ren) back to school before the summer holidays will not be fined.
Every staff member and governor at Clavering Primary School looks forward to the day when it is safe for every Clavering child to return to school; however, we know that you will only want this to happen when it is safe to do so.
We appreciate that this has been and continues to be an incredibly unsettling and difficult time for our pupils; their parents, carers and wider family members; our governors; and our school staff. Your support (through tweets, emails, letters, phone calls and our online questionnaire) has meant a great deal to us and please be assured that you can continue to access us via email, Twitter and the school office and we are optimistic and excited about our ability to increase our capacity to contact pupils and families throughout June and July.
Take care and stay safe,
The Clavering Senior Leadership Team & Governing Body
Our own comments are in Clavering jade italics.
What if my child is eligible but has siblings who are not?
We are asking that only these year groups return to childcare providers, schools and colleges from 1 June. This does not include siblings in different year groups unless those siblings are in a priority group, for example, the children of critical workers.
How will risks to children, teachers and families be managed?
We have provided guidance and support to schools, colleges and childcare settings 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.
Approaches we are asking schools and other settings to take include:
- carrying out a risk assessment before opening to more children and young people - the assessment should directly address risks associated with coronavirus so that sensible measures can be put in place to minimise those risks for children, young people and staff
- making sure that children and young people do not attend if they or a member of their household has symptoms of coronavirus
- promoting regular hand washing for 20 seconds with running water and soap or use of sanitiser and ensuring good respiratory hygiene by promoting the catch it, bin it, kill it approach
- cleaning more frequently to get rid of the virus on frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles, handrails, tabletops, play equipment and toys
- minimising contact through smaller classes or group sizes and altering the environment as much as possible, such as changing the layout of classrooms
- reducing mixing between groups through timetable changes, such as staggered break times or by introducing staggered drop-off and collection times
It is highly likely that children who return to school will spend the vast majority of the day isolated in a small group with one (or possibly two) members of staff.
Should I keep my child at home if they have an underlying health condition or live with someone in a clinically vulnerable group?
Children and young people who are considered extremely clinically vulnerable and shielding should continue to shield and should not be expected to attend.
Clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) people are those considered to be at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. A minority of children will fall into this category, and parents should follow medical advice if their child is in this category.
Children and young people who live in a household with someone who is extremely clinically vulnerable and shielding should only attend if stringent social distancing can be adhered to and the child or young person is able to understand and follow those instructions.
Children and young people who live with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not extremely clinically vulnerable) as defined in the social distancing guidance and including those who are pregnant, can attend.
In addition to children with underlying health conditions and/or children who live with someone in a clinically vulnerable group, it will be down to the parent(s)/carer(s) to choose if they send their child(ren) back to school.
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.
It is of great concern to us (indicating the impending health problems) that the government has written ‘When a child, young person or staff member develops symptoms compatible with coronavirus’ and not ‘If’.
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.
As part of the national test and trace programme, if other cases are detected within the child or young person’s cohort or in the wider education or childcare 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 and 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.
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 continue to be best placed to make decisions about how to support and educate their pupils during this period. This will include:
- consideration of pupils’ mental health and wellbeing
- assessment of where pupils are in their learning in order to make any necessary adjustments to their curriculum over the coming weeks
- prioritisation of high needs groups and support for those in transition years
Although we will obviously be supporting and educating whatever pupils are able to return to school from the 1st of June onwards, we will not be returning to the “normal” Clavering curriculum during the final half-term.