Last updated (fourth update): 29.06.20
Following the government’s announcements regarding increasing capacity in schools on Sunday 10th May and Hartlepool Borough Council's announcement on Friday 15th May, we felt that it would be wise to create an ‘Increasing Capacity’ webpage on our school website to keep families up-to-date with developments. We are also using our virtual school community on Class Dojo.
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. During the first ten weeks of school "closure", 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) have returned to work from the 1st of June.
The Clavering Response
Clavering teachers and teaching assistants have continued to produce half-termly learning packs for all pupils throughout the period of school closure with the last packs being available for collection during the week beginning Monday 1st June. The learning packs have been supplemented by online learning resources (https://www.claveringprimary.org.uk/home/covid-19) and the opportunity to communicate with the school via phone call, email and Twitter. Also, at the beginning of June, Mr McAvoy and Mr Patterson launched the school's new online communication venture for families and staff members with Class Dojo (https://www.claveringprimary.org.uk/home/communication).
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. Data from the online questionnaire indicates that, currently, over 60% of our pupils are either children of critical workers and/or classed as vulnerable and that nearly eighty of those pupils do or may need childcare during the final half-term. This has resulted in bubbles being created in our Early Years Foundation Stage unit, every Key Stage 1 classroom and three Key Stage 2 classrooms for children of critical workers and vulnerable children.
When the Local Authority gave the go ahead to increase capacity whilst still maintaining social distancing, the Clavering Senior Leadership Team and Governing decided that this would be for Year 6 pupils. Their bubbles take up all of our remaining classrooms. Unless social distancing rules change, it will, sadly, be impossible to accommodate more children than children of critical workers, vulnerable children and Year 6 children.
Due to the large number of children now requiring childcare and being able to increase capacity for Year 6 pupils, from Monday 1st June onwards we returned to more normal school times (i.e. not the 8:00am-5:00pm provision that we were able to provide during the first ten weeks).
The government 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.
On Friday 26th June, we informed all families that our final place in our critical-worker-bubbles had been allocated and on Monday 29th June, we informed all families that we would definitely not be able to open during the summer holidays for children.
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. The government believe that all pupils will return to school in September. When they finally release their strategy to achieve this and we know how this will be safely implemented at Clavering, we will, of course, inform all Clavering families.
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, the school office and, now, Class Dojo.
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.