Letters Home and Forms
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LETTER TO PARENTS 22ND MAY 2020
IMPORTANT - Phased Return to School Update
Thank you to everyone in Reception, Y1 & Y6 who responded to our initial text and for your messages of kindness and support. Since I wrote to you last week, the senior leadership team have been working extremely hard to take on board your thoughts and formulate a plan for a phased return to school.
What is the current situation & guidance?
Your Senior Leadership Team and Governors have determined that the most appropriate option is to use and adapt the HM Government Guidance for the needs of our pupils and staff. This guidance is developing and may change at any time.
The current government position is that they believe it is safe for children to congregate in schools in large numbers (no more than 15 in a ‘bubble’), and that schools should begin to plan to offer full time places for Reception, Y1, Y6 and critical workers, beginning from 1st June.
However, at the moment, it is still up to the head teacher and governing body to determine how this should be implemented safely in their own school, by risk assessing the building and staffing numbers. You will find that every school in the country is in the same position. We have determined that we cannot safely re-open for Reception, Y1, Y6, plus key worker children on a full time basis by the week commencing 1st June.
What is the school doing to prepare for June?
In this letter, I will share again, our preferred plans, which have been drawn up so that you can make an informed choice about sending your child back to school; however, I have to make it very clear that these plans are subject to change, depending on whether the government change their guidance again.
The senior leadership team, in consultation with the staff and members of the IEB have undertaken a robust risk assessment to ensure that the school will be as safe as it can be. However, as the Acting head teacher, I have to inform you that I honestly cannot and will not guarantee that your children will be safe from COVID-19 in the school environment which they will return to.
How will a phased return be managed?
In order for staff to prepare the school for the return of up to 90, Year 6 children, we will begin our phased return on Monday 8th June. This date should not change.
We have not yet fully finalised the plan below; however, after risk assessing, as a school we are confident that this is the safest option for our school and the preferred option of most parents.
- We will start with Year 6 children only, in the first instance.
- Y6 will be split into a number of ‘bubbles’ of no more than 6 children in the first instance – this will be increased to numbers of 15 over time, this is to be decided by the school
- Key worker children will attend every day (whenever they need a place). These will be separate ‘bubbles’.
- We aim to have 45 children from Year 6, in their set bubbles, attending school on a Monday and Tuesday (in a range of upstairs classrooms)
- The second set of 45 Year 6 children ‘will attend school on a Thursday and Friday (in a range of upstairs classrooms)
- On Wednesday the school will only be open to key worker children, so that the other classrooms can be deep cleaned, ready for the bubbles at the end of the week. School will also be deep cleaned on a Friday night ready for ‘new’ bubbles od children on a Monday.
- Due to the sheer organisation it would take, the school will decide which days your children will be welcomed back. You will be notified of this on an individual basis as soon as we are in a position to do so.
- The Year 6 children will have a staggered drop off (no parent/carer will be allowed onsite in a morning) and staggered exit, where 1 parent/ carer will be allowed onsite, at a given time, to collect.
What measures to reduce risk will be in place across the school?
Please read the following findings from our risk assessment and the government guidance:
- Children will be returning in ‘bubbles’ of no more than 15 children (6 in the first instance, rising to 15 if no cases of COVID-19 reported within the first 2 weeks). These ‘bubbles’ will be decided by the class teacher and school, and the children will stay in these bubbles – they will not be able to mix with any other bubbles at any time or change bubbles due to the risk of infection
- If an individual in a bubble shows symptoms, they will be sent home and you will have to organise a test. If the test comes back COVID positive, then the rest of the bubble will have to isolate for 14 days.
- Some children will not be looked after by their class teacher, but by a suitably qualified teaching assistant or a teacher from another part of the school who may not be familiar to them.
- Some staff may want to wear PPE.
- Children in Y6 (and eventually in Reception and Y1) may not be in their usual classroom and there will be an unfamiliar set up and unlikely to be with preferred friendship groups, or following the usual school timetable and structure. We know that this will cause anxiety for some pupils and parents. Despite our very best endeavours, we are not going to be able to offer the known environment that your child left, although we will try our very best because we know your children.
- The classrooms (including reception) will be re-organised so that the children have their own desk/zone
- Some of the equipment within the Reception classroom will be removed as the equipment left in the classroom will need to be regularly cleaned
- At lunchtime, the children in Y6 (and eventually in Rec, Y1) will need to eat in their bubble classroom, and this will mean them bringing a packed lunch (Rec and Y1 will be offered a packed lunch from the kitchen as their lunches are funded by the government)
- Playtimes will be staggered in segregated areas for each bubble – there will be no mixing between bubbles
- There will be a one-way system of walking around school to minimise contact with others
- Extra cleaning of high touch areas (door handles, hand rails etc) will happen throughout the day
- Classroom doors and windows will, wherever possible, remain open all day to aid ventilation – your child will need to come suitably dressed for whatever weather
- The government does not recommend that staff or children wear PPE (unless dealing with first aid or intimate hygiene).
- Handwashing, alcohol based gel rubs and increased hygiene routines will be encouraged, but when we admit the younger children we must all admit that this will be a huge task!
- Children in Reception, Y1 and Y6 will be provided with their own pencil cases containing pencil/pen, coloured crayons/felt tips, scissors, glue stick as a minimum; these will be labelled with their name and not shared with any other child.
- All pupils will need to be in clean clothes each day, to avoid transference of the virus on fabric, and also bring in their own, named water bottle. This bottle will remain with your child all day and should be taken home for sterilisation each night.
It is important for us all to acknowledge the fact that the children who attend school will not necessarily have an advantage of returning early, due to the heavy restrictions we face by welcoming them back earlier than expected. The government are expecting normal teaching to recommence. The truth is that this will be an impossible task. Reception and Y1 children will not have access to the usual practical resources they would be used to because of issues with cleaning.
Very young children learn by touching, doing, being with others and sharing – all of which will have to be limited as far as possible. This will mean that whilst your children attend school, their learning will be similar to that of the children who are learning at home.
What will happen next?
Based on the facts above, and our initial phased return plan, you will have to decide whether you feel it is safe for your child to return to school – emotionally and physically. I believe that we have the safest plan we can offer for our phased return, but as parents, you will have to make the final decision.
The staff and I want you to know that we miss you and your children, and do want to welcome them back to school as soon as it is safe to do so! We remain committed to helping our school community feel safe and secure as we move forwards; if you as parents decide that the situation in school is too concerning, we would absolutely support you in the decision to keep your child/ren out of school.
We will be telephoning you again after half term to tell us whether your child will be returning to school or not – this will enable us to finalise our plans based on numbers of children. If you decide not to send your child, and then change your mind at a later date, you will simply need to phone the school and inform us.
Due to the preparation required, if you turn up on the day unannounced, we will not be able to let your child stay due to ‘bubbles’ already being created. Further details regarding individual bubbles will be emailed/ shared to the relevant families after half term, once we have our final numbers.
The speculation in the press and on social media will continue and will likely intensify over the next two weeks. As always, at Taylor Road, we take the view that we need to consider all of our actions and communications to parents and children carefully, before making decisions. These decisions will always first and foremost take into account the welfare and well-being of staff, pupils and parents in our school. Once the school have made any FINAL decisions (following all government guidelines), we will let you know through our usual channels.
Until then, please do not worry or compare us to other schools – we are unique and will make decisions which suit us as a school community. We will continue to keep contact with you and continue to support each other in these very difficult and uncertain times.
If you need any more information to help you make your decision, please do not hesitate to phone school and speak to a member of the senior leadership team – we will get through this difficult period together as a supportive community that we are.
For those of you celebrating, I would like to wish you a happy and blessed Eid.
LETTER TO PARENTS ON 15th MAY 2020
Dear Parent/ Carer,
Following on from the latest announcements from the Government and further guidance from the DFE, the team at Taylor Road have been working together to try and put a possible plan in place to keep your children as safe as possible when Taylor Road partially re-opens in June. If we did partially re-open, it would be for Year 6 followed by Year 1 children for a maximum of two days per week and Reception and Nursery would be considered at a later date.
In response to our text to Year 6, 1 and Reception, we recognise and understand all of your worries and will support you if you choose to keep your child at home during this uncertain time. We can reassure you that we will not be issuing fines for parents who make this decision. I am aware of news reports in the Leicester Mercury about St Matthews/ Highfields being a ‘hotspot’ for COVID-19 and wanted to write to you all to try and allay some of your fears about what school is planning for a pupil return.
Whilst we have tried to say everything you need to know below, please be aware these plans may change and will be reviewed on a daily/ weekly basis.
Our plans, so far, would be to reduce class sizes to a maximum of 6 children in each classroom, in the first instance, building up to the Government recommended 15 pupils per class. Children will stay in the same group at all times with the same staff. We will do our best to use familiar staff and keep them in their class groups as much as possible.
Classrooms will be rearranged so that children are sitting one per desk/zone. Within school we will also be operating a one-way system along the corridors in order to minimise staff and pupil contact with others.
Children will have their own equipment such as pencils, glue stick, scissors this will remain on their desks with them all day. They will also keep any coats or bags with them at their individual desks each day (cloak rooms and packed lunch stores will not be used at this time). Children will keep their own water bottle in the classroom so that staff can sanitise them on a daily basis.
We must emphasise that your children must wear clean clothes each day. Areas will be clearly marked to ensure social distancing during lining up times and collection times.
Classroom doors and windows will be left open throughout the day to aid ventilation; please ensure your child is appropriately dressed.
School will be organising a staggered start and finish to the school day, families would need to adhere to these in order to support us in maximizing the social distancing. No adults will be allowed onsite in the morning and collection will be from the outside hall door in order to minimize people on site and there will be no breakfast club running during this period.
Playtimes will be staggered across the outdoor zones around school. If children do fall and injure themselves, of course we will help them but first aid staff will be wearing masks and gloves to protect ourselves. If children also soil themselves, staff would wear masks. It may be worth talking this through with your child to avoid any stress.
Other than in these instances, according to Government guidance, the ‘wearing a face covering or face mask in schools or other education settings is not recommended’.
Lunch-times will also be staggered, all children will be expected to bring a packed lunch or if your child is in receipt of Free School Meals, a packed lunch will be provided. Children will eat in their classrooms, at their own desk, and then have time outside.
Parents will not be allowed in school to meet with staff members. If you need to speak to a member of staff about your child or any concerns that you have, please use the class or office email of telephone school. This is to keep everyone safe.
Please adhere to social distancing when dropping off at the main gate in the morning and collecting onsite after school.
Classrooms will have been previously deep cleaned prior to re-opening. Staff will be very vigilant in ensuring that children are washing their hands regularly and using hand sanitiser several times each day. Children will be using toilets one at a time and staff will ensure they wash their hands afterwards.
Classrooms will also be cleaned every day and deep cleaned on a Wednesday, when no children are in, and again on a Friday night. Tables will be cleaned regularly with an anti-bacterial spray. Toys and equipment will be sprayed with anti-bacterial product between each child’s use. Outdoor equipment will also be cleaned between use.
If your child is clinically vulnerable and has health issues, please do not bring them back to school. Also if you have a member in your family who is shielding, please do not bring your child back. We cannot guarantee social distancing for your children all of the time – children are children and will forget at times. We will do our absolute best to remind them to stay apart as much as physically possible.
We will be keeping our home- school learning going; teachers are uploading onto the school website on a weekly basis. Our plan would be for groups in school to have the opportunity to complete some of their tasks at school. We would also focus on the well-being of your children as this comes above anything else. For children who are staying at home, home-school learning will continue in the same way through the school website, Bug Club and Education City; we also print out packs for collection.
Symptoms in school
If your child has symptoms in school, the same government guidelines apply; they will be sent home and asked to self-isolate for 7 days. If somebody in your family develops symptoms, then the whole family would need to isolate for 14 days unless they receive a negative test.
Please adhere to social distancing when dropping off at the main gate in the morning and collecting onsite after school.
What you need to do next if you are a parent of a child in Year 6, Year 1 or F2
Based on this information, we need you to make a decision if your child is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 6 on whether you want your child to school for 2 days a week.
At this time, we cannot let you know the days or dates this will start.
If you have not already replied to the text you received, please can you reply to your child’s class teacher, on the class email by Tuesday 19th May at 12 noon at the very latest.
We have tried to give you as much detail as possible to make an informed decision for your child and we support your decision.
With kindest regards,
LETTER TO PARENTS 11TH MAY 2020
11th May 2020
Dear Parents/ Carers,
I trust you and your families are safe and well and managing to keep some balance in your lives during these uncertain times.
As you may have seen, last night, the Prime Minister gave a statement about possible ways forward in the coming weeks.
As a school we are constantly reviewing and adapting our approaches to things in light of new documentation from the Government and the DFE.
At the moment however, we are unable to answer any questions about our way forward as we are awaiting further instruction from the government and the Local Authority about what this means for our school.
For the school, in the short-term, nothing has changed and further information will be released on the website in the coming days and weeks.
Kind regards and stay safe,
LETTER TO PARENTS CONCERNING THE CHANGES TO GOVERNANCE
28th April 2020
I hope that you and your family are all managing to keep well and safe in these difficult and different times. I am writing to let you know that after the last letter from Leicester LA in February to you, where they stated that they had ‘taken the decision to provide more help to deal with the (Governance) issues swiftly and effectively through developing a new governance structure for a limited time’, they had to make the difficult decision to to disband the school’s Governing board.
The Governing Board has been replaced by an Interim Executive Board (IEB). An IEB is a small body, typically smaller than a full governing body, appointed by the LA and the Regional Schools Commissioner.
The Local Authority would like to acknowledge the time and commitment that the former governing board extended to the school and to thank all those involved for their support of Taylor Road through some very challenging times.
Unfortunately, we are unable to meet with you to introduce ourselves and the role of the Interim Executive Board. This letter is to introduce you to the members of the Interim Executive Board which is taking the place of the governing board.
This has been approved by the Local Authority and the Regional Schools Commissioner. We are not here to manage and run the school, just to support the school and school improvement in general.
The Board consists of five members, all very experienced and with a huge range skills:
• Jane Ridgewell, Headteacher of Highfields Primary and a National Leader of Education,
• Ian Johnson, governor at Soar Valley College and previous School Business Manager,
• Farhan Adam, Principal of Crown Hills Community College and an Ofsted Inspector,
• Jawaahir Daahir, BEM, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Somali Development Services and
• Suzanne Uprichard, National Leader of Education and experienced governor.
Once normal schooling is resumed, we hope to hold a meeting to which all parents and carers are invited so that we can meet you and listen to any concerns or questions you may have.
With best wishes
Suzanne Uprichard Chair of the IEB