We eagerly look forward to welcoming our children and their families back to Houghton Conquest Lower School on Monday 8th March and very much look forward to hearing our school filled with laughter and smiles.
I would like to take this opportunity to re-iterate some of the key measures that we are taking to welcome your child back as detailed in my letter sent home on the 2nd March. In essence we will be reverting to our Autumn term COVID planning measures with a few amendments.
It may seem a lot of information, but we want to be completely transparent and refresh you about the measures in place and hope that they are all reassuring.
|All children in Reception to Year Four are expected to return to school on the 8th March||The Department for Education have made clear, that now the circumstances with regard to the Coronavirus have changed, it is vital for all children to return to school to minimise as far as possible the longer-term impact of the pandemic on children’s education, wellbeing and wider development.
School attendance will therefore be mandatory again from the 8th March 2021. This means from that point, the usual rules on school attendance will apply.
The government have published guidance about how schools should work to facilitate all children returning. In interpreting this guidance, we have given careful consideration to pupil and staff safety, the logistics associated with how school will run given our classroom and external spaces, size of buildings and corridors, numbers of entrances and exits, timetabling and staffing capacity.
We have planned for a staggered drop off and collection with children in two/three classes allocated to a “bubble”. Within this wider bubble there will be a sub-bubble which will be your child’s individual class.
These bubbles will remain together at allocated times of the school day, for example at playtimes and at lunch.
Bubble 1: Robins (Foundation)
Bubble 2: Sub bubbles containing – Doves (Y1) and Owls (Y2)
Bubble 3: Sub bubbles containing – Hawks (Y3) and Eagles (Y4)
Bubble Group 4: all Preschool children
These classes have been assigned to a bubble as members of staff will be moving between classes as we have a small staffing team. It also enables children to widen their social groups at playtimes.
|Timings of the day: staggered starts and collection times||Arrival and departure times will be as follows:-
|Curriculum and organisation||
|What will children need to bring/wear?||
|PE||PE lessons will continue to take place; on your child’s PE day, they will be required to come dressed for PE that day. Your child may wear warm tracksuit bottoms and a jacket over their PE shorts and while t-shirt as the weather is still very changeable. Your child’s PE day is as follows
|Sickness||A child who has symptoms should not be sent into school. For more information please see our ‘symptoms and isolation’ page.
We will not be allowing children to enter the school building wearing a face mask. We would kindly ask the parent to remove their child’s face mask before entering the school grounds and take it home with them. You are more than welcome to wear them on your commute to and from school; however we will not be excepting children who are wearing them coming onto the school premises.
In addition to the above, we can confirm that the following actions will be a part of your children’s experience
Our Special Code of Conduct Poster for children
Returning to school Children’s Special Code of Conduct
Returning to School Social Story
Returning to Pre-school Social Story
Keeping Safe at School – Parents Guide
Having consistent bed and wake-up times will help. The National Sleep Foundation suggest starting two weeks before the first day of school to set sleep routine habits. But even a week beforehand will help your child adjust.
The first week back will be difficult, transitioning from being in ‘home mode’ so don’t worry and indeed expect this. Try to maintain healthy habits around sleep (around 9-11 hours for children aged 5-13), exercise (around one hour per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity three times a week) and a healthy diet.
Create structure with a ‘school’ routine during most weekdays if you can. Be guided by your knowledge of what best supports your child during times of change and transition. For some children, a visual calendar will help ‘count down’ and know which days are weekends.
You could set up a practical chart for getting ready. You could include:
Most children have some level of stress or anxiety about school. You can offer support by normalising experiences of worry and nerves. Reassure your child the feelings they have are totally normal and very common, and they will likely overcome them once they have settled in. Worries and courage can exist together.
Depending on your child’s age, you could also try writing a social story about going to school and the routine ahead.
A sense of belonging at school can really affect academic success and well-being. Parents can facilitate positive attitudes about school by setting an encouraging tone when talking about it.
Parents can spot stress if their child (depending on age): is more clingy than usual; appears restless and flighty, or cries; shows an increased desire to avoid activities through negotiations and deal-making; tries to get out of going to school; retreats to thumb sucking, ‘baby’ language, habits they had previously grown out of, or increased attachment to favourite soft toys.
We have all been through a huge ordeal and change to our routines; stress responses are to be expected. However, if these behaviours persist for more than a few weeks, talk to your class teacher about what is happening. Together, we can work on a strategy of support.
Encourage questions children may have about coming back. What will be the same? What will be different? Be open about what we do know and what we do not know yet. Tell your child who they can talk to at school if they have questions. We will all be completing ‘Helping Hand’ when we get back so that everyone has a ‘go to’ person who can help.
Also, let your child know, nothing is off limits to talk about. Have in your head some time set aside to talk informally and with low pressure (usually whilst doing something else, like driving somewhere, cooking together etc.) Most importantly, do not over-do it: too much talk can worry children too.