Thank you to all our parents and carers for their support, understanding and cooperation during these difficult times. This period has been challenging for all of us.
Monday 8th March – Full Reopening for All Pupils
We would like to advise parents and carers that all pupils can return to school from Monday 8th March.
We can’t wait to have them all back in school in their own classes.
Our first priority has to be the safety of everyone in the school community and the safety and happiness of each and every child. We are that sure every family has their own worries and concerns about this partial closure of school, and we would like to reassure you that we are following all national and local guidance. Our protective measures are laid out in more detail here.
Our Remote Learning Policy is available for download here: Remote Learning Contingency Plan – Blackhall Primary School
Here is the letter about our full reopening arrangements from Monday 08 March. School Reopening Letter
Please follow the current safety advice to stay safe, happy and well.
We ask that all parents and carers dropping off or collection children, or entering the school yard for any reason, to please wear a face covering and remember to socially distance from other households. Thank you for your cooperation.
The whole of the country is currently in National Lockdown: Stay at Home restrictions. More information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
A pdf poster detailing the National Lockdown restrictions can be downloaded here: COVID-19_England_Lockdown_Poster
Coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow home test kits
Whole families and households with primary school, secondary school and college age children, including childcare and support bubbles, will be able to test themselves twice every week from home as schools return from 8 March. All households with at least one member in a school or college, or who works in a school or college can order free rapid lateral flow test kits to be sent to your home. You can also collect free test kits from a test site.
You can find more information in the government guidance here: Get rapid lateral flow tests
Here is a letter from Amanda Healy, Director of Public Health for Durham, and Richard Crane, Head of Education, to remind us not to gather at the school gates.
More detailed guidance and information can be found here: Government Guidance – National Lockdown
All the latest government and NHS advice can be found at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
The government has published updated information and guidance for parents and carers about the full return to school which is available for you to read online here: What parents and carers need to know
We realise this is a very difficult and challenging time for our pupils and families and would like to reassure you that our school phone lines are open during normal school hours for any help and advice, and you can contact your child’s class teacher through the class email as well.
We continue to operate with additional hygiene and infection control measures designed to reduce the chance of the virus spreading though our school. If your child is in school, they are part of a ‘bubble’ which will include one or more classes.
Our measures include encouraging pupils to socially distancing where possible, especially the older pupils, maintaining hand hygiene measures, extra cleaning and staggered start and end times of the school day for different classes. All parents and carers have been sent a letter via the class email detailing your child’s times and entrance door.
We ask that all parents and carers dropping off or collecting children, or entering the school yard for any reason, to please wear a face covering and remember to socially distance from other households. Thank you for your cooperation.
School staff are now using lateral flow tests twice per week to self-test for coronavirus. All households with children in school can order test kits to use at home.https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
Protective measures in school in light of coronavirus (COVID-19)
First and foremost, the safety of your child and of our staff is our top priority. We are determined to operate as safely as possible by implementing measures that will limit the risk of coronavirus transmitting within our school.
The main steps we are taking to ensure safe reopening include:
- Keeping our children in small groups with consistent staffing (as far as possible), and minimising contact with other Bubbles in school.
- Ensuring plenty of natural ventilation in all rooms by opening windows (you may want to send an extra jumper or hoodie for your child)
- Maintaining high standards of hygiene including regular hand washing and sanitising.
- Ensuring good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach and providing a plentiful supply of tissues and lidded bins throughout the school.
- Implementing an enhanced cleaning regime, including extra toilet cleaning and ensuring any ‘touch points’ are cleaned regularly (such as table tops, door handles, taps and play equipment).
- Asking parents and carers to physically distance from each other and from staff when dropping off and collecting their children, and limiting drop off and collection to one parent or carer per household.
- Implementing a staggered start and finish time to our school day.
- Implementing staggered play times and lunch times.
- Minimising transfer by requiring children not to bring items from home to school except for a named water bottle (and packed lunch box where required).
Anyone who is displaying coronavirus symptoms, or who lives in the same house as someone who has symptoms, must not attend our school or enter our school premises.
What will this look like for your child?
Our children have done an amazing job in getting used to the requirements for social distancing and adapting to new ways of working. It has been a learning curve for all of us but we are confident that although nowhere is completely risk-free we are operating as safely as possible while offering a broad education for your child.
For maximum safety, we ask that only one adult drops off and picks up their child. No waiting on the yard or at the school gates, please. (Year 6 children are permitted to arrive and leave independently at parents’ or carers’ discretion). If you have any queries or need to see someone in school, please go to the main school office door and ring the number. In most circumstances there will be no need to enter the building.
Once in school, below is a list of our expectations for all our pupils:
- Children should come in normal uniform. However, this uniform may be adapted slightly for learning outside. i.e. trainers, comfortable bottoms. When it is your child’s PE day, they should come to school in their PE Kit and wear it all day.
- Children will enter the school yard via their designated gate and there will be socially distanced footprints on the yard for the children to stand on. Bubble teachers will come and collect the children from their area. They will immediately sanitise their hands and go straight to the classroom.
- High standards of cleaning and hygiene are expected from everyone. Children will be expected to wash their hands at regular intervals. Frequently touched surfaces and equipment will be cleaned thoroughly daily.
- Movement around school will be limited. Some areas will be closed. Children will be expected to follow a designated route through corridors for their Bubble and avoid contact with any other Bubbles. Windows will be open and some doors will be propped open to allow natural ventilation and to avoid unnecessary touching of door handles.
- Toilets will be used one at a time throughout the day. They will be cleaned thoroughly each day.
- Children will work in their designated classroom with the windows open at all times. Only essential furniture and those resources which can be easily be cleaned will be used. Soft furnishings have been removed. (As the weather gets colder, your child may need an extra layer to keep warm).
- The children will have their own places in the classroom. They will have their own frequently used equipment and only use their own station and will return to it the following day after thorough cleaning. No pencil cases to be brought from home.
- Each teacher will have a 2-metre depth teaching space at the front of the classroom.
- We hope to offer lots of outdoor learning to take place in the school grounds.
- The children will have separate break times and lunch times from other Bubbles. They may bring a healthy snack (e.g. fruit) to keep them going mid-morning or mid-afternoon (depending on their lunch time). Socially distanced games will be encouraged.
- Each child should bring their own filled water bottle and return it home at the end of the day for thorough washing. No cups will be available for drinks.
We can appreciate that these measures may seem very different; your child’s experience of school will not be the same as before we put these measures in place.
Our school are following the government guidelines in order to reduce the risk as far as possible but we cannot eradicate the risks completely. We have a comprehensive risk assessment in place, which will be under constant review, and we will inform you as quickly as possible of any new measures or changes.
It is understandable and normal that your child might be feeling worried or anxious during this uncertain time. From classrooms to playtime, things will be a little different at school. Please continue to talk to your child about these changes and why they are necessary to help them adhere to our expectations.
If your child does present with COVID-19 symptoms you must keep your child at home and let school know immediately.
If your child starts to display symptoms of COVID-19 whilst at school we will move them to another room and a member of staff will reassure them while we contact you so you can collect them. Here is a help sheet outlining what to do if your child shows coronavirus symptoms. BPS Parent Help Sheet for Child Showing Symptoms
NHS Test and Trace have produced a ‘how to’ video on testing your child for coronavirus – the throat and nose swab test which will test for whether your child has coronavirus now (opens in YouTube).
We are looking forward to supporting your children on the next stage of their journey and we hope that they are looking forward to returning to school and continuing their learning. Emotional well-being is very important to our school family and we hope that your children will feel safe and happy whilst in school.
If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s class teacher or a member of the Senior Leadership Team. Please keep in regular contact with us, especially if you feel your child will need some extra support to settle back in. If you suspect your child is becoming anxious, let us know so that we can work together to find a solution.
Tips for Parents & Caregivers – succeeding in school
- Keep talking – your child might have worries about returning to school. You can explore these and help them think of ways to manage them using our Time for Us pack or the resources on the Family Links website.
- Sleep routine – help your child return to their normal sleep routine in the weeks before school starts again. This “How to…” guide on improving sleep could be a good place to start.
- Talk about school – start to talk through the daily routine that they were once so familiar with. It doesn’t have to start as a conversation about worries, but these might arise as you talk.
- Model coping strategies you use when feeling stressed such as reconnecting with friends before returning, doing regular exercise or using breathing techniques. If it applies, you could share your own worries and feelings about returning to work and ways you are managing these feelings.
- Make yourself available as much as possible – they may want to come and “debrief” but maybe not when you expect. Create space for talking in different ways, such as going on a walk together or baking together – there may be less pressure in these circumstances than when sitting face-to-face.
- Look at the positives – as schools reopen, other things will too. It might be helpful to talk about things the child is looking forward to, like their favourite shop reopening, seeing friends in the park or getting ice cream from their favourite café.
Further links to support for handling back-to-school anxiety
- 5 tips for handling back-to-school anxiety from the BBC
- A return to school guide for parents of children with autism from the National Autistic Society
- 10 ways for parents to help their children cope with change from Mentally Healthy Schools
- CBeebies guide to managing anxiety in Primary School