COVID-19 (Coronavirus) updates
This page is to share information about the measures we are taking to keep all of the school community safe during the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak and has been updated for our return to school. We thank you for your continued support in helping us to provide the best possible learning for the children at Thistly Meadow.
From Tuesday 5th January 2021, the school will be open for the children of critical workers and those who are vulnerable. All other children will receive remote learning at home.
On 8th January 2021, the local authority and Simon Cole, Chief Constable, Leicestershire Police Chair, Local Resilience Forum and Andy Williams, Chief Executive, Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland CCGs Chair, Strategic Coordination Group for COVID and winter response, considered the continued safe operations in schools and believe a key risk is that there are too many requests for critical worker places and that the eligibility criteria remains unprioritised. So for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, they have agreed new local prioritisation which can be used by schools.
The following critical workers can be prioritised (in no order)
- Families with two critical workers or single parent families who are critical workers
- Critical local authority and public service workers, who cannot perform their tasks from home without their children attending school
- Front line health and social care workers
- Officers and staff from the police and fire service
- School staff
- Early years staff
We continue to monitor the situation regularly and to follow the advice of Public Health England (PHE) and the UK government. The page will be updated as necessary with the latest information.
*NEW* Homeschooling help for parents:
Links to official guidance
COVID 19 Guidance and support https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
What to do if you have symptoms https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/
If you have any enquiries please contact the school office by telephone 0116 2775648 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org Please keep these to a minimum and necessary/urgent enquiries only. Please do not message the school Facebook page regarding COVID-19, please refer to the UK government guidance.
COVID measures in school
We have clear proocedures in place and school will be a safe place for your child.
Our planning is underpinned by the DfE’s advice on effective infection protection and control. We will continue to update our risk assessments in line with the latest guidance.
Routines and procedures
Following in-depth risk assessments and in line with government and union advice, there are a number of different procedures and routines that you need to be aware of and comply with for the safety of our staff, children and parents. It is important that all parents support our measures detailed below:
Arriving and leaving school
Staggering arrival and collection will ensure that adults and children on site can distance appropriately and reduce the risk of children coming in to contact with pupils from other bubbles. We recognise that this will be difficult for families with multiple children so we have kept any waiting time to a minimum.
Parents will be asked to drop off and leave, rather than remaining outside the school gates. Whilst parents are waiting, social distancing should be observed.
Communication with school should be via email or by calling the office. The office will not be open for parents to drop in to. The DfE guidance states that coming into the site without an appointment is not allowed. However, parents can still call and receive support over the telephone or by email.
Grouping of Children
Bubbles provide an additional protective measure, and they make it quicker and easier to identify those who need to self-isolate as a result of a positive test result.
Schools have the flexibility to make decisions that work in their context, based on their risk assessments. While the overarching approach is that smaller groups are preferable, if schools are unable to deliver a full curriculum and operate effectively, they are free to increase a bubble to the size of the whole year group. The DfE has set no upper limit on the number of pupils within a bubble, however we will aim to keep these bubbles as small and consistent as possible. In school, children will initially be working in class bubbles. This way, we can keep children in separate groups, whilst also providing targeted staffing to enable children to access the whole curriculum. Bubbles will have staggered breaks and lunches throughout the day to keep them apart as much as possible.
The Department for Education’s (DfE) guidance suggests that seating pupils facing the front is an effective precaution, though it is not mandatory. The idea is that children facing forward rather than facing each other reduces any risk of spreading the virus via respiratory droplets. Initially, classes in years 1 - 6 will adopt this approach, but with the flexibility to adapt if necessary, based on the needs of our curriculum.
There is no expectation for primary age children to socially distance from each other. However, whenever possible, we will do our best to promote this. Your child will have the same adults working with them each day in their classrooms but staff within a year group can mix with children in all of the classes. Some other adults (the leadership team, pastoral support and specialist teachers such as Mrs Turner for music) will be moving between bubbles. Staff will minimise close contact with children and will, where possible, remain socially distanced from the children. They will provide whatever support and care is necessary for the children in terms of safety, learning and pastoral care.
- There will be no whole-school events where children and adults are required to congregate. Assemblies will be limited to single classes.
- All staff have received guidance on supporting children and we have ensured that there is a selection of materials to support children’s wellbeing. Our class PSHE sessions will provide children with the opportunity to rebuild friendships and social skills.
- There will be no residentials in line with the DfE instructions regarding overnight school trips. School trips and swimming will not resume during the autumn term due to the risk of compromising the integrity of bubbles by mixing with other schools attending venues or by using coaches that have also been used by the wider public.
What to send to school and lunchtime arrangements
Please make sure that you only send your child into school with essential items as we need to minimise the number of items being brought into school from different households.
- A snack or piece of fruit for break time
- A full water bottle to use throughout the day
- A coat
- Uniform to change into for days when you have a PE lesson
- Hot dinners are provided in hotboxes to children in their classroom bubbles with the exception of Foundation Stage who will eat in the hall. The menu will be adapted slightly to allow for meals to be served in the boxes.
- Children will now bring reading books home and return them as normal. On their return, books will be taken out of circulation for 72 hours before being returned to the library. This will mean that books may not be able to be changed as regularly as normal, but we encourage you to continue to use our electronic system Myon.
What your child should wear
All children are expected to come to school wearing school uniform. We understand that some families may be experiencing financial pressures at the moment – if so, please talk to us to see if there is any way in which we can help you.
- On days when your child has a PE lesson, they should come into school wearing their PE kit and a uniform to change into. Teachers will confirm PE days for your child in September. We will not be able to give children spare kit to wear.
- Face masks - In line with current government guidance, face masks are not required and must be removed on arrival at school. This must be done by the child, parents or carers. Staff will not assist with this. Face coverings must be bagged up and taken home or be put into a plastic bag that the wearer has brought with them, then taken home at the end of the day
Handwashing, cleaning routines
Children are to wash their hands on the following occasions:
- Entry to school
- Before/after break times
- Before lunch
- Before leaving school
- Anytime that they visit the toilet or cough/sneeze in to their hands
- Additional hand sanitiser pumps have been purchased and are stationed in each classroom as well as additional key points in school.
- Children will work in their classroom and be given the equipment that they will need for their lessons. They are not allowed to bring in resources for lessons from home.
- Cleaning will continue before and after school and there will also be additional cleaning of frequently used areas and toilets at lunchtime. At various intervals, adults will disinfect and clean tables, door handles and equipment.
- PE lessons will still take place. Where possible, they will take place outside, as transmission of the disease is reduced outdoors. Children will be kept in consistent groups and sports equipment will be cleaned thoroughly between each use. We have created a rota for shared equipment to ensure that it is not passed between bubbles before being cleaned.
- Hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene is paramount due to the nature of increased respiration due to exercise. Hands must be washed thoroughly after completing a PE session.
- Please make sure that you are on time, as lateness makes it hard to minimise interactions with other adults and children
- We will re-establish attendance routines as we did pre-Covid lockdown. Attendance will be recorded and monitored with the local authority to pursue sanctions for families with non-attending pupils.
- If your child is ill in any way, you must not send them into school. If a child becomes ill in school, you will be contacted and will need to collect your child straight away. We cannot have any illness in school and our threshold for sending children home will be low.
- If a child shows Coronavirus symptoms, the child will be taken to an isolation room and be cared for by an adult. They will need to be collected as quickly as possible and will need to have a Coronavirus test. They will be required to self-isolate for 10 days unless they have a test and the result comes back as negative. In this case, they can return to school once they feel better. The office will ask for proof of the result.
- If a child in a bubble tests positive for Coronavirus, then their whole bubble (year group and other children they have been in close contact with, e.g. Before and After School Club), will be sent home to self-isolate for a period of 10 days. The school will contact the local health protection team. The health protection team will carry out a rapid risk assessment to confirm who has been in close contact with the person during the period that they were infectious and ensure they are asked to self-isolate for 10 days from the last contact.
- If school is made aware of a local outbreak, it may be advised to close. Preparations will be made so that home learning will continue and the community can remain safe. This will be a combination of learning via ClassDoJo and online lessons delivered via the government’s Oak National Academy.
Before and After School Club (BASC)
The DfE has acknowledged that it may not be logistically possible to keep the bubbles the same in a wrap-around care as they are in school. Obviously, where possible we will aim to keep the BASC groups the same and as small and consistent as possible.
We will not be narrowing our curriculum, believing that a rich and varied creative curriculum is the right of every child at our school, encouraging children to think for themselves. We strive to deliver our curriculum effectively, providing lots of opportunities for recalling and building on previous learning, as well as working with children to identify any gaps. We will recognise the lost time away from school but will focus on the time that we do have, using this time to support children academically, emotionally and socially.
Samples from lessons provided by the government’s Oak National Academy lessons will be used periodically throughout the curriculum in order that children are comfortable with their content and format in the event of further lockdowns.
Our creative, knowledge-rich curriculum may feel a bit different for a while but we will continue to work creatively, providing opportunities for children to interact with one another, developing how they express themselves and how they develop their individual voices; elements that may have been lost during the challenge of living through a global pandemic.
Our online resource links for parents on this page.
Oak National Academy
Department for Education
Mathletics (KS2 ONLY)
TT Rockstars (KS2 ONLY)
All resources are free to access.
https://mathshub.thirdspacelearning.com/ Currently free for parents
Twinkl Parents' hub https://www.twinkl.co.uk/resources/parents
Boogie beebies can be accessed through cbeebies
Rob Biddulph, bestselling and multi award-winning author/illustrator. He is the official World Book Day Illustrator for 2019 and 2020 http://www.robbiddulph.com/draw-with-rob
Helping your child understand the pandemic
Coronavirus - a Nosy Crow book for children, illustrated by Axel Scheffler
How not to go to school - Parsley Mimblewood saves the world, written by a primary school teacher in Yorkshire, Mike Forde
The Book of Hopes - Words and pictures to comfort, inspire and entertain children in lockdown
All are free to download.
Supporting your child returning to school
Please click on the links below for resources to help your child when they return to school: