COVID-19: Information for Parents / Carers
School will remain closed to most pupils at the beginning of the new term.
As you have likely seen / heard, the government announced changes to the plans for the new term on 30th December 2020. Due to high rates of infection across Milton Keynes, primary schools (including infant and junior schools like ours) will be closed to most pupils until further notice. On 4th January, the Prime Minister also announced that schools would be closed to most pupils across the country.
All staff have returned to school (assuming they are well and not self-isolating).
School will remain open only to children of ‘critical workers’ and those classified as ‘vulnerable’ (including those on our special educational needs register).
Parents / carers with children who are classified as vulnerable have been contacted and offered a place for their child at school from Tuesday. Parents / carers who are classified as critical workers were given the opportunity to request a place for their child using an online form, which has now closed.
All of our plans and safety measures are underpinned by government guidance.
Please find below some links to useful information about how we are dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This webpage will be updated regularly.
If you have any concerns about a child, please visit the safeguarding section on the website for information about who to contact.
When will schools fully reopen again?
The government have indicated that schools will be closed to most pupils until February half term, on coronavirus infection rates. We will keep you up to date with any information as we hear it.
We will be offering remote learning to all our children who are at home if they are self-isolating or because of the partial school closure outlined above.
All staff are still at school. We currently have over 50 children attending school from Tueday 5th January.
We are currently in a much better position to support than we were in the first lockdown. We had prepared home learning plans which match to our school curriculum for the whole term already and you can find these on our school website by clicking here. Your children can use these from tomorrow morning.
However, we want to offer more. We had not been warned or alerted about the possibility of school closures before last Wednesday, so we have been working hard since then to develop better ways to support you and your children at home. Outside of our training sessions, teachers have today been busy producing a new format for presenting daily work, with a task page for each year group. These pages will feature interactive quizzes (which will give us feedback on how your child is doing), videos made by our staff, audio clips explaining tasks to children, pictures, and links to appropriate external websites too. We will be publishing these tomorrow as soon as they are finished, and I will let you know by email when they are online.
Following the success of our recent online Family Consultation Evenings using Microsoft Teams, we will also be offering a service thorough which you can book a ten-minute online video appointment with a teacher from your child’s year group if you want to ask for help or support with any of your child’s learning at home. Again, I will be writing to you in the coming days about this service and how to book a slot.
As I wrote to those of you who had children at Orchard back in March, we appreciate that nearly all of you are not teachers. Do not expect your children to be working for six hours a day like we would do at school. You will be dealing with lots of other demands and priorities, so please do not put yourselves under undue pressure, as this will negatively impact on everyone’s mood in the house. This said, it is vitally important we work together to ensure your child does not fall behind at school. Please try to make sure they access our remote learning page daily as we will be monitoring your child’s engagement and contacting you if we are concerned your child is not taking part.
If you have any issues being able to access the internet, you do not have enough devices at home or any other issues with being able to allow your child to learn, please contact the school as soon as possible. Thank you to those who have already done so – we are already working on solutions for you.
Free school meals for pupils at home
Those children who are eligible for free school meals will be provided with one. At the moment, we do not know the details of what this lunch will entail or how they will be distributed but will write to give you this information as soon as the government have produced further guidance, expected on Wednesday 6th January.
Children attending school
If your child is eligible to come to school, they will continue to be taught in their year group bubbles. Cedar class will be open as usual. Timings of the day (including staggered starts / finishes) will stay the same as they were before Christmas.
Safety will remain our top priority. All of our covid safety measures (including increased cleaning) will remain in place. We ask all parents who drop off and collect their children to wear face coverings or visors at all times and follow our social distancing expectations and routines. Anyone not wearing a face covering or visor will be asked to leave the premises. All staff you come into contact with outside will also be wearing a face covering or visor.
Breakfast club and our school minibus service will continue to run, in-line with government guidelines.
Lunches for children at school
Children who are attending school should please bring their own packed lunch, unless they are usually eligible for free school meals. If your child is eligible for free school meals, a lunch will be provided for them. Further details of this offer will be given once we know how many children will be in school and we have consulted with Caterlink.
We will try our very best to keep you as up to date as possible. Again, we find ourselves in an ever-changing situation, so please do bear with us. You have my full reassurance we will endeavour to do the very best we can for your children in whatever way we can.