September return to school...
Dear Parents/ Carers,
The anticipated DfE school guidance for September 2020 was published yesterday. We are delighted that we can open Trinity and welcome all pupils back in September. It is very much what everyone wants and our children certainly need to be back at school.
Please find below a summary of Key Points from the government guidance:
The government has set out its intent and plan for all children to return to school full time from the start of September. It is based on a twin strategy of limiting contact between pupils and implementing hygiene measures
A robust system of controls will be essential. We are very familiar with many aspects of the system of controls already, e.g. thorough and regular handwashing and promoting good respiratory hygiene (the 'catch it, bin it, kill it' approach)
The main changes in September relate to how contact between individuals is to be limited in schools. Contact is to be limited in two main ways:
By ensuring pupils remain in consistent groups ('bubbles') wherever possible, thereby minimising the number of contacts between different people across the school
By maintaining distance between individuals wherever possible ('social distancing'). However, the DfE has recognised that strict social distancing will not always be possible, especially with primary-aged pupils.
It is a legal requirement that we now revisit and update our covid-19 risk assessments
We are also being asked to prepare a 'plan b', i.e. arrangements to allow remote learning to take place should a partial or full closure of Trinity be required, at any point in the next academic year. Minimising contact - 'bubbles' and group sizes
The main and most pressing logistical consideration for Trinity is determining group or 'bubble' sizes for September. The DfE has said that, ideally, bubbles will be kept as small as possible, i.e. the size of a class. However, where this restricts a school's ability to deliver a full curriculum, schools have the flexibility to implement year group bubbles. In our case it would be Phase Bubbles. Social distancing within bubbles
The DfE has stated that social distancing and bubbles should not be seen as alternative options and that both measures "will help". However, it points out that "the balance between them (social distancing and use of bubbles) will change depending on children's ability to distance, the layout of the school and the feasibility of keeping distinct groups separate while offering a broad curriculum. It also states "when staff or children cannot maintain distancing, particularly with younger children in primary schools, the risk can also be reduced by keeping pupils in the smaller groups/bubbles." Other important measures
There should be no large gatherings bringing different groups together, e.g. whole-school assemblies.
We are encouraged to consider staggered break and lunchtimes
Where possible, schools have also been asked to consider staggered start and finish times to keep different bubbles apart as they arrive at and leave school Breakfast and after school clubs/wrap around care
Schools can run breakfast and after-school clubs. The DfE has stated that ideally schools would keep to the bubbles used during the school day, but recognised this might not be possible. It has stated that "if it is not possible to maintain bubbles being used during the school day, then schools should use small, consistent groups." Other Points
Domestic day trips (not overnight) are permitted to resume in the autumn term, subject to protective measures being taken
PPE guidance remains largely the same as previously
The usual rules on attendance now apply – school is mandatory again from the autumn term.
Next Steps for Trinity
Update our Risk Assessment in line with new government guidance
Determine our groups/bubbles – class or phase
Plan staggered start and finish times to keep different bubbles apart as they arrive at and leave Trinity. However, we will try to ensure that the total amount of teaching time our children receive remains the same, e.g. an earlier start would mean an earlier finish for pupils
More rearrangement of furniture, working practises, resources and toilets
Continue to plan for a broad and balanced curriculum which will focus on reconnecting with the children, them getting to know each other again, settling in and remembering our Trinity values and our great learning behaviours
Continue to plan for a curriculum which will focus on pupils’ emotional wellbeing throughout the year. When children return in September they will be involved in a two-week programme of enrichment activities focusing on their wellbeing and the arts
Revisit arrangements to allow remote learning to take place should a partial or full closure of the school be required, at any point in the next academic year. This will be communicated to you before the end of term
I am sure the senior leadership team will now be awash with more DfE Guidance (sometimes contradictory) and we will continue to keep you updated. These are busy times for us all and I thank you for your support and your continued hard work with your children.
Beatriz Melero and The Trinity Team