St Mary’s CE Primary School’s response to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

Autumn Term 2020

In School

Following Government guidance, in September we welcome back all pupils to school. In line with guidance, from September, attendance at school will be mandatory and the usual rules on school attendance will apply.

Please see full details of our new systems and processes, including timings for staggered arrival and departures: Autumn 2020 Whole School Return Schedule

Bubbles will now consist of up to 30 pupils – a class. Bubbles will not have contact with other bubbles. As before, play spaces will be zoned. Staggered drop-off, pick-up and play times will ensure bubbles are able to avoid unnecessary contact and areas inside and outside school do not become congested. Parents remain unable to enter school grounds without an appointment. Hot school meals return on the Infant and Middles Sites; packed lunches eaten in class will continue on the Junior Site (to be reviewed at half term).

With the exception of Reception, classrooms will be arranged with desks facing forwards. All pupils in Years 1-6 will bring in their own pencil cases of stationery to avoid resources being shared wherever possible. Rigorous cleaning and hygiene systems and practices will continue to be in place across the school.

Virtual Collective Worships will ensure key messages around our Christian Values are explored and celebrated despite not being able to gather together in school halls.

A ‘Recovery Curriculum’ will focus very much on pupils’ emotional and mental health, particularly in the first weeks back. Our usual high standards in all learning, including English and maths, will return so that gaps in learning are identified and pupils make the progress needed to target end of year expectations in the summer. We will continue our rich and broad topic-based curriculum.

If a child is unwell showing COVID-19 symptoms, they must follow the guidance in the above ‘Autumn 2020 Whole School Return’ document. 

At Home

In September, new Google Classrooms will be set up for the new class bubbles. We will continue to utilise this valuable resource for homework activities. In the event of school of school being closed again, we will immediately shift to remote learning using Google Classroom to ensure a high quality education continues despite the challenging circumstances.

Wrap around care

Schools are advised that they can run breakfast and after-school clubs and that they should, ideally, keep to the bubbles used during the school day. In practical terms this just is not possible, as it would mean that only children from the same class could be looked after by any one provider. The DfE recognise that this might not be possible and has, therefore, stated that “if it is not possible to maintain bubbles being used during the school day, then schools should use small, consistent groups.”

Knowing how important this issue is to many in our school community, wrap around care will be available as it was prior to the partial closure of the school in March. We are working with wraparound care providers to provide as safe a provision as possible and with the aim of keeping the children in their care as consistent as possible. We request that where possible, parents decide on one provider and stick with that one each week, rather than swap between provision.

Spring and Summer Terms 2020

In School

When Government closed schools in England in March, St Mary’s remained open to children of Key Workers throughout. From the start of June, we welcomed back pupils from Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 three days a week. In July, we were able to welcome all pupils back on a reduced timetable.

Classes were split into bubbles of no more than 15 and each bubble was taught by a qualified teacher. Staggered arrival and departure times ensured groups did not mix. This was also the case for break and lunch times during the school day. Packed lunches were eaten in classrooms. The playgrounds were divided into zones and each bubble had their own set of play equipment. Classrooms were arranged so that each pupil had their own desk and equipment – desks were spaced out to keep pupils well apart.

Rigorous cleaning and hygiene systems and practices were in place across the school.

At Home

Home Learning was in place for all pupils from closure in March until the end of the summer term; we were proud to have continued our rich and broad topic-based curriculum (including holiday projects and Hook Days) throughout this period. A weekly timetable and associated activities were in place Monday to Friday for all. In early June, our learning platform for pupils in Years 1-6 shifted from the school website to Google Classroom where teachers shared videos of themselves and gave regular individual feedback on learning. Reception children continued to use Tapestry as their online platform. Our Home Learning page provided a wealth of resources, advice and support for parents, carers and pupils.

After the initial few weeks of school closure, we introduced weekly calls to each pupil by their class teacher and set up Year Group emails for parents to be able to contact teachers more easily.

We continued to regularly update our Twitter feed with outstanding learning and achievements, keeping our school community connected.

The following video was sent to all families during school’s closure: ‘We Miss You’ video from St Mary’s Teachers

Further Information and Advice Regarding COVID-19 from the school

For the latest Government updates to the Coronavirus outbreak, click on the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

For primary school children, especially our youngest, the pandemic is a confusing and potentially worrying time. You may find the following ‘child-friendly’ explanation of the Coronavirus helpful to show to your children: I am a virus  and the story: The oyster and the butterfly and My Hero is You, Storybook for Children on COVID-19

We understand this is a challenging time for families in our school community. For those families with children who have Special Educational Needs, the following video might be helpful: Supporting Neurodiverse Children in challenging times

Please see the link to additional guidance to our Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy resulting from Covid-19.  Within the policy, we provide links to supportive services children and young people can access during this time: KOOTH is an online counselling and emotional well-being platform for children and young people https://www.kooth.com/ and https://www.childline.org.uk/

Please see the following for information and support for those who are experiencing domestic abuse : Support for those suffering Domestic Abuse