Weekly Bulletin: Friday 17th July 2020
Headteacher’s message for children at home
We are nearly at the end of this school year…. I have worked in schools for a very very long time, but I’ve never experienced anything like 2020! When you are older, I expect that you’ll look back at 2020 and remember how the world seemed to change so much, so quickly.
I hope that you are now looking forward to next year. For everyone in Years R-5, you can meet your new teacher online this afternoon – I know that they are looking forward to meeting you! For children in Year 6, we’ll see you all online on Tuesday morning for our final Tunbury goodbyes.
Take care everyone and have a lovely weekend.
Headteacher’s message for parents/carers
We are now ready to share our plans for the return to school in September. In line with government guidance, we have conducted a risk assessment and planned for the return of all children in every year group. As always, our first priority is to keep our children, families and staff as safe as possible, throughout the Covid-19 lockdown and beyond.
What happens in September?
Tuesday 1st September is an INSET day, so the start of term for children is Wednesday 2nd September. Separate transition arrangements and start dates have been made for our new entrants to our Reception classes, but for all other year groups, all children should attend school full-time from Wednesday 2nd September.
From September, children’s attendance at school will become mandatory and therefore any non-attendance will be followed up using our standard procedures. If you have specific concerns about your children returning to school after lockdown, please talk to us before the end of this term so that we can help.
How will children be grouped in school?
All schools are required to minimise contacts and mixing between children, while also delivering a broad and balanced curriculum. At Tunbury, we will operate using class bubbles and year group bubbles.
Children will spend the vast majority of their time in school within their class bubble. This will be their normal class group, with their class teacher, working in their normal classroom. Additionally, children will also mix with their peers from other classes in their own year group – at these times, children are within their year group bubble. This will happen on entry and exit to the school site, at breaktimes and lunchtimes on the playground and (initially only for children in Years R, 1 and 2) at lunchtime in the school hall. Apart from transitory contact, for example in corridors and at toilets, children will not mix with children from other year group bubbles. If children work in intervention groups or music lessons outside the classroom, these groupings will only include children from the same year group bubble and additional protective measures, including increased social distancing, handwashing and cleaning, will also be in place at these times.
What other measures are in place?
As well as separation of class bubbles and year group bubbles, many other measures have already been in place throughout the partial closure period. These will continue, including:
· Maintaining social distancing where possible, for both children and staff
· Regular handwashing
· Good respiratory hygiene through the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach
· Enhanced cleaning schedules
· No sharing of resources between different year group bubbles
Entry and exit into school
In order to reduce contact between children from different year group bubbles, staggered start and finish times will be implemented at our three gates, as follows:
Separate arrangements have been made for entry and exit for our new Reception children and are these are now available at www.tunbury.kent.sch.uk/New-Entrants-2020 .
General guidelines on entry and exit are as follows:
· Please do not be early or late, but arrive at the designated time – this is essential to avoid gathering of parents and families at the gates.
· For the same reason, please leave the school proximity quickly after dropping off or collecting children.
· Also, please limit the number of people coming to school to 1 adult per family group.
· In the morning, teachers will be in their classrooms and children will ‘free flow’ directly into the classrooms without gathering or lining up. Senior leaders will be at the gate and children will be supervised by teaching assistants as they go into class.
· In the afternoon, teachers will walk their class as a line towards the designated gate and dismiss children from there. All three classes from each year group will be dismissing simultaneously within the 10 minute period.
· For children in Year 1 and 2 entering via the front gate, in the mornings parents will walk down to the lower car park and say goodbye to their children there (in the same way as the current Year 1 children are entering school now). In the afternoon, it will be different – parents will wait outside the front gate and teachers will walk children up towards this gate and dismiss from this area.
· With the exception of siblings of Year R children, siblings can be dropped off and collected at the designated gate and time for the youngest sibling in the family group. Year R children are not included in this arrangement and need to be dropped off and collected separately, without any school-aged siblings.
We will contact you again on Tuesday 1st September with further details of the entry and exit procedures for each gate.
Breaktimes and lunchtimes
We have planned a series of staggered breaktimes and lunchtime periods to allow children to play outside with their own year group bubble. Each year group bubble will be allocated a playground (eg the lower playground or the top playground) and time. During these periods, children will be able to mix with others from their own year group, but not children from different year groups. Each year group bubble will have their own set of playground resources (eg balls, hoops, skipping ropes) which will not be shared with other year groups. Due to difficulties in cleaning our wooden climbing equipment between uses by different year groups, these will not be in use at the moment.
Lunchtimes and our school kitchen
The school kitchen will be open from the first day of term, serving hot food every day. Our kitchen staff are currently creating a new menu for Tunbury, based on a reduced range of choices, but with menu options which are popular with our children.
Children in Year R, 1 and 2 will go into the school hall to eat their lunches, for both school dinners and packed lunches. To comply with the current government guidelines, there will be a reduced number of children in the hall. Children will sit at a table designated for their own class bubble, alongside other tables with children from the other classes in their year group bubble. Chairs and tables will be thoroughly cleaned between different sittings.
Children in Years 3, 4 5 and 6 will eat their lunch in their classrooms, for both school dinners and packed lunches. School lunches will be delivered to children from our school kitchen using special takeaway meal boxes
Free school meals provision will continue in school as normal. All children in Year R, 1 and 2 are eligible for the universal free school meals.
During the partial closure period, our expectations for school uniform have been slightly more relaxed. For example, some children have been wearing trainers instead of school shoes because shops have not been open. However, from September we will expect all children to wear full school uniform at all times, including school shoes.
What can my child bring with them?
Children can bring bags, lunch boxes and water bottles as usual. Older children can bring their own pencil cases, but only if these fit into their trays – it won’t be possible to store items like these on children’s tables, as this prevents effective cleaning.
What happens if someone becomes ill with Covid-19?
It is vitally important that people with symptoms of Covid-19 do not approach or enter the school site. In the event of a child or staff member in school exhibiting symptoms while on-site, we have specific guidelines to follow. If we become aware that someone who has attended the school site has subsequently tested positive for Covid-19, we would take immediate advice from our local health protection team. Their advice may result in the temporary closure of class or year group bubbles. Additionally, we would engage with the NHS Track and Trace service.
Can parents and carers come into school?
We are minimising the number of visitors into school and we are not planning any meetings, assemblies or events which require the gathering of children, staff, visitors or parents/carers in school. September’s Meet the Teacher events will go ahead as usual, but in the form of online meetings using Microsoft Teams. In school, assemblies and staff meetings are also being held by Teams.
The school office is open, but only via email or phone. Please do not visit the school office in person, unless you have an appointment in school. If you do approach the school office, please be aware that a member of staff will speak to you via the intercom button outside the main doors, rather than opening the doors to allow you into school.
What guidance are you following?
We have used the current government guidance and public health advice in making our plans for our full opening in September: www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools .
In line with this guidance, we have undertaken a Covid-19 risk assessment and this was approved by our governing body on Monday. To provide transparency to parents and carers, our full risk assessment is now published on our website at www.tunbury.kent.sch.uk/docs/letters/Tunbury_risk_assessment_for_full_opening_September_2020.pdf The current government approach to reopening schools is based on a wide system of control measures which, taken together, reduce the overall risk to health for children, staff and visitors in school. If new guidance is released before the start of term in September, then our risk assessment or plans may be adjusted as a result. Even if no new guidance is issued, we will email you again on Tuesday 1st September to remind you about entry/exit routines for the first day of term.
How can I prepare my child for a return to school?
Please help us by engaging with the transition process for each new year group – we look forward to seeing children in this afternoon’s live sessions with their new class teachers. Additionally, each year group has made a ‘welcome’ video which will be available to view on our school website. Over the summer holiday, please continue to support your child’s learning, for example by encouraging them to read regularly.
We can’t wait to see all of our children back in school in September – we have missed them so much! Although things in school won’t yet feel ‘back to normal’, we are sure that with the support of their peers, parents/carers and staff, children will be able to adapt to the new routines and expectations.
Is the school open over the summer holidays?
Although our school has remained open every day since February half term for our key workers and vulnerable children, Tunbury is not open during the summer holidays. Teaching staff, including myself, our Deputy Headteachers, SENCo and class teachers, will not be contactable or able to respond to queries until the first day of the new term. Please talk to us before the end of the summer term (Wednesday 22nd July) if you have any queries or concerns regarding your child’s return to school in September.
How will the school curriculum be different?
We are aware that one of our biggest challenges is to support children’s learning after such a long period of disruption. In September, we will focus on children’s well-being through extended curriculum time for PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education), alongside maths and English lessons. We will provide more information on this at September’s Meet the Teachers sessions for each year group.
Thank you for reading this information!
We do understand that as everything changes, there is a huge amount of new information for you to read and understand. We hope that this guide gives you an outline of how the return to school in September will look and feel for you and your children. If you have any concerns or questions that you would like to ask, please contact us before the end of the summer term, as we will be happy to help. Please contact the school office by phone or email (email@example.com) by Monday – this will give enough time for myself or one of our two Deputy Headteachers, Mr Taylor or Mrs Smith, to respond to you before the end of term on Wednesday.
Thank you everyone. Have a lovely weekend – please take care of yourselves and your families.
End-of-term gifts: For both teachers' gifts for children and children's gifts for teachers, we are asking that these are deferred until September, if possible. This may not be practical if children or staff are leaving Tunbury, but as far as possible, we aim to reduce the number of visitors to school and items transferred between home and school at this stage.
Term dates: Our term dates for next academic year are available on the school website at: www.tunbury.kent.sch.uk/Parents/Term-Dates-2020-2021 These have not changed – we are just including this link as a reminder.
Collecting belongings: We still have children’s belongings for all year groups in school. We will be putting all the belongings outs in year’s groups on Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st July to give one last chance for you to collect them if you wish too. On Wednesday, any named PE kits will be moved up to the new year group and the remainder of the belongings will be recycled via a local charity shop.
Medication: We still have some medication in school not collected e.g. Asthma inhalers. Please can all medication be collected before the end of term. Please contact the school office to make arrangements for collection.
Year 6 trip: Next year’s Year 6 PGL trip has been rebooked and the new dates are Monday 21st – Wednesday 23rd June.
Sign up for Tonbridge and Malling Children’s Centres Summer Challenge today !!
Tonbridge and Malling Children’s Centres usually offer a wonderful summer programme full of events that families can attend. This summer they are unable to do that but they can send families of children aged 0-7 years activities via email. They have developed activity ideas for the whole family to work on at home over the holidays to keep families busy in these challenging times.
Tonbridge and Malling Children’s Centres can email you 3 activities you can complete at home with your children. This will last for the 6 weeks of summer starting on Monday 27th July. If you complete all their activities you can be in with the chance of winning a prize. But don't worry if you don't win the prize as they will give your little ones a certificate too. Each week Tonbridge and Malling Children’s Centres are sending 3 age appropriate activities on a weekly email, at the bottom of the email will be a clue to a word, once you have figured out the word, email it to them. You must send them all 6 words to be put forward for the raffle. If you would like to sign up please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your child's age, name, postcode and your email address to start receiving the emails from Monday 27th July.
Stay alert: Please remember that to keep everyone safe, we still need to follow the national guidance issued by the government. Most importantly, remember that no-one should come to school if they have symptoms of Covid-19, which are the recent onset of any of the following:
· A new continuous cough
· A high temperature
· A loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell
This applies to everyone – children, staff and parents/carers. If a child in school displays any of these symptoms, we would move them away from others and contact you to come into school to collect them immediately. We would also follow current advice from Public Health England on our next steps.