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Phased Return to School Phase 2 Update 10.6.2020

Dear Parents/Carers,

Following the government announcement schools are now not expected to have a wider reopening at this point in the pandemic. However, individual schools are able to decide what is reasonable and safely manageable for their particular contexts and environment/facilities.

As a school we are fortunate with our premises and we very much want to do the right thing and offer more spaces where we can safely do so.

Following all this government guidance then, we have ascertained the maximum capacity that we can accommodate safely throughout the school and we have a plan for this next phase. It has been a highly complex process and we are unable to accommodate everyone. Demand for spaces is also so high we are now not able to have another admission point on 6th July as originally planned.

Our main concerns are and will always be children/staff safety and well-being, not child care, and we will be guided by this in the decisions that we make to ensure that the maximum number of children who need it benefit from some schooling before the summer.

With this in mind we are offering the following:

  • Nursery: Two bubbles consisting of 8 children in each (one of these bubbles will be based in the small hall, not in the nursery, and will be staffed by other staff from across the school).
  • One bubble (Max 15 children) for EVERY other year group (Reception through to Year 6).
  • For those already attending and those offered a space from the 22nd June, term will end at the earlier date of 17th July at 2pm. This is to allow 3 days of staggered access for any of our lovely children who have not had that opportunity to attend. It is important that they have some time in school if it would help them. It is likely they could meet their new teacher for September etc - further details will follow on this.

Priority for places will always be for vulnerable children and then for those children of critical workers but even then, we will not be able to offer all a space here for safety reasons. The local authority has a brokerage system for critical worker families who cannot get a space at their school and you can apply for your child to attend another school if childcare is needed. Do email the office if you need the contact name and address for this service.

We will notify you next week if your child has been allocated a space. And further details will then follow.

For Parents/Carers of children who are offered a place for their child/ren in school.

School Meals

We are not allowing packed lunches into school at the moment to minimise risk. Therefore we have put in place school meal grab and go bags. This is part of our risk assessment following the government guidance and is one of many measures we have put in place to keep YOUR children safe. One of the main risks is transmission from homes, so we must minimise items brought in from homes.

We do not profit from this. In fact as a school we are incurring significant losses overall during this period due to clubs/lettings etc not running together with increases in printing costs with 50+ learning packs on average a week. So we do ask for your support and understanding, if your child is in Nursery or Y3-6 and you are able to pay, then please do (the cost is £2.40 per day).  We apologise if this wasn’t clearly communicated before but I am sure you will appreciate the large amount of work that it has taken and is taking to implement the changes to enable us to offer places in school. Children in the Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 have the Universal Free School meals system or those who qualify for FSM will not need to pay.  If you are struggling with this cost, then there is a fund that we can access to help support vulnerable children, please contact us and we will we are more than happy to try to help, contact the school office admin@eastwichel.swindon.sch.uk.  Our Grab and Go menu can be found on our website https://www.eastwichel.swindon.sch.uk/lunch-menus/ , if your child has any needs or isn’t enjoying the lunches please contact Mrs Baker who will be happy to try to help in any way she can, her contact details are also on our website.

Limited Spaces – Please use or lose

We have limited spaces as the bubbles must be no greater than 8 in nursery and 15 in the rest of the school. We have many children who would love a space and who are also anxious and really struggling at home. If you are not using your space, then, we are sorry but we will reallocate this space to someone who is going to benefit from and use it. We are unable to manage a pick and mix option, we would expect your child to attend all the sessions offered.

September

We know many of you are concerned about September. Please know that we share these concerns and we are already exploring lots of options including possibilities for setting up Forest schools; porta-loos; temporary hand basins and continuing to build and strengthen our online offer. This all incurs costs and takes time – but we promise that we are trying. We want children back at school but we must be safe.

As educational and child welfare professionals we feel strongly that it is better if we can ensure  that ALL children get some access to school even if this is not fulltime. The way the system has been set up by the DFE so far has not enabled that to happen but we are hopeful that they will start to listen to the profession and our concerns about children’s well-being.

If you have any questions, please do email these into the office (admin@eastwichel.swindon.sch.uk) and we will do our best to collate and answer these.

We thank you all once again for your patience and your support during this time.

Mrs Phillips 
Head Teacher 

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