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Phased Return to School Phase 2

Dearest families,

As you know, this week we opened our doors for children in Year 6 and other children of critical workers who had responded to our surveys requesting a place and who also responded to our further communications so that we could plan. On Monday 8th June we welcome those children not from critical worker families (who responded as above) in Reception and Year 1 and on Monday 15th June we welcome back some children from our Nursery.

I cannot express how lovely it has been to welcome more children though our doors again and to see them working so hard and enjoying themselves! Yes, school is a little different and things are more difficult to manage but we have made it work here so far and we have very happy children and staff team.

I would like to reassure you that we are doing all that we possibly can from our end to try to communicate with you in a timely manner. However, we are learning things via the news in the same way as yourselves and then having to react very quickly at our end to organise and put things in place whilst ensuring safety is our highest priority. This organisation takes considerable time and we are unable to work with unknown numbers in this process so we need to stick to our set admission points and we must also rely upon you to give us the information we request within the time frames set.

At this stage, we have no idea what the governments next plans are. However, we cannot wait because of the complexities involved in planning the organisation; risk assessment and staffing. Currently, schools are allowed bubbles of up to 15 pupils (8 in nursery) and bubbles MUST NOT mix. Our biggest challenges here at East Wichel are keeping the bubbles separate with our limited toilets and washing facilities; as well as pick-up and drop-off time and managing the increased cleaning hours.

With this in mind, we are sending a further survey to you today with two possible scenarios that we anticipate could happen so that we can at least begin the planning process for you:

  1. Schools are asked to stick with the existing offer but we would look to increase the number of children who qualify for anyone who has changed their mind since the initial survey. This then would be for pupils in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 as well as children of critical workers.
  2. Schools are asked to open to all children in a phased manner.

It is worth pointing out, that at the moment because of low numbers we are able to offer fulltime school to all those who currently attending. However, if the government guidance does not change and we move to either of the scenarios above, we would need to decrease our offer for all as we would need to implement rotas for attendance and conduct a deeper clean in-between bubbles attending. Many schools are already using this approach in Swindon with children split into Bubble A and B attending 4 days a week alternate weeks or 2 days a week and then one day when the school would be closed for a deep clean between bubbles.

We will of course communicate this with you as soon as we know more.

Please follow this link to the survey

The next admission point is Monday 22nd June so please respond to this ASAP if you fall into one of the categories above and would like a place. The deadline is Monday 8th June at 12pm so that we can begin to plan and reorganise our social distancing and safety measures for larger numbers in good time in order to keep everyone safe.

We would like to make clear that we cannot guarantee places and this could all change depending upon what decisions our government makes in response to the crisis.

However, we want to help and we will do our very best here to accommodate as many of you as we can safely manage.

We appreciate that this is a stressful time for everyone and that anxieties are high but please can I ask that you are always kind and respectfully to the staff team here – we are all genuinely doing our best with so very many unknowns, very little notice and in very challenging circumstances. Being rude or aggressive is not helpful to this process.

The finally admission point for this academic year will be on the 6th July and a further survey will come out in due course.

Many thanks again for your continued support and kind words. These are unprecedented times and we will certainly have many talks to share with our grandchildren one day!

Stay safe and well

Warmest regards

Mrs Phillips
Head Teacher


Frequently Asked Questions:

When will other year groups be able to attend school?
We do not have the answer to this I am afraid, we have to wait for further Government announcements.

Nursery, Year R, Year 1 and Year 6 children – Do I have to send my child back?  
At this time it is parental choice as to whether you send your child back to school. Every family will have different circumstances and opinions and it for you to make this decision until the government advise that all children should now be back in school.

Nursery, Year R, Year 1 and Year 6 children - Will I lose my school place if I choose not to send my child back?
No – your child’s school place is safe and you will not lose this should you decide not to send your child/ren back at this time. Attendance is being recorded differently during the phased return and no penalties are being issued.

If I am offered a place on a phased return does my child have to attend every day?
At this time if you have been offered a place back in school, your child will be expected to attend all sessions set out in your pack.

If I am offered a place on a phased return can my child bring a home packed lunch?
No - To reduce the risk of cross contamination children are required to have a school lunch. This is part of the Home School Agreement when you accept your child’s place. School meals are £2.40 per day for those who pay and will be payable via parent pay at the end of each week.

Will home learning continue?
Yes – Home learning will continue to happen.

When will Breakfast and After School Club open?
Government guidance says that bubbles should NOT mix to minimise the spread of the infection. Until that changes, we cannot run these clubs. We will let you know as soon as this changes.

I’ve changed my mind and I would like my child to now attend school.
We will try to accommodate as many children as we can under the circumstances but we need to plan in advance for staffing and structuring of groups to ensure the safety of all. If you have missed an allocation date then you will need to respond the next survey/communications for next round of allocations.