Newsletter – Arrangements for the wider opening from Monday 8th March 2021

It was to the great relief of many parents and teachers that the Prime Minster announced that schools will fully re-open to all pupils on Monday 8th March 2021.

Whilst it is great to be returning to ‘normal’ routine, I appreciate some of you may be feeling apprehensive about everyone returning at once. Please rest assured, we have once again been reviewing and updating our Risk Assessment to make sure our return to school is as safe as possible for all members of our community. The Risk Assessment is published on the school website here . Please note that only secondary school children are required to wear masks in school and therefore children who attend St. Joseph’s do NOT have to wear masks.
Mr Johnson’s roadmap makes one feel that there is finally light at the end of this tunnel we have all been struggling through. However, we have not yet reached the end and it is so important we all play our part to ensure that all of us reach the end together. So, I would urge you all to please adhere to our Covid guidelines when on and around the school site; most importantly maintaining a social distance from other parents and leaving the site immediately once you have dropped off or picked up. Please remember that one parent only should drop the children off. Through our safeguarding measures, we have all managed to keep St. Joseph’s a safe haven for our children. Our aim is to continue our track record for keeping all classes open. This letter will remind you for the key arrangements in place. As always, these will be reviewed regularly as guidance will change as the government continues with its planned strategy. The weekly newsletter will update you on key operational matters at our school.

Attendance

The Government have been very firm about the need for all children (bar critically vulnerable) to return to school on the 8thMarch. They have also encouraged school to apply Fixed Penalty Notices to families who do not return. With this in mind, we do expect to see all children at school on Monday 8th March. Children only get one chance at an education. Every extra week not at school increases the prospects of lifelong educational damage as well as missing on interacting with peers in the classroom. If you do have any concerns or worries with regard to your child returning to school, please contact your class teacher or the school office.

Remote Learning

Please be aware that ‘Remote Learning’ is still a possibility as when a child or family member has COVID 19, they will need to self-isolate for 10 days. This could also affect a whole bubble at school. So St. Joseph’s are aware of the need to continue to provide remote learning for these children. Please refer to the school’s remote learning plan for further details.

Morning Club and After School Club (ASC)

This week we will be sending out an investigative letter to find out the interest in both the Morning and After School Club for the four weeks leading up to Easter for those parents that require these services to support them to work outside of their home. Whilst we want to support parents working life, we need to balance this with the necessity for these clubs to be self-funding. Unfortunately, both our Morning and ASC club have cost the school nearly £20K to run during the past year and as the school funds are very tight the school cannot continue to fund these margins. We also want to follow Mr Johnson’s lead, by following a cautious and prudent approach to easing our school re-opening to maintain the safety of our pupils and staff. Once we have reviewed the replies, we will be able to plan a way forward for both clubs. We will inform you about the school’s course of action as soon as possible.

Drop off & Collection Times
Year GroupDrop off timeLocationCollection time
Reception &
Footsteps
9amGates next to Footsteps 3pm
Reception Year 8:50amGates next to Footsteps2:50pm
Years 1 & 2 8:45amY1: Single side gate next to Y3.
Parents to wait on playground.
Y2: Gates next to Footsteps.
Parents to wait in school car park
2:45pm
Year 38:30amY3: Single side gate next to Y3.
2:45pm
Year 4,5 and 68:30amY4: Single side gate next to Y3.
Parents to wait on playground.
Y5 &6: Gates next to Footsteps.
Parents to wait in school car park.
3:10pm

In the morning, the children can go straight into their classroom

Siblings: Parents should drop off and collect all their children at the same time – they should
drop off at the earliest time of sibling and collect at the latest time.

At the end of the day, all siblings will go to the school hall/playground (remain in class
bubbles) and will be collected from the hall/playground by sibling to then be dismissed by
older sibling’s class teacher from the gate/ collection point of the oldest child.

PLEASE
  • Please can only one parent enter the school site. Young children may accompany the parent.
  • Please follow the signposting and direction from school staff who will be stationed around
  • Please wait behind each other in a socially distanced line.
  • Please remember not to chat outside the gates.
  • Please do not allow your child/ren to run around the playground
  • Please do not allow your child/ren to play with other children from different bubbles.
  • Please do not remain on the school site for any longer than necessary.
  • Please can all parents exercise common sense and patience, and maintain social distance between themselves and others at all times.
Snacks

KS1 children receive fruit snacks for breaktime via the School Fruit & Vegetable Scheme.
KS2 – Please provide your child with additional fruit snacks for the morning break as lunch sessions are spread out and they may be hungrier than usual when they return…

Lunchtime arrangements

Caterlink (Bracknell Forest Schools Provider) will continue to provide hot packed lunch meals. Year R, 1 & 2 will start to use the school hall for their lunch with the tables and pupils maintaining the social distancing rules. Y3, 4, 5, & 6 will continue to eat in their classrooms and to use the food containers.

Curriculum

From the previous return to school, we realise that the children will need some time to acclimatise to school life – its routines and expectations. Research suggests that children will adjust quicker if school life returns to its normal routines. The week before the children return, the class teachers will be reviewing the timetable for the following week, so that the children will refamiliarize themselves with school routines.

We plan to continue with our specialist teaching (Computing, Spanish & PE) in small groups of 15.
However, all PE lessons will need to be held outside not in the school hall. If it is raining on a PE day, the PE lesson will not be taking place and may be held on another day. Please ensure that your child has a PE kit at school for the whole week.

The school has taken the decision to cancel all educational visit for this term and it is more than likely that this will continue into the summer term. Unfortunately, this will mean that there will be no swimming lessons for Y5 or Y6 in the summer term.

Equipment Needed

For individual and very frequently used equipment, children must have their own items that are not shared

  • labelled water bottle
  • tissues
  • coat, lunch
  • headphones/earphones
  • small transparent pencil case (3 pencils, eraser, sharpener, 3 whiteboard pens and cloth, colouring pencils, Y5 & Y6 will need an ink pen and protractor set).

We also ask that the children return all exercise books, reading books, laptops/school resources on loan on the 8th March. New reading books will be issued during the week of the 8th.

Wellbeing

St. Joseph’s are fully aware of the impact COVID 19 has had on our school community’s wellbeing. All staff are currently attending basic training in recognising, responding, and referring metal health issues in both children and adults. Along with this a ‘Well Being Group’ has been set up and led by Mrs. McLellan and Mrs. Philpott. Through this group we hope to identify what we do well and what we can do better to support our community. In the coming weeks, all school staff and children will respond to a questionnaire which will help us identify actions to further improve wellbeing at St. Joseph’s.

Other procedures

We will continue with the many other procedures that have become daily practice before the January lockdown i.e.:

  • Regular handwashing throughout the day.
  • Social distancing between bubbles.
  •  Clear signage around school site.
  • One-way systems in operation on school grounds.
  • Use of hand sanitisers installed throughout the building.
  • Staff room limited to a small number of adults at any one time.
  • Designated outdoor and indoor area to deal with the unlikely event of a Covid-19 emergency. Full access to PPE.
School Uniform

Children are to wear school uniform. The uniform policy is ‘relaxed’. With shops closed, some parents may have been unable to source items from the uniform policy. You have the option of wearing combinations of the all-year round and the summer uniform to give you more choices during the week. We ask that parents find similar items that suit the expectations of the uniform if they need to find alternatives.

Lateness

As always, we would ask that you make every effort to be punctual for school opening time. Please be aware that in order to maintain our bubbles, if you do arrive late, then a class bubble member will have to collect the child from the appropriate entrance gate as pupils cannot go through the school. Please report to school office who will inform the bubble of your late arrival.

Communicating with School Staff

Teachers are unable to hold face to face meetings. If you need to speak to a child’s teacher, then please arrange a TEAMS/telephone appointment. Please try not approach school staff directly on the school grounds with a query. We would also ask you to limit entering our school reception area. Instead, please contact us via email or telephone with any queries.

We look forward to seeing more friendly faces from Monday 8th as we begin rebuilding our outstanding St Joseph’s Family. Finally, each and every one of our families have all been amazing with your support and co-operation during this year of uncertainty for which we are all very grateful. Thank you.

God Bless and Stay Safe,
Mrs. J. Dunlop
Headteacher