Corona Virus Update - Letters and Information
Dear Parents and Carers,
As we reach the end of the first week of the school being closed to all those but key worker's children, I am sure you will agree it has been both a strange and rather long week! We have been blown away by the positive messages of support and thanks as well as compliments to the teachers and other staff members who have been updating the school website with work for the children. As the weeks move forward, I am sure that we will settle into more of a routine.
We have sent through some guidance and put this on the website under the ‘allparents’ section where the Year group tab is so please look at this to support the home learning. A couple of parents/carers have also asked for us to put daily timetables on the website but at this stage all we can do is ‘suggest’ to you what this could look like so teachers will be updating their web pages. Please do not email this in to the office but email the teachers directly: their email addresses are on the year group web pages.
Thank you to those of you who have been able to email in examples of your child’s learning from time to time – it is great for the teachers to see what the children have been up to.
Lastly, the teachers will not be putting any work on the website for the two week Easter holiday (6th – 17th April) but this will continue again from the week beginning 20th April. Please note, that from Monday 30th March, the office will only be manned sporadically so please only phone if your query is urgent. Office staff will still be answering emails but you may not get an immediate answer.
I hope you are all staying at home and keeping safe! Take care everyone.
25th March 2020
Key Workers - Please Download and fill out Key Worker Booking Form Below
Click HERE for Word Format
Click HERE for PDF Format
Dear Parent and Carers,
We hope everyone is ok on day three of staying at home! Things feel very strange here in school with a very small number of children and staff. We are also aware that you might like a bit of a guide around how to support your children with their learning at home so we have copied a factsheet below which you may find helpful. Routine is key for children (and many adults) so the information below may be of some help to you all.
We also want to reassure parents and carers at the moment that whilst we are all transitioning from one way of working to another, and in your cases suddenly being faced with your children and their learning, we want you all to pace yourselves. The information below is very helpful and frankly there is no right or wrong way to do this, especially whilst in the period of adjustment.
In the coming weeks, we will look at how children can start communicating with their teachers in other ways and also with each other. We are aware of how reliant everyone will be on tablets or laptops. If this is proving to be a real struggle, please contact the class teacher via email. We don’t have an immediate answer but will try and work with you on this.
We would like to take this opportunity to remind all parents and carers that where at all possible, whether one or both of you is a key worker, if you have childcare at home then your child should not be in school. This childcare in school is a last resort and should be adhered to please. We would also remind all parents and carers to ensure that the booking form is completed by Friday at midday each week. Please make sure that the two contacts that are put on the sheet are emergency contact should your child fall ill whilst they are in school or if indeed we have to close part of or all of the school in an emergency. We still have forms coming in with incorrect details. We reserve the right to not admit any child if this information along with FULL details of your key worker information is not provided to the school. We have to update the local authority and government every single day with detailed information. Thank you in advance for your support in this. We are being asked whether we will be open over Easter for key workers and whilst we are expecting to be open, that will depend on the wellness of staff etc. Please contact the school office if your work is critical over the Easter two week period which runs from Monday 6th April to Friday 17th April and you require childcare. Please fill in the key worker booking form. We are only expecting parents and carers who work for the NHS to be accessing this during the school holiday.
Lastly, thank you for the lovely messages, especially those to the children’s teachers and teaching assistants who are working hard both at home and in school to ensure the activities are there for your children to access. I am incredibly grateful to my amazing staff and governors for their support, ‘Dunkirk spirit’ and the love and care they are giving to children in school and all children who are accessing school learning remotely.
Take care and please STAY AT HOME. We will get through this together.
How to support home learning
Follow this guidance to create a positive learning environment at home
Be realistic about what you can do
- You're not expected to become teachersand your children aren't expected to learn as they do in school. Simply providing your children with some structure at home will help them to adapt. Use the tips below to help you make this work for your household
- Experimentin the first week, then take stock.What's working and what isn't? Ask your children, involve them too
- Share the load if there are 2 parents at home. Split the day into 2-3 hour slots and take turns so you can do your own work
- Take care of your own health and wellbeing. This will be new for your entire household, so give it time to settle. Take a look at the links at the end of this factsheet for some advice on mental health and wellbeing
Keep to a timetable wherever possible
- Create and stick to a routine if you can. This is what children are used to. For example, eat breakfast at the same time and make sure they're dressed before starting the ‘school’ day – avoid staying in pyjamas!
- Involve your children in setting the timetable where possible.It’s a great opportunity for them to manage their own time better and it’ll give them ownership
- Check in with your children and try to keep to the timetable, but be flexible. If a task/activity is going well or they want more time, let it extend where possible
- If you have more than 1 child at home, consider combining their timetables. For example, they might exercise and do maths together – see what works for your household
- Designate a working space if possible, and at the end of the day have a clear cut-off to signal school time is over
- Stick the timetable up on the wallso everyone knows what they should be doing when, and tick activities off throughout the day
- Distinguish between weekdays and weekends, to separate school life and home life
Make time for exercise and breaks throughout the day
- Start each morning with a PE lesson at 9am with Joe Wicks
- If you have a garden, use it regularly. If you don’t, try to get out once a day as permitted by the government (households can be together outdoors but 2 metres apart from others)
- Get your children to write in a diary what they did each day– this can be a clear sign that the ‘school’ day has ended
Other activities to keep children engaged throughout the day
- Where you have more freedom in the timetable, make time for other activities. Add some creative time or watch a dance video from Go Noodle to get the heart-rate going
- Get your children to write postcards to their grandparents or to pen pals
- Ask grandparents to listen to your children readon FaceTime (or ask grandparents to read to younger children)
- Give them choresto do so they feel more responsible about the daily routine at home
- Ask them to help you cookand bake
- Accept that they'll probably watch more TV/spend time on their phone – that's ok but you might want to set/agree some screen time limits
Examples of home-learning timetables
- Horniman Primary School in Lewisham created this timetable for its parents
- Five Minute Mumhas a timetable including lots of activities for younger children
If you need to contact the school
Please look at the school’s website. All home learning is on the Year Group pages.
Click onto the correct year group for your child and you will arrive on the learning webpages.
In the centre of the year group page is a green tab which says ‘Home Learning’. Click on this tab and all of the work and activities are available. In addition, we have today added a new tab which says ‘All parents’ and we have put general information about how to support your child’s home learning including this fact sheet.
The teachers’ emails are also on this page so you can contact them should you need to. Teachers would like feedback on the work – how is your child getting on.
20th March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
This is the last letter from me today! I would like to thank you all for your support during this very strange time. We appreciate all the offers of help should we need it regarding supporting the families of key workers. We will be in touch should this be the case but as you can imagine we need to minimise contact as much as possible. For children coming into school next week and beyond there is no expectation that they need to wear their uniform. The school will be open from 8.40am – 3.15pm. For those who usually access Early Morning Club, this will start at 8am. Children coming into school will initially go to their normal classroom and then we will be grouping children together depending on numbers.
Regarding the children’s work, this will be posted on the school website https://www.st-andrews.brighton-hove.sch.uk/ and the work is on the year group web pages. Select the year group you want and then click on the work at home button. Each week, work and tasks will be posted on there by class teachers. If you have any queries, please contact class teacher via their email address. These will be put on the year group web pages at some point next week. Please be aware that teachers will be back in touch when they are able to. Please email in any queries between 10am and 3pm. The teachers will get back to you in due course but again, this may not be the same day. If you do not receive a reply within a week of your email being sent, please contact the school office as it may be that member of staff is unable to work.
Finally, a few parents and carers have asked the school to provide mental health and well-being resources. On the front page of our website is a social story about the Corona virus as well as the Chill Squad audio which talks children (and adults) through breathing and calming techniques which we are very grateful to Dr Catherine Kelly to allow us to use. You can also access the Mind website - https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/ (probably better for older children) and Young Minds website - https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/talking-to-your-child-about-coronavirus/
I will be talking to teachers about updating their web pages too but please keep looking at the website under the relevant sections. Father Dan too will be looking to keeping in touch with the whole community so watch this space! Take care, look after yourselves and each other and we pray that everyone returns safely in the coming months.
March 20th : Key Worker and Free School Meals
Dear Parents and Carers,
I am just writing to ensure that you have all seen the updates from the government regarding parents
and carers who work as key workers. The full link to the government’s webpage is here:
The key information is as follows:
Schools are being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children - children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.
Vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.
Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined below. Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home and every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.
Please, therefore, follow these key principles:
- If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
- If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
- Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions
- Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
- Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.
If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision:
Health and social care
This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
Education and childcare
This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.
Key public services
This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.
Local and national government
This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.
Food and other necessary goods
This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).
Public safety and national security
This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.
This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
Utilities, communication and financial services
This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.
If workers think they fall within the critical categories above they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.
If you haven’t already let the school if you fall into any categories for key workers (as above) please could you do so as soon as possible but before the end of the school day as this will help with planning our staffing for Monday. Thank you.
We are very conscious of the fact that all of the above arrangements may still be rather ambigious. All I would urge is that you only send your children into school if required. Whilst the government guidelines are currently saying children with at least one parent or carer who are identified as critical workers can send their children to school if required, we would urge all parents and carers to only send children in if absolutely necessary. We thank you in advance for this.
Families in receipt of Free School Meals
We are aware that there has been some confusion about children who receive free school meals and whether the school will be providing vouchers or meals for all of these children. The government has provided a free meal to children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 for the last few years. This scheme is called Universal Free School Meals. This is not the same as families in receipt of free school meals. Below is the criteria:
A child may be eligible for free school meals (FSM) if their parents are in receipt of any of the following benefits:
Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
Child Tax Credit, provided the parents are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190
Working Tax Credit run-on, which is paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax credit
Universal Credit – for those applying on or after 1 April 2018, their household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits they get)
We already have a list of children who are in receipt of free school meals and as we currently understand this, vouchers will be distributed to buy food in supermarkets or local shops or where families are self-isolating, a packed lunch will be provided for by the school and delivered to the family home. Again, this is all very recent information and could be subject to change. Once again, another link to the government website. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/plans-set-out-to-support-pupils-eligible-for-free-school-meals
Finally, please can you inform the school today if your child will be in school on Monday and will require a school lunch so that we can let Caterlink know roughly how many lunches they will need to cook. There will be a meat option and a jacket potato on Monday following week 3 as normal.
Update on School Closure March 19th 2020 Social Distancing advice HERE
Dear Parents and Carers,
Since my letter which went out to you all yesterday afternoon, the government have now informed the public that schools will close from tomorrow, the last day being Friday 20th March. I understand that this is both confusing, distressing and most of all a difficult time for everyone concerned. We will endeavour to keep you as updated as we can and thank you for your patience at the moment with regard to the school not having all of the answers. In fact, yesterday’s announcement has arguably left everyone with more questions than answers. Hopefully in the coming days, the situation will become clearer. We have added a social distancing poster from the World Health Organisation issued in recent days which might help to answer a few questions but please keep an eye on the information being issued by the governments and the Public Health Organisation for the most up to date advice.
We would like to inform you that we will be opening the school as a provision for our families for children with EHCPs, those with attached social workers and the children of key workers as directed by the government yesterday. We can offer provision between 8.40am - 3.15pm.
At this stage, this is a temporary measure to support parents and carers for a week whilst our Hove Partnership of schools, decides how we move forward. Once we know the needs of the 13 Partnership schools, then decisions will be made regarding a longer-term solution. This might mean that children could be told to attend a different school but at this stage we have no further information until the local authority is able to give some guidance. To this end, we would ask that the Key Worker Questionnaire is returned as soon as possible please to give us an idea of whether your child fits into the categories above. The questionnaire requests completion and return by 5pm today but we realise that this may be too challenging for some families who work. Please accept our apologies of the timing but we would urge you to send this back to the school by tomorrow (Friday 20th March) at midday by the very latest. Thank you for your help with this. The link is:
We would politely request that parent/carers do not enter the building.
Early Morning club provision
We will be able to offer this for children who usually attend. This will be from 8am as usual.
After school provision
At the moment we are not able to offer child care provision from 3.15pm-6pm. We are in the process of looking into this and will keep you updated.
Pupils Work Packs
We will be sending out pupil packs for every child in school today. If your child is not in school today, the packs are available for collection outside the school office from 2pm tomorrow afternoon. Another collection opportunity for these packs will be on Monday 23rd March, again outside the main school office. If it rains, we will inform you of where they can be collected! I would like to thank my amazing staff team and volunteers who have helped facilitate this.
Lastly, we are so grateful once again to everyone who has emailed in with such positive comments, spoken to our staff on the school gates or to school office staff with overwhelming support for everything the school is doing to try and continue to provide the very best education as we can whilst your child is not in school. None of us has any idea how long we will be closed to the majority of children for but we will be thinking and praying for everyone’s safe return once we do come back to school in the full sense of the word. It is our intention to continue to provide regular updates in the coming weeks and we aim to send out a monthly bulletin, assuming our staffing levels remain ok.
Wednesday 18th March
Preparations for School Closure 18th March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
Please accept my apologies for yet another letter but in these very unusual times and
circumstances it is crucial that we are keeping you up to date with this extraordinarily dynamic
In the coming days or weeks, we expect that the government will direct schools to close due
to the rapidly changing nature of the Coronavirus or Covid-19 as some news reports refer to
the disease. Ultimately, our responsibility is to keep everyone safe but at the same time to
keep the school open as long as we are told to. There may be, on occasion, an error in advice
that we send out and we apologise if this is the case. We are aware that yesterday’s email
was incorrect about symptoms. To clarify, even if a child is well, if another member of the
household is exhibiting symptoms then the child should also be off for 14 days.
To that end staff are working extremely hard to ensure that the school website is being
prepared to able to deliver learning opportunities for children to do at home. At this stage,
we have no idea when or for how long the school may be closed so we are preparing for the
unknown to an extent. What we do know is that as a school our primary function is to ensure
that we provide learning opportunities for the children. In an attachment with this letter there
are a few questions that we would be very grateful if you could answer which will help us
establish what your child will have access to at home in order that they can still be learning.
Please send this mini questionnaire back Friday 20th March with your child who can pass it
back to their teacher. We will send a paper copy of this questionnaire out tomorrow with your
child but have attached it with this letter for your convenience. If your child is self-isolating at
home or not in for other illness reasons, please email back to the school office stating your
child’s name and class clearly on the form.
The remote learning activities and lessons will be accessed via our school website
https://www.st-andrews.brighton-hove.sch.uk/ which will help you support your child with
their education whilst at home. These will be available on the Year Group tab on the home
page from this coming Friday 20th March.
The website will also have information as stated in yesterday’s email under the Corona virus
button on the homepage as well as some resources under the Well Being box on the main
front page. I am very grateful to Dr Catherine Kelly for providing the additional audio resource
to manage children’s stress.
We have all been so appreciative of your kind emails and words regarding managing this
unusual situation. If we could please request that you check your emails regularly and the
school website for updated information and politely request that you only contact the school
office by telephone or email if absolutely necessary. Please though do continue to report your
child’s absence via the usual means. Please also note that if your child is off for 14 days, you
only report this on day 1; there is no requirement to telephone every day. In addition, please
be aware that due to the very high volume of emails and telephone calls we are unable to
respond to individual emails to the office regarding access to the school website and school
work. As I said earlier, the work will be on the website by this Friday 20th March.
Regarding the Year 3 school trip to Fishbourne Roman Palace and the Reception trip to
Washbrooks Fram, these have been cancelled. A decision will be taken after the Easter holiday
about whether the Year 6 French trip, due at the end of June, will go ahead and we will contact
Year 6 parents and carers once this decision has been made in April.
The upcoming Year 3 and Year 4 show due to be performed in two weeks’ time has been
postponed. We will aim to reschedule the show once we know when the school will reopen.
Please also note, that regrettably we will not now have the Think Tank meeting on Friday 20th
March and again we will reschedule this during the summer term. I do apologise again for
I will endeavour to let you know about the school closure as soon as we are given notice or in
the event that we cannot staff the school safely. Thank you for your continued support and
Wednesday 18th March
Please follow the link below for a Social Story on the virus for Children from Brighton & Hove Inclusion Support Service
Friday 13thMarch 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
RE: Coronavirus (Covid-19)
I would like to tell you about the plans we have in place in our school to keep our community safe and to continue your child’s education during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The government has moved the country into what they have called the ‘delay phase’.
At present schools are advised to stay open. This is what we shall be doing for now.
At the same time, we are preparing in case the situation changes again and we have to close or partially close our school.
Key advice for parents
Children should not come into school if they are unwell.
Please stay at home for seven daysif you have either:
a high temperature, or
a new continuous cough
This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious.
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital with mild symptoms.
You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.
The NHS will not be testing people who are self-isolating with mild symptoms.
Report your child’s absence to the school in the usual way.
Please follow this link for advice regarding self-isolation:
What we are doing as a school
We have spoken to all the children and explained how to stay safe and how to have the best chance of avoiding catching or spreading the virus. This involves regular handwashing and use of antibacterial gel that is available in every classroom.
We have also told the children to avoid touching their faces, bannisters and doors wherever possible. In school, we are ensuring that children are washing their hands as often as possible and reminding them to wash their hands before eating snacks and/or lunch. We have hand sanitiser in each room and around the school that children and adults can use and are encouraged to use.
We are reminding children in assemblies about handwashing following government guidelines. The school has planned a ‘deep clean’ in the Easter holidays and the cleaning staff are ensuring that door handles, tables, chairs, and computing equipment are cleaned at the end of each day. In addition, from next week we will be limiting the times when large groups of children will gather together and this means that we will not be running assemblies in the same way but they will take place in the classrooms instead.
School Trips, Sports Fixtures and School Performances
The government has advised schools to cancel overseas trips. We are looking into how this will affect the Year 6 trip to France in June/July and will have more information shortly or details of any cancellations. We will continue to look closely at the situation regarding other planned trips as we are aware that EYFS and Year 3 have planned trips and will make decisions about these trips following the DfE guidance next week.
From next week, we shall also be looking at whether sporting fixtures can go ahead but again, we will keep you informed. The same can be said of the upcoming Years 3 and 4 performances scheduled in two weeks’ time. We realise that there is a significant chance of some of these activities/performances will not be able to take place at the planned time but will do all we can to ensure that they are rescheduled at some stage. However, due to the changing nature of this situation, I am sure you can understand our chief concern is to keep everyone safe but we also understand this will be incredibly disappointing particularly for the children.
Further communication with parents and carers
We will continue to communicate with parents and carers via email as and when information and guidance changes. Please ensure that you check your emails on a regular basis. We will also be putting the information onto the website.
We continue to work closely with Brighton & Hove City Council, Public Health England and the Department for Education. We will keep you informed of updates.
We are also attaching with this letter, some advice from the World Health Organisation about supporting children who may be experiencing anxiety around the coronavirus.
Your child’s education
If we reach a time when we have to close the school or part of the school, this will not be a holiday for pupils. We are committed to continuing your child’s education and are looking at the best ways to do this outside the school setting. We are planning to upload tasks for the children to do on a daily basis, onto the year group pages on the school website and will send further information regarding this in due course.
This is an unusual situation and we will do all we can to keep you informed as the situation develops.
Thank you for helping us look after everyone in the school community and for understanding the unique challenges we are facing.
11th March 2020
"At the time of writing we do not know with any certainty what will happen at St Andrew's as a result of the Coronavirus (Covid-19). What we can try to do is plan for all eventualities. At all times we will be following the advice of Public Health England, The Department for Education and Brighton and Hove City Council. Please understand that in such a live, evolving and challenging situation, the school has limited ability to respond to questions about individual circumstances and this update is intended to help answer questions you may have.
We will use all channels of communication to provide further updates if and when necessary. "
Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice
As of 10 March, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated advice about travel to Italy.
The FCO is currently advising:
- against all but essential travel to Italy
- against all travel to Hubei Province, in China
- against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China
- against all travel to the cities of Daegu, Cheongdo and Gyeongsan in South Korea
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is not currently advising against travel to any other country/territory as a result of COVID-19.
The latest travel advice can be found here:
Updated advice for travellers returning from Italy
On 10 March, Public Health England updated its travel advice for travellers returning from Italy.
The advice can be found here:
Further information on what you should do if you are asked to self-isolate can be found here:
The importance of hygiene
Personal hygiene is the most important way we can tackle COVID-19, especially washing hands more; and the catch it, bin it, kill it strategy for those with coughs and sneezes.
How to wash your hands properly
Wash your hands more often for 20 seconds with soap and hot water.
Watch this short NHS film for guidance: https://youtu.be/bQCP7waTRWU
Teach young children how to wash their hands with the NHS handwashing song:
Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.
The e-Bug project is led by Public Health England and has a dedicated webpage for learning resources on hand washing and respiratory hygiene.
Resources are currently available for KS1, KS2 and KS3 and can be used in various settings including schools: