Corona Virus Update - Letters and Information
June 10th 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
I am very pleased to be able to inform you that the council have advised schools across Brighton and Hove that the Director of Public Health has stated that it is safe for schools to open from Monday 15th June.
We are absolutely delighted by this decision and look forward to welcoming back children in Year 6 on Monday 15th June, half of our Year 1 children on Tuesday 16th June and half of Reception children on Wednesday 17th June.
We will be writing to each of the bubbles either later on today or by tomorrow at the latest with the information you will need regarding timings, groupings, teachers and staff in each of the bubbles and any further information. Please be aware that a significant amount of planning has gone into organising the bubbles so these are fixed and cannot be changed.
This will also inform you of the days that your child will need to wear their PE kit to school rather than their school uniform. When your child is timetabled for PE, we will ask the children to come to school in their PE kit and not in school uniform to reduce the number of clothes and bags we have on the school site. On all other days, we expect them to be in school uniform.
I have been asked to clarify the reasons we are expecting children to wear their uniform back to school. Schools are returning from Monday albeit it rather differently to before. However, our school uniform is part of our school identity; it evokes some sense of normality in a very unique situation which provides security and familiarity for the children. In addition to this, as we will now be having staggered start times, through more entrances than usual, for safeguarding reasons we require all children attending school to be in uniform. The staff, governors and I believe that the uniform brings about a sense of belonging and signifies that the children are back in school. I am aware that it may be hard for those children not returning to see a sibling dressing for school but I have also been told by several families that during school hours, their children have put their uniform on whilst doing their home learning.
On the subject of schools not opening further for children in Years 2, 3 , 4 and 5, we are still committed to working out how, in the last week of this summer term after Year 6 have left, we enable those children to return to school in some capacity, even if just for a few hours, to see their current teacher/teachers and also to meet their new teacher for the following year. As you may appreciate, this will be a huge challenge but after the announcement from the government yesterday stating that not all children will be coming back this term, we feel it is important that we do our very best to try to facilitate this as we had mentioned a few weeks ago.
As our school opens in a wider capacity from Monday 15th June, I would urge all parents/carers and their children to observe physical distancing, as it has been reported to the school office on several occasions in the last few days that this is not happening. Please when dropping off or collecting your child from school, do so as quickly and safely as possible, observing the 2 metre rule at all times. We have done our best to ensure that there are many entrances and exits used. We also urge parents NOT to drop your child in the surrounding roads if at all possible but to park in Tesco car park. This way, there will be far fewer bottlenecks, no illegal parking/stopping and everyone will be safer. Once you receive the information as to which gate you will need to drop/collect your child from, please also consider whether the small path from Tesco into Belfast Street is the best way to come in. You may wish to park on the Haddington Street side of Tesco carpark as this is less congested. I appreciate you helping us out with this!
Lastly, but very importantly, I wanted to acknowledge the recent horrific murder of George Floyd and his very public death. This has left many in our community feeling outraged and desperately sad but also raises the Black Lives Matter agenda to the fore. As a Christian school, we have a duty of care to ensure that the BLM agenda is talked about and discussed with our children. Mr Buchanan has uploaded a powerpoint earlier in the week for the older children in the school to discuss in their zoom calls if they wish, or sending through their thoughts in any way they wish to express themselves. CBBC and newsround have also posted some really helpful videos to help children understand what is happening in the world at the moment as a result of the feeling across the world about what happened to George Floyd https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/5297834. Our Christian value this term is ‘Justice’ and as Father Dan has said, we want children to understand why it is such a big thing and why justice is so important. In our school we celebrate and welcome diversity and feel as a community too that the BLM agenda is very much one that we support.
Please look after yourselves, stay safe and we look forward to seeing you all very soon.
Mrs S Thomas
Dear Parents and Carers,
We are writing to you following the latest letter to schools and parents/carers from the local authority advising that schools and nurseries remain closed for EYFS, Year 1 and Year 6 for next week. We know how many of you are keen to send your children back into school but at this stage, we can only apologise for any inconvenience and upset that this causes to you as parents and carers and very importantly to the children themselves.
As staff and governors, we are very keen to open as soon as we possibly can: we are ready to welcome children back and have done considerable planning for this to ensure the site is safe for staff and children. We have undertaken extensive and thorough risk assessments but this decision has been formed by council advice and at this stage, the governors and I do not feel we are in a position to open without clear support from the local authority and council.
I attach a copy of the letter to parents/carers from the council.
In the meantime, the school remains open next week only for key worker’s children as has been the case over the last eleven weeks. Once again, please accept our sincere apologies.
Mrs S Thomas
Dear Parents and Carers,
Firstly I would like to thank you all for your continued support during this time and for your patience while we have sought to ensure we have a robust strategy in place to reopen St. Andrew’s in the most safe and effective manner possible. As you can imagine, this has been an extremely difficult task as we have endeavoured to implement the advice of the government’s scientific and medical advisors, whilst considering the effects that these measures may have on the social and emotional well-being of our children. We have followed the advice of the Department for Education and the Local Authority and have consulted with governors and staff to reach decisions and to keep risk to an absolute minimum for the whole school community. The School Governing Body and Senior Leadership Team have agreed a comprehensive Risk Assessment and believe the controls that it contains minimise risk to children and staff. This will be subject to ongoing review and whilst we are as confident as we can be about the measures put in place there may be need to introduce changes if circumstances require.
Attached with this letter is guidance outlining the arrangements for your child’s specific year group.
In terms of guaranteeing the safety of our children, the bottom line is that we have been told that, if we can follow the advice being given to us, the risk to the children, their families and staff is low. This low risk needs to be balanced against the potential emotional, social and academic risks associated with children missing school. Ultimately the decision to send children back to school will lie with parents and carers. The government has stated that no fines will be issued to parents/carers who choose to keep their children at home and therefore it is for you to decide what is best once you have read this information describing what the ‘new normal’ will look like. The purpose of this letter is therefore to outline the protocols that will be in place. At this stage I would like to emphasise that we in no way want to dissuade children from returning, but it is important there is clarity of understanding regarding the environment into which they will return.
The most important thing for you to know is that school will be a very different experience for your child. They will not be with the whole of their normal class; depending on the year group they will be with a third or half of their class. Furthermore, they are unlikely to be taught by their class teacher and they may not be in their usual classroom. The list of protocols will come across as being somewhat regimented and whilst it is true that the children will be more controlled within a different environment, they will still have the chance to enjoy the company of some of their friends and to experience being back within the school setting.
In keeping with the government’s proposals, we made the decision to begin our daily phased re-opening on Monday 8th June with Year 6 children only.
Each class in Reception and Year 1 will be split into two groups, with each half attending on alternate weeks. The first half of Year 1 will return on Tuesday, 9th June, before the first half of Reception resume the following day, Wednesday, 10th June. The other half of each of these year groups will return on Monday, 15th June. The group to which your child is allocated will be provided as soon as we receive a better understanding of numbers.
As agreed with the Hove School Partnership, the school week will end at lunch time on a Friday, in order for the site to be fully deep-cleaned. You will therefore be allocated a specific time slot to collect your child on Friday lunchtime to avoid too many parents gathering at the same time.
Provision for Children of Key Workers
The week beginning June 1st, the children of key workers will continue to have the same provision that has been in place for the past ten weeks. From June 8th, we will be assuming that children of key workers who are in Reception, Year 1 or Year 6 will be joining their class’s ‘bubble’. For those in Reception and Year 1, these bubbles with their year groups will be on a two weekly cycle as stated above. If you require your child to attend the following week in a key worker bubble, please do inform the school. Provision will continue for children of Key Workers in Years 2, 3, 4 and 5 from the week beginning June 8th.
Please note, if your child is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 6 and has been part of the key worker groups, you may choose whether they continue in this group or go into a class bubble. If your child is in a class bubble they will have to be collected on Friday lunchtimes at the time allocated to that bubble. Only key worker bubbles will be allowed to stay on the premises until the end of normal school time on Fridays. Children may not swap between key worker and class bubbles at any stage during the week, to minimise the risk of transmission.
Children in Years 2, 3, 4 and 5
As you know, the government announced that it would like all children to be back in school before the summer. As part of the risk assessment, SLT measured all available rooms to ascertain how many children could be accommodated working within the 2 metre social distancing guideline. The maximum number of children who could be in school at any one time is 211. To safely welcome back the Reception, Year 1, Year 6 and Key Worker classes, we will need to use all available classrooms in the school. Consequently, it will simply not be possible to have Years 2, 3, 4 and 5 back while ensuring provision for the three year groups prioritised by the government.
With this in mind, we are planning to use the last week of term (beginning Monday 13th July) to provide an opportunity for all classes from Reception to Year 5 to spend time with their current class teacher and to meet their new teacher. We have no idea how this will work at present but are committed to making it happen.
In the meantime, home learning will continue to be provided for all children who do not attend school. For Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 this will reflect what children in school are being taught. For Years 2, 3, 4 and 5, Mr Jamieson and Mrs Griffin are going to oversee the home learning for children as their regular teachers will be teaching full time in school.
More information will be sent out to Years 2-5 about how this home learning will look, but it will aim to be creative, cross curricular, inventive and fun as we are aware many children are very understandably finding it difficult to maintain motivation with regular learning.
Year 6 Transition
Year 6 children who will be moving on to secondary school will therefore finish school on Friday 10th July. We are currently liaising with secondary schools to ensure that transition arrangements, albeit remotely, will be in place to enable our lovely children to start their secondary school careers confidently.
What to do next
Please read the relevant information for your child’s year group and complete the reply slip below, indicating whether or not you intend for your child to return to school. We completely understand there may be some uncertainty in making this decision, but we have to finalise arrangements for reopening the school and this necessitates a better understanding of the numbers of children who will be returning. We very much appreciate your help with this matter. The deadline for confirming a place is Monday 1st June at 12.00.
Thank you for your continued support and understanding.
Name of child: __________________________________ Class: ___________
Please tick one of the below:
|I intend for my child to return to school|
I DO NOT intend for my child to return to school
|I DO NOT intend for my child to return to school|
Signed: _________________________________________ Date: _______________
Dear Parents and Carers,
I am writing to keep you all in the loop with regard to the school re-opening to Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. I will be meeting with governors next week to finalise arrangements to enabling Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to come back to school from the week beginning 8th June. All schools within the Hove partnership have released the attached statement. I apologise that we are still not yet able to confirm these arrangements with you but will endeavour to do so after the governors meeting next Wednesday 27th May.
In the meantime, we hope you all remain safe and healthy and enjoy a break next week.
Dear parents and carers,
Thank you for your understanding in the current situation. I wanted to update you as to our current position at St. Andrew’s and to reassure you that we are working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the safety of everyone in our school community, today and moving forwards.
As you are no doubt aware, the debate around the safety of schools re-opening continues, leaving most feeling confused and unsettled. The Department for Education have stated the following:
The transmission rate of coronavirus (COVID-19) has decreased and testing capacity has increased in preparation for the rollout of contact tracing. We anticipate that by the week commencing 1 June a greater number of children can return to education and childcare settings, provided that the five key tests set by government justify the changes at the time, including that the rate of infection is decreasing. As a result, we are asking schools and childcare to plan on this basis.
However, the Unions’ (NEU, GMB, Unison and Unite) position is clear:
‘While we know that children generally have mild symptoms, we do not know enough about whether they can transmit the disease to adults so do not think that Government should be posing this level of risk to our society.’
Together with the Senior Leadership Team and Governing Body, I am currently completing a detailed risk assessment to ascertain the feasibility, practicality and most importantly, safety of implementing the Government’s proposal to open school to Reception, Y1 and Y6 from 1st June.
There is a great deal to consider and both the DfE and the Unions have produced extensive checklists for schools to work through. Only when we are certain that we have thoroughly considered the following, will we be in an informed position to communicate what the ‘new normal’ will look like at St. Andrew’s.
- How many children will attend in each year group
- How many small class groups will be required
- How social distancing will be achieved – classroom, playground, corridors etc
- Which classrooms can accommodate 15 children at a 2m distance
- What PPE will be required for staff working with children requiring intimate care
- The frequent cleaning and hygiene arrangements that will need to be in place
- How movement around school will happen in a manner that reduces contact
- Whether staffing levels will be safe (several members of staff fall into vulnerable categories)
- How the needs of children with SEND will be catered for
- How the ‘new normal’ impacts on children’s mental health and well-being
What is becoming more apparent as we discuss the issues with other schools, is that no two schools are going to offer the same provision. For example, an Infant school with only children in Reception, Y1 and Y2, and therefore a lack of available classrooms to accommodate small groups, will look very different to a junior school (Y3, 4, 5 and 6) who will have a range of spaces available for just Y6 pupils.
We are therefore devising a package that works for our school. This will of course be based on the needs of our children but also determined by the physical layout of the building. I would like to reiterate that we would like nothing more than to see our children return to school and will do everything we can to make this happen without rushing into anything that threatens their safety, or that of our staff. Whilst we would like to accommodate all three year groups, it could be the case that initially we would only be able to welcome back one or two, dependent on risk.
We will, of course, continue to teach the children of critical workers and vulnerable groups, as has been the case since school closed in March.
As soon as we are able to confidently ensure that this provision is safe, we will communicate our bespoke plans to you as parents and carers. We envisage this to be by the end of this week.
Next week is ‘half term’. There will be no home learning set by teachers during this week. However, from 1st June home learning tasks will continue to be published on the school website for any children not in school.
Thank you again for your patience and continued support.
18th May 2020
Executive Director for Families, Children &
Hove Town Hall,
18th May 2020
All Parents and Carers
Brighton & Hove.
Dear Parents and Carers
We understand this is a worrying time and that many of you are facing pressures at home and work since the government introduced restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID 19.
Thank you for all you are doing to support your child’s learning under such unusual circumstances.
While a small number of pupils have been in schools and early years settings throughout the pandemic, the vast majority have been at home.
Recently the government announcement that schools and early years settings (including nurseries and childminders) should begin to plan for a possible reopening to more children in certain year groups from the 1st June.
The Council’s advice is that education provision in Brighton & Hove, should only reopen to more children when education leaders are confident that it is safe for the children and the staff. This may not fit with the expectations or timescales outlined by the government.
The timing of reopening schools to more pupils is an issue we take very seriously. We have been working closely with our head teachers, the wider Brighton and Hove Education Partnership and the unions to consider the government’s announcement and the implications for our city. We are also working with our early years providers to help them make the best decision for their setting.
We are determined to do the right thing for our children and families in Brighton & Hove and our priority has to be the safety of children, school staff and the wider community.
We want the city’s children to return to school and early years settings but only when it is safe to do so. The named year groups where more pupils are being encouraged to attend are nursery, reception, Year 1 and Year 6. Pupils in Year 10 and Year 12 are also expected to have face to face contact with teaching staff to progress their learning during the remainder of the term.
Telephone: 01273 290000
Executive Director for Families, Children &
Hove Town Hall,
We will continue to prioritise support and provision for key workers’ and the most vulnerable children. Any plans to increase the numbers of children in our schools and settings this term will need to take the number of these children into account.
The recent announcements have raised many questions and concerns for schools, education providers and families. We are working with our head teachers, governors and early years providers to resolve these concerns. For example, establishing safe numbers, confirming safe practical arrangements and agreeing timescales for more children to safely return.
This situation is different for each early years provider and school because buildings and availability of staff varies from setting to setting. Schools and providers are currently carrying out the risk assessments needed to put safe practices in place. At the council, we are working to support this important work.
We have asked schools and providers to keep you informed directly of their planning and any developments. Hopefully this will make you as parents and carers feel more assured that planning for safe practices are being put in place.
We appreciate the many different views about what should happen. However, I’m sure we are all agreed that safety must be central to any plans that each school and setting makes.
We are concerned about the educational experiences our children have missed and the impact on some children’s emotional health and wellbeing of not being at school. We are also concerned about the number of disadvantaged children who may well have fallen behind. But it’s really important that we get this right and that children, school staff and the wider community are kept safe.
We hope you will understand why we have taken this approach. Your school or early years setting and its leaders are doing all they can to make safe decisions.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Councillor John Allcock,
Interim Executive Director,
Chair of Children, Young People &
Families, Children & Learning.
Telephone: 01273 290000
Dear Parents and carers,
Following the announcements by the Prime Minister this week, I’m sure you have many questions and concerns about what the next few months will look like for your children.
As you know, it is intended for school to begin a phased re-opening from 1st June, starting with children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. This is part of the government’s conditional plan which it says will be under constant review.
Every member of staff wants nothing more than for the children to be in school, learning, socialising and enjoying life. We have all missed our St.Andrew’s ’family’ immensely and recognise that seven weeks of lockdown will have had an impact on children emotionally, socially and academically. It is essential however that any plan to increase the number of pupils must be manageable, realistic and most importantly, safe. My priority as headteacher is the safety of everyone in the school community.
Together with the Senior Leadership Team and Governing Body, I am currently devising a plan of action for a phased re-opening, based on new guidelines published yesterday by the Department for Education. As you will appreciate, there are many aspects to consider before any decisions are made and we are seeking further information and guidance from a number of sources, including the Local Authority and the teaching unions.
The potential number of children in ‘classes’, which classrooms will be used and what systems will need to be in place to ensure that the risk of transmission of the virus is minimised, are just a few of the many logistical issues that need careful consideration. I also need to plan for staff who fall into vulnerable categories, or live with someone who is shielding. These teachers will obviously be unable to return to school.
If you are a parent of a child in Reception, Year 1 or Year 6, it would help us with our planning if you could indicate whether you intend for your child to come into school on 1st June (following detailed information from us), or whether you intend to keep them at home. We realise that for many children in these year groups, the new proposals would result in siblings remaining at home possibly causing other issues, that you as families will need to consider.
Please email the school office (firstname.lastname@example.org) stating clearly:
- You child(ren)’s name(s) and class(es)
- Your name
- Whether or not you intend to send your child(ren) to school
As soon as I am in a position to provide you with the answers to all the questions you are no doubt asking, I will do so. For the time being, nothing has changed. School remains closed to all children, except those of essential critical workers and those in vulnerable groups. Home learning will continue to be published on the school website and teachers will be in touch with their classes through Zoom.
Thank you so much for your patience during this unsettling time. Staff have been overwhelmed by the positivity and enthusiasm of the children, albeit remotely! They are truly remarkable and we miss them a great deal.
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