Friday 26th June – Mrs Hewitt’s Return to School Video:
Further Update 22nd June 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
As you can see from the letter from the Director of Education, Nick Williams, it has now been decided that Swansea schools will finish on Friday 17th July, rather than opening for 4 weeks as planned.
I am unclear about the reasons for this as all our staff, including cleaners, were ready and willing to work an additional week up until 24th July. I am sorry about this further change of plan but it appears that things have been taken out of our hands.
We have thought long and hard about how we can make the best of this for our families as we know that, since being given your child’s dates for return to school, you have been making arrangements for bringing them in. We have had to consider the needs of over 200 children, some with health care needs, and lots of uncertainty about which families intend to send their children in. If we had known what we know now we might have arranged things differently! May I assure you that we acted in good faith in giving you these dates, based on information which we thought was final.
Rather than rearranging visit dates completely we have decided to stay with the first two dates we have given you so that you don’t have too much rearranging to do. We will bring forward the additional whole class date for Year 6 to Thursday 16th July, following their transition visits to Penyrheol. We think this final farewell to Year 6 is important.
You may be wondering if it’s worth sending your children in for just two days but we do think it is! We will ensure these days are a positive experience for your children and will make sure they have some transition experience in readiness for their new classes in September. We would like to see as many of our lovely children as possible before the summer break and hope to fill them with optimism about the year ahead!
I understand that Childcare for Key workers will continue to be provided by the Local Authority and I will update you on this as soon as I know more.
This has been a difficult time for everyone in our school community and I am full of admiration for the way our children and their families, and our staff, have adapted to unprecedented circumstances. Let’s hope September brings some kind of normality for all of us.
I will stay in touch with you over the summer and will continue to update you on plans for September. Thank you for your understanding and patience.
C M Hewitt
I am writing to you to give you further information on our school reopening from 29th June. We have listened to your comments and concerns and I hope we can provide some further clarity and reassurance. We had an excellent governors’ meeting last week and your parent governors represented you very well!
Which gate shall I bring my children in through?
You can bring your children in through either the main front gate, the or the St David’s Close gate. There will be a one way system in place so that you can leave the infant yard through the large gates or the field gates. Would parents with just junior children please enter through the main gates.
Reception, Year 1 and Year 2
Enter through the main front gate and leave through the yard double gates
Enter through St David’s Close gate and leave through the side field gate
Year 3 – 6 and all STF children
Children (without parents, if possible)
Enter through main gates and hand your child over to a member of staff who will direct them to the junior yard to wait
Children with parents
Enter through main gates, bring children into junior yard, leave through junior yard gate
There will be clear directional arrows to help you so don’t worry about this. It’s not as confusing as it sounds!!
A member of staff will be near the gate to welcome you and your child and to monitor social distancing. They will also ask you to confirm that your child does not have COVID 19 symptoms and that no one in your family is self-isolating due to symptoms or a confirmed case.
Where does my child wait to enter the school building?
There will be markings on the infant yard to show where each family should wait before children are invited into school. In the junior yard children will be spread out around the new 100m track with no more than 3 children per 10m section. Staff will be available to show children what to do.
Please arrive with your child only at the time you have been given as this staggered start is an important part of social distancing. If you have two children starting at different times you may need to wait in your car or in the designated place in the yard. If this is causing you difficulties staff will be on hand to help you out.
If you arrive at the times you have been given and not too much before there will be very little waiting and your child will be taken into school pretty quickly. This is especially important if it is raining so we can take children straight into class without delay.
Can parents come on to the premises?
We know that parents of infant children will want to bring their children into the yard and this is fine as long as you stay with your child at all times. We would rather junior children were dropped off at the main gate, to avoid congestion in the yards. We will of course be sensitive about this if for any reason children are anxious. Please ensure you have spoken to a member of staff at the gate to confirm your child and your family are well.
Please arrive to collect your children only at the time you have been given and wait on one of the markers on the infant yard.
Older children who normally walk home unaccompanied will be allowed to do so and will be monitored as they leave the yard through the junior side gate. It is up to you to decide whether your child can be relied upon to socially distance on their walk home. If you need to collect your child from the junior yard after collecting your younger child please follow the one way system (which may take you on a bit of a roundabout route!) and wait for your child on one of the markers on the daily k track. If both your children are in the same phase please either wait in your car or on a marked out spot in the yard.
What if I need to bring siblings with me and it’s not their day to come into school?
You can of course bring in siblings as long as they stay with you the whole time. Staff will give them a nice welcome too so that they will feel confident about looking forward to their days in school!
Will there be Breakfast Club and Kids’ Club?
I’m sorry but breakfast club and after school clubs will not be open in Swansea schools.
How will social distancing be maintained?
Classrooms have been cleared of excess furniture so that there is lots of space for the children to spread out and to sit 2m apart from each other. They will not be ‘boxed in’ to an area the whole time but they will each have their individual learning bases with all the resources they need. We have allowed 3 square metres for each child, more for younger children and STF children.
There is a one-way system in corridors and visits to the toilets will be monitored to ensure there are never more than 3 children using these areas at the same time.
Lots of time will be spent outside as this is good for your child’s health and well-being and we have plenty of space to spread children out.
What will happen if a child doesn’t comply with social distancing?
We will tell you if your child is struggling with social distancing. In extreme cases we may need to contact you and ask you to take your child home.
How will we monitor strict hand cleanliness?
On their first day back in school your child’s class teacher will show your children how to wash hands correctly and thoroughly. This will be supervised as much as possible throughout the day, particularly with younger children.
There is plenty of anti-bacterial hand soap available in toilets and in classrooms.
As the children enter the building they will use hand sanitiser. Once children are in the building and have deposited their coats and bags they will each be sent to wash their hands, maintaining social distancing all the time.
Does my child need to wear school uniform?
Yes we would rather your child wore school uniform as this will help to make school feel more ‘normal’ and to make children feel part of a community of equals. They should wear clean uniform each time they attend school. However, if your child has grown out of their uniform and you’re not ready to buy a new one they can attend in ordinary clothes such as leggings and a tee-shirt or jumper. Most importantly your child needs to wear footwear which they can run around in as there will be plenty of outdoor activities and we won’t be getting the children changed for these.
Why are children only having three days in school?
As we know from your comments that many of you are anxious about the safety of your children returning to school so soon, we are minimising the number of children and staff in school, so we are only bringing in half the classes and half the staff in any one day. Each class will only have a third of the children in at the most. This way we can give your children lots of attention and we can keep them in their groups without mixing with other groups throughout the day.
While we have a large site and plenty of space there are some areas such as cloakrooms and toilet areas which are normally shared between classes and we want to avoid congestion in these areas until we have worked out good systems to manage this. This cautious approach will enable us to evaluate how we can keep children as safe as possible when we return to school properly in the Autumn Term.
Is it worth it, just for three days?
Yes definitely! When school closed back in March there was a lot of anxiety about the spread of coronavirus and children need that reassurance that school is a safe and happy place for them. We feel it is important for children to see their lovely familiar class teachers again, to say goodbye to them properly and to visit their new classes in readiness for September.
We also want to say a massive well done to all those children who have done lots of home learning during closure! This is also an opportunity for us to support those children who have struggled with home learning and to help them with this so they can catch up.
Why are my children in on different days?
As we are only opening half the school at once it has proved impossible to have all siblings in on the same days. We looked at all the different combinations of classes and the combination we have come up with keeps as many siblings together as possible.
We do respect working parents and the difficulties this may have caused and can only apologise for having prioritised safety over convenience. In the longer term, if we need to continue with a phased reopening, we will commit to having siblings in school on the same day.
What will happen in September?
We really don’t know! We desperately hope that school will be something like ‘normal’ but it is impossible to say. Our aim will be to have fully evaluated safety systems in place, as many children as possible in each day and siblings together. We will be reviewing this throughout the summer and will keep you informed.
Will the Year 5 and 6 Residential go ahead?
No, not in October. We have listened to your views and concerns and decided to cancel the planned residential. You will receive a refund of any money you have paid. I’m sure you will agree that a residential is an important event in primary school and we will now look at possibilities of dates and venues for later in the school year. We will keep your informed about what has been decided.
Will my child have any transition to their next class and how will I know who my child’s next teacher is?
Yes. On their final visit to school this term your child will visit their new classroom and their new teacher will meet them if they are in school or send them a welcoming video message! You will receive all the information you need about your child’s new class and hopefully there will be a meeting with your child’s new teacher early in September.
All teachers will be staying in their current classes so you can probably work out who their next teacher will be! You will be informed officially about this quite soon.
Year 6 will soon receive an invitation to visit Penyrheol Comprehensive school for a short visit on either 13th 14th or 15th July. You need to let us know if you DO NOT want your children to have this visit.
What happens if a child or member of staff shows symptoms of COVID 19?
If a child or member of staff becomes symptomatic (eg persistent cough, temperature, loss of taste and smell or persistent sneezing) they will be taken to one of our designated isolation rooms away from other people and will need to be collected immediately. The isolation room will then be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before it is used again.
What about lunch and snacks?
All children will need to bring a packed lunch, a fruit snack and a drink in a plastic bottle. All lunch bags and bottles should be clearly named and where possible children will need to refill their own water bottles throughout the day.
Families entitled to free school meals will have received either a BACs payment for meals or a food parcel. This enables you to either buy ingredients for packed lunches or to use the ingredients you have been given.
For younger children, please send in items which they can open themselves so that we can avoid close contacts between staff and children.
Children will eat their lunch in the hall as we have large tables which are easy to clean and make social distancing possible. Use of the hall for lunches will be staggered so there will only be a few children in there at any one time. Hygiene will be closely monitored by staff.
Have the staff thought about the difficulties my child may have with social distancing?
Yes. We have carried out risk assessments on individual children who we think may have difficulties. We have tried to put measures in place to reduce the risk and this will be communicated to you. If at any point we feel we can’t keep your child and others safe we may have to ask you to keep your child at home.
Is it too late to change my mind about my child attending school?
We need to know as soon as possible if your child is attending as we need to set classrooms up in readiness. If you were previously undecided about sending your child to school and now wish to send them, that’s great! We would love to see them! But you must let us know.
Will Home Learning tasks still be provided?
Yes. Home Learning tasks will be explained to your children when they attend school and expectations will be made clear. If your child is not attending school Home Learning will be set as normal. On the days your child’s class teacher is in school they may not be able to respond to your child’s work and your messages but will catch up with you on the days they are not in school.
Will my child still get an end of year report this year?
Yes. While reporting requirements have been reduced during this crisis, we feel it is very important that every child receives a highly personal report from their class teacher. Teachers are busy working on this now and you will receive your child’s report before the end of term, possibly by post.
What if my child is in Emergency Childcare?
This will continue from 8.30 – 3.30 in the gym for those families who currently use it. All children will need to bring a packed lunch and a drink. Please bring your child straight to the gym, using the main front gate and sign them in as normal. On the days when your child is timetabled to attend their own class they will need to arrive and leave at the times you have been given as we cannot allow them to move between groups during the day. Please book your child in as far ahead as possible so that we know how many to expect and ensure we don’t exceed our capacity.
While this may all seem very complicated we do think that with so few children in school each day things will be pretty calm and run smoothly! Whatever happens we promise to give your children a really warm welcome, to look after them carefully and to ensure they have a calm, productive and enjoyable day.
C M Hewitt
Important School Re-Opening Message! Friday 12th June
We are busy planning to re-open school to classes starting on 29th June. As you can imagine, there is a lot to do before we can have children into school safely, but I’m confident we can do this in time.
At this stage I am able to give you the following information;
- Children will be invited into school in small groups only and only half the classes will be in on any one day.
- The Local Authority have now decided that no schools will open their Nursery classes. While it is sad that we will not be able to see our youngest children, this is probably for the best, given that they will find social distancing very difficult.
- Reception children will only attend until lunch time as we think they will find the strain of socially distanced learning too much for a full day.
- All children will have opportunity to attend on three occasions and we are hoping to have an additional day for all of year 6, spread out in small groups, so that we can give them a good send off!
- Year 6 are also going to be invited for a transition visit to Penyrheol Comprehensive, again in small groups.
- Detailed Risk Assessments and an Operational Plan are being finalised in the light of guidance from the Local Authority and the Welsh Assembly Government. Every aspect of health and safety is being considered.
- It is up to you as parents to decide whether to send your children in and we realise that it is difficult for you to decide until you have full information. If you decide not to send your children to school we will still keep in touch with home learning tasks and you will not be penalised.
- Emergency Childcare will still be available for children who currently attend but only from 8.30 – 3.30.
- We will contact you early next week to let you know when your children can come in and with further information about safety measures
Keep checking this page for updates and we will do our very best to keep you informed of our progress
Please click on the link below for an update for parents from the Local Authority
Watch the video below from Mrs Hewitt showing some exciting updates around school! 🙂
Parent questionnaire-12th June 2020
Today’s Announcement from the Education Minister, Kirsty Williams
3rd June 2020
As you may have heard, schools in Wales will begin to re-open to pupils from 29th June. We have only just heard this news ourselves so we still have lots of planning to do! The Welsh Government and the Local Authority will be giving us guidance on how to keep everyone in our school community safe. We should be able to tell you what has been decided next week.
Every child in the school will have the opportunity to come into school to ‘Check in, Catch up and Prepare’ before the end of term. This won’t be ‘school as we know it’ for now, and is likely to be part time for all children this term.
We are absolutely delighted that the children will be able to catch up with their friends, check in with their teachers and prepare for their next classes for September.
May I assure you that we know you have many questions and we will work tirelessly to make the return to school a positive experience for all!
Head Teacher’s Half Term Update May 26th 2020
I hope you and your families are safe and well during the continued school closure.
Well done to all our children who have been completing Home Learning tasks. As it’s now Half Term no Home Learning will be set until Monday 1st June so you can all have a little break, unless of course you have some catching up to do!
If you need to contact us urgently there will be someone in school every day, so please contact school directly this week, rather than your class teacher.
If your child is entitled to free school meals you should have received an email from the Local Authority asking you whether you would like to continue to receive a food parcel or receive a direct payment into your bank account. If you missed last week’s deadline for requesting a payment, don’t worry as you will still receive a food parcel today and you can register for the payment by 3pm on Wednesday 27th May. Click on the link below for instructions on how to do this, or contact the Local Authority on FSMpayments@swansea.gov.uk.
I am still hoping that at least some children will have some time in school before the end of term. However, Wales is taking a more cautious approach than England so I am awaiting guidance on this. As soon as we have some definite information I will give you plenty of notice on how and when we can re-open to children.
May I remind you that we are here for you and that you should contact us if you have any concerns, questions or worries.
Head Teacher’s Update May 12th 2020
Many thanks to all of you who completed our online questionnaire and for all your positive comments and brilliant suggestions! We have had 164 responses so far and it’s not too late to respond if you haven’t already! We will continue to try to meet the needs of every single child and I would like to assure you that every teacher is working hard to try to do the right thing in these very unusual circumstances.
Some of you have asked for live video calls from staff and we understand why this is good for your children, particularly if they are feeling ‘cut off’ and missing school. However, we have now been told that this is not allowed. Sorry about this but I have asked if exceptions could be made for certain children with Additional Learning Needs.
You will no doubt be wondering when and how your children will be returning to school. The only advice I can give just now is that the Education Minister Kirsty Williams has stated that there will at least three weeks notice of any planned return for schools in Wales. As soon as we receive this notice we will inform you of our plans for welcoming your children back gradually and safely. We will spend the three weeks notice time working out procedures to ensure the children are safe and to decide what learning is most important at this time. If at all possible, there will be transition time in the Comprehensive School for our Year 6 children.
I would like to remind the front line worker parents who need emergency childcare to book their children in each week by Friday morning the week before at the latest.
Please remember that we are always here for you from Monday to Friday. Please stay in touch and contact us by email, DoJo or by phone if you have any questions or worries.
We are missing your children and can’t wait to get back to normal. How ever long it takes, we will be celebrating once they are all back safely with us!!
Message for Parents of Statemented Children
You have been sent a questionnaire link to your mobile number. This is to make you will have someone you can contact in the Local Authority during school closure. If it doesn’t work on your phone, try clicking this one!!
May 4th 2020
Dear Children and Parents,
I hope you are all well and managing to make the best of things during school closure. Our staff are thinking about you lots and the teachers are trying hard to keep the home learning going! Well done to the many children who are completing home learning tasks regularly! It’s been lovely to see photos and work you have sent in and great to see that more and more of you are doing this! If we don’t hear from you we will contact your parents to find out if everything is alright and we’ll never give up on you!!
Because we want to know how you’re all doing at this time, we are sending out a quick questionnaire to all parents. Just a few clicks and we’ll have a good idea of how you’re managing and if we can help at all. Please complete it for each of your children individually as we know they’re all so different!
We still have no idea when you will be back at school and I’m not even going to try to guess as it won’t be my decision! In the meantime we do understand that children may already be thinking about their next class (and for Year 6, their next school!).
As always, we will let you know about your new classes well before the end of term and this year we will be asking children and parents to let us know any important information about you for your new class teacher. We have just sent Penyrheol Comprehensive school lots of information about our year 6, ready to put you into classes and they will be sending out information as soon as possible about what you need for your new school.
Please don’t worry about things like school uniform at this stage. Hopefully the shops will be open in plenty of time for you to buy uniform, but if not, everyone will understand that the rules are different just now!! Keeping safe and well is the most important thing.
Please keep checking the website for updates from me, Home Learning Tasks from your teachers and funny Makaton performances from the staff!
Best wishes to you all
March 20th 2020
School is closed until further notice to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. I hope our families are safe and well and I would like to assure you all that there will be someone in school every week day to answer any questions you may have or to give you reassurance if you are worried. Please give us a call if you need to speak to someone.
This is a very difficult time for you all but it won’t last for ever and the staff are all working hard to make sure school is an even better place to be once this is all over.
You know the rules on keeping yourselves and others safe and you should follow these rules;
- Only leave the house if absolutely necessary and if you do, don’t meet with other people
- Keep 2 metres away from anyone who does not live in your house
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water as often as you can
Keep checking the News page for updates and information. We will update this whenever there is something new to tell you.
It may be a long time before school re-opens but one day it will and we will be ready and waiting to welcome you. What a joyful day that will be!
Keep safe and stay positive!