Frequently Asked Questions
All pupils are expected to return to school from September 2020 and school attendance will return to being mandatory for all pupils of compulsory school age (5-16 years). It is parents’ legal duty to send your child to school regularly.
The Government has advised that the prevalence of coronavirus has decreased since schools had to restrict their opening in March and the NHS test and trace system is now in place. The scientific evidence shows that the coronavirus presents a much lower risk to children than adults of becoming severely ill and there is no evidence that children transmit the virus more than adults. Each of our Academies has conducted a Health & Safety Risk Assessment and our schools will have protective measures in place to reduce the risk of spread of the coronavirus.
The Government has advised that there will no longer be a need for shielding from 1 August 2020 (subject to a continued decline in the rates of transmission of the coronavirus in the community).
Support if you are worried about your child returning to school
If you have any concerns about your child returning to school due to the risk of Covid-19 please contact your child’s Academy Principal so that these concerns can be discussed and we can explain the safety measures that we are putting in place at school to reduce the risk.
BAME students and families
We understand that some pupils, parents and families may be anxious about returning to schools due to the comparatively increased risk from coronavirus for those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. Please see the CLF information leaflet on attendance for BAME families. We hope this will provide some reassurance and give you the confidence to support your child returning to school.
There will be some small changes to the start and end times of the day and which entrances/exits pupils should use so that we can stagger pupils’ arrival and departure and minimise contact between pupils in separate class/year group ‘bubbles’. You child’s Academy will communicate the specific details of this with you ready for returning in September.
Our schools will return to usual uniform policies in the Autumn term. We value our uniforms as part of the ethos of each Academy, setting an appropriate shared identity and helping us to be focused on learning. Uniforms do not need to be washed more often than usual, nor do they need to be cleaned using methods which are different from normal.
Public Health England does not recommend the use of face coverings in schools.
As part of the broad curriculum our schools will expect children and young people to participate in PE. There may be some changes to ensure that PE is delivered safely. Some Secondary Academies may not open their changing rooms and in this case may invite students to come to school in their PE outfit. Your child’s Academy will provide you with this detail in their communications with you about returning to school in September.
In general we would like to limit the amount of equipment that pupils bring into school from home each day, to essential items (including for example bag, water bottle, lunch box, coat, pencil/pen/stationery, books, mobile phone). Essential classroom equipment will be provided and sharing will be avoided or minimised. Resources used on rotation will be thoroughly cleaned.
School kitchens will be open from the start of the Autumn term, and will provide free school meals and universal infant free school meals as usual for those who are eligible. Further details on menus will be provided by your child’s Academy.
Parents, children and young people are encouraged to walk or cycle to school where possible and avoid using public transport during peak times.
The Government published general guidance on use of public transport which states that from 15 June 2020 passengers must wear a face covering on public transport. If using public transport for the journey to school, parents and students should follow the safer travel guidance for passengers. On arrival at school students will be required to remove their face mask and place it in a sealed plastic bag to be stored safely during the school day. If your child uses dedicated school transport the guidance for public transport does not apply. We will be working with our school transport providers to ensure that they have safety measures in place, including spaced regular seating plan, supervision and enhanced regular cleaning. Children and young people will be required to wash their hands immediately on arrival at school before going to their classroom.
Future outbreaks of coronavirus (COVID-19)
In the event of a school having 2 or more confirmed cases of coronavirus among pupils or staff within 14 days or an increase in pupil or staff absence rates due to suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus, we will liaise with our local health protection team, Public Health South West England, who will advise what additional action is required. It is not likely that the whole school will need to close.
If there is a spike in infection rates in the local area the Government will decide what measures to implement and we will follow the health advice from Public Health South West England.
If we do have to close any of our Academies partially or fully or if a group of our pupils and staff are required to self-isolate for a period of time we will provide distance learning to ensure that your child’s education can continue.
Summer Free School Meal Vouchers
The government confirmed that all children eligible for free school meals are entitled to a voucher of £90.00 to cover the six-week summer holiday. Your academy will provide you with the voucher by the normal methods before the end of this week or in smaller amounts at agreed points during the summer holiday.
When we return with all children back to school in the autumn we will be implementing the system of controls outlined in the Government’s guidance in order to minimise the number of contacts that a pupil has during the school day and therefore reduce the risk of transmission.
These measures will include staggered arrival, break, lunch and departure times for pupils, and pupils remaining in specific groups (these may be class ‘bubbles’ or year group ‘pods’). Movement around your child’s school site will be managed following the systems designed through our Risk Assessments, for example most will have a one way system in place. Regular and enhanced cleaning routines will be in place.
We will continue to reinforce the following:
- Minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school
- Clean hands thoroughly more often than usual
- Ensure good respiratory hygiene, promoting ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach
- Enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often
Minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing whenever possible.
Symptoms and Testing
Will all staff be tested for COVID-19 before they return to school?
What happens if a child or member of staff becomes ill with symptoms of COVID-19?
If a member of the household becomes ill with COVID-19 symptoms will I still be able to send my child to school?
Supporting Pupils’ Learning and Wellbeing
Will I be able to come into school to discuss any concerns with the teacher?