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End of term and Christmas COVID emergency arrangements

I wanted to write to you all about an email received from the Department for Education (DfE) on Tuesday afternoon. The email is suggesting that schools choose to put an INSET day on Friday 18th December.

We have made the decision not to change the school diary at such late notice. We have things planned in for the children and we also know that a late change could be very difficult for our families in terms of childcare. In addition, we would have to come back a day earlier in January or finish later in the summer term to make up the time, which we are not able to do due to planned training for staff. School will therefore close as planned Friday 18th December at 1:30pm. 

The email from the DfE does ask however, that we make everyone aware of the emergency arrangements in terms of Covid-19 cases during the school holidays and so it would be helpful if you could make yourselves familiar with the following information.

What to do if a staff member or pupil develops symptoms up to and including Sunday 20th December

  1. If a pupil or staff member develops symptoms up to and including Sunday 21st December, book a test as soon as possible.
  2. If the test result is positive, telephone the Botley School Emergency number and alert Mrs Reid. The emergency number is 07896 988 077
  3. Mrs Reid will check all the contacts for the pupil or member of staff and will notify all other pupils and staff who were in direct or proximate contact with the affected person. This notification will be sent on Classlist and followed up by a telephone call.
  4. The school emergency number will be available between 8:00am and 10pm until noon on 24th December. This is to allow for any tests results from Saturday and Sunday that may take longer than 24hours to be confirmed. Please remember this is not an advice line, it is only to notify the school of a positive case. If you need advice please phone the NHS helpline on 119


What to do if a pupil or member of staff develops symptoms from Monday 21st December

  1. If a pupil or staff member develops symptoms from Monday 21st onwards, book a test as soon as possible.
  2. If the test result is positive, parents and carers should follow contact tracing instructions that will be provided by NHS Test and Trace.

Free School Meals over the Christmas holiday

This week, the government and the local authority also released details of the Winter Support Grant for families who normally access free school meals during term time. We will shortly be contacting parents with information on how to access this grant where applicable. If your family does not currently meet the thresholds for free school meals but you are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the COVID pandemic, please do contact our Family Liaison Support Worker, Mrs Yasin, or Mrs Reid in confidence and we will do our best to signpost how to access additional support for your family over the holiday break.

Travelling over the break

The government have released specific guidance for the Christmas holidays which can be found on this link. Guidance for the Christmas period - GOV.UK ( This guidance includes guidance on travelling abroad over the Christmas break and isolation periods on return. If you and your family are planning to travel abroad for the holidays, please let your class teacher know before the break and ensure you follow the guidance for isolation on return where necessary. 

Finally, I sincerely hope that we all get a festive holiday period without interruption – I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s very much needed and well deserved after the year we have all had.

Yours sincerely

Jo Reid