Tier 4 Restrictions and Start of Term
I do hope you have all had a lovely break so far and have stayed safe and well with your families. You will probably be aware that the government announced their decision on the reopening of schools in Tier 4 from next week.
Currently, whilst Oxfordshire has now moved into Tier 4, primary schools have been told to open as planned for the whole school, using the same restrictions and preventative measures as were in place during the November national lockdown.
Botley School will reopen for pupils as planned on Tuesday 5th January.
However, if the rate of infection continues to rise, there is a possibility that the government may decide to change this decision and require primary schools to revert back to remote learning for all pupils, with the exception of Critical Worker and Vulnerable families. To ensure we are fully prepared for any eventuality, we would like to take this opportunity to update our list of families that fall into these categories. You can find out if you fall into the Critical Worker or Vulnerable Families categories by visiting Critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Critical Worker and Vulnerable Families
If you believe that your family circumstances place you into one of the listed categories, please follow the Survey Monkey Link to provide us with your child/ren’s details for our records and let us know if you will be requiring space in school should the government close schools in our area.
Returning to School
Before we return to school, please can we remind you of the following rules for staying open and helping to keep our community safe. It is critically important that every member of our school community follows these rules and the government guidance at this time if we want to keep the low rates of infection we have so far seen at Botley School.
Rules for staying open
- EY settings and schools will stay open and will continue as they did in their reopening in September
- Wraparound care (BOHSC) will remain open and continue to run risk assessment checks. Now we know it can continue to run, invoices for this term are being prepared and will be sent home as soon as possible.
- No other extra-curricular clubs can run outside of school hours.
- Parents are allowed to form a bubble with another household for informal childcare of children aged under 13 – this does not apply to play dates
- Support bubbles are allowed when a single parent joins with another household for support
Attendance and vulnerable pupils
- Children of Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) parents or members of their family home must attend school.
- Most children originally identified as CEV no longer need to shield. Speak to the GP or specialist if you feel your child should be in this category. You should receive a letter if your child is deemed CEV. Please provide a copy of this letter for the attendance records at school.
- Confirmed CEV children should not attend and will be provided with remote learning.
- Clinically Vulnerable (CV) children should continue to attend.
- It remains the parents’ duty to secure their child’s attendance regularly at school (where the child is a registered pupil at school and they are of compulsory school age)
- It remains the schools’ responsibility to record attendance and follow up absence
- We will be taking advice from and following the rules set out by the local authority on absence penalty notices and attendance monitoring during this period of restrictions.
Visitors in school
All visits to school are restricted – visits for parents and carers are suspended for:
- New admissions
- Settling children in a new setting
- Plays and performances etc
- Face to face parent consultations – our parent consultations for the Spring Term will again be arranged through TEAMs.
- Impromptu meetings with parents at the start and end of the day are to be avoided. All messages for teachers should be sent via the school email or year group email systems.
- Meetings with teachers should be virtual wherever possible and by appointment only.
Ventilation and the change in weather.
- Schools have been advised to keep windows and internal doors open in the classrooms as ventilation is extremely important.
- We encourage children to wear extra layers under their uniforms and bring an extra jumper or fleece into school in addition to their school Jumper. This does not have to be a school uniform jumper. Please make sure any additional jumpers are named.
- Please remember to send your child to school with a warm, waterproof coat every day. Once again, please make sure that it has their name in it.
Wearing of Masks
- During this period, we will continue to keep our bubbles separate by eating in classrooms, playing in separate zones and avoiding movement around the school. Therefore, children will not wear masks in school unless Government guidance changes.
- School staff are now being asked to wear masks at all times when using communal areas unless they are medically exempt from doing so.
- Visitors to the school will continue to be asked to wear a mask and follow our preventative measures in our school risk assessment.
- We continue to expect all parents/or carers to wear a mask when on the premises. This includes dropping off or collecting their children unless you have a medical reason not to do so.
Travelling to school
- Journeys can be made to school but families are encouraged to walk or cycle to school wherever possible.
- Please avoid busy times in the mornings by taking advantage of our slow start between 8.30 and 8.55 at which time the register will be taken. Please aim to arrive from just after the 8:30 opening time, to avoid queuing along Elms Road before the gate is opened.
- Please remember to not pull into the double yellow lined area in front of the school gate as this is dangerous for the children and families who are crossing the road. We are pleased to see out local PCSO team have been in attendance in the last couple of weeks of term, and will continue to drop by this term as well to check that all our families are safely following the rules when dropping children to school.
- The exit from school at 3.15 is a single time as access through our car park can be facilitated thus giving more space to pedestrians.
Outside Agency support
- Children’s services and social care provision will continue in their support of vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
Once again, I can only apologise for the length of this communication, but I believe that parents will want to know exactly what is being put into place to help minimise risk and keep our community as safe as possible in the face of the pandemic. Thank you for your support in helping the staff and the school in their endeavours.