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School update 05 02 21

School update

We have had, even by recent standards, an extraordinarily busy period over the past two weeks and there is a lot to update our community on, so I apologise in advance for the length of this communication. Please do read to the end for updates on essential road works and emergency planning for weather warnings.

School reopening plans

At this stage, the government have said that they will announce plans for the reopening of schools in England on February 22nd, with the aim of reopening starting from 8th March. As such we are currently planning for three more weeks of remote learning (1 week before half term and 2 after) and will update parents on plans for reopening Botley School once any government announcements have been made and guidance is provided to schools.

Staff COVID testing

The staff at Botley School are now taking part in Covid Lateral Flow Tests for COVID-19 twice per week. The purpose of these tests is to ensure that staff members on site are not asymptomatic carriers of the virus. These tests are over 80% accurate and therefore if any LFD test results are positive, we will follow our usual procedures for tracing close contacts and asking them to isolate while the staff member takes a full PCR test to validate the result. If the member of staff tests positive, then the staff and pupils we have identified as contacts will need to isolate for the full 10 days from the last point of contact with the affected person. If the result is negative, we will contact everyone and invite them back into school for the next available school day. The staff are finding the use of these tests reassuring for everyone and it helps to add another layer of protection against the risk of cross infection in school, however, they do not stop the spread so we remain vigilant with all our preventative measures such as the use of face coverings, ventilation of rooms and hygiene standards across the school.

National Children’s Mental Health week

Thank you to the children who have been sharing their ideas for this year’s theme of ‘Express Yourself’.  I would love to put together a montage of our Botley Creativity, so if you haven’t yet sent something in, or are inspired to express yourself over the weekend, please can you upload your ideas to your Class Teams area by Monday so your teacher can forward them onto me.


Video permissions

Mrs Hegarty sent a letter out this week to parents requesting permission for the use of video within our ‘Live’ sessions. As a reminder, the settings for Microsoft Teams only allows us to switch on the video for the whole school, or for none of the school. We encourage all parents to give permission as we believe it will benefit both the children’s learning and their mental well-being to be able to see and hear each other and the teachers.  Even if you give permission, as the parent, you will still have control over whether you turn the video function on for your child or not, and Mrs Hegarty has provided information about how to blur the background, or set up a virtual background. Please ensure you have completed the Microsoft Form as soon as possible.

Safer Internet Day

Next Tuesday, 9th February, is Internet Safer Day - this year's theme is  An internet we trust: exploring reliability in the online world. There will be an assembly led by our Computing Lead teacher Mrs Hegarty, who will also send a separate letter with activity ideas and resources for parents and children.

Parent Consultation Meetings

Parent consultation meetings will take place in the week after half term via the Microsoft Teams platform. Mrs Griffiths will send out a communication to parents regarding the booking arrangements. The purpose of the meeting this term is to discuss how the children have been getting on at home and for teachers and parents to feedback and answer question on the remote learning from this term. The meetings will be set up using the parent email addresses and not the pupil Teams accounts.

Parent Survey Analysis

Thank you to all the parents who participated in our Parent Survey. A full report of the survey will be uploaded to the website shortly, however the highlights include:

  • 95% agreed or strongly agreed that their child was safe in school
  • 89% agreed or strongly agreed that their child enjoys coming to school
  • 92% agreed or strongly agreed that the school is managing the COVID-19 pandemic well and are kept informed
  • 89% agreed or strongly agreed that they understand how home and remote learning is being set on Microsoft Teams

There were some clear themes for the school and governors to consider including streamlining the forms of communication the school use, who parents should contact for different queries, and how parents can contact teachers to ask questions. A full report will be made available on the school website and will include some of the parent comments and actions the school will be taking as a result of the survey.

Weather warnings and emergency plans

We have received weather and flood warnings from Oxfordshire County Council. In the event of a weather or flooding emergency, we will do everything in our power to remain open, however, without the safe ratios of adults to children in each individual bubble, we may need to take the decision to close the school site. Should this happen, we will alert parents via Classlist and email in the same way that we notify parents of bubble closures and post a message on the school website home page. We will also alert the local authority who will display the information on the school closures webpage Emergency school closures | Oxfordshire County Council and contact local radio.

Planned road maintenance on Botley Road

We have been notified of planned maintenance work on the Botley road at the Westminster Way junction. The works will start from 20th February and last for 20 weeks. More information on these works can be found by clicking this link. Botley Road improvements (phase 1) | Oxfordshire County Council

February Half term

The school will be closed for February half-term; however, we are very excited to announce that work will begin on our new Multi Use Games Area during the break. We can’t wait to see the finished all weather surface and start to use it for our PE and outdoor time. 

I hope you have a lovely weekend

Jo Reid

Mrs Jo Reid BA(hons) PGCE MA NPQH