A letter to young people from Gavin Williamson MP, Secretary of State for Education
March 29th (2021)
I wanted to let you all know how grateful I am for the way you have responded to the huge challenges you have all faced throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Whether this is your first year at school or your final year of college, I know the disruption you have all faced to your education since the pandemic began has been incredibly challenging and has meant completely changing the way you learn - either learning remotely at home or continuing at school or college with fewer of your friends around you and lots of safety measures in place.
Whether you were at home or at school, the disruption last term and throughout last year asked a lot of you and your families. I am filled with admiration for the incredible way you all responded and the resilience you have shown. Not being in school or college with your teachers and friends was a huge sacrifice. Everything you did, with the help of your families and your schools and colleges, and everything you missed out on – time in school, taking exams, seeing friends, playing sport and much more - made such a huge difference to helping us stop the spread of the virus. I want to say a huge thank you to all of you.
Getting all young people back into school and college safely has been my priority throughout the pandemic. I know how vital it is not just for your education but also to spend time with your friends and to feel happy and secure. All our lives have changed a lot in the past year but the challenges that young people have faced have been some of the hardest. I will continue doing everything in my power to make sure that all of you are supported to boost any areas of work you’ve had less time at school to study, get the qualifications you deserve and have the opportunities you need to succeed.
Continuing to follow all the safety measures your schools and colleges have worked hard to put in place, as well as taking a test twice a week, is so important and helps us to stop the virus spreading. The testing that thousands of you have been taking part in at school and college is a vital part of this. I am so grateful to you and all the staff who have supported you to do this. I know your schools and colleges have worked incredibly hard to prepare you to test yourself at home.
As most of you at secondary school and college move to testing yourself regularly at home, it’s vital that you continue to test and report online twice a week through the Easter holidays and after you return to school. Home testing twice a week for you and everyone you live with makes a huge difference and means you are playing a really important role in helping us move back to a more normal way of life. Your school or college will continue to support you and make sure you have tests. You and your family can also find out more about home testing here.
I was delighted to see the enthusiasm with which so many of you returned to school at the beginning of March and I am sure you have had a wonderful few weeks catching up with your friends and teachers. It was fantastic to meet pupils delighted to return to school on my visits to schools like Arden Academy and Bedford Free School and to see so many more of your reunions on social media. I hope that the new term will be just as enjoyable and successful for all of you.
Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP, Secretary of State for Education
FULL SCHOOL RE-OPENING ON THE 8TH MARCH
INFORMATION FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
When does school re-open?
School will re-open for year groups , from Nursery through to Year 6 on Monday 8th March.
Monday – Year 4a and 4b
Tuesday – Year 6a and 6b
Wednesday – Year 1b Elm and Year 2a Aspen
Thursday – Year 1a Silver Birch, Year 2b Hawthorn, Year 5a Ash and Year 5b Yew
Friday – Year 3a and Year 3b
How will school life be organised for the children?
Children will be in year group or class bubbles as they were in the Autumn term. This means that they will stay with their classmates throughout the school day – and movement is limited around school.
What will drop off and pick up times look like?
We will keep the same system as we had throughout the Autumn term as this developed over time, and proved to work both safely and quickly, so that parents and children were waiting around as little time as possible.
The whole road outside the school – up to the end of The Golden Lion Pub – will not be accessible for traffic as this area will be used for families to wait, and then get the children safely into school. There will be a barrier across the street to show you which area you cannot pass if you are in a car.
There will be 2 different starting and finishing times, when children will be brought into school.
Need to be at the main carpark gate for your teachers to collect you at 8:45am. Then the children will leave this same gate/entrance at 3:00pm. Y6 children – if you are arriving by yourself, get a wriggle on and get there on time! This is great practice for getting yourself organised and on time for high school in a couple of months time.
Year 5, Year 4 and Year 3
Starting times: these year groups will be called into the main double gate at 8:45am. This worked really well when these older children came onto site themselves, and said goodbye to any parents/carers outside the school grounds. It may it super speedy and reduced the numbers on site.
ONLY IF you have a child in Y4 or Y3 and have a younger brother or sister also, should you go onto site at this time. Please wait until your year group has been called if your child is in one of the younger years – it really helps things move more efficiently and stops the congestion.
Pick up times for Year 5, Year 4 and Year 3 is 3:00pm. Staff on the gate will let you know when it is time, and safe, to come onto site.
Years 2, 1 and Reception
From 9:00am (or sooner if the playground clears quickly) the children in will be called forward, to come into school and head for their classroom doors.
Pick up times for Year2, Year 1 and Reception is 3:15pm. Staff on the gate will let you know when it is time, and safe, to come onto site.
Please help us to make the system work safely and quickly
Please do not come any earlier that the times your child/children are to be called into school. The less congestion and crowds we can have outside our small school gate entrance, the safer it will be for everyone.
We found that if we all spaced out the numbers entering and leaving school like this, it proved much quicker for everyone as we didn’t have to keep stopping the movement for over congestion in the playground.
Please do not arrive to much earlier than the times your child/children need to be in school and you will need wait outside the school gate, and spread across the road and pavements until your child/children’s year group is called.
We know this is going to be tricky, given the number of children and parents that come to a school each day, but we would ask you to try to remain socially distanced between yourselves when waiting beyond these barriers too.
Please stay with your children until their year group has been called.
Please could you wear a face covering, shield or mask when entering the school site and keep it on at all times. If you have a medical reason for not wearing a mask, you will have notified the school already. If you cannot wear a mask, please keep yourself, and others safe, by keeping at least a 2 metre distance from others at all times.
Staff again will be outside supporting this new system, from 8:40 onwards, and will help to ensure that the routes into school and playground remain as uncongested as possible.
PLEASE, please could you be mindful that as a school we can give guidance, advice and reminders as to what we all need to do to keep as safe as possible. Staff will remind and encourage parents to follow this guidance where we think appropriate but will not be there to enforce or insist that certain actions are followed by all adults at these times. We appreciate it can be frustrating if a small number of people seem to be less careful than others – for example chatting in a crowd or not always remembering to keep a 2m distance.
If you are feeling anxious about these times in the school day, please continue to take the steps to keep yourselves and your own children safe whilst waiting outside school, or at the busy drop off and pick up times in the playground, and we will always support you in this – for example if you want to hang back until the entrances or playgrounds are less congested before you want to come in or out, that is absolutely not a problem at all.
What happens if I have children in different year groups or starting times?
We appreciate that lots of families will have brothers and sisters in different year groups, and some may be starting at the 2 different start times. Please could you enter as a family as soon as one of your children’s year groups have been called.
Once one child has gone to their classroom, please kindly stand well back until the teachers come to collect other year groups and classes. Do not stay near the barrier fences, particularly near Year 1 classes, as this is where the Year 4 children come in and out of school too.
Children attending Nursery – if your child attends a morning session, the times have had to slightly change. You will need to arrive at the first main gate entrance at the earlier time of 8:30am (no later please) and staff will be there to support you dropping off your child. At 11:30, the Nursery staff will bring all the children out and hand them over to the parent or carer who is collecting them.
If your child attends an afternoon session, they will need to arrive at the first main gate entrance (nearest the bike sheds) at 12:30 (no earlier or later please) and staff will be there to support you dropping off your child. At 3:30, the Nursery staff will bring the children out and hand them over to the parent or carer who is collecting them.
If you arrive late, what will happen?
It is really important that your child is in these lines at this time as if they arrive late, you will have to wait with them until all other children have been admitted into school, and then wait until a member of your child’s class bubble is available to collect them from the gate. This may take some time. This will be the same at the end of the day also.
What happens if I need to speak to a member of staff?
As parents and carers will not be coming into school and at a social distance from staff when dropping off and picking up, if you wish to speak to a member of staff, or pass a message on, we need to ask you to phone call the school office, or send the school a text message, or year group email, asking someone to contact you back as soon as they can.
Please be mindful that staff are not able to come forward to chat to you at the barrier fences when they come to collect the children into school, or let them go home with parents and carers at the end of the day. Staff will need to stay at least 2 metres away from the fences, to maintain a safe social distance.
We cannot admit lots of parents to the school office either, as this would not support safe social distancing. Please ring the office with any questions or queries you have first, and they will advise you on what to do next.
Again, this is very different to how we normally work, but know you will support us in this.
Please, please be patient with us. We need to keep everyone as safe as possible.
Will there be after school activity clubs running?
There will be no after activity-based school clubs offered to the children for the rest of the Spring term (such as football or crafts etc) but we are hoping to get them organised and booked in, ready for the Summer term. A letter will be sent out later about this.
Breakfast Club and After School Care will resume but only for those children that attended in the Autumn term. Information will be sent out to the families that includes. Unfortunately, we cannot accept any more children into Breakfast Club or the After-School club as yet as we still need to have the safe social distancing plan in place and we are at capacity at the moment.
Will swimming lessons be on for Year 4 ?
Year 4 children will start swimming lessons in the Summer term (after Easter) and the Year 5s that had their lessons interrupted will finish lessons for the rest of the Spring term. Details and information will be sent out to the classes children this involves.
BELOW ARE A NUMBER OF LETTERS AND INFORMATION DOCUMENTS THAT HAVE BEEN REFERRED TO THROUGHOUT THE PANDEMIC
Below is all the older information in regards to school closures, COVID safe procedures and other useful links from March 2020 - August 2020.
A Message from the Local Cluster Team for all families in South Leeds
We are aware that for many of our pupils and their families the summer break will come on top of an already prolonged period of being off school in restricted and difficult circumstances. During the summer break if you are looking for activities there is a range of useful information on the Breeze website.
If you are experiencing difficulties, need advice or support, information is available on the LSCP website, www.leedsscp.org.uk or you can contact your local Early Help Hub on firstname.lastname@example.org tel: 0113 53 50185, or your local JESS Cluster ( https://jesscluster.org/ )
Targeted Service Leader or Targeted Service Manager, Lucy Metcalfe (TSL) at Lucy.email@example.com or Sam Stewart (TSM) at Sam.firstname.lastname@example.org who can either provide information or signpost to useful supports.
Letter from Leeds City Council to Parents (July 2020)
Please see below the link for a Letter for all parents from Saleem Tariq, Director of Children and Families.
Online Safety Advice for Parents
Below is a link to an information sheet for parents with advice on keeping your children safe online during the pandemic, which has been sent to us by Leeds City Council for sharing with you.
During the current situation, we are aware that the financial situation of some of our families may have significantly changed.
Parents may now be unemployed and be in the process of applying for universal credit.
Parents who make a new claim for universal credit can apply for free school meals by completing the online form on the LCC website: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/council-tax-and-benefits/free-school-meals
Entitlement for free school meals is based on a successful universal credit award (with net earnings under £7,400 pa).
If you are awaiting a decision in regards to claiming universal credit, please contact school who may be able to help in the interim by providing a daily packed lunch meal for your child. Please email school on email@example.com rather than trying to phone the school.
Parents without access to a computer can contact school for support. Please text 07562 439840 and someone from the school Pastoral Team will give you a call back. Please include your child's name in the text too.
Parents can also request further support with food by contacting the Council’s Local Welfare Support scheme telephone 0113 376 0330.
Houseparty App - Know the risks for your children!