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Letter to families.

Hello families.

It has felt like a very long time since we have been together as a school community.  I am looking forward to seeing everyone again and to welcoming our new starters to the school.  In July the Government issued this statement to share their guidance on pupils returning to school.  


Returning to school or college is vital for children and young people’s education and for their wellbeing. Time out of an education setting is detrimental to cognitive and academic development, particularly for disadvantaged children and young people. This impact can affect both current levels of learning and children and young people’s future ability to learn, and therefore we need to ensure all pupils/students can return to their setting sooner rather than later. The risk to children and young people themselves of becoming severely ill from coronavirus (COVID-19) is very low and there are negative health impacts of being out of school or college. We know that education settings are a vital point of contact for public health and safeguarding services that are critical to the wellbeing of children, young people and families. In relation to working in education settings, whilst it is not possible to ensure a totally risk-free environment, the Office of National Statistics analysis on coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths linked to occupations suggests that staff in educational settings tend not to be at any greater risk from the disease than many other occupations. There is no evidence that children transmit the disease any more than adults. Given the improved position, the balance of risk is now overwhelmingly in favour of children and young people returning to school or college. For the vast majority of children and young people, the benefits of being back in an education setting far outweigh the very low risk from coronavirus (COVID-19), and this guidance explains the steps settings need to take to reduce that risks still further. As a result, we can plan for all children and young people to return and start to reverse the enormous costs of missed education. This will be an important move back towards normal life for many children, young people and families.

 GOV.UK July 2020


Risk assessments.

We are very close now to beginning our new school year and I thought I would make contact with you and let you know how we are doing in school.  I hope to reassure you that although we cannot guarantee a Covid19 risk free environment we are doing everything possible to keep your children and the staff safe in school.

We have used the Local Authority Risk Assessment to ensure we have considered all aspects of school life and that we have put in as many measures to ensure safety as possible for your child and the staff in the building. We will continue to evaluate our systems and support offer to ensure we update our practises based on the information given to us by the Local Authority, Public Health Wigan, Public Health England and the Government.

We have undertaken risk assessments for many aspects of our school day and I wanted to share with you an overview of these.  This is not a comprehensive list but it contains the main things considered for your children. They are all part of the whole school risk assessment and will determine how the day looks for your child in school.



Visitors to the school will be kept to essential visitors only. Appointments for visitors will be kept to hours outside of the school day wherever possible.

Visitors to the building are asked about their health and are required to use sanitiser as they enter our school.

Visitors will adhere to the latest social distancing guidance from the Government.


Staff are aware that they should not come to school if they are experiencing any of the Corona Virus symptoms.


First Aid staff have access to relevant PPE were needed.



The guidance from the Government is that masks are not recommended and should not be worn in a primary school setting.  If families wish their children to wear a mask on the transport then these will be put into a bag when the child arrives in school and will be given back to them at the end of the day ready for the transport home.


School transport

The Local Authority have conducted their own risk assessment with regard to the children on the busses to school.  We will continue to work with them to ensure safety for our children.


Please do not send your children with soft toys as these cannot easily be wiped.

Any toys brought onto the minibus to support the journey to school should be able to be wiped and able to be held in their hands easily.  These will be collected from your child when they arrive at school and will be given back to them at the end of the school day.


Parents bringing their children


Parent drop offs will be at the main entrance as usual and there will be signage to remind you of the social distancing requirements.

Staff will be available to meet your children and guide them to classes.


Please do not send your children with soft toys as these cannot easily be wiped.

Toys should not be brought into school.


Please remember to park off site when you come to drop your children off.  This will help lessen congestion on the car park.


School day

For the first 2 weeks the day for the children will be 9:30am till 2:30pm.

This will be re-assessed continually within the 2 weeks and we will return to full school hours as soon as possible.

The staff will be working their full hours from the first day back at school.


Arrival at school

The children will be supported into school one bus at a time and a couple of minutes will be left between busses.

Classroom staff will be on duty to escort the children to their classes.


Organisation of school bubbles

There are 4 distinct areas/departments in school and these will become the bubbles that we will maintain wherever possible.






The children will always be encouraged to maintain social distancing wherever possible but this will not affect our staff’s ability to provided nurture, support and appropriate touch to your children when it is needed.


Staff can move from bubble to bubble to provide daily support for the children. They will utilise hand washing and cleaning as they go for the resources that may go with them.


Lunch times

Each department will have lunch in their own classrooms so remaining in their bubbles.  The staff will collect the dinners from the school kitchen and will take them to the bubbles to be served by the class teachers.


Break times.

Each bubble will have its own designated play space for outdoor play and this will not change for the foreseeable future. 


Morning breaks and lunch breaks will be staggered across the school.


Outdoor equipment

Each space will utilise its own equipment and this will not be shared between bubbles wherever possible.


Equipment will be wiped down by the staff after use.

A clean as you go strategy will be applied by all staff


Children and hand washing.

Children will be reminded to wash their hands for 20secs regularly throughout the day.


Baby wipes will be provided to all staff for use in the classrooms for reluctant hand washers.

A clean as you go strategy will be applied by all staff.


Equipment in classrooms

Resources will be kept within departments wherever possible.

Where they are moved they will be cleaned or left for 72hrs.

Whenever possible the children will use the equipment provided for them.

A clean as you go strategy applied by all staff.


In classrooms


Classes have removed any unnecessary furniture and resources to avoid excess surfaces.


Windows will be opened for ventilation when appropriate.


All classes have their own supply of spray detergent, cleaning cloths, anti-bacterial surface wipes, baby wipes, children’s hand sanitiser and adults hand sanitiser.

A clean as you go strategy will be applied to all shared resources and frequent touch areas.


Shared spaces/rooms in school

These rooms will be timetabled for use or kept for use within departments/bubbles.

The evening and morning cleaning schedule with reflect the use of the rooms.

A clean as you go strategy will be applied by all staff.



Children will be encouraged to use the toilets in their own bubble.

A clean as you go strategy will be applied by all staff.


Children will be supported by the staff where appropriate.

There will be monitored handwashing when using the toilets.



The staff will be taking staggered lunch breaks.

An additional microwave will be provided in another room to alleviate pressure in the kitchen.


Whole School  Cleaning

Additional cleaning hours have been added to the schedule of the Caretaking and Cleaning staff each day to accommodate the additional cleaning requirements of the school.


Trips and visits

These will still go ahead where possible working with venues to ensure their Covid19 risk assessment is available.

Trips will only happen in the department or class bubbles.



As your child returns to school over the next few weeks they will see some differences to the school building.  These differences will make a safer, better learning environment for your child. 

  • Many of the areas around school have been painted.
  • We have had all new doors in the school hall.
  • One door into the school hall has now been closed up. 
  • The desk in reception has been extended to provide a more secure and private working space for the staff.
  • 5 of the doors around school have now had Fob Locks put on them to provide extra security around the building.
  • Work has begun on the Outdoor Classroom area at the back of the school.
  • All of our Safe Space rooms have been painted.
  • One of our Safe Space rooms now has a built in seat in it.
  • All Safe Space rooms have been carpeted.
  • The computer room has had all new computers in it.

We continue to monitor our environment and we will continue to improve our offer right across the year.

We are definitely returning to school in challenging and tricky times, but we have an amazing team of staff at Willow Grove and a very supportive community of families. We will continue to work hard to keep your children and the staff safe in school. 

If you have any thoughts or concerns about your child returning to school then please contact us and we will do our best to support you.


Take care and I will see you all very soon.

Mrs Murphy