3rd July 2020
We are now on week 5 of our 7 week Summer Half Term and I thought this would be a good time to catch up with you and to bring you all up to date with how school is doing.
Our school day continues to be 9:30am till 2:30pm for the children. This has allowed our staff with families to arrange their childcare so they can still come to work, despite a lot of childcare provision being closed. As I have said before, most of our children do not understand social distancing and most of them cannot maintain any specified distance between them, the staff or their peers. Despite this the staff have managed distancing in the groups really well. The children do play together and have mixed across the classes and on the playground but we continue to be vigilant and continue to encourage small numbers. There has never been more than 21 children in the whole school at any one time. Anywhere between 50 and 60 of our children have been attending the school spread over a whole school week. School has remained very settled. The children who have been in have been taking part in some great class activities and are mostly enjoying their time in school. You will be able to see what they have been up to on the school website. The staff have worked in teams of 2 classes together with no more that 3 or 4 children in the group at any one time. We have tried very hard for the children to remain with the staff they know to provide some level of consistency of care.
All the staff have had access to soap and water, anti-bacterial surface wipes, baby wipes for faces and hands, hand sanitizer for adults and children and spray detergent and disinfectant in every room. We have maintained a strategy of ‘clean as you go’ that has included toys and resources and between the caretaking staff and the classroom staff this has so far been very effective. This will continue in September.
This week and next week we are trying to give our children a chance to be with their new teachers for the next school year. Each day they are in school they will be with their new class teams for at least 1 or 2 of their days. This will hopefully let them see that when they return to school in September that everything will be ok for them.
The last school week before the Summer holidays will be a chance to come into school and say goodbye to staff and friends as we finish for the Summer break. I will be contacting families over the next week to arrange the days with you.
Back to school in September
For several weeks now I have been thinking about and beginning to plan life in school for September and what it may look like when we return.
The message from Government is clear. They want all children to return to school straight away in September. They are predicting that the virus will be under control and that school life can return to something like normal. At Willow Grove we know our children really well and we will not all be returning on the first day. I believe this will be too much for some of our children and the children and staff will both need support in returning to full class sizes. There will be a staggered start for the children so that we can best support them into being back at school. I will be sharing this plan with families over the Summer holidays.
Our school hours will remain the same for the first 2 weeks in September. School will be open to children from 9:30 until 2:30pm. This will be reviewed after 2 weeks and may be changed if the situation allows. I will be aiming to get back to full school hours as soon as possible.
We have already created a new, adapted curriculum offer for September that will support the children’s emotional health and well-being. It will consider the possible impact that being off school and the virus could have had on everyone. It is a curriculum that will focus on rebuilding teams, relationships, friendships and support networks for everyone in school. Maths and English will be taught straight away from September for all the children. The new curriculum offer will last until at least October half term and will be shared in full with all families via the website over the Summer holidays.
Families wishing to buy new school uniform will be given appointments to come to school in the holidays. These appointments will be arranged with Mrs O’Neill and Mrs Nicholls over the phone.
The situation with the virus across the North West of England continues to be unpredictable. I am making the best plans I can based on the current information available. Obviously this may change as the situation around us changes. I continue to keep us updated by The Government, Public Health England, Public Health Wigan and the DFE. I will keep you informed as to how things are going. If you have any questions you would like to ask then you can either email them to the school enquiries email address or phone school directly and I will be happy to take your calls.
All our families have been very supportive throughout the mad times we are experiencing at the moment and I want to sincerely thank you for your patience and understanding as we have planned and arranged the care of our school community. We will always put the safety of your children and staff at the forefront of any plans.
Thank you for your continued support.