Returning to School September 2021
Information for parents and carers
At the start of the autumn term school opened to all pupils in all year groups. We are therefore sharing the arrangements that we have in place to maintain the safety of all pupils, staff and visitors to the school. These arrangements have been devised, following the directive from the Department for Educations that a specific COVID risk assessment is no longer necessary. We have also considered the opinions expressed through our parent survey carried out in the summer term 2021. Some of the control measures were popular and parents urged us to keep them when we returned this autumn.
COVID case numbers remain relatively high and we wish to proceed with due caution and be in a position to ‘step up’ COVID control measures should they be necessary. We have therefore retained and amended our existing risk assessment and will be in a position to adjust it, should the need arise.
We wish to reassure you that the safety of our school community is our priority. We will continue to review our arrangements as the term progresses and will notify you of any changes.
Staff will continue to carry out twice weekly lateral flow device testing. All staff and pupils have access to PCR tests if they develop symptoms. This access to testing will ensure that the school continues to be as safe an environment as possible.
What happens if someone tests positive?
Any pupil or member of staff that tests positive will be required to self-isolate at home for a minimum of 10 days. Any pupils or fully vaccinated staff member who have been in close contact with a positive case are no longer required to self-isolate. NHS Test and Trace will contact families of close contacts and advise if PCR testing is necessary.
If an unwell pupil goes for a test and is negative, they can return to school when feeling better and no isolation is necessary.
Worried about your child returning to school?
The vast majority of our families have demonstrated great faith in the school’s ability to keep everyone safe. As we have operated under COVID restrictions for a long time and are confident in how to ‘step up’ control measures, we do not foresee any great change to how school will operate in the coming weeks.
What about Glenmead staff?
The large majority of staff at Glenmead are now fully vaccinated. School staff have received training and they are all very familiar with the remaining control measures.
How are we maintaining a safe school environment?
Although many of you have expressed great faith in the staff at Glenmead, it is important that we inform you of the preventative measures the school has put in place in order to minimise the spread of infection. The virus is still with us and keeping these control measures is controlling the spread of the virus. There is the potential for case numbers to rise once schools return, so vigilance and caution are the best way forward.
As per the advice from the government, the following actions for infection control are in place:
- Encouraging good hygiene by promoting the importance of handwashing for at least 20 seconds with water and soap in the following circumstances:
- Before leaving home
- On arrival at school
- After using the toilet
- After breaks and sporting activities
- Before eating any food, including snacks
- Before leaving school
- Alcohol-based hand sanitiser dispensers that contain COVID-19 compliant sanitiser gel throughout the school
- Enhanced ventilation throughout the school
- Ensuring pupils and staff understand that they must follow the catch it, bin it, kill it strategy
- Limiting large gatherings of pupils and adults in school
- Ensuring frequently touched objects and surfaces are cleaned and disinfected more regularly than usual
- Telling staff and children to stay at home for 10 days if they test positive for COVID 19 with a PCR test.
- Checking the health status of adults allowed onto the school campus
- Staggering the start of the school day and avoiding congestions at gates
- Additional cleaning of classrooms, toilets and common areas throughout the school day
- Provision of individual equipment for each child to avoid sharing stationery – pens, pencils, crayons etc.
- Deep cleaning every Friday afternoon when school closes earlier
Teaching in bubbles is no longer required and this means that we can be a little more relaxed about pupils mixing. However, if there is an outbreak of cases in school, we may return to a situation where bubbles are reintroduced.
As an important part of our school community, I would ask that you continue to encourage good infection control practices such as thorough handwashing at home. Try to keep your child informed about the things they can do to discourage the spread of infection.
What if my child gets ill?
If a child develops COVID-19 related symptoms during the school day, they will be placed in a room designated for the purpose of isolation with an adult to supervise them. We will contact you to collect your child and take them home. The school would then encourage you to get your child tested for COVID-19. (You can request a test by visiting: https://www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test or contact NHS 119 via telephone).
If you think that you, a family member or your child has developed COVID, please contact the school on 0121 464 3173 or via direct Class Dojo message. This will assist us in planning to control a possible outbreak and take advice if necessary.
What should pupils wear to school?
Pupils should wear school uniform at school as normal. They may come dressed in their PE Kits on their PE day. A water bottle is essential school equipment.
They can bring book bags and backpacks to carry their belongings to and from school. Toys and games are not permitted in school. We have planned to provide a pencil case and stationery set to each individual child to avoid the sharing of items. Parents to not need to provide any stationery, equipment or pencil cases.
What should we do at dropping off and picking up times?
It is still important that we do not have groups of adults congregating around the school gates and on the school campus. Our parent survey stated that parents preferred a calmer start to the school day so we have retained our staggered start and finish times.
A member of staff will always be on duty at your child’s gate
Times and locations will be as follows:
Pupils who are late will find their gate locked. They should come to the Main Gate on Glenmead Road and ring the Main School Office (0121 464 3173) to request entry.
As year group bubbles are no longer required, pupil movement around the building will return to a more normal arrangement. However, we have retained our designated routes into and out of school for particular year groups so that bubbles can be reintroduced quickly if necessary.
What about wrap-around care and after school clubs?
Beeches Kids’ Club will be open for our working families. Please contact David Hall to check arrival arrangements. They will be based in the main hall.
To contact the Beeches Kids Club Proprietor e-mail:
email@example.com or Telephone: 0121 405 0855
Our normal drop-in breakfast club will not be running this term.
There will be extra-curricular clubs, mainly run by our own school staff. These can be booked through parent pay. There is no charge for the large majority of these.
What happens at break times and lunchtimes?
Year groups will be allowed out to play on a staggered rota so that playgrounds do not become over-crowded as this allows more play space. Play equipment that cannot be sterilized will not be used during this period.
AiP, our usual school meal provider will be supplying our meals prepared in the school kitchen. Our year groups will go into lunch together and can sit with friends in the same class. The number of pupils in the hall at any one time will be slightly reduced. The hall will be well ventilated, with doors and windows open. The school meal offer will be published on Class Dojo. Pupils choose from a selection of sandwiches on Fridays and these are eaten in their classrooms.
All our infant classes will receive a school meal every day through Universal Free School Meals. If your child is in the juniors, and is entitled to Free School Meals, they will automatically receive a school meal every day. AiP are happy to provide meals to the families of junior children. Meals should be ordered and paid for in the usual way on Parent Pay.
If you supply your child/ children with their own packed lunch every day, this should be brought to school in a sandwich box or bag. This should be washable to avoid the danger of infection being passed between home and school and vice-versa. The use of disposable paper of plastic sandwich bags is no longer required.
Is the school day different?
To minimise the number of pupils and staff assembling for periods of time, we have retained some of our arrangements put in place last year.
Parents have stated that they much prefer avoiding coming onto the school campus. Meetings with school staff can be arranged and a COVID secure meeting room arranged. Remote meetings using Zoom or TEAMS can also be arranged with relative ease. We are happy to arrange a meeting that meets a parents preference and circumstance.
Between 8.35am – 9am: Year groups arrive at their own gate within their time slot using distance markers to line up at their gate
11.45am – 1.45pm: Staggered lunchtime.
Most year groups will be accommodated in the main hall on rota. Seating is comfortably spaced to avoid over-crowding. Year groups will have their own zones on the playground when out at play.
Between 3.20pm – 3.30pm: Year groups are dismissed at the end of the day within staggered timeslots. 1 adult should arrive per family to collect their child/ children at the designated pick-up gate Staff in school will hand your child over at the gate.
I have more than one child – how does that work?
Children in the same family can be dropped off in the morning together. This is usually at a older sibling’s earlier timeslot and gate. Staff will support children to find their correct route in to join their year group.
If you have an established sibling arrangement continue with that. For parents new to the school with siblings, staff will contact families to confirm arrangements for where your children can be dropped off and collected; times and gates. Messages come via Class Dojo message and/or email.
School still finishes early on Fridays. Children will be dismissed at staggered time slots from 1pm onwards from their usual pick-up points. Lunch will be provided in school and our Friday celebration assembly will be delivered before pupils are dismissed.
Although pupils are not in school on Friday afternoons, school have extended the school day and increased teaching time to compensate for that. This will help with catching up on lost learning and maximise the time the children have in school.
On Friday afternoons staff will be directed to work with their year group colleague to plan and prepare the children’s lessons for the following week. While teachers are planning, preparing, and assessing the pupils' work, the cleaning team will carry out a deep clean of the school site ready for the next week. We are not only aware that we have to control COVID, but are also conscious of the upsurge in respiratory infections and Noro Virus. Our cleaning methods have taken that into consideration.
Working families can continue to expect support with childcare on Friday afternoons and their children can remain in school.
Are there any school events?
We are still working under the guidance of Birmingham City Council when arranging school events that include large numbers of people gathering. There is recent evidence that large outdoor gatherings can be safe, but the jury is still out on large gatherings indoors. We will therefore consult local public health officials and consider local conditions before arranging any events involving a large gathering of adults inside the building.
School may request proof of negative lateral flow devise tests before engaging in face-to-face meetings or gatherings of parents, as that will help to keep all concerned safe. This practice falls in line with advice from Professor Justin Varney, the Public Health lead advisor for schools in Birmingham.
What about travelling to and from school?
Birmingham City Council are encouraging as many families as possible to avoid using cars when travelling to school, as parking causes more congestion outside school and makes social distancing difficult. Families are encouraged to walk, cycle and use scooters to travel to school where ever possible.
If driving is unavoidable, please try to park at a distance and walk the last part of the journey, to avoid parking very close to the school.
Encouraged by your positive feedback, School will be continuing the one-way system drop off zone on Glenmead Road. Vehicles will come on to Glenmead Road via Meadthorpe and go off via Dyas Road.
If travelling on public transport is unavoidable, follow the latest safety advice.
Support for pupils and families
We do not underestimate how difficult the last year or so has been. Many families have suffered greatly during the coronavirus pandemic. We recognise the need to focus on pupils’ emotional wellbeing as well as their learning recovery and will be continuing to focus on that on their return to school in September.
There is a great deal of support available to families through Birmingham City Council. Parents may wish to seek support for themselves from the Council and partner agencies. The support available can be reached through their website:
I hope that these arrangements provide you with the information you need to support your child’s return to school. I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for supporting the school over recent months and the very positive feedback you have given to us about the support we have offered our school community.
By working together, we have helped to make a very difficult situation a little bit more manageable. We extend enormous thanks for your support and patience.
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