INFORMATION FOR PARENTS – COVID-19 (Updated January 2021)
The Current Situation
The DfE has closed primary schools temporarily but has stated that schools should be open, where possible, for children of critical workers and for those whose children are designated as ‘vulnerable’.
In fact, the DfE is sending out mixed messages as it also states that ‘Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be’.
The first statement implies that children with one parent who is a critical worker may attend school – the second statement implies that if there another parent at home, then those children should stay at home and not come to school.
At our school, we are opening to those children where there is one critical worker parent (as long as we have sufficient number of staff available) but this has now totalled 83 children so I would urge those families who do have another parent at home to consider very carefully whether they should be send their children at this time of rising infection rates. Not only is there far less risk of your children catching and spreading the coronavirus if they are at home rather than mixing in schools, but for those children who do have to attend, it will be much safer for them and their families with fewer children on the premises.
Should more of our staff be affected by illness or the need to isolate, then we will have to restrict attendance accordingly.
All families travelling through any of the countries that are not exempted by the government are required to quarantine for 10 days on their return to the UK. Countries exempted from this rule can be found on the following list:
Any other countries (e.g. France, Italy) are subject to the 10 day quarantine rule. Children may not display symptoms but could be carriers and so they must complete the full period of isolation before they can attend school. The list of countries may be updated at any time so please log on and check for any changes.
Abiding by government guidelines re: Coronavirus
We ask that you follow government guidelines and are aware that eligible children will only be able to attend if they are symptom free and if no-one else in their household has any symptoms. We will have to refuse attendance if we believe that these rules are not being adhered to. If you have an adult who is over 70 years living in your household, your child should NOT be attending as they could be passing on this virus to your elderly family member. To avoid confusion, for those children eligible to attend school, we are keeping the entry/dismissal times the same as last term using the gate to Elms Close. We must ask that families are punctual and that parent/older siblings/grandparents who are bringing or collecting your children wear a mask.
For the majority of families who are not attending school, we must remind you that the current legislation prohibits any mixing of households, so any playdates or parties are illegal.
Remote/Online/Blended Learning Provision.
During periods of school closure (as directed by Barnet or the DfE), teachers will set work for the whole class (those at home and those critical worker/vulnerable children still in school) using Google Classroom. (We utilised Google Classroom successfully during the first lockdown (April – June 2020) and received many complimentary comments from parents).
For Year 1 – 6 we will aim to provide at least 4 formal lessons per day; English, Mathematics, Jewish Studies and a topic. Many of these lessons will be ‘live’ – others may be pre-recorded so that they can be watched when convenient. We aim to load each day’s programme by 9pm the previous evening to enable parents to plan a day ahead. In addition, there will often be other short tasks/activities provided each day for the children to participate in.
Jewish Studies lessons consist of Chumash, General Knowledge or Parsha and have either follow up or pre-work to extend learning. There are also 1:1 on-line Hebrew reading lessons for children who require additional support.
Early Years (Nursery and Reception classes) provide recorded sessions for the children to access from home and these are also used in school. These sessions are backed up with activities and tasks for the children to carry out where appropriate. There are daily tefillah (prayer) recordings along with the weekly parsha. Reception children also have a daily live Hebrew reading session and a live weekly ‘show and tell’ session. We are also introducing a weekly live reading session to ensure that the children continue to progress with their phonic and reading skills as well as 1:1 reading with an LSA.
SEN provision. Where children with SEN are not receiving support in school (for example those with EHCPs), additional support will be given through the use of online “Group Rooms” that enable extra live sessions to take place, either one to one, or in small groups. This ranges from Phonics and reading support, comprehension and writing composition support, emotional support and support with Numeracy. These will be run by the SENDCO, LSAs and teachers.
Our remote provision will also include a daily act of worship, weekly assemblies to maintain the whole school community feel and other “activity days” as appropriate (for example Tu BiShvat fruity funday).
Teachers will continue to provide feedback on the work that children submit – and as in class, this will be a mixture of verbal feedback within live lessons and written feedback recorded electronically. Where possible, teachers will also maintain a dialogue with the children through the use of the class “stream” where open ended questions, quizzes and other discussions can take place.
Where children do not have access to a suitable device, the school will seek to lend them a device for the duration of the school closure.
Where a child does not attend live lessons, or submit written work to the teacher for a 48 hour period, the teacher will make contact with the parent to make sure everything is alright at home and remind the child to attend lessons and submit work. Teachers will be mindful of the fact that there are additional pressures at home during this period and understanding where work is unable to be completed because of these difficulties. The purpose of these calls/emails are to “check-in and remind” not to place extra stress. Where there are further concerns, these will be reported to the Headteacher who will make contact with the family as appropriate.
When school is open as normal, but individuals or groups of children have to be at home in self isolation, the school will provide access to remote learning from the day after we receive notification that they will be at home. This will primarily make use of the webcam in each classroom. Children will be able to login at set times and access and participate in the same lessons as the rest of the class where appropriate. Where this is not possible (e.g. PE or practical science lessons), other educational material will be provided.
Health and Safety/Special Needs
There will always be a first aider on site.
As Designated Safeguarding Lead, I will usually be on site and will be contactable if off site. I will continue to liaise with Social Services and other agencies as necessary; both for pupils on and off site.
Mrs Jaeger, our SENDCO, will coordinate our Learning Support Assistants to provide 1:1 on-line support for those pupils at home who need this.
We will of course continue with all safety measures that we already have on site in terms of health and safety and will follow our behaviour policy.
Covid Risk Assessment
The school has a detailed Risk Assessment amounting to some 32 pages. If parents wish to see a full copy, please contact the school office and one will be forwarded by email. Some of the many measures implemented to keep everyone safe are listed below:
Expectations for Pupils Learning at Home
To facilitate an atmosphere conducive to learning, we expect:
Additional measures to facilitate pupil progress/Use of Covid-19 Catch Up funding
In June, a £1 billion fund for education was announced by the government. Further guidance has now been released and Hasmonean Primary School will receive approximately £16,000 over the course of this academic year (2020-21).
To support schools to make the best use of this funding, the Education Endowment Foundation has published a support guide for schools with evidence-based approaches to catch up for all students.
At Hasmonean Primary, this money will be used to provide:
There are two broad aims for “catch up” at Hasmonean Primary:
All children will continue to:
In maths we will continue to use Abacus/Active Learn and in Literacy we will continue to use Power of Reading. This will be supplemented with additional resources as necessary using the catch up premium.
The core skills which enable successful learning will be stressed throughout all year groups. These include: handwriting, spelling of high frequency words, basic sentence punctuation, times tables recall, basic addition & subtraction fact recall and reading skills relevant to age.
This is always a focus in the school and will continue to be so to develop children’s reading ability and vocabulary.
Teachers will work to identify gaps in learning and adapt teaching accordingly. We will use Rising Stars, Abacus/Active Learn and PlanBee assessments to support this process.
We will continue to develop our PSHCE and RE curriculum as some children will have not been in a formal school setting for some time.
Some children will receive:
Supported by additional staffing hours utilising catch up premium – dependent on need as identified through ongoing assessment.
This again will be dependent on the needs of pupils to re-establish good progress in the essentials (phonics and reading, increasing vocabulary, writing and mathematics) and there will be flexibility on timetables to allow this.
Where appropriate, the school will send ICT hardware home for use by pupils.
We appreciate that the current situation puts enormous strain on our parents (as it does on us). By working together, we aim to relieve any anxiety felt by pupils and to ensure that they can enjoy their learning as much as possible.
Wishing you all continued good health.
Dr Alan Shaw