August 2021 - Updated Guidance from the DfE Blog:
Pupils all over the country are beginning to return to schools and colleges after their summer breaks. For many pupils they will be returning with far fewer restrictions than when they left for the summer holidays. Now that there are fewer restrictions, pupils will be able to experience a fuller education experience, including, access to more group activities, team sports, playing with friends, plays, and taking part in musical groups.
Here’s what you need to know on going back to school.
There are three key changes:
1. Mixing and ‘bubbles’ - Keeping pupils or students in year group or classroom bubbles to reduce mixing is no longer a requirement.
2. Tracing close contacts - Close contacts will now be identified via NHS Test and Trace. Education settings are no longer expected to undertake contact tracing.
3. Face coverings - Face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff and visitors either in classrooms or in communal areas.
So, what will stay the same?
Coronavirus hasn’t gone away so there will still be a need for schools, pupils and students to follow basic measures to avoid the spread of the virus:
1. Testing remains important in reducing the risk of transmission of infection within schools.
2. Ensuring good hygiene including frequent and thorough hand cleaning and the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.
3. Maintaining appropriate cleaning regimes.
4. Keeping occupied spaces well ventilated.
5. Following public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19.
What if someone tests positive or has symptoms? Do they need to isolate?
Self-isolate straight away and get a PCR test (a test that is sent to the lab) on GOV.UK as soon as possible if you have any of these 3 symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild:
• a high temperature
• a new, continuous cough
• a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
Pupils should only self-isolate if they have symptoms or if they get a positive PCR or Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test. If they develop symptoms or get a positive LFD test they should book a PCR test. A positive PCR test cannot be overridden. If a pupil is asked to get a PCR test as a result of contact with a positive case they may continue to attend education until they get the result of their PCR back.
And what will happen for people who have been in contact with positive cases?
Individuals are not required to self-isolate if they live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, and any of the following apply:
• they are fully vaccinated
• they are below the age of 18 years and 6 months
• they have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
• they are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons.
Instead, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed they have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a PCR test. They do not need to isolate while awaiting the PCR test. We would encourage all individuals to take a PCR test if advised to do so. Staff who do not need to isolate, and children and young people aged under 18 years 6 months who usually attend school, and have been identified as a close contact, should continue to attend school as normal.
If none of the above applies, people should self-isolate as per the instructions from NHS Test and Trace.
ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING FOR PARENTS – NHS Test and Trace announced earlier this week, that all adults in households with school and college age children without symptoms can now access regular rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing. Test kits can either be collected or ordered online, as set out below.
Undertaking regular, rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing helps reduce transmission of the virus. Parents and other adults in households with children at school or college, who do not have symptoms, can now access regular, rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing. This includes childcare and support bubbles.
Tests are fast, easy, and completely free. There are different ways for a household, childcare or support bubble to collect their test to take at home, twice-weekly:
- through your employer if they offer testing to employees
- by collecting a home test kit from a local test site – anyone aged 18 or over can collect 2 packs of 7 tests by ordering a home test kit online – please do not order online if you can access testing through other routes. This frees up home delivery for those who need it most https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
- If you have any queries about the tests, and you live in England, please call 119 (free from mobiles and landlines). Lines are open every day from 7am to 11pm.
Children of primary school age (and below) without symptoms are not being asked to take a test.
Testing is voluntary, but strongly recommended to all who are eligible. Alongside the vaccine, washing hands, wearing face coverings, and maintaining social distancing, rapid testing plays a vital role in reducing transmission rates. Getting into the habit of regular testing as part of our everyday lives will help us all to play our part and do what we can to protect each other
REV DR SUSAN SALT'S VIDEO - The past twelve months has been a very difficult time for us all and children may well have picked up some of the concerns that adults around them are feeling. I highly recommend that you take a few minutes to watch the video that Rev Susan Salt has recorded at the request of the PTFA. It offers some very useful, practical, common-sense tips and advice on how to listen to and support children (and adults!) who are feeling anxious.
REMOTE EDUCATION DURING SCHOOL CLOSURES
The school is currently closed for most pupils. Vulnerable children and children whose parents have been identified as critical workers are able to attend school. Other pupils should work from home. However, the overwhelming advice from the Government and the DfE is that "every child who can be safely cared for at home should be". We would therfore ask that you try to help us to keep the school safe by keeping your child at home if you can possibly do so.
Remote education at St Lawrence CE Primary School
- Every member of staff is still working full time in school.
- Teachers and teaching assistants will be available throughout the day to answer any queries you or your child has about the work that has been set.
- There is no difference between the work set in school and the work that is completed by pupils at home.
- Literacy and Numeracy lessons taught in each class are shared via Zoom so that every child has contact with their teacher on a daily basis. Children joining by Zoom will be expected to join in with the learning in class.
- Lessons will be shared via the class pages on the website and / or class dojo.
- Children at home and in school will be set a personal project to work on alongside the formal teaching. This could be a history, science, art or DT project. Additional work will be set for other subjects.
- Pupils will be encouraged to take part in PE activities from home.
In all subject areas, standards of teaching and learning will remain at the usual high standard. Pupils will be expected to submit work and teachers will mark and return it. Everyone at home and in school has worked incredibly hard throughout the Autumn Term to plug gaps in learning; pupils were making excellent progress. We do not want to let that slip!
Children are now completing more homework activities online. Certainly, if they need to isolate for whatever reason, the majority of their school work will be accessed online. Our Online Safety Section has some good links and tips for keeping children safe online. You can access the information on the following link: Online Safety
School is currently closed following the outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid 19). The government has issued the following guidance for parents:
Wellbeing Resource Kit for Parents
Please see the below link to the Every Mind Matters web based resource. This is aimed at parents, not only to help them to support their children and young people with wellbeing issues but also to help them seek guidance for themselves. It includes material on how to support children in their return to school and signs to look for in relation to their child's mental health and wellbeing, particularly in the context of Covid-19.
Online Safety - DfE Guidance
Updated guidance for parents from the DfE includes the following information:
Is my child at additional risk while spending more time online? (New)
With children spending more time online to do schoolwork and other activities, there could be an additional risk. This is why it is more important than ever that children, parents and carers know how to stay safe online.
It is important that parents and carers talk to their children about online safety, show an interest in what they are doing online and ask what they like and dislike about the apps and services they use. Discuss age appropriate ‘ground rules’ like how much time they spend online doing different things and what games and apps are appropriate to use. Also consider setting up and reviewing age appropriate parental controls. Setting parental controls can be a quick and effective tool to help protect children online
Where can I go to get support to help keep my child safe online? (Updated 22nd February 2021)
There is support available to keep your child safe online. You can access further information on keeping children safe online.
Here are some useful links to help parents and carers.
- Thinkuknow provides advice from the National Crime Agency (NCA) to stay safe online
- to help families manage during this time, the NCA has launched Thinkuknow: home activity packs, a set of fun, engaging activities based on Thinkuknow cartoons, films, games, and advice articles
- a new activity sheet for each age group will be published on the Thinkuknow website every 2 weeks while schools are closed - these activities offer a great opportunity to help you keep up positive, supportive conversations about online safety in your home
- Parent Info is a collaboration between Parentzone and the NCA providing support and guidance for parents from leading experts and organisations
- Childnet provides a tool kit to support parents and carers of children of any age to start discussions about their online life, to set boundaries around online behaviour and technology use, and to find out where to get more help and support
- Internet Matters provides age-specific online safety checklists, guides on how to set parental controls on a range of devices and a host of practical tips to help children get the most out of their digital world
- LGfL provides support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online, including 6 top tips to keep primary aged children safe online
- Net Aware provides support for parents and carers from the NSPCC, providing a guide to social networks, apps and games
- Let’s Talk About It provides support for parents and carers to keep children safe from online radicalisation
- UK Safer Internet Centre provides tips, advice, guides and resources to help keep children safe online, including parental controls offered by home internet providers and safety tools on social networks and other online services
- staying safe online provides government guidance offering advice on parental controls, fact-checking information, communicating with family and friends while social distancing is in place and taking regular breaks