COVID pupil absence guide September 2020:Letter to parents and guardians: when you should book a coronavirus test for your child
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Head Teacher’s message
Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope you have enjoyed a pleasant half term break. This letter is being sent out to all parents by way of information, but for the moment, the content will primarily apply to children of key workers and those who are vulnerable (attending from the 1st June as per usual) and pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 who will be able to attend on a part-time basis from the 8th June. School will be open from 9am until 12pm for the first 2 weeks of opening. We will then review the situation to determine our next steps.
Firstly, I would like to thank those parents who responded to our phone survey before the break, requesting information about whether you would like your Reception, Year 1 or Year 6 child to start back at school during the coming term. It has been really helpful in allowing us to finalise our plans for re-opening. If you have requested that your child be allocated a place in school when Brownmead re-opens on a part-time basis to pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, then your child is now successfully registered to attend for 5 mornings per week from the w/c 8th June. If you were unable to reply to the survey, or are unsure about whether or not to allow your child to attend school, there is a space available for them too, should this be required. If this is the case, please inform us in writing as soon as possible. Please do not arrive at school without having made these arrangements in advance.
Through further detailing the safety measures that have been put in place at Brownmead prior to the school re-opening, this letter will hopefully give you the reassurance required to enable you to allow your child to return to school, should this be your wish.
As I’m sure you can imagine, the re-opening of school for pupils, albeit on a part-time basis, has required a considerable amount of planning and organisation. Myself and the Senior Leadership Team have created a comprehensive risk assessment. Please click this link to see a copy of the risk assessment. This risk assessment is available to view on the school website under the COVID 19 tab. We have worked hard to put in place procedures with the aim of protecting children and staff from risk as much as possible. Please be aware however, that despite our best efforts we cannot promise you that your child will always remain 2m or more from another child or adult, as we know children will naturally gravitate towards one another and/or there may be an occasion e.g. where general first aid is required. What I can tell you however, is that all staff at Brownmead will adhere to the risk assessment and will do their utmost to protect all the children, parents and each other whilst in school.
In order to keep everyone as safe and happy as possible, there are a significant number of changes to everyday practice that have had to be introduced and form part of our risk assessment. All of these changes will need to be fully understood and implemented by the whole school community upon the return to school in June. I would be grateful if you would take a few minutes to familiarise yourself with these, as outlined below.
Key changes for pupils include:
- Splitting classes in half, so that there is a maximum of 15 pupils per group as per the Government’s cap on class sizes (although at Brownmead, this is likely to be less than 15 for the majority of groups as many parents have chosen to keep their children at home).
- Ensuring that class groups do not mix – both during lesson time and at break and lunchtimes.
- Increased focus on regular hand washing (including upon entry to school at the beginning of the day) and the on-going promotion of the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ message.
- Staggering break times to minimise contact with other groups.
- Providing a packed lunch to school, rather than having a hot dinner.
- Eating packed lunches within the classroom (instead of in the hall).
- Providing pupils with their own work stations within the classrooms, ensuring that these are as close to 2m in separation as possible.
- Allocating pupils their own set of stationery (and other specific learning resources where appropriate).
- Limiting accessibility to/ceasing the use of some general classroom resources, particularly those that cannot be easily cleaned.
- Dividing ‘shared’ resources e.g. playground equipment and allocating these per group, so that they are not shared between groups.
- Not having assemblies or similar gatherings in the hall for the foreseeable future.
- Encouraging lessons to be taught outside where practical.
Key changes for parents include:
- We will not be providing a breakfast club or after school clubs for the foreseeable future.
- We will operate a one way system for dropping off and collecting your child which will be signposted).
- Only one parent to drop off/collect a child.
- Where there is another adult from the same household at home, all siblings should be left at home with them and not brought to/from school at the beginning and end of the day.
- All push chairs/prams to be left at home where possible.
- Observance of social distancing practice by all – maintaining at least a 2m distance between all other people not in your household. For ease of access for others, please do not chat/socialise with others outside of the school gates and/or on the playground.
- Please do not allow your children to mix with other children on the playground.
- Observance of one-way systems around the outside of the school buildings, so that entrances via gate ways do not become congested.
- Parents will not be allowed inside the school buildings at drop off/collection.
- Ensuring your child arrives with minimal equipment. No book bags, rucksacks, PE kit bags etc.
- Bring a packed lunch & a water bottle to school if you do not want your child to have a FREE (to all pupils) school packed lunch.
- If you would like your child to be provided with a meal from the kitchen in school then this will be in the form of a packed lunch, rather than a hot dinner
Key changes for staff include:
- Observance of increased hygiene measures, especially hand washing.
- Additional daily cleaning requirements throughout the school.
- Observance of social distancing measures between colleagues.
- Working solely with allocated pupil groups.
- Reduced movement around the school buildings
- Not undertaking face-to-face meetings with parents.
Other general information to be aware of:
Where class sizes are reduced, we cannot guarantee that your child will be in the same class as all of their friends but have done our best to ensure they will be with some key friends. Unfortunately, we will not be able to make swaps between groups. If classes sizes increase there is a chance that your child’s teacher may not be teaching them as we have had to utilise all staff to create smaller classes. We may not be able to cover classes if a member of staff is absent, as we do not want staff or children mixing with different groups. Therefore a class group may need to be closed temporarily. The children would be unable to join another group for the same reasons. If your child has allocated 1:1 support, they may not have their regular adult if, e.g. for health reasons, they have been unable to return to work. If any child or adult within a group demonstrates symptoms of Covid-19, they should immediately return home and seek to book a test. If any test is positive, the entire group will need to isolate at home for 14 days and cannot return to school during this time. Any inhalers or other care plan medication previously taken home before school closures must come back to school and be handed to the class teacher.
Parent-teacher meetings will need to be held by appointment, via telephone to minimise person to person contact. Uniform expectations will be amended. To eliminate the requirement for support with changing for younger pupils, children may wear elasticated joggers/leggings and/or shorts depending on the weather conditions. All children should come to school wearing trainers, suitable for outdoor play and PE. All items of clothing worn to school will need to be washed daily/clean items worn the next day.
Expectations of behaviour will remain the same, although we understand it may take a while to re-establish expectations alongside the introduction of new routines. All children will need to collected by a parent at the end of the day. If your child displays any symptoms of Covid-19 (a high temperature of 37.8 degrees or above, a new persistent cough and/or a loss of taste or smell), they should not attend school. If any child (or member of staff) presents with these symptoms during the day, they will be sent home. We have 3 designated isolation rooms in school to house ANY child with ANY symptoms. They will be accompanied by a first-aider who will have to wear PPE to protect themselves. It is important that you tell your children this, so they are not alarmed if it does happen. Pupils will need to be collected immediately in these circumstances.
If you have responded to say that your child will continue their learning at home for the time being, we will continue to provide weekly home learning activities for pupils through Class Dojo. These should also continue to be accessed by the children who are attending school part-time. The on-line learning platforms will continue to be the main route through which learning is set for all children. Please be aware that although your child may not be in school, your child’s teacher is likely to be, so on some days they may not be able to respond to on-line learning as promptly as you have been used to. Direct communication with your child’s Class Teacher should be continued using these on-line platforms.
Although the office will be manned after the 1st June, please do not visit the office in person, unless it is absolutely essential e.g. to drop off medication. Please be aware that social distancing guidelines will be in place all around the school, including at the main office, where a ‘one-in / one-out’ policy will be in operation.
As explained in my last correspondence, Brownmead will be open to children of key workers and vulnerable pupils, as pre-arranged with the school (if you are two key worker parents or are a single parent who is a key worker, if you have not yet done so, you will need to let the school know if you wish to send your child to school. As you may be aware, Brownmead has successfully remained open to these pupils throughout the lockdown, with all of the above safety measures in place.
With your support, we shall be able to open more widely for pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 on a part-time basis from the 8th June. As a school, we are sympathetic towards how our families may feel about returning and will be doing everything we can to continue to offer the very best for your children, whether they return to school in June or continue their learning at home.
If you have any particular questions or queries, please contact the school through the established channels of communication used throughout the school closures. Once again, thank you for your patience and understanding at this time; it is very much appreciated.
With warm wishes,
Mr A Winters
Update 18th May 2020
I hope that you all continue to look after yourselves during these difficult times.
Firstly, school will be closed during May half-term.
Secondly, following the advice from Government and discussions within our own Multi-Academy Trust, we have decided not to open our schools to children in EYFS, Year 1 and Year 6 until Monday 8th June. This is a change from my last communication.This allows each of the schools within the trust to ensure that the site is fully prepared to accept returning children, under the strict social distancing and shielding measures. For w/c Monday 8th June and Monday 15th June we will be open from 9am – 12pm for the children in these classes.
The children are not expected to wear school uniform however they should come to school in clothing that will also be appropriate for outdoor learning. A further stipulation is that the children should wear a clean set of clothes for each day they are in school.
If your child is in EYFS or Year 1, they will be entitled to Universal Free School Meals. For the first two weeks, school will supply a packed lunch that will be eaten in the classroom before departure at 12pm. For Year 6 children that are entitled to FSM a packed lunch will also be made available. There will be no hot dinner service, at least for the first two weeks, so if you normally pay for dinners, please ensure that you child brings a packed lunch. We will review this situation at a later date.
We will inform you about our procedures for dropping off and collecting your children in due course, ensuring the social distancing measures are in place. I can however inform you that whilst we are operating a 12pm closure ALL pupils MUST be collected. Our preference is that this includes Year 6 pupils, as they are more vulnerable leaving school at 12pm when there are less people around. We are also asking Year 6 NOT to bring in mobile phones, as this is a further potential risk to cross-contamination when stored in school.
If your child currently attends school because they are a keyworker child or classed as vulnerable, they will do so in the same way as they do now. They will also be in school w/c Monday 1st June. It needs to be made clear that this group will remain as a group despite the potential of their class being in school. This will continue as long as we operate the 9am-12pm school day. This helps to minimise cross-contamination and stops children moving from one group to another.
It is important to note that if any child becomes unwell during the day, it is vital that an adult can collect the child as soon as is possible. Our plan is that any child who becomes unwell will be isolated with an adult until they are collected.
Please be mindful that all of these actions are dependent on Government advice and may change at any time.
These measures are designed to ensure that we have considered every risk and preventative measure to support the much needed re-opening of schools, ensuring the health, safety and well-being of all staff, pupils and visitors to the site.
Thank you for your patience and I look forward to seeing you all very soon!
Update 5th May 2020
School will be closed on Friday 8th May (Bank holiday)
School will also be closed for the Summer half-term W/C 25th May to 29th May. We will re-open on Monday 1st June for key worker children and those we have identified as vulnerable.
Any queries – please email email@example.com
There will be provision made available by Washwood Heath Multi Academy Trust on Friday 10th April (Good Friday Bank Holiday) and Monday 13th April (Easter Monday Bank Holiday) from 9am to 3pm. For staffing reasons, these times must be adhered to.
Please note: this is only for the children of key workers who need this provision in order to undertake their jobs.
For primary aged children (EYFS to Year 6): this provision will be based at Brownmead Academy, Pencroft Road, Birmingham B34 6SS
For secondary aged children (school years 7-11): this provision will be based at Tile Cross Academy, Gressel Lane, Birmingham B33 9UF
If you intend to use this provision, please contact:
Primary: Mr A. Winters at firstname.lastname@example.org
Secondary: Mr P. Weir at email@example.com
Packed lunches will be provided. Please note that the activities will be sport-based and so children should be dressed appropriately.
Registration documents must completed on arrival (or downloaded here: and brought to the school completed). Please note that children must be brought by a parent, with evidence of their role as a key worker.
As of Monday 30th March, there will be no secondary provision offered, within WHMAT. If you wish to send a secondary-aged child to school, please contact your child’s academy. However, if you require primary provision, this is being provided at our Brownmead and Topcliffe sites for those families identified by the Government as entitled to send their children to school. If you intend to send a primary-aged child to either Brownmead and Topcliffe, please inform your child’s academy.The academies within Washwood Heath Multi-Academy Trust are awaiting guidance from the Department for Education and/or Birmingham City Council regarding the distribution of vouchers for families of students who are entitled to free school meals. Until then a sandwiches meal will be available. This offer is to collect meals from your child’s academy between midday and 12.30pm. Please notify your child’s academy if you wish to take up the free school meal offer as it stands.
Please note that all sites will be closed for the Easter holidays from Saturday April 4th, reopening as described above on Monday 20th April.