Dear parents/carers,

I am writing to you with some details about the changes we need to make in September, as a result of COVID 19.  

The plans are complicated as a result of the DfE guidance, the size of our school community and the vast size of our site.  Sadly, the DfE guidance is clear that schools should prevent children and families gathering.  Each school has to consider its own individual school setting, the school site, the layout of the building, its staff organisation etc, in order to make plans for each individual school.  Solutions and decisions will vary school by school.  Neighbouring schools will make different decisions.

Many schools are going to have staggered start and finish times for every single year group.  This is something we are hoping to avoid as the impact and delays for families with siblings would be significant.  Therefore, we have found an alternative solution.  But it is a system which we will have to robustly monitor over the first few weeks.  It is dependent on families working together to be sensible and mindful of other families in the school grounds

Access to the buildings

Unfortunately, no parents will be allowed into our school buildings.  This includes the main school office which will be used as an entrance and exit for Year 6 children.  It will therefore not be possible to ‘quickly’ drop things into the school entrance.  This is non negotiable.  If your child forgets any of their belongings, you will not be able to bring them into school at drop off or during the day.  

If you need to speak to a member of staff, please call the main school office on 0191 8141455.  If the matter cannot be dealt with over the phone, the office will seek to make an appointment for you to come into school.  

The only exception to this will be to hand in medication for your child which will still need to be done in person by a parent/carer.  If you know your child will need medication in September, please bring this to the school office on the INSET day (Tuesday 1st September) between 9.00am and 12.00pm.   Thereafter, you should call to make an appointment before bringing medication into the school office.  

Access to the site

We know that families are used to socialising in the school yard and we are sad that this is not going to be possible.  But the DfE guidance is clear that we must actively discourage this.

Reception to Year 3 – Parents are welcome to come on to the school site, for drop off and pick up only but should come only at the appropriate time.  Parents should maintain social distancing from other families and staff and wait in their designated areas.  

Year 4 – Year 6 – Parents are not allowed on to the school site.  This reduces the need for up to 180 parents to be onsite.  Year 4 – Year 6 children are more than capable of saying goodbye at the school gate in the morning and meeting parents outside the gate after school.  

Entrance gates and doorways 

We have looked carefully at which entrance gates and doorways children across school will use each day.  For some year groups these are changing and may not be the doorway you expected.  This is to match our in school bubble arrangements and to spread out year groups leaving school at the end of the day.  Changing doorways for some year groups means that children of different phases and where possible year groups, can be kept apart.  Please see the summary information below to see which yard and doorways your child has to use and click here to see our site map with designated entrances. There will also be a great deal of signage put around the school site before children return to school to help guide you to the correct entrance and waiting areas.

If your child rides a bike or scooter to school, there will now be a bike rack in each yard near to the entrance for them to use.  Please do not use the existing bike sheds unless your child is in Year 4.  

The start of the school day

We will have a ‘soft’ start time for Reception to Year 5.  Children should come into school between 8.45am and 9.00am.  Year 6 children will have a ‘hard’ start time of 8.45am.   Learning will be set up and ready for all of our children as soon as they enter the building.  

Staff will be stationed at the doorway your child enters and their teacher will be waiting in the classroom ready for them to arrive and start their learning.  The learning from 8.45am-9.00am is being deliberately structured to enable children to arrive, sit down and get straight on independently.  All parents should leave the area immediately after drop off.  

The end of the school day

There is no safe way to dismiss children without the need for a staggered pick up.  Please see the summary information below for your child’s finish time.  Parents will need to arrive promptly at their designated time and wait in the designated area.  

Children in Year 4 – Year 6 will be dismissed from their school doorway.  Staff will no longer be responsible for your child once they have left staff at the doorway.  It is your responsibility to meet your child as they leave the school grounds.  It will be important that you agree on a place to meet your child.  For example, that could be next to the gate or on the path next to the staff car park.  Children will of course be reminded that if you are not there, to come back to the entrance they were dismissed from.  But it will be your responsibility to be on time.  

Summary of arrangements 

Year group Start time Finish time Specific arrangements
Nursery Nursery and children in the KEEP have received separate information
Reception class 8.45am – 9.00am 3.15pm Reception porch entrance as usual.  Families will have a designated waiting area in the KS1 yard and should enter and exit using the double gates.
Year 1 8.45am – 9.00am 3.20pm Y1 ramp entrance as usual.  Families will have a designated waiting area in the KS1 yard and should enter and exit using the double gates.
Year 2 8.45am – 9.00am 3.15pm Y2 to use the doorway next to the school garden, at the bottom of the KS2 yard.  Families will have a designated waiting area in the KS2 yard and should enter and exit using the double gates.
Year 3 8.45am – 9.00am 3.25pm Y3 to use the doorway next to the school garden, at the bottom of the KS2 yard.  Families will have a designated waiting area in the KS2 yard and should enter and exit using the double gates.
Year 4 8.45am – 9.00am 3.25pm Y4 to use the doorway at the bottom of the KS1 yard beside the sliding doors.  Children should enter and exit using the bike shed yard on Blanchland Terrace.  Parents do not come on site and arrange a place to meet just outside the site or children may walk home if allowed.
Year 5 8.45am – 9.00am 3.20pm Y5 to use the first doorway on the right when entering the KS2 yard.  Children leave via the KS2 yard. Parents do not come on site and arrange a place to meet just outside the site or children may walk home if allowed.
Year 6 8.45am 3.15pm Y6 to use the main entrance sliding doors.  Children leave via the KS1 yard.  Parents do not come on site and arrange a place to meet just outside the site or children may walk home if allowed.

Further information will follow regarding Friday afternoon arrangements. 

Siblings

If you have more than one child in school, please collect the child who finishes first before the others.  If you have siblings who finish at the same time, please meet or collect your youngest child first.  

Should families not actively socially distance and arrive and leave the site promptly, then we will have to review the start and finish arrangement.  This could lead to having seven different start and finish times across school.  So thank you in advance for your support and your understanding with this as we know this is very different for us all.  If we can work together, we will be able to achieve the safest and swiftest possible start and end to the school day.  

Thank you

Miss Byrne

Headteacher

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