South Gloucestershire has the following guidance for parents and carers in PreSchool Settings, Child Minders, Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.
The following FAQs have been devised for parents and carers on what to expect and how to prepare their child for increased contact with schools/settings in the re-opening, which will be phased for Primary Schools.
Are schools/settings re-opening after half term?
All schools are already open in South Gloucestershire for the children of key workers (KW) and vulnerable group (VG) pupils. We have been encouraging vulnerable families to send their children to school as we believe that this is the safest place for them in the widest sense and are grateful to South Gloucestershire schools who do not want to see children’s learning compromised at a very difficult time. We have seen a number of settings remain open across the Local Authority and have ensured that there has been sufficient places for demand.
How will schools/settings open differently after half term?
The government has asked Early Years (EY) providers to open for all of their intake by June
Primary phase has been asked to open more widely to pupils from Nursery, Reception and Years 1 and 6, where it is safe to do so from June 1st.
What about other year groups?
The government has yet to issue its guidance to secondary phase education but there is an expectation that they will increase contact with Year 10 pupils and increase the offer to include Year 12 before the end of term.
How are schools preparing to open more widely and how will I know if my child will be getting a place and how to come to school?
All South Gloucestershire Early Years (EY) settings, primary and secondary schools are risk assessing their sites in relation to the need for social distancing.
They have been asked to prioritise as follows;
When they have risk assessed and converted their setting/school site for wider attendance at a safe distance, they will contact you and ask you about your needs and then explain what the changes will mean for you and your child.
Will all children in Year 1 and 6, Reception, Nursery and pre-schools get a full time place?
Schools and settings were not built for class sizes this small or with a need for this level of social distancing. Your school/setting leaders are going to accommodate as many pupils as they can safely do so whilst maintaining their existing commitments and the safety of everyone in school.
Will this opening happen in the w/b 1st June?
The government has confirmed that they will say whether they believe that it is safe to do so on the 28th May, so be prepared for changes in plans. All schools/settings will continue their offer to KW and VG on this date, the wider offer will then depend on what the schools are able to deliver based on their risk assessments.
I am a key worker how will things change for me and my child?
Schools have been asked to continue to prioritise the children of key workers, whose parents cannot work from home and vulnerable group pupils.
My school/setting has offered me a place for my child but I am afraid of sending them into the school/setting.
Schools/settings in South Gloucestershire care very much about the well-being of their workforce and their pupils/children. They and their Governing Bodies/Committees will not open unless they believe they can make this as safe as possible for all on site and the families they return to each day.
The government has decided that parents should be ‘strongly encouraged’ to have their children attend schools. However, parents will not be fined if they choose for their children not to attend school. We see this ultimately as a parental decision.
How might schools/settings look different?
England will be the first place in the UK to have a gradual return of some pupils in Early Years and primary phase; however there are some places where this is underway elsewhere in Europe.
This article on Denmark’s educational settings, shows some of the things that your children can expect if they return to schools/settings in June or July.
Schools and settings in England have a different context and they are recommending smaller groups than the UK government, however some of the pictures in this article are helpful in starting to visualise how schools/settings will have changed since your child was last attending.
How can parents/carers support their child and settings/schools in preparing for increased contact with settings/schools?
Start to increase the number of times that you encourage your child to wash their hands and support them in maintaining social distance.
Look at how they could walk or cycle to the school/setting to reduce congestion and because being outdoors is a safer space and practice the journey together.
Read settings’/schools’ joining instructions, most will not want parents and other adults on site and will have set out safe entry and exit points.
Arrive at the time you are asked to attend and don’t arrive early or linger later.
Explain any changes in behaviour policies to your child, social distancing is really important and although schools/settings and pupils have missed each other, it’s important that we keep each other safe.
Schools/settings will tell you what children can/should wear and whether they can bring any kit or food with them; make your child aware of any changes.
It will help if you can explain that they will be in different groups to March and may have a different class teacher/TA/setting worker. This is because class sizes will be halved at least. Pupils will be in a “pod” or group with the same adults/s. This will mean that if there were a
case of C-19 that just the class would be sent home for self-isolation. The setting/school environment will also look different, so engaging them in conversations about their day and the changes will be really important.
Support for families away from schools.
The guidance and access to testing is changed and updated regularly, so it is worth following the link to the latest guidance.
This link is updated regularly and subject to change.