We would like to invite those of you who do not have children in school this week, to collect your child's work and their report on FRIDAY 3rd JULY at the following times
Year 6 9.30-9.45
Year 5 9.45-10
Year 4 10-10.15
Year 3 10.15-10.30
Year 1&2 10.30-10.45
Nursery - Separate arrangements, please see email from Mrs Hiller regarding check in visits.
Please come in through the top pedestrian gate and exit through the middle gate. Please observe the 2m markings and social distancing and hygiene procedures including using the hand gel provided. If you have more than one child in the school, the books and reports will be ready for oldest pupil so please attend at that time.
Looking forward to seeing when you come to collect. It would be lovely if you bring the children with you to say hello too!
As we move towards a new school year (even though we do not know what the will look like yet!), we have to consider our class organisation.
We have though about the best way to ensure continuity of care and peace of mind for parents and pupils. We have looked at ways to try and give the children a familiar face as they move up whilst still having the new face that some of them will be looking forward to.
We are going to form into mixed age groups throughout the school with teachers taking a team teaching approach, so we will have two registration classes and two teachers but the children will be taught by both teachers during the course of the week.
We are sending out letters early this week to ask you if you would like to help us with our class organisation by giving the names of up to 3 other children in their year group that your child has close friendships with. We cannot guarantee your child will be with all three of the friends noted, but we will make sure that there is at least one person in their group. If you have a child who has no strong preferences please note that too. Ordinarily we would send a paper copy but given the current situation we will email you the letter and request that you either edit and reply to the document or cut and paste the section at the bottom into an email and send it back to the class teacher that sent the letter out to you.
The class organisation is as follows
Early Years - Nursery and Reception - Mrs Hiller and Mrs Lloyd/Mrs Hughes
Year 1/2 - Two Classes - Mrs Pearce and Miss Jones
Year 3/4 - Two Classes - Miss Williams and Mrs Roberts
Year 5/6 - Two Classes - Mr Woodcock and Mr Oldfield
You can see from this list that Miss Cross is missing! This is because she is going back to her roots and has accepted a teaching job in Early Years across the border in England. We offer many congratulations to her and wish her every success. We will all miss her.
As we mentioned last week we have school reports and the exercise books that the pupils worked in prior to lock down ready.
The reports and books for your entire family will be sent out with the children if they are in this week. The oldest child will be given the books and reports to bring home for you.
If you do not have a child in school this week, you will be invited to come in to collect their reports and books this Friday (appointment times to follow).
As you will be aware from the letter you received yesterday, Flintshire County Council have made the decision to close all school in Flintshire as of July 17th, a week earlier than we had hoped for or had originally been planned.
As yet we have not been told what the emergency childcare situation will be for those of you who will be needing it in the summer.
We are also uncertain what they beginning of the new school year will look like and like you, we are waiting for announcements from the Welsh Government as to what the experience will be like for our pupils.
However, Covid aside, there are end of school year jobs that still need to be done!
School Reports - We are just finishing off the reports ready for next week. We have used a template provided us by Flintshire County Council to give you a snapshot of your child's progress up to March 20th. We also have pupils' workbooks to get out to you. The books and reports will be handed out to the oldest child in the family as they come into school for their check in sessions next week. Those families who will not be in school next week will be invited to collect the books and reports from school on Friday 3rd July. You will be contacted with a time slot towards the end of the week. If you are unable to collect at that time further appointments will be offered. If you are coming into school for collection on 3/7, please come at the allotted time and observe the social distancing and hygiene procedures put in place.
Moving Up Day - not possible this year for obvious reasons but rest assured once we are open completely the children will be supported and allowances made for the change in environment, staffing and routines. A letter will be sent out on Monday 29th regarding class organisation and staffing for the coming 12 months.
Year 6 Leavers' service - also not possible as we know it! However Miss Cross is working on different elements of a service that can be videoed and put together to create a virtual Leavers' Service. The children who are coming into school will do some work on it in the coming weeks and those of you who are not coming in will be invited to send their contributions in. No one will be left out of the process but can year 6 parents keep checking their email box and google classroom accounts to see what is needed. We will be having the usual award giving, without actually giving the awards just yet!
Free School Meals - As usual at the end of the year, we ask you to consider if you are eligible for FSM. The WG pays an extra grant for FSM pupils so the larger the number of FSM we have, the larger our budget is for the benefit of the whole community. If you need any advice about eligibility email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are likely to be having a great many important messages in the coming weeks. Please keep checking back to our website and Twitter as well as you emails to keep up to date and please share with anyone who may not be accessing this information online.
Thank you for your support, understanding and patience over the past three months. I am grateful to you all for everything you have done to assist your child’s learning, your child’s school and the local authority at this difficult time.
This letter will provide you with further information in respect of school-based learning for all pupils and emergency childcare provision for eligible children available in Flintshire for the rest of the summer term which will now end as originally planned on 17 July.
This is because Welsh Government and the trade unions have not been able to reach a common position on the proposal to extend the summer term by one week to 24 July, as previously announced by the Education Minister Kirsty Williams. We would have hoped to have seen these issues resolved but in the absence of a national agreement, the Council has had to make a decision to be able to give schools sufficient time to plan properly. There would be no guarantee that schools would have sufficient staff available to deliver the fourth week safely on voluntary basis as staff are not contractually obliged to work in the holidays. The Council has a duty to ensure the safety of its pupils and staff first and foremost.
Check in, Catch up and Prepare
As a result of the Minister for Education’s recent announcement in respect of the reopening of schools, the local authority is keen to work with schools and parents/carers to ensure all pupils benefit from an opportunity to check in with their schools, catch up with their peers and teachers, and prepare for the next school year.
From Monday 29 June, Flintshire schools will start to accept their own pupils to attend identified sessions and this information will be shared with you directly by your child/children’s school(s).
As a result of the legislation around maintaining social distancing of 2 metres and to ensure the health and safety of all learners and staff, schools will not be operating full time provision for all pupils during this three week period and neither will this be a return to the teaching of the full curriculum. Not all pupils will return at once and, when they do return, the school day might start and end at different times for different learners. This may include different arrangements for siblings of different ages, attending the same school.
Because every school building is different in its size and layout, and because each school will have differing numbers of staff available to return to work, there will not be a standard offer for each child in Flintshire for this ‘check in, catch up and prepare’ period. Each school, based on its own risk assessments, will be making an offer its pupils of the number and timing of contact sessions. Welsh Government has made it clear to schools and to councils that decisions on how to operate for this short return to school before the summer holidays can be made at a school level. Each school will communicate their specific arrangements directly to parents via their normal methods of keeping in touch.
However, Flintshire County Council has made one key decision that is to be adopted by all primary schools for this period which is that Nursery aged children will not be allowed to return to school before the summer holidays. This is because very young children will not be able to maintain safe social distancing. It is also because the close and sometimes intimate care that these very young children need will be difficult to manage in school settings and could put themselves and the staff who care for them potentially at greater risk. The changes to the way schools will be operating may also be unsettling for very young children. Many other councils across Wales have made a similar decision.
Plans to ensure a carefully organised return for nursery children when they will be transitioning into Reception classes in September will be developed in the near future, as will suitable induction opportunities for the new cohort of children due to start Nursery in the autumn term.
It is important to note that, during this period, parents and carers are free to decide whether to send their children to school. Should parents/carers decide not to send their children to school during this summer term, they will not be penalised. If you choose not to send your children to school, they will continue to receive the same home-to-school support they have received so far.
When your child returns to school, there will be a focus upon pupil wellbeing and on an enjoyment of outdoor learning, where and when this is practical, in their particular learning environment. There will be an opportunity to discuss with them how their distance learning has been going and some limited opportunities to engage in some other activities to practice key skills e.g. literacy and numeracy. As this will be strange time for all pupils, regardless of their age, schools are being encouraged by Welsh Government to think carefully about the programme of catch up sessions being offered which will also continue to be supplemented by online learning.
Emergency childcare support for key workers and vulnerable children
In light of the decision to open schools for all learners to touch base before the summer holidays, there will be significant changes to our emergency childcare provision which we need to implement as a matter of some urgency.
On Friday 19 June, Flintshire’s emergency childcare hubs will close. From Monday 22 June until Friday 17 July emergency childcare will be provided at your child’s own school with the same operating hours as already provided and with the same support for catering and transport. Places will continue to be booked through your child’s school.
Please be aware that Welsh Government rules continue to apply for these places e.g. children of key workers or those identified as vulnerable. The number of places available will be limited as schools try to continue offering this provision as well as giving other children the chance to ‘check in, catch up and prepare.’ Parents are asked to only consider using this emergency childcare if there is no suitable alternative provision for their children and if they meet the Welsh Government definition of key workers.
Parents/carers are advised that the Council is currently not in a position to confirm whether emergency childcare provision will be available during the school summer holiday period (ie between Monday 20 July and Tuesday 1 September). We are waiting further advice from Welsh Government.
Separate Childcare and ‘Check In’ Groups – reducing the risk of transmission
Based on the Welsh Government guidance, Flintshire’s position is that children should not be switching between the emergency childcare group and the ‘check in/catch up sessions’. This increases the risk of transmitting the virus between different cohorts of pupils. Our advice is that children who have accessed the emergency childcare to date need to be kept in that cohort for rest of the summer term. In reality, this cohort have already had a considerable amount of contact time with familiar staff which has enabled them to ‘check in and catch up’.
Pupils arriving for the new ‘check in’ sessions will be kept separate. If a parent requests that their child accesses the catch up sessions, they cannot then access the childcare provision for the remainder of the summer term. Parents will need to make a choice of one or the other. If an eligible parent choses for their child to access ‘check in and catch up’ from 29th June rather than the emergency childcare, as long as they are not showing any symptoms of Coronavirus, there is no reason why their child can’t join their first designated catch up session but then they only access those designated catch up sessions going forward.
Bringing in things from home, provision of meals, wearing uniform
Welsh Government guidance outlines that bringing items from home should be kept to a minimum and this is one of the reasons why a decision was made by the Council to provide packed lunches for all pupils for this short period before the end of term at no charge.
As water fountains will not be safe for use during this period of time, it is not unreasonable to allow pupils to bring a bottle of water from home but this should be clearly named and not shared with anyone else. Similarly, other essential equipment e.g. pencil case, would be permitted but again, pupils will be discouraged from bringing any other unnecessary items with them.
Pupil will be encouraged to wear school uniform but schools will be flexible, acknowledging that many will have grown out of clothing and shoes and parents will want to wait for the start of the new academic year before investing in new uniform. Clothing should be easily washable. Schools will provide more advice on this matter.
Children who may be unwell
We are asking parents to check that their child is not showing any symptoms of Coronavirus or any other illness before sending them into school.
There are clear guidelines for schools to manage pupils who may develop symptoms of Coronavirus during the day and parents/ carers would be contacted immediately.
With the new arrangements in place to manage learners safely, schools will not have the capacity to look after lots of children who become unwell with the usual childhood ailments during the day and make calls for pupils to be collected. For this reason we are asking parents/carers to make the decision in the morning whether or not they should attend rather than send them in and ‘see how they go’. This will help to keep the numbers of poorly pupils to an absolute minimum.
Pupils entitled to Free School Meals
Since 18 May Flintshire has made direct payments to all those parents eligible for free school meals who supplied us with their bank account details. These payments will continue for the three week period when schools reopen and through the summer holidays.
A return to more normal arrangements for the payment of school meals and the provision of free school meals is being developed for September and will be communicated nearer the time.
We are keen to do everything possible to reassure you of our collective efforts in the Council and in our schools to support the emotional and physical wellbeing of learners during the weeks ahead. All schools have received significant support and guidance materials to enable them to plan for reopening and to operate safely.
We look forward to seeing as many children as possible before the end of the summer term. If you have further questions regarding the provision for your children, these should now be directed to the schools they attend.
Chief Officer, Education & Youth
Thank you all for your patience as we have organised our partial re-opening of the school. Staff have worked incredibly hard to get the school, the timetables and the lessons sorted in order that we can make the return to school for the Check in, Catch up and Prepare for September sessions as safe and enjoyable as possible.
We have tried to make the system as simple and effective as we can, but we are aware that these session times and dates will not be perfect for everyone and for that we can only apologise. I wish we could meet everyone’s needs but it is simply not possible.
As we previously said we would offer one session a week for each child. This will be a five-hour session at the same time as the rest of their year group. With a maximum of three groups of juniors and three groups of infants attending at any one time. There will be no physical contact between the different groups but they will be able to see and hear each other between classes and video conferences will be held between classes so they can talk to each other.
The weekly timetable is this
Monday Year 6 & Year 1
Tuesday Year 4 & Year 2
Wednesday Year 5
Thursday Year 3 & Reception
Friday Distance Learning
The year groups are arranged into groups A, B and C. You will be told in a separate email which group your child is in.
Drop Off 9am
Pick Up 2pm
Drop Off 9.15 am
Pick Up 2.15 pm
Drop Off 9.30 am
Pick Up 2.30 pm
From this you can see that with two groups only arriving at the gates, the maximum number arriving will be 16 (2 groups of 8)
If you have indicated that your child will be returning to school for the check in sessions, you will receive an email shortly will full details of the groupings and with extra information to help you prepare the children for their return to what will be a very different school experience for them. If, after you have read the email, you have further questions please do not hesitate to get in touch either with me, Julie Reece or your child's class teacher.
As you will be aware, the Welsh Government has given us permission to open schools, in a very limited way, for 4 weeks from Monday June 29th. We would like to offer children the opportunity to come in one day a week for a total of 4 sessions. We understand that this is a difficult decision for many people, so we have put together some information to help you decide what to do.
Why send your children in- The idea behind these sessions is that children will get an opportunity to spend some time back in school before the summer break. They will see familiar faces of friends and teachers but will only work in small groups so contact will be limited. They can discuss any issues they have had with distance learning and we can prepare them for this to continue in September IF the school is not fully open at that time. We can get them on track and prepared for the social distancing that will be needed in the new school year and take away that extra worry of what that will be like. We can start our Well Being curriculum, giving the children a chance to explore their feelings and helping to give them the tools to cope as the pandemic continues. We know, from our many conversations with parents, that children have been struggling with the isolation during lockdown and this may be a starting point to help them. We can give them some basic skills maths and language work and ideas for home learning. We can give our Y2 pupils some work to transition to being in the juniors and give our Year 6 pupils the closure they need, saying goodbye to their primary education, friends and teachers and to help them look forward to their high school experience.
Social distancing and hygiene
· Children will be put into small groups with less than 8 children in each class.
· They will have a set time to attend and leave so only 8 children arrive at any entrance at any time.
· Social distancing is in place in each class, with tables 2m apart. We recognise this is difficult especially in the Foundation Phase, but we have experience of working this way in the hubs for the last few months and the staff will be vigilant and give reminders as necessary.
· Children will have separate toilet facilities from other classes.
· We will use natural ventilation of classrooms and will as spend as much time outside as the weather allows, in our separate, designated areas.
· Each classroom with have hand washing facilities.
· School cleaners will work during the day and clean the classrooms and facilities regularly.
· Personal Protective Equipment is provided for staff dealing with pupils who have had accidents such as cuts and bumps.
What happens next- We will be sending out a questionnaire later today. It will ask you the name and year group of your children. We would like you to fill out a questionnaire for each child as we realise that you may feel differently about different aged children attending. Please complete this questionnaire by Thursday 11th 2pm. Once this is done, I will release a timetable, hopefully early next week, to let you know when the sessions are. We understand that this is a lot to take in. The safety of pupils, parents and staff is of concern to all of us. We hope this may have answered some of your questions. The decision whether to attend these sessions is personal to you and we will understand whatever you decide.
Please see below the press statement that was issued by Flintshire County Council on their website yesterday.
Preparing for an increase in school operations
We welcome the Education Minister’s announcement today that schools can begin to prepare for an increase in operations from 29 June until 24 July 24 to enable pupils to check in, catch up, and prepare for September.
During this period of school closure, we have successfully delivered a safe model of emergency childcare by working in partnership with our schools and other council services. Schools have also worked very creatively to maintain pupil engagement in learning though a variety of means. It is clear that they will have to operate in a very different way for the foreseeable future, providing a combination of face to face and remote learning – a blended learning approach.
Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Education and Youth, Councillor Ian Roberts, said:
“It is important that we start to allow pupils to return before the beginning of the summer holidays. This time will allow them to rekindle friendships, review how their learning has been going with their teachers and be supported in readiness for the autumn term, particularly if they are at key points of transition. However, the Minister has clearly indicated that it is for parents to decide if their children should return and the usual attendance requirements will not be in place during this time.
“Staff, pupils, parents and carers will be given as much notice as possible about the individual arrangements in their schools so they have time to prepare for a smooth and safe return.”
Flintshire’s Chief Officer for Education and Youth, Claire Homard, said:
“We have started already to work very closely with head teachers to plan how schools will operate from 29 June and we will update you as soon as we have finalised those plans.
“We appreciate that at this point there may be many questions that pupils and families will have but please be assured that the Council and its schools will seek to address these in the next few weeks and will communicate with you regularly.”
We would like to reassure our school workforce, our pupils and their families that everyone’s safety and wellbeing will be at the core of our planning and preparations. We have well established routines of social distancing and hygiene in all our hub settings which can be transferred into every school. We have detailed guidance, suitable risk assessments and appropriate resources to support our schools in their planning and preparations for reopening and at all times be working within the Welsh Government’s ‘Stay Safe, Stay Learning’ policy framework.
I expect further details of how we can offer some contact time in school for our pupils soon. Once we have more information we will let you know what that contact time will look like for your child. We will be sending out a questionnaire next week along with details of how 'classroom bubbles' will work. Please wait until you have all the information and then make an informed judgement on whether or not you wish to take the 'check in, catch up and prepare' time that is arranged for your child.
Many of you will have seen the Minister's announcement today and probably most of you, like the staff, will have had conflicting emotions. It is understandable that we should feel concern as well as happiness.
As a school we have been planning for pupils coming back, at some point before the end of the school year. We have plans in place to allow limited numbers of pupils into the building whilst adhering to the social distancing and hygiene guidelines in accordance with the Minister's statement.
Whilst we have our own ideas for how this will work within our school building, we still need to follow the Welsh Government and Local Authority directives and it has been made clear we will receive this information next week.
So from June 29th we will be open to pupils but as yet I cannot tell you what that will look like. Once we have had all the relevant information from Welsh Government and the Local Authority, we will set out exactly what we will be doing with regard to safety and when your child will be able to access the school building for their 'check in, catch up and prepare' sessions.
As we always say, you need to do what is right for you and your family but I urge you to wait until we, and then you, have all the information and then make a decision about returning before the end of the school year.
Once we know how it will work we will be in touch again. In the meantime remember 3 and a half weeks is a long time and hopefully things will change for the better. As a staff we are all desperate to see your children and are missing doing our jobs as we used to. We will look forward to seeing smiling faces on 29th June.
Keep well and stay safe
Nice to be back in the office this morning and getting things organised for the term ahead. This half term is normally one of our busiest! And this year is no exception. We do not know yet, when or if, we will be opening our doors to the children, but we are planning for all eventualities!
For those heading to high schools, Ysgol Treffynnon has already sent out some resources they would like us to share with you and these have gone on google classrooms. Flint High School are in the process of arranging a virtual tour of the school for their new pupils and we will retweet that as soon as it is available. They are also planning to do a video Q&A for new pupils. They will be getting in touch with parents soon. I would suggest you start following the Twitter account of your high school to be as soon as you can to make sure you don't miss out.
Class Teachers have posted their new topic work online today. Tasks that your children can access if they are able to. Remember you do not need to complete this work online and if you would like to pop down to school we have exercise books and paper available if you are running short. We can also supply pencils and pens etc if you need them. I will leave the resources by lost property. You can also collect free period products from school.
With regard to lost property, thank you to all those who have been to collect the items. Anything that is not labelled and is unclaimed by the Friday (5th) with be removed from the school site. Once the table is cleared we will start the process of getting other pupil property, notably pencil cases, removed from the building so you can take them home, clean them and reuse them as necessary (This will start on Monday 8th). If your child has left something in class, for example a toy they have brought in and forgotten to take home, please inform the class teacher so it can be found and left for you to collect.
And finally a big thank you to Mr Downes who has put together another video to, hopefully, entertain the children.
I will check back in with you as soon as we have any news on school opening and on how we will put safety measures in place. In the meantime, keep doing what you can, remember that our tasks are there to help you but there are lots of other ways your children are learning from you so please do not panic if these tasks are too much for your family to complete and get in touch if we can help.
Mr Cass, Headteacher