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PARK HILL PREPARATORY SCHOOL 31st august 2020

From the Headmaster:

Welcome and Farewell...

As I alluded to on my video, we welcome many more families this year, joining classes across the whole school. I am sure you join me, indeed many of you have already kindly arranged playdates and extended the socially distanced handshake of friendship to our new families. I very much look forward to welcoming you all officially on Wednesday all suited and booted for the start of term.

We have one more welcome to make, albeit with somewhat mixed emotions. Miss Michelle Gambi will be joining our school as the new secretary. Over the summer period, Mrs Blower (who joined on the same day I did four years ago) accepted a similar school secretary position in a school nearer to her new home and Mrs Watts, who had been with the school for sixteen years, felt the time was right for her to also move on to new ventures. I shall very much miss working alongside them both, not least as they have been so supportive and contributed so significantly to make the school the success it is today.

Whilst Michelle has large shoes to fill I am very excited about the prospect of working with her. She has previously worked in a variety of fields including client relationships for a large multinational company and as an executive assistant to a CEO, CDO and Managing Director for Private Equity Firms and Project Management Firms. She is highly creative and digitally literate and I am delighted that we have appointed someone of her calibre. She will bring her considerable experience to Park Hill and will no doubt greatly enhance the communication and processes currently in place. She is very much looking forward to meeting you all over the coming weeks.

Whilst we still have access to Mrs Blowers email, Miss Gambi will be using Secretary@ParkHillSchool.com as her main address for all communication. Nursery parents will continue to use Nursery@ParkHillSchool.com for all matters relating to sessions and fee related enquiries.

Tour of the School

Do please look out for a video that I will be posting in the newsletter section of our website tomorrow evening. The school site is looking very smart with a number of areas having a little facelift over the summer. The intention is that all of our children will be able to 'visit' their classroom in advance of Wednesday.

COVID-19

The underlying principle, indeed one that informs all that we do at Park Hill, is to simply do what is right for our children and whole community. It is this empathy and compassion that will ensure our children continue to thrive and prosper.

We have outlined below the measures we plan on taking to ensure the safety of all members of our community in managing the return to school. As always, we will continue to review the success of each measure, and adjust accordingly to maintain safety and quality. We will continue to monitor and seek advice from the relevant authorities to ensure high standards of care and hygiene.

Information - Opening of School 2nd September 2020

We have spent considerable time reviewing and ensuring full compliance with the latest advice from the Department for Education, details of which are contained in this letter.

The underlying principle, indeed one that informs all that we do at Park Hill, is to simply do what is right for our children and whole community. It is this empathy and compassion that will ensure our children continue to thrive and prosper.

As I have previously explained, we are incredibly fortunate by our very nature to enjoy smaller class sizes than not just local state schools but also most nearby independent schools. As a result we have an advantage at being able to implement the various regulations and requirements without necessarily impacting on provision, nor causing additional confusion or anxiety.

The physical and mental health of our children is critical to our plans detailed below.

Our school must be a welcoming and happy place, where our children relish their learning thanks to the talents and abilities of colleagues. We will ensure that it will be a calm and inviting place to return to and be mindful of how we deploy signage to manage movement around the site. Hygiene measures, such as hand washing, will continue to be calmly and sensitively reinforced to reduce anxiety. We will all ensure time each day is given for children to benefit from our excellent pastoral provision and care.

Requirements - Department for Education Measures and ILG Principles

The Department for Education have identified a series of measures in addition to the ILG Principles previously outlined. DfE Guidance ILG Principles

We shall adopt and strictly adhere to the following DfE measures -

  1. a requirement that people who are ill stay at home
  2. robust hand and respiratory hygiene
  3. enhanced cleaning arrangements
  4. active engagement with NHS Test and Trace

formal consideration of how to reduce contacts and maximise distancing between those in school wherever possible and minimise potential for contamination so far as is reasonably practicable

Contacts will be reduced and will (as much as possible) include:

  1. grouping children together
  2. avoiding contact between groups
  3. staff maintaining distance from pupils and other staff as much as possible

We shall also strictly adhere to the following systems of controls identified by DfE, by doing so we will effectively reduce risks in our school and create an inherently safer environment.

School Day, Breakfast Club and After School Activities

I am pleased to confirm that we are in a position to offer our full provision of Breakfast club (7.30am) and after school activities through to 5pm and the extended day through to 6pm. As is our normal process the online booking system for these will be opened on our website next Monday 31st August from 2pm.

School lunches will operate with our talented Chef Leon looking forward to creating a number of new dishes and clubs will return (both early morning and after school) from Monday 7th. Details will be provided to you on Tuesday 1st September.

In accordance with the guidance, children will not be mixed at these times to avoid contact between groups (ie.kept 2m apart).

Arrival

In light of the fact that we are able to offer our extended day, and based on previous demand/footfall, we do not anticipate there being a need to require specific drop off times as was necessary in the latter part of the summer term. In addition to the breakfast club (7.30am), we have the option of an early drop off between 8am and 8.05am and then the extended time from 8.15am through to 8.30am, with all children expected to be in their classroom ready for the start of lessons at 8.30am.

We would ask that any new children joining our nursery at the start of the academic year will arrive between 8.30am and 8.45am to ensure you have more time to ensure a smooth transition.

We will continuously review this and introduce set times for drop off should there be the need. Irrespective of this, the school day for all will still commence at 8.30am.

I regret that in line with the DfE regulations, we are expected to restrict access to the school site.

On arrival, ensuring a calm and welcoming environment, the process will be as follows:

Children and parents to walk up the slope (by the minibus)

I will greet each and everyone of you by the main school door (temperature check)

Parents to then make their way down the school steps to the pavement

Children to enter through side gate

Children will wash hands using soap and water at their allocated facility before going to class

Internal doors will be kept open to avoid contact and a route to each classroom identified

In Class

We will continue, wherever possible and appropriate, to place an emphasis on lessons taking place in an allocated area in the school grounds. We consider time outdoors and in the natural environment crucial for the health of our children.

Desks will be arranged to maintain social distancing rules as effectively as the space allows. Official guidance states that children do not need to adhere to the 2m requirement during the day. However, working areas are set to maximise distance between individuals.

Children will need to bring and then leave in school their own stationery. iPad devices will remain an essential tool and will be cleansed on arrival and again prior to dismissal.

Academic Provision

We are enormously proud of the unparalleled standard that we have set and the fact that all of our children at least met and the majority exceeding their academic targets for the academic year. We shall also continue to identify and support the individual learning needs of each of our children.

First Steps children will continue to enjoy a continuous provision within their airy classroom and separate outdoor area and toilet facilities as will Second Steps with their own shaded area and facilities.

Assemblies will sadly not be able to resume at St. Paul’s Church but will be provided via my zoom access, I do hope that you will all continue to join me on a Thursday morning from 9am.

Break Times

We are fortunate to have a great deal of outdoor space available to us, and similarly, we already use our space efficiently in the structure of break times prior to this outbreak.

Break will continue to take place as normal.

Individual classes will be allocated their own areas of the schools grounds, with surfaces cleaned prior to use and following each break.

Children will eat lunch either in their classrooms, in their allocated ‘outdoor classroom’ or in a controlled and managed way in the dining room when circumstances necessitate. Desks and tables will be wiped down and disinfected after they have eaten.

Moving around site

We have marked out safe distance indicators around site. Access to the toilets will be controlled to maintain distancing, and children expected to use the hand sanitiser on return to the classroom.

Home time

Parents are asked to wait on the pavement outside school and calmly respect social distancing measures. Children will be dismissed from the side gate from 3.30pm having been called one at a time from their classes. Children will wash their hands as they depart.

1530 -1540: Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2

1540 -1550: Year 3 to Year 6

1700 - Clubs

1800 - Latest collection from the extended day

I would be grateful, given the considerable logistics, that these times are strictly adhered to. Please contact the school office if you would like to discuss alternative arrangements.

Cleaning

The school will undertake a full disinfecting deep clean prior to the start of term. In addition to this, additional time has been allocated to disinfecting cleaning to take place each evening by our cleaning contractors.

Uniform

I very much look forward to seeing all of our children in their school uniform next Wednesday 2nd. On days where children have PE and Games or Adventure School, they should wear PE kit for that day.

Please do not hesitate to contact the school office if you have experienced any difficulty in obtaining uniform from our supplier AlleyCatz prior to the start of term.

Children will need a school cap, with sun protection applied prior to the start of the day as teachers will be unable to apply cream. Children are welcome to apply their own sun protection, ideally through a spray method.

Cycling and Scooting

I am very keen to encourage more of our children and families to cycle or scoot to school. I am hopeful that with the Government promoting such activities that we, as a school, can also encourage children to enjoy these modes of transport. Again, the physical and mental benefits of this are particularly important. As such, we have invested in additional secure bike and scooter racks for the front of school to encourage their use. Queens Road does now have width restrictions in place and a reduced speed limit of 20mph. I have applied for the road to be classed as a school street and await response from the council.

In the event of symptoms or positive case

Whilst we will be proactive and diligent I employing our systems of control, it is essential that you understand the steps that will be followed in the event of a child or member of staff becomes unwell with a new and persistent cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia).

They will be sent home and will follow this guidance -

They should self-isolate for at least 10 days and must arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus (COVID-19).

If they have tested positive whilst not experiencing symptoms but develop symptoms during the isolation period, they should restart the 10 day isolation period from the day they develop symptoms. Other members of their household (including any siblings) should self-isolate for 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms.

If a child is awaiting collection they will be moved to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door, depending on the age and needs of the child, with appropriate adult supervision.

Any members of staff who have helped someone with symptoms and any pupils who have been in close contact with them do not need to go home to self-isolate unless they develop symptoms themselves or if the symptomatic person subsequently tests positive or they have been requested to do so by NHS Test and Trace.

It is imperative that the following is understood:

book a test if you or your child are displaying symptoms. Staff and pupils must not come into the school if they have symptoms, and will be sent home to self-isolate if they develop them in school. All children can be tested, including children under 5, but children aged 11 and under will need to be helped by their parents/carers if using a home testing kit

provide details of anyone you or your child has been in close contact with if you were to test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or if asked by NHS Test and Trace

self-isolate if you have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), or if anyone in your household develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Anyone who displays symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can and should get a test. Tests can be booked online through the NHS testing and tracing for coronavirus website, or ordered by telephone via NHS 119 for those without access to the internet.

7. We will ask parents and staff to inform us immediately of the results of a test:

if someone tests negative, if they feel well and no longer have symptoms similar to coronavirus (COVID-19), they can stop self-isolating. They could still have another virus, such as a cold or flu – in which case it is still best to avoid contact with other people until they are better. Other members of their household can stop self-isolating.

if someone tests positive, they should follow the ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’ and must continue to self-isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of their symptoms and then return to school only if they do not have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste. This is because a cough or anosmia can last for several weeks once the infection has gone. The 10-day period starts from the day when they first became ill. If they still have a high temperature, they should keep self-isolating until their temperature returns to normal. Other members of their household should continue self-isolating for the full 14 days.

8. Upon receipt of a confirmed case, we will contact the local health protection team. The health protection team will work with schools in this situation to guide them through the actions they need to take. Based on the advice from the health protection team, schools must send home those people who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive, advising them to self-isolate for 14 days since they were last in close contact with that person when they were infectious.

Close contact means:

direct close contacts - face to face contact with an infected individual for any length of time, within 1 metre, including being coughed on, a face to face conversation, or unprotected physical contact (skin-to-skin)

proximity contacts - extended close contact (within 1 to 2 metres for more than 15 minutes) with an infected individual

travelling in a small vehicle, like a car, with an infected person

The health protection team will provide definitive advice on who must be sent home.

9. Household members of those contacts who are sent home do not need to self-isolate themselves unless the child, young person or staff member who is self-isolating subsequently develops symptoms. If someone in a class or group that has been asked to self-isolate develops symptoms themselves within their 14-day isolation period they should follow ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’. They should get a test, and:

if the test delivers a negative result, they must remain in isolation for the remainder of the 14-day isolation period. This is because they could still develop the coronavirus (COVID-19) within the remaining days.

if the test result is positive, you must inform us immediately, and isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of their symptoms (which could mean the self-isolation ends before or after the original 14-day isolation period). Their household should self-isolate for at least 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms, following ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’

We are not permitted to request evidence of negative test results or other medical evidence before admitting children or welcoming them back after a period of self-isolation.

10. Where a pupil is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical and/or public health advice, we will immediately offer them access to remote education. If a child is required to remain at home due to isolation, we will provide resources via our online platforms (Showbie/Tapestry), and if, and only if, the whole class is required to isolate, we will return to the full model employed in the Summer Term using Zoom live lessons and Showbie to provide the timetabled lessons.

Local Lockdown

If a situation arises whereby we are subject to a local lockdown, we will follow government guidelines. In previous examples around the United Kingdom, local lockdown has applied to gatherings and mixing of homes. We will follow the instructions received from the government, and will communicate this with you as soon as practicably possible.

The Park Hill Community

A key strength of our school has been the close and harmonious relationships across all areas of school life. The open relationship between families and teachers must be maintained and indeed enhanced. This is a challenge given the restriction of access to the school site. Therefore, I will be asking teachers to bring their children to the front of the school at the end of each day for that invaluable (socially distanced) chat and essential feedback. Put simply, we will double our efforts to ensure a continuous flow of information and communication despite the (understandable) restrictions in place. I would be grateful for your support, assistance and occasional patience as we navigate our communications and way into the new term.

Finally…

I am delighted that we are able to welcome you all back in strict adherence with the regulations. I am similarly pleased that we will continue to navigate the line between adhering to the DfE regulations whilst ensuring the children will be happy and thrive in our nurturing and positive environment.

We will continue to monitor the advice from the Department for Education and communicate to you any recommended or required alterations or amendments.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can provide you with any further information or support at this time.

Created By
Park Hill
Appreciate

Credits:

Alistair Bond