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Returning to Hatherop September 2020

Contents

  1. From the Headmaster
  2. The Curriculum Provision and Operations
  3. Safety Procedures and Protocols
  4. The Role of Online Learning

Part 1 – From the Headmaster

The past few months have been challenging for everyone, but I have been extremely heartened with how the Hatherop community, young and old have pulled together and supported one another. It has been a steep learning curve for everyone! We have guessed, second guessed and then guessed again about what the government would and will advise and then how it will impact our school community. I do hope that one thing that has been a constant during this period is our unwavering dedication and support to our pupils and families with the one intention to do the very best for our pupils.

We were delighted that we were able to enable the majority of our pupils to return to school before the end of term and it was certainly a highlight for us as staff to see the children back in school and the corridors and outside spaces filled with child chatter and activity. I was so pleased that the efforts made to re-open the school and with the evolving provision we provided for home learning was recognised by the parent body. The comments I received were reassuring and helpful in our pursuit to get the children back to school and to ensure their learning was not adversely affected.

We have spent the past few weeks planning for all the children to return to school on Wednesday 9th September and although we do not know for certain what the start of term will bring we have made plans based on a number of scenarios and have closely followed the evolving government advice. By imagining and then planning for the different possible scenarios we may face in September I believe we are set up to step into the new academic year with confidence and enthusiasm.

It is so important we preserve the best that emerged from this period – how the pupils coped with uncertainty and change, how the staff adapted their educational methods, how we embraced a new way of doing things and how we worked closely with you, our parent body.

I am sharing with you our plans and initiatives for the start of term. Our plans for all the children returning capitalise on what we have learnt from the past few months, take our educational and wellbeing provision for your child to the next level and prepare us should a second wave require a localised lockdown or a member of the school community contract Covid-19 and force us to close some or all of the school.

Thank you once again for your support during the Summer Term, and for your encouragement and feedback. I hope you all have had a relaxing and enjoyable summer break and we are looking forward to seeing you children in September.

As ever, please do contact me if you have any questions regarding your children returning to school in September.

Best Wishes

Nigel Reed

Headmaster

Part 2 - The Curriculum Provision and Operations

Timetable and Provision

We are very pleased to be able to go back to a full timetable and the full quota of lessons we were able to offer before the coronavirus pandemic. Pupils will be given their timetable as usual in the first week of term.

Wellbeing

There will be an increased focus on wellbeing for both pupils and staff to help them emotionally process the lockdown experience. Any concerns or strategies will be discussed with parents and you will be kept informed every step of the way. It is also important that you contribute and if you have any worries or any information to give us, please contact your child’s form teacher.

Catch up

Our online school provision meant that pupils were able to have access to the core academic requirements of the curriculum. This has put them in a really good place. However, we are well aware that coronavirus pandemic will have had an impact. Therefore, we aim to hit the ground running; there will be an increased academic focus throughout the school to address any issues. Teachers will work closely together with the teacher from the child’s previous year group to make sure progress is being made. We will be using assessment in the first few weeks to inform and tailor the curriculum to meet the needs of our pupils. In addition to the usual teacher assessment, pupils in Prep 3-6 will be completing a standardised assessment called InCAS and pupils in P 7&8 will complete MidYIS and that will inform us of each pupil’s attainment level compared to their peers across the country in Maths, English and reasoning.

HILT and Prep

For children in the Prep School we have moved the timetabled HILT sessions to the end of the day from 3.45 – 4.30pm. These sessions will be held with your child’s form teacher and will be used to assist the children with their Prep, any areas of learning where they need to catch up or focus on and allow time for additional pastoral support. The after school Prep provision (5.30pm – 6.10pm) will continue.

The Learning Environment

The learning environment for EYFS will return to normal as much as possible and the classrooms are being prepared. Older EYFS pupils will be encouraged not to touch each other when playing inside, and all staff will continue to fully teach and care for children as required. Equipment will continue to be regularly cleaned but many of the learning resources that were removed, such as soft toys, can now return, but will remain only for EYFS use and disinfected regularly.

Prep 1 – 8 can now have pupils sitting closer together but all children will sit side by side to reduce face to face contact. Teachers will arrange the classroom accordingly. Pupils in Pre-Prep will continue to have a pack of frequently used stationery each. However, shared class resources such as books or games can be shared within the class and wiped down at the end of the day. Any resources being shared between bubbles will be cleaned before moving from one classroom to the other. For Prep School children we ask that each child has a pencil case named with their own pens, pencils, scissors, glue sticks etc. This prevents the need to sharing stationary.

Use of other facilities

To avoid movement around the school and the mixing of bubbles, Music and Drama lessons will happen in the classroom/PAC for Pre-Prep and in the Music Room for Prep. Computer Science lessons will return to the ICT room which will be cleaned regularly. Prep 1 and 2 will not have Computer Science on the same day as Prep to ensure that bubbles do not use the same indoor space or equipment before it is cleaned. Computers will be wiped down after each group use and hand sanitiser will be used at the beginning of each lesson.

Nursery and Reception Ballet will resume again in the Dr Moorhead room. The sessions will be on Monday afternoons; 3pm for Nursery and 3.30pm for Reception children. The change of time is to avoid the busy lunchtime period.

Events and Assemblies

Unfortunately, whole school events such as school productions cannot happen at the moment but we will still be having Celebration Assembly for pupils on Wednesdays. Unfortunately, we are unable to welcome parents in for these assemblies at the moment. There will not be chapel services to start with, but this will be reviewed as the term progresses.

We are also planning to be creative with events, if the restrictions continue, and use the technology we already have in place to make sure key events that normally happen in the Autumn Term can take place.

We are working with the Parents’ Association as well to provide some virtual community events, and more information about these events will be communicated during the term.

Games and Fixtures

PE and Games will return to full provision with Pre-Prep, Middle School and Upper School having games separately. We will be assessing guidance on fixtures on a regular basis but have currently cancelled all fixtures until half term. In the absence of fixtures, we are planning a number of different possibilities, such as a house matches and internal leagues to bring in some competitive sport. Due to the guidance around some contact sports, the boys will play football and the girls will play hockey at the start of term. We will always keep up to date with guidance and review our provision as term progresses. Games kit can stay in school during the week, but will need to go home at the end of the week for washing.

Pre-Prep Swimming

Swimming is under constant review and we have provisionally booked Cricklade Leisure Centre after October half term. Aside from the Covid-19 restrictions, Cricklade Leisure Centre is also currently being refurbished and so remains closed. We will keep you informed regarding when the children will be able to resume the swimming curriculum.

After School Activities and Prep

Pupils will remain in their Prep and Pre-Prep bubbles for After School Clubs. Pupils will be dismissed from same places at the end of the club sessions in the same way as at the end of the school day. See details of drop off and collections later in the booklet.

There will continue to be a Prep Session for pupils in the Prep School from 5.30pm – 6.10pm for those pupils who wish to stay.

Trips

When we return to school our focus will be on continuing our academic provision and making sure the children are safe and secure, therefore we have not organised any school trips throughout the first half of the Autumn term. However, we are looking at replacing trips by bringing in experts into school and organising activities on site linked to the curriculum.

We are expecting our Cumulus outdoor programme to continue as planned in September and further details regarding this will be circulated in due course.

Minibus Service

As our bus service is classified as a ‘dedicated service’ pupils do not have to adhere to the one metre plus rule that they do on public transport. In addition, the pupils do not have to wear face masks. This means that our bus service will resume as normal and you should have received communication about this. For more information please contact Simon Bristow.

There will, of course, be increased safety measures put in place and we will be using the following guidelines:

  • Pupils are allowed to travel on a bus with another bubble. However, pupils will sit within their bubble and not mix wherever possible.
  • Pupils will be given hand sanitiser upon boarding and disembarking.
  • There will be additional cleaning of vehicles.
  • Organised queuing and boarding keeping bubbles apart, wherever possible will be in place.
  • Distancing within vehicles wherever possible will also happen.

The Minibus service will leave school at 4.30pm each evening to take children home.

Parents Evenings and Events in school

As parents are restricted to coming in to the school buildings, we are adapting how we present information to parents. For any events where parents come into school, such as the curriculum evening, we will be delivering these via Zoom. Parents' evening will be with your child’s Form Teacher via either Zoom or MS Teams. More information on this will follow.

Boarding

De Mauley House will be open from the start of the Michaelmas term and we are able to welcome boarders back in the Prep School (P3 – P8) during the week and weekends. We have adopted the BSA Covid Safety Charter and will continue to work closely with them and to implement any changes necessary to keep the children safe. Full and weekly boarders will be expected back from 6.30pm on Tuesday 8th September. Due to the small numbers of boarding families returning, we are allowing parents into school and in the boarding house to help their child settle and to say goodbye. We do ask that all parents wear a mask when in the school building.

As the Prep School will be operating as a single bubble we are able to offer ad hoc and regular boarding in its usual form, if you would like your child to board please contact Mrs Holmes by email: rebecca.holmes@hatheropcastle.co.uk. Weekend trips will take a more local feel this term as well as having more activities on site. We are also in the fortunate position to make use of Westonbirt’s extensive facilities. The Cotswold Flyer will be operating as usual as well for those that choose to use it.

Peripatetic Lessons

We are planning that all peripatetic music and drama lessons will return in September either in person at school or via video calling during the school day. Further details will be communicated via the various departments and teachers in due course.

Part 3 - Safety Procedures and Protocols

The Coronavirus Symptoms

The most important guidance that remains in place is that if your child has any symptoms of the coronavirus they must stay at home for 10 days and your family should isolate for 14 days.

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Someone starting to show coronavirus symptoms in school

If anyone in the school 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 must be sent home and advised to follow the stay at home guidance from the government. This guidance explains that they should self-isolate for at least 10 days and should arrange a test via the online portal, to see if they have coronavirus (COVID-19). Boarders will be isolated in our sick bay and if possible sent home. The school has been provided with some home testing kits, but these are to be used in exceptional circumstances where a child or staff member is not able to organise a test.

If a pupil or staff member starts to show symptoms in school, we will always err on the side of caution. If it were a pupil, we understand that this could be a worrying experience for them. We would do our best not to panic the child and communicate in a caring and calm tone and move them to the medical area away from other pupils. Parents would then be contacted and if necessary, pupils will be moved to another class until their classroom has been deep cleaned. PPE equipment (mask, gloves, goggles and apron) would be worn by the member of staff attending to the pupil at this time.

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 (in which case, they should arrange a test) or if the symptomatic person subsequently tests positive (see below) or they have been requested to do so by NHS Test and Trace.

However, any areas in which the pupil has been will immediately be cleaned thoroughly and all pupils will wash their hands immediately.

What happens if Hatherop has a confirmed case of the coronavirus?

If a pupil at Hatherop has been tested and has a confirmed case of the coronavirus, the school will take swift action by contacting the local health protection team. This team will also contact us if they become aware that one of our community has the coronavirus through the NHS Test and Trace.

The health protection team will carry out a rapid risk assessment to confirm who has been in close contact with the person during the period that they were infectious, and ensure they are asked to self-isolate. The health protection team will work with schools in this situation to guide them through the actions they need to take and will provide definitive advice on who must be sent home. We will contact all parents as soon as possible.

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, they should inform the school immediately, and should 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.

Hygiene and cleaning

The new levels of hygiene and hand washing will continue to be a focus of the school. We will continually educate pupils on good practice and have child friendly resources to remind them.

The cleaning of hands will be a regular feature of the day and sanitiser will also be used as well.

We will also continue to educate pupils in good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.

Frequently touched surfaces, communal areas and core equipment will be regularly cleaned to ensure the school is as clean as possible throughout the day. Some areas of the school will not be used to allow us to focus our attention on keeping the highest hygiene standards possible. Shared equipment will be minimised whenever possible. We politely ask that these measures are reinforced at home as well.

Bubbles and social distancing

The guidelines on bubbles and social distancing have changed in the latest guidance. There is much more flexibility and as we are a small school it will allow us to operate in Nursery, Pre-Prep and Prep bubbles. This makes things logistically much easier for us, however, although we have this flexibility we will try to keep the different year groups and phases (Middle School & Upper School) as separate as possible.

Within primary schools it is acceptable for the children within the bubbles not to socially distance. However, this does not mean that everything will be back to normal and keeping apart wherever possible will still be promoted when appropriate.

Staff are still required to socially distance from each other wherever possible and unfortunately parents will not be allowed in school apart from by appointment.

Morning Drop off

Due to the recommended guidance, parents are encouraged not to come into school and so we will be following similar arrangements for drop off and collection we used during the Summer Term. For the first three days of term (8th, 9th and 10th September) we ask that you stick to the times listed below to avoid congestion and to allow all families to settle into the routines. For families with more than one child, please use the earlier time to drop off all your children.

We do understand during the first 3 days of term, parents may want to accompany their child into school and to their form room, if this is the case, we ask that parents wear a mask. All bags and equipment on the first day of term are to go to the form room and will be taken to the various parts of the school later in the day with form teachers.

However, from Monday 14th September we politely ask that the children are encouraged to come into school independently.

Collection

Nursery

Collection in the Nursery will be follow the same routine as we implemented during the Summer Term. Please wait in the playground in the Nursery, and a member of staff will bring your child to you. Parents are asked to park in the top car park as they would for drop off. Collection times are:

  • 12.30pm – Morning collection for children staying for the morning only
  • 3.30pm - Collection for children staying for the day
  • 4.30pm/5.30pm – Late Collection for those children staying for creche/late creche

Pre-Prep

Collection for Pre-Prep will follow the same arrangement as we implemented during the Summer Term. Please park in the carpark and wait for your child by the PAC and the teachers will bring your children out to you. If your child is staying for activities (3.40pm – 4.30pm) they will remain in the Pre-Prep.

The same arrangements will be implemented for collection at 4.30pm and 5.30pm.

Prep

As we are restricting parents from entering the school building, please ensure your child knows what time they are being collected and you keep to your agreed collection time. If your circumstances change during the day and you need to collect your child at a different time, please ring the school (01285) 750206 so we can get a message to your child/ren.

As mentioned above we have timetabled a form time/prep/pastoral session from 3.45pm to 4.30pm to allow parents to collect their child early if they would like to without missing any curriculum time.

Other collection times remain the same with 4.30pm, 5.30pm and 6.10pm collections available. We politely ask that parents stick to these times and not arrive to collect at other times.

We plan to implement a similar system of collection for Prep children as we did last term that being:

  • A member of staff will be on duty at the front door.
  • When you arrive please either park in the front car park or in the bottom car park and walk up; your child/ren will then come out to meet you.

It is expected that at peak times the car parks are going to be busy and so please do take care parking or driving through the school. It would be appreciated if you do not hang around at school as parking spaces will be limited. PLEASE DO NOT PARK ON THE DRIVE.

Communication with School

We completely understand that parents will want to keep in touch with their child’s teachers and the school. Meetings with staff at school will be encouraged to take place via MS Teams or Zoom. Email remains the most efficient way to communicate with the school and staff will endeavour to respond to emails within 24 hours.

Sadly due to the guidance regarding large groups meeting we have taken the decision to cancel the new children’s tea party scheduled for Tuesday 8th September.

Break times

Pupils will be separated into Prep and Pre-Prep break times and teachers will carefully dismiss pupils to ensure that one bubble does not mix with another. Although there is greater freedom now for the children, sharing of equipment will be carefully monitored and cleaned where appropriate

Hands will be washed/sanitised before and after break.

Lunch

Lunch will go back to the usual sittings. A normal lunch menu will be on offer. As per guidance the dining hall will be cleaned between sittings to ensure good hygiene practices.

Face Coverings and Masks

The government have provided further guidance regarded pupils and adults in school wearing masks. Schools are able to make their own decisions, based on their own environment, age of the children and circumstances. I have decided that children will not wear masks at Hatherop during the school day and this includes children in Prep 7&8. The reasons are:

1. Asking children to keep the masks on them and to keep them hygienically safe is very difficult. Masks are a ‘hot bed’ of germs and any masks left around the school will increase the risk of transfer of Covid-19.

2. Given teaching is about personal relations and interactions it is felt that wearing a mask can have an negative impact on communication and on learning and teaching.

Parents (if they have to come into the school building) and visitors will be asked to wear a mask.

Part 4 - The role of Online Provision

Online Provision – School is open as normal

In the Nursery, we are planning to introduce Tapestry to upload pupils' work, track progress and make key documentation available to parents. Further details regarding this will be communicated to Nursery parents. If your child attends more than one setting, please let Mrs Riley know, so we can risk assess this accordingly.

For Parents in Pre-Prep; Reception children will be using Tapestry in a similar way to the Nursery. For children in Prep 1 and 2, they will be connected to the relevant 'Microsoft (MS) Teams' so that we are ready to switch to online provision in the unlikely event of going into a local lockdown, or if the class have to isolate.

Prep School teachers will use MS Teams to add any relevant class or lesson information. This will mean that pupils stay connected to the system but also can keep up to date with lesson content more effectively. This does not mean that homework tasks will always be typed or on the computer but that pupils and parents have access to the key information they need at home. At the moment, this is a communication tool for pupils only. Parents please use email if you need to contact your child’s teacher.

If a child is too ill to come to school, they should be too ill to work from home. However, the system will be used to support any pupil that has to be off school for a longer period of time to make sure they do not fall behind (for example, if a child has to isolate but does not have symptoms of the virus). If this was a case, teachers would work to offer a combination of prepared work and face to face meetings to ensure pupils are making the required progress.

Online Provision – Group Isolation

Please remember that if your child is unwell and has any symptoms please do not send them to school. Likewise, if someone in your household is ill please follow the guidance and isolate for the required time. This will keep us safe.

However, it may be become necessary for a larger group of pupils to isolate. If this were the case, there would be an immediate switch over to online provision. The school will carry out an assessment of how to best meet the needs of that group based on the number of pupils isolating and the age range involved. The aim will be to keep their timetable as normal as possible and, in this situation, pupils would receive live input for their lessons according to the provision stated below.

Online Provision – A local lockdown

At the current time, even if there is a local lockdown, it would seem that the government would request schools to remain open. In the event of a local lockdown in which the school has to close, we are ready to move seamlessly to online learning. There will be elements that are similar to the previous lockdown:

  • Use of MS Teams
  • Live Teaching

However, timetables will be much more similar to a pupil’s in school timetable. Learning packs will be available to those that cannot access the online learning, some teachers and support staff will be made available to support pupils 1:1 and make sure all pupils learning needs are met.