Weekly Newsletter Friday 17 September 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

I must start with saying a big thank you again. The patience on the yard in the morning and in the evening is much appreciated. The way that you as parents are socially distancing and not congregating around the gates is greatly valued by us as a school and I am sure by other parents. Yet again, the procedures seem much more embedded this week and we appear to have a system that on the whole is working. As the situation evolves we will continue to review practice, though at present we need to keep each class isolated (hence the staggered starts, breaks, lunches etc) so we don’t have classes mixing on corridors, in the hall on the yard etc. This then limits contact between children and reduces the chance of us needing to isolate bubbles. Thank you for your understanding.

Just a few reminders:

  • Please can we ask that no children bring mobile phones into school at present as we are reducing the opportunities that children have to wander round school and therefore they are unable to take it to the office for safekeeping.
  • If you are coming into school to visit the office you MUST wear a mask. We need to keep you all safe as well as Mrs Smith and Mr Wilding, as they are key in running our school. If you can share information over the phone or by email please do so rather than coming into school.
  • We still have a few children without water bottles; water is vital throughout the day to keep hydrated and also it helps the brain to work better. Please ensure your child has a water bottle in school daily.
  • Please can I remind you of the drop off and collection times and the gates to enter and exit. Please only use these gates as we are trying to reduce risk and the number of people mixing. You MUST exit via the same gate that you came in through.
  • On PE days, as shared by your child’s class teacher your son/daughter should come to school in their PE kit (black shorts, white t shirt, trainers or pumps). As the weather gets chilly children will also be able to wear black leggings or tracksuit bottoms, other clothes are not part of our school uniform and thus not permitted.
  • At present we are serving hot lunches to limited classes as having 14 sittings (as we need to keep each class separate and clean all the tables and chairs in between each bubble) in the Hall over the lunch period just isn’t practical. At present, due to the current situation and the need for staggered lunches; lunch time is currently taking 1 hour and 45 minutes, with each class getting a 45 minute lunchbreak. Year 1, 2, 3 and 4 are on hot lunches though we will rotate this as the term progresses. School packed lunches for Reception includes: a sandwich, a piece of fruit, yoghurt/jelly and a dessert (cake or biscuit) for Year 5 and 6 they are receiving: a sandwich, a savoury snack (crisps/crackers etc), yoghurt or jelly, fruit and a dessert (cake or a biscuit).
  • We are a nut free school, as we have children in school with severe nut allergies. So, please ensure that no items in packed lunches contain nuts please e.g. peanut butter and Nutella based products
  • As detailed last week, we are trying to reduce the items sent home to minimise risk, therefore homework is mainly being set online via Purple Mash, TT Rockstars, MyMaths or on Google classrooms. There is still the expectation that children complete the homework set by the class teacher and submit it by the given day each week.

Covid symptoms

As the week has progressed we have received numerous phone calls from parents checking if their son or daughter can come into school as they have a runny nose. As children have been away from each other for so long then this is bound to happen. The symptoms for Covid that need to be looked out for are:

  1. A new persistent cough
  2. A temperature
  3. Reduced sense of smell or taste

If any of these symptoms are present then the child should be booked in for a test and remain off school until the test result comes back. The remaining members of the household should isolate too.

If the test is negative, AND they are symptom free for 48 hours, then they may return to school. If there are still symptoms they must stay at home for 10 days from the start of the symptoms. If you choose not to book a test and your child displays symptoms they must stay at home for 10 days from the onset of the symptoms.

If the test is positive then the child should self-isolate for 10 days and the rest of the household for 14 days.

If your child has a sickness or diarrhoea bug then we ask that they stay at home for 48 hours after their last bout of sickness before returning to school.

As with everything during this period we all need to trust each other and help each other to keep each other’s families safe. Please keep us informed throughout the process and we will support in any way we can.

The Local Authority has produced a flow chart to help you follow the guidance:

If your child is self-isolating then work packs are available via the school office for the children to complete at home. These are based on current learning in class. If we have to close a bubble at any stage, due to a positive test, then work will be set online by the class teacher using Purple Mash for Reception to Year 4 and Google classrooms for Years 5 and 6. If you don’t have internet access please let us know. Details of how to logon to Purple Mash for our Reception parents will come out on Monday, we didn’t want to bombard you with too much information all at once.

School priority areas

Each year school identifies priority areas for us to develop, so that our curriculum meets the needs of children. A lot of our curriculum this year is going to be based on a catch up curriculum following school closure due to Covid.

Our priority areas this year are:

  • Providing an appropriate catch up curriculum
  • A consistent and systematic approach to the teaching of Phonics to ensure children catch up quickly and we prepare them well for early reading
  • To achieve the Early Years’ Quality Mark Award for outstanding practice and developing objective led learning
  • To continue to develop language acquisition across school
  • To raise attainment in writing across school providing more opportunities for the children to compose and then edit their work in a range of subject areas.

Primary School Applications

It’s great to know that there are people already contacting us for a place in September 2021. We have decided that we will go ahead with an Open Event. We have set a date for our open evening and this will take place on Thursday 15 October 2020, from 5.30pm.

However, in current circumstances we need to ensure that we adhere to current guidelines and recommendations. As such, our ‘tour’ of school will be slightly different to what we would normally like to offer but will hopefully give you a good insight to our fabulous school.

Each small group will be led by a member of the Senior Leadership Team and therefore will be in a position to answer any questions you may have. In addition, on the evening we will have copies of our latest prospectus which provides lots of information about our school.

If you would like to bring your son or daughter that may start with us in September 2021 that would be lovely, however, please do not bring any other siblings so that we can keep numbers of people in school to a minimum.

Please send an email (office@avondale.blackburn.sch.uk) to school clearly identifying:

  • Who will be attending – names of adults and children
  • A telephone contact
  • The time you would wish to attend – 5.45 pm or 6.00 pm

We fully appreciate some parents may not feel comfortable coming into a school, or the date given may not be convenient, so we have put together a video which also shows the different areas of the school. This will be available on the school website shortly.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ring the school or email.

Applications for primary school places for September 2021 can now be submitted and the closing date for these is Friday 15 January 2021. The application forms can be accessed via our school website.

Secondary School Applications

The closing date for secondary school applications is Thursday 31 October 2020. Traditional visits from local secondary schools to our Year 6’s cannot take place this year though most schools are providing virtual tours. Please look on individual schools’ website to find out their arrangements. The application form to complete is available on Blackburn with Darwen’s webpage or on our school website under Admissions.

As you I am sure you are aware, 'enhanced restrictions' will be introduced for Lancashire with effect from Tuesday 22 September. This means that you cannot meet people from other households outside of your support bubbles in all settings. This includes homes and private gardens, public parks, pubs, restaurants and beer gardens. Please be mindful of this as we enter next week.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend and that the sun continues to shine for a little while longer.

Kind Regards

Mrs Brown


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