Letters to Parents & Carers – 16/12/2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

I would again like to thank you for your support in recent months. It has been a challenging term however I am incredibly proud of how our community continues to pull together and face the challenge before us. We now look forward to the Christmas break and I wanted to remind all parents and carers to please do everything possible during this time to stay as safe as possible. The break allows for rest and festive celebrations for many, but I please ask that you follow all local and national advice so that we can remain safe and healthy as a community. During the break we will be reviewing our practices and procedures in light of any new government guidance to ensure that we maintain our high safety standards in the new year.

If you have any Covid-19 related issues, including any test results or isolations, then please do email me in the first instance at head@qegsblackburn.com.

Term Dates

Following the government announcement last week that schools may look to change the date they finish for the Christmas break, we decided that we will remain open on Friday 18th December, as planned, as we feel this is the best option for our children. All children must be in school on Friday 18th December. School will reopen on Wednesday 6th January.

Staffing

There are some staffing changes that I would like to make you aware of.

  • Miss L Holden, Primary Phase Teacher, is leaving to take up other opportunities and we wish her well for her future career.
  • Mrs C Egan, Primary Phase Teacher, has left the school following her maternity leave as she wishes to spend more time with her family. We wish her all the best.
  • Mrs C Simpson, Part Time Senior Phase Music Teacher, is leaving the school to concentrate more of her time on her family business. We wish her all the best in this new adventure.
  • Mr S Koole, Senior Phase Teacher of English and Geography, is leaving to take up other opportunities and we wish him well for his future career.
  • Miss E Harris has been appointed as Primary Phase Teacher and I can confirm that Mrs J Tattersall will also be remaining at the school as Primary Phase Teacher until at least the end of this academic year.
  • Mrs S Dunham, Senior Phase Teacher of Sociology, has now started her maternity leave and we have been delighted to welcome Mr P Greenwood who started with us in November to cover this position.
  • Mr T Green, Senior Phase Teacher of Mathematics, will be staying with us until at least the end of the academic year.

Assessments

We have been reviewing our assessment map and have shared the details of when these will take place next term with pupils and students. We may have to change these if government guidance changes but we will endeavour to make sure that our children are as prepared as possible for any future examinations or assessments, taking pupil/student wellbeing into consideration. If you have any concerns, then please do contact your child’s Form Tutor in the first instance.

Travel

We strongly advise against travelling to other countries during the Christmas break, if it would involve isolating on your return. Please do check your travel plans if you do intend to travel and bear in mind the disruption of the additional isolation period on the education of your child.

Below I have placed a series of information, the majority of which has not changed since my earlier letters but is a useful reminder of what school is expecting next term. However, it is important to note the main change regards guidance on the length of self-isolation, which has now changed from 14 days to 10 days.

I wish you all a peaceful Christmas break and let us join together in praying for a healthy 2021.

Kind regards

Mrs CY Gammon

 

Symptoms of Covid-19

The symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19) are a new continuous cough or a high temperature (over 37.8ºC) or Anosmia (the loss of or a change in your normal sense of smell. It can also affect sense of taste as the two are closely linked). If your child or any member of their household has any of these symptoms, then your child must not come to school.

If your child is ill due to having symptoms of Covid-19, please notify school immediately, marking your email as urgent, follow the PHE stay at home guidance, which sets out that they must self-isolate for at least 10 days and arrange for your child to have a Covid-19 test immediately to ensure full engagement with the test and trace system. Please inform school immediately of the results of the test. A member of school staff will contact you during the first day of absence to confirm dates of the isolation period. This also applies if your child is isolating due to being in direct contact with someone who has symptoms of Covid-19.

If your child becomes ill with symptoms of Covid-19 during the school day they will be immediately placed in isolation (in accordance with government guidance) and you will be contacted and asked to collect them. If you cannot be reached, the other contacts given will be called as it is essential for your child to go home as soon as possible.

If your child has a positive result from a Covid-19 test, then they must inform the school immediately and follow the stay at home guidance for households with possible or confirmed Covid-19. They 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. The rest of the household must self-isolate for at least 10 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms, following ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’.

If your child has a negative result from a Covid-19 test then they must remain in isolation for the remainder of the 10-day isolation period.

I realise that you will be naturally concerned regarding children self-isolating. I do hope to limit the number of times any year group/ group of children do have to spend time in self-isolation but I am sure that you understand that this may be out of my control. Each time we are informed of a positive case, we do work with the DfE Covid-19 response team and the local education response team to identify any children or staff that could be close contacts. Our aim is always to keep as many children in school as possible whilst ensuring that all members of the school community remain as safe as possible. These decisions are not made lightly.

I ask that you keep a close eye on your children and do not send them into school if they are displaying any symptoms of Covid-19. This is to ensure the safety of the whole QEGS community. If you do decide for your child to have a Covid-19 test then please do not send them into school until the result of the test is known, even if they seem well.

If your child is self-isolating then please do email myself at head@qegsblackburn.com as we are endeavouring to keep detailed records of who is isolating and for what reason. The details that I need are whether they are isolating due to a member of the household or due to a close contact outside of the household/school and, if so, what date the isolation ends or if they are isolating due to having symptoms themselves and, if so, have they had a test and when. If your child has had a test then please do email me the results so that we can update our records.

If your child is isolating then work is available through Google Classroom and Class Charts. We endeavour to ensure that it is available as soon as possible matching the timetable as close as possible however, sometimes we do have a delay of 24 hours due to ensuring that teachers are able to upload work alongside teaching in school. Please ensure that your child looks at all their subjects each day for work even if they do not have a certain subject on that day. We are providing some live lessons but the quantity of these of these does depend on the workload of individual staff and how confident they feel in delivering these alongside their normal busy working days. You will find, however, that over the 2 week timetable, there will be at least some recorded elements for all children in all subjects.

Shielding

All children must be attending school from September and school has been informed to resume the process of issuing fines for those who have periods of unauthorised absence. If your child still requires to shield then please contact Mr NH Vyse via email, nvyse@qegsblackburn.com , to explain the reasons why your child can not attend school. Mr Vyse will then contact parents/carers directly to discuss the situation including appropriate measures.

Travel

We ask that all parents and carers think carefully about how their child travels to school. Please read and follow the safer travel guidance for passengers when planning your travel. If your child is traveling by public transport then they will be expected to wear a face covering. The preferred method is to walk when possible following social distancing measures.

Absence

Should your child be ill then you must report their absence either via email on reportchildabsence@qegsblackburn.com (this is the preferred method) or via phone 01254 686300 choosing option 1. In both cases you need to state the name of your child, their form and year group, the reason for the absence and when you expect them to be well enough to return to school.
This must be completed on every day your child is absent.

Face Masks

Primary Phase

During the school day, children in Year 6 and below will not be wearing face masks. If a child arrives at school with a disposable face mask then they will be asked to dispose of it in an appropriate manner. If a child arrives at school with a reusable face mask then they will be asked to remove it and to place it in a clear plastic bag, which must be provided by parents/carers, ready to take home at the end of the day.

Secondary Phase

Children in Year 7 and above must arrive at school with a face mask that they can use during the day when they are moving between lessons and in communal areas where social distancing will be difficult. Please show your child how to put on and take off a face mask safely and please provide a clear bag for storage of your child’s face mask when not in use. We ask that you emphasise to your child the importance of using face masks appropriately, of washing/sanitising hands after touching face masks and the storing of their face mask safely.

Ventilation

As part of our risk assessment for the school we have ensured that all rooms are ventilated with open doors and windows. Now that we are moving to the colder months we have been reviewing how is best to move forward. What we are now asking is that your child comes to school with a jumper (sweatshirt type or hoodie) which they can wear over their shirt and tie but under their blazer or a warm coat. A judgement will be made by the teaching member of staff in each room as to whether jumpers and coats should be worn and this may be different on each day, room dependent on the conditions in a particular room. This is a temporary change to the uniform rules and we hope to revert back to normal uniform as soon as possible.

Computer Access

We have fully linked all our schemes of work to remote learning so that any child who is isolating can continue to access the curriculum. We are aware that some children did experience problems with accessing remote learning during the earlier lockdown and situations may also have now changed due to individual circumstances. If you feel that your child would struggle to access remote learning in the future due to the equipment available to them at home, then please email homeit@qegsblackburn.com stating your child’s name and year group and the issues that your child would have so that we can see as a school if there is anything that we can do to provide support. Alternatively, please write a letter addressed to Mr Vyse, marked as Home IT, which your child can hand in at Main Reception.

Behaviour

It is essential that all pupils and students display exemplary behaviour at all times including being kind and patient with all members of the school community. Please can you reiterate to your child the importance of following social distancing measures, good respiratory hygiene and washing/sanitising hands frequently. These are the most effective ways of keeping us all safe and therefore we will treat any breaches of our safety measures extremely seriously, sanctions will be imposed and parents/carers contacted.