3rd September 2021
Dear Parent(s) and Carers,
We hope that you and your family are continuing to remain safe and well. School has started smoothly and we look forward to an exciting year ahead. As government guidance is continually updated, I thought it would be useful to share the general queries we have had so that everyone is aware of expectations.
Is the school responsible for contact tracing?
As from 19th July the responsibility for contact tracing when a pupil tests positive for Covid will pass from the school to NHS Test and Trace. This means that it will no longer be the school that informs parents when children need to self-isolate.
The government has also said that from 16th August, children will no longer be required to automatically self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a positive covid-19 case. Instead, you may be advised to take your child for a PCR test if they have been deemed to be in close contact with a positive case.
It is important to note that any child who receives a positive PCR test will still be expected to isolate for 10 days and will not be able to attend school during that period. It is also important that you inform school as soon as possible should this occur. In addition, if a child has any of the three main symptoms of covid-19 (high temperature, persistent cough and loss of taste/smell) they should not attend school until a negative PCR test is returned.
The new guidance is clear that enhanced cleaning, hand hygiene and good ventilation should all remain in place this term and we will ensure that these remain a key part of our ongoing -covid-19 safety measures.
How will the school be keeping our community safe?
I am very aware that there will be a wide range of views among families regarding these latest government announcements. As you will understand, as a school we are expected to have due regard for this new national guidance, as well as the additional local guidance provided to us by Suffolk County Council. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their ongoing support as we continue to navigate this challenging situation.
In addition to following national guidance, as required by law, we have carried out specific risk assessments to take into account the unique nature of our school and the school community. As a result of these risk assessments we have identified several additional measures that we will keep in place until further notice for the safety of all members of our school community. These include: the continued use of year group bubbles and separate entrances around the school to avoid overcrowding on the paths. We believe that these measures will help to continue to keep all members of our community as safe as possible, whilst having no major impact on pupils’ educational experience. These will remain under regular review as we move into the new term.
I also want to reassure you that we have already developed comprehensive contingency plans should we either have an increase of covid-19 cases in the school or an increase of cases in the local community. Should either of these occur, we will be in immediate contact with the local public health team and will act on their advice without delay. We all hope this won’t be necessary, but should it occur we may be told to bring back some more of the safety measures that have been in place previously. I will of course keep you informed. A copy of our current risk assessment and outbreak management plan can be found on our school website: https://www.whcps.org/covid-19-risk-assessments/
Do I have to send my child to school?
The government has said that attendance at school is mandatory. As a result, parents/carers whose children do not attend school or are consistently late to school may receive a fixed penalty notice of £60 per parent/carer per child. If you are worried about sending your child back to school please contact us in the first instance so that we can advise and support you first.
How many people can drop off and collect from school?
If your child is in Nursery to Year 4 then we would encourage only one person from your family to enter the school site to drop off and collect your child. If your child is in Year 5 or 6 please let your child walk into class from the school gates. We will need to clarify the arrangements for the end of the day so teachers know whether they can dismiss the children without an adult present to collect.
What time should I drop off and collect my child from school?
It is really important that you do not arrive too early at school and that you do not gather on the school site. Doors to classrooms/entrance points will be open at the following times:
Nursery – 8.30 am – 11.30 am and 12.15 pm and 3.15 pm.
Reception – Doors open at 8.45 am (Lesson time 8.55 am – 3.00 pm)
KS1 (Y.1 and Y.2.) – Doors open at 8.40 am (Lesson time 8.50 am – 3.05 pm)
KS2 (Y.3, Y.4, Y.5 and Y.6) – Doors open at 8.30 am (Lesson time 8.40 am – 3.10 pm)
What should I do if my child is late to school?
School gates across the whole school will be locked at 9 am. Please ensure that your child arrives at school on time. If your child is late to school or needs to be picked up early, then parents/carers need to go to the Marlow Road office and wait until a member of staff comes out of the office to talk to you. Please try to avoid this and phone in advance.
Can adults enter the school building?
At this stage, parents/carers will not be allowed to enter the school unless a meeting has been pre-arranged with the school office.
What equipment can my child bring to school?
It is really important that the children only bring a few items to school: a bag, water bottle, reading book and packed lunch (if not having a school dinner). Children should not bring in pencil cases or toys etc. Please ensure your child’s bag, packed lunch box and water bottle are named.
Are you organising breakfast clubs?
Yes - we have three separate breakfast clubs that have been organised in different parts of the school. The cost of breakfast club will remain at £1.00. Please ensure that you book your child’s place in advance.
What will my child be learning?
We will continue to follow the Whitehouse Curriculum and will support the children to catch up on any lost learning as a result of the pandemic. English and Maths will take place every morning and the afternoon curriculum will focus on all other subjects. We firmly believe that the children need a broad and balanced curriculum that supports their mental health. The curriculum plans can be found on our website: https://www.whcps.org/the-whitehouse-curriculum/
Can my child bring a PE kit to school?
At the moment we have asked all classes to attend school in their PE kits on the days they have PE. Here is a summary of PE days for your child’s class.
Badgers, Cobras, Foxes, Hedgehogs, Jaguars (swimming), Lions, Owls, Rabbits and Squirrels,
Cobras, Dragons, Elephants, Frogs, Giraffes, Hedgehogs, Jaguars, Lemurs, Lizards, Ocelots, Pandas, Puffins, Rabbits and Starfish,
Dragons, Frogs, Giraffes, Lizards, Owls, Pandas, Puffins, Tigers and Toucans
Badgers, Chameleons, Elephants, Foxes, Lemurs, Lions, Ocelots, Seahorses and Squirrels
Chameleons (swimming) Dolphins, Tigers and Toucans
When will clubs start?
Clubs will commence across the school from the 20th September. More information will follow.
My child needs medication – what should I do?
Please contact the school office at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will send the paperwork needed or provide you with a time to come into school to fill the paperwork out. We cannot administer medicine without the correct paperwork. Please ensure that inhalers and epi-pens are sent back to school.
The safety and well-being of all our pupils remains our number one priority and should any parent have particular specific concerns about their child ahead of the coming year, please do not hesitate to get in contact with the school and a member of the team will be only too pleased to discuss these with you.
Thank you for your continued support,
Mrs A Hall