Covid Risk Assessments
1st September 2021
Welcome back to the start of a new academic year. Hopefully a much easier one than the previous. Please find below a link to a useful government website detailing expectations for schools reopening.
At HFS we will start the new term with staggered start and finishing times whilst I wait to have a virtual meeting with the Head of Essex Education and Head of Essex Health in the first week of September. Once they have updated all Essex heads I will write to you and can hopefully say that we are free to return everything to normal.
Update from the Director of Education for Essex - May 2021
STEP THREE OF THE COVID-19 ROADMAP
Dear Parents and Carers,
I am writing to confirm the education arrangements which will stay the same, and those that will change, following the Prime Minister’s announcement regarding step three of the roadmap of easing of restrictions.
Following an ongoing decline in critical COVID19 case data; the national alert level has been reduced, the four tests for easing of the restrictions have been met, and we are moving to step three of the Government’s roadmap from next Monday 17th May.
Schools, colleges and early years settings are still required to follow guidance from the Department of Education, the Local Authority and Public Health England to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID19 in their school or setting and through the community.
This guidance has been updated to reflect step three of the roadmap, but the requirement to undertake a risk assessment and implement a range of protective measures remains. Each school or setting risk assessment must be specific to the context of that school or setting and so may differ from others.
What is staying the same
The protective measures which remain in place, and important, include regular hand washing, consistent groupings (known as bubbles), keeping pupils and staff apart as much as possible, and enhanced cleaning routines.
Regular asymptomatic and symptomatic testing remains a vital part of the approach to suppress the virus. It is imperative that if anyone displays symptoms of COVID19 they self-isolate, along with other members of their household, and organise a PCR test. It is not appropriate to use lateral flow tests when individuals have symptoms of COVID19.
Schools and settings remain responsible for contact tracing following a positive case within the school/setting. Any individual identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID19 has a legal obligation to self-isolate as advised. Financial support is available should this happen and can be found here:
School staff and students of secondary age and above have access to twice weekly asymptomatic COVID19 testing through their school or setting. Households of staff, children and young people attending schools or settings also have access to twice weekly testing. We strongly encourage staff, students and households to take part in the regular testing programme to reduce the risk of the virus entering the school/ setting community.
What is changing from 17th May?
Face coverings will no longer be required for students in classrooms or communal areas in schools and further education settings. Face coverings will also no longer be recommended for staff in classrooms. Face coverings should still be worn by staff and visitors in situations outside of classrooms where social distancing is not possible (for example, when moving around in corridors and communal areas). This may include parents and carers entering the school grounds to collect/ drop-off pupils.
Schools will be permitted to take domestic residential education visits. Some schools have already taken the difficult decision to cancel or reschedule trips due to uncertainty over the restrictions and the time needed to organise such trips. However, if these go ahead there will be a risk assessment prepared, which identifies the additional protective measures in place, and your school will share this with you. This will include protocols for responding to a case of COVID19. International travel is still not possible.
Limits to the sizes of groups for wraparound care and clubs/activities are being lifted. Pupils and students must still remain in consistent groups and adhere to the risk assessment for that provision.
Your child’s nursery, childminder, school or college can give you more information about their risk assessment and protective measures. We ask that you continue to adhere to these to support schools and settings to remain a safe place to learn and work and support the continued decline of the virus.
School attendance became mandatory again from 8th March, this means it’s your legal duty to send your child (if they are of compulsory school age) to school regularly, if they are registered at one.
A small number of pupils may still be unable to attend in line with public health advice because they:
- have symptoms or have had a positive test result
- live with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive and so are a household contact
- are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19
- are one of the very small number of pupils under paediatric or other specialist care and have been advised by their GP or clinician not to attend.
Shielding advice has been paused nationally from 31 March - all critically extremely vulnerable (CEV) pupils should attend their school unless they are in one of the above categories. Pupils who live with someone who is CEV should also continue to attend school as normal.
Attending school or college is vital for pupils’ and students’ educational progress, for their wellbeing, and for their wider development. It is important that pupils attend school every day, in order to get the greatest benefit from their education.
From 17th May travel restrictions are changing. There will be new green, amber and red lists of countries and territories. When visiting places on the green list all travellers must take a COVID19 test on their return and then will not need to quarantine unless the test result is positive. However if you travel to, or through, an amber or red list country, any travellers are required to quarantine on their return. This includes school pupils and students. If a holiday or quarantine period coincides with term time – this absence may be unauthorised and could lead to a penalty notice. Schools or colleges are not required to provide remote learning for students who are quarantining following travel abroad. Please consider this information when arranging holidays over the half term and summer break.
Permission for leave during term time can only be given by the Headteacher and parents can be fined for taking their children on holiday during term-term without the school’s permission. A request for leave during term time may be made in writing to the school and will be considered by the Headteacher. To be able to grant leave, the Headteacher must receive the request for leave in advance and, be satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances relating to the application.
What if I am concerned about my child’s attendance?
For the vast majority of young people, returning to school has been a positive experience, however we understand that for some children, young people and families, this has brought about some challenges and anxieties.
If you have concerns regarding your child’s attendance at school, it is important that you discuss this with staff from their school. The school will discuss any concerns and barriers to attendance, and then agree a plan with you, to support improved attendance. Please visit the Essex County Council website for further information regarding school attendance.
I appreciate that now restrictions are being lifted or reduced and many of us are enjoying more freedom in our social lives. This increased mixing makes it even more crucial that we all continue to follow the Government guidance and the school or setting risk assessment. The protective measures continue to remain in place so that we are able to keep schools open for the benefit of all children and young people.
I thank you for all your support to keep schools and settings a safe place to learn and work.
With best wishes
Director of Education
Essex County Council
16th March 2021
Please see document below which we have just received from the NHS via Essex Education. It gives us all guidance about testing, results and actions that should be taken.
We are very excited about having all the children returning to school on 8th March. I just wanted to add a little more information to the letter below about LFTs that you can access out of school.
In school we still have to be very careful in keeping all safety measures in place. I have included information below about our Risk Assessment in a summary leaflet. We aim to have as little disruption as possible to daily education. To do this we need everyone to continue to support by being very vigilant and ensuring that their children don't come into school with any possible symptoms, getting tested as necessary. Should we have a child who develops covid symptoms in school we will isolate them immediately (as we have had to do since February 2020) and contact you to take them home. We have always been very careful in this, and monitored a child over a period of time. It is never about them having one or two coughs for instance, rather a persistent cough over a session or two. The test that would then be required would be a PCR test (not a LFT) as we have sent the child out of school due to our concern that they are displaying covid symptoms. Once we know the results, which will hopefully be negative, they can return to school. I know it is not nice for children doing these tests so I wanted to be very clear which test needs to be done. We will give you a letter should you have to collect your child with this information on too.
Should the test be positive we have to of course send the whole bubble (class) and staff home to self isolate for 10 days. Siblings in other others are OK to be in school as they are deemed contact of contacts.
Thank you for your continued support.
Please see link below to a letter from Essex to any adults living in households with primary school, secondary school and college age children, including their childcare and support bubbles, about being able to access free Lateral Flow Tests (LFT) to take twice a week at home. School will not be giving these out and parents/carers.
You can access a free LFT in a number of ways, including through your employer if they offer testing to employees, at the local LFT site in your district, by collecting a home LFT kit from a test site, or by ordering a home test kit online. The weblink below gives more information.
25th February 2021
HFS will be closed to all children on Friday 5th March 21. This will allow time for the school to be deep cleaned, the staff to re-arrange rooms as necessary, to review resources, and plan for the first week of full re-opening to all children. Although home learning work will have been set there will be no staff liaison on this day to allow staff to be fully ready for Monday 8th March.
Thank you for your understanding in this matter. Previously we have had a holiday period to prepare and deep clean, but that has not ben available to us this time round.
24th February 2021
Please see link below which gives information about school reopening to you as parents and carers.
23rd February 2021
I am pleased to confirm that after the Government's announcement last night all children will be able to return to school on Monday 8th March.
If your son/daughter is Critically extremely vulnerable please contact our office to explain their circumstances as we can look to the continuing with remote learning for a little longer so that they can still shield. Otherwise attendance is mandatory, meaning that the government want all children to return to school.
Over the next few days we shall be receiving more information from County and will need time to consider all guidance before informing you in full of arrangements. What I can say now is that we intend to return to the same staggered arrivals and departures that we had in the Autumn Term.
Return to school on Monday 8th March 2021
Years 1 to 6 will all arrive and depart from the main gates which lead into the playground. Members of staff will be on duty at the gates and on the playground.
Foundation children will use the Foundation gate to arrive and depart each day, which will be supervised by a Foundation member of staff.
All children will need to use the hand sanitiser located in the gates before they go into the playground.
Please say farewell to your son/daughter as you approach the gate so that you can drop them and go. Sorry no hanging around at the moment to chat. Also follow the pathway around the front of the office and exit via the gate nearest the bike rack. This ONE WAY system is exactly the same as it was last term.
I’ll be outside each morning with Mr Fyfe and Mrs Buet to help guide you.
If you arrive by bike still come in through the IN GATE and walk it around to the bike rack once you have dropped your child.
|Years 5 and 6||8:40am||3:00pm|
|Years 3 and 4||8:50am||3:10pm|
|Years 1 and 2||9:00am||3:20pm|
It will be essential that all families stick to their child’s allocated arrival/departure time.
If you have children in two or more classes please arrive and drop your children at the earliest time. Any younger siblings will then be able to wait in class or playground (supervised). Collection should be at the later time. So for example if you have children in years 1 and 5, you would drop both children off at 8:40am, and then collect them both at 3:20pm (the older sibling would wait in class) until 3:20pm.
Please remember that at the peak times of 8:30am - 9:15am and 2:45pm - 3:30pm NO-ONE IS TO DRIVE INTO SCHOOL, unless they have a disability badge and have confirmed this with the office. This is for the safety of everyone.
1st February 2020
I hope you are all keeping well. With the newsletter last week we sent out a survey with questions about our remote learning offer. This has developed since the start of term in response to feedback that staff have reviewed on an individual basis. The purpose of this survey is to ask the same questions of everyone. We can then see what is going well, and look at how we might improve provision as necessary.
What is very evident is the amazing response teachers are getting from the children, with your support, to their home learning.
This week Mrs Scott has led an assembly to begin mental health week. Teachers will give a range of activities that may be done.
I hope you all have a good week
27th January 2021
School reopening (27/1/21)
The government have announced that schools will not be able to reopen straight after half term. At the earliest, if the data tells them it is safe to do so, they hope that schools might be able to start reopening from Monday 8th March. It is very dependent upon covid rates.
Free school meals
The vouchers will continue throughout half term - great news. No need for anyone to do anything it will be arranged by the school office.
We are still waiting for these to come into school.
Half term holidays
The government have announced that school will close as usual during the half term holiday
25th January 21
RE: Online Safety
Further to last Friday’s newsletter please read through the information contained within both letters about the use of zoom and google meet. Class teachers will have liaised with you, via the class emails, about gaining your permission for your son/daughter to be able to participate in zoom/google meet sessions.
25th January 2021
Dear Parents and Carers,
We recognise this is a difficult and stressful time for us all and we appreciate all the hard work you are doing to support us and your children. We know that some of our children may be struggling with their feelings at the moment and to understand everything that is going on, we also know that many of you may be concerned about the amount of time the children are having to spend on screens and finding it hard sometimes to get the children to engage in home learning. So, if you are having issues getting them down to work or they are feeling low, or just spending too much time online please check out the following.
We have put together some resources that cover:
- Positivity and mindfulness
- Screen free activities
- Physical fun
- Fun cooking and crafts
- Scavenger hunts
- Outside activities
- Helpful websites
These are all available from our Inclusion page on the following link;
All of these resources provide learning opportunities and support for the whole family. Paper packs to collect can be made available, requests need to be sent to InclusionMail@holyfamilyrc.essex.sch.uk
Also, available on our Inclusion Page is guidance on delivering Paired Reading. If your child is a reluctant reader or is struggling to read, please do take a look at this proven method to help your child improve their reading and confidence.
Mrs S Gibbs.
7th January 2021
I hope that you and your families are keeping well, and adjusting to the new national lockdown.
Class teachers and staff have been working hard preparing a wide variety of 'Home Learning' materials for you. We are using our website as a base for information. Go to the 'Children' tab - Class pages - Home Learning (for your child's year group) this will give you information. A weekly timetable has been produced. As each family's circumstances are very different this is just for guidance and doesn't need to be rigidly followed. Move things around on it to make it work for you, and do what you can. The DfE expectation is that primary aged children do 3 hours (KS1), 4 hours (KS2) of learning a day.
Teachers have planned a variety of work for their classes to do. They are covering the themes that would have been done in school in our usual curriculum cycle. Work done by keyworker pupils in school is the same as that being set for children to do at home.
Teachers are using a mixture of resources to teach a lesson, these include:
- the government produced 'Oak Academy' lesson videos
- White Rose (Maths)
- Spelling Shed
- Literacy Shed
- pre-recorded bits they might have done
- and a wide range range of things from other providers.
They are also using Tapestry, SeeSaw or Google Classroom. These three platforms will be the ways that children can submit work and get feedback. Photos can also be submitted along with recordings. In the first lockdown we received such a variety of work it was amazing to see what you had all been doing.
Today you will have received a letter form me explaining that we will be monitoring the uptake of home learning - as per instructions from the DFE. If your child's class teacher doesn't ear from you after a couple of days they will call/email you just to see if you are all safe and well. Some families will also receive a phone call/email from Mrs Gibbs or Mrs Buet again just to check that you are safe and well.
Please liaise directly with your child's class teacher via the class email address. These will be monitored daily and will be responded to. In line with Essex directives we have reduced our onsite staff down to the minimum needed to run things safely. If your child's class teacher is covering a group onsite there will be a delay in them responding to you as they are with children and not at their computers. They will catch up though. We will always have a safeguarding officer and first aider onsite.
Please be mindful that staff will switch off each day and won't be at the end of an email all the time. Try to stick to the hours of the school day. We appreciate that those of you who work shifts will email at various hours, but know that you won't expect a response until we come back online. If you have an emergency it would be best to phone the school office on 01376 513418.
Mrs Buet is chasing up the Free School Meal vouchers for those of you are are eligible. If your circumstances have recently changed and you think you might meet the criteria to receive them please contact Mrs Buet and she will be able to check with you. Hopefully, we will get access to the vouchers soon and will get you set up to use them.
There will be a small number of children who will be eligible for laptops, don't get excited it won't be many. We have tried in vane so far to get then and keep being told 'no'. Today we were told that we can apply from 15th January, so we will again.
Lastly, thank you for being so supportive. I know that many of you will be feeling the strain of home learning with your children , and juggling work, shifts etc. Do what you can. Take breaks when you can. Have family time. Get out for exercise when you can. Look after each other , as I know you do.
5th January 2021
Thank you for you swift responses. We now have completed our list of children eligible for Key Worker places. Thank you for your support. I think everyone realises that this is far more dangerous, due to ease of transmission, than in the first lockdown, and has wisely made the decision to keep children at home wherever possible. This allows us to keep numbers on site low and therefore safer for us all.
Class teachers are producing weekly learning timetables as we speak and these will be on the school website. They are to support you in home learning to do what you can at home - we understand that everyone's circumstances are different.
4th January 2021
I don’t think there were any surprises with Boris Johnson’s announcement this evening. As a staff we could see in school how quickly everything was going pear shaped just before Christmas, and that we had lasted as long as we could with all children onsite. Having children at home is not what any of us wants but for the moment our best course of action until we get control of COVID.
Your child’s class teacher will be contacting them tomorrow via the class email with how remote learning will work.
We are meeting virtually as a staff tomorrow to fine tune operations.
Please DO NOT send your son/ daughter into school on Wednesday if I haven’t confirmed their onsite place. Phone or email Mrs Buet for details if you haven’t already. Deadline to do this is midday Tuesday 5th January 2021.
At this moment we need as few children and adults on site as possible. Essex have contacted all headteachers today to say we must stress to all families that they should be liaising with their employers about working from home. Boris Johnson’s announcement will strengthen your case. We will only accept children where both parents/ single parent household is a keyworker. You maybe asked for employer details so this can be checked. If you work shifts we can only take children on days/times when you are at work.
In summary again
- If you are working from home your children should be at home with you, regardless of whether one of you is a key worker.
- If you are a key worker and are not at work, your child should be at home with you.
- If you are a key worker and there is another adult in the household, your child should be at home.
3rd January 2021 (Updated 27th Jan 21)
Q) I'm really struggling to get the 3 or 4 hours home learning done every day. What can I do?
A) Firstly, don't get upset or berate yourself. The hours of learning are what the government have set down that schools must provide for. Take each day as it comes and do what you can do. If you are also trying to juggle your own work commitments from home, or are managing other siblings/family you can't do everything. Prioritise what absolutely must be done that day and concentrate on that. We understand that you will support your child (ren) as much as you can, but also have juggle these other commitments. We will celebrate all the work that gets done. Let your child's class teacher know if work/home commitments mean that school work deadlines will be missed. They will understand. Celebrate with your son/daughter all that they do achieve. We also love to see and hear about other things that the children have done. In the first lockdown it was lovely to hear of the children who eg: had learnt to ride their bicycle, had cooked something for the first time, did some artwork they were really proud of.
Q) Do children or adults who have already had COVID19 need to self-isolate if identified as a close contact of a positive individual?
A) (from Essex)
Yes, they do need to self-isolate
No matter what a person’s history of covid-19 infection or vaccination if they are notified that they are a close contact they must again self-isolate. It is possible to be infected more than once, or to be infected after vaccination.
Q) I’m a keyworker but my partner who is at home isn’t. Can my child(ren) come into school?
A) No, your child can be safely looked after at home and undertake home learning.
Q) My child has been given a place on site as a keyworker what time should I drop and collect them?
A) All KW children should arrive at 9am to the main gates (including EYFS children). I will be at the gate and will direct the children straight to their external classroom door where they will be met by their member of class staff.
They should wear non-uniform.
As before we can provide a school lunch, or you can send in a packed lunch. Please send them into school with a drink bottle. The menu will be a simplified one and emailed to you for reference. All KS1 children can order one free of charge. KS2 children who would like to order a hot dinner need to pay the usual price, unless they are in receipt of a free school meal.
Please also ensure your child has a warm outdoor PE kit and trainers that they can use for outdoor PE.
All children should be collected at 3pm until further notice. All children will exit via the main double gates (including EYFS). This way we can keep siblings together.
Only one adult should drop and collect. It is also very important that each family remains 2m away from any others. Masks should also be worn by all adults whilst they are on school premises.
Q) Can my child wear a mask whilst they are onsite?
A) Of course they can, but they don’t have to. Many children have a mask in their pocket which they pop on if they feel the need to.
Q) My child is eligible for Free School Meals. What should I do now?
A) Mrs Buet will sort out vouchers/payments for you. She will liaise directly with you.
Q) I’m worried that my child will loose out as we don’t have lots of laptops at home. How can I support them with remote learning?
Firstly, think of it as ‘learning at home’ and don’t think of it as all online. We can teach without being online and the children can learn offline too. For instance whilst they can go online and practice spellings on Spelling Shed, so can they practice spellings on paper.
A) The government announced last term that schools can apply for laptops for pupil premium children to use at home if the school has to send them home to isolate or has been told not to open to onsite education. We applied for some as soon as we met the criteria which was the last week of the autumn term. We await our allocation. I am very concerned that no equipment has arrived and have passed on our concerns to Essex.
Home learning isn’t just about working online. Tasks will also be set that children can do with paper and a pencil. Some classes have already sent home booklets in preparation for such an event that children will be instructed to use now.
If you need paper copies of resources just email your child’s class teacher and we will produce a pack of work for you to walk/drive by and collect.
Kindle Fires are also very good to use. We use them a lot in school and they are easy for the children to access.
If there is an x-box or PS in the house I believe that with the addition of a keyboard they can also access google classroom. Please see weblink below.
Q) What work will our children be doing with regards to the curriculum?
A) Each year group will be still following the themes and work that are on their Spring Term Curriculum plan. We hope that this will support keeping learning on track as much as we can.
Q) How can I structure my day?
A) To be honest I think every family will be different. It depends if parents are working from home, on shifts, if there are siblings etc.
I think I would try to say where possible
- Look at your week and plan in times when it works for you all to do the home learning - this might be 'Little and often'.
- If your child is able to sit and work on their own for a bit once you have started them off, that can give you time to support another child, or get a task done that you need to do.
- The government announced that from Monday 11/1/21 CBBC will be doing lessons on the TV. I'm in no way saying that these should be used instead of what your child's class teacher is setting for them, but if you have one laptop, another child needs your input, and another child needs to be learning too - plan in a short session for them to watch a lesson. You can then swap things around. Be realistic in how thinly you can spread yourself. In class, with 30 children, staff can't sit with one child all the time, they will give hover support - set one group off whilst working with another - use peer/peer support. All the children get support and learn.
- In class each lesson is broken down into sections as the children wouldn't be able to concentrate for a whole hour - rule of thumb is about a minute per year of age plus one minute. It starts by recapping previous learning - or if a new theme what any of the children in the class might know about it. The children might write/draw as a mind-map what they do know. They might also write down what they would like to find out during the study. The teacher would then say what the learning objectives are and introduce the theme. For older year groups they might keep a list of key words/technical vocabulary on the board so the children can refer to them. The children would have short periods of time to discuss work in pairs/small groups. They would have a clear expectation given if they have to write/make/draw something all within a given time. They would share ideas. They would refine work. They might have to watch, read, or listen to more information. They would add to their work. So their lesson is built up from the beginning to the end.
- Where possible it is important to establish a routine, and have a delineation between home life and school. I think we would all agree that this goes for us as adults too, between home and work life. This is important for all of our mental health.
- Is it possible to set up a work area for the children? If not maybe have a box that you can put things away in after home learning is done, so you can have the space back for other things
- Arrange tasks so that one that requires more concentration is followed by one that is more creative eg: art/music/DT
- Maybe get things that your child finds most challenging done first so that you've all got more energy.
Q) How do I support home learning?
A) Firstly, don't panic. Just do the best that you can fitting everything in with your daily lives and work commitments. Try to establish a work routine for your child(ren). Class teachers have listed weekly timetables that will support you in this on the class home learning pages on the school website.
During the autumn term all KS2 children were taught how to use Google Classroom have have become quite proficient in using it.
Teachers will post work online using Google Classroom, SeeSaw or Tapestry. They will give clear deadlines (if applicable) for when work should be submitted. They can also arrange for you to have paper copies if this helps.
The DfE expectation is that KS1 children undertake 3 hours and KS2 4 hours of home learning daily, covering core subject areas. These areas are Maths and English. As a catholic school that also includes RE. Teachers will set work for all other curricular areas across the week too. Although they might alternate weeks so as not to give too much eg: history one week and geography the next.
As per DfE guidance they will monitor whether pupils are engaging with work set, and make contact if there is nothing submitted/handed in if a paper copy.
Staff will also give feedback and try their best to assess understanding.
Q). My child can't access any work online. What shall I do?
A) If it is a case that they have forgotten passwords, please contact their class teacher who will be able to help.
If it is because you have no/insufficient devices at home, please contact your child's class teacher immediately. They will then arrange paper copies of work and you can collect them from school. Work should still be submitted by deadlines and dropped off to school during the school day.
The government have also been significantly stepping up the digital support they are providing to schools and parents. The Oak National Academy continues to provide video lessons for all ages across all subjects and yesterday the BBC announced it will be delivering the biggest push on education in its history, bringing 14 weeks of educational programmes and lessons to every household in the country.
Starting on Monday 11th January, the lessons will include three hours of primary school programming every weekday on CBBC, and at least two hours for secondary pupils on BBC Two.
The primary programmes, which will be broadcast on CBBC from 9am every day, will include BBC Live Lessons and BBC Bitesize Daily as well as Our School, Celebrity Supply Teacher, Horrible Histories and Operation Ouch.
BBC 2 will be the place to go for secondary students with programming to support the GCSE curriculum, including adaptations of Shakespeare plays alongside science, history and factual titles. (Information from BBC)
The above won’t replace the work being set by your child’s class teacher, but it might help in juggling time with the devices in use at home.
Q) The government have said that they will provide some families with laptops for children to use at home. How can I get one?
A) The government have said that they will provide a laptop for vulnerable/pupil premium children working from home under a hierarchy of criteria. Unfortunately, primary school aged children are lower down on the list, unless they are looked after. No school was allowed to apply for any laptops until they had vulnerable children who had to isolate and work offsite. For HFS we couldn't meet any of the criteria until the last week of the autumn term. We immediately applied and have chased up our application most days since then, including during the Christmas holidays. We have now been told that they are being allocated strictly to need and that we won't get any for many weeks. Even then it won't be many. I'm unsure if any will arrive before schools are reopened again, and then we won't meet the criteria once again. We have passed on our concerns to the Director of Education for Essex.
Q) We have disadvantaged families who are using their personal data allowance – is there any support for them?
A) Disadvantaged families may be able to benefit from free increases to their mobile data if they’re a customer of either:
- Sky Mobile
- Tesco Mobile
- Virgin Mobile
The amount of data available to families will vary by provider. Data will be increased until the end of July 2021. Schools, trusts and local authorities will be able to
How do we request a mobile data increase for a family?
For each request, you will need to provide:
- the name of the account holder
- the number of the mobile device
- the mobile network of that device (for example Three)
There’s an online guide to help gather mobile information.
Schools, trusts and local authorities need to submit mobile information through our online service (assume this means whichever mobile provider you use). Each provider will vary in how quickly they process requests.
Q) Will all lessons be on Zoom or MS Teams?
A) Staff will be using the a mixture of resources from the Government produced Oak Academy videos and resources, and other online resources used before such as: Spelling Shed, Literacy Shed, Pobble, Google Classroom, SeeSaw, Tapestry, TTRS, White Rose (Maths) and so many others. They may also record an introductory session or plenary. This will vary.
As in the usual school day onsite children would be doing a lot of learning that is not using a computer. Teachers will be setting work across the whole curriculum. There will be a good range of activities as we had last time. We look forward to seeing and hearing their work.
Joe Wickes begins his morning PE lesson on Monday 11th January at 9am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. All sessions are recorded so can be seen at any time. We have also added lots of PE activities that the children can do.
In school physical activity is a big part of our timetable, which the children love, and we hope they’ll continue at home.
Q) Will the SATS be going ahead?
A) The government confirmed yesterday (6/1/21) that SATs and other testing in primary schools will not go ahead.
At HFS I was amazed at how hard everyone worked (Home, Children and Staff) in closing as many gaps in learning as possible. When year 2 children did their phonics screening assessments a little before Christmas they did really well. Our year 6 worked so hard through the autumn term and would have been on track for the vast majority of pupils to achieve expected standard, with a good proportion set to achieve 'greater depth'. I see time and time again that when we all come together in partnership we can accelerate learning.
Q) How are the school arranging cover for Keyworker children?
A) As per instructions form the Director of Education for Essex we have reduced our staffing to the lowest we can daily. Staff are on a rota to be onsite some days and working from home on others. If too many of us are onsite at one time we risk transmission and then we would have to close totally for the duration of isolation. There is always a Designated Safeguarding Officer on site and a First Aider.
Q) I’m worried about my child’s mental health during this lockdown. What can I do to support them?
A) Children, like adults, miss the company of others and this national lockdown will affect us all. What will be useful is to give them a home learning routine. Your child’s class teacher will liaise with you about this via the class email and home learning platforms. We aim to use recordings of lessons so you can access them at any time. Not all activities will be online. We aim to have a good variety as we did in the spring term. Build your day that will work for your family’s circumstances.
Aim to get out of the house once a day as the government says we can. Joe Wicks is starting his morning PE lesson every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9am. We have also listed PE resources form Essex Sports on the class home learning pages.
We have also put many links on a dedicated ‘Mental Health and Well-Being’ section of our website. Go to Key Information - Mental Health and Well-Being.
Class teachers will be monitoring interaction with each family in their class. If they don’t hear from you they will contact you. We will also make welfare calls as we did before to more vulnerable families.
Finally, we love using the website below for our KS1 children.
3rd January 2021
Please see below a copy of the letter emailed to you today (3/1/21)
Re: The start of the Spring Term 2021
I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year, and have kept safe and well during the holidays.
I am writing to you to update you on the start of the Spring Term, following the announcements the Department for Education recently made.
You will have heard the news that schools in our area have been asked to remain closed for all but agreed vulnerable and key worker children, until the review date on 18th January 2021. This contingency framework is designed as a means of reducing transmission within settings and the wider community. Witham, being in the district of Braintree, is listed as an area of high Covid transmission. The government hopes to reduce the number of cases by providing a longer period of time, following Christmas and New Year to reduce mixing ahead of a return to full-time on-site education for all.
Testing for primary staff under the weekly and daily testing programmes (announced on 15 December for secondary schools) will hopefully begin in the second half of January.
I have thoroughly read through all guidance, but in reality I think we can all appreciate that until primary school staff also get access to regular and speedy testing, keeping schools open for children to be onsite will be severely impaired. We saw this for ourselves in the last week of term when under tier 3 we still had 3 classes out, even after all the careful safety measures we had in place.
Consequently, we need to buy ourselves a little more time, make use of remote learning, and keep numbers onsite as low as possible. We can then socially distance more in each room, as I still need to keep bubbles separate. Our staff are very aware of the different home situations parents may find themselves in and will bear this in mind when planning remote learning to ensure it is as accessible and easy to manage for you as they possibly can. They will not cover anything different to what is sent via class emails in school as what is being done during remote-learning.
If your son/daughter falls in the agreed vulnerable or keyworker category (see coronavirus webpage for details and note that our expectation is that both parents are key workers, unless you are a single parent family). However, due to the current very high levels of COVID-19 cases in the Braintree area, Essex have also prompted us to ask key worker parents to think very carefully if having their child at school is the safest place at the moment. If after consideration you need an on-site place for your child, please email Mrs Buet on the school admin email to let us know which days you would need this support. Start of day and finish times will be advised.
Although, I absolutely agree that children should be in school, being in tier 4 means that things won’t improve unless we reduce family groups coming into contact with others. In classrooms this obviously can’t be done. These weeks in January are allowing schools time to have the testing put into place. Unfortunately for us primary schools are having to wait until secondary schools are sorted out. It also allows for me to look after my staff and to ensure they will be well and ready to teach when the time allows safely for us to have all back in school face-to-face.
Those families who are entitled to Free School Meals will receive further vouchers as they did during the Christmas holidays, until the DfE advises schools to reopen, and through the channels we have sent them previously.
At the moment things are changing daily, and I appreciate how difficult it is to juggle everything in your daily lives. Hopefully come the review on 18th January it will be safe to reopen again.
Please keep a regular check on the coronavirus page on our website as I will keep updating it as necessary.
So, for now we hope that all children not on-site will keep safe at home while undertaking as much of the remote learning activities that class teachers provide, that the number of children and staff on-site will be kept to an absolute minimum and that we can reopen fully as soon as possible.
We were all amazed at what you achieved at home in the first lockdown so our expectations of the remote learning that the children will do is sky high. Check in on your child’s class online learning page (Tapestry, Seesaw or Google Classroom dependent upon year group) and check your emails from class teachers as this will be their first point of contact with yourselves. We look forward to seeing your children’s work online.
If you have any ensuing questions, I will endeavour to answer any that come my way as best and as quickly as I possibly can.
Finally, thank you in advance of your continued understanding and support.
2nd January 2021
Week Beginning:4th January 2021
4/1/21-HFS closed (Non Pupil Day)
5/1/21- HFS closed (Remote Learning Day for ALL pupils)
6/1/21 to 8/1/21 - HFS closed to ALL pupils other than agreed vulnerable and key worker children. Remote learning at home for all other children.
Closed for ALL years from Foundation to Year 6, except for agreed vulnerable and critical worker children. Remote education for other children.
Week Beginning 18/1/21
Not yet known – government announcement the week before
Returning to school
With COVID transmission rates currently so high please only send your child into school if you have no child care provision at home - namely if both parents are key workers and cannot work from home, if you are a single key worker parent or if your child is an agreed vulnerable child. The lower we can keep numbers on site in school at the moment the safer we can be.
If numbers are too high no sooner will we return and classes will be sent home again to isolate due to positive cases. Your support in this matter would be greatly appreciated.
Definition of ‘Vulnerable’ children
Vulnerable children and young people include those who:
• are assessed as being in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, including children and young people who have a child in need plan, a child protection plan or who are a looked-after child
• have an education, health and care (EHC) plan
• have been identified as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities (including children's social care services), and who could therefore benefit from continued full-time attendance, this might include:
• children and young people on the edge of receiving support from children's social care services or in the process of being referred to children's services
• adopted children or children on a special guardianship order
• those at risk of becoming NEET ('not in employment, education or training')
• those living in temporary accommodation
• those who are young carers
• those who may have difficulty engaging with remote education at home (for example, due to a lack of devices or quiet space to study)
• care leavers
• other children and young people at the provider and local authority's discretion including pupils who need to attend to receive support or manage risks to their mental health
30th December 2021
Please read below information from the Director of Education for Essex.
Primary Schools Summary:
In parts of Essex, the Contingency Framework has been implemented. This means that: ‘ DfE are advising at this moment that only vulnerable children and children of critical workers should be allowed to attend’
The Contingency Framework Implementation guidance applies to all districts, cities and boroughs that were placed in Tier 4 on the 19th December 2020; namely:
- Epping Forest
- Castle Point
- Braintree (Includes Witham)
Therefore for all schools in the districts and boroughs above, only critical worker children and vulnerable children should attend. High quality remote education will be made available to all other pupils.
30th December 2020
I hope that you all had a good Christmas and are looking after yourselves.
I’m sure you will have just heard the news about schools and the start of term. At HFS we will all continue to work together to give our community the safest environment possible, whilst giving our children their education and as much normal routine as we can.
In the next few days I will receive guidance from Essex Education, and will be able to plan our next steps. Please don’t worry as we will soon all get into our new routine for January.
I will keep you updated.
15th December 2020
I am so sorry that we have had to send home years 1, 3 and 5. It is no-one's fault, but so frustrating, especially in the run up to Christmas. Essex Track and Trace have confirmed that no other staff need to be offsite. Now I know we will have sufficient staff to cover all the classes that will be in school. Apologies for not being able to tell you at the end of the school day, I just hadn't heard back from them in time.
Please see the latest letter that Mrs. Buet has sent to you informing you of who can and can't be in school. Teachers of year 1, 3 and 5 will be making contact with you via Tapestry, SeeSaw or Google Classroom (depending upon year group) to tell you about remote learning. We had planned this week to be a Christmas celebration, as we have all worked so hard for the rest of the term. Please therefore, expect Christmas content.
Thank you for your continued understanding and support. This week has been quite difficult to manage.
Important Information for Parents/Carers about the Christmas holidays and start of Spring Term 2021
3rd December 2020
Changes to 2021 national curriculum assessments
We recognise the challenges that primary schools are facing in light of the ongoing disruption caused by coronavirus (COVID-19). Our approach to the 2021 national curriculum assessments will focus on the most important summer assessments for schools, pupils and parents.
For 2021, we have removed:
This means that the following statutory assessments will continue in 2021:
Letter from Essex to Parents and Carers
Remote Learning Information for Parents and Carers
2nd November 2020
Welcome back after half term. Following on from the statement yesterday from Boris Johnson about the start of a second lockdown from Thursday 5th November, I confirm that Holy Family will be operating as normal. We are looking forward to seeing everyone again for the start of Autumn 2.
23rd October 2020
End of Autumn1
September and October have passed by with relative speed, and thanks to everyone following procedures and taking precautions when necessary we have been able to keep all the children in school. I would like to say a big thank you to you all for supporting the staff so well. Our arrivals and departures seem to be working well, even when it’s raining.
Everyone should by now also have had communication with your son/daughter’s class teacher about how they are progressing. Class web pages also tell you about what is happening in class.
Underneath the class pages you will see class remote learning pages. These are being populated with work, should your child need to use them when isolating or quarantining.
Essex have confirmed with schools what to do should anyone get a positive test during the half term holidays. They say:
The timeframe that contact tracing is undertaken is 2 days prior to symptoms displaying. This means that if a child develops symptoms during half term week (Monday onwards) you would not need to undertake contact tracing for school based contacts. Parents should still inform you of children who receive a positive test result, or if they have been advised to self-isolate as a close contact, as the self-isolation period for those individuals will continue after the half-term break. The usual contact tracing for social contacts will still apply and this is outside of the school’s remit.
If you have any doubts please phone Mrs Buet in the office before coming back into site on the first Monday back.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff at Holy Family. They have worked tirelessly to keep the children safe and happy. They have made learning fun, whilst ensuring that after the initial well-being project at the beginning of term, the pace is picked up again, to work upon the recovery curriculum. Thank you everyone.
I wish you all a lovely half term
25th September 2020
Arrival and departure
We’ve had a few close shaves this week, when I held my breath and waited for COVID test results from families. Thank goodness they were negative. Had they been positive it would have had a direct affect upon some pupils and staff being able to be in school.
After much consideration and with the aim of doing everything we can to reduce opportunities to spread the virus on our site, from Monday 28th September staff on duty outside of the internal boundary gates will be wearing masks. I cordially invite all adults bringing children into school in the morning, and collecting them at the end of the day to wear them too. I will not be policing this, but send this call out to you all to support this protective measure. Please let other adults collecting your child know this too.
23rd September 2020
Re: Arrival/departures and social distancing
With the current rise in the number of COVID cases I must remind everyone to maintain social distancing when arriving and departing from school. Please also vacate the area outside the school gates straight away to allow other families space as they arrive to drop/collect their child(ren).
If when you leave our exit gates you are turning ‘left’ you will have a lot more room to walk if you cross the road at the pinch point, and then walk along the other side of the road. This will also allow more space for families arriving to drop/collect their child, especially as the pathway is very narrow.
I thank you for your cooperation in this matter. I know everyone will want to look after each other and also help reduce opportunities for Covid to spread.
Updated Risk Assessment Leaflet - Key Messages for Parents (Sept 20)
COVID: What to do if....... advice for possible COVID symptoms
2nd September 2020
We’ve been working hard today putting the finishing touches to classrooms and the school grounds ready for you tomorrow. We’re looking forward to seeing you all. We’ll take the day nice and gently so you can get to know your new classrooms and the areas that have been allocated to your class bubble.
Your teachers have planned activities that will help you settle back into school. We’ll do this as a whole school theme over the next two weeks.
See you all tomorrow 😀
Arrival and departure times for years 1 to 6 from 3rd September and until further notice
Please see videos in this page posted in May.
Years 1 to 6 will all arrive and depart from the main gates which lead into the playground.
Foundation children will use the Foundation gate to arrive and depart each day.
All children will need to use the hand sanitiser located in the gates before they go into the playground.
As for June and July please say farewell to your son/daughter as you approach the gate so that you can drop them and go. Sorry no hanging around at the moment to chat. Also follow the pathway around the front of the office and exit via the gate nearest the bike rack. This ONE WAY system is exactly the same as it was last term.
I’ll be outside each morning with Mr Fyfe and Mrs Buet to help guide you.
If you arrive by bike still come in through the IN GATE and walk it around to the bike rack once you have dropped your child.
|Years 5 and 6||8:40am||3:00pm|
|Years 3 and 4||8:50am||3:10pm|
|Years 1 and 2||9:00am||3:20pm|
It will be essential that all families stick to their child’s allocated arrival/departure time.
If you have children in two or more classes please arrive and drop your children at the earliest time. Any younger siblings will then be able to wait in class or playground (Supervised). Collection should be at the later time. So for example if you have children in years 1 and 5, you would drop both children off at 8:40am, and then collect them both at 3:20pm (the older sibling would wait in class) until 3:20pm.
Our new EYFS children will be starting on a part-time basis. Mrs Willsher has given out dates and time to groups. We look forward to seeing everyone.
Please remember that at the peak times of 8:30am - 9:15am and 2:45pm - 3:30pm NO-ONE IS TO DRIVE INTO SCHOOL, unless they have a disability badge and have confirmed this with the office. This is for the safety of everyone. Thank you.
27th August 2020
I hope you are having a good summer holiday. I just wanted to give you the link below to the latest updated parental advice about schools reopening from the Government
Please read through the information given in the document above as it outlines useful information.
I have gone through our COVID risk assessment with our Governors. I will add more information to this page next week.
In the meantime staff have been working hard to ensure that we are ready for the children’s return. We are very much looking forward to seeing everyone. Mr Fyfe has been orchestrating a deep clean of the school, and also arranging for many areas in our school grounds to be painted.
We’ve received a few questions from parents so I thought it might be useful to do a Q&A below.
Enjoy the last week of the holidays.
Q) Does my child have to return to school in September?
A) Yes, the government say that all children must return to school. We appreciate that some families might be anxious. If this is the case please phone or email the office and we will talk through any concerns.
Q) My child is anxious about returning to school will they be OK?
A) It is totally understandable to be anxious, but hopefully also excited about returning to school. We will look after all the children and take them slowly through all new routines and what they can and can’t do. We will give time for the children to talk and reflect. We will be doing a while school topic based on Oliver Jeffers book ‘Here We Are’ that will give us time to do this is a creative way.
We will all look after each other by washing/sanitising hands and distancing when we can. We will look out for each other.
Q) My child is feeling unwell and I don't know whether to send them into school. What should I do?
A) Identify what symptoms your child has and monitor them. If they have recognised COVID symptoms: High temperature, new continuous cough, loss of sense of smell/taste, you should book a COVID test via the website or phone NHS 119 and they can book one for you. You should keep your son/daughter at home with you until you have the results back. Please inform the school once you have the test results. Hopefully they will be negative and once your child has recovered from whatever illness they had they can return to school.
If they have non COVID symptoms monitor them and act as you would for that illness. Always ring Mrs Buet in the office if you need advice. We would always say be cautious if unsure and liaise with your doctor.
Q) Can I come into school to talk with a member of staff?
A) At the moment we would prefer as many people as possible to contact us by phone or email rather than come into school in person. If a face to face appointment is absolutely necessary yes, of course we will set up a safe place to meet.
There will be member of staff, including myself at the entrance gates daily so we can also take messages and ring you back during the day.
Q) Will my child need to wear school uniform?
A) Yes, everyone must return in school uniform. We use summer uniform until the October half term.
Q) Will my child need a PE kit?
A) Yes, please send your child into school with their PE kit, each item being named.
Q) Will my child need a water bottle?
A) Yes, please send your child in with a NAMED water bottle. They will keep these on their table for easy access. They will also bring them home each day so that they can be washed. Please also ensure that your child is able to open their own water bottle. We found younger children were struggling with the design of some bottles.
Q) Will my child need a bag?
A) We want to keep items coming into school to a minimum. They will only need a book bag and lunchbox if they are having sandwiches.
Q) Will my child need to bring in their own stationery?
A) We have made up individual stationery sets for each child to keep in school at their desk.
Q) We the school be offering hot dinners?
A) Yes, we will be offering hot dinners as usual (ordered in advance in the usual manner). These will be eaten in the dining hall, which will be set out differently to normal. Less children will be in the hall at any time and there will be less movement once in there. Adults will serve drinks to the children once they are seated and also will remove their empty tray and plates once they have finished. Tables will be thoroughly cleaned between use (as they would be in a restaurant)
Q) Can my child wear a mask?
A) The government say that no children aged 11 and under need to wear a mask. If you wish your child to wear one that is fine. It would be down to your child to manage their mask themselves though.
Having just read through all the latest government information on masks I think it might be useful for children to bring their own mask into school with them. They can then pop it on if they feel they need to. We will not make any child wear one, this would only be for them to choose if they felt they needed to for a short period of time. At least then they would have the option.
Q) Can my child bring in a mini bottle of hand sanitiser in their book bag?
A) Yes of course if they wish. If they do it should be 70%+ alcohol to kill off the virus. We will have lots of hand sanitiser around the school, at the entrance gates, outside each classroom and within every room for children and staff to use.
Q) Will my child be near other children?
A) Yes to some extent. Each class will have their own classroom space. We will be pairing up classes into extended 'bubbles' so make movement around/to and from the school easier. So Years 1 and 2 will be considered as a bubble, years 3 and 4, and years 5 and 6. These pairs of classes will have the same arrival/departure times, the same day for the hall, the same playground area, the same toilets.
Tables in classrooms will be in rows facing the front. Every child will have their own stationery kit and tray/books by their table.
Q) How will the school keep the children safe?
A) As a school we have had a COVID risk assessment in place for many months. A parental version of this risk assessment has been shared with you and is on this website page. I will update it again soon. We have carefully considered all movement around the school and use of resources so that the children, staff and you, keep as safe as possible.
It will be vital that you as parents don't send your child into school if you have any concerns about them having possible COVID symptoms. To do so would be to put us all at risk. Gain a test for your child straight away, and then share the outcome with the school. Under 5 year old can now be tested too.
We will all need to work closely together to look after each other and be responsible for keeping everyone safe.
If you have any questions that aren’t answered above please send them into firstname.lastname@example.org
and Mrs Buet can pass them on to me. You could also use the class email address too. I can then add more Q and As.
Finally, please know that as always we will all work very hard to ensure that the children are safe and happy.
17th July 2020 Newsletter
In the summer term we always have class photographs taken, but obviously this year we have been unable to do so. However, we are delighted that Peter, our school photographer, has been able to put together whole class photographs using the individual ones taken in the autumn term. These may be found on his website petergammonphotography.co.uk. Mrs Buet sent out passwords to each class last week.
6th July 2020
This will be our last 'normal week' as next week we will be having our 'Transition Week'. We are all looking forward to seeing many of our children who have not been able to be in school. I am delighted that so many can attend, even for just a day.
The final day of term for many children will be Friday 17th July at 3:10pm. For some it will be whatever day their Transition Day is on. If in doubt please ring Mrs Buet.
In light of all the guidance that came out last week from the Government I am now planning for September and how this will operate in Holy Family. Transition Week will give me a taster of how everyone moves coming into and out of school. Please check your child's arrival/departure time carefully and only arrive at that time. Don't try to come earlier as you'll get caught up with those arriving at the earlier time slot.
The instructional videos found below on 20th May give guidance for arrival/departure.
It is not going to be possible for me to have planned and risk assessed everything in readiness for September before next Friday. Please therefore, keep checking this page during August as I will update it and ensure that we all know how the school will run. Also it is highly likely that we will get more updates during August.
One thing is very clear from the guidance and that is that ALL children must return to school in September.
Pupil End of Year Reports
Please look out for your child's 'End of Year Report' which will be sent to you on the afternoon of Monday 6th July. We have adapted the usual format as we have no updated formal assessments or exam results to give. The last reliable set of results were given to you at the February 2020 Pupil Progress meetings. We have added a section for you and your child to add photos and comments about work that you have been doing out of school. We have also attached a short questionnaire which we would love to have feedback on. Completed reports and questionnaires should be emailed back to your child's class teacher, via the class email. Alternatively you may download a paper copy to complete and give to your son/daughter to bring into their teacher on their Transition Day.
The cover letter with the report will give you details of your child's next class teacher.
Letters accompanying reports from Mrs Kelliher
Start and Finish Times for WB: 29th June AND 6th July 2020
8:50am - 3:10pm = Key Worker Pupils (please do not arrive before 3:10pm)
9:00 - 3:00pm = Year 6
9:15 - 1:00pm = Year 1
9:30 - 12:15pm = Foundation
WB: 13th July is Transition Week
Your son/daughter should only attend school on their allocated day.
For example: A year 4 child with an allocated day of Tuesday 14th July should arrive to school at 9:35am, and will be greeted by their teacher at the double gates. They should be collected from the same gates at 2:40pm.
Please try to keep your arrival and collection times as precise as you can so we can give everyone plenty of space.
Key Worker children may have a slightly different agreed arrangement.
Foundation class and hall
Year 1 classroom
Year 2 classroom
Year 3 classroom
Year 4 classroom
Year 5 classroom
Year 6 classroom
For current EYFS pupils
For current Y1 pupils
For current Y2 pupils
For current Y3 pupils
For current Y4 pupils
For current Y5 pupils
Which gate to use
Though EYFS gate
26th June 2020
Please find below a copy of the letter emailed to you today from me. I have just amended it a little to confirm that for the next two weeks arrangements for EYFS, Year 1, Year 6 and Key Workers remains the same. Same days and same times. Apologies for any miscommunication.
As I've stated in my letter plans for any wider return have been thwarted with the extension of critical vulnerable shielding. In replacement however, we are using the week beginning 13th July 20 as a 'Transition Week'. Your child's current class teacher will be emailing you today from the class email. Please read their letter carefully and let them know if you would like your son/daughter to attend their allocated transition day.
The final day in school for year 6 (unless you have selected the option of keeping them in the key worker group all of that week) will be WEDNESDAY 15th JULY.
The final day and end of term for all other children (regardless of what bubble they are in) is FRIDAY 17th JULY at their allotted time (see letter below)
Important Letter to all parents - Deadline for responses by 30th June 20
Important Letter to all Parents - 12th June 2020 (Deadline for response - Friday 19th June)
Start and Finishing Times for Children - WB: 15th June and WB: 22nd June 2020
8:50am - 3:10pm = Key Worker Pupils
9:00 - 3:00pm = Year 6
9:15 - 1:00pm = Year 1 (Lunch included if you have confirmed this)
9:30 - 12:15pm = Foundation (Lunch included if you have confirmed this)
Start and Finish Times for WB: 8th June
8:50am - 3:10pm = Key Worker Pupils
9:00 - 3:00pm = Year 6
9:15 - 11:45am = Year 1
9:30 - 11:30am = Foundation
5th June 2020
Thank you to all of those who have been following our new one way entry/exit system into/out of school.
For parents in EYFS and Year 1 who are bringing in their children next week please remind yourselves about this by seeing the instructional videos below. Year 1 to arrive at 9:15am with children being collected by Mrs Eardley at the double gate near to Mr Fyfe's house. Parents then follow the pathway around to the exit gate.
EYFS parents follow the one-way system round to the EYFS gate where Mrs Willsher will be there to receive the children. Then follow pathway round to exit gate.
Collection of Year 1 will be at 11:45am from the double gates (where you dropped off in the morning). EYFS to be collected at 11:30am from the EYFS gate.
It has been colder in the past two days and the children may want to bring a warm coat with them too as they will be outside for some of the time.
Finally, if your son/daughter has hayfever please give them any usual medication that they would have.
2nd June 2020
Please see below a summary of key messages from our school's Risk Assessment document. Also a copy of the COVID Health and Safety Policy (model version) in place for the rest of this term
31st May 2020
Dear Children (Year 6 and Key Worker)
We are looking forward to seeing more of you returning to school tomorrow. It will be lovely to hear your voices in school again after so many weeks without them. We have had to rearrange classrooms and also put desks in the hall (for key workers) to ensure everyone is safely spaced out. I know this will be strange for you at first, but I know you will understand that this is what we have to do at the moment. Luckily we have beautiful school grounds so will be able to take you outside into the sunshine too. When you first arrive back in school your teachers will tell you all about the changes and reorganisation, and will guide you through all the new ways of doing things.
I’m looking forward to seeing you all.
20th May 2020
You will see below some short video clips where we have tried to show you our one way system to enter/exit the school premises should we start expanding pupils numbers in June in some year groups. We have two letters that have been sent out to EYFS, year 1 and 6 parents which give details of our risk managed offer.
Unacceptable risk for us at the moment is too many children back as there is a significant decline in ability to social distance. At this stage of the pandemic I am not prepared to ask our staff to take risks more than we have a chance of managing. Rotas will give us at least a sporting chance. I shall be watching data carefully to see what is happening to inform us of when we can take more pupils. This may not coincide with government guidance. It is heartening that many EYFS and Year 1 parents also agree that distancing this age group is extremely difficult at best, many choosing to remain home learning.
I now must talk about key worker children. If we don’t keep numbers very manageable within this group there will be an affect upon year 6’s ability to attend school. This is because we will need more space to use. We’ve had to move tables out of the library as it gets too hot even with all the windows open. We’re going to take small groups into year 3 classroom too. I urge you therefore to only request a place if you have no alternative. It is still the directive to work at home where you can. If you do so your child stays with you unless they are in one of the three year groups who may begin returning in small numbers. This is the safest way for us all.
We’ll be watching carefully to see if death and infection rates continue to decline. Since Boris Johnson’s announcement earlier this month hundreds of people have still died due to COVID. I want Holy Family to be mindful of this and to take small steps through June, watch what happens in the wider school community in England, and then we’ll review risk assessments again.
Stay alert, control the virus, save lives.
Instructional video for entering HFS premises
Instructional video for dropping off key workers
instructional video for dropping off a Foundation (EYFS) pupil (and for their Transition Day in year 1 during WB: 13th July)
Instructional video for Year 6 and Year 1 (and Years 2, 3, 4 and 5 in Transition Week) pupils coming in through the main playground.
19th May letter to EYFS, Year 1, Year 6 and agreed Key Workers
15th May 2020
Copy of letter sent out to EYFS, Year 1 and Year 6 parents
13th May 2020
As expected schools have been receiving lots of documents to read to guide us in preparing for pupils in EYFS, year 1 and then year 6 to return. I wanted to write to you briefly now, although we are still risk assessing, to let you know that it is already clear that it would not be safe to have too many children back at one time. It is highly likely that provision will be part time on a rota basis (one or two days a week depending upon year group, and no more than 7 children in at a time in a classroom), with staggered starting and collection times. Once I have finished liaising with all staff and then Governors (I’m meeting with them virtually, early next week) I will be able to give more detail. Whatever the final plan it will be in small controlled steps. To reassure you again no-one will be fined for deciding not to send their child in. I will be sending out an email next week to those three year groups, asking if you are considering sending your child back to school in June. This is just to give us an indication.
10th May 2020
What next after Boris Johnson’s speech?
In the short term for schools nothing has changed. The rest of May will continue as we are now.
Over the course of this week I would expect that schools will receive more detailed information about what a possible reopening for some pupils may look like. I’m sure that we all share the same concerns. I am hoping that schools will be given a lot of autonomy in how children will be safely reintroduced back to school.
If the national guidance (once known) cannot be safely applied in our school, we will retain the power along with our governing body to make decisions regarding the safety of pupils and staff based on our own individual risk assessments. This may ultimately mean that our school is not in a position to expand pupil numbers in the way the government has indicated on the 1 June.
I will keep you informed
6th May 2020
I hope that you are all keeping well and enjoying doing some of the VE Day activities on the class pages. We can't wait to see photos/videos of what you have done.
Class teachers have been keeping in regular contact with everyone and from what we are being told everyone is managing the new way of living, and most importantly keeping safe. This brings me onto the subject of schools reopening. Like you we await news from our Prime Minister on Sunday to see what the future holds for schools. We don't hear anything beforehand. Whatever is shared with us on Sunday, I know that everyone at Holy Family will always put the safety of the children, you and staff first. I have already been having some discussions about health and safety, and how we would alter routines and class layout to accommodate what I hope will just be a partial reopening of some year groups to begin with, but only when it is safe to do so. As soon as I hear on Sunday I will continue with our planning and keep you informed.
Until then enjoy the sunshine and VE Day on Friday.
Take care and stay safe.
2nd May 2020
Another week has passed by and I hope that you are all keeping safe and well. The daily Coronavirus updates still give us no clear idea of when, and in what capacity schools will reopen. Hopefully everyone is able to access the great variety of work and activities that class teachers are putting on the class pages. Next week we look forward to seeing and hearing about all the lovely things you’re doing as part of our celebrations for VE Day in Friday 8th May. It’s seeing all the great things you’ve been up to that brings us joy, as we miss you all.
Take care, stay safe
27th April 2020
I hope you are all keeping safe and well.
Please see below information about a new national helpline for queries about home learning. Also a weblink to free online courses.
Explaining Coronavirus to children
Letter to parents from Schools Sports Partnership
Essex Youth Activities Flyer
22nd April 2020
22nd April 2020
Update on use of FSM vouchers
Please note that these may now be used in Aldi too.
19th April 2020
Dear Parents and Children
I hope you are all keeping safe and well. Please see below a link to new information from the government about learning at home.
Teachers will be adding new work and activities for you to do at home. Please also see on the class pages a letter from Mrs Lonergan about activities that can be done outdoors. We are also delighted to announce in that letter that HFS has been awarded ‘silver’ in Learning outside the Classroom Quality Mark. Well done to everyone.
31st March 2020
Dear Parents/Carers and Children
I hope that you are all keeping safe and well, and are settling into your new routines at home. The school feels very different and we miss you all. Last week and this week class teachers have been arranging their class pages and systems of communication. I would expect this to evolve again for the summer term as we get used to working in different ways.
There are also many weblinks that might be of use. Whilst mentioning online please can you ensure that you have reviewed your home e-safety routines. This was a reminder sent out to schools recently.
Underneath this message I have added a new link to support mental health and well-being.
We've also been putting information and weblinks to resources to support our faith and religious education. These can be found on the 'Our Faith' section on the Key Information tab.
Finally, it will be Holy Week next week and I'm sure that more links will be sent to us. We usually do a special Stations of the Cross Assembly with the children as close as we can to Holy Week. I'll add our Holy Family booklet that you may wish to use at home for your own Stations of the Cross reflection.
Take care, stay safe
NHS Chat Health Flyers: supporting children and young poeple
25th March 2020
In addition to Fr David’s message below please see a message from Abbott Hugh (link below).
24th March 2020
Like us I am sure that you are adjusting to a new way of doing things. Today I was seeing how school and home interacted in our EYFS class. After Boris Johnson's message to us all last night it is vital that we stay indoors and follow all the latest requirements. I've added a few bits below.
61.20 Attachment 1 Corona Animation.mp4
Message from Witham Foodbank
If people would like to donate food or money to Foodbank, they can bring them to the Centre @ Witham Methodist Church (nearly opposite the Catholic Church) on a Friday between 10-12. In these desperate times, we are giving out more food than we are receiving.
22nd March 2020
Dear families of the Holy Family School Community,
I want to assure you, especially at this time, of my love and prayers and know that I am saying Mass daily at home. These are hard times but trust in the Lord and keep the faith. Whatever we have to face we will face it together and hope for brighter times ahead.
God love you all,
20th March 2020
It has been a strange kind of day knowing that we won't see the children for a while. They have all been fantastic, and although they must feel uncertain about what the next few weeks, months will bring, I am so proud of how they have behaved. They are a credit to you all.
I have had to take a difficult decision, and be very strict with which key worker children we can support, in child care provision over the next few days/weeks. The aim of school closures is to reduce the opportunities of us spreading the coronavirus to each other. Schools have held on as long as they could, and the government acknowledged this. Seeing the rapid increase in coronavirus cases they too made the difficult decision to close schools.
My response to help Holy Family keep going for as long as we can, has been to concentrate solely on families with two identified key workers, and those single parent families who had no other support network around them. I would like to thank all those families who supported me in this, and made the challenging decision to speak to their employers, or change their lives around to care for their children at home. In doing so they have allowed their key worker partner, and staff at HFS to last longer to support those families for whom there is no other option.
My thanks go to our staff who have given me their unfailing support and will continue to do so. They are concerned about their families too.
Over the next week staff will be reviewing their class webpages to ensure that we have lots on there for the children to do. Please check the pages regularly for information. We'd love to receive emails with work that your children have done or videos of them talking about it. Send then to the admin email and I will ask Mrs Buet to send them on. If you're in agreement we might be able to put them on the class webpage too.
Thank you everyone. Keeping looking after each other, I know you will.
I have spent much of the morning reading through latest Government, LA and Union guidance about school closure, and who should be offered a child care place in schools. It is summed up by 'every child who can be safely cared for at home should be'. Below is a letter from me explaining how these 'offers' of child care places will operate and also a form for those key workers with no alternatives for keeping children at home. For these families we will do our very best.
From next week we will be offering a very different type of provision than schools usually provide; for these children, it will be about care, not education. This is about keeping our children safe, and allowing key workers with no other child-care alternative, the ability to go to work and care for the sick, or to keep food supply chains moving. All expectations regarding educational provision have been lifted.
Please follow the very latest guidance in social (physical) distancing and keep yourselves and families as safe as possible. Look after each other.
19th March (22:10hrs)
Please see letter below. We still have many things to establish and will update you as soon as we have heard from the government.
19th March - letter to parents
At 5.15pm today, the Secretary of State for Education gave a public statement that all state-funded schools in England would be closed from the end of the school day on Friday.
He also indicated that all the GCSE, AS and A-level examinations due to take place this Summer, have been suspended; and that students would be credited for their learning in some other way.
Having indicated that all schools would be closed, he then indicated that they would be expected to remain open for the children of key workers and for those in various vulnerable categories – providing a safe place and access to meals. We are expecting a definition of ‘key worker’ tomorrow from the Cabinet Office. It will take time to determine the nature of this provision. Please contact our office once The definition is published and you fit into this category. This provision will also be affected as more school staff themselves need to self isolate.
Although we have been anticipating such an announcement, and prepared for various scenarios, the limited details so far released raise considerably more questions than answers. You will all have your own legitimate concerns and queries.
The Secretary of State gave no undertaking that schools would be expected to sustain a pattern of normal learning during the closure; rather that any available staff would be expected to support other frontline efforts. Our school response is yet to be determined.
I will be working my senior leadership colleagues, and all staff, and the local authority to clarify as best we can what this announcement means for the school, for our pupils and for you. I anticipate providing more details later tomorrow.
Thank you for your support and for your patience in the meantime.
For the next two days, pupil attendance is expected to continue as normal within the COVID-19 Public Health England guidance.
NHS Guidance to follow
Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms
Stay at home if you have either:
- a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
- a new, continuous cough – this means you've started coughing repeatedly
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.
Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you're staying at home.
How long to stay at home
- if you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
- if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms
If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.
Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
- you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- your condition gets worse
- your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
18th March 2020
We have good procedures in school and all is calm with our daily life, with the children being well looked after. Please help us to maintain this by NOT sending your son/daughter into school is they have a cough or temperature. I cannot stress this strongly enough. I appreciate that I am usually saying how important attendance is, but this is a unique circumstance. If your household is having to self isolate for the 14 days we will code attendance as 'Y'. This means that you will not get prosecuted or have any school action taken against you for your child not being in school.
Strictly follow the 14 days isolation. Keep safe. Ask for help from family and friends as necessary.
18th March 2020 Essex Communications to Parents
17th March 2020
Anyone with a temperature or persistent cough should stay at home for 7 days if they live alone or 14 days if they live with others. The whole household needs to isolate themselves under the new guidance.
People who have to isolate themselves or their household should ask others for help if necessary.
You already know that the safety and care of our children has, and always will be, central to our school.
On this page I will add current national guidance, and also local updates (as in what Essex are telling us to do, and also any decisions that we have to make as a school).
Please check the page regularly as it will give you accurate information.
Holy Family aims to remain open as directed by our Prime Minister. We continue to follow all hygiene guidance and remind the children of the need for effective handwashing techniques.
To help me to look after our school community I need:
- Everyone following national guidance.
- Everyone following hygiene guidance.
- Everyone taking appropriate social distancing measures.
- Everyone informing the school if they need to self/family isolate.
- Everyone informing the school if there is a confirmed coronavirus case in their family or colleague.
- Everyone supporting each other as best they can, should there be a need.
As none of us know exactly what the next few weeks will bring, it would be prudent to arrange provisional child care cover for your child(ren) just in case. Should the school have to close partially (eg: because too many staff in a given class are having to self isolate), temporarily (eg: for a deep clean), or a full closure (eg: because of a National directive, or local directive from Public Health England) you will be prepared.
If I have everyone communicating effectively we can make informed decisions with the appropriate authorities should the need arise.
I thank you all for your continued support.
A new helpline has been set up to answer questions about COVID-19 related to Education, Staff, Parents and young people.
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)
The DFE also states that no school should close in response to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case unless directed to do so by Public Health England.
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday