FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
26th February 2021
Attendance for the full re-opening of schools from 8th March. Guidance below from Essex.
If you have any concerns or need clarification please contact Mrs. Buet, who is our Attendance Officer.
Q) My child or another member of our household has to continue to shield, what do I do about my child's attendance at school?
A) Shielding Household Members
If a student has received a letter from their GP that clearly states they have been identified as being critically extremely vulnerable (CEV), they should shield and not attend school. Parents must provide the school with a copy of the notification for their records. Schools should continue to provide access to remote learning for these students and code the register with an X.
If other household members are required to shield, and this is not specific to students that are of statutory school age and on school roll – normal attendance is expected and mandatory.
Shielding is very specific to the individual and the guidance from government is clear:
“Shielding guidance applies to clinically extremely vulnerable individuals only. Others living in a household with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable are not advised to follow this guidance. They should instead follow the general advice and regulations set out in the national lockdown guidance that came into effect on 5 January 2021”
This being the case, unless the shielding advice relates specifically to the student, attendance is expected and mandatory.
Q) I am a shielding parent, how will I safely be able to do the school run?
A) Shielding parents and the school run
We appreciate that single parent families (where the parent is shielding) may find the school run difficult. In these circumstances parents should be encouraged to consider alternative arrangements:
- Form a support bubble with other family members or friends that could take their child/ren to and from school
- Allow older, responsible siblings in the family home to bring their brother/sister safely to and from school (mainly where primary school children are involved)
- School to consider the parent bringing their child to school and pick up at the end of the day at a time when traffic around the school is lower.
However, shielding is not isolation or quarantining, and shielding individuals can go outside to perform essential tasks such as the school run.
Again please liaise with us so we can support in arranging a safe way for you to drop/collect your son/daughter.
Q) I am anxious about sending my child back to school/ My child is anxious about returning to school
A) We appreciate that after this period of lockdown, and some sad experiences that families may have had during it that there will be some degree of anxiety for some child and families. We intend to spend the WB: 8th March 21 doing activities in classes that will allow time for the children to talk. We want to ensure that they are secure in being back and know that all adults in school are there to support and guide them. We are so looking forward to seeing everyone again, but know that we must continue to do this as safely as possible, hence the revised COVID risk assessment. Staff, as always, will be sensitive to the children's needs. We hope that we will quickly get back into the routine of school life and enjoy as many activities as we would usually do. We are blessed with great school grounds that the children can enjoy both to learn in and for recreation.
Please contact your child's class teacher to share any anxieties.
Guidance from Essex
Pupils and families who are anxious about attending school
It is likely that some pupils, parents and households may be reluctant or anxious about attending school. This may include pupils who:
• have themselves been shielding previously but have been advised they no longer need to shield
• live in a household where someone is clinically vulnerable (CV) or CEV (including young carers)
• are concerned about the possible increased risks from coronavirus (COVID19) such as those who have certain conditions such as obesity and diabetes
However, from 8 March 2021, school attendance is mandatory for all children of statutory school age and on a school roll. Only students that have a statutory reason for not attending should be absent. Schools will
assess whether absence of individual pupils should be recorded as authorised or unauthorised.
From 8th March 2021 schools will only make remote learning accessible to absent students that are
shielding, self-isolating or quarantining because of coronavirus in accordance with the relevant legislation or
guidance published by PHE or the DHSC.
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 request these free mobile data increases for families during the spring and summer 2021 terms.
Firstly, contact your own mobile provider to ask if you can benefit from this. See italic information directly below from Essex for more information.
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.