Start of term reminder letter
I’m sure your children are excited about starting school on Thursday and they have lots of questions to ask about how school will be for them. Here is some information that should help.
All classes will be treated as separate bubbles. Each bubble will be restricted to one area of the school and as much as is possible the same staff will remain with each bubble.
Children are not expected to socially distance from each other within the bubble. However they will need to try and socially distance from adults in the class. Clearly this is difficult for our younger pupils to understand so we will be using common sense. We also understand that pupils of all ages will forget occasionally.
Teachers will explain to pupils on Thursday what the rules in class and around the school are and there will be regular reminders especially as we all become accustomed to being back in school.
Arriving at school
We ask that parents dropping their children off at school by car or walking do so between 9 00 and 9 15.
We will be operating a “kissing gate” at Varteg Community Centre where we would like parents to say goodbye to their children in the mornings.
Pupils will follow the yellow markings on the path down to school. At the main school gate they will be separated into smaller groups with each group going into the school through a different entrance.
Year 5 and 6
Year 5 and 6 will walk through the car park and straight to the green gate by the demountable classrooms. They will then go straight to class. Pupils won’t be going on to the playground as they did before lockdown.
Teachers will be in class waiting for the pupils.
Years 3 and 4
Years 3 and 4 will walk along the path down the side of the school and in through the gate to the field. They will walk past year 1 and 2 and enter the school through the fire exit at the bottom of the stairs.
Years 1 and 2
Years 1 and 2 will walk along the path down the side of the school and in through the gate to the field. They will walk directly into class through the external doors.
Reception will walk in through the main gate and in to class through the gate that leads to the Reception Class playground. This takes them straight to class.
Nursery Staff will meet the children by Varteg Community Centre. Nursery pupils will walk with staff to the school’s main entrance.
We understand that starting in a new school can be a daunting experience for Reception and Nursery pupils. We will be sensitive and supportive to the needs of individual children at the start of term.
If you arrive late, please phone the school and we will walk to the Community Centre to collect your child.
Pupils arriving by bus
Staff will meet pupils arriving by bus and take them off each bus one year group at a time.
Each year group will walk to class as explained above.
Torfaen should have contacted families by letter last week to confirm which bus company is transporting your child to school. This letter should also communicate that pick up times and bus stops are the same as before lockdown.
End of the school day
At the end of the school day staff will walk pupils to the Varteg Community Centre – please do not congregate by the school gate.
We will bring the pupils up at intervals.
The Foundation phase will come up at 3 00. Followed by Year 1 and then Year 2.
Once you have your child/children, please clear the way so that other parents can collect their children safely and maintain social distancing.
From 3 15, Key Stage 2 pupils will walk up with staff.
Year 3 will come first, followed by years 4,5 and 6.
Please be patient, this may take time initially but as everyone gets used to the system it will work quicker.
Once all pupils being collected by parents have been handed over, we will take the pupils travelling by bus to the buses.
The canteen will be operating this term. On Thursday and Friday (3rd and 4th ) they will only be providing packed lunches.
From Monday, September 7th the canteen will be operating their full menu.
Space in our dinner hall is limited. To enable social distancing pupils bringing packed lunches will eat in class.
We have also staggered our lunch break so that fewer classes are using the dinner hall at once.
Reception and Year 6 will have lunch in the first sitting.
Years 2 and 3 will eat during the second sitting.
Years 1, 4 and 5 will eat during the final sitting.
Each year group will sit on a different table and a minimum of 2m will be kept between each class.
It isn’t possible to arrange a separate lunch time for all seven classes.
Pupils will wash their hands before leaving class and there are wall mounted hand sanitiser dispensers in the canteen.
The canteen will have a one way system where pupils enter through one door and leave through the other.
Pupils will go straight to their tables in the dinner hall and their meals will be bought to their table by staff – please remind them to be polite and grateful to staff for doing this.
Pupils will have a 15 minute, supervised break time as part of their lunch break.
The school will be operating a cashless system to pay for school meals. A separate letter will follow shortly with details of how to create an account.(Sorry for the short notice but I received this information from Torfaen at 9 30 this morning)
We ask that all pupils wear school uniform from the start of term. Please label your children’s clothing.
Can Nursery class come to school wearing their PE kits on Mondays please.
All other classes should send a PE kit into school in a bag that is clearly labelled.
The bags can be kept in school if necessary (Note – this is a change from a previous letter sent).
The reason for this is that we can’t use the hall for PE at the moment so having the kit in school will give us flexibility if the weather is poor.
Please ensure all items of clothing in the PE kit are labelled clearly.
Please don’t send any unnecessary items e.g. toys, games etc in pupils’ bags. Bags and coats will be kept in class to reduce movement around the school. Can I also please ask you not to send in birthday cakes or treats to share with other children.
I have a meeting on Thursday morning with Torfaen catering regarding the re-starting of breakfast club.
Like you I would like to see breakfast club up and running as soon as possible.
It is likely there will be some changes to the provision, for example a booking system and pupils will need to be separated into their class bubbles when they arrive at breakfast club (more details to follow after Thursday’s meeting).
Menter Iaith will be starting Clwb Carco on Monday, September 14th. Please refer to the flyer on the school’s Twitter page for more details or contact Menter Iaith directly.
The school day
We all want children’s experience of school to be as normal as possible under the circumstances. However there are some things that we won’t be able to do for the time being. Some examples include assemblies, musical instrument lessons, some sports and games and sharing equipment between classes.
As guidance changes we will consider if these can be reintroduced safely.
Currently Welsh Government advises that there is no need for masks/face coverings in primary schools – this includes on school transport.
In secondary schools the issue mainly involves pupils moving around the school and along corridors. In primary schools pupils remain in the same class room.
Advice on this is changing all of the time and we will update our guidance to parents accordingly.
A copy of communication from Welsh Government regarding face coverings in school is posted on the school website and on Twitter.
Staff will occasionally need to wear face coverings in situations where they have to have close contact with pupils; e.g. giving first aid or supporting young pupils whilst eating.
Process if pupils show coronavirus symptoms
A leaflet will come home with children on Thursday explaining what the process is if pupils or a member of staff display symptoms of coronavirus.
It is very important that if your child, or anyone living in your household, are displaying symptoms of coronavirus that you do not send your child to school. Please contact your GP and follow government advice.
This is also the case if you are contacted by Test, Track and Protect or if you need to quarantine following returning from countries on the Government’s travel corridors list.
Please ensure we have up-to-date contact details in case of any emergency.
Yr eiddoch yn gywir/ Yours sincerely
Rhys ap Gwyn