Latest news from around the school

Coronavirus – update 3 (19 March 2020)

Posted on 19 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Today’s email update to schools from the government says very little that’s new (they do keep stressing the importance of handwashing, though). You’ll know already that schools will close for the foreseeable future from tomorrow, and we’ve already communicated that we plan to be open on Monday for children of key workers and for children who are vulnerable in some way.

What we don’t know is what the key worker categories will be. Thank you to the parents / carers who provided us with an idea of this – it’s helped us with our plans. We now need to wait and see exactly which jobs are on the list.

If your child does come to school next week…

  • There’ll be an expectation that they do similar learning tasks to those that we publish on the website for children at home. (We’ll tell you more about the home learning tasks separately.)
  • Children will be encouraged to bring in a game, toy or book for some regular ‘down time’ during the day – we’d rather not electronic toys, but a board game for others to join in would be good.
  • There won’t be an expectation that children wear uniform.
  • We hope we’ll be able to offer some sort of support for children of key workers and a small number of other children during the Easter holiday period, too.
  • In the longer term, things may change so that schools work together and provide this reduced provision as a group of schools.

We do have a few other brief updates for you…

  • If your child receives free school meals because of low income (not just because they’re in Early Years or Key Stage 1), then a ‘grab bag’ lunch will be available to collect from school.
  • There will be no tests or other assessments this school year.
  • One of our great teachers is in the middle of preparing a really long list of top websites to support learning at home – we’re all loving DuoLingo (perhaps your child will return to school being fluent in a new language – I might even give Irish a go!)
  • The BBC plans to increase the availability of educational programmes, which is great: ‘Educational programming for school children will be increased across iPlayer and the red button, with a daily educational programme for different key stages or year groups. BBC Bitesize will also be expanded.’

And a top tip…

  • We’ve heard from a few mums and dads that they plan to restrict their child’s access to social networking and other online activity (other than learning) at home during school hours – we think that’s a great idea.

And finally for today, a big thank you…

  • To the fantastic teachers, teaching assistants, admin team and cleaners – they’ve been truly amazing in these unsettling times.
  • To all of you who’ve told us how much you appreciate what teachers have done, and how much you’ve appreciated these updates.

Coronavirus – update 2 (19 March 2020): essential workers

Posted on 19 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

We’d hoped by now that the government would have released details of which workers are deemed to be ‘key workers’. They sent this in an email yesterday:

To provide parents, student and staff with the certainty they need, we are announcing that schools, colleges and early years settings will be closed to everyone except children of key workers and vulnerable children from Monday, as part of the country’s ongoing response to coronavirus.

Examples of these workers include NHS staff, police and delivery drivers who need to be able to go to work… A full list of key worker categories will be published by the Cabinet Office tomorrow.

Children who do not fall into these groups should remain at home with appropriate care.

The government hasn’t provided us with this list yet.

To help us plan for next week, it would be helpful if you contact school by telephone if you think you’re a key worker (or your partner if you have one).

When you call, you’ll be asked:

  • Which key worker category you (or partner) falls into – at the moment this is only broken down as NHS staff, police or delivery driver
  • How many days you need the service for in a typical week
  • If there’s an adult under 70 at home who’s able to look after the children

On Monday, when you drop your child off, you’ll be asked:

  • To show some evidence of the key worker status (this is so we can protect the provision for those who really need it)
  • To bring a packed lunch and any snack, unless your child is entitled to free school meals

Please note that things are changing quickly. By the time you read this, we may have more information about the key worker status.

Coronovirus – update 1 (19 March 2020)

Posted on 19 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

We know you’ll have a lot of questions about yesterday’s late announcement about schools closing – we do, too.

We’re confident in our plans so far, but we’ve a lot to do to finalise details. Please bear with us.

I’m meeting with Miss Hague this morning to finalise these plans. We’ll be joined by colleagues from our other Sphere Federation schools to share ideas and thoughts about the best way forward.

I’m sure you’ll understand this is a busy time for us.

Coronovirus – update (18 March 2020)

Posted on 18 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

We’ll keep today’s update a short one…

Yesterday, we published an article about ways to support your child.

The article included various links to advice to support your child’s wellbeing during these unsettling times. Do take a look, and especially monitor what they’re accessing online because some children are talking about the coronavirus pandemic in ways which aren’t helping at all (and this is based on misinformation (mistakes) and disinformation (deliberate lies) that children (and adults!) are reading online.

We also included a list of online resources if your child is at home, or if schools are closed. A few more resources to consider at home are…


PhonicsPlay is now free to access with immediate effect – use the log-in details provided on their homepage. (This company has hurried forward a new site to use, but there may be broken links and glitches: ) Many younger children will be very familiar with this resource, and this will help to keep that reassuring connection with learning in school.


The Science Museum Group have some fantastic experiments to try out at home.

Physical activity

The imovement platform has resources that will support you and your child at home. New resources will be added on a daily basis, and will include Quick Blasts, Active Blasts and Additional Activities to support Maths and Literacy.

Today’s daily update from the government doesn’t contain a lot of new information, and does say that Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education, will make a statement to the House of Commons at 5pm – we can expect more news later, perhaps. The update does tell us more about the COVID-19 Emergency Bill, which is to be published later this week. The Bill will include:

  • a power to remove or relax some requirements around education and childcare legislation in order to help these institutions run effectively in the event of an emergency
  • a power to require schools, further education and childcare settings to stay open or re-open, operate in ways to support continued education and childcare such as enable pupils / students to attend different premises, to enhance resilience of childcare and education sector

These two points might mean schools shifting focus to providing childcare to those parents who most need it, but please note that nothing is confirmed at this stage.

Coronovirus - update (17 March 2020)

Posted on 17 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

We’ve already communicated about coronavirus today – we’ve let you know about ways to support your child at home.

We’re grateful to those of you who have thanked us, commenting that their child feels supported at school in these difficult times. However, teachers are telling us that some children are feeling anxious. Please do take the time to read about how to support your child’s wellbeing. One top tip we mentioned is to supervise closely what your child is reading on social media – there’s a lot of misinformation (stuff that’s wrong) and disinformation (deliberate lies) out there.

The daily update from the government doesn’t contain much new information that’s relevant to you as a parent, but as a reminder:

Yesterday, the Government introduced new guidance on whole household isolation in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:

if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started
if you live with others and you or another member of the household have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community for anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.
The symptoms are:

A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)
A new, continuous cough
The full stay at home guidance for households with these symptoms can be found here.

We’ve always said that we’re following government guidance. Because of new guidance on social distancing, we’re now cancelling some events and activities. This includes any open sessions for parents to visit schools. Local organisations have also started to do so. This includes the local authority closing all leisure centres – this means there will be no swimming sessions for a while. We’re sorry about this.

In the event of schools closing…

…we continue to make plans. To support home learning:

  • Your child will select two or three reading books that he/she can take home.
  • Your child will be given a blank exercise book to record any home learning.
  • Teachers will communicate learning using the homework section on the website.
  • You’ll be able to contact your child’s class teacher by email if he/she needs any specific support.

Families may be contacted during the time that school is closed; if contact is made then it would be from the Head of School and would probably be by phone. If you’re contacted, it’ll be just to check that all is ok and to make sure that you are able to access everything that you need.

And finally…

…on a personal note, and a very trivial one, thank you to the dad who wished me a happy St Patrick’s Day today – it certainly served to lighten my mood!

Coronovirus – support your child

Posted on 17 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

In these unsettling times, it’s even more important to support your child – but it might be hard to know where to start. Although it comes from an American site, we like this parent resource which includes useful guidance such as:

  • Remain calm and reassuring.
  • Make yourself available.
  • Monitor television viewing and social media – we think this one is especially important… there’s a lot of misinformation (things that are wrong) and disinformation (things that are deliberate lies) out there.
  • Maintain a normal routine.
  • Be honest and accurate.
  • Know the symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Discuss new rules or practices at school.

Other helpful sites include:

If your child is at home, it’s best to keep them occupied, making sure they know that learning is still important. We know this might be hard in these unsettling times, but maintaining as much normality as possible is important – get into routines where some learning happens, then a break, etc – a bit like a school day.

Here are some links which will help you find appropriate learning for your child:

Don’t forget also our own website’s Learn More section has lots of ideas for support. And finally, as always, encourage them to forget about what’s going on by diving into a good book – reading has been shown to promote positive mental health.

Coronovirus - update (16 March 2020)

Posted on 16 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

If you’ve been reading our previous website posts, you’ll know that schools receive a daily update from the Department for Education about coronavirus. In today’s, we have this reminder:

  • staff, young people and children should stay at home if they are unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature to avoid spreading infection to others. Otherwise they should attend education or work as normal
  • if staff, young people or children become unwell on site with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature they should be sent home

Please note that we’re not able to advise you on anything more than this. I appreciate that keeping a child off school is a big decision, but we encourage you to base your decision on what is said here.

The updates continue to stress the importance of handwashing:

The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.

Watch this short NHS film for guidance.


We’d like to update you on other aspects of school life and how coronavirus might impact this.

Hand cream

We’re allowing children to bring hand cream to school if their hands are dry because of all the handwashing.

Year 6 residentials

Current guidance from the government does not indicate that residentials should be cancelled. At the moment at least, we plan to go ahead with these as normal. However, do be aware that there is a possibility that the Year 6 residential is cancelled, not by us but by the company we use – this would be beyond our control.

Other trips and sporting events planned

The message here is the same as for the Y6 residential – at this stage, these are going ahead. A few local events have so far been cancelled by the people running them. It’s important to know the cancellation is due to higher than normal levels of absences as people self-isolate as a precautionary measure rather than concerns about mass-gatherings or confirmed cases of the virus.


Similarly, we plan to continue taking children swimming. There’s no guidance from the government to say to do otherwise – we’ve checked and double-checked this. This article from The Guardian backs up our decision. However, we’ll respect your decision if you tell us you’d prefer your child not to go swimming for the moment.


Whilst we’re going ahead with most things, we have decided to postpone (or possibly cancel) the Y3,4 Easter production. This is so that we maximise valuable class learning time in case schools close.

Training day – 15 May 2020

We’ve a training day scheduled for Friday 15 May. If schools have closed and re-open by this stage, we would look to cancel this training day so your child is back at school for as much of the remainder of the school year as possible. This is not confirmed and we realise if might affect some families who may have booked time away. However, you’ll understand that our priority is to minimise the impact of any school closures.

The Y3,4 Easter production

Posted on 16 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Current government guidance around the coronavirus outbreak is clear that schools should remain open. However, there is a possibility that schools may close at some point.

If schools were to close, children would miss out on valuable learning time with their teacher. (We have plans in place to provide some home learning in the event of school closures, but this won’t be the same as children coming to school to learn with their teacher.)

Because we prioritise learning, we want to ensure children are benefitting from as much time as possible in the classroom.

Based on this reason, we’ve decided to postpone or possibly cancel the Y3,4 Easter production. This is because the production involves quite a lot of time in rehearsals. Whilst this can be a useful time for children to develop wider skills, we want to prioritise learning in the class – just in case later on learning in the class is missed.

We’re continuing to follow government guidance. This decision is not due speculation about bans on mass-gatherings, for example.

Sport Relief - take two

Posted on 13 March 2020 by Mrs Latham

We joined in with Sport Relief again today. Each class completed their own sport challenges – trying to improve personal best scores in skipping, basketball, running and football. Thank you for all the donations to this charity.

Coronovirus - update (13 March 2020)

Posted on 13 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

If you’ve been reading previous updates, you’ll know that schools receive a daily update from the Department for Education about coronavirus. Today’s update focuses on the news from yesterday afternoon about self-isolation:

To support the delay of the spread of the virus, the Department for Health and Social Care has asked anyone who shows certain symptoms to stay at home for 7 days, regardless of whether they have travelled to affected areas. This means people should stay at home and avoid all but essential contact with others for 7 days from the point of displaying mild symptoms, to slow the spread of infection.

The symptoms are:

A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)
A new, continuous cough

You do not need to call NHS 111 to stay at home. If your symptoms worsen during your stay at home period or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online at If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

The email also presents the government’s rationale around keeping schools open:

Current advice remains in place: no education or children’s social care setting should close in response to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.

The Chief Medical Officer has advised that the impact of closing schools on both children’s education and on the workforce will be substantial, but the benefit to public health may not be. Decisions on future advice to schools will be taken based on the latest and best scientific evidence, which at this stage suggests children are a lower risk group.


Separate to the update from government, we have three things to say…

Thank you

Thank you to the parents who have expressed some sympathy and understanding about the situation for schools, such as ‘I appreciate it must be a very busy and challenging time’ – we’re grateful that our parents are so supportive.

  • If you do notice it’s taking us a bit longer to respond to you, please bear with us.
  • And to help us, if you do have general questions about the outbreak, do consider contacting the national hotline, which might well be able to provide you with better answers than we can.

Hand cream

Some of you have let us know your child’s hands are dry because of all the hand washing. If this is the case, your child can bring in some hand cream – please let staff at the school office know.


A small number of you have asked what our governors are doing about the outbreak. Guidance to governors is:

The best and most appropriate way for governing boards to support their school leaders is to allow them to manage the school’s response without the involvement of the board, unless it is requested. School leaders themselves are guided by public health advice.