Due to the ongoing risk of covid infection, we are having to make some adaptations to organisation in the autumn term. Below we have set out the main elements of our strategy to minimise the spread of the virus.
All children were expected to return to and remain in school from September. There will be no social distancing for children once they are in school but government advice is clear that we have to put in place measures which minimise the risk of one group spreading infection to another. Staff will still need to practice some level of distancing where possible.
We have considered a range of ways to maintain quality and richness of provision. Central to this is the weekly opportunity for teaching staff to come together, review the week and plan and prepare for the following week. This PPA time is not just a contractual and statutory obligation but is also the key way we ensure consistency and quality in year groups. Covid restrictions mean we are not able to continue to cover this in the same way so we are turning to blended learning (a combination of face to face and remote learning opportunities) on a Friday afternoon. This means we will be running a different day on a Friday with a shorter brunch break and children going home at 1:15pm.
We will be launching the Cippenham Independent Learning Diploma, which aims to encourage strategies for independent learning and which we will except children to work towards on Friday afternoons. The recent lock down has highlighted how important these skills are so they will also be integrated more generally into our curriculum. There are more details below about how this will work in practice.
Year Group Bubbles
As far as possible, year groups will stay together. It is not possible to ‘hermetically’ seal them but in order to minimise risk of cross infection class teachers and LSAs will stay within their year groups. Your child will still be in the same class with the same teacher and learning support assistants but there will be some changes to the way their timetable works
Cover for PPA is not possible to maintain in the current way of working so we will be maintaining some blended learning opportunities by promoting an independent learning diploma for children to complete on a Friday afternoon when the school will close at 1:15pm. Teachers and Lead LSAs in year groups will come together on a Friday afternoon to review the week and plan and prepare for the following week. Parents for whom this will cause considerable difficulty may apply to a skeleton service run by LSAs supporting the independent learning diploma. A form will be available on the website to apply for this service and priority will be given to those who are critical workers, have vulnerable children or for whom the early closure will cause insurmountable difficulties.
Cippenham Independent Learning Diploma
Research published through the Education Endowment Foundation presents a very strong case for improving children’s metacognition and self-regulation. Basically, this means giving children an understanding of how to plan, monitor and evaluate their work and giving them opportunities to develop these skills. There is very strong evidence that children who can study effectively achieve better outcomes. Even children as young as three can develop self-regulation strategies.
Friday afternoons will provide a time to develop these skills through our Independent Learning Diploma. Teachers will set an open ended and enquiry-based task, (eg What qualities do I need to be a superhero? Or why is there no other life on our solar system?) each half term and support children to plan, monitor and evaluate as they go. This is intended to be completed independently and will attract credits each half term based on how well they have achieved the task, not on the standard of the outcome. Every child will be able to complete the diploma.
We value a rich curriculum and feel this will be important for children returning to school after a prolonged absence. We will continue to provide specialist music lessons and sports lessons. Specialist teachers will work within a year group for a whole day which means they can follow hygiene and cleaning protocols before moving to a different year group the next day. The timetable will have one music lesson and one sports lesson each fortnight for children in Y1 - Y6. There will be no dance lessons in the Autumn term.
Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
The inclusion team, led by Mrs Lomax, will continue to provide support to children with SEND and to other vulnerable children. Our highly valued enhanced provision will run all day. Inclusion team members will follow mitigation measures when moving between groups, although timetabling will reduce this to a minimum.
Other staff members
Senior leaders, office staff, sickness cover staff and inclusion team members will need to work in all year groups across the school. Where possible they will limit contact to one year group within one day but where this is not possible they will aim to minimise the length of time they are in close contact with pupils.
Lunch will continue to be collected from the canteen and eaten in classrooms. For children not eligible for free school meals or universal infant free school meals, lunch will be chargeable via parent pay. Parents may send in a packed lunch if they wish.
Fridays will look slightly different with an early brunch of half an hour to accommodate as much teaching time as possible before the school closes at 1:15pm.
Senior leaders will take Monday SMSC assemblies in year groups so each year group will have a fortnightly Monday assembly based on the SMSC schedule. These will be limited to 15 minutes or less and there will be a reasonable time between assemblies.
Friday celebration assemblies will be taken by year team leaders in year groups.
Outside spaces and playtimes
Year groups will have a dedicated space available to them for playtimes and outdoor learning. These may well be separated by boundaries like cones but may also be separated by invisible boundaries which the children will need reminding of. A zonal drawing will be available for reference.
Entry and exit times
- YR and Y2 and Y3: entry at 8:45 – 9:00 exit at 3:15 – 3:30
- Y1 and Y4 – entry at 8:35 – 8:45 exit at 3:05 – 3:15
- Y5 and Y6: entry at 8:45 – 9:00 exit at 3:15 to 3:30
- One-way system remains in place
These times will be kept under review. We recognise that staggered times can cause parents with children in more than one year group issues so we will work with you to make sure this is as easy and safe as possible.
Hand washing should be frequent. Wash stations will remain at the school entrances and in playgrounds.
Please see our full risk assessment for further details of mitigations.
Our aim is to welcome our community back to a happy and vibrant school which places a high priority on safety and wellbeing as well as aspiration. Our values hold true: respect, aspiration, uniqueness, positivity and trust.
The government have also shared the below advice with regard to pupils return to school, please note the following videos for your reference: September return bubbles; September return guidance; September return transport