Which year groups are returning to school?
A phased return to school for pupils in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 begins on Monday 8th June, alongside a continued provision for children of key workers. Plans for our Year 10 pupils to have time in school later in June are also underway and we will announce further details as soon as is possible.

Do I have to send my child back to school?
Government guidelines have made it clear that parents and guardians will not be penalised, should they decide not to send their children back to school. The Department for Education is actively encouraging families to send their children back into school – unless the child or a family member is vulnerable or shielding. We believe parents should be free to decide for themselves without pressure. We will respect parents’ decisions and will continue to support a home learning provision for those families that choose to keep their children at home.

How will you maintain social distancing?
The Government guidelines state that unlike older children and adults, early years and primary age children cannot be expected to remain 2m apart from each other and staff.  Parents should be aware that we cannot guarantee social distancing at all times. However, there is a framework of strategies to reduce contact for our younger pupils, and central to our approach is the ‘bubble’ model.

• The ‘bubble’ model is the contact reducing method recommended by the Government.
• Children will carry out their school day in small groups or ‘bubbles’ of no more than 15.
• Each bubble will be assigned two staff members.
• A ‘bubble’ will not be able to mix with other ‘bubbles’, or with other staff members.
• Each ‘bubble’ will have its own designated space to learn.

Other measures to aid social distancing will include:
• Markings to indicate safe distances and pathways, helping children move safely through the school when required.
• One-way systems in any unavoidable communal spaces (toilets, entry and exit points etc.)
• Staggered drop off and pick up times to minimise parents’ contact with other adults and to help protect pupils and staff.

Will hygiene measures be increased?
We have introduced several additional measures to increase hygiene for children, staff and the spaces they occupy. These include:-
• Daily temperature checks for children and staff at the beginning of each day.
• Stringent hand washing and use of hand sanitiser for all children and staff – each ‘bubble’ has its own wash station.
• Frequent and rigorous cleaning of surfaces, rooms and equipment throughout the day and at the end of each day.
• Increased time spent outside, as the risk of spreading infection is reduced in open spaces.
• Removal of certain types of toys, furnishings, etc., and reduced access to certain classroom resources.

Will staff and children be required to wear PPE?
The Government’s guidance does not recommend wearing face coverings or masks in schools for children or adults unless a child’s care typically involves PPE, or where a distance of 2m cannot be maintained from a child that is unwell with the symptoms of Coronavirus. The advice warns that facemasks and face coverings could create a greater risk of transmission. Staff have therefore been provided with a PPE pack, which they can choose to use if and when they feel it is appropriate.

Will our remote learning provision change if I choose to keep my child at home?
We will continue to support home learning for all families, including those with children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 who are not returning to school at this time.. We will contact families choosing to keep their children at home in each returning year group once the number of children returning to school has been established.

Our Re-opening Plans document summarises all the plans and measures to provide and maintain as safe an environment as possible for our returning pupils and staff in this first phase of re-opening Thorpe Hall School. We hope to be able to welcome everyone back to school as soon as we can.