Responses are based on DfE guidance, for school specific FAQs please see each school’s website


RETURN TO SCHOOL

Why are certain year groups going back first?

The Department for Education (DfE) set out the three year groups within mainstream primary have been prioritised because they are key transition years – children in Reception and year 1 are at the very beginning of their school career and are mastering the essential basics, including counting and the fundamentals of reading and writing, and learning to socialise with their peers. Year 6 children are finishing Key Stage 2 and are preparing for the transition to secondary school and will benefit immensely from time with their friends and teachers to ensure they are ready. These groups will be welcomed back to school from 1 June.

The two year groups in mainstream secondary schools and colleges have been prioritised because they are preparing for key examinations next year, and are most at risk of falling behind due to time out of school or college.  From 15 June 2020, secondary schools will be able to offer some face-to-face contact with year 10 and year 12 pupils. This will supplement their remote education, which should remain the predominant mode of education during this term. Schools are able to have a quarter of the year 10 and year 12 cohort (for schools with sixth forms) in school at any one time. Schools and colleges should also ensure that the use of public transport for travel to and from school or college is minimised as far as possible.

What protective measures are schools being asked to take?

Each of the Trust schools has created a detailed plan to allow it to reopen safely.

The DfE sets out full details of the protective measures schools should follow and the Trust schools are following that guidance. Examples include:

  • Making sure children and young people are in the same small groups at all times each day, and different groups are not mixed during the day or on subsequent days;
  • increasing the frequency of cleaning, reducing the used of shared items and utilising outdoor space; and
  • ensuring all adults and children frequently wash their hands with soap and water, including on arrival at the setting, before and after eating and after sneezing or coughing.

Will parents be fined if they don’t send their children back to school?

No. While the Government is strongly encouraging children in eligible groups to attend, parents/carers will not be penalised for keeping their children at home. Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time, and schools and colleges will not be held to account for attendance levels.

When do you expect other children to be sent back to school?

The Government have asked that all schools should aim to provide provision for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children from 1st June and an ambition for other Primary years to attend school before the end of term.  Secondary Schools are asked to provide ‘some face to face support for yrs 10 and 12’. Secondary schools are planning their response in line with this recently published guidance.

Why are Cheshire East and Cheshire West & Chester local authorities going back later than Government suggested date of 1 June?

The Trust works alongside its two local authorities and is working in line with guidance from them to allow adequate planning and preparation in readiness for the schools reopening from 15th June.


PUPIL WELLBEING

Do you expect children to follow social distancing guidelines? If so, how?

Class sizes will be smaller, creating more space for children and teachers, and children will only mix with their small group. Schools will implement protective measures designed to reduce the risk of transmission, including increasing cleaning and reducing ‘pinch points’ in the school day such as breaktimes, pick-up and drop-off.

Unlike older children and adults, early years and primary age children cannot be expected to remain 2m apart from each other and staff. In deciding to bring more children back to early years and schools, the Government advisors are taking this into account.

Will children and young people have access to testing?

Yes. Children and young people will be eligible for testing if they begin to display coronavirus symptoms, as will symptomatic members of their households. To access testing, parents will be able to use the 111 online coronavirus service if their child is 5 or over. Parents will be able to call 111 if their child is aged under 5.

A negative test will enable children to get back to school, and their parents to get back to work. Where a school has a positive case, the rest of the class or group should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. As part of the national test and trace programme, if other cases are detected Public Health England will work with schools to advise on the appropriate course of action.  Where schools are observing guidance on infection prevention and control, which will reduce risk of transmission, closure of the whole school will not generally be necessary.

Should the children wear masks in school?

Masks in schools are not recommended by the DfE. The guidance advises against young children wearing masks stating that it may increase, rather than reduce their risk of infection as they are unlikely to be able to use them as intended throughout the school day.

For older children – Year 6, 10 or 12, whilst the guidance says masks are not necessary children will be allowed to wear a mask in school if parents wish them to.

My child is suffering from anxiety, how will the school help them cope?

Schools will create additional pastoral support in response to the likely increase in need.

What if my child has pre-existing conditions?

Scientific evidence shows that for most children and young people, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a mild illness.

Children and young people (0 to 18 years of age) who have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable due to pre-existing medical conditions have been advised to shield. We do not expect shielding children to be attending school or college, and they should continue to be supported at home as much as possible.

Clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) people are those considered to be at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19). A small minority of children will fall into this category, and parents should follow medical advice if their child is in this category.

What if a child shows symptoms during the school day?

Each school has a space set aside to isolate students who fall ill during the day. There will be equipment in this space to check temperatures. The school will contact parents immediately and ask for their child to be taken home in these circumstances.

Our staff will be vigilant regarding the display of symptoms and will err on the side of caution if a child shows symptoms.

Most school do not have the resources to check temperatures on arrival at school. We need our parents to check before sending their child to school.

Will children be expected to wear uniform?

Each school will publish its own guidelines for parents.  Schools recognise the medical advice to change clothes daily and will communicate this to their parents.  

Will there be staggered start and end times to the day?

Each school has planned its revised school day and drop off and pick up routines.

What happens if children do not social distance?

The schools are very aware that this is a new set of expectations for our students regarding social distancing and hygiene practices and will be patient if there are mistakes. If students deliberately breach expectations, there will be age appropriate reminders and/or sanctions.


LEARNING

Will teachers who are working in school still be able to support my child’s home learning?

Yes, teachers will schedule their work to meet school-based commitments, whilst maintaining support for classes which are home schooling.

My child hasn’t had regular access to on-line learning, how will the school help them catch up?

Schools will track and monitor pupils in such circumstances and make additional provision where possible.

Will there be any afterschool clubs or sports fixtures or performing arts clubs or events?

No, the social distancing guidelines and requirement to only work in a regular group of 15 will prevent this until the advice changes.

What are the arrangements for GCSE/A Level exams next year? Will there be dispensation for this disruption?

There has been no announcement about this to date. We expect Ofqual to publish their proposals before the end of term.

How will pupils make up lost learning time?

Pupils’ progress and engagement is being monitored by teaching and Pastoral staff throughout this period of disruption. When we start to return to something like normal the curriculum will be adjusted to reflect the circumstances and strategies to address lost learning will be introduced.

What if my child does not have access to a computer for home learning?

The Trust has engaged with the Government’s laptop scheme and will supply laptops to nominated children when the scheme becomes operational in late June. Schools are also providing solutions to individual families, subject to capacity.


Staff wellbeing

Do teachers and education staff require PPE?

Wearing a face covering or face mask in schools is not recommended by the DfE. Face coverings may be beneficial for short periods indoors where there is a risk of close social contact with people you do not usually meet and where social distancing and/or other measures cannot be maintained.

There are very limited instances in which education staff may require PPE.

Will teachers have access to testing?

Yes. Education staff in all schools will be eligible for testing if they begin to display coronavirus symptoms, as will symptomatic members of their households.

Where there is a confirmed case, their class or group should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. As part of the national test and trace programme, if other cases are detected Public Health England will work with schools to advise on the appropriate course of action.  Where schools are observing guidance on infection prevention and control, which will reduce risk of transmission, closure of the whole school will not generally be necessary.’

I am a member of staff who has underlying health issues, am I expected to work at school?

Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are currently advised not to work outside the home. The Government is strongly advising people to rigorously follow shielding measures to keep themselves safe. Staff in this position are advised to work from home.

Clinically vulnerable individuals who are at higher risk of severe illness have been advised to take extra care in observing social distancing and should work from home where possible. If clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) staff cannot work from home, they will be offered the safest available on-site roles at school, staying 2 metres away from others wherever possible, although the individual may choose to take on a role that does not allow for this distance if they prefer to do so.

What if staff have childcare issues?

If an employee is concerned about returning to work because of childcare issues, they should discuss their concerns with their Head/Line Manager.

School staff are classed as keyworkers and entitled to support from their childcare provider or dependents’ school.

Schools will assess if the employee can work from home and allocate suitable work, consider a short-term change to working days/hours around caring commitments or if the employee is not able to work from home or come into school, agree unpaid leave or a temporary reduction in hours

Is there a revised staff dress code when the schools reopen?

Schools will confirm their dress code for staff from the proposed return date of the 15th June for nominated classes. This is likely to be relaxed in line with DfE guidance about hygiene practices and regular laundering of clothes.

 


 

The guidance for schools can be accessed in the link below:

View the Guidance