May 20, 2020

Phased Opening of School (Update 23)

Message from the Headmistress

Dear Parents,

This is a further update following the note from FRIDAY which updates our guidance. This update is primarily for parents of children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.

The wellbeing of our pupils and staff is central to everything we do and we are doing everything we can to ensure our environment is safe when children return to be educated on site. We have considered multiple measures in doing this and it is still not possible to send the full risk mitigation plan, but to guide parents and reassure them I will outline our current thinking. This is still a work in progress.

I hope you understand the changing nature of the circumstances and the volume of information available to be assimilated.

We are following all the government definitions and guidance and are being led by the school insurers on risk assessment.

Firstly, I have had to change the initial opening hours and days for our Junior School children who are the first cohorts to return to school.

I can now confirm that:

From Tuesday 2nd June 

Year 6 will return on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday only. 8.45am – 3.30pm 

Reception will return Monday, Wednesday and Friday only.  9.15am – 3.00pm

 From 8th June

Year 1 will return on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday only. 9.00am – 3.15pm

These changes are to ensure that we can stagger the arrival and departure times, and provide staffing with the fewest numbers of staff to keep the ‘bubbles’ discrete.

Arrival and Departure Times

We request that parents bring their children to their designated space on ELM AVENUE at the stated time and line up, to be greeted and to enter the site with their teacher. There will be markers on the avenue to aid social distancing. The children will not touch the gate, or the internal doors or keypads on their entry.  This will be repeated at the end of the school day with collection from Elm Avenue. We respectfully request that parents do not enter the site. They must not access the Junior School via the back gate.


We are advised that children should be brought to school to school by car (separate from other families) or using own steam. I am sorry this conflicts with all the green travel plan guidance I was striving towards.


Year 6 will be using their own classroom in Villa Road and Mrs Keyworth will walk the children across to the room. Desks will be set out to ensure social distancing is possible. Each child will be allocated a desk and they will only sit at that work station. They will not use other school rooms and specialist lessons will not be happening. (These will continue online using the online platform and Teams where appropriate) on the children’s days not in school. Depending on the numbers returning, Mrs Keyworth may spread across Year 5 classroom, to ensure the social distancing within the classroom is possible and in this circumstance a further adult will be added to help her.

Year 6 children will be taken to play in the Senior playground, without equipment unless I can guarantee its cleaning immediately after use. They will play games which enable social distancing. They will not be in contact with any other children at this time.

Reception will have the whole of the Early Years space to spread in, and they will have discrete times for using the Junior play space. The tables are well spaced and will be set out with equipment which can be wiped between each usage, or put through the dishwasher at the end of every day. Social distancing within this ‘bubble’ is more challenging and cannot be guaranteed. We will restrict hugging and as much physical contact as reasonably possible.

Year 1 will spread between Room 1 and Room 2 to enable each child to have a discrete table to work at and will have dedicated playground time discrete from other year groups, if in school on the same days.

For all children on site: 

Each child will bring in their own pencil case with minimum required equipment and this will be kept in their desk/tray, not taken home, and its contents will not be shared with other children.

Each child will bring their own lunchbox. It is advised that this is a coolbag/box for safe storing of their lunch, snacks and drinks. This will be kept on the desk and not be touched by other children.

Hygiene and Cleaning

There will be hand gel in each classroom.

We will produce posters about handwashing, which remains central to the government advice about personal hygiene and risk management. Children will be required to wash hands as they arrive at school, before snack, after play, before lunch, after play and before they leave the building as a minimum.

We will have 2 cleaners on site throughout the working days to clean all hard surfaces each time the children leave the room, (at playtimes) and to remove used equipment for cleaning throughout the day. Toilets will be cleaned frequently and checked for supplies.

Teachers will have class cleaning supplies to wipe down at other times, especially before breaks and lunch and at each point a computer has been used or before classroom equipment is shared. Staff will be trained in the processes expected at their inset on June 1st.

We will have a used book boxes to ‘quarantine’ read books for a week before they are out back into circulation. We will not use ‘text books’ as these are difficult to clean.

Workbooks will not go home with children. The teachers will give feedback to the children and via the online platform for parents to view.

The teachers will have their own pack of resources on their desk e.g. sets of cubes and sharing will not be permitted.

The classrooms will be cleared of as much extraneous matter as possible to free up space and to avoid temptation to touch.

Movement around the site:

Children will be working and moving in their ‘bubbles’ and will not come into direct contact with other children or staff on site. They will learn and play separately. (For these 3 cohorts, they are all in different sections of buildings.)

The higher risk times are the beginnings and ends of days and for this reason we advise parents to stick to the specified times for drop off and collection.


Each cohort bubble comprises the children in school, their class teacher and if required one adult helper. We are hoping to include also some external organised games/play and a further adult will be in the bubble at these times.

The bubble functions as a unit, discrete from all other bubbles in school.

Illness and Vulnerability

This is an area I am still working on but: it is imperative that a child exhibiting symptoms or from a symptomatic family does not attend school. Any symptoms present may result in the whole bubble being sent home and self-isolating. We will request that children over the age of 5 apply for a test if they are symptomatic and only with a negative result would the bubble resume. This will be clarified later. We have an identified space and staff will be trained in the event of a child becoming symptomatic within the school day.

Key Worker Children

This is a separate group of children in both Junior and Senior School. This is a flexible bubble – they have different supervising staff on rota and the children vary day by day. What is new here is that if a child who normal attends key worker provision can be back in class lessons, they cannot access key worker provision on the other days. This is to maintain the discreteness of the class year group bubbles. So parents will have to make a choice whether they attend the key worker provision or the classroom provision.

Wrap Around Care

We are not able to provide for extended hours care, as this involves children mixing in different bubbles so it is contra to the advice we are following. I am sorry if this inconveniences parents.

Other Risk Mitigation Factors

Hollygirt will be undergoing full building checks as part of its Health and Safety risk management.

We will ensure that there is a member of management, also a first aider, a fire marshall and a trained safeguarding lead on site each day.

I said at the beginning this is work in progress and there is much underpinning the notes provided for you here.  We are at a point of change in the status quo and there is much that still needs actioning. I wish you to feel confident in returning your children to the classroom, and whilst things are necessarily flexible we hope that new ways of working will quickly embed.

With best wishes,

Mrs Hutley