Minimising Risk

Government guidance requires us to take certain measures to ensure that our schools are as safe as they can be for all children and staff

The government recognises that “it is not possible to ensure a totally risk free environment” but that it is possible to put measures in place to reduce the risk significantly.

Taken from the DfE Guidance for Full Opening – Schools

Essential measures:

  • A requirement that people who are ill stay at home
  • Robust hand and respiratory hygiene
  • Enhanced cleaning arrangements
  • Active engagement with NHS test and trace
  • Formal consideration of how to reduce contacts and maximise distancing between those in school wherever possible – this includes
  • Grouping children together ‘bubbles’
  • Avoiding contact between groups
  • Arranging classrooms with forward facing desks
  • Adults maintaining social distancing measure

At St Cuthbert’s we are blessed with amazing staff and wonderful space.

All year groups will form their own class group ‘bubble’; children will stay in their class groups and have their own play area at play time and lunchtime and their own play equipment.

From Year 1 – Year 6 pupils will have their own stationary packs and their own art packs; thus reducing the risk of sharing equipment.

We have in place hand sanitising stations in or outside every classroom, room, office and entrance.

We have put in additional hand towel dispensers across the school so that all classes can wash their hands in class or in the corridor directly outside their classrooms. Children are monitored as they wash their hands.

We will no longer be using water bottles. All children will be given their own plastic cup and classes will have jugs of water that will be refilled throughout the day. Cups are washed at the end of each day.#

We have separate guidance for playtimes and lunchtimes, drop offs and pick-ups that demonstrate how we are minimising risk.

For the first term we will be holding no large group or whole school events – this includes class assemblies, Mass, Inspire workshops, hymn practices, Christmas Plays, Gift night or music assemblies. The guidance is clear that we should not have any of these in place. We will hold class Mass and class Collective Worship but no visitors will be able to join.

I understand that not having this element of school life may be disappointing, but it will also allow us additional teaching time to support your children getting back on track with their learning. Every cloud…

We have also made the decision as a school and governing body not to book any school trips for the first term. Until we fully understand what is available and look at the risks we won’t be booking any trips. We will go out into the local area, closest to school, on planned walks, observations etc.

At present there is no swimming booked for the first term – we are waiting to hear from the school pool and the council on resuming lessons.

We have also made a decision not to have any after school clubs for the first term. This is because of concerns around mixing class groups together at the end of the day and social distancing during pick up.

With this in mind though, we have booked additional support for our PE teaching and are putting in place an exercise programme to support our children returning to school. Please see the Healthy School – Healthy Child – Healthy Mind overview.

We have in place additional cleaning times – Mr Whitmore returns at lunchtime and cleans all toilets and surfaces. All classrooms have additional cleaning packs that can be used throughout the day by staff as well.

We have taken the decision not to close school to pupils at any additional point in the week to allow for extra cleaning or for teachers to have their PPA (preparation, planning and assessment time). However, because Mr Whitmore has changed his hours, I am closing the school at 5:00pm to staff. Therefore you will not be able to contact the office after this time.

For parent’s evening in the first term we will conduct this through phone calls. Each member of staff will be given time out of class and an allocated time (decided by you) by which they will contact you to talk about your child, their progress etc.

As I have said, and continue to say, communication is really important and I don’t want you to ever feel ignored or dismissed. If you do have any issues we can arrange a meeting in school with myself or a member of the senior team and your child’s class teacher will happily call you to discuss issues at any time they are available.

There is separate guidance on systems in place for protecting staff and children in cases where covid-19 might be suspected.