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KEY STAGE TWO RETURN TO SCHOOL. REMINDERS ( 5th March 2021)


The Education Minister has now confirmed that Key Stage 2 children will return to school on Monday 15th March 2021. Operational Guidance has been issued and we will ensure all risk assessments and procedures are updated by the return date.

As a result of the announcement I have outlined some reminders below of start and finish times, where to drop off and collect children as well as some other important details:

  • Children will be provided with pens, pencils etc. Children just need to bring their Chromebook into school every day, fully charged. Nothing else needs to come from home, apart from sandwiches (if they are not having school dinners) and water bottles.

  • All adults please wear a face covering / mask when on school property. Spare masks are in a white box near the gate, help yourselves if you have forgotten yours. The only exception is for medical reasons. Please wear a mask. Even if you are just standing in by the gate, do your bit!

  • Sanitise hands on entry to the premises.

  • Keep your distance from others. In areas that you need to cross – do so with as much space as possible between you and others. When waiting / queuing – keep your distance, spread out!

  • The school bus is running. Please contact the school so we can update our list of children using the bus. Usual morning pick up times and 3.30pm from school to home.

  • Little Stars will be available. Parents must be aware that your child will be crossing “contact groups”. Please contact “Little Stars” for further details.

  • Children will continue to wash their hands many times during the day. Reinforce this with your child.

  • Children will continue to sanitise their hands many times during the day. Reinforce this with your child.

  • Please reinforce the “Catch it, bin it, kill it” message for sneezes and coughs etc.

Year 3

Drop off at 8.50am. When children arrive they line up just outside the Junior entrance in the car park spaces (there is a Year 3 sign). Parents can drop off at the main gates and watch children walk down the drive. There is staff outside supervising the children.

Collect at 3.20pm from the Junior door. Wait in the marked waiting area. Distance yourselves in the waiting area. Remember to sanitise hands as you enter the premises.

Year 4

Drop off at 8.55am. When children arrive they line up just outside the Junior entrance in the car park spaces (there is a Year 4 sign). Parents can drop off at the main gates and watch children walk down the drive. There is staff outside supervising the children. Collect at 3.25pm from the Junior door. Wait in the marked waiting area. Distance yourselves in the waiting area. Remember to sanitise hands as you enter the premises.

Year 5/6P

Drop off at 8.45am at the classroom door. Follow the one way system down the drive and around to the classroom fire exit door. Collect at 3.15pm from the same door. Wait in the marked waiting area outside the classroom next to the blue containers. Distance yourselves in the waiting area. You will need to follow the one way system in place and remember to sanitise hands as you enter the premises.

Year 5/6T

Drop off at 8.45am at the classroom door. Follow the one way system down the drive and around to the classroom fire exit door. Collect at 3.15pm from the same door. Wait in the marked waiting area outside the classroom next to the blue containers. Distance yourselves in the waiting area. You will need to follow the one way system in place and remember to sanitise hands as you enter the premises.

Year 5/6Y

Drop off at 8.45am at the Junior door. Children can go straight to the Junior door and straight into school. Collect at 3.15pm from the Junior door. Wait in the marked waiting area. Distance yourselves in the waiting area. Remember to sanitise hands as you enter the premises.

Covid-19 - Important

Please remember that although we have started back to school COVID-19 has not gone away. We ALL need to follow the rules, create space, wear masks and wash hands as much as possible. Please do not gather at the school gates and please do not stop for a chat with friends keep moving and keep your distance. By now, we all probably know people who have been affected by COVID and understand that it can affect people in different ways some may not show any symptoms while others are severely affected We do need to work together to ensure we do not see a rise in cases.

Important - Drop off Year 1 and Year 2

As the weather has now improved we are making a slight change to the DROP OFF of Year 1 and Year 2 children in order to help with congestion. From MONDAY, Year 1 and Year 2 will walk down the school drive, across the Astro Turf and down the path to drop off at the classroom doors. Collection at the end of the day does not change and stays like it is now Year 1 wait on the front yard and Year 2 queue at main entrance. The only change we are making is for drop off in the morning for Year 1 and Year 2.

Nursery and Reception carry on walking to the front yard as you are doing now for both drop off and pick up – no change.

Welsh Government Announcement and Return to School (19th February 2021)


Hi everyone... apologies for the message during half term. Just wanted to touch base in light of the Welsh Government announcement today and Foundation Phase returning to school from Monday.

The Welsh Government has outlined their intention for Key Stage 2 pupils to return to school from 15th March 2021. No further guidance has been provided yet but we will continue to make the arrangements required to welcome Key Stage 2 pupils from this date. Until then remote learning will continue for Key Stage 2. Please remember we need to keep everybody as safe as possible.

We welcome Foundation Phase pupils back to school from Monday 22nd February 2021. Please remember:

  • Drop off and collect at your allocated time.

  • Keep 2m distance from others and do not gather at the school gate or stop for a chat.

  • Packed lunch is required for next week. Hot lunch from 1st March 2021 will be available.

  • Uniform is to be worn.

  • Adults to wear a face covering / mask when on school premises. Spare masks are always available at the school gate.

  • Only use wrap around / childcare if absolutely necessary in order to reduce the risk as much as possible.

  • Key Stage 2: We will text you a day next week to collect a Chromebook.

Please have a good few days! Take care and stay safe.

RETURN TO SCHOOL. REMINDERS ( 12th February 2021)

As promised, here are some reminders and further information for after half term – 22nd February 2021 onwards. Apologies for the long list. Hopefully I have answered and clarified lots of questions raised by parents.

Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 will start on Monday 22nd February 2021 and Rising 3’s will start on Tuesday 23rd February 2021.

** The most important thing to remember is that COVID-19 has not gone away. We ALL need to follow the rules, create space, wear masks and wash hands as much as possible. Please do not gather at the school gates and please do not stop for a chat with friends – keep moving and keep your distance.

Face Coverings, Sanitising and Social Distancing

  • All adults – please wear a face covering / mask when on school property. Spare masks are in a white box near the gate – help yourselves if you have forgotten yours. The only exception is for medical reasons. Please wear a mask. Even if you are just standing in by the gate – do your bit!

  • Sanitise hands on entry to the premises.

  • Keep your distance from others. In areas that you need to cross – do so with as much space as possible between you and others. When waiting / queuing – keep your distance – spread out!

Drop Off and Pick Up Times

  • Please be on time for both drop off and collection.

Bus

  • The school bus is running. Please contact the school on Monday 22nd February 2021 so we can update our list of children using the bus. Usual morning pick up times and 3.30pm from school to home.

Lunch and Snack

  • All Foundation Phase pupils and any child in the KS2 hubs will need to bring packed lunch to school for 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th February 2021. Free School Meal deliveries will be made during this week too.

  • Hot food will be available from Monday 1st March 2021 – Parents will need to ensure Upay accounts are topped up. This is likely to be available for both Foundation Phase children and any child in the KS2 hubs although this will be confirmed.

  • Fruit will be available free to all children. Children can also bring in a healthy snack too.

Wraparound

  • Little Stars will be available from Monday 22nd February 2021 for both Foundation Phase and KS2 Hub children. Parents must be aware that your child will be crossing “contact groups”. Please contact “Little Stars” for further details.


Equipment – Bags, Pencil cases etc

  • Please limit what your child brings into school. All he/she needs is a packed lunch and snack – we will provide everything else.

Handwashing and Hygiene / Catch it Bin it Kill it

  • Children will continue to wash their hands many times during the day. Reinforce this with your child

  • Children will continue to sanitise their hands many times during the day. Reinforce this with your child.

  • Please reinforce the “Catch it, bin it, kill it” message for sneezes and coughs etc.

Absence

  • The Welsh Government is clear that from 22nd February 2021, school is open for Foundation Phase pupils. Therefore, all Foudnation Phase children are expected to attend. Remote learning for Foundation Phase children will stop as teachers will be in class.

Illness and Positive Cases

  • If your child is ill – please do not send him/her to school – please be cautious.

  • If anyone in your household has symptoms of COVID – please do not send your child to school. Get a test!

  • If your child tests positive out of school hours – please send an email with as much detail as possible to covid@abercarnprimary.org – we will call you back to confirm some details etc.

  • If we have a positive case in a classroom – children and staff will still need to isolate for 10 days. Remote learning will then take over. We will inform everyone using our text message system – this could be early in the morning or late at night.

Key Stage 2 Children

  • Remote learning will continue from 22nd February 2021.

  • We will try to keep the routine and structure the same – like what it is now. There maybe a few changes due to half the school being back in which will raise some logistical problems.

  • We will still keep in touch with you – we will still make phone calls etc to check you are okay.

  • KS2 children will receive a Chromebook within the first week back after half term. This will be your child’s Chromebook for the duration of their time with us and you can use this for remote learning and for when we are back in school. You may need to bring it into school every day. You will need to return the Chromebook in good condition. Please look after it!

Update (5th February 2020)


The Welsh Government has now confirmed that from 22nd February 2021 ALL Foundation Phase classes (Nursery, Reception, Y1 and Y2) will return to school. There is no date for Key Stage 2 classes at the moment and remote learning / hub classes will continue for these children. Before we finish for half term on 12th February 2021, I will send out a list of reminders to help support the return to school e.g. a reminder of class start and finish times, wearing masks on site, arrangements for lunch, bus and wraparound etc. Obviously, there are some things to sort with the Local Authority over the coming days so please bear with me! However, we are hoping for Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 to start on Monday 22nd February 2021 and our new Rising 3’s to start on Tuesday 23rd February 2021. I will confirm everything next week.

It is important to remember that Coronavirus has not gone away. You need to be prepared that if a case should happen within a class we will follow the previous notification procedure and the whole class will need to isolate for 10 days. Remote learning will then take over for the isolated class. You must also remember not to gather at the school gates and to distance yourselves from other people and to wear a mask. The more everyone works together and follows the rules the less likely it is that you will need to isolate and hopefully cases will fall even further etc.

I will be in touch before next Friday with clear details for the return to school and also further information for KS2 families who will not be retuning quite yet. Let’s work together to keep our children, staff and community as safe as possible.

Update (29th January 2020)


The three-week Welsh Government review is taking place at 12.15pm today. It was announced on Social Media / News channels this morning that the First Minister is going to state that the Welsh Government are hoping for a phased return to start on 22nd February 2021 for the youngest learners in Primary Schools (as long as case rates continue to fall). This was confirmed by the Education Minister on Social Media too. What this will look like, who the youngest learners are and what the Welsh Government expects is not known at this time. As soon as I have any further information, I will of course share it with you. This announcement was news to me when I woke up this morning too! As soon as guidance and expectations are provided from the Welsh Government, we will start to safely plan for the “phased” return and will keep you fully informed of our plans. Obviously, all the restrictions we have in place will continue so please visit and read our COVID website page at www.abercarnprimary.com. I am sure there will be some key words in the announcement today such as “may” and “flexible” so I will keep you informed if things change. Until more information is known, keep doing as you are doing and remember if you need anything, please ask, we are here to help!

Don’t forget we do understand the difficulties parents may be facing at home regarding home learning. We do not expect parents to be “teachers”, that is our job! Teachers, Teaching Assistants and Office staff are available throughout the week to offer support and advice. Teachers are available and will be positing activities, live streaming, positing tasks and videos throughout the day. Do not feel that everything needs to be completed. If children require a video of something let the teacher know and they will happily post examples! Please do not get stressed or feel overwhelmed, that is not our intention!

Childcare Places Update

Dear Parents

I’m really sorry to be writing this but I need to do my best to keep everyone safe - pupils, parents, staff and the wider community. We started our emergency childcare classes and remote learning last week. The criteria for an emergency childcare place is:

1: Your child must be school age and registered to a Caerphilly school.

2: One parent must be a critical worker.

3: Where there is a 2nd parent or adult in the household they must also be a critical worker and must be required to attend the workplace (e.g. not working from home) and the child cannot be safely cared for at home.

4: You must reside within Caerphilly borough.

Initially, we contacted everyone who had gone through the Local Authority application process and offered them a place. We were trying to be fair and help everyone out who genuinely needed childcare. We offered as many days as requested. However, with being helpful our numbers requiring a childcare place have increased significantly. This is defeating the “stay at home” message and putting more children, staff and families at risk. Movement and interactions need to be minimal.

We are now going through all applications in detail as there may be some confusion with the criteria. We are aware that some parents have not provided all the required information e.g. both parents details have not been provided or in some instances parents may have provided incorrect information.

To be clear - if there are two parents / adults in the household BOTH need to be critical workers and BOTH should be working in the workplace and not from home. If one or both parents / adults are actually working from home then you are not entitled to a childcare place. We are also aware that some parents work part time but have requested full time childcare or one sibling is coming into school and the other sibling staying at home etc.

Please can you contact us urgently in order to clarify the details you provided and exact need for a childcare place. We will be starting to contact parents from tomorrow.

Apologies for having to write this but I’m only trying to keep everybody as safe as possible and be as fair as possible.

Reopening School Update 3 (8th January 2021)

I would rather be writing a different welcome to 2021 but we once again find ourselves having to undertake remote learning until at least 1st February 2021. Late last night, the Education Minister confirmed that schools will not operate full face to face teaching with all pupils until at least 1st February 2021 - after the next formal review on Friday 29th January 2021. Remote learning has now been extended beyond 18th January 2021. The Education Minister also said that if cases do not significantly drop by 29th January 2021 then schools will continue with remote learning until at least the first week back after half term (after the next formal review). Ultimately, we need to be prepared to go to half term with remote learning. Like many other Headteachers, I only found out this information late last night. It is certainly a challenging start to the New Year but ultimately we need to keep as many people as safe as possible. The number of cases and deaths in Wales and the UK are very high and our NHS is becoming overwhelmed. Hopefully, further restrictions due to be announcement by the First Minister today will have an impact on bringing down cases. Remember – please stay at home as much as possible.

Reopening School Update 2 (4th January 2021)

It has been confirmed this evening by Welsh Government that schools will not reopen to all pupils until at least 18th January 2021. We will now continue with Plan 5 and learning will be online everyday from 9am. The next few weeks are going to be challenging for us all - please stay safe and be prepared for further announcements next week. When I know more I will of course keep you informed.

Please see the latest letter from Keri Cole (Chief Education Officer - CCBC) on the Caerphilly website.

Reopening School Update (4th January 2021)

As promised here is my update regarding Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week. Following a meeting with Headteachers and the Local Authority this morning it has been agreed that all Primary Schools will be operating Home Learning for this week and therefore we will only have key worker children in school on Wednesday 6th, Thursday 7th and Friday 8th January 2021. We have contacted some key worker parents today with our arrangements and will continue making contact tomorrow morning. Staff will be online everyday from 9am everyday to deliver Home Learning for all children.

There will be further meetings this week with Local Authorities and Welsh Government regarding next week and beyond and I will keep you updated as soon as any further decisions have been made. To be open an honest I would be prepared for Home Learning to continue until at least 18th January 2020 - I stress this is not confirmed but I’d rather you all be prepared. I will confirm future arrangements when decisions have been made but please be prepared for Home Learning to continue for the foreseeable future. A letter from the Keri Cole (Chief Education Officer CCBC) will be available on the CCBC website later this afternoon.

Take care and stay safe everyone

Reopening School Update (3rd January 2021)

Welcome back and a Happy New Year to you all. Apologies for sending a message on a Sunday but I thought many would appreciate some communication as the reopening of schools has featured heavily in the media. At this precise moment in time I really don’t know what may happen although I would urge everyone to be prepared for whatever may come our way. The coming weeks are going to be particularly challenging for us all.

What I do know is what I outlined before Christmas - Home learning will begin tomorrow (Monday 4th January 2021) for all children - teachers will be in touch this evening and will be online from 9am tomorrow and Tuesday.

From Wednesday 6th January 2021 there are ultimately two possibilities:

1: All children will begin to attend school and home learning will pause. We are aware children who were previously shielding have already received or will receive a letter instructing them to shield again. We will be in touch tomorrow to confirm as we have details from parents of those children previously shielding.

Or

2: Only Key Worker children (will attend school (possibly in school based hubs) and home learning will continue for everyone for at least the next couple of weeks. We will contact all Key Worker applications tomorrow (Monday 4th) to confirm details / applications.

We also know the new variant of Covid-19 is much more transmissible and it is important that we follow the science and make decisions to protect not just our children but their families and every member of our school community including staff. As a result of the current data (that is extremely high in Caerphilly and our local area) - Option 2 is a real possibility.

There are meetings planned with Local Authority, Welsh Government and Unions over the coming days that will hopefully provide some answers and a clear direction for the coming weeks. I will provide a further update as early as I can tomorrow following a meeting with the Local Authority and confirm what will be happening from 6th January 2021.

I’m sorry I do not have answers or a clear direction at the moment. Things are happening very quickly on an hour by hour basis. I am telling you what I know at this time but urging you to be prepared. I will be in touch again tomorrow. Welcome back everyone and please stay safe.