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Update - Start of Term – January 2022


The COVID situation cross Wales and Caerphilly is not great at the moment. Case numbers are extremely high. The Welsh Government instructed schools to plan for a return at a very high risk rating of the Local Covid Infection Framework – I outlined this before Christmas. As you know I want to keep as much the same as possible as the routines we had in place were very good but inevitably some minor changes are required at a very high risk rating. We all need to be prepared for anything that may come our way over the next few weeks. Changes / information outlined below – please read carefully and spread the word.

At the moment our staffing situation is excellent but this could change quickly and we all need to be prepared for this. I am also aware of many cases of COVID-19 during the last few days affecting many families. I have tried to keep changes to a minimum and have planned for a range of situations. Any changes are temporary and will be reviewed regularly. The changes are to keep everyone as safe as possible and to try our best to keep school running as smoothly as possible. Thank you for your understanding and help!


Please wear a face covering when you are on school site.


Drop off and Pick Up Times

At this moment in time we will not be changing the times for pick up and collection. If things do get very challenging over the next couple of weeks then we may need to review the situation but for now it will remain the same. Please help us keep things the same by wearing a face covering and keeping distance from others as much as you can.

Here are reminders for drop off and pick up:


Nursery

• Mrs Lewis will open the door and be at the nursery gate at 8.50am. Please do not arrive before this time. If you do arrive early – wait on the front yard. Collection will be as normal at 11.30am. This is the routine if it icy too (a text will be sent to let you know).


Reception

• Morning drop off and afternoon collection will be at the main entrance door because the Foundation Phase yard is still being redeveloped. The door will be open at 8.50am and a member of staff will be there to greet the children. Form a queue at the main door if you are early. Keep your distance from others and stay close to the wall (keep right) so that people can walk past you. Wear a face covering. It will be busy and congested. This will be the routine if it is icy too.


Year 1

• Mrs Harry will open the class side door at 8.50am. Please drop off at the side door. Keep right when walking. Walk past anyone that is queueing near the main door. Do not walk across the astro turf. Wear a face covering Go straight to the side door. Keep to the right. If you are early – wait on the front yard. At the end of the day wait on the front yard. Mrs Harry will call you to the side door. It will be congested. Wear a face covering and keep as much distance as possible from others. This will be the routine if it is icy too.


Year 2

• Mrs Parry will open her door at 8.50am. Walk down the drive, across the Astro Turf and down to her classroom door. You will need to walk back the way you came in. Do not walk across the yard. Collection will be the same. It will be congested. Use as much space as possible and wear a face covering.

• If it is icy in the morning then you will need to go to the front yard and wait on the front yard until collected by staff (a text will be sent if it icy). For collection on an icy day, walk down the drive, across the Astro Turf and down to the classroom door area. Walk back the way you came.


Year 3

• Children enter at 8.50am through the Junior door. Waiting area is in the usual place by the sign on the board.

• End of school will be at 3.30pm

• If it is icy there is no change.


Year 4/5 RT

• Children enter at 8.50am through the class fire exit door.

• End of school will be at 3.30pm through the same door.

• If it is icy children will enter through the Junior door and go straight to the classroom


Year 4/5 JJ

• Children enter at 8.50am through the class fire exit door.

• End of school will be at 3.30pm through the same door.

• If it is icy children will enter through the Junior door and go straight to the classroom


Year 4/5 HH

• Children enter at 8.50am through the class door by walking down the drive and across the astro turf. Walk back the way you came. When the Foundation Phase yard ias complete you can keep walking through the yard but not yet!

• End of school will be at 3.30pm through Mrs Jones door.

• If it is icy children will enter through the Junior door and meet Miss Hodges in the ICT Suite.


Year 6

• Children enter at 8.50am through the Junior door

• End of school will be at 3.30pm through the same door.

• If it is icy children will enter through the same door.


Bus Children

Drop off at the usual time in the morning and go straight to Mrs Haines / enter through Junior door as usual. Bus children will be collected from classrooms at 3.30pm and walk to the bus.


Breakfast Club

Breakfast Club will continue. Staff have worked extremely hard to keep groups separate. It will open at 8.10am although last entry will now be at 8.30am. It will continue for as long as staff are available. Entry will be through the Junior Door. A member of staff will be on the door to greet children. Please walk on the path. Do not walk on the road as cars will be parking. Breakfast Club can safely go ahead with the number of children we have been having in Autumn Term. If number rise substantially then we may need to review the situation. Please only use Breakfast Club when it is required.


Lunch

We will continue with the staggered lunch like we did in the Autumn Term. This reduced congestion substantially and ensured no mixing of contact groups. It also reduced accidents and ensured children had quality time to eat, talk to friends and had quality play outside etc. Nearly all children will eat their lunch in the hall. Year 6 children will eat lunch in their classroom for this term.


Wraparound – Little Stars

Wrap around will continue and routines will be in place to ensure good Covid practices. Please contact Kelly / Little Stars to confirm any changes with Little Stars.


“Warn” and “Warn and Inform” Letters

Welsh Government have provided template letters for schools to provide to parents if we encounter positive cases in classes. If one case is identified in a class you will receive a “Warn” letter via Seesaw. If there are two or more cases in a class then you will receive a “Warn and Inform” letter via Seesaw. Please read these letters if they are provided. You will also receive a text to inform you a letter is available to read.


Be ready for remote Learning!

Although at the moment the situation in school is very good, it could change at any time. Staff may become ill, staff may need to isolate, there may be a surge of cases in classes / year groups etc. Parents and pupils need to be prepared and ready for any short amount of remote learning that may be required in the coming weeks. I am not saying it is going to happen but I want everyone to be prepared – just in case! It will be the absolute last resort but it may happen and may be at very short notice. Teachers and Teaching Assistants have a plan in place if it is required. Seesaw will ultimately be used alongside live streaming. We will assume everyone provides consent for live streaming unless you notify us otherwise. Please ensure Chromebooks are ready etc. Live streaming information is available on our website. If classes do need to move to remote learning for a short period of time we have devices here at school that can be provided if they are required.


Critical / Key Workers

We will be compiling a list of key worker / critical worker parents over the coming days so we are aware of those parents who are critical workers and have no other provision in place if it is ever required e.g. family members not available either. This is only so we know and are prepared. It will help us make important decisions if ever they need to be made. If you have previously accessed provision as a key worker please still let us know as situations may have changed. Please email the school if you are a key worker and have no alternative provision available. This is just so we know. Thank you!


Self-Isolation and Positive Tests

If you test positive for Covid-19 you will be told to self-isolate for 7 days and undertake LFD tests on Day 6 and Day 7. You can then come out of isolation if you receive two negative LFDs on Day 6 and Day 7.

If you are a fully vaccinated adult or aged between 5 and 17 you do not need to self-isolate if identified as a close contact but as a school we advise you to consider what is safe and you are strongly encouraged to:

• take a LFT every day for 7 days or until 10 days since your last contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19 if this is earlier

• take this daily test before you leave the house for the first time that day

• upload all tests results on GOV.UK even if negative or void. This helps improve our understanding of infection rates across the UK and helps inform how we manage the pandemic to keep people safe whilst keeping life as normal as possible

Children under 5 do not need to take a PCR or a LFT, even if they have COVID-19 symptoms. They can take a test if a doctor advises it, or if a parent believes a test is absolutely necessary and in the best interests of a child.

If they have symptoms or if they have been a close contact of a positive case, they do not need to complete any mandatory period of self-isolation. They should stay home until they are well enough to return to school or childcare setting. We do strongly advise families consider what is safe and sensible.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support. Hopefully you will see that we are aiming to keep as much as possible the same but also doing our best to keep everyone safe.

Welsh Government Update - Friday 29th October 2021


The Welsh Government has changed their guidance regarding self isolation and household cases.

If a member of your household has symptoms or tests positive, household members should book a PCR test and self-isolate until they receive a negative PCR. A useful chart is attached. Further information about the new measures schools can take will follow when they are received from the Welsh Government.

Updated - COVID Advice and Sickness

Please do not send your child to school if they are unwell! We need to do everything possible to reduce the spread of the virus. If your child is unwell and you are unsure, please keep your child home!

Please wear a face covering on site and limit your interaction with others, please help us to try and limit the rise in cases.

I am having lots of discussions with parents when a person tests positive in the household and whether children can continue to attend school. Government advice states that children can attend school as normal although I recommend parents be as cautious as possible given the number of positive cases we are seeing in school.

If your child has a sickness bug you must keep them off for 48 hours from the last time, they were sick. This is Public Health Wales advice. Please do not send your child to school before 48 hours as this is causing the bug to spread and along with COVID it is causing lots of children to be off school. We have enhanced cleaning every day to make sure classrooms are nice and clean, please help us on this matter!

Welsh Government advice is that if your child is identified as a close contact then they do not need to isolate but you are encouraged to arrange a PCR Test on day 2 and Day 8 (Unless you are told something different by a contact tracer). The Welsh Government are now advising that children under 5 do not have a PCR test if they do not have the classic symptoms and / or unless instructed by a doctor.

Some parents are deciding to isolate their child / family if there is a positive case here at school and as a school we will support your decision. Please continue to let me know of any positive cases outside of school hours by using the covid@abercarnprimary.org email address. Please include as much detail as possible. Don’t assume I will find out from others, please drop me a message and I can alert parents as soon as I am aware. This will hopefully help to reduce the spread of the virus.


Important Letter regarding Self Isolation and Track and Trace – Please read!


Dear Parents

Changes to Self-Isolation and Contact Tracing from September 2021 (Welsh Government)

As we return to school, there are some new arrangements in place when someone tests positive for COVID-19. These changes have been made possible by the vaccination programme and the significant reduction in numbers being hospitalised and suffering severe illness due to COVID-19 over recent months.

If your child tests positive for COVID-19 using a PCR test, NHS Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) will contact you, using the details provided when the PCR test was ordered. They will ask questions designed to identify recent close contacts of your child, and for contact details, if you know them, of the individual or their parent/guardian. TTP will then get in touch with these close contacts to provide instructions or advice. The school will no longer do this.

Those who are under 18 or fully vaccinated are no longer required to self-isolate if they are identified as close contacts although you will be contacted and notified of being in close contact with someone who has tested positive. Your child will be offered two PCR tests and you will be provided with information and advice on how to minimise the risks of onward spread.

If your child is identified as a close contact, he/she can still attend school unless they develop symptoms or are advised otherwise by TTP. The school does understand if you wish for your child to self-isolate for the period. Please continue to let the school know if your child tests positive at any point by using covid@abercarnprimary.org. If your child tests positive they must not to attend school and must self-isolate.

If a child tests positive, only a minority of their classmates will be identified as close contacts. But if there is a pattern of cases TTP may ask us to update you on the situation and remind you of key steps, including advising you to keep an eye out for new symptoms your child may develop, and to stay away from vulnerable family and friends in the short-term.

We do expect that there will be cases of COVID-19 across our community over the coming weeks, but this does not necessarily mean that COVID-19 is spreading within the school. Please continue to be vigilant for symptoms. If you are in any doubt, order a PCR test for your child at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.

Anyone with symptoms - a new continuous cough, fever or high temperature or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste - should remain in self-isolation until the test result is known. You can find the latest information on self-isolation arrangements at www.gov.wales/selfisolation.

We recognise how difficult the past 18 months have been and the sacrifices that all families have had to make. Thank you for everything you have done to support your child and our school.

Operational Guidance September 2021 – PLEASE READ

Welcome Back!

During the summer holidays we received guidance from the Welsh Government and Local Authority regarding restrictions for September 2021. I have updated our whole school risk assessment and provide information for September 2021 below:

I believe it is important we move forward and put in place measures to support our school returning to how it used to be whilst ensuring we are keeping safe and living with the virus. Although “bubbles” have now gone we still need to reduce contact between classes as much as possible. It is important to build on the things that were successful and take them forward to make our school even better. We must do what is right for OUR school in OUR community (it may be different to the school down the road but that doesn’t mean different schools are doing things wrong). Things may need to change as we move through this year either in response to increased cases or to improve even further. Whatever happens we must follow our risk assessment and keep everyone safe. We have come a long way during the last 18 months and generally done really well so let’s continue this success! I know the routines below will not please everyone, I am trying to have the best of everything whilst keeping our pupils, staff and community as safe as possible. Please bear with us for the first few weeks. The measures below will be in line with guidance and our risk assessment.

From September 2021:

Do not send your child to school if they are unwell and / or have any symptoms of Coronavirus - isolate and get tested. Any adults with any symptoms of Coronavirus must not enter the premises, isolate and get tested.

1: We will start school on Thursday 2nd September 2021. Nursery start on a staggered intake and have been informed of their day to attend. This is usual practice. Some schools in Wales will be taking 2nd September 2021 for the Queens Jubilee, we will take this day later in the term and provide plenty of notice to parents. Children will go straight to their new classroom.

2: The Welsh Government has changed the law back to pre-Covid times, Our school must therefore start for everyone at 9am. Doors will open at 8.50am and give 10 minutes for pupils / parent’s time to “stagger” entry into school. Everyone will be expected to be in the school building by 9.00am (at the latest). If you arrive after 9.00am you will need to enter through the main entrance and receive a late mark. We will keep the one-way system in place to ease congestion and reduce contact as it is going to be very busy. We will need to see how this work, we may want to change times in the future but we will need to follow WG legislation to do this. The following measures are to ease congestion: Adults visiting the school must wear a face covering whilst on the premises. Spare face coverings will always be at the gate.

  • Nursery – walk to the main entrance and drop off at the Nursery gate. If you are early wait on the yard until called by staff.

  • Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 parents / children – walk down the school drive, across the Astro turf and down to the classroom door for drop off. Keep walking and if waiting on the yard please do not block walkways. Children will use cloakrooms for their belongings and will be supervised.

  • Year 3 and Year 6 parents / children – walk down the drive to the waiting area by the chalkboards, enter through the Junior door when called (Year 3 classrooms are in Mrs Jones and Mr Yamamoto old classrooms, Year 6 are in Miss Jones old classroom). Children will use lockers for their belongings.

  • Year 4/5T and Year 4/5J walk down the drive and drop off at the classroom fire doors (Mrs Jones is now in Mr Perry old classroom). Children will keep belongings with them so there will be no mixing in cloakrooms.

  • Year 4/5H walk down the school drive, across the Astro turf and down to the classroom door – Miss Hodges is now in the refurbished demountable classroom (Mr Lumby’s old classroom).

3: School will finish for everyone at 3.30pm (Nursery 11.30am). All adults are encouraged to wear a face covering when on school premises. To ease congestion please do the following:

  • Nursery (11.30am) – walk to front yard and wait there. Do not queue along the windows as children are working in classrooms.

  • Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 parents / children – walk down the school drive, across the Astro turf and down to the classroom door, wait in the queue outside the classroom door, please queue rather than spread out all over the yard. Depending on Welsh Government advice at the time, you may need to socially distance.

  • Year 4/5T, Year 4/5J and Year 4/5H walk down the drive and wait towards the back of the school. Miss Hodges children will come out of Mrs Jones classroom door.

  • Year 3 and Year 6 will exit through the Junior Door. Please wait in the allocated area by the chalkboards. Do not wait by the windows or on the pathway. You may need to socially distance depending on the advice from Welsh Government at the time.

  • If anyone other than yourself is collecting your child, you must contact the school and let us know.

4: School bus times will remain unchanged.

5: Breakfast Club will start week beginning 13th September 2021 at 8.10am, we will aim to keep children in “year groups” to support any TTP for at least the Autumn Term. Breakfast will be yoghurt and fruit for the moment. Children must be in Breakfast Club by 8.35am at the very latest. Children are not accepted after 8.35am. Drop off breakfast club at the hall door. Enter through the gate, walk past the main entrance and around to the hall door through the Foundation Phase yard. Leave the way you came in. Do not walk on the road as the road will be busy with staff traffic until 8.35am. Be respectful to others and maintain your distance.

6: Face coverings and social distancing, Face coverings must be worn by all visitors to the school site including parents for drop off and pick up. The one-way system will help reduce “contact” opportunities, please continue to maintain a distance from others. Whatever happens during the next few months we will aim to be flexible and respect those that wish to wear a covering and maintain a distance (including school staff) even if there is no requirement to do so.

7: One hand sanitising station will remain at the gates for parents and children to use. This is part of good hygiene. If we do need an extra station then we can arrange this.

8: To keep everyone safe during the colder winter months we will try to keep children in contact groups as much as possible but they will be larger e.g. All Year 3 as one contact group, all Year 4/5 classes as one contact group. We are hoping for the best of both worlds, children with friends but in contact groups too. The winter period may be tricky so we need to keep everybody as safe as possible and support TTP if we happen to have cases here at school.

9: For any events that may take place we will try to hold them on a “class” basis so we do not have a huge number of adults on site especially during the winter months. We may not be able to have adults on site so this will depend on the situation at the time. We must keep everyone safe. Some things may continue to be virtual but we will try and have a good mix. This means parents / families can be involved in events but we are living with the virus too. Parent evenings in early October will be virtual. Parents on site and mass gatherings will be in line with any risk assessment in place at the time.

10: We will still have staggered break times because this has worked well (fewer accidents, more play opportunities and happier children), it also keeps everyone safe and will help with TTP and any isolation that may be required. We will gradually move to our “old” break times during the year. Children will not be missing out, in fact they are gaining more time and gaining more space to play etc. We may want to remain with our new plan going forward. We are aiming not to mix contact groups.

11: If we have a confirmed case(s) we will need to follow Public Health Wales and Environmental Health guidance. This may only involve isolation of the individual and only very close contacts (advised by TTP). It may involve isolation of groups although as we are keeping larger contact groups it may not impact on the whole school and hopefully keep disruption to a minimum. It may not involve any isolation at all apart from the individual. All other children / adults may be able to attend school. We will follow advice at the time and keep you updated. Please continue to use our email address covid@abercarnprimary.org to report any cases. We will notify parents via text of any confirmed cases and the way forward.

12: Risk Assessment, Our Risk Assessment will be updated in conjunction with our Health and Safety Officer / Local Authority to reflect the measures we have in place to keep everyone safe.

13: Office, absence and online forms, Please continue to limit physical contact with the school office and remember only one person in the foyer at a time. Please use the online forms for absence, change of address, consents and holiday requests etc in the virtual office section of our school website. Please telephone or email the school as much as possible.

14: Cashless School, Regardless of Covid-19 we were going to be moving to be a cashless school. Our School will remain cashless and everything will be paid for online, dinners, trips, donations, fruit, snack etc Further information will follow. Dinners will continue as we are doing now with Upay. Please ensure accounts are topped up.

15: Uniform and PE / Games, We expect all children to wear our school uniform. The only exception is PE/Games days. We are still asking children to wear their PE / Games kit to school on their allocated days as this will reduce contact and congestion in cloakrooms. Our kit is plain T-shirt or polo shirt with plain shorts or tracksuits for cold days and plain trainers. Plain black shorts and a plain white t-shirt would be fantastic. Allocated days are:

  • Nursery – Mrs Lewis – Wednesday and Friday

  • Reception – Mrs James – Monday and Wednesday

  • Year 1 – Mrs Harry – Tuesday and Thursday

  • Year 2 – Mrs Parry – Monday and Friday

  • Year 3J and Year 3W – Miss Jones and Mr Watkin – Monday and Friday

  • Year 4/5T – Mrs Tavas – Tuesday and Wednesday

  • Year 4/5J – Mrs Jones – Monday and Friday

  • Year 4/5H – Miss Hodges – Tuesday and Thursday

  • Year 6 – Mr Perry – Wednesday and Thursday

In order to support PE / Games we will be looking to fund some kit in the Autumn term. More details will follow if we can do this. Please note we do not expect branded kit, plain t-shirts and shorts is acceptable and preferred.

16: Fruit, We will no longer be part funded to provide fruit to every child every day. For the first half term we will provide a fruit portion to children if they want it. We will confirm arrangements for fruit after October half term.

COVID-19 has not gone away and will always be with us. We may need to reintroduce some measures if things worsen throughout the year or alternatively, we may be able to relax restrictions even more. The above measures are a massive relaxation of rules and much more like usual routines.

Thank you in advance for your continued support! It is really appreciated.

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.