This week we have some very important information to share with you. Please share this with your key family members.
Change to School Week
It has been wonderful to welcome back Foundation Phase pupils to school this week, and we are looking forward to the time when we can see all children back in the school. To prepare for this staff and governors have been working hard to make sure we can welcome back everyone as safely as possible. I am therefore writing to inform you of a decision made by staff and governors, to change the school week, during the current Covid19 restrictions.
The advice to schools is very clear. The latest Welsh Government Operational Guidance for Schools states that schools need to minimise contact between individuals. As you are already aware we do this by not mixing our “Podlets”. However, managing the staffing has become increasingly difficult and we are advised that staff should only move between groups in “unforeseen” circumstances.
It is a statutory right of all teachers to receive “Planning, Preparation and Assessment” time (PPA) within the school week. For half a day a week the teachers are not in class and the school has to make arrangements to cover the staff member. This has become increasing difficult given that staff members should not move between classes. We feel strongly that we should reduce the need to bring in supply teachers, unless there is a staffing emergency, as these staff members are likely to have visited other school settings during the week.
As a result I am writing to inform you that Governors have unanimously agreed to closing the school to nearly all pupils on a Friday afternoon. This will mean staff can have their PPA without the need for supply teachers. This will take effect from when Y3 to Y6 return. (Currently the proposed date for this is March 15th).
As well as reducing risk of transmitting the virus, this arrangement will have the following positive effects:-
- Pupil Well being: The wellbeing of learners can be more effectively addressed with consistency of staff within the podlets. Pupils will be spending their time with familiar adults who they already know well.
- Standards: Pupils will have a consistent Monday to Friday (am) approach to their learning with their class teacher. Staff will have effective planning time to prepare creative and appropriate lessons and experiences.
- Statutory entitlement: The statutory entitlement of hours will be maintained. Llanrhidian has always delivered well over this entitlement. This means your children will not miss out on any learning time.
- Health & Safety: We can maintain our podlets safely with minimal movement of staff.
- Staff Well Being: Staff views have been considered in this process, and they are happy with this plan. In particular they feel it is less disruptive to the continuity of learning throughout the week.
- Transport: We will be contacting transport to request bus collects at 1pm. We will communicate the new timetable with relevant parents
- Nursery: We will continue with afternoon nursery on a Friday afternoon as normal.
- Distanced learning: The school will continue to provide 24/7 access to the Pod Pages and all the existing activities and programmes eg Reading Eggs, My Maths, TTRS etc.
- Emergency Childcare: We will have limited spaces in each podlet for childcare on a Friday afternoon. To maintain bubbles, childcare will be delivered in the podlet by one teaching assistant. As always, please contact the office for more information.
We will, of course, review this situation regularly.
Lateral Flow Tests for Staff
As you may know from the media. staff are being asked to take Lateral Flow Tests for Covid19, twice weekly. Staff will be completing these at home and all results recorded. Should a member of staff display a positive result, the school will be informed immediately, and Public Health Wales Advice will be followed.
In the event of a staff member displaying a positive lateral flow test:
- The staff member will need to immediately self-isolate with their family members.
- If the staff member has been in the class/podlet within 48 hours, the class will be asked to self-isolate (but not pupils' family members).
- If the class does not need to self-isolate, the school will need to assess its staffing capabilities to continue face to face learning
- The staff member will need to take a full PCR test. If positive the above applies. If negative, the class can return to face to face teaching.