“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord” Colossians 3:23

Coronavirus Updates

PRIOR INFORMATION IS LOCATED IN THE OUR NEWS SECTION OF THE WEBSITE, ENTITLED CORONAVIRUS UPDATES

 

Dear families - Wednesday 7th July 2021

Yesterday, Gavin Williamson made a statement regarding changes in education which come into place when we reach Step 4 of the roadmap. The main points are summarised below:

  • It will no longer be necessary for schools and colleges to stagger start and finish times
  • Some protective measures, relating to hygiene and ventilation, will remain in place in schools in the autumn term
  • Face coverings will no longer be required, and social distancing will no longer be required
  • Secondary schools will still be asked to give their pupils two on-site tests at the start of term in September. Home testing will continue until the end of September, when it will be reviewed
  • Testing must continue until the end of this term
  • New guidance covering these matters is being issued to schools
  • Some restrictions will remain in place in Step 4, after 19 July
  • Bubbles will end, and responsibility for contact tracing will be referred to NHS Test and Trace for early years settings, schools and colleges
  • From 16 August children will only have to isolate if they test positive

I will await the further guidance, but as things stand today school will operate without bubbles and without staggering from 6th September. The school day will revert to 8.50am -3.30pm for all classes.

I will, of course, continue to update you if and when new information is available. In the meantime, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/step-4-update-what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges

With regards,

Mrs Walker.

 

Dear families - Wednesday 15th June 2021

The Government has announced that Cheshire East has been identified as an ‘Enhanced Resource Area’ to help combat the rapid rise of the Delta (Indian) variant across the borough.

This variant is more transmissible than previous variants and cases are rising in other areas of the North West, including Cheshire West, Greater Manchester and Lancashire, which have also been placed into this category, along with a growing list of areas across the country.

Designation as an 'Enhanced Resource Area' is not a local lockdown or a return to a tiered system. It means the LA is able to access a range of support and guidance to address rapidly rising infection rates. This can include driving vaccine uptake for eligible people, the possibility of requesting military aid, additional testing support – including schools testing, and other assistance and support. 

 

Dear families - Tuesday 15th June 2021

The following is a message from the DfE following the Prime Minister's press conference last night:

'The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has announced that he was not able to say that we have met all four tests for proceeding with Step 4 and thinks it is sensible to wait just a little longer. This will give time for the vaccination programme to protect people from the virus in light of the new variant. He felt confident we will not need to wait beyond 19 July. The government will monitor the position every day and if, after two weeks, the risk has diminished then Step 4 might proceed sooner.

Please keep your current protective measures in place until there is a further announcement on Step 4 of the roadmap. These measures in education settings will remain in place to help reduce transmission of the virus.'

 

Dear families - Tuesday 11th May 2021

Following the Prime Minister’s press conference last night, some minor changes have been made to the schools guidance issued by the Department for Education. I am attaching the full guidance for your information. Here is a summary of the outlined amendments in the documentation. Please note these changes are due to the country reaching Step 3 of the road-map and take effect from the 17th May. More changes will follow when we are at Step 4. 

All the protective measures we have seen throughout Covid-19 remain in place including the need to minimise group sizes through bubbles and hand-washing etc.  These will clearly will be reconsidered at Step 4, but we are not there yet.  

Face coverings

Face coverings will no longer be recommended for pupils in classrooms or communal areas in all schools. Face coverings will also no longer be recommended for staff in classrooms. Face coverings should be worn by staff and visitors in situations outside of classrooms where social distancing is not possible (for example, when moving around in corridors and communal areas). Where schools are delivering education and training, including extra-curricular activities and wraparound childcare, in a community setting (for example, library or community centre), staff and pupils will be exempt from the legal requirement to wear a face covering if they are in a private room or the premises has been exclusively hired for the sole use of its pupils and staff. The reintroduction of face coverings for pupils, students or staff may be advised for a temporary period in response to particular localised outbreaks, including variants of concern.

Pupils travelling to the UK from abroad 

The existing arrangements for families returning remain.  

Transitional, taster and open days

The guidance allows these to happen but schools should complete thorough risk assessments before running transitional, taster and open days to ensure that they are run in line with your system of controls and align with the advice contained within the guidance. 

Educational visits 

In line with the road-map, schools can undertake domestic residential education visits, from 17th May. Any domestic residential educational visits must be conducted in line with relevant Covid-19 guidance and regulations in place at that time. Schools should keep children within their consistent groups (bubbles) for the purpose of the visit.  Within the guidance, Annex C sets out the conditions that should be met when planning and undertaking a residential educational visit as part of Step 3.  

Wraparound provision

Where wraparound and other extra-curricular activities for children are taking place indoors, they will be able to take place in groups of any number. However, it remain important to continue to minimise mixing between children, where possible. This can be achieved by continuing to keep children in consistent groups every time they attend the setting. Smaller groups should be considered when it is not possible to do this. When considering appropriate group sizes it will be important to take into account factors such as the recommended occupancy levels of the premises you are operating from and levels of ventilation.

The guidance also provides advice on extra-curricular activity, music, dance and drama and pupil well-being. There is  no significant change. 

Please be assured we will keep you updated when further changes are made to the guidance.

Kindest regards,

Mrs Walker.

 

Dear families - Friday 12th March 2021

Testing Message from the LA

From Monday 15th March additional asymptomatic testing sites will be in operation across Cheshire east at the following venues:

  • Macclesfield Community Centre – Dukes Street, SK11 6UR
  • New Life Church, Danesford Community Centre, West Road, Congleton, CW12 4EU
  • Wesley Centre, Sandbach – Wesley Avenue, CW11 1DG
  • Middlewich Community Church – Brooks Lane, CW10 0JG
  • Prestbury Village Hall – Macclesfield Road, SK10 4BW

Testing is also available at selected pharmacies. Tests at both the asymptomatic testing sites and pharmacies are available on selected days of the week and must be booked in advanced using the online booking facility at https://cheshireeast.zipporah.co.uk/LFT.Bookings.

Households and bubbles of pupils, students and staff of schools and colleges should get tested twice weekly. This also includes the wider school community including bus drivers and after school club leaders. Those people within this category can collect lateral flow testing kits from either of the council’s two local testing sites between 1.30pm and 7pm. These two sites are based at;

  • Crewe - Chester Street car park, CW1 2ER
  • Macclesfield - Commercial Road, SK10 2QJ

These tests are not for use with pupils and students. Primary school children have not been asked to take the LFD test, and tests for secondary and college students will be issued by their school / college.

A positive result from a home testing kit does however require a confirmatory PCR test. This must be a traditional Covid-19 test offered at the two testing sites in Crewe or Macclesfield, a postal one ordered online or one of your school supplies. Although this is an inconvenience it doesn’t affect the 10-day isolation start date, which will commence after the lateral flow positive result itself.

This is not the case for a positive result from lateral flow tests carried out in a pharmacy or at an asymptomatic testing site. No confirmatory test is needed, and self-isolation must start immediately upon receiving the results.

 

Dear families - Friday 5th March 2021

I hope that you have had a wonderful week and that you are looking forward to Monday as much as we are. I am sure that most of the children (and parents) are excited and looking forward to returning to school. However, we do appreciate that some may be feeling a little anxious or nervous after another extended lockdown. There is no doubt that the first few days and weeks may be a challenge for some, but please be assured that we have left no stone unturned in preparing for the school’s full reopening to make our school as safe as we can. We have also ensured we will be putting the children’s wellbeing at the top of our priority list. If you have any reservations at all, please do not hesitate to get in contact.

On Sunday 28 February, the Department of Health and Social Care announced that from Monday 1 March, households with primary school, secondary school and college age children and staff, including childcare and support bubbles, can test themselves twice every week at home as schools return from Monday 8 March. The twice-weekly test kits can be accessed:

  • via employers if they offer testing to employees
  • at a local test site
  • by ordering a home test kit online

The attached guidance explains how to get access to the kits and gives details of the nearest collection points. Home Testing for Family and Childcare bubbles

At present the kits can be collected from the sites below during the stated hours only. Further collection points will be available soon.

Town Venue Times

Macclesfield

 

COVID-19 Test Centre SITE: LTS612

Macclesfield

Commercial Road Car Park

SK10 2QJ

1.30pm – 7pm Monday-Sunday

Please note that undertaking regular, rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing helps reduce transmission of the virus. Children of primary school age (and below) without symptoms are not being asked to take a test. Testing is voluntary, but strongly recommended to all who are eligible. Alongside the vaccine, washing hands, wearing face coverings, and maintaining social distancing, rapid testing plays a vital role in reducing transmission rates. Getting into the habit of regular testing as part of our everyday lives will help us all to play our part and do what we can to protect each other.

Please see the ‘Coronavirus Updates’ section of the website for the latest risk assessment, which has been updated in preparation for Monday’s full reopening. You should have already received a letter from Mrs Bostock containing all the information you need to know about reopening, but here is a quick reminder of the slightly adjusted stagger times.

Class 1 – 9.00am – 3.20pm

Class 2 – 9.10am – 3.30pm

Class 3 – 9.00am – 3.20pm

Class 4 – 8.50am – 3.10pm

With the warmest of wishes,

Mrs Walker.

 

Dear families - Friday 26th February 2021

This week has been dominated by the exciting news that all children can return to school on Monday 8th March. We are all very excited and very much looking forward to seeing everyone again. We have, however, been advised by the local authority to ensure that we are advising you of two important points. First, attendance is mandatory from the 8th March for all children. Second, we are still living in a covid-19 world and so all measures that were in place before Christmas will be in place again. We will be operating a staggered day, keeping children in their class bubbles, socially distancing when we can and adhering to the hygiene and cleaning protocols set out in our risk assessment. Parents are therefore reminded they must continue to use our one way system, wear face masks on site and must leave the school site quickly without mixing on the school gate. We are doing everything we can to make the school as safe as possible and know we can continue to count on your support in this matter.

Mrs Bostock will email you early next week with finalised dates and times. However, I can confirm that from the week commencing 8th March, Love Music Trust, Ministry4Sport and Forest Schools will all be starting back again. School club and lunch surveys have already been sent out. Parents’ evening will take place remotely week commencing 22nd March. We have also slightly adjusted the stagger times – please see below.

Class 1 – 9.00am – 3.20pm

Class 2 – 9.10am – 3.30pm

Class 3 – 9.00am – 3.20pm

Class 4 – 8.50am – 3.10pm

I am sending out three documents with this newsletter that I hope you find useful. The first is the DfE publication ‘Schools coronavirus operating guidance from March 8th.’ This document has been updated from September with all key sentences and amendments highlighted. The second document is entitled ‘Stay at home and self-isolate’ and is updated guidance from the PHE. The last document is from the local authority and discusses reducing transmission and improving safety in schools. The government has also updated its parents’ guide and this can be accessed by cutting and pasting this web address into your browser: www.gov.uk/government/publications/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/what-parents-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-during-covid-19

Thank you all so much for your continued and much appreciated support.

With the warmest of wishes,

Mrs Walker.

 

Dear families - Tuesday 23rd February 2021

Dear families,

We are delighted that all children will be able to return to school on Monday 8th March, following the Prime Minister's announcement yesterday. 
Today Mrs Bostock and I have been contacting all the various people who make up our school community, to ensure they are all able to return to us from the 8th. 
As soon as we have everything finalised we will be in touch to update you with stagger times, reminders about PE, Forest Schools, Love Music Trust, Spanish and snacks/lunches etc. 
However, in essence the school will be operating as it was up until Christmas. Class bubbles will remain as will social distancing measures and our one way system to enter and exit school. We will continue with the hygiene measures documented in our risk assessment. 
As mentioned, as soon as we have more details we will be in touch, but for now we are simply overjoyed that we shall see all the children soon. 
With warmest wishes,

Mrs Walker.

 

Dear families - Friday 5th February 2021

On this fifth Friday following a remote timetable, I hope that you have had a pleasant week and that the end of the lockdown seems within reach now. I want to thank all the children who filled in the survey this week. The teachers and I have read all their comments and suggestions. The overwhelming message from most of them was that they miss their friends. Hopefully these last few weeks will pass quickly, and they will all be together soon. Please see below for the survey results:

Do you prefer the work that was set in Lockdown 1 or the current Lockdown?     Do you think you are getting a full learning day as you would if you were in school?  
Lockdown 1 12%   Yes 71%
Current Lockdown 88%   No 17%
      Unsure 12%
         
Is the work that is being set challenging enough for you?     Do you think that you are getting enough feedback?  
Yes 84%   Yes 82%
No 4%   No 9%
Unsure 12%   Unsure 9%
         
Do you prefer live lessons or set work?        
Live lessons 56%      
Set work 20%      
Unsure 24%      

 

This week is Children’s Mental Health Week, an annual week-long campaign run by children’s mental health charity Place2Be. The week runs until 7th February. This year’s theme is ‘Express Yourself’ with the focus on children finding ways to share feelings, thoughts, or ideas through creativity. 

In line with concerns about children’s mental health, some schools are currently doing a ‘no screen day’ in a bid to limit the time children are looking at a computer screen. Many of our children have expressed that they like the current remote learning structure which mirrors a school day and that they enjoy the live lessons, so I have not implemented this at St John’s. I feel that children and parents should be able to make their own decision on whether a child has had too much screen time. Each child will be different. If you do feel like your child has spent too long in front of a screen and would benefit from a screen free day, please email your child’s class teacher and say that you have elected to do this. Hopefully in taking this approach, children who want a break as well as those who don’t will be catered for.

Sadly this week we have been contacted by the Youth Speaks organisers to say that this year’s competition has been cancelled. We had very much hoped to take part in a zoom event this year, but we were the only school who showed and interest and so the event has been cancelled.

Despite external events being cancelled, we are still very busy in school. This week the Reception class has been learning all about the importance or recycling.  They made a fantastic poster to remind everyone not to litter and to recycle as much waste as they can.

In other good news, we heard this week that Scarlett in Class 4 has been named as the runner up in a national colouring competition, run by Eva Long Productions. This is a wonderful achievement as they had over two thousand entries. Well done!

Finally, I am attaching two government guidance documents that have been updated this week. Both documents: ‘Restricting attendance during the national lockdown: schools’ and ‘What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges’, are also on the Cornonavirus Updates section of the website.

Please remember we are all here for you, and we are all holding you in our thoughts and prayers. As always, thank you for your continued support.

With the warmest of wishes,

Mrs Walker.

 

Dear families - Friday 29th January 2021

We have now completed four weeks of this lockdown and four weeks of remote learning. The news this week that this current situation will continue until at least 8th March will, no doubt, have been a disappointment to many of you. I am sure that parents across the country are experiencing a whole raft of emotions, from having had enough now, to exasperation, to wanting to get life back to normal. I am sure that all of your remote learning experiences are different; while some children are thoroughly engaged, others will not be, and will be finding it all very challenging. It is perfectly okay to be feeling frustrated and fed up, and it is perfectly okay for the children to be feeling like this too. Just remember that we are here for you and please do not be too hard on yourselves.

Thank you to the families who completed our Remote Learning Survey this week. We are trying to address as many of the comments raised as we can. Next week I will send out a similar survey for the children to complete. It is paramount to us that the children know how important their voice is, and that even if we can’t fix everything, we can listen to them. That being said, the survey should only be completed if they want to and we would not expect many of the younger children to do so. It is a chance for them to have their say, but it should not give them an added stress or burden.

Here are the results of the survey:

  Is your child engaging with remote learning? Do you feel a full curriculum is being provided for your child? Are you satisfied with the live lessons? Is your child getting enough feedback from their teacher? Overall are you pleased with the remote learning being provided?
Yes 81% 79% 85% 81% 79%
No 11% 8% 2% 4% 6%
Unsure 8% 13% 13% 15% 15%

*Many of the parents whose children are currently in school replied ‘Unsure’.

One comment that was made on the survey was that science had not been taught this term and therefore a full curriculum was not being provided. I thought this would be a good opportunity to remind you that as we follow the International Primary Curriculum, we teach the children through IPC topics and themes. As such not every subject is taught in every topic. Also subjects are taught in blocks, so the children may do a week of art activities and then a week of history. Please look at our Curriculum Document on the website to see exactly what subjects are taught in each topic.

Next week is Children’s Mental Health Week, which is so incredibly important right now. Classes will be doing assemblies next week to discuss and explore themes/activities linked to this. This week an important report was released by the Education Policy Institute and The Prince's Trust. It focussed on the mental health and wellbeing of Generation Z. Please take a moment to read it if you can.

Visyon are continuing to run support sessions for families during lockdown on a variety of themes. Parent Webinars are available which offer information and ideas to help you in supporting your child with understanding and managing their emotions and wellbeing. If you are interested please email admin@stjohnsboll.cheshire.sch.uk

Finally, we hope our new website will be ready in the next few weeks. It has been slightly redesigned to make it a little more colourful and fresh. We also wanted to ensure the website captured our passion for global learning. We will let you know when it goes live.

Please take care of yourselves this coming week. Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. As always, thank you for your continued support.

With the warmest of wishes,

Mrs Walker.

 

Dear families - Friday 22nd January 2021

Here we are at the end of another week, and a week that has been historic and every bit as busy as the last one. I hope that you are all safe and well and that remote learning is running smoothly for you and has been engaging for the children. Keeping everyone connected and learning is our main priority right now. Please always remember we are here for you if you have any issues at all, and please let us know if you would like us to apply for data for you or apply for the Winter Grant Fund on your behalf. If you are unsure if you are eligible for these schemes please contact the school office.

The week was historic as the world welcomed Mr Biden as the 46th American President and Kamala Harris as the first woman Vice President. As a global school I am so thrilled that the children are interested in world events, and my word they have been very vocal about the outgoing President Trump. Kamala’s appointment feels like a pivotal moment and one I hope opens up the chance for more equitable opportunities for all.

I hope you all found time to have some fun in the snow. At school we managed to build snowmen before baking some rather delicious cinnamon swirls. On the flip side, my heart does go out to all the families in the area who may have experienced flooding, and I hope that none of you have been affected.

The Oak National Academy and the National Literacy Trust have come together to launch a Virtual School Library, to keep the children reading during lockdown. Every week, a popular children’s author will be the author of the week and provide a free book or audiobook and exclusive videos and activities aimed at primary school children, all available at library.thenational.academy. The first and current author of the week is Dame Jacqueline Wilson DBE, who talks about her infamous character Tracy Beaker. We do hope you will find this resource useful at home.

We have a new Police Community Support Officer (PCSO), Alex Camenzuli. Alex has very kindly send us a PowerPoint entitled ‘While You’re at Home’, which I am sending out with this letter. I have added it to the Coronavirus Updates section of the website, where I have also added PE links and activities to do at home.

We have received and distributed our DfE laptops and will receive our Lateral Flow Test kits next week, so staff can test themselves at home should they wish too.

Finally, thank you once again for your continued support and wonderful emails during this lockdown. I can’t tell you how much they are appreciated. Please know that you are always in my thoughts and prayers.

With the warmest of wishes,

Mrs Walker.

 

Dear families - Friday 15th January 2021

As the first full week of remote learning ends, I hope that you are all safe and well and are now familiar with the timetable of live sessions the teachers are running. As a guide, I am attaching an information leaflet with this letter, which I hope you will find helpful.

While there are many more pupils in school than there were during the last lockdown, it still feels too quiet and a little surreal, so please tell all the children at home how very much we miss them. We are so delighted at how many children are accessing the live sessions and engaging with the work set. The teachers are thrilled, and we are all so proud of how the youngsters have coped and are adapting, once again, to a new set of circumstances.

We have been able to apply for our allocated DfE laptops this week, but at the time of writing this we are still awaiting delivery. We will be in touch with the eligible families as soon as they arrive.

Food parcels arrived in school yesterday, and most have been collected. I was very dismayed at the quality of some parcels photographed online, that caused outrage in the national news in recent days. The food parcels we received were good quality with nutritious ingredients. They also contained a meal plan for each of the 10 days along with recommended standard portion sizes for children. 

Schools, trusts and local authorities can request mobile data increases for children and young people who:

  • Do not have fixed broadband at home
  • Cannot afford additional data for their devices
  • Are experiencing disruption to their face-to-face education

Please email admin@stjohnsboll.cheshire.sch.uk if you would like us to apply for this on your behalf. For more information please see https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk/about-increasing-mobile-data

This week a stranger came into school after hearing about the online problems some families are experiencing, and donated their old laptop to us. What a wonderfully thoughtful gift. Also, our Chair of Governors, Mr Akerman, has donated an  iPad to the school. This is an equally lovely gesture. Such generosity during these difficult times is most appreciated.

All that remains is for me to wish you a lovely weekend and remind you all that we are here for you. If you have an issue, query or problem, please do not hesitate to get in touch. You are doing a magnificent job guiding your children through remote learning. Please be kind to yourselves and know that this time will soon pass.

With the warmest of wishes,

Mrs Walker.

 

Dear families - Friday 8th January 2021

I hope that you are all well and this week has not been too difficult for you. I must admit it was an awful blow to hear the Prime Minister declare that schools were to move to remote learning, except for key worker and vulnerable children on Monday. With very little details and with less than twelve hours to prepare, schools and families were plunged into chaos, after successfully opening for just one day.

I am aware that for some of you the prospect of home learning for six weeks will not be an easy one. Please remember that we are here for you, and if you need any support or advice just email us. Thankfully we have Teams up and running for this lockdown, and so the remote provision we are offering is as close to a school day as is possible. Teachers have been thrilled with the numbers of children participating in the live lessons, and I do hope this continues so that the children’s education and wellbeing is impacted as little as possible. Attending the live lessons will also give the children a chance to see their classmates and talk to their teacher, which is invaluable in these unsettling and difficult times. As I mentioned, please contact us if you have any difficulty accessing the remote learning as we will be monitoring attendance.

Key Workers and Vulnerable Children

Thank you to all the families who have completed their requests for key worker/vulnerable provision next week. Also thank you to parents for only sending their children into school on the days they require, following the government guidance which states, ‘Parents and carers who are critical workers should keep their children at home if they can.’ We will be operating two bubbles from Monday, and infant and a junior one. For the majority of the day children will be in their usual classrooms accessing the remote lessons that children at home are accessing. We have decided not to stagger the day, but ask that you maintain social distancing in the yard both before and after school, and continue to wear face masks.

Primary Assessments

Following on from the government’s announcement on Monday the Department for Education has confirmed that there will be no statutory tests or primary assessments in 2021. This means there will be no Year 6 SATs, Year 1 phonics screening tests or Year 4 multiplication tests. The Year 2 assessments had already been cancelled.

Laptops for Disadvantaged Children

The government is providing laptops to schools to loan to disadvantaged children during the duration of the lockdown. Schools will be emailed and told when they can apply for the devices, starting with schools in the most deprived areas. We will probably not be invited to apply before January 15th. Our school has been allocated five laptops.

Data Scheme

Schools, trusts and local authorities can request mobile data increases for children and young people who:

  • Do not have fixed broadband at home
  • Cannot afford additional data for their devices
  • Are experiencing disruption to their face-to-face education

Please email admin@stjohnsboll.cheshire.sch.uk if you would like us to apply for this on your behalf. For more information please see https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk/about-increasing-mobile-data

Xbox and PlayStation

An Xbox or PlayStation can be used to access remote learning. If you would like more details on how to do this please contact the office.

Will Things Change?

I honestly do not know if the government will make any further recommendations or guidance changes. The number of daily coronavirus cases and deaths is extremely worrying, the new variant is around 50-70% more transmissible and the NHS is close to being overwhelmed. The vaccine is a light at the end of the tunnel, but there are still difficult weeks ahead. Health experts agree that the new strain increases the R rate by around 0.5. During the March lockdown the efforts of the country reduced the R rate to 0.6. Even if we did exactly as we did in March we would struggle to get the R rate below 1 with the new variant, and this lockdown is not as stringent as the last. So the landscape may change because it may become necessary to do so, to save lives and protect the NHS.

Finally, can I thank all the parents who have taken the time to email and say how delighted you are with the remote learning and live lessons. We appreciate this so very much. As you can imagine it is not an easy time for teachers, managing children in school and delivering remote lessons, and so your support means the world. I would also love to see some pictures of the children working at home. It would be lovely to post any photos you send me onto the gallery page of our website.

This time will pass and hopefully very soon this chapter in all our lives will be over. Until then know that you are always in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for your continued support.

With the warmest of wishes,

Mrs Walker.

 

Dear families - Tuesday 5th January 2021

I am sure you have awoken today and, like all of us here at school, you are trying to process the devastating information that the Prime Minister delivered at 8pm last night, that the country needs to move to a full lockdown with all schools closing to the majority of pupils with immediate effect . To say school staff were deeply saddened by this news is an understatement.

I appreciate that this will present families with many challenges, but please be assured that we will do our utmost to support each and every member of our school community as best we can.  We have already established effective ways of supporting home learning via Teams, and will continue to provide this for all of our pupils for the remainder of this half term. Your child’s class teacher will be in touch today to share with you the class timetable for your child/children during this lockdown and specific details of their day – such as which lessons will be live. We fully understand that home learning is a difficult task, but we do urge you to support your child in completing the work set so that we can try to ensure they do not fall behind with their learning. If there are any issues at all please contact your child’s class teacher for help and support.

Mrs Bostock will be in touch today to ask our identified keyworker and vulnerable families to indicate which days they will require their child/children to be in school, as we did during the first lockdown. This will allow us to ensure we have adequate staffing levels in place each day. We will also be asking you to indicate if you wish your child/children to have a school lunch the following week. We will be contacting the LA today as the government have promised more laptops for disadvantaged pupils, but no further details have been released to school as yet.

Please note that during the lockdown the children who are attending school will be directed to follow their class timetable and complete the tasks and live lessons set by their teacher. Therefore, please ensure your child comes to school with their Teams login. If you have any issues regarding Teams please contact admin.

When teaching pupils remotely, DfE expect schools to:

·         set assignments so that pupils have meaningful and ambitious work each day in a number of different subjects

·      set work that is of equivalent length to the core teaching pupils would receive in school, and as a minimum:

-      primary: 3 hours a day, on average, across the school cohort

-      secondary: 4 hours a day, with more for pupils working towards formal qualifications this year

·      provide frequent, clear explanations of new content, delivered by a teacher or through high-quality curriculum resources or videos

·         have systems for checking, at least weekly, whether pupils are engaging with their work, and inform parents immediately where engagement is a concern

·         gauge how well pupils are progressing through the curriculum using questions and other suitable tasks, and provide feedback, at least weekly, using digitally facilitated or whole-class feedback where appropriate

·         enable teachers to adjust the pace or difficulty of what is being taught in response to questions or assessments, including, where necessary, revising material or simplifying explanations to ensure pupils’ understanding.

You may be a little bombarded with emails and information today, but please do bear with us as we manage our way through these difficult circumstances. We will be leaving school exercise books outside the front entrance today, please feel free to come and collect one for your child.

As always, you are all in our thoughts and prayers and we do hope you all stay safe.

With warmest wishes,

Mrs Walker.

 

Dear parents and carers - Friday 18th December 2020

Please find below a copy of the schools latest letter for Track and Trace over the Christmas period.

There has been a government update (yesterday) advising that from January staff and pupils will have access to rapid testing. We wanted to advise you that at this current time this is ONLY for Secondary Schools and Colleges and therefore will not affect Primary Schools. If your child shows symptoms and requires a test in January then we ask you to follow the current procedure of booking a test online via – Get a free NHS test to check if you have coronavirus - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) or by calling 119.

Warmest wishes,

Mrs Walker.

 

Dear parents and carers - Wednesday 16th December 2020

Track and Trace During the Holidays

During the pandemic, schools have taken responsibility for Track and Trace where children (or staff) have Covid-19 symptoms and have received a positive test result.  It is important that we continue this essential work for the first part of the Christmas holiday.  Please report any symptoms and/or positive cases to head@stjohnsboll.cheshire.sch.uk This email will be constantly monitored, with a final check being made at 4.30pm on Christmas Eve. 

For clarity, the latest DfE guidance states:

  • For the first 6 days after teaching ends, if a pupil or staff member tests positive for coronavirus (Covid-19), having developed symptoms within 48 hours of being in school, the school is asked to assist in identifying close contacts and advising self-isolation, as the individual may have been infectious whilst in school.
  • Where a pupil or staff member tests positive for coronavirus (Covid-19), having developed symptoms more than 48 hours since being in school, the school should not be contacted. Parents and carers should follow contact tracing instructions provided by NHS Test and Trace.
  • School staff are not asked to remain on-call or conduct any contact tracing more than 6 days after the final day of teaching. Where a schools last teaching day is on Friday 18th December, there should be no pupil contact tracing asks beyond Thursday 24th December. Schools are not asked to be on-call at all times. Staff responsible for contact tracing may designate a limited period in the day to receive notification of positive cases and advise close contacts to self-isolate (this can be done by text or email).
  • Where pupils are required to self-isolate due to contact with a positive case after the first 6 days following the end of term, schools do not need to be informed about their absence until the first day of the new term. 

We all have our fingers crossed that our school community manages to enjoy a safe and happy Christmas without infection or the need for isolation.

With kind regards,

Mrs Walker.

 

Dear parents and carers - Monday 14th December 2020

Changes to the isolation period for close contacts:

The www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection has changed from today, meaning that self-isolation for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus will be shortened from 14 to 10 days.
 
Key summary points of the new isolation guidance include:
1.As of Monday 14th December 2020, the isolation period will reduce to 10 days.

2. Anyone asked to isolate by an NHS Test and Trace staff member or on the advice of Public Health/Public Health England before Monday 14th December 2020 will only need to isolate for 10 days. 

3. The NHS T&T App will not update with the new isolation periods until Thursday 17th December 2020.  Anyone told to isolate by the App from now until Thursday 17th December 2020 can stop isolating when the countdown says “3 days remain”.  After Thursday 17th December 2020, everyone who needs to isolate for the full period will be notified by the App. 

4.Isolation periods will take the day contact occurred as Day 0 of the isolation period, so contacts must remain in isolation until Day 11.  For example, contact on 11th December 2020 = Day 0; last day of self-isolation is 21st December 2020 = Day 10; able to resume normal activities on 22nd December 2020 = Day 11.

With kind regards,

Mrs Walker.

 

Dear parents and carers - Monday 2nd November 2020

It is wonderful to see the children settling back into their classrooms this morning, and we hope that you all had a lovely half term break.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Saturday evening it is clear that there are challenging times ahead. We are sure that you will wish to work with us to keep the spread of the virus as low as possible in our local community and to get through this half term with as little disruption to learning as possible.

We must remind you of the importance of staying 2 metres apart from other families in the school yard. The situation is such now that we would request that parents/carers wear masks at all times when on school grounds or in school premises. You will appreciate that this is not a decision that we have taken lightly, but we are trying our utmost to keep everyone in our school community safe and well in order that school can remain open.

Whilst writing, we would mention that all after school clubs restart today and would remind you of the new staggered finishing times for our classes and clubs which are as follows:

Class 1 - 3.15pm - (Monday Phonics Club finishes at 3.45pm)
Class 2 - 3.30pm - (Thursday Phonics Club finishes at 4.00pm)
Class 3 - 3.15pm - (Monday Art Club finishes at 4.00pm)
Class 4 - 3.00pm - (Monday Booster finishes at 4.00pm and Tuesday Booster at 3.45pm. Football finishes at 4.00pm)

Please note that morning drop off times have not changed and remain as follows:

Class 1 – 9.00am
Class 2 – 9.15am
Class 3 – 9.00am
Class 4 – 8.45am

We hope you continue to know that the wellbeing of our wonderful school community is of utmost importance to us. Together we will weather the potentially difficult term ahead.

With kind regards,

Mrs Walker.

 

Dear parents and carers - 16th October 2020

Stagger Times

As we are now all familiar with the school protocols and safety measures, we will be extending the stagger times by 15 minutes after half term. Morning drop off times will stay the same. From Monday 2nd November, the new bubble times are as follows:

Class 1 – 9am – 3.15pm

Class 2 – 9.15am – 3.30pm

Class 3 – 9am – 3.15pm

Class 4 – 8.45am – 3pm

Coronavirus Advice

Cheshire East has been placed into the government’s Covid-19 alert level ‘high’ – also referred to as Tier 2. May we remind you that people from Cheshire East must not socialise indoors with anybody from outside their household or support bubble.

As a reminder, please do not send your child into school if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • A new continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours and/or
  • A high temperature – this means feeling hot to the touch on the chest or back (if a temperature cannot be taken) and/or
  • A loss, or change, to their sense of smell or taste – this means they have noticed they cannot small or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms. You should only get a test if you have one or more of these symptoms. To book a test call the NHS on 119 or go online to https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/antigen/name

With regards,

Mrs Walker.

 

Dear parents and carers - 16th September 2020

As you may be aware two local schools have confirmed coronavirus cases, meaning between them they have had to send home five bubbles/year groups of children.

We are working tirelessly to try and prevent this happening at St John’s. However, in order to mitigate risks as much as we can, we need your assistance. We need to maintain social distancing wherever possible, adhere to our heightened cleaning protocols and keep the children in their class bubbles.

Therefore, please can you to adhere to the following procedures:

  • Only one parent should enter the site to drop off or collect a child, and please leave the school site quickly.
  • Please stay 2m apart from other adults who may be waiting with you. Please keep 2m apart the entire time you are on the school site.
  • Please do not enter Mrs Jobbins’ outside area unless you have a child in Reception. Please try not to bring siblings into this area, especially if they attend another school setting or are part of a different school bubble.
  • If at any point you are unable to maintain a 2m distance from others we would kindly request you wear a mask.

This is an ever changing landscape, and we are learning as we go along. As we appear to have a bottle neck outside the Reception class each morning we are moving the Reception stagger times. From Monday 21st September Reception children will attend school from 9am-3pm.

As a reminder, please do not send your child into school if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • A new continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours and/or
  • A high temperature – this means feeling hot to the touch on the chest or back (if a temperature cannot be taken) and/or
  • A loss, or change, to their sense of smell or taste – this means they have noticed they cannot small or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms. You should only get a test if you have one or more of these symptoms. To book a test call the NHS on 119 or go online to https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/antigen/name

There are new appointments being added to the Government site throughout the day, so if you cannot book a test as none are available, please keep checking and refreshing the page.

As always we trust you know that our main priority is the safety and wellbeing of our entire school community.

Warm wishes,

Mrs Walker.

 

Suspected Covid- 19 Cases - 11th September 2020

We are following the Cheshire East guidelines with regards to managing suspected or confirmed covid-19 cases. In a nutshell, please keep your child away from school if they have covid-19 symptoms. (The most important symptoms are the recent onset of any of the following: a new continuous cough; a high temperature and/or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell.)

Please contact us and we can organise work to be sent home. The government covid-19 website has details of how to get tested as well as requirements for household self-isolation. Should a child become ill in school, we will make contact with parents and ask for your child to be collected along with any other siblings. You can access the government guidelines on self- isolation at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home- guidance. In the event of a confirmed covid-19 case, the Headteacher is placed in contact with the local health protection team and local authority, who will then advise the next steps i.e. identification of close contacts that will then be required to self-isolate and test. Please see attached information from Public Health England.

With regards,

Mrs Walker.

 

Coronavirus Update - September 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

We are so delighted that all of our children will be returning to school tomorrow morning and we are very much looking forward to meeting our new reception class. The teachers have been working very hard in your absence, putting up new classroom displays and making preparations for an exciting new term.

Our top priority this week is the wellbeing of the children and making sure that everyone transitions back into school, or into their new classrooms, and is settled and happy.

Thereafter, our focus will be on assessing and identifying any gaps in learning and working towards rectifying them, while still maintaining a broad and balanced curriculum.

The government have relaxed guidance to allow peripatetic coaches and outside tutors to return to school. We are looking forward to welcoming back:

Mrs Dooley (piano)

Front Row Music (guitar and ukulele)

Love Music Trust (cello and violin, Class 4)

Marcella, our Forest Schools practitioner (Reception and Year 5)

Krissi Hofton, our Spanish tutor (Class 3 and Class 4)

Ministry 4 Sport (who will be responsible for delivering PE this year to Classes 2 to 4)

While we couldn’t be happier to see our school community flourish once more, we must not forget that Covid-19 has not yet gone away. As a community we must remain vigilant to ensure that our school is safe and we must abide by our revised Risk Assessment.

Therefore, school will continue to operate as it did before the summer break. Here is a reminder of procedures that you need to be aware of for tomorrow:

  • Pupils will stay in their bubbles at all times, but these bubbles can now accommodate the full class. There will still be no mixing of children between bubbles, although there is no longer the requirement for children to socially distance from each other within their bubbles.
  • Staff must continue to socially distance from the children (where possible) and from other adults. However, government guidance states that staff are now permitted to move between groups. We will limit this as much as possible but are aware that there may be occasions where crossovers do occur, such as during lunchtime supervision.
  • School attendance is compulsory for every child.
  • School uniform should be worn.
  • We will still be limiting the number of visitors who come into school.  Parents should not enter the school building unless by prior arrangement. Please make any initial contact via telephone call or email.
  • The school office will not accept cash payments. Wherever possible, payments should be via payments.
  • Children are asked to bring only the essentials into school every day. They will need their own pencil cases (to be left in school) as we will still be limiting the exchange of items between youngsters. However, school bags are now allowed.
  • Break times and lunch times will continue to be staggered, but the children will be served a hot school dinner every day unless they are having packed lunches.
  • Extensive measures will continue to be taken around the school to promote hygiene. As an additional measure, we would ask if all children could please bring in their own bottle of hand sanitiser. This will be for their own personal use only and should be clearly named.
  • After school clubs will recommence in September, but children will remain in their class bubbles. Pick up will be from the yard and not school reception. More details will follow shortly.
  • Our one way system will still be in operation, and we politely remind parents to socially distance while waiting in the playground. Please ensure that any children who walk to and from school unaccompanied are also aware that they must enter the yard on arrival and maintain a social distance from anyone who is not in their class bubble.
  • Large gatherings such as open evening and whole school assemblies, educational trips or swimming will not take place during the first term.
  • Lunch boxes are now permitted to be used, but will be stored in the pupil’s bag in the classroom, rather than in the kitchen.
  • We will be sending books home, but will quarantine any that are returned, for 48 hours before sending home with the next child.
  • Starting from next week, Class 2, 3 and 4 will need to come to school in their PE kits on the day on which they have PE. (Class 2 – Monday; Class 3 – Tuesday; Class 4 – Thursday and Class 1 – details to follow.)
  • Unless the landscape changes, October’s parents’ evenings will be replaced by written progress reports. 
  • Our usual Harvest Festival Assembly will not take place. Instead you will be able to view a video version. Details of how to access this will be sent to you nearer the time.
  • Provisional dates have been set for our usual Christmas activities. However, please be warned that there is a high possibility that we will be forced to cancel them at a later date. If this is the case, we will upload video recordings.

We would also like to remind you of our staggered start and finish times for each class which are as follows:

Class 4: 8.45am – 2.45pm

Class 3: 9am – 3pm

Class 2: 9.15am – 3.15pm

Class 1: 9.30am – 3.30pm (outside their classroom)

If you have children in more than one class, with different start and finish times, please drop off at the earliest time and pick up at the latest time.

Please ensure that social distancing from other parents and children is maintained at all times in the school yard and also while making the journey to school and home again.

We are sorry to bombard you with so much information. Please take time to digest it all and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact school admin on admin@stjohnsboll.cheshire.sch.uk

With kind regards,

Mrs Walker.

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