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Letter to Parents 20.03.2020

20th March 2020


Dear Parents/ Carers/ Governors/ Staff of School and Day Care,


This final letter of the week hopes to close Friday with greater clarification relating to school closure.  

Who will be able to come to school on Monday?


Key Workers

Information has now been defined. A letter was sent out this morning asking parents to complete the attached form if they are a key worker.

All parents accessing schooling at this time will need to provide evidence of their role at work by Monday to the classroom door. This will be either:

  • Letter from employer confirming role
  • Contract stating role and employer

Staff at the classroom doors will see and check off this evidence before your child is able to be left in school. These will be seen but no copies kept.


Government information states: ‘Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home…every child who can be safely cared for at home should be. If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed… and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your child will be prioritised for education provision’.




Parents will sign a declaration confirming what their role is before their child can attend school on Monday morning.  

Vulnerable children

The children eligible under vulnerable groups are broken down as follows:

  • Children Looked After (or supported by Virtual Schools at Mrs Massey’s discretion)
  • Children with Educational Health Care Plans (or pending as applied for by the school)
  • Children with a case open to a social worker
  • Children with a current Children’s Services referral pending (at Mrs Massey’s discretion)
  • Disabled children – unable to be cared for at home due to full time working parents

Any parents for whom this has relevance have already been written to, to take up a place and establish if term time and Easter Holiday Play Scheme is required.

Children who do not fall into these groups should remain at home with the appropriate care.


How will I know if my child has a space at Howe Dell School next week?

After 4pm, you will be notified via Schoolcomms the following message:

‘Your child has a place on Monday for school provision. Please bring ID as requested if a key worker as this will be checked at the classroom door by a member of staff.’

If you do not receive a Schoolcomms you can assume you are not bringing your child in on Monday.


Why can’t more children be at school from Monday?

This week supply costs to the school to cover absence has exceeded £1000. This has avoided partial closure for Reception to Year 6 during this week. We will no longer be booking this, as the cost is not viable. Currently we have 9 teachers (including those part time) planning to work next week. Even with mixed aged classes and our usual creativity, this is going to be a challenge.

For those classed as ‘vulnerable children’ by the government (as already listed) only the specific child is covered, not the siblings.


Will my child get milk and fruit/ veg next Monday?

No, all milk and fruit and veg orders have been cancelled for the school. We have been told we will not receive any orders.


If my child is eligible for Free School Meals (not Universal Free School Meals) will they be fed if not coming to school for the whole school day?

We have 66 children who are currently eligible for Free School Meals .They will have a hot meal available on site from Monday. Those already not in school can attend at 11.30am and will be fed to be collected at 12 noon. We will use the current listings of options in respect of cultural, allergy and vegetarian needs. Any child unable to access all red options will be given a vegetarian choice.


If my child is in school on Monday do I need to provide a packed lunch?

Children on site for the whole school day will have a dinner and playtime as in any other school day:

  • If a child usually brings a packed lunch, we expect them to do so from Monday.
  • If a child usually has a school dinner, a hot meal will be provided whether they are eligible for Universal Free School Meals (ie) Reception to Year 2, currently accessing Free School Meals or usually paying for this meal.

Normal meal patterns apply and class teachers will establish choice each day as usual. Parents will have chosen these for any Reception children in advance as is usual practice.

Those in school all day will have lunch starting at 12.00pm.


Staff distribution and where will children be?

All classes will be downstairs to reduce cleaning and management of mixed age classes.

The children will be organised as follows:

Reception and Nursery - Miss Reeves (Reception 2)

Year 1 and 2 – Miss Adams (Y1)

Year 3 and 4 – Miss Christmas (Y2)

Year 5 and 6 – Miss Malone (Y6)

Teachers will put a notice in their widows so it is clear where you should leave your child. Remember on Monday, key worker parents will need to show evidence of their role.


Will there be access to areas upstairs?

All upstairs classrooms will be closed and only available for access for staff and supplies. The Library, Comet Suite, Multi-Purpose Hall will still all be available, as will the Staffroom.

The children should only use the All Gender Toilet if they are upstairs.

Y4-6 corridor will be out of bounds unless for staff collecting resources.


What time will the site be open to and from?

  • School hours will be 8.30am – 3.15pm.This will be operated as a soft start to avoid large crowds gathering.
  • Day Care hours will be 8.00am – 4.30pm. No Bank staff are required due to cost.
  • The whole site for staff will open from 8.00am – 6.00pm due to thorough cleaning arrangements.


How will Day Care be organised?

  • Day Care will retain current rooms.
  • This will keep the children safe and in the rooms they know.
  • Any additional staff not needed in Day Care, should be deployed through the school or to help the Facilities Team.

What provision will there be for learning off site and how do I access this?

A huge thank you to the staff who will continue to prepare weekly resources via the Year Group pages on our school website. These hope to be uploaded by 4pm each Friday during term time. (Please bear with us if the website struggles with many users).

Beyond all resources already mentioned in previous letters this week, may I draw parents’ attention to the following additional on line options – please see attached.


Will staff continue to be paid?

  • Teachers who work additional hours in the Easter holidays, will receive Time Off In Lieu (TOIL) to be taken at a later date.
  • Support staff will be paid but not until the month after Play Scheme has finished.


Any other final arrangements to clarify?

  • No teachers will be on playground duties, if at all possible.
  • If TAs are in then they should cover break times and lunchtimes.
  • Any MSAs who are able to attend site for their usual duties will support lunchtimes.
  • If staff are unable to work from Monday they need to notify their Line Manager and School Office as is usual protocol. Teachers should also contact Mrs Massey via her mobile.
  • PPA Time will be planned and reviewed by teaching teams.


How will I know when the school is open again for everybody?

Reopening arrangements will be alerted via website and email to all stakeholders. Please do not keep ringing the school to check as we have limited staff cover and our priority is using phone lines and people for the smooth running of provision during this interim.


A huge thank you for the kind messages and support at this time shown towards me and my staff. It is heart breaking to close the school for so many and to have no guarantees as to when our doors will open again, to welcome our entire Howe Dell family. Rest assured as soon as this is safe to do so, I look forward to enjoying many shared opportunities to celebrate learning with you and your children. Hoping all remain safe and well in the meantime.

Yours sincerely


Debra Massey

Executive Headteacher