Across the country all of us are facing challenges to determine how we best respond to the threat of the coronavirus. St George’s is no different. From end of Friday 20th March St George's will be closed to the majority of pupils.
Update 19th May 2020
Dear families, today, we have published our full safety guidance for the proposal to reopen our school for children in Reception (Foundation 2), Year 1, Year 6 and our key worker children from Tuesday 2nd June. You can read it by clicking here.
At the bottom of this page is a video letter from Mr Cassidy explaining the actions taken by the school.
Our plan demonstrates the scope and challenge of the work that we are undertaking to ensure that our school continues to be a safe and secure place for our children. We have also published our revised Covid-19 health and safety guide for staff. We haven't published our action plan for achieving this but that details 10 pages of actions for school leaders before the 2nd of June. Preparation of this plan has involved meetings will all staff in school. We have also sent our safety plans to Wirral Council and trade associations.
To ensure that this plan is implemented safely, we will be closing the school to all children including key worker families on 1st June.
For families with children in the year groups affected, we will be contacting parents to complete a simple questionnaire to indicate whether you will be sending your child to school. You will have 3 choices:
1. Indicate if you will be sending your child to school from 2nd June
2. Indicate if you would like us to register your child in a pod but that you will be waiting before sending your child to school. Important to note that children will only be allowed to join their pod on a Monday if you do delay sending them to school.
3. State that you will not be sending your child to school this academic year. We will not register your child in a pod.
The safety plan requires children to learn, eat and play in their pods to reduce transmission. Pods will operate as safety bubbles to reduce transmission risk as the number of children increases in the school. Therefore, we have had to make the sad choice to close Dragon Club. We know that this will cause difficulties for many families but is unavoidable if we are going to safely reopen our school.
Parents will also notice significant changes to school hours and staggered starts and closures for children in different year groups. Again, this is necessary to ensure that we reopen safely. We fully understand that this will cause challenges for families but safety must come first.
Update 14th May 2020
We are currently responding to the government's challenge to reopen part of the school from 1st June 2020. Letter detailing the school's plan from our head teacher and Chair of Governors can be read here.
In response to the government's announcement we are working with all our staff on a detailed plan to ensure that we are prepared to start safely welcoming children back to school. From 2nd of June that will be a school offer for nursey, Foundation 2, Year 1 and Year 6. If that phase is successful we have been asked to try and get all children back to school before the end of June. Key worker school will continue during this transition phase.
Throughout the pandemic we have been consistent in our stance that with good planning, schools should continue to be a safe and secure place for children.
However, we will have to operate differently. Next week we will share our safety plan with you and ask parents to complete a questionnaire and start a Question and Answer process for our families so your voice is heard.
In this page we have links to important information for families. We will update this page as the information to school changes.
In this page we will upload:
- Letters to families
- Links from Department for Education/Department for Health advice
- Guidance document for families from Wirral Council
- Our updated safety paln for Covid-19
Well done to Eliza (and her dad) for sharing their song about how we feel positive despite the challenges of Covid 19. You can watch their video here. Their positive message has gone viral with news reports on BBC Radio Merseyside and ITV.
We have also emebedded a film from our amazing EYFS staff to wish everybody a 'Happy Easter' in the EYFS page (scroll down to the bottom of this page).
Family Well-Being Offer from Zumos
Our partners at Zumos have made a 70-day Wellbeing programme available to families.
There is no subscription or sign-up necessary, simply follow the link below and start accessing the resources. They include Mindfulness activities, how to be Happy recordings, resources to gain new skills and challenge yourself, as well as lots of expert written content helping you manage relationships and other aspects of life. This support is available to everyone whether Zumos users or not so please feel free to share with friends and family.
Advice to Families from Government (updated 1st April 2020)
Dear parents, link below takes to you advice for families on all aspects of childrcare, safety and advice whilst you are managing the impact of school closures. Also includes a section on online safety advice:
Free School Meals Update 27th March
Dear parent, we are pleased to announce that Wirral Council has agreed to fund free school meal shopping vouchers for all families. We will be setting this up from 30th March. This will be an online service. Please check your e-mails daily next week. This will be funded at £2.35 per day for all children eligible. this funding will also be offered over the Easter Holidays. We will continue to offer our daily catering service, free of charge to all families who need support.
Update At End of 23rd March 2020
We have come to the end of a demanding and disorienting week. We have ensured that your children have left us positively today. However, we are devastated to see our children leaving us in such uncertain circumstances.
There has been a lot of collective spirit in our staff team today but this has been mixed with a lot of tears. In a day, our brilliant team have turned top site into a new primary school with provision for 3 to 11 year olds. Staff have been supervising children, moving furniture, clearing classrooms and ensuring that we are ready to support our vulnerable and key worker families on Monday.
This will provide 25% of our families with emergency school places. Each class will have 30 children in. We believe that is the highest ratio of provision in the Wirral. If we were to go any higher, we would be ignoring the hygiene and social distancing requirements that we must put in place to ensure safety for children and staff in the ongoing Covid 19 (Coronavirus) crisis. I also could not ensure safe staffing supervision beyond this level.
We have completed the enrolment process for all key worker requests. We are now full. We have been able to meet all requests with the exception of one family in Year 2; one family in Year 5 and 16 families in EYFS. We will not be able to accept any more requests for places. No family should bring their chid to school unless you have had an e-mail confirming that you have a place.
We have had to make decisions to prioritise front line staff from NHS, social care and other agencies. We know that every role is vital and wish that we had the capacity to meet every request. That is just impossible. If any places come available, we will contact families on the standby list as a priority.
All children attending key worker school provision are entitled to a free school lunch. They are welcome to bring in their own packed lunches.
Please note that this request does not affect requests for Dragon Club or Holiday Club support. We have been able to meet all those requests in full.
Wirral Council are looking at alternative provision for key worker children who couldn’t be accommodated in their own school. We will keep you updated if any other services are available.
We have worked tirelessly and swiftly to support families in these most challenging of times. We hoped to accommodate all requests. We ask that all families let us know immediately if they no longer require this support, so we can make this available to our community.
Families coming to school should arrive at the school gate from 8.40am. Families will be allowed to drop off their children at their new class. Each class will be taught by staff from their year group. All staff are included in our rotas.
Children attending school should:
- wear school uniform,
- bring in a coat,
- bring in a water bottle,
- bring any medication to their class,
- bring in their P.E kits.
We will open the school gates at 3.15pm every night and your children will be available for collection at 3.20pm. If they attend before or after school Dragon Club, they should be dropped off and collected from the main entrance.
If they are unwell, please contact the school by e-mail or phone the office to report your child’s absence.
We will approach next week with optimism but also recognise this is not a situation that any of us wanted. Our staff team will be in contact with families learning at home. Staff are updating learning, videoing lessons and adding message to the year group pages of the website.
I visited every class today to give our children three important messages:
- Thank you for being fabulous and helping us this week.
- To remind them how we proud we are of their resilience and care for others. Whilst many are sad to leave us, they have understood that the changes at our school are in place so we can look after the safety of the vulnerable in our community.
- To assure them they will be thinking of them and preparing for their return.
Sharing this message with our year 6 pupils was most challenging. They face the uncertainty of what happens in their primary school and how we will support them with transition to our secondary schools. We will find a way to work with our families with this. I promised our year 6 children that if we are unable to return to school this summer, we will invite them back for a farewell party as soon as we can. They were reassured by this but even happier when they realised that I will no longer be their head teacher and they won’t have to follow my instructions.
Please look after yourself. We will keep in touch. Your positive messages and feedback have sustained our staff team in the most demanding of times. Over the next few weeks, we will all have to understand that the current stress in life will affect us all. We will be thinking of all our families and hope that you are well. Kindness, tolerance and humour will be needed over the next few months.
Update Regarding Planned School Provision from 23rd March 2020.
The governemnt released their guuidance today (20th March) regarding who would be an eligible key worker for a free place at the school provision provided to assist Key Workers and vulnerable pupils during the Covid 19 (coronavirus) crisis.
Guidance is very clear. Schools will remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend. There is a long list of roles that constiute key worker status. This can be found by following the link below:
We are planning free provision will be based at the Claremount Road site for children registered at St George's.
If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed by the government, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision. There will be a limit to this provision. We are offering 30 places per year group and a maximum of 80 at our extended school service (Dragon Club).
We will offer the following at no charge:
1. Place at breakfast club from 7.30am during the school day. This will be supervised by Dragon Club staff.
2. Registered school provision during the school day from 8.50am to 3.20pm.
3. Free hot lunch or deli bar provision during school days.
4. Place at after school club from 3.30pm to 5.30pm. This will be supervised by Dragon Club staff.
5. Place at our Easter Holiday Club (except for Bank Holidays) from 8.00am to 5.30pm. Children will need to bring packed lunches.
We are aiming to start that provision on the 23rd March but may have to delay this if the guidance from Department for Education is late and we can't complete registers and authorise places. We will start this offer as fast as we can.
We understand that many families would like more information regarding this.
To get the process started we have designed an online questionnaire for you to complete. This is an expression of interest form. Please click the link below to get started with this:
As the situation changes, if we have space availabe we will offer new admissions for critical worker families but that will be on specified dates.
Free School Meals Provision
We have confirmed that we will be providing free school meal service for all eligible families starting on 23rd March. This will be a collection service from top site with daily menu choices. Will be hot meal choices and packed lunchoptions. We will be contacting all families who are eligible about how they can access this service and place their orders.
Update send on 19th March 2020 to Families
following last night's government's announcement, we will be in full planning mode today. The uncertainty regarding school closures has caused anxiety for families. What we now know is that from the end of the school day on Friday the 20th of March the school will be closed to the majority of pupils. This is an 'indefinite measure'.
We have no indication how long this will last for. This measure has been put in place to slow down the spread of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) virus.
I am meeting with the Senior Leadership Team at 9.30am this morning to look at how we move forwards. Throughout this crisis we have applied the mantra that we act in a 'calm and informed' manner. That will be the case over the next few days.
We recognise the pressure this will put on many families. School closures mean self-isolation and social distancing. It is not an extended holiday. We will be trying to ensure that your children are emotionally supported and reassured today. School is a place of safety and familiarity for children. We know that they will be confused and anxious. Message is that we are all ok at St George's. Closing school is a helpful step, so our communities are able to care better for those who are unwell.
We will be sending home some resources and ideas to support your child's learning at home. We will be using the year group web pages of the website to ensure that we communicate with you and provide daily learning advice.
If your child is currently off school, we will make the learning packs available on Friday afternoon from the school offices.
The government have asked us to remain partially open for the most vulnerable pupils and for the families of key workers. That will include 'wrap around' Dragon Club provision and holiday club provision for children eligible under government guidance. In the spirit of the government's request to support key workers that offer will be open from nursery to year 6.
At present we are unclear about the scope of that provision. The government have said that they will be providing clear guidance today on their expectations for schools, what roles 'key workers' will constitute and their plans for feeding free school meals children. As soon as we have this information we will be contacting families with further details about the school offer, who is eligible and how you will register for this. There is no need to contact us before then.
As a staff team we are devastated to be closing. We come to work every day to provide the best care and opportunities for your children. Be reassured that we will continue working to ensure that we look after the families at St George's and planning to re-open at the earliest opportunity that we can safely educate and care for your pupils.
School's response from latest guidance from government on 16th March is below:
We welcome the clarity of the updated advice from the Prime Minister and the Chief Medical Officer regarding the next phase of coronavirus management. Specifically they have asked for anybody with "new, continuous" cough or high temperature" symptoms to self isolate. Public Health ENgland Advice is below:
Stay at home advice-Coronavirus (COVID-19)
How long to stay at home if you have symptoms
Anyone with symptoms should stay at home for at least 7 days.
If you live with other people, they should stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home.
After 14 days, anyone you live with who does not have symptoms can return to their normal routine.
But, if anyone in your home gets symptoms, they should stay at home for 7 days from the day their symptoms start. Even if it means they're at home for longer than 14 days.
If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.
If you still have symptoms after 7 days
After 7 days, if you no longer have a high temperature you can return to your normal routine.
If you still have a high temperature, stay at home until your temperature returns to normal.
If you still have a cough after 7 days, but your temperature is normal, you do not need to continue staying at home. A cough can last for several weeks after the infection has gone.
We need to ensure that we are vigilant with our response to coronavirus but also remain calm. For example a cough with risk indicators is a new and 'persistent' one. We also ask parents to check fever temperatures if you suspect that your child has a temperature. We continue to ask for your support with stringent hygeine measures and handwashing.
We know that there is no quick fix to this problem. It will place a lengthy strain on public life and services. The best way we can respond is act in an informed manner, be calm and adhere to the advice given to us.
Please approach the school if you have any questions or ask NHS 111 for medical advice. We have already put in a lot of control measures in school and these will continue. We have created a page on the front page of the website to keep you updated about the school's actions in relation to coronavirus.
Re: Update Regarding Advice to Schools for Covid-19 Coronavirus (March 6th)
The situation regarding Covid-19 and the implications for families and schools is changing rapidly. We are facing an unprecedented situation. Our school’s priority is to ensure the well-being of our community. We are ensuring that our actions are informed and that we act calmly.
We are currently planning for all scenarios. Our hope is that the school remains open. However, if we do face closure we need to have clear lines of communication with families. Last night, I met with the staff team to outline our continued containment measures and our planning for any future scenarios. Information below includes extracts of advice for schools from Public Health England.
What Can We Do Now?
In the last week we have been ensuring that safety and hygiene are at the highest possible standards in school. This has included:
- Teaching our children improved hygiene and increasing the frequency of hand washing in school.
- Increasing cleaning hours so that we are in constant ‘deep clean’ procedures for key hard surfaces. Whilst the virus doesn’t thrive on surfaces, in view of the frequency of movement in a school this is a good precautionary measure.
- Families can support this by reinforcing good hygiene habits with their children at home.
- We all need to be mindful of the key symptoms. However, we also recognise that these symptoms present themselves in lots of illnesses. If you develop any of the key symptoms our advice is that you seek professional advice regarding what you should do next.
- We are also asking families to seek advice and keep us informed if they suspect that they may have had contact with somebody who has Covid-19 symptoms or if they may have travelled to an area classified as an ‘outbreak’ area for Covid -19.
Parents and children identified at risk may be advised by NHS to ‘self isolate’ for 14 days. The incubation period of COVID-19 is between 2 and 14 days. This means that if a person remains well 14 days after contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus, it is unlikely that they have been infected.
Department for Education have set up an information line for parents, staff and even children. The details are:
Phone: 0800 046 8687 (Opening Hours: 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday)
Parents may have specific questions regarding the management of their children if they have pre-existing health issues. These should be directed to health professionals who can give you informed and clear advice.
School closures will only be enforced if the containment measures in place are unsuccessful and there is an increased risk to communities. At present, we cannot predict the scope or dates for this. Head Teachers do not have the authority to close the school because of the Covid-19 virus. This will be directed by Public Health England. If this happens we will have clear lines of communication for families. We will communicate with:
- Parents and families via school app. We will also set up an update page on the school website. If you are not on the app, it is vital that you do this. You can download the app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play on Android phones. More information is available on the next page.
- Children via their year group pages on school website. We will set up an area for each class with learning links, videos and updates from the staff. We recognise that if we face closure children will be anxious but also limited as to what they can do with their time.
- Staff will most likely work from home in this scenario. We will keeping in contact as a staff team and doing as much work as we can through online platforms, Google hangouts and other forms of communication. We will be checking e-mails regularly. However, it will be unlikely that we would access the phone if the school is closed.
We hope this information is useful. Please remember that our staff team are not health experts. They are reliant on getting information from NHS and Public Health England. We will be supportive but may have to direct your questions regarding management of the virus to the helpline.