CCBC confirms return to school arrangements

The Leader of Caerphilly county borough council has confirmed that schools across the area will reopen to pupils on Monday 29th June for a period of three weeks before the start of the main summer holidays on Friday 17th July.

Cllr Philippa Marsden said, “The original proposal was for pupils to return for a period of four weeks, however, after extended discussions we have concluded that our schools will now open for 3 weeks and close for the summer holidays on 17th July.”

“We are taking a consistent approach across Gwent and I very much welcome this opportunity for pupils to check in and catch up before the summer break. Our priority is to safeguard the health and wellbeing of pupils and staff, as well as ensuring learning can resume as quickly and safely as possible.”

Schools across the county borough will open their doors on Monday 29th June for pupils to return on a phased basis. Year groups will be split into cohorts with staggered starts, lessons and breaks. This means that, at most, around a third of pupils will be present in the classroom at any one time, although individual schools may need time to reach this level of operation.

CCBC has been successfully running a number of childcare hubs in many of its schools throughout the outbreak, so staff have significant experience of working within these new conditions and limitations and are well placed to provide safe, well managed learning environments.

Cllr Barbara Jones, CCBC Cabinet Member for Education added, “We would like to assure the whole community that all appropriate steps will be taken to safeguard pupils and this will remain our key priority.”

“Everyone involved in reopening schools has been working extremely hard and we are sure that the children attending school for the 3 weeks will have an enjoyable, productive and worthwhile experience that will help as many as possible to check in, catch up and prepare for September.”

The Welsh Government has published guidance to support schools, as well as further and higher education institutions. This includes information on managing their facilities and logistical arrangements, including buildings, resources, cleaning and transport.

Cardiff City Resources for Years 3 & 4

Next week, for Years 3 and 4 there will be ‘Cardiff City’ resources provided as well as an alternative themed series of activities for children who might not choose the CCFC activities.

Both of these sets of activities will be shared via Teams but if any parents are not able to access Teams, they can email teachers for the alternative pack. Staff will continue to set a small number of tasks on My Maths and Purple Mash through the week.

School Re-opening Plan

Dear Parents / Carers

Our reopening plan is now available. The last two pages contain a ‘quick check’ section that will hopefully contain answers to most questions about the reopening. I’ve put key words or important information in bold type in that section.

Unfortunately, some of the information that we were expecting from CCBC has not yet been forthcoming, therefore the plan contains as much as we know and details our current plans as they stand but could be subject to change if any of the expected support on which we have based our ideas is not confirmed in the next week. Also, in the last day there have been suggestions that the last week of term (week beginning 20th July) might not take place. We are expecting a Local Authority decision on this that they are co-ordinating with the other Authorities in Wales. At the moment there seem to be changes on an almost daily basis and this makes any kind of forward planning very challenging. I will try to keep you as informed as possible.

The plan is based on advice and guidance we have received from the Welsh Government and specific departments in CCBC such as Health and Safety and Education. This is a time of great uncertainty for everyone and these last few months have been entirely uncharted territory for all of us and the months to come will be the same. The bottom line for the plan is that we will try to keep everyone- children, parents and staff, as safe as we possibly can.

As teachers work towards the preparation for the reopening their time available to interact online will be restricted.

In order to help any children who might be nervous about returning to school, we will be filming a video walk through of the schools next week when they should look more or less as they will on the first day back. We will put this video on the school blogs so that anyone worried can see what our schools look like now with the new signage and classroom organisation.

As detailed in the plan, teachers will be contacting you in the coming week.

I hope that you are all well and keeping safe.

Mr R Cook

Reopening Plan V6 Parents

Message from NHS regarding Diabetes

Dear Parents,

The NHS has asked for this message to be sent out to you.

Undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes in children requires urgent medical attention

If your child has ANY of the main symptoms of Type 1 diabetes please make an urgent GP appointment or contact the Out of Hours service. The main symptoms are known as the 4 Ts – Thirst, Toilet, Tiredness, Thinner. If you notice your child is thirsty or using the toilet more frequently, is always feeling tired, or has lost weight recently, seek immediate medical advice.

NHS services are very well equipped to look after children safely if they are unwell. Please do not delay seeking medical advice because of Covid-19.

There is more information available here:

https://www.diabetes.org.uk/in_your_area/wales/campaigning/know-type-1—wales

Manor Adventure – New dates!

FAO: Parents of next years Year 6 / Current Year 5

NEW DATES: Wednesday 21st – Friday 23rd April 2021

The children’s trip to Manor Adventure has now been rearranged for the Spring Term 2021.

The total cost of this trip will remain at £188.00 which includes the stay and transport to and from the venue. Any previous payments made towards the trip will still stand against your child’s final balance.

We have set up payment cards that you should have received earlier this year.
These should make it easier for parents to pay in small installments. We will be in contact later this year with further updates.

We hope you are keeping well and staying safe!

Yours faithfully

Miss E Lewis and Miss F Lewis
School Clerks
The Federation of Bedwas Junior and Rhydri Primary Schools

Update 12.6.20

Following a meeting that took place yesterday, schools that have yet to publish their reopening plans have been asked not to do so at the moment.
Significant areas of support that CCBC are intending to provide for schools were expected to have had their details finalised this week, this however has not been achievable. One of the key areas is the plan for additional cleaning support that CCBC will be providing for schools both during and at the end of the school day. Many elements of our plan depend on a certain level of support which, should it not be forthcoming in the expected way, will mean that plans have to change quite significantly. There are also additional areas where clarity in terms of the guidance that has been given to schools is being sought. Issues such as the days on which certain groups of children can be on site and the areas utilised very much depend on information that has not yet been given. I met with the Head Teachers of the other schools in our cluster today and they are also in the same position.
I will share the reopening plan with staff today in order for them to check the arrangements and give them the opportunity to make amendments. This should allow us to issue our plan to you as quickly as possible once these unknowns are resolved.
Mr R Cook

Update 10.6.20

Dear Parents / Carers
Now that we have received the Welsh Government guidance we will be checking our school reopening plan against its requirements. All staff will be involved with checking our plan against the WG document to ensure that we are complying in the best way we are able. Once this has been discussed and any amendments made or organisational adjustments finalised, the plan will be shared with you via the school blog. With the current situation, processes such as cross-checking with all staff are understandably taking a little longer than they were before but I am planning for this to be published on Monday 15th June.
For those of you whose children have been accessing hub places these will continue but will now be provided by us. CCBC will be providing schools with a list of all children who have accessed their provision to date. The children who access the school-provided hub will only interact with that group as a ‘bubble’ and will not have any significant contact with other groups in the school. If you have not previously utilised this offer but now wish to apply for a hub place for your child due to your identified status as a ‘key worker’, then the application must be made via CCBC as has been the case since the hubs first opened.
For the parents of next year’s Y6 children I would also like to update you on the situation regarding our residential trip that was due to take place in October. We have arranged with Manor Adventure for the trip to be rescheduled for later in the year (March / April) and are currently waiting for them to confirm that the dates we have requested from the list they supplied are still available. This of course means that the date for final payment will move forward accordingly and we will provide more details about this once we have received a response from Manor Adventure.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and questions with the teachers who have phoned this week, it has been very helpful.  In many cases we were already considering some of the identified queries and were just waiting for the Welsh Government guidance for clarity. Some of the questions that you asked have now informed the detail of our school reopening plan, so once again; thank you!
Look after yourselves!
Mr R Cook

School Return Update

The Health and Safety site visits for both schools took place on Friday and we are currently working to adapt the sites for re-opening on June 29th in the light of recommendations that were made.
Your child’s teacher will be contacting you by phone in the next few days to find out your current thoughts about your child(ren) returning to school.
Initial plans have been made but we are still waiting for the publication of the Welsh Government guidance on re-opening for schools in order to check our plans for compliance. Each school’s response to this will be different depending on the demands of varied sites and staff availability and are made in order to provide the safest possible solution to this challenge. We are having to consider factors such as the need to provide two isolation rooms, social distancing of the children and staff, the management of access to the site such as holding areas and one-way systems, restrictions on resources that must not be shared, cleaning requirements, staggered break and lunch times building through-flow, toileting arrangements as well as the need for each group of children to be in a ‘bubble’ in order to minimise and hopefully remove any contact with other ‘bubbles’.
I must stress that any plans we put in place will purely be for the pre-summer period and will be designed to meet the Welsh Government’s requirement for the access to schools to be for the purposes of ‘checking in, catching up and preparing for summer’. We will be preparing a completely different response for September in order to meet a different set of needs. Indeed, the organisation of the first week (29th June) could very well be different to the subsequent three weeks as our response will have to be dynamic and regularly reviewed. At all times the safety and wellbeing of all stakeholders is the driving force.
I will update you further when we have received the expected guidance.
This is a frustrating, uncertain and challenging time for everyone so I thank you in anticipation of your patience and support.
Mr R Cook

Phone calls home

Over the next few days, your child’s teacher will be making important phone calls home regarding the return to school. If you receive a call from a withheld number, it will most likely be a member of staff phoning.

Thank you for all your continued support.

School Re-opening

Dear Parents / Carers

I hope that you are all well.

As I expect you have heard, Kirsty Williams has announced that schools will re-open in a restricted form from the 29th of June. They are also extending the summer term so that summer holidays will start on the 27th July.

Both Bedwas Juniors and Rhydri are receiving their scheduled Health and Safety site visits this Friday. I expect to know the ‘safe’ capacity for both schools as a result of these visits. Once we know this number we will be able to plan for the organisation of the children’s return. Kirsty Williams stated that she expected that ‘up to a third’ of children will be on site at any one time meaning that children will only be attending for a few days a week at most and that, depending on the advice we receive, it could take a while to build up to the ‘new normal’.

When the children return there will be changes to start and pick-up times as well as the way in which break times and lunch times are managed. These will be planned according to the groups we develop after the Health and Safety site visit as well as in light of Welsh Government guidance for schools that we expect to be published imminently.

I understand that many people will be concerned about sending their children back in to school even under the adapted circumstances and it is important to emphasise that we will support you whatever decision you take; Kirsty Williams has said that there will be no ‘consequences’ for parents who keep their children home but at the same time we will work as hard as we can to make the return to school as supportive and positive experience as we are able.

With regard to what the children will be doing when they are back with us, the message we have received is that “…it is important to note, that the school experience will not be as it was before. The immediate focus will be upon “Check-in, Catch-up & Preparation” in readiness for September.  The focus is very much upon the wellbeing of the children in these initial stages and not upon academic work.”

The important question of ‘which children on which days?’ will be answered as soon as we have had the opportunity to respond to the Health and Safety recommendations and we will let you know what the return will look like as soon as possible. Once you are able to see the plans we will have prepared, I would like to engage with you again to find out how many of you would be considering sending your children back to school.

Keep safe!

Mr R Cook

FAO: Lower School Classes – Yellow, Green and Orange.

Teachers are beginning to gather information for annual reports and would like the children’s input.

Please discuss the following with your child(ren) and jot down their responses.

Three things I enjoyed learning about this year were … 

(i.e.  subject, topic, activity etc. Encourage your child to give reasons for their answer.)

My greatest achievement this year has been… 

(Again, encourage them to explain in as much detail as possible, with reasons.)

Next year, I think the most important things for me to develop are…

(try to give 2 or 3 suggestions)

You can either send typed comments or a photograph of handwritten comments to the class teacher’s email address, (this will be provided via Teams on Hwb), or you can have your child’s comments ready to discuss with the class teacher over the phone. Phone calls will be made from the week beginning 8th June 2020.

 Examples to help you will also be shared on Teams.

Thank you very much for your support.

Welsh Government survey

Coronavirus and Me – Nation-wide survey for children and young people in Wales

 

Home learning update

From Monday 20th April, teachers of Yellow, Green and Orange classes, plus upper school classes, will set home learning tasks via Microsoft Teams which can be accessed by the children through their Hwb accounts. Instructions for logging into Teams can be found in an earlier post on this blog and all children have been given their Hwb log in details.
Suggested activities will be set through daily or weekly ‘timetables’ but these can be used flexibly. Whilst we would encourage as many children as possible to complete the ‘Daily Basics’, all tasks are optional.
Individual teachers will communicate further details through Teams. Thank you for your continued support.