Back To School Information – August 2020

Dear Parents and Children

I hope you are having a lovely summer break!

In a break from tradition, I am issuing this Newsletter during the school holidays to help clarify arrangements for the start of term, as we realise that for some of you it’s been a very long time since we last saw you!

If there is anything that I haven’t answered in this issue that you need to know, please add a comment to the post and I will answer it – this will be helpful for other families too.

All information in this Newsletter replaces any conflicting information from the previous guidance sent out to you at the end of term, as we adapt our procedures to match the ever-changing national picture.

Arrivals and Departures

In order to comply with DfE guidance, we have to operate a staggered start to the beginning and end of our school day. So that the staggered start is as short a time as we can make it, we are using two entrances to school – the usual gate on Old Market Drive by the school car park, and the bottom playground gate on school corner. It is very important that your child waits at the correct gate to be let in.

Class Drop Off Time Collection Time Location
Sunflowers 8:45am 3:15pm (or booked session end time) Old Market Drive Entrance
Cranford 8:45am 3:15pm Playground Gate
Burscott 8:55am 3:20pm Playground Gate
Stroxworthy 8:55am 3:20pm Old Market Drive Entrance
Alminstone 9:05am 3:25pm Playground Gate
Ashmansworthy 9:05am 3:25pm Old Market Drive Entrance

We are asking that all children in Y4 and over come to school unaccompanied. This means either walking from home alone, or being brought to the village and dropped at a location away from the school. I will be on Old Market Drive every morning and afternoon supervising our new Crossing Point part-way up Old Market Drive to help children across the road. Please encourage your child to use this place to cross, they should look out for my in a hi-vis jacket.

Routes in to school on arrival are shown below:

We are asking that children don’t come to school before their time as this will lead to overcrowding at the entrances, and there will be no playtime before school – all children will go straight to their classroom when they arrive on site. If they do have to wait for children in other classes to be admitted, they should wait at least 2m away. We have placed very clear markings at both entrances to help with this.

If you are bringing your Preschool, Reception, Year 1, 2 or 3 child to school please come alone to reduce parental crowding at the two school entrances.

I am really concerned that this new way of working will cut down opportunities for you to communicate those incidental things to your child’s teacher. Please make as much use of your child’s white Home-School Contact Book as you can – I am asking staff to check all books every day, and this will be their primary way of getting in touch with you about daily things that come up.

Lateness: We know that sometimes things happen in the mornings which can make your child a little late for school. Obviously, this is a much more complex issue for us that would ordinarily be the case to please do your best to keep such occurances to a bare minimum! If your child is late but we are still admitting children through their designated entrance (i.e. up to 9:05am) they should come in through that gate as usual. Please remind them that they must stay at least 2m away from any children not in their class in order to preserve the integrity of our bubbles. If the gates have been locked, your child should come to the Old Market Drive entrance and use the Intercom to speak to someone in the office who will let them in. Your child should then go straight to their classroom via the entrance door they’d normally use. Your child will be marked as Late in the register ten minutes after their normal admission time – so for children who have an 8:45am drop off, they must be in class by 8:55am; with an 8:55am drop off, by 9:00am and with a 9:05 drop off by 9:15am.

School Transport: School transport will, as far as we know, be running normally from the start of term. We will admit children onto the school site from the school bus as soon as they arrive, and will have them all ready for a departure time agreed with the transport company. Your child should go straight to their classroom once they arrive at school in the morning. Please follow the guidelines issued to you from Devon School Transport about the need (or not) to socially distance on school buses.

Reading Books

Each class will have their own designated set of reading books, either in their class or in their out of class designated work area in the library. These will be refreshed weekly. Children will be able to change their reading books at school as frequently as they need to, but they will not be able to check their books out on our electronic library system. It is therefore very important that either you or your child records the title of the book they are reading in their Home School Contact Book so we have a record of our book stock’s location. Your child’s reading book and contact book should live in their Book Bag which they will keep with them throughout the day. In school time, they will be the only people who handle these books. When the books are returned to school, they will be kept in a box for 72 hours before entering their class’ selection once again.


If your child has any Covid symptoms, they must not attend school even if you suspect that the symptoms are not Covid related. We strongly advise you to have your child tested under these circumstances.

For all absences, it is vital that you tell us if your child is not attending school, both so we can record the absence correctly and safeguard the rest of your child’s bubble. You can do this by email or by phone.


If you have pre-ordered school uniform for the new term and haven’t yet received it, please check with the school on 3rd or 4th September when staff will be in and you will be able to collect any stock that is waiting for you.

If you need uniform but didn’t pre-order, we carry a small amount on site so it’s worth giving us a call to see if items are in stock. Please ask to speak to Sue or Tina.


We will be operating our school kitchen from the first day of term. Meals must be booked via the ScoPay/Tucasi portal as we cannot accept our old paper-form booking. Meals can be booked and changed up to the midnight before they are due to be consumed. If your child is unexpectedly away and therefore misses a booked meal, we will just credit the meal to your account.

If your child is bringing a packed lunch, please note that they must not share any of their lunch with friends. They must take all of their uneaten lunch, wrappers etc home with them in their lunch box. We are not permitted to dispose of your child’s things for them in our school waste.

With the exception of Ashmansworthy Class, all lunches will be taken in class. Ashmansworthy children will eat in the Hall at their designated lunch time as we are concerned about the chances of meals making it up to their room on wet, windy days! Sunflowers children who book lunches will have their meals delivered up to the room by our lunchtime staff.

In order to reduce queuing and to facilitate separate play times, we will be running two lunchtimes. Sunflowers, Cranford, Burscott and Stroxworthy will start their lunchtime at 11:45am and finish at 12:30pm; Alminstone and Ashmansworthy will start their lunchtime at 12:30pm and finish at 1:15pm. Sunflowers and Cranford are able to manage their own playtimes as these will be taken in their own outdoor arewas, but Burscott and Stroxworthy will have a new afternoon playtime as we regognise that their afternoon session would otherwise be very long. Alminstone and Ashmansworthy Classes will not have an afternoon play time.

We are also urgently looking for a replacement for Mrs Todd who was rostered to be Mealtime Assistant in Stroxworthy Class but has been appointed as a teaching assistant at Parkham over the holidays. If you are interested in doing this job from Tuesday to Friday each week, please contact Mrs Miles in the Office as soon as possible.

Classroom Organisation

Our rooms simply aren’t large enough to have our children sitting in rows facing the front as you may have seen in different DfE Information campaigns. However, teachers have carefully planned seating so that no child is directly facing another and this is still within guidance. We also believe that it is better socially and educationally for children not to be in rows, and will help us re-start our Oracy work which has become somewhat interrupted by the pandemic.

Each class will have their own staff, and although allowed, very few staff will work across different classes. Class staff groups include teachers, mealtime staff, trainee teachers and teaching assistants. The only exceptions are myself as I will be covering PPA time in Burscott and in Ashmansworthy on Thursday and Friday afternoons each week, and Mrs Phelps who will work across Alminstone and Ashmansworthy Classes.

In Years 1 to 6, classroom resources have been personalised wherever possible, so every child has a named kit bag with most of their essential equipment in. This is for their exclusive use. Children will still be able to share classroom colouring pens and colouring pencils etc. We ask that children do not bring their own pencil cases to school, though. This is because we are unable to clean them effectively and the temptation to loan out equipment to friends will be too great.

We are allowing our band of volunteers into school to help with things like hearing readers and supporting Forest School and will be putting measures in place for them according to their role within the school. If you would like to volunteer, please contact your child’s class teacher and we will arrange a convenient time to come in and do some awareness training before you start.

All visitors and school staff have been issued with visors to use when undertaking close-proximity work with a child. This is in line with advice we have received on protecting adults working in school who are, of course, more vulnerable to picking up the virus than children themselves. At the time of writing, guidance states that children under 11 years of age should not wear face coverings, but if this situation changes we will contact you and update our procedures. We will, however, not prevent your child from wearing a mask outside of the classroom provided it is clearly named and they are responsible enough to look after it.

School Trips and Visits, Special Occasions

Our guidance says very clearly that school trips can go ahead as destination providers and coach companies will have their own measures in place to mitigate risk. We are waiting a little while before booking any visits out of school until we know how school reopening affects the national and regional R-Rate. At the present time, we are expecting all of our three residentials to go ahead as expected in 2021.

Sadly, we do not expect the pandemic to have receeded sufficiently to enable a School Production at the end of this term. Singing is, for the moment, one of the few activities that is not permitted in school for groups of over 15 so we would clearly have an issue rehearsing (!) – we also know that it would be impossible to socially distance an audience in the Community Hall. Hopefully, we will be able to stage a production later in the year if the Covd risk recedes.


Although there will be a lot of catching up to do, and rebuilding of stamina for learning, we are confident that your amazing response to our Remote Learning package in the Summer Term will mean that most of our children will once again adapt to school life quite quickly. We are determined, even with the pressures to catch up on core skills, that our Wild Curriculum will survive and that the creative approach to our children’s learning that we’re well known for is preserved.

More detailed information about your child’s Wild Curriculum will be sent out by teachers soon after the start of term, but here are the broad Project Study Areas they have planned:


All About Me

We will be looking at:

  • Who and What is Special to us?
  • Friendships – what makes a good friend?
  • Differences – how are we different and why is this exciting?
  • Emotions and Feelings – how do different things make us behave and feel?

Our starting story is The Colour Monster by Anna Llenas. This book is all about feelings and emotions which we will explore in the class and will be linked to All About Me.

Then we are planning to go on to a farm based Project learnign about our local area.


Can You Reach for the Sky?

Understanding the rural nature of the county and why the Air Ambulance is so important to isolated communities. We will look at Holidays and using aircraft, including the effects on the environment and how Coronavirus has affected air travel.

Our books will be Here Come the Aliens by Colini McNaughton and The Great Balloon Hullaballoo by Peter Bentley

In Science we will be looking at Space and for art we will be exploring techniques in Van Gogh’s Starry Night


Are we all really the same?


We will focus on a book called Mirror by Jeannie Baker.


Travelling the world across the oceans, seas and seven continents to discover new places and what life is like where other children and animals live. We will explore world maps and discover where we have been as a class. We will be talking on Zoom to someone who has been to all 7 continents as well as people from two of the continents.


We will explore Artwork and Music from around the world, to create a gallery which the children will film to create a virtual tour for everyone to view online.


We will create a nutrition and exercise plan for people to follow including video tutorials.



What lies beneath?


We will focus initially on PSHE – what lies beneath the surface of us – feelings, beliefs etc. In Science we will be asking – what lies beneath the ocean? exploring habitats and adaptation. In Geography – we will explore the location and cause of volcanoes and other natural disasters.


Crime And Punishment Through The Ages

An exploration of how some of the world’s most famous societies have handled punishment when people commit crimes. In Science we will be looking at Forensics and how these can help solve crimes and how they link with classification of data.

Our main texts will be  ‘Holes‘ by Louis Sachar and The Highwayman poem by Alfred Noyes

Forest School

Forest School will take place on the following days this half term. If you are able to help with your child’s class, please get in touch as soon as possible. Thank you.

Cranford Class: Mondays (not the first week of term!)

Stroxworthy Class: Wednesdays

Ashmansworthy Class: Thursdays (not Fridays as shown in previous Newsletters)

Children will need to bring their own wellington boots for Forest School. These should be taken to their class cloakroom, not left by the Forest School shed please. We will supply our usual Forest School Waterproofs when the weather is wet.

After School Clubs

We will not at this point be running any after school clubs. Once we get better confirmation from the DfE regarding after school provision, we will let you know and restart our usual offers.

Tiny Tots

We are really pleased that our feeder organisation, Woolsery Tiny Tots, will be restarting on Thursdays. Please see the poster below for further details. Just to reassure you, the guidance from the DfE clearly states that it is completely fine for Preschool children to attend more than one setting (including those like Tiny Tots) without compromising their school bubble, so please support Tiny Tots if you can:

See you soon!

I hope that answers any questions you may have, but as I said at the top, if not, please ask questions by commenting below and I will answer them if I can. Looking forward to seeing everyone on Monday 7th September!

Matt Cole, Headteacher

7 responses on Back To School Information – August 2020

  1. Thank you for all the information. Not long after I go back to school I have my 11th Birthday. Will I then have to start wearing a mask around the school?

    1. Hi Jasmine. No, you won’t. When the government says 11 and over, they’re meaning from Y7 upwards. See you next week!

  2. Maryjane is asking if you need to wear a face mask when going to use the toilet, just in case you bump in to someone else from a different class going too?

    1. Hi, Ruth. Our guidance continues to be that under 11’s should not be wearing a mask at all. DfE are happy for children in different bubbles to share toilets, but we’ve made the decision to have seperate cubicles for each class as an extra precaution. Providing the children aren’t high-5-ing, shaking hands, hugging, etc, a very brief passing in the corridor/hall would not be an additonal risk. M.

  3. Thank you for all the information. Ravi would like to know what will happen if he needs the toilet during lesson time? Also, do I assume it is still the case that there will be no P.E kits in school?

    1. Each class will have a designated toilet cubicle (we won’t have boys/girls toilets and the boys’ urinal is turned off) so toilets will be available in lesson and playtimes, Ravi.

      And no, no PE kits at the moment.

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