COVID-19 Information

We will use this page to keep you up up to date with any useful information about Coronavirus in relation to school.

Government guidance states that schools should only allow vulnerable children and the children of key workers to attend in Reception to Year 6.


However, I know you will appreciate that, as part of nationwide measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic, we have a responsibility to still limit numbers in school. Therefore even attendance of children from these groups will be restricted for public health reasons.


Meeting the ‘vulnerable’ definition or being classed as a key worker, does not guarantee your child a place in school.


Children in Nursery are currently allowed to attend their normal hours. However, due to the current pandemic, we would still recommend reducing the days if possible. You will not lose any 15 or 30-hour funding and will not be charged for any top-up sessions which are not taken. 

We are currently operating waiting lists in most year groups for key worker places.


Thank you for all parents’ efforts in taking key worker places only when you absolutely need them and when there is no-one else at home to care for your child.


We appreciate that sometimes this may be difficult, especially when someone is working from home. However, this is a situation that many parents find themselves in and the government guidance does make it clear that “[key worker] parents/carers should keep their children at home if they can”.


If there is excess demand, our criteria in allocating the limited key worker places are:



  1. Single parent key worker working in health/social care/education/emergency services.

  2. Two parent key workers
    a. Both parents are working in health/social care/education/emergency services
    b. One of the two parents is working in health/social care/education/emergency services

  3. One parent key worker working in health/social care/education/emergency services

  4. Working in other sectors
    a. Single parent key worker
    b. Two parent key workers
    c. One parent key worker

    [Single parent is defined as where a parent lives alone with the children and other parent does not provide childcare.]  


Within all of these categories, we reserve the right to not offer a place if your child can be cared for at home.


In addition to the many children of key workers, we also have to accommodate those children who meet the ‘vulnerable’ definition according to the Department for Education.


Please be aware that increased COVID testing in school could lead to more occasions where a particular ‘bubble’ would have to be closed at short notice. For those taking key worker places, we would recommend having emergency childcare arrangements in place.

We are currently operating waiting lists in most year groups for key worker places.


If you wish to be considered for a key worker place and have no suitable childcare, please follow this process:



  1. Check if you meet the government’s definition of a key worker: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision#critical-workers

  2. Complete the school’s online key worker survey to explain your key worker role, including details of your employer should any of the information need to be verified. https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=zduPkSD1zkazSnI8B5ubC7L6BABWpQpJqcm4kO8naalUQkRLUTk3S0tIT0RGM0hFWlE2MDlQVDFETy4u
    Please note the filling in this form does NOT guarantee a key worker place as most year groups have a waiting list.

  3. If there are places available in the relevant year group, each Tuesday we will post a link to complete an online key worker booking form to request the days you need for the following week. The form must be filled in every week.

  4. On Friday, we will notify you whether or not you have a place on the days you requested.

In discussion with parents, we offer places in school to children in the following ‘vulnerable’ categories:



  • Have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

  • Have a child protection plan or child in need plan

  • Are adopted, looked after or have a special guardianship order


Other ‘vulnerable’ places are allocated, if appropriate, on a case-by-case basis in discussion with individual parents. Non-priority vulnerable places are not guaranteed.


It is right that other parents are not fully aware why these places are allocated by school.

School start time and finish


As the numbers are reduced on the school site at the moment, we do not have to stagger start and finish times. We will return to the times of before the first lockdown.


Children can enter the school building from 8.45am until 8.55am.


Children are to be collected promptly from school at 3.20pm


Entrance/exit to the building


The following entrance/exits will be used by the bubbles:


Nursery – Nursery door (use Hurst Avenue gate)


Reception – Reception door (use Hurst Avenue gate)


Year 1 & Year 2 – Year 1 door (use Cherry Lane gate)


Year 3 & Year 4 – Year 3 fire exit door (use Hurst Avenue gate)


Year 5 & Year 6 – Main door leading to the playground (use Cherry Lane gate)


School day


The school day will follow the format that the children are familiar with e.g. playtime and lunchtime will take place at the same time etc.


Children will complete learning activities in school. These may be the same tasks as the children at home or they may be different.


On the days that your child is in school, they do not need to complete the home learning tasks that have been set for those at home. 


Lunches


If your child usually has a hot meal, we will assume that they will need a hot meal during this time and this will be provided.


Children who usually have a packed lunch will be expected to bring a packed lunch to school. If you require any changes during this time, please ring the school office.


Breakfast Club and Bright Stars


Both of these will continue to be open as normal this term.


We will add a question to the weekly booking form so you can let us know if you need either of these services.


Bubbles


There will be five bubbles in school during this lockdown:


Nursery


Reception


Years 1 and 2


Year 3 and Year 4


Year 5 and Year 6


Each bubble will have a maximum of 20 pupils on any given day, apart from Nursery which is fully open.


On the day that your child has a place, they will be with their year group bubble.


The staff who are with the children are mostly those who usually work in those year groups.


The children will spend their day in one of their bubble classrooms.


Uniform


Children must wear their school uniform.


If your child has PE or Forest School, they must bring their PE kit/Forest School kit to school with them that day. Your child’s classteacher will inform you through Seesaw when they need to bring these in.


First of all, well done and thank you for your support with home learning so far. We genuinely believe you are doing a great job!


At the same time, we are well aware that circumstances will differ for all parents and we empathise with those who may be finding the current situation particularly difficult or may be trying to balance home learning with their own work lives. We know you will do your best and we encourage parents to continue to communicate with school so we can help you overcome any difficulties at the earliest opportunity.


Our home learning offer received lots of positive feedback in the first lockdown, so we have continued with the same principles while tweaking a few things as we go along.


The driving principles are to keep the learning going and to keep the connection with school. While not all pupils are able to be in school at the moment, we very much still want them (and you) to continue to feel part of school.


Our full home or ‘remote education’ offer and arrangements can be viewed by clicking on the link.

Zoom is an excellent tool for keeping communication open with children who are at home. It helps everyone keep in touch and can provide a level of normal interaction during these difficult times.

This connection, as we've previously mentioned, is absolutely integral to the offer we are providing. We strongly recommend that all children attend the zooms where possible.

If devices are a problem at home then please contact the school. We have an ever-growing stock of donated devices that we can loan to families that require them.


On a zoom call we expect:



  • Children's names to be the zoom name to ease waiting room times

  • Children to remain muted unless told to unmute

  • Children to be calm, polite and respectful to other children and adults

  • Children to have access to pens/paper if required

  • Children to be appropriately dressed


The teacher will enable/disable chatting at their discretion, in a similar way to muting and unmuting.

We might be partially closed but we are still her to help for all of our pupils and families.


In addition to the daily contact via Seesaw, parents of home learning pupils receive regular check-in phone calls from a teacher. If you have more than one child at school, you will still receive just the one call from a teacher where all your children can be discussed. Any information will be passed onto their class teacher. (If the call says ‘no caller ID’, please answer as this is likely to be from school.)


Mrs Murphy, our pastoral lead, can also offer support if your child or your family are experiencing non-home learning difficulties at the moment. For example, this may be with foodback vouchers or by directing you towards other organisations/groups. 


If we can help, please contact Mrs Murphy through the school office (969 9852).

If you are concerned about the safety of a child at St Margaret Ward, please contact the school’s designated safeguarding leads (Mr Hughes) or deputies (Miss Flynn and Mrs Murphy).


You can do this by ringing the school office (969 9852) or emailing safeguarding@smwprimary.net


Alternatively, you can contact the NSPCC to report your concerns. https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/reporting-abuse/report/

If you receive a free school meal due to your current financial circumstances, then the answer is yes.


The £15 weekly voucher per child will be issued each Monday. You will receive either an email or text with the link to the voucher. This can be spent in store or online at the supermarket of your choice.


If you have had a recent change of circumstances and you wish to now apply for free school meals, please follow this link: https://www.trafford.gov.uk/residents/schools/trafford-catering/free-school-meals.aspx


If you receive a free school meal only because your child is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 then I’m afraid you are not eligible for this voucher. (Note if they are still attending school in these year groups, then they will get a free school meal as usual.)

During the current situation, that is a decision for you to make. You will not be penalised for any decision made in the best interests of your child.


At school, we employ a number of measures to mitigate for the risks caused by coronavirus. These include procedures to limit the mixing of pupils; increased hand washing and sanitising; enhanced cleaning routines; and the wearing of masks under certain conditions. 


We completed a comprehensive risk assessment for school during the current pandemic. This was done in consultation with staff, governors and parents. It is reviewed regularly. 


The full, up-to-date Risk Assessment - detailing measures we have put in place - can be viewed by clicking on the link.

Communication with staff


Please communicate any questions/queries with staff through Seesaw.


Remember that staff could be in class and so the response may not be immediate but we will endeavor to respond as soon as possible.


School Office


Mrs Shaw or Mrs Murray will cover the office during these times so if you have a concern/question, please ring school (969 9852) or office@smwprimary.net

Staff in school are tested twice weekly using Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests. These results are then available in 30 minutes.  


Up to one third of people who have coronavirus have no symptoms. By testing, we will help to identify these asymptomatic individuals at the earliest opportunity and reduce the spread in school and our community.


Of course, this increased testing and identification could lead to more occasions where a particular ‘bubble’ in school would have to be closed at short notice. For those who have been allocated a limited key worker place in school, we would recommend having emergency childcare arrangements in place.


With regards to children, there are no government plans in place to test primary school pupils in a similar way.