Coronavirus

Executive Principal Update 5th June 2020

Dear Families

THIS WEEK – PHASE 2

This week has been an important week in the next stage of re-opening schools. Both the Angel schools have completed a really positive week with Y6, Recp and Nursery. I know Bignold has been incredibly busy in order to fulfil the safety aspects but now is looking shipshape and ready to begin the process on Monday 8th June. Each of your heads will communicate about details for each setting. However, I wanted to take this opportunity to reassure families that highly rigorous process has meant that schools have felt safe, welcoming and very importantly, clear about how to manage should anyone show signs and symptoms. Whichever school your children attend, whether they are eligible to attend or not, may I again thank you for the huge support you have shown us. Likewise, staff should feel very proud of what they have managed. They have worked so hard – whatever stage each school is at.

WIDER REOPENING

We have not yet received any further information from the government about plans to expand. If there are any updates or announcements, as with the previous phase, school leaders will work with Evolution Academy trust to come to local decision as to whether we can expand. We will communicate to you as soon as we can. School offices will be unable to answer queries about wider expansion. I have said all along that I want support families and help them to manage their expectations. At this stage, it looks unlikely that numbers in schools will increase significantly before the summer holidays as we are using a risk assessment based on what we believe are safe capacities given the widest set of information we have available to us.  Many of you will be worried about the impact this will have on your children. This is something we too are very concerned about and any loss of learning will be a priority on school development planning for the future.

BALANCING ACT

It is very hard to get the balance between giving good information about ‘in school’ activity, whilst being very mindful and sensitive of the many children not able to come to school and the impact on them and their families. We have decided not to send out separate information for the evolving groups because we are ONE community. Many of you may have children at home AND at school. We recognise this is potentially difficult too.  We hope that by sharing information about what is happening will go some way to reassuring people in the longer term.

EDUCATING AT HOME

We are aware of the huge challenges families are facing, as well as knowing some families have enjoyed aspects of co-educating. As the time out of school lengthens, we are trying to ensure that we support families in engaging their children in some learning. Teachers are still making KIT calls and we will continue to provide work. If you are struggling to engage your child in educational activity, please do talk to your teacher about it or contact the school office and we will try a and support and advise as appropriate.  You may be interested to know that there has been evidenced based research that indicates peer to peer teaching can be powerful. If you have older children, encouraging them to take on a role of ‘teaching’ can be powerful and sometimes less painful from the child: adult battle. The simplest form of this is encouraging children to read together. This is of course only possible with multiple children or if you have good digital resources to allow children to connect up with other households safely.

HERE TO HELP

Please do contact school if you are worried about your child’s mental health or anyone in your household. Whilst we have limited resource as we meet the challenges we are facing, no person should feel alone in our communities.

TAKE A KNEE

We have been deeply saddened about the appalling death of George Floyd in USA. It is already a complex time for children. Staff will deal with this sensitively in an age appropriate way in children’s bubbles as children are already managing a lot. We recognise this terrible incident may have impacted on families/children in different ways. The staff have been invited to mark their support for anti-racism next week in school by following the ‘Take a Knee’ movement. Racism, hidden or explicit will not be tolerated in our schools. We want to build a better brighter future for all our children. It is their right. We care.

Take good care and please keep up the social distancing to keep our communities safe.

Regards

Binks Neate-Evans                   

BJ Neate-Evans

Executive Principal


Head of School message 5th June 2020

Dear Children, Mums, Dads and Carers,

As you know, this was our first week of welcoming back small groups of children into Nursery and Reception. It was a calm and successful start to the final half term of school.

We continue to welcome children from our critical worker families, who remain on the front line of NHS services, and other vital industries. We thank them for the work they are doing; You’ve got this – and we’ve got you.

For children who are learning from home, we continue to provide weekly home learning packs on our website and teachers will continue to make their ‘keeping in touch’ phone calls. Please have a look on the website for videos of some teachers reading stories. If you require any further support, such as paper copies, or another home learning book, please contact your child’s teacher.

At this time we are still unsure of when and if school will be able to welcome back children in Year 1 and Year 2, we continue to await direction from central government on any further expansion.

New routines

Our risk assessment, planning and organisation of the building and site have worked well to allow staff and parents to socially distance. The children have adapted well to their new surrounding and routines. Well done everyone and thank you!

Could I please remind any parents who are bring children to school by car, the staff car park near the Nursery is not available for parents to use and the main entrance is now pedestrian only.

Transition to Junior School – Year 2

We are currently liaising with the Junior School on plans for Year 2 transition to Year 3, to think of ways we can support your children with this important stage in their school career.

Staff will be working closely together to transfer all the relevant information about your child. It is unlikely that there will be physical transition days before September.

We are also thinking carefully about transition for all other children into their new year groups and we will be making plans to help this run smoothly so that children feel prepared, confident and happy for the new academic year ahead. When we have finalised our plans we will communicate them clearly.

As always, I want to say a massive thank you to the overwhelming feeling of positivity and support that we are receiving from our school community. If you have any questions or anything that you would like our help or support with, please contact the school office or your child’s teacher.

Enjoy the weekend,

Mrs Lindsay Moody.


Parent update/staff training 29.05.20

Dear Families

Despite the very challenging circumstances we still find ourselves in, I hope you managed to have a reasonable half term.

You will know we have been preparing and planning for the gradual widening and re-opening of school for eligible groups (Nursery, Reception, Y1 and Y6) across both schools. Last week I wrote to you to explain we were awaiting a number of different aspects to ensure the safe expansion of places we can offer. Please refer back to that update.

Because of the work we have undertaken during half term, I am pleased to announce we are in a position to open more widely from Tuesday June 2nd. 

This decision has been made in partnership with Lynsey Holzer (CEO) and EAT trustees. School governors have been informed of the process. I want to reassure you that the process is under constant review.  I hope the you feel you have been kept informed and that you are able to understand the issues we are facing.

  • In Angel Road Infants this will be for Nursery and Reception children who previously requested places. We will not be open for Year 1. You will receive a phone call on Monday with further details.
  • In Angel Road Junior this is for Year 6 only. 
  • Key worker and children who have been attending during previously can attend on June 1st.

CAUTION: We are awaiting delivery of some critical PPE equipment to ensure staff are safe if administering first aid or managing a symptomatic child. We are informed this WILL arrive on Monday. If, however it doesn’t we will not be able to open. Please check your emails.

IF YOUR CHILD IS RETURNING
If your child is returning, please tell them there may be times when they see some staff in PPE. This does not mean there is an emergency. It might be helpful to show younger children some images of non hospital PPE. When our kits is complete we will try and post some pictures. Below is an example:

Please also talk to child about teachers and staff looking forward to seeing them AND school looking a bit different. Each school and bubble will be carefully and sensitively introduced to new routines and expectations.Please be assured we understand that children will respond differently. We are here to reassure and help.

FOR CHILDREN NOT RETURNING
Please tell them we are still very much here for them. The staff are very keen for them to return too  but we have to make sure everyone stays as safe as possible.  Online learning and ‘keeping in touch’ calls will continue for children not attending.

I will reiterate, that we are at the earliest stages of phase two of the governments easing of lockdown. I urge our communities to remain hyper vigilant as relaxing of measures will be interpreted very differently by individuals and groups. Whilst we hope the gradual re-opening doesn’t cause further spikes, I do want to remind families that sudden and short term closures may be likely in all schools, particularly as Norfolk is a focus area for the ‘track and trace’ strategy.  This may mean groups in school are directed to self isolate whether symptomatic or not. I also think it is important that this is communicated to children so that they understand the actions of adults and feel empowered to minimise risk (as age appropriate).

Again, I am really sorry to not bring brighter news for other children, and I hope you know that are actions are driven by the will to get it right for the children, staff and community.

Regards
Binks Neate-Evans 
Executive Principal 
Bignold Primary, Angel Road Junior and Angel Road Infant and Nursery schools, Norwich


Letter re Staggered Opening of School


Wider Opening Update 21.05.20

Dear Families

This week schools have been very, very carefully considering how we can begin to re-open on June 1st for Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children. All through this process I have said that our communication will be honest and transparent. 

If we are able to open to some of these year groups JUNE 1st will be a training day for staff so that everyone is confident about the many changes that have to be made.  It will NOT be open to any other children APART from children that have been eligible to attend up until now (keyworker or children with particular circumstances).

The level of planning and re-organisation in schools is a huge and highly complex task. Guidance and information comes in at least daily. We continue to be guided by teams at Evolution Academy Trust who have given invaluable support to our planning and risk assessment process.

DURING THIS TIME THE SAFETY OF INDIVIDUALS HAS TO BE A PRIORITY OVER CONVENIENCE.

We know it is difficult for many being in a state of not knowing. I feel it is important that your children, many of whom will be very keen to return, know that we really hope schools will begin to re-open but they MIGHT NOT. With younger children, it might help them to use  language such as:

Your school really, really wants you to be able to come back. Because they care about us all they may not open if they think it is unsafe or if other people tell them they can’t’.  This will help them feel informed and not build up to something to feel very disappointed. We cannot make short term decisions that in the longer term we will deeply regret. Please be assured we are desperate to be able welcome children back but we must do so cautiously and safely.

Whilst we are still planning  and really hoping for each school to begin to re-open for those year groups, families should know we are:

  • awaiting to see if the government states it has met the 5 tests it has shared with the public.
  • awaiting very important guidance to support the safe re-opening of Reception and Nursery.   
  • professional bodies are also awaiting the scientific evidence that government has used to make the decision that re-opening schools is safe for children, staff and your community. 
  • awaiting trust level approval
  • awaiting for some safety equipment and materials to arrive
  • unable to say yet whether any other year groups will come back this term
  • having to plan for short term and sudden closures if there is an increase in cases locally

By the end of the day tomorrow each school will communicate with you about their individual circumstances and their conditional re-opening schedule for the first two weeks.  Again, thank you for your continued understanding and support. We feel for you during such uncertain times. As parent communities, you have been brilliant and believe you me, this makes a very difficult phase of managing schools far more manageable. I’m sending you all my genuine thanks.

Regards
Binks Neate-Evans                   
Executive Principal 


Message for Y1 and Y2

Dear Mums, Dads and carers,

I am writing to clarify any misunderstandings about the wider opening of school.

Although Boris Johnson mentioned that children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 would be returning on June 1st. The government guidance for schools clearly states;

If necessary, settings have the flexibility to focus first on continuing to provide places for priority groups and then, to support children’s early learning, settings should prioritise groups of children as follows:

  • Early years settings – 3 and 4 year olds followed by younger age groups
  • Infant schools – nursery (where applicable) and Reception

AT THIS STAGE OF RE-OPENING SCHOOL IS NOT OPEN TO Y1 CHILDREN. We will keep you informed if this changes.

Please note the decision to re-open schools more widely will not be finalised until Trustees have agreed Risk assessments AND the government announces it is safe to do so on May 28th.

We may be able to open for some Year 1 children in the second phase of wider opening in July.
Warmest regardsLindsay Moody


Coronavirus Update – The first phase of wider opening (from June 1st 2020)


COVID Letter to Parents 15th May Updated


Parent Update 15.5.20

Dear Families

Firstly, I’d like to thank you all for superb support for our schools. You have acted with incredible patience and understanding as we try to work apace to respond to government announcements.

You will have seen from my previous communication that our priority will be remain the safety of your children, the staff that work with them and the wider community.

You will also see from the letter from Lynsey Holzer CEO of Evolution, that we have been working very hard to develop safe plans for the gradual re-opening of schools.  Families of eligible year groups will be asked early next week of their intention to take a place. This provision is still very much in the early planning stage as we respond to the changing guidance issued daily.  For you to make an informed decision we will try and provide information about what provision will look like so you are able to make a judgement for your child.

CRITICAL WORKER PROVISION WILL CONTINUE HOWEVER SCHOOLS WILL NOT BE OPEN FOR ANY CHILDREN FOR MAY HALF TERM (25th-29th May). This is because schools have not closed since February half term and so that planning and preparation for re-opening can continue. As well as being responsible for the children, I am also responsible for all staff and leaders. Whilst there is still much to do I am sure you will recognise the need for staff to have a short pause as they have been work very hard during this crisis.

I feel that it is my responsibility to communicate to you about the likelihood of school re-opening on June 1st. It is highly unlikely that all of the eligible year groups i.e. Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and year 6 will be able to return in the first week (except for Y6 at Angel Road Junior). Any return will be staggered i.e. different drop off times and initially may be over a period of days and weeks so we can ensure we have the safest procedures. Whatever model is in place, all children will be collected at lunchtime on Friday so that staff can plan and prepare for the following weeks and so that deep cleaning can take place in addition to other cleaning routines in the week.
I am really sorry I am unable to give you concrete answers at the moment and that this must be frustrating. I am trying to give you as much information as is available. What we hope it does demonstrate is the level of care we will take to ensure what we provide is as safe as possible and can be maintained.

Please be assured that we look forward to a time when we can welcome all children back to school. I have never felt more conflicted and concerned about my role as a leader in education. Please be assured we are trying to make the very best decisions in the short and long term in very uncertain times. I hope that we can use our experience of this crisis to really move forward as cohesive caring communities.

Please continue to take extreme care and my advice would be to still be at STAY AT HOME in your family bubble as much as is possible.

Go well.

Regards
Binks Neate-Evans 
Executive Principal 
Bignold Primary, Angel Road Junior and Angel Road Infant and Nursery schools, Norwich


Reopening Update for Families 12.05.20