The purpose of this page is to provide Chevening parents with reminders and updates about school-related activities and systems, with regard to the COVID-19 situation.
Most of this information has been sent directly to parents via email; this page provides a way to remain up-to-date with any changes that the school may need to make.
You will be aware that Kent has been designated as Tier 3 Very High Alert and Restrictions from today.
Compared to some schools/settings, our experiences of COVID to date have been quite isolated, with limited impact. We very much want this to continue, so that school can continue to operate in a relatively normal way for as long as possible.
We are grateful to everyone for continuing to follow our adapted routines and requests, as we attempt to maintain health and safety. Please can we ask for parents/carers to keep themselves and the children safely apart as much as possible on and off site, so that our Bubble system can continue. We know it is hard, but it is the best way to minimise aerosol transmission for all.
For this reason, we need to ask you to stop your child/younger children from playing together at drop off/pick up times, as there are different children in close proximity, which makes our Bubbles inconsistent. Children need to stay close to their parent/carer/adult when arriving and leaving. Should there be a positive test result for anyone on site, then the school has to identify and direct all close contacts to self-isolate and we will not be able to identify who has played in close proximity before/after school.
Thank you for your on-going support and understanding; we take our responsibilities seriously and need your cooperation to help reduce the current level of transmission that is happening in Kent.
With best wishes,
26.11.2020 Matt Hancock has just announced that, from 02.12.2020, Kent will be in Tier 3 for COVID restrictions.
Please could parents/carers/visitors remember:
- if you are required to self-isolate from work/another school, you MUST NOT enter our site.
- if possible, only 1 adult attend for drop-off/collection of children on the playground, to ease potential congestion.
- at collection time/end of day, please wait for the staff to dismiss your child/ren, so we can keep everyone safe; please do not wave/signal to your child/ren across the playground.
The school's updated Risk Assessment document for September 2020 is located below. This document is subject to regular review and change, dependent on school, county and national circumstances.
Please note that, at present, FACE COVERINGS are not required for children or staff in Primary Schools.
01.09.2020 Email to parents/carers:
As the new academic year approaches, staff and families who have travelled outside of the UK will need to check the Government's requirements for self-isolation on return.
Any staff member or child returning from a country that requires a period of self-isolation, can only return to school when the quarantine period has been completed.
Please use this link to stay up-to-date with the Government's Guidance on requirements for self-isolation:
21.07.2020: Email to parents (start/end of day arrangements):
Further details about safe drop-off and pick-ups will be shared at the start of term; because of the change of venue, other after-school activities/clubs will not be immediately possible.
We are working new systems for Early Morning Club and Activ8, so they can continue to run. Neither club will run between 02.09 and 04.09.2020.
We expect both clubs to run in the Hall, with two separate groups: one for Class R-2 and one for Class 3-6.
The timings should be the same:
EMC: Mon-Fri 8-8.45am; Activ8 Mon- Thurs 3.15-5.30pm.
17.07.2020:Initial Plans for September : Email to Parents/Carers
As you know, we are busy planning for September and we are really looking forward to something slightly more 'normal' and familiar in terms of school life! We fully endorse the Government's comments about the primary importance of education for children both now and in their futures - the extended disruption to school is not something to take lightly; we have all been impacted by COVID in many different ways. Welcoming back almost 200 children, staff and families is a complex task, with time needed to ensure we balance the risks of COVID-19 by minimising potential infection and spread through the use of sensible approaches, working in partnership and adherence to the Government's system of controls. Sadly, without further progress in the creation of a vaccine, it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of localised or widespread infection. As we look to the new academic year and make our preparations, we need to keep the prospect of local lockdowns in view, with suitable contingency plans to minimise further loss of learning and opportunity.
The COVID-19 crisis and the varying stages of response and recovery remind me of the infamous speech by US Secretary of State, Donald Rumsfeld in 2002, " There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don't know." At the time, I found this amusingly fascinating, but now find myself saying similar things quite frequently. This is going to be quite a long email, but it is important to share our thinking now, so you have time to prepare and respond.
Whilst working on our plans for September, we can offer immediate clarity in some areas, but need information from parents/families in order to refine thinking and planning in other areas, which means there will be a steady stream of information and answers as we make our local plans, respond to the information you provide and keep a watchful eye on both local and national Public Health advice and instruction.
What we know:
All children will be expected to return to school; children will be in their class groups, with their teachers in their classrooms;
School uniform should be worn, including PE kit. PE will be outside, even in wet weather; our Hall is too small and poorly ventilated for energetic children to safely exercise in whilst adhering to Covid-secure practices.
Outdoor learning and physical activity are emphasised; please ensure your child brings named wellies, coats, etc so we can make the most use of our wonderful site - even in wet weather;
The children will need their own (named) pencil case and pens/pencils, rule, pencil sharpener, rubbers, glue sticks for their own use;
The classrooms will be organised in a similar way to the current Bubble arrangements, with tables facing the front of class; this ensures all the children face in the same direction and sit side by side; resources can be more readily used than at present, which is a relief, but must be regularly cleaned/left aside to quarantine for 72 hours.
Social Distancing: The strictest social distancing is simply not possible with Primary children, nor expected; to mitigate this, contact between children in different classes will be minimised; where possible and appropriate, staff will keep distanced from each other, although adults may move between groups if required.
Following Government Guidance, the organisation of school and class will be different to pre-COVID times: large/whole school gatherings are not allowed e.g. Hall-based lunchtimes, Acts of Worship, Church Services, Parents' Evenings/Workshops, etc.
Lunchtimes and playtimes will be at different times, so that the children are kept safely separate.
We need to ask parents and families to support this by respecting safe social distance when dropping off/collecting children, minimising contact by not gathering in large groups to come to school, wait for children, or go home.
Visitors to school will be minimised and contact details kept for a period of time, in case Public Health England need to contact them. We need to minimise casual popping in to school - please use phone and email to pass messages, wherever possible. In urgent cases, please use the phone. Individual staff will need to move between groups of children and classes, but we aim to keep the movements as limited as we can.
Hygiene Matters: All children will need to be independently following good hygiene as a matter of course; they will thoroughly wash hands more regularly and use good hygiene practices when sneezing and coughing - please practice these at home! (There are some great resources you can share with your children, including https://nosycrow.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Coronavirus-A-Book-for-Children.pdf) Please make sure your child has a small packet of tissues with them.
If your child is unwell, they cannot attend school.
Prompt and clear explanations about absence and illness must be provided, so that any possible transmission can be mitigated; COVID-19 tests must be sought and used promptly to reduce potential spread of infection. The Government expects staff and parents to fully engage in the NHS Test and Trace, so that individual infection does not spread. We have a separate room ready for anyone who displays possible symptoms at school, so they can leave their group and await immediate collection to go home. There is no requirement for other children/staff from the same group to go home straight away. Self-isolation at home is needed for at least 10 days# for the child/adult with symptoms (unless a COVID-19 test proves negative) and members of their household may need to quarantine for 14 days if there is a positive result to the COVID-19 test. (#amended following 30.07.2020 Government advice https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-and-treatment/when-to-self-isolate-and-what-to-do/ )
Initial phase of re-opening in September: Many of our families have more than one child! Siblings in different classes, Key Stages and Nursery makes start and end of school day complicated; we will try to work a system that is sensible and safe for all, including families accessing the Nursery. Further details will follow.
The first days in September will be spent re-establishing class routines and systems, strengthening friendships and re-adjusting to class-based learning; we have some exciting English and RE projects to help rebuild unity and ask for parents to support this; PSHE will be used to address topics specific to returning to school and equipping the children with the language and skills to be able to talk about how they are feeling.
Learning and assessments will gradually build up over the first few weeks; we need the children to settle, find their confidence in the new approaches and then focus on rebuilding class-based learning behaviours; our curriculum will be as broad as possible, but our immediate focus will be on applying key skills of Spoken Language, Reading, Writing and Maths, without which wider learning can not flourish.
Certain areas of the curriculum (singing, wind-instruments, larger group performances, contact sports, etc) will be restricted, as per the Government Guidance, to keep everyone safe.
We will not be able to consider the usual wealth of out-of-school experiences that Chevening usually enjoys; with restricted opportunities to mix for extended periods, residentials, trips, events and activities in other venues will not be immediately possible.
Contingency plans for those unable to return to school through ill-health, isolation requirements, etc. will rely on home learning. We will continue to link home learning to planned class curriculum, following the daily class timetable, with safe provision of contact and feedback via Microsoft Teams (a new resource being installed over the summer) following staff training and information-sharing with parents.
It would help us to know:
How your child has fared during Lockdown and Home-learning; during June/July, our returning children adjusted well to new rhythms and organisation, but this was very dependent on each family's unique experience.
Please complete the short survey, so you can provide some helpful pointers/information for class staff to welcome and support your child. (Survey details were sent by email.)
If you are planning on using public transport to bring your child to/from school - there are specific arrangements to make re face coverings, etc when the children arrive at school.
As soon as your child displays any potential COVID-19 symptoms, so that we can complete the actions in school, whilst families undertake COVID tests.
What we don't yet know:
A final system for starting/ending the school day; once this has been worked through, we will send further information.
If it will be possible to offer full/partial Early Morning Club and Activ8; there are additional risks and requirements to these, as they usually cater for mixed groups of children, which is not recommended in the Government Guidance.
How much catch-up is needed for your child, a group, each class in various subjects;
If after-school activity clubs will be possible; in order to keep the children safe, we need to limit contacts and maintain consistent 'bubbles'.
If instrumental Music lessons will be possible; we can provide safe, separate space, but the teachers may not be able to commit to organising 'live' lessons straight away.
We think packed lunches will be the best option for all children (this worked well when we had the four Bubbles open during Term 6); this enables each class to eat separately, without having to share the Hall space. We are asking our Lunch provider if this will be possible.
We want our arrangements to provide a safe school experience for everyone, so that we can all confidently look forward to the Autumn Term. Whilst we have had time to digest the Government's Guidance (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#introduction), we have just received Kent's local Guidance and need to absorb the details. Both are needed to complete our Risk Assessments, which will be shared with our staff and families when finalised. We know that everyone is exhausted at the end of every school year - and for parents especially, the onus of responsibility this year has been huge. We want to try and provide as much clarity and confidence for the new academic year as possible, so that we can approach the summer holidays with less pressure, knowledge about initial plans for September and not facing the daily onslaught of home learning!
With best wishes, Miss Minnis