Ireland Wood Primary School
Immerse, Inspire, Include

Parents  »  Newsletters  »  Archive 2022-2023  »  Information


Please see below some of the questions that we have anticipated you may have about our reopening in September. We have already had one or two questions from parents which we have endeavoured to answer. We thought it would be useful to share these with you.

1. Will it be mandatory for my child to attend school in September?

The government have stated that all children must attend school in September. The usual rules on school attendance will apply.

2. What is the advice to parents of children who are shielding or self-isolating?


Following Government guidance:

  • a small number of pupils will still be unable to attend in line with public health advice because they are self-isolating and have had symptoms or a positive test result themselves, or because they are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • shielding advice for all adults and children was paused on 1 August 2020 which means that even the small number of pupils who will remain on the shielded patient list can also return to school, as can those who have family members who were shielding - read the current advice on shielding
  • if rates of the disease rise in local areas, children (or family members) from that area, and that area only, may be advised to shield during the period where rates remain high and, therefore, they may be temporarily unable to attend
  • pupils no longer required to shield but who generally remain under the care of a specialist health professional are likely to discuss their care with their health professional at their next planned clinical appointment.

3. How will the school day be organised in September?

All children will be in their new class with their new teacher. There will be staggered starts and drop offs, using various entrances. Further details can be found on the school website – ‘COVID 19’ tab. Pupils will be working in their classrooms and the classrooms cleaned regularly, especially frequently used surfaces. Work will be marked in line with our policy which includes verbal and written feedback, although teachers may not handle books as frequently as usual in the Autumn term. Teachers will be assessing children’s current attainment and planning from this, along with getting to know their new class. We will be teaching a broad and balanced curriculum and working from our usual planning and topics, whilst building in core skills and objectives that may have been missed during the home learning period. This will be factored into lessons and teachers will use a mixture of informal assessment and formal assessment as the term goes on to gain a full picture of each child’s progress.

There will be limited movement around school and children will work in their own classrooms or intervention rooms to limit room sharing. Staff will be able to move between bubbles to cover teacher PPA time and other cover time, which is in line with the DfE guidance and will be limited as much as possible. Music teachers, students, volunteers and specialists from outside agencies will recommence working in school, following our risk assessment guidance and all school policies.

4. What are the guidelines for social distancing in the classroom?

Wherever possible adults will remain 2 metres apart. Children who are old enough will be encouraged to maintain distance and not touch staff or peers.

Children will be seated side by side and facing forwards.

5. Why can't my children (siblings) play with each other at break time?

To enable us to maintain distance from others for each class bubble, it is important that children only play with children in their bubble. This helps us to limit the number of people each bubble comes into contact with, which will aid in preventing transmission.

6. What hygiene measures will be in place to prevent transmission?

We will:

  • use the COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings guidance to inform our school specific risk assessments.
  • ensure that sufficient handwashing facilities are available. All classrooms have sinks. Hand sanitiser will be available in areas around school
  • clean surfaces that children and young people are touching, such as toys, desks, chairs, doors, sinks, toilets, light switches, more regularly than normal
  • ensure that lidded bins for tissues are emptied throughout the day
  • where possible, ensure spaces are well ventilated.
  • prop doors open, where safe to do so (bearing in mind fire safety and safeguarding), to limit use of door handles and aid ventilation

We will ensure that all adults and children:

  • frequently wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and dry thoroughly.
  • clean their hands on arrival at the setting, before and after eating, and after sneezing or coughing
  • are encouraged not to touch their mouth, eyes and nose
  • use a tissue or elbow to cough or sneeze and use bins for tissue waste (‘catch it, bin it, kill it’)
  • ensure that help is available for children and young people who have trouble cleaning their hands independently

We will consider how to encourage young children to learn and practise these habits through games, songs and repetition.

7. Will children be confined to the same classroom environment for most of the day?

Government advice on the Scientific evidence shows that the outdoor environment is much more manageable in terms of virus transmission. We will encourage that classes spend as much time outside as possible. However, outside of this, we will keep children within their own classroom during the day and designated spaces during lunchtime and break times.

8. How will lunch time work?

Children can bring a packed lunch or have a school dinner as usual – there will be 2 options each day. They should bring a filled water bottle for their desk and a healthy snack for break times. Lunch time will be slightly different – children will face forward and there will be 3 areas to eat lunch: Squirrels, the Dining Hall and the South Hall. Bubbles will have their own sittings. Where possible, bubbles will not intermingle on the playgrounds as we have clearly marked areas.

9. What measures will school be employing to help prevent transmission?

In addition to what has already been mentioned

We will:

  • give children a designated classroom and group (which we are referring to as their bubble) for lessons and play, to minimise the opportunity for mixing.
  • regularly clean the setting.
  • limit the items children bring in from home e.g. lunch, water bottle, reading book (quarantined when returned).
  • use PPE such as gloves, aprons, masks, hand sanitiser and anti-bac wipes as identified in our Risk assessments, when it is necessary to do so.
  • confine resources to rooms to minimise sharing and when sharing is essential (e.g. laptops and ipads), clean resources before transference.
  • organise lunchtimes and playtimes differently, keeping children in their bubbles.
  • be vigilant in identifying children with symptoms, isolate them and ask parents to collect them
  • removal and/or restricting access to unnecessary items in classrooms.
  • removal and/or restricting access to some soft furnishings, soft toys and toys that are hard to clean.
  • not share PE equipment. Where it is not possible to have class resources, equipment will be cleaned between each class use.

10. Will my child be expected to share resources, such as pens and pencils?

For individual and very frequently used equipment, such as pencils and pens, it is recommended that staff and pupils have their own items that are not shared so each child has been set up with their own pack of resources. Classroom based resources, such as books and games, can be used and shared within the bubble; these should be cleaned regularly, along with all frequently touched surfaces. Resources that are shared between classes or bubbles, such as sports, art and science equipment should be cleaned frequently and meticulously and always between bubbles, or rotated to allow them to be left unused and out of reach for a period of 48 hours (72 hours for plastics) between use by different bubbles. We cannot say that some resources will not be handled by more than one child, especially in Year 1 and Reception. We have spent nearly half a year teaching our youngest children that sharing is good! Children will be encouraged to maintain good hand hygiene.

11. Will the school have assembly/acts of worship?

Class bubbles will have an opportunity for reflection within their daily session, but there will be no mass gatherings or daily acts of worship as a school for the time being. Weekly Celebration Assemblies will be held virtually where Mr Blackburn or a member of SLT will announce the award winners and classes can watch/participate in their classrooms.

12. My child is feeling anxious about coming back to school, how can I prepare him/her?

You will need to prepare your child by talking about what school was like and what it will be like now. It will be different.

Sharing social stories (see our website) can be really helpful for young children and help to express the situation in a clear factual way.

It will be important to encourage your child to talk about their experiences in ‘lockdown’ and that this period is now ending.

13. How will you support my child’s emotional well-being?

The initial focus, for as long as we feel necessary, will be on supporting personal, social, health and emotional aspects of learning to support children’s wellbeing. They have all gone through an incredible period of change and may have experienced loss on a number of different levels. This shouldn’t be ignored. However, we also know that children like routine; therefore, new routines will quickly be established and we will continue teaching lessons as normal.

In addition to that mentioned above, all staff will be available to provide support. Our SENCO, Inclusion Manager, Pastoral Team and PSHE lead will work to ensure that children’s needs are met.

There will be plenty of opportunities for children to discuss their feelings, play, rebuild friendships and have ‘break out’ or ‘chill out’ spaces for times when they may feel overwhelmed. We will continue to use our 'Take Care' values to support children’s learning.

14. Will staff and children wear masks or PPE?

PPE is only needed in a very small number of cases including:

  • children, young people and students whose care routinely already involves the use of PPE due to their intimate care needs should continue to receive their care in the same way
  • if a child, young person or other learner becomes unwell with symptoms of coronavirus while in their setting and needs direct personal care until they can return home. A fluid-resistant surgical face mask should be worn by the supervising adult if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained. If contact with the child or young person is necessary, then disposable gloves, a disposable apron and a fluid-resistant surgical face mask should be worn by the supervising adult. If a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of splashing to the eyes, for example from coughing, spitting, or vomiting, then eye protection should also be worn.’

The government is not recommending universal use of face coverings in all schools and have said that face coverings will not be necessary in the classroom even where social distancing is not possible. Face coverings would have a negative impact on teaching and their use in the classroom should be avoided. We have said that our children and staff can wear their own face coverings around school outside of the classroom if they want to.

15. Will my child need to wear a school uniform?

Children should wear their full school uniform in line with the policy. Children should bring a coat with a hood (and a hat if it is cold/warm) and apply any sun cream before school. PE, break times and lunchtimes will be outside (unless extreme weather), so ensure appropriate layers are provided. . On your child’s PE day (class teachers will let you know when this in September), they will be expected to come to school dressed in their PE kit with appropriate footwear and layers. This saves PE kits having to be brought into school and stored. Please wear school uniform on all other days.

16. What should my child bring to school each day?

We only want your child to bring a lunch box if they are packed lunches. Water bottles can also be brought into school daily. It would help greatly if they were pre-filled. They must be taken home each day and washed. Coats and/or hats may be needed, especially as we will be using our outdoor spaces more.

We would advise that you apply long lasting sun-cream if possible before coming to school rather than having to bring sun-cream in. We will not be able to apply sun-cream to any children.

Reception and KS1 children may bring their book bag to school to carry their reading book, reading record and homework book. KS2 may bring a small bag to carry their reading book, planner and homework book. Reading books will be sent home as usual – they will be ‘quarantined’ upon return for 48 hours before being redistributed. Please do not bring any toys or extra belongings into school. Sanitary products are available for KS2 children in school.

17. Will the breakfast club and after school club be open?

Yes. Squirrels will be operating with new Covid measures in place.

18. Will extra-curricular clubs run (football club, dance club etc.)?

No, not for the foreseeable future. These bring too many children into contact and mix the school groupings.

19. Will the school office be open?

Yes, but parents and children will not be allowed into the office. Where possible I would ask that parents ring/email the school as opposed to presenting in person. Teachers will have boxes for you to put dinner money, forms, etc. in during drop off/pick up time.

20. What will happen if a child in the class shows symptoms?

We will follow the Government guidelines set out below.

If anyone becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature in an education or childcare setting, they must be sent home and advised to follow the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection guidance.

If a child is awaiting collection, they should be moved, if possible, to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door, depending on the age of the child and with appropriate adult supervision if required. Ideally, a window should be opened for ventilation. If it is not possible to isolate them, move them to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people.

If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they should use a separate bathroom if possible. The bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else. PPE should be worn by staff caring for the child while they await collection if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained (such as for a very young child or a child with complex needs). In an emergency, call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.

If a member of staff has helped someone who was unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves (and in which case, a test is available) or the child subsequently tests positive (see ‘What happens if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in a setting?’ below). They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell. Cleaning the affected area with normal household disinfectant after someone with symptoms has left will reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people. See the COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings guidance.

21. What happens if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in school?

We will follow the Government guidance set out below.

When a child, young person or staff member develops symptoms compatible with coronavirus, they should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 10 days. Their fellow household members should self-isolate for 14 days. All staff and students who are attending an education or childcare setting will have access to a test if they display symptoms of coronavirus, and are encouraged to get tested in this scenario.

Where the child, young person or staff member tests negative, they can return to their setting once they feel well enough, and their fellow household members can end their self-isolation.

Where the child, young person or staff member tests positive, the rest of their ‘bubble’ within their childcare or education setting should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. The other household members of that wider class or group do not need to self-isolate unless the child, young person or staff member they live with in that group subsequently develops symptoms.

As part of the national test and trace programme, if other cases are detected within the cohort or in the wider setting, Public Health England’s local health protection teams will conduct a rapid investigation and will advise schools and other settings on the most appropriate action to take. In some cases, a larger number of other children, young people may be asked to self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure – perhaps the whole class, site or year group. Where settings are observing guidance on infection prevention and control, which will reduce risk of transmission, closure of the whole setting will not generally be necessary.

22. Will the school take my child’s temperature every day?

No, but we may use a non-invasive thermometer which points to the forehead if we suspect a child of having symptoms.

23. How can I speak to the class teacher if we are not allowed into school?

You can contact your child’s class teacher by using the same email as you do for distance learning. If you are unable to do this, you can phone, use the website contact form or email the office who will then pass the message on.

24. Why are different schools doing different things to reopen?

Individual school circumstances are different - numbers in year groups, staff available to work, etc.

25. Where can I find more information about returning to school?

The Government information is provided here: