Castle Douglas Primary and Early Learning and Childcare Centre

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Family Updates (Covid-19) 2020 – 2021

Due to Covid-19 restrictions the school has had to change some of our routines and procedures. Please refer to updates below (newest first)

 

D&G Council Updated Advice for Parents and Carers – October 2nd

Please click here to download pdf.

 

Family Update September 25th 2020

I hope this update finds everyone keeping safe and well.

Firstly an update on Covid-19 procedures for schools.

a) Handwashing

I would like to say a BIG well done to all our school community for the way that they have embraced the handwashing and sanitising procedures we have in school. Children have shown how responsible they are in taking care with regular handwashing or sanitising – well done and thank you!

b) Ventilation in Classrooms.

As part of the Covid-19 guidance rooms in the school need to have appropriate ventilation from open windows and schools were reminded this week that this needs to continue as the colder weather begins. Classrooms are heated but there will be cooler, fresh air circulating and it is very likely that warmer tops will be needed in class over the coming weeks.  This does not need to be a school sweatshirt or cardigan. Any warm top from home is fine to wear so please don’t worry if there’s not a school sweatshirt available.

Toys in School

A reminder that toys should please not be brought in to school at this time unless they are a comforter. Sadly this does include items such as Pokemon cards which children are sharing. Another one of the frustrating but necessary restrictions we are having to follow at this time.

 

Safe and Responsible Use of Technology Agreement

The Education Department has updated the pupil Safe and Responsible Use of Technology Agreement to reflect changes in the use of internet technology to include online learning platforms such as Microsoft Teams. Pupils will be bringing home (via pupil school bag post) a paper copy of the agreement that needs to be signed by both pupils and parents. The agreement lists good practice that all our learners should follow.

There are two agreements to be signed. The Safe and Responsible Use Agreement (1a) and Recording Permission (1b). The second permission is for online recording of lessons when using Microsoft Teams. It is unlikely that we would use recording in Primary School but permission needs to be sought.

Could forms please be returned by Friday 2nd October.

 

Wider Achievement

Another restriction we have in school just now is not being able to hold assemblies in our hall. Assemblies are a valued part of our school community when we come together to reflect, celebrate and share news.

When we have a monthly Achievement Assembly when classes take it in turn to share achievements from outwith school e.g. taking part in an activity for the first time, playing a musical instrument, sporting activity, cooking a meal at home, making a model, etc. The achievements are what are important to individual pupils and I would like to invite children to share these once again.

The idea is to share these visually in school only (not on social media) through an online assembly which classes will view in their rooms. I would like to invite families to send in either a photograph or video sharing an achievement. To help with this children can be videoed in school if they wish to talk about their achievement and I would be pleased to help with this.

We normally have two classes each month taking turns to do this but, for this month , the invitation is open to all P5-7 classes. Next month’s invitation will be for P1-4 classes.

Media clips should please be emailed to cdpslearning@gmail.com by Friday 2nd October.


 

September 1st – Parent Advice on Testing and Common Cold (National Advice)

Coronavirus – Jason Leitch Letter on testing and common colds – 31 August 2020


August 26th – Updated Parental Guidance – Pupil Illness

Updated Guidance for parents (Dumfries and Galloway Council)

COVID-19 Advice for Parents v1.1


August 24th – P5-7 Hometime Arrangements

Dear CDPS Family

P5-7 Home Time Arrangements

Following feedback from parents we would like to try another small change to end of the day to reduce further the number of children and adults leaving the school and using Jenny’s Loaning at the same time.

The proposal is that P5-7s will leave at 3:05pm instead of 3pm (and have 5 minutes extra at lunchtime.)

The end of the school day would then have these staggered times  –
2:50pm P1 and 1b– leave from Hall
3:00pm P2 – leave from hall and P2/3, P3, P3/4 and P4 – leave from usual classroom door downstairs
3:05pm P5a, P5b, P6a, P6b – leave from usual classroom door downstairs and P7a, P7b – leave from Hall
Siblings in P2/3-4 who are usually met by an older sibling at their classroom door would wait with the adult on duty in the bottom playground (usually Mr Tyson) until 3:05pm.

Could I please ask that you let me know by 9:30am tomorrow morning if the above would cause a problem for your family’s home time arrangements.
I will then confirm by tomorrow lunchtime if the above will start from Tuesday afternoon.

Thank you and best wishes
D Tyson
Headteacher


August 19th – P1-2 Hometime Change

Dear P1a, 1b and P2 Family

Review of Afternoon Collection Arrangements

We have been reviewing the morning and afternoon dropoff and collection arrangements and would like to try a change for the afternoon collection from tomorrow (Thursday). We are aware that, for P2 families, in particular, it is very busy leaving the bottom playground as the older classes leave.
In the afternoon, instead of coming down to the bottom playground P1 and P2 parents are asked to meet children at the front of the school. Classes will be brought out from the hall doors. P1a will come out the right hand door looking at the hall (the one nearest the main door) and brought round to the area where the wooden benches are to be met. P1b will leave from the left hand door and met in the area near the MUGA / Learning Centre covered entrance.
At 3pm P2 will be brought out from the right hand door into the bench area at the front of the school.
Parents are asked not to come to the hall doors and to keep the area in front of the doors clear so staff can bring children out to be met in the wider space.

Meeting older Siblings
There a few P1 and P2 families who have been meeting older siblings in the bottom playground after collecting a P1 or P2. It would be good if older siblings could make their own way up from class and be met at the Bottle Shed for example. However if any older siblings are uncomfortable with this then we will arrange for a member of staff to walk children up to the green gate and over towards the main entrance.  Specific arrangements will also be made for collection of older children with Additional Support Needs if needed – please do contact me to discuss.
Please let teachers or myself know tomorrow morning if you would like a member of staff (probably myself) to meet older siblings and bring them up to the front of the school or if you are comfortable making your own arrangement to meet up near the green gate / bottle shed.
Older pupils who collect a younger P1 or P2 should make their way out of the bottom playground and come over to the bench area outside the hall to meet up.

Link to website photos

We are hoping that the above will help with social distancing at 3pm as well as making it easier for P1 and P2 families to collect children without the need to walk all the way down to the bottom playground. The above is what we were planning to do for poor weather days and it would be good to try it out and see if it is better than the current afternoon arrangements. Your feedback is most welcome.

Morning Arrangements
The morning arrangements will remain the same i.e. coming down to the bottom playground and be ready to come into school at 8:50 (P1) and 9:00 (P2). There is less congestion in the morning and the bottom playground is a much safer place away from the car park for our learners to play and run about while waiting for their bell.

Thank you for your help and understanding as we review how we can keep our school community as safe as we possibly can.

Best wishes
David Tyson
Headteacher


August 14th Update

A big thank you to everyone for settling in to the new routines we have so far. Our learners have been looking after themselves with regular hand washing and taken the return to school in their stride.

As the term continues there will be more advice coming out from both Government and the Council and we will keep you up to date with each new step.
A reminder that hot meals option starts again on Monday.

It looks as though the warm weather is here for the weekend – have an enjoyable one.

Best wishes
D Tyson


August 13th Update

Dear CDPS Family
It is difficult to put into words how wonderful it is to have our learners back in school. Friendships are being renewed and everyone is quickly settling in to the new class and hygiene routines. The playground is full of noise once again with a sea of black and gold – great to see.

School Meals Update
I am pleased to let you know that the full School Meal menus will be available from this coming Monday (17th).
Click here to view menu – next week is Week 3 and menus are also on the School App calendar.
For the remaining Mondays to Wednesdays in August a school meal will cost £1 as the balance is funded from the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out Scheme.  A reminder that P1-3 pupils are entitled to a free meal.


August 12th Update

Dear CDPS Family

All the children settled in very well this morning and it was lovely to see friends getting together once again and having everyone back in school.

Routines will be reviewed daily as we get used to seeing how new procedures work and I will keep you informed of any updates and changes.

Lunchtime worked well and a decision will be made tomorrow with catering staff at both CDPS and CDHS (where our meals are prepared) when they can start the hot meal menu again.

Two items from today please :
a) Parents must observe the 2m social distance role when in the school grounds and we do need to rely on your help and support with this. With the number of children we have in school it is going to be busy and there are potential congestion areas at the school entrances,  ‘green gate’ and slope down to the playground. I do appreciate it was the first day back and there may be less parents needing to come in to the grounds in future but please do keep 2 metres apart for your own and  other parents’ safety.

The P1 and P2 arrival and departure worked well. To keep adult numbers to a minimum could I please ask that just one adult family member accompanies our P1s and P2s (and older children with Additional Support Needs) to and from the bottom playground whenever possible.

I appreciate that there may be a few older pupils who may need a little extra support until confident with the arrival and departure arrangements and I will be very pleased to meet them at the green gate and walk them down to class in the morning.

We are going to have another look at the afternoon departure for P3-7 as it was busy where the slope leads up to the ‘green gate.’

Meeting P3-7 children at 3pm.
For those children needing to be met at 3pm in the school grounds please use the full area we have at the front of the school. There is a large area of grass next to the footpath between the Bottle Shed and gate at Jenny’s Loaning which has 10 trees near the footpath. I’ll number these trees and also areas on the Alvingham Avenue side so that families can arrange to meet children at ‘tree 7’ for example.

It has been a welcome and positive start to the new session and I look forward to working with you as we review and adapt to the new ‘normal’ safety procedures.

Best wishes and stay safe.
D Tyson
Headteacher

 


 

August 10th – Return to School

Dear CDPS Family

Our Return to School – Wednesday 12th August 

I hope everyone is keeping safe and well.

School staff have returned today preparing for the return of all learners on Wednesday 12th  August. We are looking forward to welcoming in our new classes and settling back in to as normal a routine as possible.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 Restrictions there will have to be some changes to past routines and procedures. In some areas there are new procedures, e.g. parent access to and contact with the school but for most of our routines, especially with the children, we will be looking to keep these as normal as possible.

The Council has two webpages which set out general guidelines and procedures.

  1. Re-opening of Schools
    https://supportdg.dumgal.gov.uk/article/21014/Re-opening-of-schools
  1. Frequently Asked Questions Re-Opening of Schools https://supportdg.dumgal.gov.uk/article/21023/FAQ-s-Re-opening-of-Schools

Schools have some flexibility in how to meet these guidelines to meet local needs. No doubt advice will change over time but, as we prepare to open, I would like to highlight the following.

1 – School Hours 
P1 learners will start at 8:50am and finish at 2:50pm.
P2-7 learners will start at 9:00am and finish at 3pm.

2 – Access to the School / Social Distancing 
Current Government advice is that children do not need to social distance which means that almost all of our daily routines when in school will be the same as before. Adults however must still keep to the 2 metre social distancing rule – staff and parents.

2.1 – Parents in School Grounds / Contact with the School 
The Council Website states that no parents will be allowed inside school grounds with the exception for new Primary 1 pupils and I would also add to this exception ELC families and families where a child with additional support needs requires to be accompanied to and from school.
However I do not think that there is enough space at the school gates for a safe meeting place for the number of children we have in our school and both P1 and P2 parents can access the bottom playground as this is a new routine for both these age groups. The staggered start will allow for adult social distancing.
Parents with children (P1-7)  who have Additional Support Needs can also accompany their children to the bottom playground if wished.

Otherwise I would encourage as many children as possible, especially our older pupils, to make their own way to and from the playground /class. School staff and P7 buddies will be in the playground to help too. The aim is to have as few adults in the school playground as possible.
To avoid congestion at the school gates parents are welcome to come in to the school grounds to meet up, as before, in the Bottle Shelter area / footpath towards either school gate but please be very mindful of 2 metre adult social distancing.
Many families previously had their own arrangements to meet children outwith the school grounds e.g.  at the top of the Loaning which would be helpful.

2.2 Wet Weather Arrangements 
On wet and windy mornings, from 8:45am, children should come in to the school using the nearest PE Hall door.  Older pupils and school staff will be there to help take younger children to their class.
On wet and windy afternoons P1 and P2 pupils will be brought to the hall and dismissed from the doors there. Older pupils will be dismissed from the main door downstairs. A School App message will be sent out to advise parents.
I have made a short video which shares the changes made to the morning arrival as all P1-7 now need to enter the school from the main playground. There is a marked waiting area for P1 and P2 and other classes should go to the area outside their classrooms.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iukv8HBFndw

2.3 Contact with the School 
Another impact of the Covid-19 restrictions is the need to keep visitor numbers to the school  to a minimum. We pride ourselves on having an approachable, welcoming ethos but, at this time, parents are asked, whenever possible to please contact the school by phone or by email.
The office email is gw08officecastle@ea.dumgal.sch.uk and classes will let parents know of their class email addresses.
Please be assured that if it is vital that a face to face meeting is needed than we will do our best to ensure this happens..
All visitors to the school building will be asked for their contact details according to the Test and Protect guidance.  Hand sanitiser will be at all entry points to the school and should be used by all visitors. This would include when handing items in to the school office for example.

School App 
The school has an App which is free for families to download and is very useful when sending out messages such as wet weather arrangements.
The App is available for both Android and Apple platforms. Search for School App for Parents and after downloading search for Castle Douglas in the school name.

2.4 School Car Park
Parents should not park in the school staff car park with the exception for Disabled Access. This to avoid congestion as well as ensuring that school staff, many who travel from outwith the Castle Douglas area and will be arriving between 8:30 and 8:50am, have a safe space to park.
To help with traffic flow in Jenny’s Loaning drop-offs only are permitted in the school car park. There is some parking in Jenny’s Loaning but there are designated school spaces as well as other parking spaces at the Market Hill which is a short distance from the school. Government guidelines encourage walking, cycling, etc to school as much as possible. Adults should please remember to observe social distancing at the Crossing Patrols.

3. School Meals
For the first week the School Meal option is a ‘cold’ lunch or please bring a Packed Lunch. There will be a choice of Ham, Cheese or Egg sandwich or wrap, and a biscuit, fruit and drink. P1-3 children are all entitled to a free meal. The Council is planning to establish a cashless catering option and provide envelopes for sending in money. More information to follow. In the meantime, please send any money in a sealed envelope with your child’s name, class and amount. A school meal costs £1.90 a day.
As the social distancing rules do not apply to children we will be able to use our school hall for lunches. There will however need to be slightly longer gaps between sittings to allow for tables to be cleaned and keep numbers limited in the hall.
I will be meeting with catering staff during the week to review how things are going and to look at when we can begin to introduce hot meals. I will let families know as soon as I can when this may happen.]
Your child is welcome to bring a water bottle to school. Please label it with their name and ensure it is filled at home. We are unfortunately unable to provide additional cups at the moment.

4. In the Classroom
Face coverings (or masks) do not need to be worn by pupils when they are in school or in the school playground.  Any child within the school wishing to wear a face covering is able to do so.
Hand sanitiser and wipes will be available in all classes and other areas throughout the school. Children can bring in their own soap and sanitiser if they wish. Bottles must be labelled clearly and for their own individual use.
Items coming into school from home should also be kept to a minimum for the time being and should fit into one bag. Please do not send toys with your child at the moment. Your child will be provided with their own stationary to use in class and they are able to bring a packed lunch and snack for playtime from home.

5. PE Activities
At this time, schools have been advised that PE should only be done outdoors. Classes will let families know which days are PE days.
To keep changing to a minimum then children should come to school wearing their PE clothes on these days e.g.  joggers and a t-shirt / top. The top can be their polo or school sweatshirt but any top is fine on these days.
In addition, the classroom doors and windows will be open for ventilation so your child may wish to bring a cardigan or jumper. Please label all items clearly with your child’s name to enable us to return any Lost Property easily.

Thank You
Thank you for taking the time to read through the above news. The Covid-19 Pandemic has brought many challenges to all aspects of daily life and our school is having to adapt to the restrictions too. I look forward to working with you as we settle in to our new routines while keeping safe and having an exciting and nurturing school once again.
Best wishes
David Tyson
Headteacher

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