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)

 

February 19th – Letter to parents from Professor J Leitch, Clinical Director – link

Family Update – February 18th

Dear CDPS Family

I hope that this email finds everyone keeping safe and well.

Please click this link to read a letter from the Director for Education, Dr Brydson, sharing information about the return to school for Nursery and P1-3 age, the continuation of remote learning for P4-7 age and emergency childcare for keyworker children.. During Tuesday’s announcement by the First Minister it was mentioned that there will be a review in early March of when P4-7 may be able to return full-time so it may not be too long until we can welcome everyone back in to school.

P4-7 staff will continue to set weekly learning activities from their class pages and please do keep in contact using the class emails and Microsoft Teams meetings.

Nursery and P1-3 age Return to School Arrangements
We will continue with the arrangements that we had up to Christmas. Although there is no requirement for Nursery and Primary age children to social distance we will be keeping to ‘class bubbles’ as much as possible with regular hand washing and being mindful of other people’s personal space and belongings a priority for all our learners and staff.

Good ventilation is key to reducing transmission and children should please come appropriately dressed for both cooler indoor classrooms and for outdoor PE and play activities. Any warm, comfortable clothing is fine and there is no requirement to wear school uniform.

Start and Finish times are the same as before.

P1- 8:50 am start – please come to the main doors downstairs and 2:50pm finish from the hall doors.
P2 class – 9:00am start at the main door downstairs and 3:00pm pickup from the hall.
P2/3, P3 and P3/4 – 9am and 3pm – usual classroom doors.

Wet weather arrangements are also the same. The hall door will be open from 8:45am if it is very wet and / or windy.

Lunchtime arrangements are still to be finalised but will be similar to before. If wishing a school meal it would be very helpful if Nursery and P1-3 could pre-order using the links below by 11am tomorrow (Friday 19th). A daily check will also be made each morning in class.

Nursery Meal Order Form

P1-3 Meal Order Form

Adults are reminded that face coverings should please be worn and social distancing observed at all times when in the school grounds. As before the staff car park should not be used by parents for parking and only for dropping off when a child can then make their own way into the playground.

A reminder that children should not come to school if they, or a family member, has Covid-19 symptoms and should seek a test and advice from the NHS.

Your support and help in following both national and school guidelines is very much appreciated.

P3 and P6a Staffing
Mrs Philpott is continuing to work from home just now and Mrs Potts will be P3 teacher for the whole week. Mrs Philpott will also be helping Mrs Hart with P6a home learning activities. This will be reviewed when P6a are able to return to school full-time.

Please do contact me at the school if you wish any further details about the above.

Keep well and stay safe.

Best wishes
David Tyson
Headteacher

Family Update – February 11th

Dear CDPS Family

I hope this email finds you keeping safe and well.

Please find below a letter from the Director for Education regarding the proposed return to school for Nursery and P1-3 age and also some information about regular Covid-19 ‘Lateral-Flow’ testing for school staff to support keeping our school as safe as possible.

Mid-Term Holiday and keeping in touch. 

A reminder that the school is closed next week for the Mid-Term holiday and staff Inservice training. However if you need to make contact next week please do send an email to either cdpslearning@gmail.com or the school office gw08officecastle@ea.dumgal.sch.uk or phone / leave a text message to 07385 175791.
Proposed Return to School for Nursery, P1 to P3 and School Meal Orders 

We are expecting the school to reopen for Nursery and P1-3 pupils from Monday 22nd February. The First Minister will be making an announcement next Tuesday (16th) to confirm what the national decision will be.

In the meantime could I please ask Nursery and P1-3 families, to complete the appropriate School Meal order form below (one for each child in the family) by 12 noon on Thursday 18th.. The School Meals Service has changed their menu from the one sent home just before Christmas to a two-week rota which will run to the end of term.

Nursery Meal Order Form

P1-3 Meal Order Form

Thank you for continuing to do your best with the home learning activities and keeping in touch with us. It is challenging time in so many ways and the positive and caring attitude from our school community has been a shining light since the first restrictions were introduced last March.

Have an enjoyable Mid-term holiday and keep safe.

Best wishes

David Tyson
Headteacher

 

 

Family Update – February 3rd

Dear CDPS Family

I hope you are keeping safe and well.

Phased Return to School 
You may be aware that the First Minister announced yesterday that it Is planned to have a phased return to school starting on 22nd February, for Nursery and P1-3 children in the first instance, and this is to be confirmed in two weeks’ time.
Schools are waiting on further details, including arrangements for emergency childcare hubs for P4-7 age, and I will let you know once further information has been shared by the Government and our Education Department.
In the meantime we will begin preparing for this return and very much hope that it won’t be too long until we can welcome all our learners back in to school.

Mid-Term Holiday 
A reminder that there is a mid-term holiday for all our learners from 15th to 19th February.

Stationery Packs 
There are still some packs to be collected by families who ordered them using the January survey. Please come to the school office to collect these. If no longer required please do let us know so they can be offered to other families.
There are also some spare packs. If you would like a pack please send an email to gw08officecastle@ea.dumgal.sch.uk and we’ll confirm what is available.

Scotland Themed Photograph Competition 
Thank you for all the super entries. These are being shared with Castle Douglas Rotary members who are doing the judging and what a tricky job they will have.

Family Learning Challenge Booklet 
The Education Department’s Lifelong Learning Team has launched a Family Challenge Programme for the whole family to get involved in.

Information Leaflet – please see attached file.

Challenge 1 – Challenge your family to complete SIX activities in any one of the categories in the Family Challenge Booklet. If you complete six challenges in one category e.g. 6 STEM (Science, Technology Engineering, Maths) challenges or 6 READING challenges you can gain a certificate and a medal PLUS have the opportunity to complete a Hi5 Award.

Challenge 2 – Complete ALL 4 categories (overall 24 challenges) and you can gain all of the above but also the LLT’s top surprise prize!

Challenges can be counted in the categories if they match up with something a child has done in the past or something they are currently doing for a School Home Learning activity. All the LLT need is a picture, or some photographs or some written evidence that they have done it. For ideas about challenges families can access the LLT Padlet (Virtual Bulletin Board) which has a Home Learning section but also other sections including STEM, Literacy, Numeracy etc. The padlet gives ideas for activities covering all curricular areas.
Please see this link for access – https://padlet.com/annmcshane/LifelongLearningTeam

Thank you
The numbers of positive Covid-19 cases continue to fall in our area and this is due to the support given by our community in following the restrictions and keeping ourselves safe and well. It is a very challenging time but this positive support is playing its part in keeping transmission levels low and allowing our schools to begin to reopen in the near future. Thank you..

Stay Safe

Best wishes
David Tyson
Headteacher

Family Update – January 27th

Dear CDPS Family

Could I please pass a big thank you from our staff team for the work you are sharing from home using the class emails. There is a size issue when sharing larger files by email e.g. video clips.

I’ve created a ‘Family Uploads 2021’ folder which can be used to share large files. Click on the link below and then drag and drop files in to the folder. If you could please also send a brief email to cdpslearning@gmail.com about the file and include child’s name then I’ll know which class to share the file with.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/111zpouDkhmxxpEQxbhzf5CksVrFdKoXz?usp=sharing

Education Department Photograph Request
The Education Department is looking for photographs of home learning. The photographs can be of children at work, examples of finished work, images of families learning together and also wellbeing images e.g. family walks, outdoor play. Wellbeing is a key feature in supporting learning especially at this challenging time.
Families are invited to send in a photograph if you wish. Images will be shared with the Education Department and, if used, on the Council website. Consent for this will be assumed for images sent in. Please add a caption to describe what is in the photograph.
If this is of interest please send images to cdpslearning@gmail.com by Tuesday 2nd February or use the shared folder above.

Take care and very best wishes
David Tyson
Headteacher

 

Family Update – January 25th

Dear CDPS Family

Staffing News 
Miss Rebecca McKie has been appointed as our new Nursery Manager and will be starting her new post next Monday. We look forward to welcoming Miss McKie to the Nursery and School team.

Online Learning Safety and Procedures 
A copy of the Police Online Safety Advice Sheet for parents and also a reminder of Dumfries and Galloway’s Safe and Responsible Internet Use which was shared with families last August can be downloaded from our website page and also from the links below.

Police Scotland Online Safety Advice for Parents

Safe and Responsible Use – Dumfries and Galloway Council

Children and staff are settling in to the routines for the online Teams meetings. Families are asked to be mindful when online meetings are taking place to as much as possible, set up laptops, tablets, etc in a quiet place. This is in case children are using their microphone as the teacher, and everyone else in the meeting, is able to hear any background noise and other voices.

Keeping in Touch 
Please do keep in touch with class teachers or the school office to let us know how things are going. We will do our very best to help as much as we can with any issues.
Stationery Packs arrived in school today. There is a bit of work needed to sort them out and we’ll let families who booked a pack know once they are ready for pickup.

Scots Photograph Competition 
A reminder that there is a competition for all ages to submit a photograph by this Friday 31st. The theme is Scotland to fit in with our school topic this month. For example the photograph can be of a painting or model, baking and cooking, dressing up, outdoor scene, favourite view, etc. Be as creative as you wish!
There are only two rules

  1. There needs to be a Scottish link.
  1. Where something has been made then it should be the child’s own work and if at all possible children should take the photograph too.

Please email photographs to cdpslearning@gmail.com by 12 noon on Friday 31st January.

Please keep safe and well. The numbers of positive tests in Dumfries and Galloway is reducing but still remain worryingly high. Take care.

Best wishes
David Tyson
​​​​​​​Headteacher

 

 

 

Family Update – January 18th

Dear CDPS Family

I hope this email finds you keeping safe and well.

Teachers have uploaded this week’s Home Learning activities to the school website (link).  Staff are also setting up Microsoft Teams meetings, and there may also be smaller group meetings, to enable children and staff to have more ‘face-to-face’ time together. It is so much better this time to be able to see the children on screen – makes the online meetings more meaningful for both children and staff.

Please check class emails and also your child’s Teams tile on GLOW or desktop App for meeting times. Meetings are listed in the General ‘chat’ page of each Teams Group.

Microsoft Teams – Advice 
Microsoft Teams app can be downloaded to laptops, phone and tablets which allows you to see more than one person at a time – up to 9 depending on what hardware is being used. This is a lot less than other software like Zoom but we are restricted to using Teams for school activities.
Please remember when logging in to Teams out with GLOW (i.e. using the downloaded app) that the GLOW username is followed by @glow.sch.uk and then use GLOW password.

Another advantage of downloading the app is that there are more features e.g. when you join a meeting you can choose Background Filters which blurs the background of the room you are in. There are quite a few options to choose from and it enables the user to keep their room more private.

Teams Protocols 
It is very helpful, when joining a Teams Meeting, to have your microphone off. There can often be a lot of feedback when lots of microphones are on at the same time. Could I also please ask that children only use the Chat facility for questions and responses to the class teacher so that the focus is on the learning being shared and not distracted by other messages – thank you 🙂

BT Wi-fi Vouchers  https://www.businessdirect.bt.com/sectors/education/free-wi-fi/

BT are running a scheme to provide free Wi-Fi access vouchers to families who may have difficulty accessing the internet at home. Each Wi-Fi voucher code will allow access to the internet on up to three devices at a time, for free, until the end of July 2021. Access will be provided through BT’s network of over 5 million Wi-Fi hotspots around the country and includes comprehensive content filtering. However please be aware that not every address will be near a BT Wi-Fi hotspot. There is a webpage where connectivity can be checked – https://www.btwifi.com/find/
Vouchers need to be ordered through the school. BT are allocating vouchers based on Free school Meal numbers.
If this is of interest please send an email to the School Office gw08officecastle@ea.dumgal.sch.uk or phone 01556 502071 with your name, child (ren’s) name (s) and your postcode by 5pm on Thursday 21st January.

Castle Douglas Rotary Photograph Competition.
Castle Douglas Rotary has kindly offered to provide some prizes for a photography competition during the current Lockdown. The theme is Scotland to fit in with our school topic this month. For example the photograph can be a painting or model, baking and cooking, dressing up, outdoor scene, favourite view, etc. Be as creative as you wish!
There are only two rules

  1. There needs to be a Scottish link.
  1. Where something has been made then it should be the child’s own work and if at all possible children should take the photograph too.

Please email photographs to cdpslearning@gmail.com by 12 noon on Friday 31st January.
Please add your child’s name, class and a brief description of the photograph.
Photographs will be shared with members of CD Rotary who will be doing the judging and it is planned to share them on our website. Please let us know if you do not give permission to share on the website.

Please do continue to contact teachers via the class emails with any news or learning queries and you are also welcome to email the School Office gw08officecastle@ea.dumgal.sch.uk or telephone 01556 502071 with other queries.  Please do leave a message if no one is available to help you at the time.

Keep safe and well
Best wishes
David Tyson
Headteacher

 

 


Family Update – January 8th

Dear CDPS Family

Firstly, I hope that you are all keeping well. The Covid-19 numbers are very challenging in Dumfries and Galloway just now and the priority is to stay safe and well.

  1. a) Online Learning

We start online learning on Monday. Ideas and activities for Nursery will be shared using the Nursery Facebook page and the Nursery webpage is https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/dg/cdps/elc-nursery-home-learning/

P1-7 classes have their own webpage and there are also some general help pages on the school website https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/dg/cdps/

Learning grids will be shared on the webpages on Monday mornings. The grids list activities for most curricular areas and there are also links to websites for activities to further support learning.

As for the previous Lockdown please do the best you can with the online learning. It is so dependent on IT resources  e.g . needing to share a laptop with other family members,  internet access and also time for adults to help and encourage. Meanwhile the daily household activities are also going on so we understand that not all learning activities may be done. Please do what you can.

  1. b) Virtual Meetings – Microsoft Teams

In the weeks ahead teachers will be planning and preparing new work to share using the weekly learning grids as well as some online virtual Team Meetings with either class or smaller groups.

Scottish school children (P1-7) have a GLOW account which is a secure intranet system which comes with the Microsoft Office 365 software and can be downloaded free of charge on to home IT equipment. This includes Microsoft Teams which is the only platform we are allowed to use for virtual meetings. (We are only using Teams for virtual teacher / pupil meetings. All other online information is on the class webpages.)

We had some experience of using Teams during the last Lockdown for virtual meetings and I am very pleased to let you know that the Scottish Government has changed permissions so that staff will be able to see pupils online this time and I’m assuming pupils will be able to see their friends too. Teachers will be setting Teams Meetings for next week to see how well we can engage with this. Connectivity may be a problem for example but it is certainly worth trying, seeing if there are any issues and doing our best together to overcome them.

There are instructions on how to log in to GLOW and access Teams on our website https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/dg/cdps/p1-7-loginanditadvice/

Most of our P1-3 pupils have not used Glow in school and will need help to login. Search for GLOW Scotland on Google or similar search engine which will take you to the login page. (Class teachers are sending out individual login and password details.) Please then follow the instructions on the web page above to set up GLOW and access features like Microsoft Teams.

The weblink above also has advice on how to access GLOW on PS4 and Xbox platforms. A Microsoft Teams app can also be downloaded to mobile phones and tablets and I find it easier to log in to than on a laptop.

On Android or Apple platforms search for the Microsoft Teams App. Once downloaded it will ask your child to sign in using work, school or Microsoft account.

Enter glow login name (older pupil should know this and class teacher will be emailing out individual logins) followed by @glow.sch.uk    e.g. gw16surnamefirstname@glow.sch.uk

Input Glow password and that should then give your child access to Microsoft Teams. Meeting dates should appear in the Chat area. Click on the meeting and choose join. We are also planning to add meeting dates to the school online calendar on the School App.

Internet Safety and Safeguarding.
Within Teams there is an option to record meetings but for data protection and safeguarding reasons the Council policy is that Team meetings should not be recorded at home.

Please do have a trial run at accessing Microsoft Teams and let us know of any difficulties.

 

Stationery Resources

Due to the holidays and the rapid introduction of the current Lockdown we have not been able to prepare any stationery packs to help with learning at home – some pencils, crayons, rubber and paper. The school has only a limited stock at this time of year and our new requisition and budget is not due until March. However Castle Douglas Rotary Club has once again offered to help out by offering to purchase some additional resources. In the first instance I need to have a rough idea of what to order and have created a very short survey which I would ask you to complete by 12 noon on Monday 11th.  I would hope that we could get the items delivered to the school by the end of next week and make arrangements for collection then.

The Rotary’s donation will go a long way towards to providing a minimum of a pack per family and hopefully more. If you would like to ‘order’ a pack please complete the survey over the weekend.

Link to survey

 

Staying Connected – Keeping Safe

Whilst our school is closed for normal classes, it’s really important to us that pupils still know that they someone to talk to and that they feel safe. Although teachers might not be in the school building, they are still working, and so, there are still ways for pupils to keep in touch. Below are some useful numbers and other things to think about.

Staying in Touch with School

Named Person school email addresses – gw08officecastle@ea.dumgal.sch.uk

You can also contact your class teacher using the class learning email which is on the your class website page – https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/dg/cdps/

Contact the school and leave a message – 01556 502071


If you feel worried or unsafe, here are some people you can speak to

Childline – 0800 1111 online chat to ChildLine options

Police 101 or in an emergency 999

Social Work 030 33 33 3000

 

Keep safe.
Best wishes
David Tyson
Headteacher

 

 

 

 

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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