Welcome to our sixth and last newsletter this session. All newsletters are placed on Twitter @RoystonPrimary and on the school website. During this very unusual time this newsletter takes on a slightly different meaning in some ways. I will update on what has been happening in school recently but the main purpose is to share some information with you regarding August official start. I do not know all the answers at this moment as the situation and government guidance is ever changing! I will share as much as I know, in addition to some advice, suggestions and thoughts.
I want to say a huge thank you to all – parents, carers and pupils! You have been doing a fantastic job of supporting each other throughout this tricky time. I have no doubt you, like me, have had some ups and downs along the way but the most important thing is that you are all safe and well. I want to thank you for your engagement in school activities, for chatting to us when we have called and for completing our online surveys recently. These are really important to us as they help us shape future supports and strategies, ensuring we provide the best service we can. Also thanks to our housing associations, Royston Youth Action and Healthy Living Centre. We have strengthened our links with these organisations as we continue to ensure appropriate supports for all our families.
Although school may have been generally closed to your child, we have never been closed! We have worked closely with colleagues and families surrounding in providing childcare for keyworker children. Staff have volunteered to provide childcare. In addition, staff have created interesting home learning tasks, communicated with pupils by e-mail, completed assessment and evaluation work in line with school priorities, undertaken professional development opportunities in various aspects, telephoned all pupils/families several times and hand delivered around 45 home learning packs each week for those with no IT access. This is just a wee glimpse of what has been happening behind the scenes in order to continue to work effectively for our families. At present almost all staff have returned to the building full time and have been working hard to prepare for P1 and P7 transitions in June and start of school term in August, when every class teacher is moving class! It is time for a change and what better time than this!
For session 2020/21 we have a superb staff team. Our class teachers are as follows:
P2/1 – Mr Thomson (Mrs Mair)
P3 – Miss Johnstone (Ms White)
P5/4 – Miss Bonner (Mrs Young)
P6/5 – Mr Gillen (Miss Fraser)
P7 – Mr Steer (Mr Doherty)
EAL – Ms MacLelland
Pupil Support – Ms Jee
Pupil Support – Mrs McDougall, Ms Gorrell, Mrs Atala and Miss Carmichael
Admin Team – Mrs Spence and Mrs Kent
Janitor – Super Andy!
Main class teachers are shown first with supporting class teachers shown in brackets. I will explain more on that a little later. Your child’s class teacher is in the process of setting up for August and will be preparing an information sheet with some pictures to let your child see who their teacher will be and what their class will look like. This will be sent to you as soon as it is ready.
Mrs Mair is set to return from her maternity leave and we look forward to having her back with us!
A sad goodbye
We are sad to have to say good bye to Miss Burns who has been with us for a year in P7/6. She has been such a great asset to our school and we will miss her! Miss Burns we wish you well in your new post with the EAL service and hope you eventually make it back to work with us – it is a small world!
It is very difficult to understand what the expectation is for education in August – guidance and structures seem to be ever changing! We have spent some time planning for August, although feeling like we may need to have a number of different plans in order to respond to the situation at that time!
At present we are looking to welcome all pupils back for 2 full days each week. We will give specific information on this as soon as we have it. Obviously pupils will spend 3 days out of school and class teachers will provide learning tasks to cover this period of time. Access to IT presents a little bit of challenge around this but we are looking at ways to support this and will try to ensure equity for all no matter IT status. If you require childcare during the 3 days out of school, you will apply for this via a centralised system on Glasgow online. It is unlikely that this childcare would happen within the school building though. I believe locations are yet to be decided.
Class Groups and Bubbles
Ultimately every class will be split into 2 sub-classes – group A and B. Group A will attend school Monday and Tuesday with school work being provided for Wednesday-Friday. Group B will attend Thursday and Friday with school work being provided for Monday-Wednesday. Each ‘class’ each day will only ever have approx. 12 children in it. As you will have read above, each class has been allocated 2 teachers. This is so that, within the 12 children each day, we can create bubbles of approx.. 6 children with one teacher. This is all in order to facilitate careful social distancing without the children being aware or stressed about it. We pride ourselves on our nurturing approach and must be mindful we are working with some very young children. We will do all we can to encourage social distancing in a natural and relaxed way by using maximum school capacity – accommodation and staffing.
Recovery, resilience and re-connection
As an authority much research and work is being undertaken around the above. It is well recognised that almost all pupils have been out of the school building for a long period of time and therefore a systematic approach to re-connection is going to be necessary. Almost all pupils have had limited to no contact with other people aside from those living in their house. This is an aspect where careful and gentle planning is required. We will recover a highly functioning school again, but it will take time, commitment and most importantly, excellent parent/school partnership. We are not expecting pupils to walk into school on the first day as if nothing different has happened! We will all need time to adjust to school life again and we can do this through continual support of each other.
An actual first day of school for August has yet to be confirmed but when we know, we will create a start-up plan. This will give you clear information about your child’s days in school and what we will do to support re-connection with our pupils and their families.
Our key priority in August will be to promote resilience in pupils with a health and wellbeing focus. This alongside core curricular aspects of literacy and numeracy. We will work closely with all our families ensuring each individual pupil/families re-connection to school is supported to best suit their specific needs. We are in a very fortunate position of being a fairly small school, this allows us the flexibility required for this delicate task.
Glasgow City council is working in partnership with Cordia to ensure increased cleaning of our building. Stopping the spread of coronavirus is largely about hygiene and as such, classes, corridors and toilets will be monitored and cleaned more frequently throughout the day. School will be closed on a Wednesday to pupils in order that a weekly deep clean will be undertaken. All soft toys, cushions and blankets will be removed and stored as we are not permitted to have these due to risk of infection. In classrooms pupils will have some personal resources to use in their tray. All games, activities and books will be frequently wiped clean by teaching and support staff, numerous times throughout the day. This is another reason for having very small groups of children working together with one teacher.
At present we are fitting additional soap dispensers in classrooms – previously these were only fitted in toilets. Pupils will have a regime of hand washing over the course of the day and will always be encouraged not to touch their face – this is tricky for young children!
Our school will be fitted with hand sanitising stations at main entrances although these will not replace hand washing with soap and water, as this is proven to be more effective.
Our staff will generally not wear PPE during regular tasks. Staff would always wear gloves if pupils are sick or have an accident involving blood – this has been normal practice for a number of years and will not change. We will also have a supply of face masks and visors should there be a requirement for intimate care of pupils ie changing toilet accident clothing or changing nappies.