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Letter from Director of Education

Director of Education letter 12th June 2020

Return arrangements

Welsh Government has directed schools to re-open on Monday 29th June for pupils in all year groups.  Pupils will not attend every day but will be divided into groups ‘bubbles’ to allow the school to adhere to government guidance regarding the number of children allowed in school at any one time. Welsh government guidelines state that in most cases children will have the opportunity to attend school on 2 days before the school holiday.  In practice, it is expected that the school will be able to accommodate, at most, a third of pupils at any one time.


Oldcastle Primary School wants to reassure parents and pupils that we have been planning for this announcement for quite some time.  We have developed a robust risk assessment and have been planning for re-opening for a number of weeks.   We hope this information provides answers to some of the questions you may have.  We may not have all the answers but we will try and respond as best we can. 


We are asking parents to complete a Return to School survey so that we may have an understanding of the number of pupils likely to attend school.  We have developed a FAQ's section on our website please click.


Year groups/times

It is expected that all learners should have the opportunity to attend their school for educational purposes over the remainder of the summer term for a short period.


Children in year groups nursery to year 6 will have the opportunity to return for a short period of time from Monday 29th June.   Once we have received information from parents via the Return to School survey we will be able to plan classes and attendance days effectively.  It is important that parents complete the survey in order for us to understand which pupils are likely to attend school.


It will not be safe for all children to return in the normal way and we will develop a timetable based on parents' responses.  It will not be possible for parents to opt into the return arrangements for the period up until the summer holidays.


Under no circumstances should pupils or staff attend schools/setting if they:

  • feel unwell, have any of the three identified COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or loss of taste or smell) or they have tested positive to COVID-19 in the past 14 days
  • live in a household with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive to COVID-19 in the past 14 days.

Pre-opening planning 

As a school, we are looking forward to welcoming our pupils back to school and have taken precautions to ensure the school environment is as safe as possible.  A thorough risk assessment has been undertaken and a comprehensive programme of measures have been implemented in consultation with our school governors and the Local Authority.
School access arrangements
Parents should adhere to the 2 metre social distancing guidelines at all times.  We are putting together plans for a one way system to access and exit the school grounds - this will be updated shortly.
On arrival at school children will access the school buildings via a designated entrance and will immediately be instructed to thoroughly wash their hands.  Hand sanitiser will also be provided.
We have been painting many of our internal areas with washable paint to ensure that our cleaning regime can be as rigorous as possible. 
All areas of the school have been deep cleaned throughout the lockdown period. We are extremely grateful to our cleaning team who have continued to ensure the school has been thoroughly cleaned during the closure period.
All non essential resources have been removed from classroom areas to aid our cleaning regime. Classroom areas will contain the minimum resources required by teaching staff to aid cleaning at the end of the day. Cleaning in main areas will take place throughout the day and will include door handles, tables, chairs, toilet facilities.
We have installed a number of hand sanitiser stations throughout the school building and pupils will be shown where these are situated and how to use the sanitiser.
Classroom Arrangements
Welsh Government guidelines state that no more than a third of children should be in school at any one time. 
We have rearranged our classroom areas to follow these guidelines and as a result pupils returning to school will be taught in small groups.  Children will stay in this ‘bubble’ throughout the school day.  Parents will be notified of specific days your child will attend school.
Each pupil will be allocated a table and chair as well as an individual supply of stationery, which will remain in school on their desk.

We will ensure that all staff and pupils regularly wash their hands and that these facilities are in place. Hands should be washed with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. Staff will also ensure learners are reminded of effective handwashing techniques. Regular handwashing should be undertaken including:

  • on arrival at and when leaving the school or setting
  • before and after handling food
  • before and after handling objects and equipment that may have been used by others
  • where there has been any physical contact
  • after people blow their nose, sneeze or cough

Appropriate supplies of antibacterial handwash and hand sanitiser will be provided.

Break / Lunchtime arrangements
Year groups will be allocated washroom facilities to use to limit cross-contamination.
The playground will be zoned to allow children to enjoy the outdoor environment during break and lunch times.  Children will have staggered break times to avoid a break of the social distancing rules.
We need to determine if children who attend school will be requiring a hot school dinner.  Parents should indicate this on the Pupil Return to School Survey.
Children who bring sandwiches will be able to eat these within their designated classroom area.
School Uniform
Pupils can wear school uniform if they wish but the main thing is to wear something that is comfortable and easily washable. Uniform / clothes that cannot be machine washed should be avoided. Ideally, we would encourage parents to send their child into school to wearing clean clothes every day but we understand this may not be possible
Pupil Illness
Pupils who have a high temperature, persistent cough, loss of taste etc should not attend school and follow the Public Health guidelines for isolating.  Pupils who attend school and appear unwell will have their temperature checked using our non contact thermometer. If a child displays the recognised symptoms, parents will be contacted to collect their child from school as soon as possible.  
Pupil Behaviour
If a child’s behaviour is deemed high risk, for example, refusing to adhere to safety measures, such as, hand washing, social distancing, remaining in their ‘bubble’ groups or deliberate behaviours that put themselves or others at risk, such as spitting or deliberately coughing at people.
The following sanctions and disciplinary procedures could be used:

  • Conversation(s) with pupil(s) which could include a verbal warning, moving seats if logistically possible and other behaviour management strategies in line with our current behaviour policy.
  • Once all appropriate behaviour management strategies have been exhausted, contact should be made with the pupil's parent/carer.


If the health and safety of other pupils and staff members are put at risk by the pupils not adhering to social distancing measures, then the parent/carer will be expected to collect the pupil from school.
Pupils with Special Educational Needs
Miss Hodgson will liaise directly with any children with special educational needs.
Pupils with specific medical needs
Pupils with specific medical needs will be contacted by the school to discuss arrangements for returning to school.