COVID-19 Updates

We will continue to follow the most up to date advice from Government.  To stay up to date please follow us on Twitter or Facebook and if you are a parent please ensure we have a mobile number to send texts out to.

Our Covid Action Plan is in the Documents section, under Documents and Policies. To open it from here, click this link > Covid Catch Up

Wednesday 24th February 2021

A letter from the MAT CEO

Tuesday 23rd February 2021

A letter about the reopening of school to all children

Wednesday 28th January 2021

A letter about the program to have ongoing testing of staff for COVID-19.

Guidance Wednesday 18th November 2020

Reminder re Covid 19 rules:

· If your child has been advised to self-isolate by school, they MUST stay at home. They are not allowed to leave the house. This includes not leaving the house to walk the dog, go to the shops or collect a sibling from school. They must stay in their own house and not be looked after by other people.

· If your child or anyone in your household has symptoms of coronavirus you MUST self-isolate and book a test for the symptomatic individual. You must inform the school that a test is being taken and then notify us of the result. Your household must isolate until the result is received – you cannot go to work, to the shops or to see your friends.

· If we send your child home from school with Covid symptoms you must book them a test. Your household must self-isolate until you receive the test result.

· We are in a National Lockdown and households should NOT be mixing unless they are part of a childcare or support bubble, these bubbles cannot be with several different households – please refer to government guidance. You should not be having sleepovers, parties or inviting children round to play.

· Children should NOT be playing out after school yet they are informing us that they are.

Please remember that these are government guidelines due to the ongoing global pandemic and they are not rules from school.

Thank you so much to those who are following the guidelines and for your support in this matter.

Information Sunday 6th September

Dear Parents and Carers,

We are at the end of the first week back at school and the children have been delightful - happy to be back, keen to learn and enjoying their time.

We do however have a confirmed case of Coronavirus in school.  The individual was sent home upon showing symptoms and we immediately contacted Public Health England who carried out a full investigation with us. 

Public Health England advised that as no child had been in close contact with the individual there was no need for any child to stay at home or self-isolate as a result.

I wish to reassure you all, that we continue to adhere to the strictest protective measures in school in line with Government guidance and Public Health England advice.

Of course I will update you with any developments going forwards.

Thank you for your continued support,

L Chambers

Headteacher

INFORMATION MONDAY 13th JULY

Newsletter - Summer 2020

It has been a strange and unique few weeks in all our lives as Coronavirus has taken over……but we are thankfully now starting to see small signs of our world getting back to a bit of normality. The NHS and key workers have worked tirelessly throughout all of this to keep our country moving and support those in the grip of this awful pandemic.

We must not of course, forget the hard work put in by all of you and the pupils during this time…..having to home-school your children and ensure they keep up with their learning as much as possible, has been a difficult and frustrating task at times, I’m sure. But you all have done a sterling job and the pupils should be extremely proud of themselves!! It is unfortunate that the end of this school year is not the same as other years; we haven’t been able to welcome our new starters in the same way, nor say a proper ‘goodbye’ to our Year sixes who are moving on to Secondary school, but rest assured, we are thinking of you and wish you all the very best for your future!

September will soon be upon us and a new academic year will begin; but it won’t be the same as we are used to. We will need to continue to be vigilant, to maintain social distancing wherever possible, wash our hands regularly and be mindful of recognising any symptoms.

School life will be different too….but I am confident that our St Aidan’s family will win through and we will be there for each other, supporting and caring for one another as we always do.

As from 1st September, there will be some changes to ensure a safe and smooth running of the school:

  • Nursery – To enter and exit via Nursery gate/Nursery entrance (8.40am – 11.40am/12.20pm – 3.20pm)
  • Reception – To enter and exit via Reception gate/Reception doors 8.50am/3.10pm
  • Year One – To enter and exit via double gates on KS1 yard/ hall doors on KS1 yard 8.40am/3pm
  • Year Two – To enter and exit via double gates on KS1 yard/ Key Stage One entrance 8.50am/3.10pm
  • Year Three – To enter and exit via side gate near school field/ hall doors on KS2 yard 8.50am/3.10pm
  • Year Four – To enter and exit via side gate near school field/ hall doors on KS2 yard 8.40am/3pm
  • Year Five – To enter and exit via side gate on KS2 yard/ Key Stage Two entrance 8.40am/3pm
  • Year Six – To enter and exit via side gate on KS2 yard/ Key Stage Two entrance 8.50am/3.10pm

It is vital of course that these drop-off and pick-up times are adhered to in order to comply with Government guidance and that social distancing is maintained on the school site – this is for the benefit of everyone.

We will be continually reviewing our policies and procedures in light of Government guidance and as such there may be adaptations that have to be put in place, but rest assured, our key priority is that our pupils are happy, safe and continue their learning journey.

Please keep an eye on the school website over the summer break for updated information – Thank you!

I wish all of you a healthy and happy summer break and we look forward to welcoming you all back to school in September with a smile on our faces.

Best wishes – Miss Chambers

INFORMATION WEDNESDAY 8th JULY

7th July 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

As our schools will shortly be closing for the summer holidays I just wanted to thank you again for your patience and support throughout this pandemic and take the opportunity to inform you of how we will be moving forwards in September.

As you will know the government has now published a significant amount of new guidance for schools which will apply from September.  We have now reviewed this guidance with our schools and they are working through this with our Health and Safety advisors.  Your school will provide you with further specific information about how your school will return in September including possible adaptions to start and finish times and instructions as to how you can help to ensure the environment is as safe as possible for our children and staff when they return.

I am sure you will agree that one of the most encouraging aspects of the new guidance is that from September ALL children should be back in school. With this in mind we have looked at our curriculum in every school and asked our leaders to focus on a period of ‘settling in’ for the children and time to reflect upon the period that has gone before us.  All of us in some shape or form will have been affected by the pandemic and, as a Trust, we want to make sure we can support you and your child as best as we can.   I realise for some of you there will be a level of anxiety about your child coming back to school and, as a parent, I fully understand this.  However, I can reassure you that our schools are committed to following the guidance for September carefully and fully supporting your children in their return. 

During the period of COVID the Trust has worked behind the scenes to support all of our schools at many different levels.  Our main focus and priority however, has been keeping your children and our staff safe.  We are grateful to our Leaders and staff who have worked closely with our Health and Safety Team to ensure we have properly and confidently assessed the risks in all of our schools and this will continue when your children return to school in September.

Sadly when we return it is clear there will still be ‘risk’.  People will still have COVID and the risk of transmission of the virus will still exist.  Our commitment to you is that we will communicate with you promptly and clearly if we have a concern, however, we need a commitment from you that you will act swiftly and in accordance with the guidance if we are worried about your child.  We will need you to ensure that if your child is showing symptoms of COVID that they are isolated and tested as quickly as possible.  We will inform public health England of every child that we send home with symptoms to ensure the Track and Trace System is ready to alert others should a test return as positive.  We are waiting for confirmation that we will be given testing kits in school to issue to families of children who show symptoms to help speed the process up.

We acknowledge that as we return there will be other bugs and viruses that are not COVID but manifest themselves in a similar way.  Please understand and bear with us – if their symptoms are the same as COVID we will ask you to seek a test and your child will have to be isolated until the outcome of that test is known.  I realise this will be frustrating however, we have to protect our staff and other children.

In the event of a possible further ‘lockdown’ all of our schools will be able to switch to an online learning platform or learning packs.  Like many others we have learned a great deal throughout this period about what works and what doesn’t so our aim is to ensure that resources will be available that are in line with the curriculum that would have been offered in school.

I hope and pray that you have a happy and safe summer break.  Like you we have never experienced anything quite like this before and I think staff in our schools are in desperate need of some time to rest and recuperate.  We look forward to welcoming you back in September and will of course keep in contact should anything change before then.

Yours sincerely

Paul Rickeard

Chief Executive Officer

Durham Diocesan MAT

INFORMATION FRIDAY 3rd JULY

As next week is our final full week of term (we break up for the Summer at the end of the day on Tuesday 14th July) we want to give out the children's end of year reports and information about who their next teacher will be.
To help reduce the number of people coming to the office at any one time, these are the days reports will be available:

Nursery and Reception – Tuesday 7th July
Y1 and Y2 – Wednesday 8th July
Y3 and Y4 – Thursday 9th July
Y5 and Y6 – Friday 10th July

After school closes for the Summer, any remaining reports will be kept till September when we look forward to welcoming all children back.

UPDATE THURSDAY 25th JUNE

Dear Parents/Carers,

Tuesday’s announcements have led to a general surge in requests for places in our Trust Schools. As you know our head teachers and staff have been working incredibly hard to keep our schools open to vulnerable children; key worker groups and now the ‘priority year groups’ (Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6). As yet we have no detail/guidance from the Department of Education regarding new social distancing rules and/or if the bubble limits will be changed. Each of our schools is unique in its layout and every school has different levels of available staffing due to ‘shielding’ or children with specialist requirements.

Once we have received the updates from the Department for Education we will study them and meet with our Health and Safety team to determine if, or when, we will be able to admit more children this term. I do want to say thank you for the patience you have afforded us over the time. As a parent I fully appreciate the complexities of the current situation. Managing work, home learning and the overall effect of COVID is challenging for all of us. I can assure you we are desperate to have our schools back to full operation with teaching and learning back up to capacity as it was prior to the pandemic. However, we can only do this when we are all in agreement about how and when this can be done safely for all of our staff and children in line with the revised guidance.

I hope to update you further in the coming days.

Yours sincerely

Paul Rickeard

Chief Executive Officer

Durham Diocesan MAT

UPDATE TUESDAY 2nd JUNE

We have put our final risk assessments in place for our wider opening to more children with the timescales outlined in our previous update.  The document can be accessed in our policies section or by clicking here

UPDATE WEDNESDAY 27th MAY - DDMAT

Dear Parents and Carers,

May I start by thanking you for your patience as I, along with your Headteachers and wider staff work hard to manage the wider re opening of our Trust Schools across four local authorities. When I last wrote to you I wanted to give you an indication of our thoughts about how, and when, we would look to the wider re-opening of our schools.

 

On Sunday the Government published further guidance regarding how we manage the Early Years settings in each of the schools and this had led to a further re-drafting of our risk assessments and today we have heard from two local authorities who are phasing back the wider re opening to the 15th June. We have also heard from a number of you who are Key Workers who now wish to take up a place for your child where this has not been required previously. In light of this and the need to ensure clarity around numbers in school when implementing and reviewing risk assessments I have asked Directors of the Trust to agree a delay in wider opening.

 

I realise this decision will be incredibly difficult for some of you as your employers may now require you to return to work. I also know the vast majority of our children want to come back to school to continue their learning and socialise with their friends. However, the safety of your children and our school staff will always take precedence and we need to ensure staff have time to properly prepare and plan for each stage of re-opening under their school’s risk assessment.

 

With this in mind please see our reviewed timetable below:

1st June: Key worker Children and Vulnerable Children

8th June: Key worker Children and Vulnerable Children

15th June: Nursery (If applicable) and Reception

22nd June: Year 1

29th June: Year 6

 

More details will follow from each of our schools along with a link to the Risk Assessment that has been created for each setting on school websites.

 

Thank you again for your patience and understanding.

Yours sincerely,

 

Paul Rickeard

Chief Executive Officer

Durham Diocesan MAT

UPDATE 1 of 2 Thursday 21st May - DDMAT

Dear Parents and Carers

As our schools prepare for wider opening I just wanted to explain some of the changes you and your children will experience coming back into our buildings.

As you know, the vast majority of our schools have never closed.  All staff have been involved since lockdown in preparing work for children and supporting vulnerable children and children of Key workers in particular, those who have needed child care.  As we move forwards we will no longer be offering the same model and school timings will need to change.  We will not for example be able to offer ‘wrap around’ childcare to any of our children from the 1st  June.  So where schools have previously offered extended opening times (usually of 8am-5pm) this will no longer be the case as we need to ensure children remain in consistent small groups (or ‘bubbles’) with the same staff in line with government guidance.

Start times and end times of the school day will be staggered and ALL TRUST SCHOOLS will close from 2pm on a Friday to allow the buildings to be thoroughly cleaned.  This will also give staff a chance to prepare work for the following week.  Usually staff would have time to do this in the school day, however as we need a consistent member of staff with each group this is the only time we can allocate for staff to plan.  I am immensely proud of how our staff teams have worked so hard and have gone above and beyond what is usually expected.

I must stress the importance of collecting children promptly at the end of the school day and making sure you are keeping to your allotted time of arrival.  Drop off and collection of our children has been specifically planned in line with our risk assessments and will follow usual school opening times.  Please also bear in mind a number of our schools are in housing estates where again we have concerned residents who have asked us to remind parents about social distancing.  We would suggest only one person collects and or drops off a child school.

Over the last few weeks, our Health and Safety Team have been working with school leaders to determine the maximum number of children we can safely accommodate on site.  This has included measuring classroom spaces; checking levels of ventilation and moving furniture out of rooms that is difficult to clean.  The majority of our schools will be full to their safe capacity as identified under their bespoke risk assessments relatively quickly – we cannot deploy additional buildings overnight.  Where one of our schools reaches capacity we will be working with the Local Authority to prioritise space for any eligible children who we are unable to accommodate in other schools.

Parents who are key/critical workers and who have requested ‘sessions’ as opposed to full time cover over the least 8 weeks will now need to decide if children are coming into school full time or not taking a place.  We can no longer operate a ‘rota’ for children.  I ask that you inform your school as soon as possible, and in any event by Friday 22 May, if you would like a full time place for your child (if you are a key/cirtical worker) as once we start wider reopening, we may not be able to accommodate your child due to limited capacity, as further groups of children become eligible for return to school.  Similarly if your child is in an eligible year group and does not take up their place at the point which it is offered there may not be a place available in later weeks. 

Following careful consideration we are currently working towards a staged approach as follows from after half term (this all depends on the government decision on whether the science supports the wider re-opening which we understand is due to take place on 28 May):-

w/c 1 June- open to key/critical worker and vulnerable children only so as to properly assess accurate numbers taking up their full time place in this group

w/c 8 June- addition of Nursery (if applicable) and Reception children

w/c 15 June, addition of Year 1 (if possible in line with risk assessments and capacity)

w/c 22 June- addition of Year 6 (if possible in line with risk assessments and capacity)

The wider re-opening of school is in line with that suggested by the Department for Education in their guidance on the wider re-opening of schools.  However, this proposal will be under constant review and may need to be revised depending on government guidance, local risk assessments and context.  We will keep you informed as far as possible of changes as they arise.  Unfortunately, if a school reaches their capacity under their risk assessment, this may mean they cannot open to all eligible year groups (taking into consideration size of buildings, corridors, toilet facilities and staff who are able to attend work).

Sadly, school will look very different to those children who are returning.  Children returning to school may not be with their usual class teacher for instance, as a number of our Trust staff are ‘shielding’ so cannot come back to school yet.  There is a limit as to how many children can be in a group (or bubble as the government refer to them) and staffing has to be adjusted accordingly.  It maybe your child is with a Teaching Assistant as opposed to a teacher; however, an adjusted curriculum is being designed that is focussing on mental health, wellbeing and relationships.  When children come back to school after any form of extended break there is a time of settling in a school – there will need to be a period where we adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of our children in our unique settings.

The Government’s campaign that has changed from ‘stay at home’ to ‘stay alert’ is also key in how successful this transition will be.  Our school staff are understandably anxious about the risks associated with the extended opening of schools and I hope that all of our families will continue to follow the government guidance in full to protect our staff and school family.  For example social distancing and not meeting up in groups of more than two with anyone from another household.

Our schools will have access to PPE but this will only be used in the event of a child displaying symptoms of Covid19.  I must stress that if your child is displaying symptoms they must self-isolate in line with government guidance.  Remember the current list of symptoms are:-

  • High Temperature
  • New, continuous cough
  • Loss or change to sense of smell or taste

Please also ensure you do not send your child to school for 14 days if anyone in your household has had any of the above symptoms. 

We do not want children returning to school to be wearing face coverings as our staff will not be doing so unless these is a defined need and we are concerned that these could easily be lost or mixed up with other children (despite I am sure our best efforts).

Over the coming days and weeks our school leaders will be in direct contact with all of you.  Please make sure you read all communications carefully as they will contain vital information concerning the operation of your child’s school.  All of the above is subject to change in light of government guidance. As a Trust, we will follow the guidance as closely as we can with the health, safety and wellbeing of our children and staff being paramount at all times.

Thank you again for your patience and support during this challenging time.

Yours sincerely

Paul Rickeard

Chief Executive Officer,     Durham Diocesan MAT

UPDATE 2 of 2, THURSDAY  21st May

Dear Parent/Carer,

Following on from the previous letter from the DDMAT CEO, outlining the Trust’s position in respect of the wider opening of schools, I am writing to you to outline the school’s position and how we can practically enable this to happen.

As you will be aware, the Government made an announcement on 11th May, indicating that their aim would be a phased re-opening of Primary schools for identified pupils from 1st June; provided the science supported this approach.

Since then, we have been working tirelessly with the Durham Diocesan MAT, the Local Authority and other local schools, to determine how this may be safely managed at St Aidan’s.

A number of measures are currently being put in place in order to ensure that the school is as safe as it can be in the given situation.

Such measures include: 

  • Our Health and Safety partners (AVEC) carrying out a full risk assessment, based on Government guidance and procedures
  • Our cleaning staff carrying out a deep in clean in all areas in school
  • The purchase off PPE equipment (for use for First Aid purposes and intimate care procedures)
  • The purchase of hand sanitiser to be used regularly by pupils and staff throughout the day
  • Organising the classroom layout to comply with social distancing expectations (desks are placed at least 2 metres apart and numbers in class are limited to 10 pupils only
  • Introducing a one-way system of movement in the corridors in school
  • Indicating distances of 2 metres in the corridors in school
  • Our cleaning staff carrying out a ‘Deep clean’ across the school each Friday afternoon from 2pm

We are also proposing changes to the organisation of the school day, given this situation:

  • Although the Government have suggested no more than 15 pupils per class, we have taken the decision to reduce the possibility for infection further, by limiting class numbers to 10 pupils only. This in itself may mean that your child is not taught by the same teacher as usual nor indeed that they are in the same working space as normal
  • Packed lunches will be provided for those pupils entitled to Free School Meals and packed lunches will need to be provided by parents for those not eligible for Free School Meals – this decision has been taken in order to minimise movement around school
  • Pupils will be encouraged to wash hands and use hand sanitiser regularly
  • Parents will need to phone school to make an appointment should they wish to speak to a member of staff – this is to minimise the number of people coming into the school building

These measures are not exhaustive but we wanted to give you an idea of the kinds of measures we are taking based on our risk assessment process.  Should any further guidance be provided by our Health and Safety experts or the Government, we will of course comply fully by implementing them alongside those outlined above.

Considering the Governments expectations and the need to comply with social distancing rules in order to ensure our school is safe for identified pupils to return, we are proposing a phased return for different groups, as outlined below.   However please note this plan will be kept under constant review and this could be paused or revised depending on how this is working in school and in line with refreshed risk assessments:

w/b 1st June – Open to Key Worker and vulnerable children

w/b 8th June – Open to Key Worker children PLUS Reception and Nursery

w/b 15th June – Open to Key Worker children PLUS Reception PLUS Nursery PLUS Year One pupils

w/b 22nd June – Open to Key Worker children PLUS Reception PLUS Nursery PLUS Year One PLUS Year Six

As from 1st June, parents/carers of Key Worker and vulnerable pupils, will need to request a place in school on a FULL-TIME basis – there will not be the opportunity to take up a place on a part-time basis any more. This is in order to comply with Government regulations around not allowing different groups of pupils to mix with other groups of pupils. As such, if you are in this group and would like to secure a FULL-TIME place for your child, then please contact the school prior to 1st June to let us know. This can be done through either phoning the school prior to the end of the day on Friday 22nd May or via email: contact@staidansschool.org.uk.

We are also proposing staggered start and finish times and entrance/exit areas for pupils; this will help to ease the burden on social distancing. These are outlined below:

  • Key Worker group – 8.45am – 2.45pm (Main entrance)
  • Reception groups – 9am – 3pm (Reception entrance)
  • Nursery AM group – 8.40 – 11.30am (Nursery entrance)
  • Nursery PM group – 12.20 – 3.10pm (Nursery entrance)
  • Year One groups – 9am – 3pm (Hall entrance)
  • Year Six groups – 8.45am – 2.45pm (Key Stage Two entrance)

In addition to this,  school will be closing for ALL in attendance at 2pm each Friday in order for a deep clean to be carried out prior to the next week.

These are very much unprecedented times and as such we are doing our upmost for the benefit of our pupils.

I hope that you understand the rationale behind making these proposals and continue to support the school in its actions.

Kind Regards

Lynn Chambers

 Headteacher

UPDATE THURSDAY 14/5/20

Dear Parents

I wanted to write to you as CEO of the Durham Diocesan MAT to explain some more about the approach the Trust is taking following the government announcements on Sunday night regarding the wider re-opening of schools.  Additional detailed guidance was issued on Monday which answers some, but not all, questions. 

My preference as CEO is for all of our DDMAT schools to find a way of re-opening to our children but our first priority has to be that this is done in the safest way possible whilst enabling our schools to manage with their current staffing levels and space available.  We are working closely with our Health and Safety advisors to carry out detailed risk assessments and plan in line the guidance issued to consider areas such as:

  • Classes should be no more than 15 pupils, however in many of our schools the class sizes will need to be far lower due to space and number of staff available
  • Classes once set should remain together in the same class throughout the day; this should be with the same teacher wherever possible
  • Staggered break and lunch times
  • Staggered use of areas such as the hall
  • Continued regular hand washing and cleaning of the school during the day

What is very clear is that any return to school will not be what our children are used to and they will need support to understand this. You will know from the government announcements that the ambition is to open from 1 June if the science supports this.  We are taking the decision to close all of our schools at half term to ensure that staff are given a proper break before this wider re-opening starts. 

From 1 June, as well as the continued attendance of the children of key workers and vulnerable children, the aim is for Nursery, Reception, Y1 and Y6 to begin to attend their school again initially.  The government guidance is clear that the earlier years are the priority years so our schools are being asked to look at prioritising these groups first (after key workers and vulnerable children) when considering how many children they can safely accommodate in school.  This means we are likely to be looking at a phased approach with the first week of re-opening (w/c 1 June) being for key workers/vulnerable children/nursery and reception, the second week (w/c 8 June)  also for year 1 (provided we have managed week 1) and the third week for year 6 (w/c 15 June).  This means that schools will need to continue to assess numbers in school in line with their risk assessments and does unfortunately mean for some schools they may not be able to proceed to re-open to year 6 or even to year 1 if numbers in the lower years mean they have reached their safe capacity.  Your school will keep in touch with you about this and is already taking steps to understand likely numbers in school to enable them to plan as far as possible. 

The planning process is complicated and we are currently working through social distancing guidelines with our Health and Safety advisors to consider issues such as break and lunch time, children with specific learning support needs, entry and exit from school site, toilet access and arrangements and movement around school.  We have also considered the use of PPE and, whilst the government guidance is clear that face masks are not recommended for staff or pupils, we will have appropriate PPE available in the event of anyone showing symptoms so that staff can safely deal with the situation.  Our schools will also be looking at adjusting curriculums and will be focussing on ensuring your children’s wellbeing and mental health is a priority upon return to school as they transition from learning from home. 

I hope this helps to explain the amount of unknowns that we are attempting to deal with during this planning phase. We are hoping for additional government guidance later this week to further help us plan.  I would also  encourage you to read the guidance for parents and carers which you can access here.
Your school will continue to keep you updated as we know more.  However, as a parent myself, I fully understand what a very difficult and anxious time this is for parents, staff and children.  I wanted to reassure you that we are doing all we can to prepare for the possible wider re-opening of our schools and that we will only do this when we are confident that we can do so safely.

Best wishes

Paul Rickeard

Chief Executive Officer

Durham Diocesan MAT

UPDATE #2 TUESDAY 12th MAY

Dear Parent / Carer

CHILDREN IN NURSERY, RECEPTION, YEAR 1 AND YEAR 6 CLASSES

We are currently carrying out a risk assessment in school in anticipation of the school re-opening on 1 June for pupils in the following year groups:

· Nursery

· Reception

· Year 1

· Year 6

In order for us to plan appropriately for a safe reopening, if your child is in one of these year groups, could you please let me know by Friday 15 May whether you would like to take up the offer of a place from 1 June, should the school be in a position to reopen for those identified pupils.

Please confirm or decline by Friday 15 May via email to:

contact@staidansschool.org.uk

Please indicate your child’s name and year group.

Thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely

Miss L Chambers

HEADTEACHER

UPDATE #1 TUESDAY 12th MAY

Dear Parents

The announcements made in the last 48 hours are going to take some time to discern how they impact on the wider opening of our schools. We are working hard to ensure we keep your children safe and protect our staff from the potential risks of Covid19.

I would ask for your patience as we work to plan carefully for the return of greater numbers of children, initially those in the year groups highlighted by the government to potentially return to school from 1 June (Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6). Risk assessments; strategic plans and policies all need to be updated and passed through our Health and Safety advisors prior to the 1st June.

Please be assured that as CEO of the Trust I will only sanction a greater number of children in our schools when I am satisfied we can do so with the right levels of health and safety in place in line with all available government guidance.

In the meantime please can you continue to take note of all of the current advice on social distancing and self-isolation. If you or your child displays any symptoms of Covid19 you must isolate your household for 14 days. Likewise, whilst we are open to children of Key Workers we only have a limited number of places in school as we attempt to manage ‘social distancing’. Please bear this in mind when considering sending your child to school.

May I take this opportunity to thank you for your patience and support over the last few weeks. Our staff have worked above and beyond in very difficult circumstances to ensure places are available for children who have needed them.

I will write again to all parents along with my Headteacher’s to update you on our plans and how we will be working to keep your children as safe as possible.

Yours sincerely

Paul Rickeard

Chief Executive Officer Durham Diocesan MAT

(Click here to see this letter)

UPDATE MONDAY 11th MAY

Dear Parents/Carers

As you will no doubt be aware, last night the Prime Minister announced that SHOULD the country be successful in lowering the rate of infection of Coronavirus over the next three weeks, then schools would re-open for pupils of Reception age, Year 1 and Year 6 from Monday 1 June 2020.

Consequently over the next few weeks we will be working hard to ensure that additional measures are put in place in school, in order that pupils may return to a safe environment.

As such, please be patient with us and we will be in touch with more information in due course.

Thank you for your continued support.

Kind Regards

Miss Chambers

UPDATE #1 FRIDAY 1ST MAY

Dear Parent/Carer

I hope you are all keeping well and enjoying your time together as a family!

As a result of the current situation we find ourselves in with the coronavirus pandemic, we have taken the decision to postpone our scheduled Professional Development Days for staff; in order that the school can remain open for children of key workers.

These PD Days were due to take place on Monday 1st June until Friday 5th June. Consequently we have postponed them until the end of the Summer Term.

The school will now close to pupils for the Summer holidays on Tuesday 14th July 2020.

Thank you for your continued support – keep well and safe!

Update #2 Friday 1st May

With the last set of work we suggested to the children coming to an end, we have updated the pages with the next work from the teachers.

There are still lots of ideas for parents and children to be found in the Learning>Home Learning section (https://www.staidansschool.info/Learning/HOME-LEARNING/)

Work for each year group can be found on the relevant year group pages.
These are in the "Learning>Home Learning" section too. The direct links to these pages are:
https://www.staidansschool.info/YN-Home-School/
https://www.staidansschool.info/YR-Home-School/
https://www.staidansschool.info/Y1-Home-School/
https://www.staidansschool.info/Y2-Home-School/
https://www.staidansschool.info/Y3-Home-School/
https://www.staidansschool.info/Y4-Home-School/
https://www.staidansschool.info/Y5-Home-School/
https://www.staidansschool.info/Y6-Home-School/

If for any reason work can't be completed on the suggested day, just pick up where you left off when you are able. If work is too tricky, ask an adult or older sibling for help. If you can't access, open or print out certain parts, then do the parts you can. Most importantly DON'T PANIC about it!

We want to help you to keep learning in these difficult times, but it is even more important that you all stay safe and well so that we can all comtinue to learn together when this crisis passes.

Free School Meals Update 7th April

Revised Free School Meals Guidance and new guidance on financial Support to Schools from DfE

The government has released updated guidance in relation to Free School Meals which confirms the national voucher scheme WILL now cover the Easter holiday period and costs will be covered by DfE:-

Extract:- “Free school meals should be offered to eligible pupils not attending school during term time weeks and the Easter holidays, and these costs will be met by DfE. The addition of the Easter holidays reflects the unprecedented levels of disruption and uncertainty for schools during this time. This support will not cover future holidays. Free school meal pupils in school during the Easter holidays should also continue to receive a free meal if eligible, and these costs will be met by the school.”

 

For more details as to who is eligible and how the scheme will work, the full guidance can be found on the following link:

Link to updated Free School Meals Guidance:- 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance?utm_source=2c77b1bc-5974-40ad-ae69-a1f055eb67e4&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

 As soon as we know more, we will of course update you again

School Provision for Key Worker's Children

Dear Parents,
In light of the announcement from the PM last night please remember school is now a last resort for your child.  If you can look after your child at home please do not bring them to school.  School is only available to children when there is no alternative at home in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Yours sincerely,
Paul Rickeard
CEO of Durham Diocesan Multi Academy Trust
Diocesan Director of Education
Durham and Newcastle

Key Workers

To Parents and Carers

The Government has released the list of ‘Key Workers’ whose children will be eligible to attend school from Monday 23rd March.  However, the Government has stipulated that if it is at all possible for children to remain at home, then they should.

Pupils who are eligible are those whose parents fall into the following categories:

Health and Social Care
Education
Justice System
Local and National Government
Food
Public Safety and National Security
Transport
Utilities, Communication and Financial services

Please follow these key principles:

If a child needs support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then education provision will be available for them.
Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.

Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.

More information can be accessed on the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

If you feel that your child is eligible, please could you call the school office before bringing your child so that the correct staffing can be arranged.

Thank you for your patience and support.

Miss L Chambers

HEADTEACHER