Headteacher Newsletter Issue 8
FORTNIGHTLY NEWSLETTER ISSUE 8: 7.1.22
Happy New Year and we hope you all had a great Christmas. We are looking forward to the term ahead and the children have settled back into school very well. It is a short term but we have some exciting events planned including a Book Week and Art week. Class newsletters will be distributed shortly.
Infection rates are high at the moment and increasing in school, we are hoping we will not have to activate our outbreak management plan, therefore it is vital that we are vigilant in recognising and acting on COVID symptoms.
The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
If anyone has any of the COVID symptoms, no matter how mild, they must stay at home and take a PCR test. If the results are positive then they must isolate. If they have symptoms they must isolate whilst waiting for the test results. If anyone has a positive result on any test they must isolate.
Our experience is showing that in many cases, early symptoms are presenting similar to those that you would expect of a cold – headache, sneezing, sore throat and a runny nose. I would strongly recommend anyone whose children are displaying these new symptoms, or indeed themselves, to get a PCR test, although these symptoms are not those listed by the government as requiring a PCR test. In our experience, test results are being turned around very quickly, usually between 18-24 hours.
As these symptoms are not those officially listed as requiring isolation whilst awaiting a PCR result, you are not required to do so, although you may find it prudent to await a result before returning to school.
I fully appreciate how frustrating this is when your child ‘just has a cold’, but any support you can give to helping our school run at full operational capacity is very much appreciated.
Government Protective measures –
- Reintroduction of face coverings for visitors and staff in corridors and communal areas, including staffrooms (where close contact cannot be avoided).
- Reintroduction of wearing face coverings for parents/carers on school grounds.
Government have changed the rules regarding anyone identified as a close contact of a positive case, irrespective of whether they are a close contact of the Delta variant or the Omicron variant. The Government guidance can be found here.
The DfE Actions for Schools guidance has now been updated to reflect these changes. All close contacts of anyone who tests positive for Covid19 do not need to self-isolate but are now strongly encouraged to take a daily Lateral Flow Device (LFD) Test
We thought it would be useful to share the below FAQs with you:
- Can contacts already isolating, come out of isolation and carry out LFD tests instead?
Yes, isolation can end and they should be advised to carry out daily LFD tests for the remainder of the time they would have been isolating
- Do contacts of positive cases need to do LFD test and a PCR test?
The guidance replaces the requirement for close contacts to undertake a PCR test with recommended daily LFD tests. PCR tests only then need to be taken if someone develops symptoms or has a positive LFD test
- Do contacts need to take a daily LFD test if they have tested positive in the previous 90 days for Covid19?
Yes, this new guidance replaces all previous guidance. If the LFD test is positive, then a PCR test needs to be taken. The chance of a false positive test between the LFD test and PCR test is very low.
PCR tests have been temporarily suspended for positive LFT but NOT for symptoms
The requirement for confirmatory PCR tests is to be temporarily suspended for positive lateral flow test results. From Tuesday 11 January 2022, in England, people who receive positive lateral flow results for COVID-19 will be required to self-isolate immediately and won’t be required to take a confirmatory PCR test. This is a temporary measure while COVID-19 rates remain high across the UK. Whilst levels of COVID-19 are high, the vast majority of people with positive LFD results can be confident that they have COVID-19.
Anyone who develops one of the three main COVID-19 symptoms should stay at home and self-isolate and take a PCR test. They must self-isolate if they get a positive test result, even if they have had a recent negative lateral flow test – these rules have not changed.
Under this new approach, anyone who receives a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test result should report their result on Gov.uk and must self-isolate immediately but will not need to take a follow-up PCR test. After reporting a positive LFD test result, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace so that their contacts can be traced and must continue to self-isolate.
Protective measures in school
In order to manage the current climate and enable us to continue with face to face teaching, whole school activities and having visitors in school, it is vital that we work together. We are putting extra measures in place around the official guidance to enable us to continue with the whole school way of working.
All visitors coming into the school will be asked to wear a mask and take a Lateral Flow Test (LFT), prior to visiting. They will sign a document to declare:
- that they have not travelled or transited through any of the countries or areas as per government guidance/restrictions
- that they do not have any symptoms
- that they have not been asked to self-isolate by NHS Track and Trace
- that they do not have anyone at home with symptoms or a positive COVID result
We would also like to see the negative LFT result – emailed photograph.
Since the rates are high we are currently acting on positive Lateral Flow test results rather than waiting for the PCR (if applicable as per new guidance). In order to protect learning time as much as possible we are hoping to act on any positive results before and after school. To support this process please inform us straight away of any positive results. In order to make this manageable for staff who will be monitoring emails out of hours we will be setting up parent mail groups for children getting the bus, attending clubs and class groups. This will enable to us to act quickly informing you if your child is a contact. This may mean that you receive more than one email if your child has been in more than one group, but we will try and make it clear that the notification is referring to the same case each time. Once the PCR result has come through (if applicable as per new guidance) we will notify you if you need to complete your 10 day LFTs or to stop. Thank you for your support with this as it will add an extra layer of protection and also avoid any unnecessary disruption to learning time.
If we do have contacts (pupils or staff only) in the school setting then we ask that they, despite the guidance, take LFTs for the 10 day contact period as opposed to the 7 days suggested. Cases in school in relation to contacts have come out on the 9th or 10th day. Staff will also be asked to wear a mask when they are not teaching or eating. PLEASE TAKE THE LFT EACH MORNING rather than the evening before, as the cases we are getting have been negative the evening before but positive later the following day in school.
As per the guidance, all staff will continue to take Lateral Flow Tests twice a week. Ventilation, strong hygiene and cleaning routines will be in place. These measures will be increased if the virus rate increases.
PCR test can be arranged online by following this link: Get a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). If you cannot use the online service, call 119. Lines are open 7am to 11pm.
In order to decrease the testing time please opt for a face-to-face test as opposed to a postal option.
You can access a free LFT in a number of ways, including at the local LFT site in your district, by collecting a home LFT kit from a test site, or by ordering a home test kit online. More information about these options can be found here: Regular Rapid Lateral Flow Coronavirus (Covid-19) Tests.
Thank you for your co-operation. We wish those affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) a speedy recovery.
Government changes to the isolation period
The Government has recently changed the isolation period for a positive case from 10 to 7 days dependent on two negative LFT 24 hours apart after day 6 with no symptoms and following protective measures for the remainder of the 10 days. The school will keep to the full 10 days isolation period following a positive case, as per our risk assessment, as the strongly advised protective measures after this shortened period cannot be followed. These measures include working from home, wearing a mask and social distancing from non household members avoiding confined spaces and poor ventilation. We also have an increasing number of cases in school. This decision will be reviewed in a couple of weeks, but caution is needed currently.
Local Authority advice – children to undertake twice-weekly lateral flow testing
We have seen COVID-19 infections in primary school-aged children in Essex increasing over the past few weeks. At this rate, it is expected that some primary schools could see significant numbers of pupils infected with COVID-19. Throughout the pandemic, regular household testing has been encouraged, but we would now like to strengthen that advice for primary age children.
To help limit the spread of the infection within primary schools we are asking you to:
- Support your primary school child, if you are not already doing so, to undertake twice-weekly lateral flow device tests.
- Be alert to COVID-19 symptoms in your child (high temperature, new continuous cough, or loss of sense of smell or taste).
- Encourage good hand hygiene within your household.
Whilst we understand this is different guidance for some of you, we would strongly encourage you to begin this practice as a family, excluding any child/ren under the age of 2. This will ensure that as much asymptomatic infection as possible is picked up and will help schools to continue to operate at full capacity and minimise the spread of infection through the school and wider community. You can collect test kits from your nearest pharmacy using one of the new collect codes which can be downloaded from https://test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/collect-lateral-flow-kits. You can then hand this into your local pharmacy, who will provide you with test kits. You can also collect test kits from your local library or order them online via this link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing/regular-rapid-coronavirus-tests-if-you-do-not-have-symptoms/.
If a positive result is returned, your child/young person will need to seek a confirmatory PCR test and isolate for 10 days according to national guidance. If the PCR test is negative, your child can return to school if they are well enough to do so. More information about lateral flow testing can be found here: Regular Rapid Lateral Flow Coronavirus (Covid-19) Tests.
We appreciate that the changes in guidance can cause anxiety for some, but it is important that the education of our children and young people is prioritised this academic year. The likelihood of serious illness in children is extremely low and after 18 months of serious disruption, the DfE and the Local Authority are committed to ensuring that all children and young people in Essex have every opportunity to catch up and exceed their potential.
Please could we make sure all uniform is named so that we can return misplaced items. Lost items will be on display during the last week of term, then they will be recycled.
The school office should be notified on the first day of each absence before registration at 9.00am and this should be followed up in writing on the day of return.
If your child has been vomiting or had an upset stomach a 48 hour leave of absence from the last episode is required. For guidance on other illnesses please contact the School Office or refer to the document on the website in the ‘Attendance’ section – “Guidance on infection control in schools and other childcare settings”.
School starts at 8.50 a.m. We have noticed several children are consistently arriving late for school – ‘late’ is defined by not being within the school gates by 8.50 a.m. Please make every effort to be at school on time and if you know that your journey will be disrupted by road works, do allow time for this.
Please note that lateness is recorded on a per pupil basis.
Application for leave of absence for term time holidays
Guidance from the Local Authority:
“Leave of absence may only be granted by a person authorised in that behalf by the proprietor of the school. As from 1st September 2013, the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 amended Regulation 7 to prohibit the proprietor of a maintained school from granting leave of absence to a pupil, except where an advance application has been made by the parent with whom the pupil normally resides, and the proprietor considers that there are exceptional circumstances relating to the application.
Taking your child out of school during term time could be detrimental to your child’s educational progress. There is no entitlement to parents to take their child out of school during term time, however, you may apply to the school for leave of absence if you believe there are exceptional circumstances.
If the absence is not authorised and the holiday is taken, the case will be referred to the Education Welfare Service who may issue a Penalty Notice for £120 (or £60 if paid within 21 days) to each parent for each child taken out of school.”
Please note occasional days for birthdays and treats cannot be authorised and cheaper prices cannot be considered to be a valid reason. No leave of absence will be granted during our assessment weeks or the first week of the Autumn term. Medical appointments, if at all possible should be made outside school hours. Siblings of children attending medical appointments should remain in school.
School Admissions – Primary – Apply Now!!
To apply quickly and easily for primary and secondary school places go online to https://www.essex.gov.uk/admissions-to-essex-schools-for-the-next-school-year
Primary and junior school places for September 2022
From 8 November 2021 you can apply online for your child’s school place https://www.essex.gov.uk/apply-for-a-primary-school-place
You must submit an application by the national closing date of 15 January 2022. Applications received after this date are considered late and will reduce your chance of being offered a place at your preferred schools.
Free School Meals Funding
You can register for Free Schools Meals Funding if you meet the criteria below.
If you have a child in Key Stage One and are receiving the free meal, which is part of the universal offer, you could be missing out on this additional funding for the school, which will support your child with their learning, if you meet the criteria below. You have to apply for this funding. If you think you meet the criteria below then please follow the guidance below and contact the school office.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
4th January INSET day
5th January Spring Term starts.
17th January Tray Day
14th – 18th February Half Term
28th – 4th March Book Week
1st March Parent Consultations – early
3rd March Parent Consultations – late
11th March Sharing Assembly – Year 2 Parents
14th – 18th March Art Week
25th March Sharing Assembly – Year 5 Parents
28th March Tray Day
1st April End of term
INSET Dates for the academic year 2022 – 2023
Schools allocate five non-pupil days for staff training:
Thursday 1st September 2022
Friday 2nd September 2022
Friday 21st October 2022
Monday 17th April 2023
Monday 5th June 2023
STAR OF THE WEEK
Week ending December 10th
Reception Nell – being a superstar during our Nativity rehearsals
Year One Delilah – for her excellent understanding of subtraction when finding how many left using a part whole model
Year Two Esmee – for always having a positive attitude to learning
Year Three Ruby – for working hard to learn all the songs and confident singing throughout
Year Four Harry – for amazing effort and improvement in his reading
Year Five Lily – for showing great resilience and courage these past few weeks
Year Six Charlie – for his amazing and huge Christmas decoration
Week ending December 17th
Reception Reception class – for being absolutely amazing in our class Nativity. We are so proud
Year One Connor – for his hard work and attention to detail, particularly when designing his candle holder
Year Two Class Two – for fantastic effort from everyone with the Nativity play and our cheerleading
Year Three Frankie – for an excellent recount writing about our history topic – Ancient Egypt
Year Four Luna – for great effort this term especially in the snowflake dance
Year Five Anna – for her thoughtful and caring attitude towards other class members
Year Six Class 6 – for their brilliant production of ‘Silent Night’.
WRITER OF THE WEEK
|R Luna for independent writing|
1 Bailey for independent sentence writing
2 Evie for independent editing
3 Poppy for being engaged in her learning about features of a recount
4 Charlie M for great effort with handwriting
5 Arlo for his account of the battle of Marathon
6 Henry – great editing skills
Learning Behaviour Awards
Curipaws – curiosity
Year One Elizabeth
Year Two Benjamin
Year Three Jemima
Year Four Ellie
Year Five George
Year Six Barnaby
Co-optopus – cooperation
Year One Frankie
Year Two Phoebe R
Year Three Elliott
Year Four Tommy
Year Five Sid
Year Six Rory
The It Didn’t Go Unnoticed Award
Rory (6) for being kind and helpful at lunchtimes
Each week the kitchen team present an award to the class or individual for good manners –
4.10.21 Class One – for exceptional manners
11.10.21 Kayleigh – for always saying thank you
18.10.21 Eve – for great manners
1.11.21 Consuello – for stacking the trays when they started to fall
8.11.21 Taylor – fabulous salad serving
15.11.21 Darcey – helping people in the line for lunch
22.11.21 Amelia – for being mature about her food choices
29.11.21 Rory – for being a brilliant buddy at lunch time
1.12.21 Will C – for being polite and being a great buddy
Look out for our next edition of ‘Friday Focus’:
The fortnightly Friday Focus is a chance for every class at Clavering to share their learning with the Clavering School community. It is a great opportunity to find out what each year group has been up to and engage in conversations around learning.
If you have any questions at any time then please feel free to make an appointment.
Have a good weekend.