I wanted to let you all know how grateful I am for the way you have responded to the huge challenges you have all faced throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Whether this is your first year at school or your final year of college, I know the disruption you have all faced to your education since the pandemic began has been incredibly challenging and has meant completely changing the way you learn – either learning remotely at home or continuing at school or college with fewer of your friends around you and lots of safety measures in place.
Whether you were at home or at school, the disruption last term and throughout last year asked a lot of you and your families. I am filled with admiration for the incredible way you all responded and the resilience you have shown. Not being in school or college with your teachers and friends was a huge sacrifice. Everything you did, with the help of your families and your schools and colleges, and everything you missed out on – time in school, taking exams, seeing friends, playing sport and much more – made such a huge difference to helping us stop the spread of the virus. I want to say a huge thank you to all of you.
Getting all young people back into school and college safely has been my priority throughout the pandemic. I know how vital it is not just for your education but also to spend time with your friends and to feel happy and secure. All our lives have changed a lot in the past year but the challenges that young people have faced have been some of the hardest. I will continue doing everything in my power to make sure that all of you are supported to boost any areas of work you’ve had less time at school to study, get the qualifications you deserve and have the opportunities you need to succeed.
Continuing to follow all the safety measures your schools and colleges have worked hard to put in place is so important and helps us to stop the virus spreading. The testing that thousands of you have been taking part in at secondary school and college is a vital part of this. I am so grateful to you and all the staff who have supported you to do this. I know your schools and colleges have worked incredibly hard to prepare secondary school students to test themselves at home.
As most of you at secondary school and college move to testing yourself regularly at home, it’s vital that you continue to test and report online twice a week through the Easter holidays and after you return to school. Home testing twice a week for you and everyone you live with makes a huge difference and means you are playing a really important role in helping us move back to a more normal way of life. Your school or college will continue to support you and make sure you have tests. You and your family can also find out more about home testing here.
I was delighted to see the enthusiasm with which so many of you returned to school at the beginning of March and I am sure you have had a wonderful few weeks catching up with your friends and teachers. It was fantastic to meet pupils delighted to return to school on my visits to schools like Arden Academy and Bedford Free School and to see so many more of your reunions on social media. I hope that the new term will be just as enjoyable and successful for all of you.
Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP, Secretary of State for Education
Lateral flow testing kits – a guide for parents (from Hartlepool Borough Council)
Lateral flow device testing (LFD/LFT) is a fast and simple way to test people who do not have symptoms of coronavirus, but may still have the virus.
Lateral flow tests should not be used by anyone who has coronavirus symptoms.
If your child has been identified as a close contact of a positive coronavirus case they must isolate for 10 days, this means they must stay at home and not going outside the home at any time.
If your child is isolating they should not take LFD tests during the isolation period. If your child displays any symptoms of coronavirus they should get a coronavirus test
Lateral flow test kits must only be used by the person they were issued to. If you or your secondary aged child has been provided with home testing kits, these tests must not be used by anyone else in the household for example a parent or another child in the family.
Primary school (or younger) children should not be tested unless they have coronavirus symptoms.
If you are worried or want help understanding lateral flow testing, talk to your child’s school as they may be able to help you.
Barnardos – Keeping Your Child Safe Webinar (Online)
To book your place on this event please follow this link
Another joint letter to parents from Our Director of Children’s Services and our Director of Public Health
Letter to Parents from Public Health England
Calendar Update – 2020 / 2021
As you know we adjusted our calendar to return to school in line with the national pattern, in our journey to ‘a new normal’, as the Department for Education described it. That has resulted in the need to ‘find’ five days holiday at other times. During this Autumn Term, which may be the most difficult due to the on-going health emergency, the children might benefit from ‘mini-breaks’ each month using 4 of these days to create ‘long-weekends’. The 5th day is attached to the start of the February half -term break. These re-arranged holidays are highlighted on the calendar in yellow. Daycare is unaffected and for children needing care on these days, holiday care will be available and can be booked in the usual way.
FIRST HOLY COMMUNIONS (message from Father Michael)
For those parents whose children should have made their first holy communion in June this year in all of our churches, you are invited to book a place at one of three meetings in September on Tuesday 15th at 6.30pm, Wednesday 16th at 3.30pm and Thursday 17th at 6.30pm. We will outline how we plan to celebrate your child’s first holy communion this year complying with government guidance at this time. We also plan to have meetings with parents whose children would be due for first holy communion in 2021, please keep an eye out for further details. Telephone number 07783326407 for enquiries and bookings.(St Joseph’s Church)
This is also the number to book a place at Mass on Saturdays 5pm, Sundays 11am. Masks must be worn in church.
Attending learning & care during the CoViD-19 health emergency
A series of briefing notes have been created to help parents prepare for the extended opening of our setting and give information for use in accessing the provision. One provides information for parents of children at school, another for parents of children attending early years, and, a third, gives updated information for children of parents who are critical workers. These are available as downloads, by selecting the links above.
To help parents make a decision about child care in the Coronavirus outbreak..
A Letter to Parents from our Director of Children’s Services in Hartlepool
In Hartlepool, we are looking very carefully at the Government’s announcement of the intention to re-open schools for certain year groups from 01 June. We want to work together across the town to make sure we make the right decisions for our pupils, our families and our staff.
Although nationally the evidence would suggest that some areas have past the peak of the Coronavirus outbreak, in Hartlepool local information shows that the number of cases is still rising. For this reason, we must think very carefully about the safety and protection of all when developing any plans to re-open schools.
Our ambition is to be able to welcome some children, in specific year groups, back into school in the coming half term and we are planning for this. However, it is vitally important that any plans have the protection and wellbeing of children and staff at the heart of them and we will only re-open schools when we are confident that children and staff will be safe. We are working together to make sure that when we re-open schools, you can be confident to send your children to school and that we will keep them safe.
At the moment, the view of the local authority and our schools is that 1st June is too soon. We consider that the earliest date that school in Hartlepool will re-open will be 8th June, but it may be later than this if needed. We intend to re-open schools on a phased basis, one year group at a time, in order to make sure that we can welcome our children back into school and manage them safely.
Please be reassured that everyone in the council and our schools is committed to the education of your child and their wellbeing. I will continue to work with schools to develop plans for re-opening this term if at all possible. Your child’s school will keep you informed of these plans as we move forward and provide you with more details.
Guidance for parents and carers on supporting their children’s education during coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Department for Education has published information, guidance and support for parents and carers of children who are learning at home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Guidance on helping children aged 2 to 4 learn at home can be found here:
Guidance on helping primary school aged children learn at home can be found here:
Guidance on helping children with special educational needs and disabilities learn at home can be found here:
The guidance for parents and carers on the closure of educational settings has been updated with additional information on the support available for parents, online educational resources and support for vulnerable children.
The guidance can be found here:
NHS Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group: Health Advice
COVID 19 is unlikely to cause a serious illness in children, but please remember children can still become seriously unwell from other causes that are always around. Please do not let concerns over COVID 19 stop you from contacting medical services. If you are not sure if your child needs to be seen please go to https://www.what0-18nhs.uk/national for advice or contact 111 or your GP. If you think your child is seriously unwell call 999.
School Nurse Consultation
From Monday 4th May the School Nursing service will be offering support for parents and to young people via virtual drop ins. Contact can be made using telephone, What’s App and Skype. School Nurses can offer support around a wide range of issues such as, emotional wellbeing, risk taking behaviours, sexual health, behaviour, sleep, toileting and diet. If you would like support from our school’s allocated School Nurse then please contact the service and an appointment will be arranged for the School Nurse to contact you.
Our school is served by Nurse Laura Bradwell and Staff Nurse Sarah Robinson
Free School Meals Voucher Scheme
Please check you may now be eligible for free school meals, if in any doubt contact Hartlepool Borough Council via the link below.
The government has announced today an e-voucher/e-gift card scheme for pupils who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals. All schools are awaiting further information on the scheme so that we can roll the programme out.
The e-vouchers/e-gift cards are for term time only and we are working through the detail as we receive the information. Our plan is to continue as we have been, offering packed lunches, until after the Easter holidays, but if we can, we will claim your e-voucher/e-gift card this week.
For the next 3 weeks we will continue to provide FSM’s as we have been so please continue to come into your school to collect your FSM. We will inform you of further information as soon as we have it. Further information about the government schme can be found in their guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools
Free School Meal families – Updated 7th April 2020
We hope you are now receiving government food vouchers, if not please let us know (It may take a week or two for this system to work properly and packed lunches are still available for collection until 17th April, until the system is working properly). In setting, we are providing hot meals, so you can either provide your child with a packed lunch, funded by the vouchers, or you can pay £2.05 per day for your child to have a hot lunch on the days that they attend the setting for care (and use the vouchers for food for the other days and food for the family). Please can you email firstname.lastname@example.org to advise which option you prefer. If you can let admin know, when booking the place in school, as soon as possible to enable our cook to order food for hot meals. Thank you.
Key worker’s children (not free school meals)
School can now provide your child with a hot lunch for £2.05 per meal. If this is something you would like, please can you email email@example.com as soon as possible. You can still provide a packed lunch for you child if you would prefer.
Universal free school meals(UFSM)
No provision of UFSM during this crisis, so far. However, if you are a key worker, school can now provide your child with a hot lunch for £2.05 per meal. If this is something you would like, please can you email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. You can still provide a packed lunch for you child if you would prefer.
In school, all bookings for children of critical workers in Years 2, 3, 4, and 5 needing to access the provision must be made by email to email@example.com by Thursday of the week before. Any need for extended hours (from 7.45 – 9.00 am or from 3.00 – 5.45 pm) for the children of critical workers in Reception, Years 1 and 6 or others children in any year group must be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday of the week before. Any alterations to these requirements should follow by email too, so that we can keep a record and report accurately to the Department for Education.
For early years, from 15th June, adjusted sessions and contracts will resume. (Contact the early years manager to discuss your needs.)
The setting will be open to staff from 7.30am to 6.00pm, with sign-in as normal, and to children from 7.45am – 5.45 pm. Monday to Friday every week, who will be signed-in and out by staff. The electronic attendance register will be completed for all year groups and a register for children of critical workers will be maintained for extended hours and given to the senior leader at the end of each week, to be retained in accordance with normal practice.
Children arriving before 9.00 a.m. will be welcomed at their room doors from the rear garden, with only children entering and going immediately to wash their hands. Children leaving after 3.00 p.m. will leave from the se same doors. Children arriving or leaving between 9.00 a.m. and 3.00 pm should use the entrances from the playground as directed, and try to arrive ‘just-in time’ for staggered drop-off and collection of their children. Those children who usually walk home unaccompanied, will be dismissed from the playground at their staggered leave time. If parents need to drop-off anything at the main entrance, please follow the instruction to only access the lobby one family at a time.
Children in reception and Year 1 will be provided with a hot meal (UFSM) for lunch. Another children in school can book a school meal as usual, which is preferred at this time to avoid the risk of infection transmission by minimising the belongings moving between home and school.
Safe Practice in setting
Staff and children should wash their hands very regularly – on entry to the setting, after break times, before lunch, before leaving the setting and obviously each time they use the toilet.
The rooms are kept well aired during the day so staff and children may need warmer clothing than would be usual for our setting.
A social distance of 2 metres is maintained between all staff and children while in the setting. Obviously, for younger children, they are reliant upon the staff helping them to maintain a safe distance but there will be times, if they fall over or have an accident, when they will need closer-contact and this will be given as judiciously and safely as possible.
Two isolation rooms are available, just in case children become ill during the day. If children display any symptoms of CoViD-19 infection, they are immediately withdrawn from their group (including siblings). They are placed in the rooms, adjacent to the upper playground door or the nursery entrance, supervised by an adult from the corridor. Parents are immediately contacted and collect their child(ren) from the playground or garden door (being informed of which on the call). The room is then left to be thoroughly cleaned. Obviously, childhood ailments, such as ear-aches, rashes and tummy pains, are not symptoms of Covid-19, so we don’t presume that every illness requires isolation, but we will be vigilant and always err on the side of caution. So, please do not send children into setting to ‘see how they get on’ at the moment.
Hartlepool Support Hub
During the Coronavirus outbreak, if you are self-isolating or unable to leave your home, we’re here to help you to stay safe, stay well and stay connected.
The Hartlepool Support Hub offers:
- Information and advice
- Emotional support
- Delivery of shopping / newspapers / prescriptions
- Links to other services that can support you
You can contact the Support Hub by:
01429 272905 (10am-4pm Mondays to Fridays and 10am-12 noon Saturdays)
email@example.com (Please provide your contact details and we will get back to you)
There is also lots of information available at www.hartlepoolnow.co.uk, and via the Hartlepool Now App, available on the App Store and Google Play.
If you would like to volunteer to support your local community, you can contact us using the same details (call 01429 272905 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will let you know what you can do to help.
Some of our residents will receive a letter advising them to self-isolate for a period of 12 weeks and that they can ask for support for food supplies if they need it. This will be co-ordinated at a local level by the Hartlepool Support Hub – but our hub services go further than that and are for all those choosing to self-isolate.