Latest news from around the school

Coronovirus – update 1 (19 March 2020)

Posted on 19 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

We know you’ll have a lot of questions about yesterday’s late announcement about schools closing – we do, too.

We’re confident in our plans so far, but we’ve a lot to do to finalise details. Please bear with us.

I’m meeting with Miss Beatson this morning to finalise these plans. We’ll be joined by colleagues from our other Sphere Federation schools to share ideas and thoughts about the best way forward.

I’m sure you’ll understand this is a busy time for us.

Coronovirus – update (18 March 2020)

Posted on 18 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

We’ll keep today’s update a short one…

Yesterday, we published an article about ways to support your child.

The article included various links to advice to support your child’s wellbeing during these unsettling times. Do take a look, and especially monitor what they’re accessing online because some children are talking about the coronavirus pandemic in ways which aren’t helping at all (and this is based on misinformation (mistakes) and disinformation (deliberate lies) that children (and adults!) are reading online.

We also included a list of online resources if your child is at home, or if schools are closed. A few more resources to consider at home are…


PhonicsPlay is now free to access with immediate effect – use the log-in details provided on their homepage. (This company has hurried forward a new site to use, but there may be broken links and glitches: ) Many younger children will be very familiar with this resource, and this will help to keep that reassuring connection with learning in school.


The Science Museum Group have some fantastic experiments to try out at home.

Physical activity

The imovement platform has resources that will support you and your child at home. New resources will be added on a daily basis, and will include Quick Blasts, Active Blasts and Additional Activities to support Maths and Literacy.

Today’s daily update from the government doesn’t contain a lot of new information, and does say that Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education, will make a statement to the House of Commons at 5pm – we can expect more news later, perhaps. The update does tell us more about the COVID-19 Emergency Bill, which is to be published later this week. The Bill will include:

  • a power to remove or relax some requirements around education and childcare legislation in order to help these institutions run effectively in the event of an emergency
  • a power to require schools, further education and childcare settings to stay open or re-open, operate in ways to support continued education and childcare such as enable pupils / students to attend different premises, to enhance resilience of childcare and education sector

These two points might mean schools shifting focus to providing childcare to those parents who most need it, but please note that nothing is confirmed at this stage.

Coronovirus - update (17 March 2020)

Posted on 17 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

We’ve already communicated about coronavirus today – we’ve let you know about ways to support your child at home.

We’re grateful to those of you who have thanked us, commenting that their child feels supported at school in these difficult times. However, teachers are telling us that some children are feeling anxious. Please do take the time to read about how to support your child’s wellbeing. One top tip we mentioned is to supervise closely what your child is reading on social media – there’s a lot of misinformation (stuff that’s wrong) and disinformation (deliberate lies) out there.

The daily update from the government doesn’t contain much new information that’s relevant to you as a parent, but as a reminder:

Yesterday, the Government introduced new guidance on whole household isolation in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:

if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started
if you live with others and you or another member of the household have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community for anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.
The symptoms are:

A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)
A new, continuous cough
The full stay at home guidance for households with these symptoms can be found here.

We’ve always said that we’re following government guidance. Because of new guidance on social distancing, we’re now cancelling some events and activities. This includes any open sessions for parents to visit schools. Local organisations have also started to do so. This includes the local authority closing all leisure centres – this means there will be no swimming sessions for a while. We’re sorry about this.

In the event of schools closing…

…we continue to make plans. To support home learning:

  • Your child will select two or three reading books that he/she can take home.
  • Your child will be given a blank exercise book to record any home learning.
  • Teachers will communicate learning using the homework section on the website.
  • You’ll be able to contact your child’s class teacher by email if he/she needs any specific support.

Families may be contacted during the time that school is closed; if contact is made then it would be from the Head of School and would probably be by phone. If you’re contacted, it’ll be just to check that all is ok and to make sure that you are able to access everything that you need.

And finally…

…on a personal note, and a very trivial one, thank you to the dad who wished me a happy St Patrick’s Day today – it certainly served to lighten my mood!

Coronovirus – support your child

Posted on 17 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

In these unsettling times, it’s even more important to support your child – but it might be hard to know where to start. Although it comes from an American site, we like this parent resource which includes useful guidance such as:

  • Remain calm and reassuring.
  • Make yourself available.
  • Monitor television viewing and social media – we think this one is especially important… there’s a lot of misinformation (things that are wrong) and disinformation (things that are deliberate lies) out there.
  • Maintain a normal routine.
  • Be honest and accurate.
  • Know the symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Discuss new rules or practices at school.

Other helpful sites include:

If your child is at home, it’s best to keep them occupied, making sure they know that learning is still important. We know this might be hard in these unsettling times, but maintaining as much normality as possible is important – get into routines where some learning happens, then a break, etc – a bit like a school day.

Here are some links which will help you find appropriate learning for your child:

Don’t forget also our own website’s Learn More section has lots of ideas for support. And finally, as always, encourage them to forget about what’s going on by diving into a good book – reading has been shown to promote positive mental health.

Coronovirus - update (13 March 2020)

Posted on 16 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

If you’ve been reading our previous website posts, you’ll know that schools receive a daily update from the Department for Education about coronavirus. In today’s, we have this reminder:

  • staff, young people and children should stay at home if they are unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature to avoid spreading infection to others. Otherwise they should attend education or work as normal
  • if staff, young people or children become unwell on site with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature they should be sent home

Please note that we’re not able to advise you on anything more than this. I appreciate that keeping a child off school is a big decision, but we encourage you to base your decision on what is said here.

The updates continue to stress the importance of handwashing:

The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.

Watch this short NHS film for guidance.


We’d like to update you on other aspects of school life and how coronavirus might impact this.

Hand cream

We’re allowing children to bring hand cream to school if their hands are dry because of all the handwashing.

Year 6 residentials

Current guidance from the government does not indicate that residentials should be cancelled. At the moment at least, we plan to go ahead with these as normal. However, do be aware that there is a possibility that the Year 6 residential is cancelled, not by us but by the company we use – this would be beyond our control.

Other trips and sporting events planned

The message here is the same as for the Y6 residential – at this stage, these are going ahead. A few local events have so far been cancelled by the people running them. It’s important to know the cancellation is due to higher than normal levels of absences as people self-isolate as a precautionary measure rather than concerns about mass-gatherings or confirmed cases of the virus.


Similarly, we plan to continue taking children swimming. There’s no guidance from the government to say to do otherwise – we’ve checked and double-checked this. This article from The Guardian backs up our decision. However, we’ll respect your decision if you tell us you’d prefer your child not to go swimming for the moment.

Training day – 15 May 2020

We’ve a training day scheduled for Friday 15 May. If schools have closed and re-open by this stage, we would look to cancel this training day so your child is back at school for as much of the remainder of the school year as possible. This is not confirmed and we realise if might affect some families who may have booked time away. However, you’ll understand that our priority is to minimise the impact of any school closures.

Coronovirus - update (13 March 2020)

Posted on 13 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

If you’ve been reading previous updates, you’ll know that schools receive a daily update from the Department for Education about coronavirus. Today’s update focuses on the news from yesterday afternoon about self-isolation:

To support the delay of the spread of the virus, the Department for Health and Social Care has asked anyone who shows certain symptoms to stay at home for 7 days, regardless of whether they have travelled to affected areas. This means people should stay at home and avoid all but essential contact with others for 7 days from the point of displaying mild symptoms, to slow the spread of infection.

The symptoms are:

A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)
A new, continuous cough

You do not need to call NHS 111 to stay at home. If your symptoms worsen during your stay at home period or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online at If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

The email also presents the government’s rationale around keeping schools open:

Current advice remains in place: no education or children’s social care setting should close in response to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.

The Chief Medical Officer has advised that the impact of closing schools on both children’s education and on the workforce will be substantial, but the benefit to public health may not be. Decisions on future advice to schools will be taken based on the latest and best scientific evidence, which at this stage suggests children are a lower risk group.


Separate to the update from government, we have three things to say…

Thank you

Thank you to the parents who have expressed some sympathy and understanding about the situation for schools, such as ‘I appreciate it must be a very busy and challenging time’ – we’re grateful that our parents are so supportive.

  • If you do notice it’s taking us a bit longer to respond to you, please bear with us.
  • And to help us, if you do have general questions about the outbreak, do consider contacting the national hotline, which might well be able to provide you with better answers than we can.

Hand cream

Some of you have let us know your child’s hands are dry because of all the hand washing. If this is the case, your child can bring in some hand cream – please let staff at the school office know.


A small number of you have asked what our governors are doing about the outbreak. Guidance to governors is:

The best and most appropriate way for governing boards to support their school leaders is to allow them to manage the school’s response without the involvement of the board, unless it is requested. School leaders themselves are guided by public health advice.

Coronovirus - update 2 (12 March 2020)

Posted on 12 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Today, the government has published guidance to self-isolate for people with confirmed or possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of a continuous cough and/or high temperature.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started.

If your child displays these symptoms at home, please do not send him/her to school. Equally, if we notice your child is displaying these symptoms, we will ask you to collect your child from school – they wouldn’t be well enough to be in school, and may spread the virus.

We’ll continue to follow the government advice and update you.

Coronovirus - update (12 March 2020)

Posted on 12 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

We’re all aware of current concerns about coronavirus. We believe the right actions to take as a school are those that match the government’s advice based on scientific and medical evidence. We will continue to follow this. You’ll be aware that we’ve been communicating with you frequently about this. The Department for Education emails daily to schools with any new advice or other updates. Today’s email is below, in full.

This is your daily email to keep you updated on the government’s response to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Government coronavirus action plan
The government coronavirus action plan sets out what the UK has done to tackle coronavirus (COVID-19), and what we plan to do next.

The situation is constantly reviewed and action informed by expert science and advice, guided by the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser.

The action plan can be found here.

Action plan recap
The action plan sets out a four-phased approach in response to coronavirus – Contain, Delay, Mitigate, and Research, based on the latest scientific evidence.

The current emphasis is on the Contain and Research phases, however planning for Delay and Mitigation is already in train.

As part of the Contain phase, we have been providing advice to educational settings in England. We also launched a DfE helpline to manage the flow of increasing queries, from providers parents and young people.

How to wash your hands properly
Wash your hands more often for 20 seconds with soap and hot water.
Watch this short NHS film for guidance.

Teach young children how to wash their hands with the NHS handwashing song.

Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.

Department for Education coronavirus helpline
The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

  • Phone: 0800 046 8687
  • Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)

Please note, we are currently experiencing high volumes of calls and apologise for any wait that you may experience. Your call will join a queue and we will answer as soon as possible.

If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UKPRN) available when calling the helpline.

Where to find the latest information

Educational resources

Latest Department for Education information

Finally, to reassure you, it’s worth remembering this, from the World Health Organization: ‘Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults.’

Collective Worship

Posted on 12 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

On Wednesday, Year 3 and 4 led our collective worship based around our Christian value of Forgiveness.

They opened collective worship with our welcome to worship “God is with us” as we lit the candle.

We heard a story about Omar and Freddie. Omar accidentally broke Freddie’s airplane. Poor Freddie was sad so he purposely kicked Omar’s football into the road and it got run over by a lorry. The boys fell out but missed spending time with each other so eventually forgave each other.

Year 3 and 4 taught us that forgiving helps friends to be friendly again and forgiving others makes us happier.

We closed collective worship with a song chosen by year 3 and 4, saying the Lord’s prayer and our blessing.


Coronavirus - update

Posted on 11 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

We’re closely following the advice coming from the Department for Education about coronavirus.

They’ve set up a helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education – we’ve called the helpline a couple of times and been reassured that what we’re doing in school matches their advice. You can contact the helpline, too:

  • Phone: 0800 046 8687
  • Email:
  • Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)

The advice remains that no school should close in response to a suspected (or confirmed) COVID-19 case unless directed to do so by Public Health England. This would only be the case if a child or staff member tested positive to the virus. (If a parent were to test positive, we’d ask the child to stay at home to self-isolate. This is the advice from the government.)

The government is not advising schools to cancel or postpone any events, whether this be swimming sessions, school trips, concerts or PTA events. As before, we’ll continue to follow government advice.

Everyone knows that personal hygiene is the most important way we can tackle COVID-19. We’ve done lots in school to promote this message – please do the same at home. For example, make sure your child coughs or sneezes into a tissue, or into their elbow sleeve (the ‘vampire method’, which we’ve promoted for many years).