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Headteacher's blog

10th September 2021

Welcome back to school everyone and particularly to all our new families who are joining us for the very first time!  We are delighted that you have joined the Rose Hill community and look forward to getting to know you and your family over this next period of time. That said, we are still living and working in strange times, so it may be a while before you can see all the exciting things going on in school in our traditional way, but as the months go by this academic year we all very much hope to get Rose Hill increasingly opened up and back to ‘normal’, as soon as it’s safe to do so.  You will be relieved to hear that my fortnightly blogs will not keep referring to Covid, but this week’s coincides with the absorption of the government’s holiday changes and the start of school working in yet another adjusted way.

As tempting as it could be to become a little complacent about Covid, it is still very much around and the Department for Education and Public Health England published new guidance which had implications for arrangements in schools from September. I am very aware that there will be a wide range of views among families regarding these latest government announcements. As you will understand, as a school we are expected to have due regard for this new national guidance, as well as the additional local guidance provided to us by Stockport Council which is incredibly challenging to navigate.

The government guidance is clear that enhanced cleaning, hand hygiene, and good ventilation are still implemented, but it no longer sees face coverings, staggered start and end times or ‘bubbles’ as part of the standard approach.

In addition to following national guidance, as required by law, we have to carry out specific risk assessments, to take into account the unique nature of our school and the school community.  As a result of these risk assessments we have identified several additional measures that we will keep in place for the safety of pupils this term. These include not yet holding whole school assemblies, maintaining upstairs and downstairs as two separate groupings, removing opportunities for crowds to assemble on our school site and limiting visiting adults inside the building. We believe that these measures will help to continue to keep all members of our community as safe as possible, whilst having no major impact on pupils’ educational experience.  However, these will remain under regular review as we move into the new term.

We have been very successful in mitigating the Covid risks so far at Rose Hill, but must remain mindful that we are a very large primary school, and removing some of the precautions completely, especially at a time we are told to expect many more school cases, means that we have decided to take steps to tread cautiously as we moving forward together.  We currently have three cases in school and will continue to monitor this on a daily basis.

We have also had to develop comprehensive contingency plans should we either have an increase of Covid-19 cases in the school or an increase of cases in the local community. Should either of these occur, we will be in immediate contact with the local public health team and will act on their advice without delay. We all hope this will not be necessary, but should it occur we may be told to bring back some more of the safety measures that have been in place previously and I will of course keep you informed.

You will find some question and answers on our Covid page on the website but a couple of the key changes are as follows:

  • It is very important to note that any child who receives a positive PCR test will still be expected to isolate for 10 days and will not be able to attend school during that period and that you inform school as soon as possible should this occur. Staff will be still be testing themselves and we ask for your continued support in keeping a watchful eye on your children should they begin to present with any Covid-like symptoms.
  • Since 19th July the responsibility for contact tracing when a pupil tests positive for Covid has passed from the school to NHS Test and Trace. This means that it will no longer be the school that informs parents when children need to self-isolate.
  • The government has also said that from 16th August, children will no longer be required to automatically self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a positive covid-19 case. Instead, you will be encouraged to take your child for a PCR test if they have been deemed to be in close contact with a positive case.

Clearly a pandemic and managing change can raise anxieties, amongst other things, for both parents/carers and our pupils. We have started to put a few child friendly Covid materials on our website which you may find helpful to share with your child. Our Pastoral Manager is also available should any parent have particular specific concerns about their child so please do not hesitate to get in touch and she will be only too pleased to support you.

Please be reassured that next week my blog will not focus quite so much on Covid!

Have a great weekend.

H Mastrolonardo