Check In, Catch Up, Prepare - Return to School Information
We hope that you are all safe and well. We would like to thank you for keeping in touch with us during this challenging time and for your involvement in, and support of, your child’s learning.
We would like to update you with the latest return to school information. Guidance was received on Wednesday 10th June from Welsh Government and we are now responding to that. We still have a great deal of work to do, but we will send further updates to you as soon as possible. In preparing for the reopening of Carreg Hirfaen school for 4 weeks from 29th June, we are able to clarify a few key points.
We are offering UP TO 4 full day sessions to each pupil for a ‘Check-in, Catch-up, Prepare’ school experience. Pupils will return in small groups of between 4 and 7 pupils (based on pupil year groups). Pupils will spend the day within their usual classroom environment and where possible under the supervision of their regular class teacher. They will remain in this classroom and group for the whole school session, and will be involved in various outdoor activities with the same group.
All members of the school community will be expected to adhere to social distancing rules and staff will be supporting your child to understand what this means for them, their peers, and their teachers. Social distancing signage around the school will help to remind everyone of these expectations. We kindly request that you respect this when dropping off and collecting your child, as we need to take every measure to minimise people gathering outside the school.
School arrival and departure times will be staggered into 10 minute windows for each year group. School staff are now in the process of contacting parents with information on which days their children are scheduled to attend school and the time frame for them to drop off and collect their children from school.
The entrance/exit points for each group will be clearly marked.
For everyone’s safety, visitors to school will be strictly monitored and will only be permitted for essential/ emergency reasons.
Hand Washing: Pupils and staff will be required to wash/sanitise their hands thoroughly and regularly throughout the day. Correct hand washing will be modelled and supervised by staff, in an age appropriate manner. Staff and pupils will be required to wash their hands using the facilities provided before entry to the school premises. In addition, dedicated hand sanitising stations will be available around the school.
School capacity and timetable: Welsh Government guidance states that no more than one third of the total number of pupils should be on the school site at any time. We have worked alongside the Local Authority to calculate how many pupils we can safely have on site at any one time, taking into account floor space and the layout of the building. We now have a draft timetable in place and are in the process of sharing this with parents. Groups of pupils will attend school from Monday to Thursday. Teachers will be using Fridays for planning, preparation, setting and responding to the work completed by pupils through Digital Distance Learning.
Work stations: Every child will be allocated their own desk and chair space and will need to work within this space, unless they are working outdoors. Each child will be given a pack of resources in school, solely for their use. Please do not send in unnecessary items from home.
Cleaning: Cleaning regimes will be significantly enhanced, with regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, door handles, toilets etc. throughout the school day.
Clothing/uniform: Pupils will not be expected to wear uniform. Guidance suggests that pupils wear clothing that is suitable for the school environment, comfortable and easily washable. Ideally, clothing worn to school should be washed on returning home.
Food and drink: All school kitchens in the county will be closed for the duration of this term. Therefore, all pupils will need to bring in their own packed lunch, snacks and drink (this includes FSM learners, as payment goes directly to families now). There will be facilities for filling water bottles.
Attendance: If parents choose not to send their children to school, this decision will be respected. Welsh Government have stated no fines will be issued at this time. Distance learning will continue for all pupils and it is vital that pupils engage with this. Pupils who are in receipt of a shielding letter should not attend school.
Symptomatic Pupils: If a pupil shows symptoms of Covid-19 whilst in school, there will be an isolation room made available for them. Parents will be contacted and expected to collect their child from school immediately. All areas where this person has been will be identified and a thorough clean down will occur prior to reoccupation, in line with Welsh Government guidance.
Home-School Agreement: There will be a revised Home-School Agreement (to follow). This will outlineexpectations relating to health and safety and engagement in learning.
Hub Provision: Our school will continue to support pupils who are currently accessing hub childcare provision. Currently the care provision for key worker parents will be available between 8am and 3.30pm although this may change over the coming week if Meithrinfa Seren are in a position to resume their after-school care club. However, please note that parents should still make every effort to care for children at home at this time.The hub should only be used as a last resort. If a hub place is necessary, please book a place for your child by contacting the school no later than Wednesday of each week - i.e. to book a place at the hub during week commencing Monday, June 29th, you will need to contact the school no later than Wednesday, June 24th.
Risk Assessment: The school will be adhering to the Carmarthenshire County Council Risk Assessment Policy, in conjunction with the Welsh Government Guidance:
It is vital that no child is sent to school if they feel unwell; have any of the three identified COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or loss of taste or smell); or if they, or a member of the household, have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
We will make every effort to mitigate and reduce risks as far as possible within our school setting. Measures will include frequent opportunities to wash hands, strictly limiting numbers of pupils and adults on the school site, social distancing and a stringent cleaning rota.
WG guidance does not require the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) at this time by either staff or pupils, other than in cases where social distancing is compromised, eg. first aid, assistance with toileting and where bespoke packages of care and support dictate this is necessary.
The school retains the right to review its provision in line with statutory guidance and make amendments to its Risk Assessment Policy when and where necessary.
Year 6 transition: A Year 6 Transition Pack has been shared with our Year 6 pupils this week and provision made for a seamless transition for pupils from Carreg Hirfaen Year 6 to Year 7 at Bro Pedr. Pupils transitioning to a Carmarthenshire Secondary Schools will be allocated transition days at the beginning of September. Further details will follow.
We look forward to welcoming your children back to school and will be focusing mainly on well-being during these valuable ‘Check- in, Catch -up and Prepare’ sessions. Pupils will be able to connect with their friends and share experiences, spending time in the class group and outside on the school grounds.
There will be an opportunity for the class teacher, or a familiar adult, to support any key issues arising with a child’s learning, in order to maximise or enhance future learning arrangements. It will be an important opportunity for everyone to become familiar with our new ways of working, which will include a ‘blended learning’ approach between home and school. Please see WG guidance for more details:
We appreciate that all your questions may not be answered in this letter. Please refer to the Carmarthenshire ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ pages which may be able to support you with your queries: www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/education. Alternatively, please contact us so that we can reassure you in relation to the measures we have put in place.
Please be assured that, as a school team, we will do our utmost to make your child’s return to school as safe and as enjoyable as possible.
Thank you for your support and patience in this matter. We will endeavour to keep you involved and informed throughout the process.
Headteacher and staff of Carreg Hirfaen
Information on the re-opening of Ysgol Carreg Hirfaen
Education Minister Kirsty Williams announced this week that Welsh schools could re-open from 29th June and that the Summer term would be extended by a week.
As a result, preparations are underway to reopen Carreg Hirfaen so that children can 'come to school and continue learning' before the summer holidays.
The school will be open to all year groups, but with much smaller classes. It means that at most one third of the pupils will be present at any one time. Here at Carreg Hirfaen it means that a maximum of 7 children will be able to attend each class at any one time.
It is up to parents to decide whether you want to send your children back to school this term. This week we have been in contact with parents to ascertain the likely number of pupils who will be returning to us at the end of June. This information is vital for us to make the necessary arrangements.
Following guidance shared with schools this week, it is likely that all pupils will return to school during this period for one day a week. In addition, it is likely that our Nursery and Reception pupils will return on Monday, July 13th and not on Monday June 29th like everyone else. This can of course change as updates are published by the Welsh Government.
In addition, break times, start times and finishing times for the school day will be different for some pupils and will vary for each school year group. More information on these arrangements will follow over the coming weeks.
On return children will have the opportunity to enjoy face-to-face sessions with their teachers, while digital distance learning activities will also continue for all pupils. It is important to note that parents who choose not to send their children back in June will continue to receive support for digital learning at home.
Returning to school in June will help prepare our pupils for returning to school in September - this new classroom experience will be very different to what pupils and teachers are used to.
Risk assessments are currently being undertaken at the school and alternative models of organization are being explored and trialled. When ready we will share information with parents about the new arrangements and safety measures that are being put in place through our weekly information bulletins which will now be published every Friday afternoon.
This information will include social distance retention measures such as arranging separate entrances and exits and implementing one-way travel systems throughout the school.
There will be a need to increase the cleaning arrangements on the premises and ensure that all classrooms have a hand sanitizer and that portable hand washing stations are located around the campus where necessary.
Various signs will be displayed around the campus to educate and encourage pupils to maintain social distance and good hygiene practice.
Decisions on school transport and school meals will be made in the coming week, following further guidance from the Welsh Government and Carmarthenshire County Council.
Information on childcare provision at the school for children of critical workers will be published as soon as possible.
Children who are shielding or living with someone in this vulnerable group should not return to school this term and should continue to learn at home.
Parents who choose not to send their children back to school will not be fined.
Schools in Carmarthenshire will finish on Friday, July 24th, as Monday, 27th July will be an INSET day.
We will share important updates with parents about our 'return to school' arrangements through a weekly information bulletin which will be published every Friday afternoon.
I would like to thank parents again for all their support and co-operation during these uncertain times.
Aled Jones Evans