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Latest information from Walter Halls School

28th February - Full opening of school on Monday 8th March

The document below should answer fully any queries you may have about how school needs to operate from 8th March. It is essentially much the same as September, but please do note that:

  • Clinically Extremely Vulnerable children should not be attending for the time being. Guidance is being reviewed again at the end of March.
  • Clinically Extremely Vulnerable staff, and those who are pregnant beyond 28 weeks will not be attending the workplace.
  • Operating in closed bubble with the risk of isolation and full bubble closures is still highly possible.
  • All children who show symptoms or are unwell should not attend school.
  • All clubs, visits out of school and residentials are still not permitted, nor are any school events or anything involving an audience, indoors or outdoors.

Please take the time to read through the Q7A document to remind yourselves of staggered start times and expectations in place for school attendance. If you are unsure or need to discuss a clinical vulnerability, please call the office on 0115 9150045 before 8th March.

 

22nd January - F1 / F2 (EARLY YEARS) KEY WORKER BUBBLE CLOSURE

I am really sorry to have to write and tell you all that we have just received news that a child who has been to school this week in the F1 & F2 bubble has tested positive for COVID. This now means that this entire bubble of staff and children who have been on site will have to isolate again for 10 days, following government advice.

 

They will be able to return to school on MONDAY 1ST FEBRUARY. If your child or anyone in your household begins to show symptoms you should get them tested and please let us know this immediately.

 

This group has certainly taken the brunt of this new strain and higher transmission rates and I'm sure you are all feeling exceptionally frustrated about it all. I can only empathise and assure you we are doing our absolute best to keep our bubbles safe, follow strict hygiene measures and have deep cleaning systems in place.

 

This case has come from a child rather than staff member this time and I would urge you all to be really vigilant with any coughs, colds or mild symptoms and get tests done even in these circumstances - it is obviously possible for such young children to get this virus and for it to go undetected, masked by very mild or no symptoms at all.

 

Home learning is planned and ready for all children in these year groups and we hope you're able to access Class Dojo with ease to help you over the next ten days.

 

I will be in touch again next week with any more updates.

 

Many thanks,

Emma Beardah, Headteacher

10th January - F1 / F2 (EARLY YEARS) KEY WORKER BUBBLE CLOSURE

A staff member working closely with all children in the Early Years bubble has tested positive for COVID-19. They became symptomatic on Friday evening and their test result came back today - Sunday. In line with government guidance for contact with a positive test, we now ask that all staff and all children in this bubble that have been attending school during the last week remain at home and isolate for 10 days. They can return to school site on TUESDAY 19TH JANUARY. If they begin to show symptoms you should get them tested and please let us know this.

 

Unfortunately, if your child was due to start the F1/F2 key worker bubble provision from tomorrow (w/c 11th January) they will not be able to attend their allocated days until after we re-open this bubble on 19th January.

 

For any and all parents and carers of children in F1 & F2 this may also mean some disruption to home learning activities - they will all pull together and do their best but any staff sickness will obviously mean a reduction in capacity to provide learning. We will do our best but please bear with us all.

 

Please be advised that if you are a parent whose F1/F2 child has siblings attending other year group key worker bubbles, those children may still continue to attend, unless your child in F1/F2 or the sibling begins to show symptoms (in which case the whole household would need to isolate, whilst those family members showing symptoms were tested).

 

I feel we are starting to see the ease of spread of a new strain of the virus and, as I said in my newsletter on Friday, the bubbles in school are still not immune from disruption and closure with the numbers we have coming in to our site.

I will be in touch again next week with any more updates.

 

If you have any queries regarding the details shown in this email, then please call the school office from 8am tomorrow morning.

 

Many thanks,

Emma Beardah, Headteacher

6th January - Key Worker and Vulnerable Child Provision

This message is to reiterate some really important points about how and why we have had to allocate space in school the way we have.

 

First of all, thank you to those of you who have been immensely supportive of staff here in school, patient and sent in kind words. 

 

We all empathise and understand what a dreadful situation this is – not just nationally but for our own community of Walter Halls. We are acutely aware of the financial implications this national lockdown decision will mean for you. We also understand how difficult home learning is for working families and more importantly for all of our children – especially when faced with it for a second time. 

 

We are all in the same storm but very different boats. As a key worker parent myself, who has been unable to secure a full-time space at my own child’s school due to limited capacity, I do feel justified in saying that I understand the huge strain and frustration this places on many factors of your life – and after having to deal with this for too long already. 

 

Here are our methods for allocating places over the course of yesterday:

  1. Make the school site safer by drastically reducing the numbers of children – the purpose of the lockdown. We had many staff exercising their right under Section 44 of the Employment Act to refuse to work in unsafe conditions. Nearly 900 people died yesterday alone and we are exceeding 60,000 new cases a day. My duty is to STAFF WELFARE as well as children and families. We do not work in the same conditions with the same PPE as our fantastic NHS workers and are incredibly exposed.
  2. Ensure the site could be kept safe with adequate cleaning systems – many staff are shielding due to clinical vulnerability.

 

This led us to having to make the decision to work in 4 bubbles only across the site. This will be different for different schools who have different sites and different staffing complexities.  

 

Allocation of Key-worker/vulnerable spaces – in more detail than my first communication:

1) NHS worker on the frontline supporting COVID specifically - both parents or a single parent family

2) NHS worker in any way, supporting the national health crisis - both parents or a single parent family

3) Safeguarding children (of which we have a significant amount of here who need support)

4) One NHS worker and one other critical worker in a family of 2 parents

5) Other key worker from the criteria list - single parent

6) Other key worker from the criteria list - both parents key workers

7) Other key worker from the criteria list 

 

Because of the tight time-frame we also looked at previous registers from the first lockdown to inform our judgements. If your circumstances changed we may not have the capacity to possibly know that in such a short timeframe. 

 

There are 64 children now accessing on-site learning. This compared to an average of 20 during the first lockdown – we are seemingly in a worse state nationally than then but have more than tripled the provision we are offering. We had 83 requests – so clearly a fair few of you are now upset, worried, angry and disappointed.

 

In many of our bubbles, we reached capacity by point 3 on the above list. We could have filled some bubbles twice-over if we had allowed this to happen – but this is wrong for the safety of everyone in the current climate we are facing, including all of our staff here at school. 

 

I’m afraid our time has been limited in being able to respond fully to you all with clear reasons for decisions – perhaps you can imagine what the timeframe has been like for us compared to the workload required for fielding enquiries and information for 420 children.

 

I do have a duty to do everything I can for our key worker families. I also have a duty to keep my staff and community safe from transmission. I have many staff who are isolating or ill right now as well as a staff member with a new born baby who is ill with COVID-19. This isn’t something I take lightly for us all here, in any way.

 

It was always our intention to keep looking at our waiting lists and making calls to offer whatever we could do. We will do this over the course of the next few days and be in touch with whoever we can be – matched to the listed criteria in that order. 

 

We are also aware of a certain degree of dishonestly about job roles, single parent status, part-time hours vs the need for a full-time place. We don’t have the capacity to investigate this ourselves for every case – especially with the ridiculously short time-frame we have been expected to work in. This is based on trust and respect for the situation.

 

I now ask you to trust and respect the staff here at Walter Halls and leave us to continue to work hard to look at this and call you back whenever a space may be available – we will do this wherever we can and when we can. If you are using a space that is not needed on any single day of the week someone else could have this slot and it could help save their livelihood. If we have cases of children repeatedly not accessing a space we will remove them from the list and contact the next person according to the criteria.

 

Thank you,

Emma Beardah, Headteacher

4th January 2021 - SCHOOL CLOSURE

Unfortunately a decision has had to be made today to only open school to key worker and vulnerable children.

 

This provision will begin on Wednesday 6th - and at the same time all other children will move to remote learning provision at home from this day.

 

Tomorrow – Tuesday 5th – school will remain closed to all children as an emergency scenario so that staff can continue to prepare resources and organise key worker provision on site.

 

This is not a decision I have taken lightly or alone and comes with the full backing of our Board of Governors and of the Local Authority team. We have spent the entire morning discussing the reality of what we face here are school and what staffing capacity we have to ensure the safety of our children and staff. Both of which we have a duty to protect.

 

Not one member of staff here wants this to happen and all of us have struggled greatly to come to this conclusion. Here is an overview of what has forced us into taking this action:

  • 17 staff members have taken up union advice to say that they currently feel unsafe working on site with all of our children in school.
  • A further 4 staff members are clinically extremely vulnerable at are not allowed on site whilst we are in Tier 4 with a further couple of staff heading into the final trimester of pregnancy where advice is that they also shield.

 

We therefore have significantly reduced capacity to clean our site, manage lunchtimes safely, offer a full provision for our most vulnerable children with additional needs and also no longer have a full safeguarding team willing to work on site. This is even before we start to see issues with isolation and illness creep in – as we speak I have 3 further staff members isolating and awaiting test results.

 

This is the full and honest picture here for us at Walter Halls School. I know of other local schools who have been forced into a similar situation with full or partial closure, despite what the media or central government are saying. Equally there will be schools locally who can currently manage their staffing levels a lot more positively and remain open for the time being.

 

Key Worker / Vulnerable provision

I will be in touch again tomorrow with further finalised plans of our key worker and vulnerable child provision on site, as well as some reminders of how home learning will take place.

For now, the following criteria applies for you to be able to secure a place for your child on-site:

  • In households of 2 parents, both parents are classed as critical workers directly involved in supporting the COVID-19 pandemic
  • All NHS workers
  • Those vulnerable children with an EHC Plan or with an allocated social worker
  • Those vulnerable children who the school safeguarding team feels need additional on-site support
  • Other critical workers who are still required to attend the workplace.

Places are limited and there won’t be provision for absolutely everyone so it will be granted using the above criteria in that order. The school office will start taking names and organising registers from this afternoon and again in the morning. After this point we will be able to offer more clarity on who will access this provision.

 

As an education professional I find this decision exceptionally difficult to have to take and am hugely disappointed and frustrated that it has been placed in our hands to make these crucial decisions which massively impact our young people.

 

We will review it weekly and continue to work with our Local Authority team to seek a rapid shift in getting everyone back to school where they belong.

 

Our teaching staff are now responding as quickly as they can to set up a high-quality remote provision which we hope shows improvements ad amendments in approach from the last time we were asked to do this. This will be sent to you all for Wednesday 6th January onwards.

 

Children attending site in one of our allocated bubbles will receive a reduced provision from our kitchen staff but meals are available still or packed lunches can be brought in. Children in receipt of Free School Meals and working at home will receive vouchers as before.

 

More information tomorrow will follow. From all the staff and governors here at Walter Halls we send you our huge thanks for your understanding and patience during such a difficult time, yet again.

Take care,

 

Emma Beardah

Headteacher

 

James Sullivan

Chair of Governors

31st December 2020

Re-opening of school to children on 5th January 2021

After yesterday's announcements on schools re-opening, I thought I would get in touch to clarify our situation at Walter Halls. The announcement was fairly confusing and vague in places and I wanted to make sure your were all reassured of what is actually happening.

Nottingham City Primary Schools will open as planned at the very start of term.

Walter Halls will open to all children on Tuesday 5th January and teachers will be in school for their staff training day on 4th.

The small handful of primary schools not yet opening are mainly in the south of England and this does not include us.

We are, however, in Tier 4 and facing some very serious times with a new strain of the virus that is spreading more quickly. Despite the good news of more than one vaccine on the horizon, we still have quite a way to go in keeping everyone as safe as possible. As has been rightly pointed out - schools are a big part of wider communities and although our younger children do not seem to be getting ill, schools are full of adults as well as children and our children go back out into wider families with potentially vulnerable family members.

The Tier 4 status means that we will need to shield our clinically extremely vulnerable staff again and school will face another tricky term with staffing in general.

I urge you all to remain vigilant and take this current situation seriously. Gathering by the school gates in groups, arriving too early to drop your children off or collect them and staying around at the end of the day to chat with others, all contribute to a greater risk to all of us. All of our other restrictions listed on my weekly newsletters remain firmly in place. Please help us to keep everyone safe as we enter into this new school term.

We look forward to seeing all of our amazing young people on Tuesday 5th January.

A very happy new year to you all - the only way is up in 2021!

11th December 2020

Please read the document below for information on what to do if your child develops Covid-19 Symptoms and subsequently tests positive for the virus.

 

Highlights:

  • If your child develops symptoms of Covid-19 within 2 days of their last day in school, you should obtain a Covid-19 test for them.
  • If the test is positive please email admin@walterhalls.nottingham.sch.uk.
  • You do not need to let us know if your child has symptoms, unless they receive a positive test result.
  • You do not need to let us know if your child develops symptoms more than 2 days after their last day in school.

19th November 2020

The F2 bubble (Rabbits and Moles classes) at Walter Halls Primary School is now closed as a result of a member of staff testing positive for Covid-19. Children in this bubble should now isolate at home for 14 days. We have taken the decision in line with government guidance and we will reopen this bubble on Thursday 3rd December. If children feel unwell with Covid-19 symptoms, we would urge parents to register online for a test. We will continue to work closely with Public Health England, Nottingham City Council and Nottingham Schools Trust and will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.

17th November 2020

Still image for this video
A message about facemasks

Wednesday 4th November

Friday 16th October

Thursday 15th October 2020

The 2B bubble at Walter Halls Primary School is now closed as a result of a member of staff testing positive for Covid-19. Children in this bubble should now isolate at home for 14 days. We have taken the decision in line with government guidance and we will reopen this bubble on 2nd November at the earliest. If children feel unwell with Covid-19 symptoms, we would urge parents to register online for a test. We will continue to work closely with Public Health England, Nottingham City Council and Nottingham Schools Trust and will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.

Tuesday 13th October