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September Re-opening of School - Questions & Answers for Parents & Families of Walter Halls


Q – Does everyone get to come back to school in September?

A – Yes! School is open from Thursday 3rd September to all children from all year groups. We are being asked to operate with our existing ‘bubble’ systems with whole class or phase groups, instead of just a maximum of 15 per group.


Q – Does everyone have to come back in September or is it still parental choice?

A – From September, it will become a statutory requirement for all children to attend school again and schools can begin to issue penalty notices again for poor attendance. If, however, you are still really concerned about your child returning for a specific medical reason then we will need to talk to you about this and put a full risk assessment in place to help support your child, in addition to the safety measures that will already be in place for all of our children. Please call the office ASAP and arrange to speak to me if you think this applies to you.  


Q – My child or a member of our household has been shielding. Can my child still return to school?

A – Yes. The shielding programme will be paused from the start of August due to the low cases of COVID-19 nationally. As above, if you still have a specific concern about your child’s safe return to school please call the office to discuss this with us in more detail. The guidance states: “Some pupils no longer required to shield but who generally remain under the care of a specialist health professional may need to discuss their care with their health professional before returning to school in September (usually at their next planned clinical appointment). More advice is available from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.”


Q – Will the times of the day be the same for all children?

A – No. We still need to limit the amount of people arriving at our school gates at any one time. We will be staggering the times as follows:

F1 – Normal times for morning, afternoon and 30-hour children - ARRIVING & LEAVING FROM WELLS ROAD GATE ONLY (staggered start to the year – please see transition letters)

F2 – 8.40am-3.15pm – ARRIVING & LEAVING FROM WELLS ROAD GATE ONLY (staggered start to the year – please see transition letters)







**These gates have been matched up to the easiest location for children to enter their classrooms from an external entrance point rather than crowding the main office corridor areas. It is essential that these times are stuck to every day to avoid over-crowding at the start and end of the days**


Q – What if I have more than one child arriving at two different gates?

A – It is impossible to come up with a plan that will fit everyone’s requirements. If you have more than one child arriving at different gates, and you would like to accompany all children to and from school, then we advise you to bring them to the gate & time that matches the youngest aged child. Staff will be on-hand to ensure all children reach the correct assembly point from that gate.


Q – Can parents come on to school grounds in the morning or after school?

A – No. Unfortunately, we’re still not able to allow parents to come on site. One adult can accompany their child to the green gates and staff will make sure they get in and out of their classrooms safely. Parents can call the office and arrange a meeting in school if needed but this can be by appointment only for the time being. This isn’t the way any of us want to run our primary school as our families are so important to us and we want to be able to see you and talk to you as much as possible. We hope these guidelines will be relaxed as the school year goes on.


Q – Will there be breakfast and after school care in place?

A – Yes but not immediately. Updated guidance does encourage schools to try and re-open breakfast and after school provisions as well as clubs. It says: ‘Schools should consider resuming any breakfast and after-school provision, where possible, from autumn term. We recognise that schools may need to respond flexibly and build this up over time’. We will need more time to plan this out as it will involve lots of children from different year groups mixing together. We will aim to open this provision as quickly as we can within the first couple of weeks of Autumn term, once we have planned this space carefully. More guidance will be shared with you in September.


Q – Do the children have to wear uniform again?

A – Yes. The guidance says there is no reason for uniform to be washed more regularly than normal anymore and so schools should resume their normal uniform policy. Please ensure your child has full school uniform ready for September. The office has sent out guidance on a couple of different ways that this can be purchased.


Q – Can my child bring bags, coats and other items to school?

A – Yes – children can now bring in anything needed to help them with their school day – coats, bags, water bottles, bookbags and books. Please do not let them bring in any other toys or items from home.


Q – Will my child have their normal teacher?

A – Yes – transition letters have gone out explaining who your child’s new teacher will be. Teachers are also now allowed to move between class groups where needed, to support learning.


Q – Will lunches and breaktimes be the same?

A – No. We will need to stagger the times of lunch and breaks to minimise which classes and groups are out at the same time. When playing outside, the risk is minimised further, so it is likely that whole year groups will be mixing more, rather than staying in separate classes only.

All children can have a school dinner if needed, or can bring a packed lunch. We will need our youngest children (F2-Y2) to eat their lunch in their classrooms to reduce the number of children going in and out of the hall to eat. Our usual standards of supervision will be in place for all year groups.


Q – Will my child be learning the full curriculum?

A – Yes. We will be spending a lot of time in the first Autumn term finding out where your child is at with their learning and development, assessing the gaps in the basics of reading, writing and maths and planning how best to support them. There will also be a focus on emotional health and happiness in being at school again. All of our teachers are very skilled professionals in knowing how to meet many different learning needs. Each week, during the teachers planning time out of class, your child will be receiving regular Music and PE lessons, some of which are delivered by outside providers – ‘Epic PE’ staff and the Nottingham City Music Hub.

We will then start to build up the curriculum from Autumn 2 term onwards and would anticipate a full curriculum is re-established by Spring, adapted in the usual ways to meet the many and varied needs of our individual children. We will ensure we do everything possible to re-establish parent’s evenings and other ways to update you on your child’s progress with their learning.


Q – What if I think my child or someone in my household is displaying symptoms of coronavirus?

A – You will need to keep the whole household isolated, contact school to let us know immediately and then arrange for them to be tested for COVID-19. When results come back you will need to tell school immediately so we can work to isolate any others they may have come in contact with if the result was positive. If the result is negative, your household should continue to isolate for up to 14 days to ensure they do not develop symptoms. Your child can return to school as soon as they are well again.


Q – What if my child becomes ill whilst at school?

A – Any child who displays symptoms of COVID-19 will be removed from their group and taken to our medical room. This room is in a separate part of school, away from all classrooms and away from the main office area. It has an entrance door from the outside of school and can be easily accessed for collection, without the need to walk through school. Adults will need to wear PPE whilst they care for them. You will be contacted to come and collect them immediately. Enhanced cleaning of this room is in place.


Q – What if Nottingham goes into a local lockdown or if there is another national lockdown?

A – We will be notified immediately and it is likely that the school will be asked to close to all but critical worker children, as before. We will notify everyone immediately. We are being asked to formulate a contingency plan for this and have all these plans in place by the end of September, to ensure home-learning and staffing requirements are thought about in advance. I will be sending a survey via Parent Mail, at the start of September to ask for your opinions and ideas for this.


Q – How will you be keeping my child safe from coronavirus at school, if so many children are back?

A – A full risk assessment will be in place and you are welcome to request a copy of this at the end of July. Here are some of the many things we will be doing to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19:

  • Reduced number of visitors to site, staggered start and end times.

  • Reduced number of groups of children mixing at breaks and lunchtimes.

  • Reduced numbers in hall for lunch – KS1 and F2 eating in classrooms

  • Increased cleaning – cleaners on site all day rather than just the start and end of the day.

  • Teaching staff increased cleaning regimes – tables, books, equipment.

  • Children having their own equipment only to use– pencils, pens, rulers.

  • Increased ventilation – open windows, doors, increased outdoor learning lessons

  • Increased hand washing – 6 times per day (hand cream provided too!)

  • Teaching of good hygiene and handwashing very regularly each week

  • Reduced assemblies – 4 classes maximum in the hall at any time, once per week only. Video assemblies in place for other year groups.

  • No singing groups and increased hygiene with musical sessions


Q – Can my child wear a face mask?

A – No. This is considered an increased risk in a school environment. The guidance says - ‘Schools should have a process for removing face covering when pupils and staff who use them arrive at school…they must wash their hands immediately on arrival and be instructed not to touch the front of their face covering when removing them…immediately dispose of temporary face coverings in a lidded bin or store reusable ones inside a plastic bag…’. Children can wear face coverings to and from school if you would like them to and if using public transport but staff will follow this guidance once they arrive at the gate.


Q – What can parents and families do to help reduce the risk?

A – Know and follow all of this guidance. Stick to the start and end times each day. Avoid using public transport to and from school where possible and if needed take extra precautions. Aim to walk or cycle to school where possible. Ensure only one adult accompanies your child to and from school. Tie long hair back, cut fingernails short and help your child understand about handwashing and hygiene.

We encourage all of our families to look at the advice on safer travel to and from school, available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers


Q – Will there be any events or visits or will these all be cancelled?

A – Events and visits can take place so long as they follow risk assessments and guidance on minimising the risk of spread of COVID-19. This can include educational visits out of school so long as we can ensure our own measures can still be enforced during the visit. Overnight residentials are not yet permitted.

We will send more detail ahead of any planned events, meetings or visits for your added reassurance.


Q – Will it always be like this? When will this change and go back to normal?

A – We are still living in a time where there is a strong chance that there may be a second spike in COVID-19 cases with the result being local lockdowns or a second national lockdown. Until there is a vaccine and some further scientific developments in this area, we need to be prepared to adjust to a ‘new normal’ way of operating at school so that children don’t miss out on their entitlement to a full and broad education. This isn’t easy and we will gradually start to review our approaches, being guided by the situations we face. As always, we will keep you as informed as we can do.


We are so grateful for all of your support, patience and kindness during all of this. We realise how hard this has been on all of our families and we are here to do everything we possibly can do to support you all. 


If you have a question I haven’t answered here, please do contact me for a chat:

0115 9150045 or email headteacher@walterhalls.nottingham.sch.uk