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Downderry Primary School

Trying your Best Equals Success If you Believe you will Achieve

Trying your Best Equals Success
If you Believe you will Achieve

Summer Holidays and September Opening

Dear Parents


I would like to thank you all for your support during what has been an extraordinary and unprecedented year. This week we say goodbye to our Year 6 cohort as they get ready to embark upon Secondary school in September. For the rest of the children, school closes today for Bubble A groups and on Friday 17th July for Bubble B children for the Summer holidays. School will reopen to children on Monday 7th September when all year groups will return to school full-time.


While coronavirus (COVID-19) remains in the community, this means making judgments at a school level about how to balance and minimise any risks from coronavirus (COVID-19) with providing a full educational experience for children and young people.


Returning to school is vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. Time out of school is detrimental for children’s cognitive and academic development, particularly for disadvantaged children. This impact can affect both current levels of learning and children’s future ability to learn, and therefore we need to ensure all pupils can return to school sooner rather than later.


Measures for arriving at and leaving school

In September we will continue to facilitate social distancing by adjusting start and finish times to keep groups apart as they arrive and leave school, and by maintaining the one-way entry and exit systems for Reception, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.


Gates will be open for Reception, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 children from 8:30am - 8:45am to minimise gathering. Lessons for these children will start at 8:50am.


Parents and Carers of our new Reception cohort are asked to arrive from 9:00 - 9:30am during the first week, when they will be able to walk their children down to the Reception classrooms and help them to settle. Unfortunately Parents/Carers will not be allowed into the classrooms, and will be asked to wear a face-mask whilst on site. Ordinarily parents will not be allowed onto the school site at the start of the day.


Nursery classes will enter the school via our Children’s Centre. Miss Gray has already been in touch outlining procedures including staggered start days and arrangements for collecting at home time.


Other Protective Measures

Essential protective measures include:

  • a requirement that people who are ill stay at home
  • robust hand and respiratory hygiene
  • enhanced cleaning arrangements
  • active engagement with NHS Test and Trace
  • formal consideration of how to reduce contacts and maximise distancing between those in school wherever possible and minimise potential for contamination so far as is reasonably practicable


We will continue to operate temperature checks and hand sanitisation at the gates upon entry onto the site.


Children will remain in class and year group bubbles in September to reduce interaction and contact with others. Measures to be taken include:

  • grouping children together
  • avoiding contact between groups
  • arranging classrooms with forward facing desks
  • staff maintaining distance from pupils and other staff as much as possible



Following guidance from the Government and Public Health England we will engage with the NHS Test and Trace process to manage any confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) and contain any outbreak by following local health protection team advice. Staff will only wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) where necessary. The majority of staff will not require PPE beyond what they would normally need for their work.


Attendance expectations

From September it is vital for all children to return to school to minimise as far as possible the longer-term impact of the pandemic on children’s education, wellbeing and wider development.


Missing out on more time in the classroom risks pupils falling further behind. Those with higher overall absence tend to achieve less well in both primary and secondary school. School attendance will therefore be mandatory again from the beginning of the autumn term. This means from that point, the usual rules on school attendance will apply, including:

  • parents’ duty to secure that their child attends regularly at school where the child is a registered pupil and they are of compulsory school age
  • schools’ responsibilities to record attendance and follow up absence
  • the availability to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices in line with local authorities’ codes of conduct


Shielding advice for all adults and children will pause on 1 August, subject to a continued decline in the rates of community transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). This means that even the small number of pupils who will remain on the shielded patient list can also return to school, as can those who have family members who are shielding. Read the current advice on shielding.


Anxious about returning to school

I am mindful that pupils and families may be anxious about returning to school in September. I hope this letter reassures you about the protective measures put in place to safeguard pupils, staff, parents and carers. Furthermore, in September the curriculum will be adapted to support: transitioning to a new class and year group, mental and physical health and wellbeing, and to support with gaps in their learning through missed education during lockdown and the period phased reopening.


School Meals

Chartwells, our catering contractor, will be fully operational in September, providing meals to our children. Again, this will be managed in Year group bubbles to minimalise social interaction. A copy of the menu is available on the school website, together with details on your entitlement to free school meals. Please don’t miss out!


School Uniform

From September children will need to wear their correct school uniform as this plays a valuable role in contributing to the ethos of a school and setting an appropriate tone. New school uniform will be available to purchase from the school office before the children return from Wednesday 2nd September, 9am-3pm.


Extra-curricular Provision

It is our intent to reopen breakfast club and after- school Forest club in September. Details of this wrap around care are available on the school website, and Miss Wyles and Miss Derosa will be contacting existing members before the children return to school on 7th September to establish numbers and manage groupings.


Please note we will only be accepting payments by ParentPay for pupil meals, breakfast club and Forest Club. Finally, I would like to wish you all a safe and happy holidays.


Yours sincerely

Dr. David Gifford



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