Return to School Sept 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

 

I do hope you are all safe and well. Today Kirsty Williams, Minister for Education announced her plans for the further opening of schools in September. The guidance for how this will be organised and arranged safely will be issued by the Welsh Government in the next few days. As soon as we have received this guidance and formulated a clear plan, we will contact you with how the new academic year will be arranged. All plans will be based on the advice we receive and will be focused on keeping all pupils and staff safe. I will write to you before the end of term with our plans. Keep well and I will speak to you soon.

 

Neil Foley - B.Sc. MA.
Pennaeth Headteacher

Pupils return to school to ‘Check in, Catch up and Prepare for Summer’

Return school ‘hugely successful’ as pupils, parents and teachers are relieved to back at school

Prestatyn High have now welcomed back a wider number of pupils as part of the ‘Check in, Catch Up, Prepare for summer and September’ Welsh Government scheme.

 

Neil Foley, Headteacher at Prestatyn High school, said: "The wider opening of the school has been hugely successful. Both staff and pupils have quickly adapted to the changes and we are delighted to have them all back. A school is nothing without pupils and they have been missed greatly. We appreciate the support and cooperation of our fantastic parents and the wider community.”

 

PHS has been open every day since lockdown began for keyworker and vulnerable pupils and this has prepared us well for the challenges we faced in opening up further. Pupils, parents and teachers at Prestatyn High have all said they were relieved and happy to be back at school.

 

A Year 10 pupil said: ‘I was really nervous about returning to school, but going into Year 11 I felt was important. I didn’t need to worry at all, yes school is different but I feel safe and supported.”

 

As well as key worker children, 60% of pupils from Years 7-10 are now back in school. Year12 students are in everyday to make sure they are catching up, ready for their exams next year.

 

Sam on twitter said: Your communication, organisation and reassurance has been fantastic 👍🏻  Well done!! My son (Y7) has missed school so much, he’s had so much encouragement from his teachers virtually, it’s been so well managed..”

 

Angela Evans said: “My son, mars 9, enjoyed his first day back in school on Monday Thumbs up 👍🏻

 

The school has conducted robust risk assessments ahead of the wider opening in line with Department for Education guidance to ensure the safety and protection of children, staff and adults. Assessments included protective and hygiene measures, staffing, site and premises assessments, learning considerations, as well as two-way communications with parents.

 

Prestatyn High school will continue to provide home learning resources for children not attending school. The school is now on mission to make sure the pupils catch up and get ready for any challenges ahead.

The Big Bang is back and this time, it’s digital!

If you were disappointed when the Big Bang fair you registered for was cancelled, we think we’ve got something to put a smile on your face!

We’re bringing together a day of inspiring online sessions to give young people a front row view of the incredible contribution of scientists, healthcare professionals, engineers, technicians and students in responding to Covid-19.

Big Bang Digital 2020 – science, engineering & Covid-19 takes place on Tuesday 14 July and celebrates the amazing work of scientists and engineers in a pandemic.

TV & Radio Science Presenter, Podcaster & YouTuber Greg Foot will be hosting live, exploring the topic with a range of guests, putting your questions to the experts and bringing his usual energy and enthusiasm to the day.

Hear from the people using their skills and experience to fight Covid-19 on the frontline, to keep things moving, keep the lights on and keep food in the shops. Discover how people have been supporting the environment and promoting wellbeing. Sessions include:

  • The worldwide race to develop a vaccine (GSK)
  • New habits to protect the planet: the environmental impact of staying at home (Plastic Oceans)
  • Young talent against Covid-19 (Big Bang Competition winners)
  • Designing a social distancing lanyard (RS Components)
  • Rebuilding a greener future (The Environment Agency)
  • Keeping the water flowing (Thames Water)
  • Designing a low-cost ventilator (Imperial College London)
  • Feeding the nation (Harper Adams University)

Check out the latest line-up

Big Bang Digital 2020 is going to be an inspiring day of upbeat sessions to show young people the amazing things you can achieve in STEM and includes interactive polls and live Q&A sessions.

Students (11+) can join #BigBangDigital from school or from home on desktop, phone or tablet, so get the date in the diary and bookmark www.digitalbigbang.co.uk.

Check in, Catch up, Prepare

A key element of pupils returning to school is their teaching and learning. Welsh Government have said that the aim of the check in, catch up and prepare time is get pupils learning fit. In Prestatyn High School we believe that means learning regarding wellbeing, and the essential skills of literacy and numeracy. Pupils will be taught by one teacher for the entire day who will prepare them in these three areas. Due to Year 10 being halfway through their GCSEs we have allocated them two days as it is essential for their studies.

In the first week we will focus on wellbeing, with pupils gaining an understanding of their own wellbeing, the situation and how it has affected them and others as well as giving them skills for managing their own wellbeing.

In the second week onwards each day will be split into three sessions. One session will supplement their work from the first week with additional activities which will support wellbeing. The second and third sessions will be working to make themselves ready for continued learning after the summer break. This will focus on the essential skills of literacy and numeracy. Pupils will be working to improve their abilities in literacy and numeracy through a range of carefully prepared tasks and activities prepared by highly skilled and specialist teachers. We will be building in resilience and independence in with these sessions as well in order to support distance learning.

With blended learning likely to continue beyond the summer we are mindful that pupils need to continue working on their distance learning work to supplement the one day a week pupils are in school. Pupils will continue to be set work on Microsoft Teams, however, knowing that pupils are in once a week they may opt to focus on non-core subjects.

Parent letter

Dear Parents and Carers - Letter - 25th June 2020

This will be the final time I write to you before we further open our doors to all pupils. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the overwhelming number of emails and responses of support for our plans for wider opening. This has been a mammoth task as I am sure you are aware, a task which has called for every part of the school to be reorganised and changed so that we are as safe as we possibly can be. No stone has been left unturned in this process and I am fully satisfied that we are fully compliant with the COVID-19 guidance and also ready to deliver high quality pastoral and academic catch-up sessions to our pupils.

Over the past week we have also received several questions about next week and clarification on a few points. Below is a summary of the questions and corresponding answers.

 

Q: Will every pupil receive a free meal even if they are not in receipt of free school meals?
A: Yes, all pupils will be entitled to a free meal everyday they are in school.

 

Q: Will my son/daughter be able to bring a bag into school?
A: The advice we have received is to limit the items pupils bring into school. This will minimise any potential virus spread as there will be fewer belongings and surfaces that can be touched. Pupils wishing to bring in their own lunch, medication or other essential items are asked to do so in a disposable plastic bag. We would like pupils to also bring in a pen/pencil and a water bottle. If any pupil cannot carry these items without the need for a small disposable bag then we will allow them to bring one in. Any stationery brought into school can be kept in the pupil’s packs that will remain in their allotted classroom.

 

Q: Does my son/daughter have to bring in hand sanitiser and cleaning wipes?
A: No, these are completely optional. If they do choose to bring them in then please try to make sure they are pocket sized so they can be stored and transported easily. The school will provide all of these items in large quantities around the school.

 

Q: Why are Year 10 in twice a week but the rest of the year groups are in only once?
A: Due to the need for Year 10 to prepare and catch up on their GCSE studies, Year 10 are having as much time as possible in school to help them catch up. The letter sent out to all pupils returning was for first day arrangements. The arrangements for their second day and all other days after this are exactly the same.

 

Q: Will the arrangements for pupils be the same for weeks 2 and 3?
A: Yes, all arrangements will be same except for the end time of the school day. In the first week pupils will leave after lunch, in weeks 2 and 3 pupils will begin to leave at 2.15pm onwards Q: Will the transport arrangements be the same as before lockdown? A: All students who are eligible for school transport will be picked up and dropped off on their allocated day(s). Denbighshire pupils will be contacted directly by DCC to explain any differences in pick-up point or time. Only pupils who have requested and are eligible for transport will be allowed on the bus. Flintshire pupils will not be contacted directly by FCC but I have been advised that the pick-up points will remain the same but as the school day starts a little later the buses will arrive 10-15 mins later. Again, only pupils who have requested and are eligible for transport will be allowed on the bus. Please note that those students accessing the key worker/vulnerable student hub will not have access to this transport. School transport is running at a greatly reduced capacity. Students who normally pay to access the Voel bus from Dyserth etc., will now not have access to this bus.

 

If there are any other questions that you have before your son or daughter returns to school, please contact the school for further guidance. I wish you all well and I look forward to seeing all of our pupils retuning next week.

 

Neil Foley - B.Sc. MA. Pennaeth
Headteacher

Wider opening of schools

Dear Parents and Carers - Download the letter

I do hope you are all well and I would like to thank you for your adherence to the government advice on social distancing and remaining at home where possible. We are all making a real difference when it comes to defeating this virus and ensuring that our community stays safe at this time. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank parents for ensuring our pupils are engaging in the distance learning programme.

 

We will report to parents before the end of this term to inform you how well your son or daughter has engaged in distance learning. As I am sure you are all aware the Education Secretary announced on Wednesday 3rd June that there will be a wider opening of schools for all pupils on the 29th June. Now that we have received the official guidance from the Department for Education and the Local Authority, we can now begin to plan how this wider opening can be done safely. Prestatyn High has remained open to many pupils over the past twelve weeks and we have been able to organise this in a very safe way for pupils and staff. This experience puts us in a good position to further open up the school safely.

 

The Local Authority has already sent out a questionnaire to gather some basic information about whether you intend to send your child back to school from June 29th. After reading this information you may wish to change your decision, please email prestatyn.high@denbighshire.gov.uk so that we can update our records. If at any point you change your mind, we will require 5 working days notice so that we can alter our arrangements to accommodate an increase or decrease in pupil numbers.

 

The logistical challenges we face will be many and knowing the number of pupils we expect to return before the end of the summer term will help us plan effectively. I have outlined below what school is likely to look like for all pupils upon wider opening. In every aspect outlined below the safety of pupils, students, staff and parents is our number one priority.

Teaching and Learning

 The full curriculum will not be in operation but we will focus on teaching the core elements of literacy and numeracy.

 We will have a focus on teaching good hygiene and routines in the coronavirus world. This will include an induction on how all pupils must now operate and behave in school during these unprecedented times.

 Our aim is to provide an education for all pupils and a sense of routine/normality during our catch up and check in sessions.

 Different year groups will be in on different days of the week.

 There will also be pastoral and wellbeing sessions to foster good mental health within lessons.

 We will develop “Learning Fitness” which will prepare pupils so that they are ready to learn again.

 The 6th form students will experience subject specific support from their teachers.

 We will use far less resources than normal as they would require thorough cleaning.

 We will not be sending books home with the pupils.

 There will be no expectation that pupils should wear the school uniform.

 There will be no assemblies. Start and finish times

 The start and finish times will be staggered into designated slots.

 Pupils must not arrive to school any earlier or later than the time slot allocated.

 All pupils will have a designated entry and exit point into school.

 No adults can accompany pupils into school. Parental meetings will take place by phone or remotely.

 Further advice will be given to pupils arriving on school and public transport soon.

 We encourage all pupils where possible to come to school by walking or cycling. Arrangements during the school day

 Pupils will be split into groups (bubbles) within their year group of no more than 10.

 Each bubble will have their own classroom space for the day they attend school and will not mix with pupils from any other bubble throughout the school day.

 Pupils may not be in their normal teaching classroom.

 Each bubble will be led by a teacher who may or may not be a teacher they have had throughout this academic year. All sessions will happen with these designated teachers.

 Desks and furniture within the classrooms will be spread out to maximise the distance between pupils. Only classrooms with good ventilation and enough space for desks to be separated by 2m will be used.

 Pupils will be allocated their own chair and desk space, they must only work in this space.

 Pupils will be asked to provide their own equipment. Pupils without equipment will be provided with equipment that must be retained for each session they are in school.

 We will insist on regular handwashing and hand sanitising throughout the day.

 We will provide additional hand cleaning products. Pupils can also bring their own hand sanitiser or anti-bacterial wipes into school if they wish.

 Pupils will be asked to bring in their own water bottles as all water fountains will be disconnected. Breaktime and lunch times

 Breaktimes and lunchtimes will be staggered so that each bubble has their own space and time to be safe. Pupils from other bubbles will not mix during these times. At break and lunchtime, the 2m social distancing rules will still apply.

 The school kitchen staff will provide meals for anyone who wants one. Pupils will eat in their designated classroom before being able to access outside areas with their bubble. Orders for food will be placed earlier in the day and ParentPay will be used to credit accounts.

The current Hub provision

 Pupils needing to access the hub provision will still be able to do so.

 The procedures and organisation will be amended to take into account the increase in pupil numbers accessing the school. Further details will follow nearer to the time of wider opening. Distance learning

 The distance learning provision will continue.

 There will be significant changes to the regularity and volume of work set as teachers will be now be teaching lessons during the day.

 We will do what we can to ensure this provision still provides meaningful work that will allow pupils not in school to still progress over time.

 Further details will follow nearer to the time of wider opening.

 

Expectations

 The normal school rules and expectations will still apply on behaviour and conduct.

 Any pupil not following the social distancing rules will be removed from school and parents will be contacted to collect their child.

 

COVID 19

 Under no circumstances should you send your child to school if they are exhibiting any symptoms or illness of any kind.

 We will not be taking pupils’ temperatures on arrival as the science shows that many children with coronavirus are asymptomatic.

 If a pupil does develop symptoms they will be isolated immediately and we will insist on them being collected as soon as possible.

 PPE has not been advised in schools except when administering first aid and for our cleaners. It might be that some pupils and staff choose to wear facemasks.

 All areas of the school will be thoroughly cleaned before and after each school day. Ongoing cleaning will also take place throughout the school day to ensure that that the building is a safe and sterile environment.

I hope I have provided enough information to help you make your decision. As a parent myself, I would want to know exactly what school will look like, that their school is doing everything they can to minimise any risks and that they are fully following the advice and guidance from the Department of Education. Should you wish for your son or daughter to stay at home, that is absolutely fine and I assure you I understand and respect that choice. Attendance is totally optional and there will be no sanction or fine for parents choosing not to send in their children.

Many of the things I have listed above are about changes to how the school will operate. I should also say that our school values and ethos have not changed and pupil wellbeing and respect is at the centre of everything we do.

I’m sure you can appreciate there is a huge amount to organise and think through. I will write to you all soon with a detailed plan for each year group when we know how many pupils to expect. We are also working on how our school will be organised from September and information on this will be available nearer the time.

Opening up the school further will only take place when I am satisfied we can keep pupils, staff and families safe.

Thank you for the time you have given to reading this letter. I appreciate that it is a difficult decision to make and one that will take careful consideration.

 

Take care and stay safe,

 

Neil Foley - B.Sc. MA.
Pennaeth Headteacher

Check in, Catch Up, Prepare for Summer and September

Dear Parents and Carers,

On Wednesday afternoon, 03/06/2020, the Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, published details of the next phase for schools in Wales, providing an opportunity for your child to “Check in, Catch Up, Prepare for Summer and September”. As part of this statement, the Minister confirmed the intention that schools will plan to start the next phase on 29 June, with the summer term extended by a week, ending on 24 July. Furthermore, the last weeks of this summer term will be used to make sure pupils, staff and parents are prepared – mentally, emotionally and practically – for the new normal in September. The autumn half-term break will be extended to two weeks.

A link to the statement can be found overleaf, where we’ve also attached a summary of the statement as a help.

Your child’s safety and wellbeing are our priority and we are waiting for the detailed guidance that will help us to plan and prepare for this next phase. Welsh Government has announced that this further guidance will be published this week, including information on managing facilities and logistical arrangements, including buildings, resources, cleaning and transport. However, we have already started our initial planning and considerations, prioritising wellbeing of learners, staff and families to plan a phased approach that is right for our community. Over the next week we will send out further information that will hopefully answer all the important issues and anxieties you may have. As soon as the Welsh Government publish the national guidance and we have a meaningful plan in place, we will communicate this directly to all parents and carers.

We understand that you will have many questions and we are working closely with the Local Authority, the regional consortium and governors so that we can provide you with the information you need to prepare for this next phase.

In order for us to plan the safe return of pupils and staff, we would appreciate you completing the short survey on the attached link, https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/NR7WYXM indicating whether to you intend to send your child/children into school. It is imperative that this survey is completed no later than Tuesday, 9th June, as the results will inform our planning and be key to preparing the school site.

We will write to you again as soon as more detailed information is available. Please be reassured, keeping you and your children informed remains our priority. In the meantime the school remains open for vulnerable pupils and children of key workers.

We would like to thank you for your continuous support at this difficult time.

Take care and stay safe,

 

 

Neil Foley

 

Summary of and link to The Education Minister’s announcement 03/06/20

Check in, Catch Up, Prepare for Summer and September”. https://gov.wales/check-catch-prepare-summer-and-september-all-schools-wales-enter-next-phase

What

· Schools will start the next phase on 29 June, with the term extended by a week, therefore ending on 27 July.

· Autumn half-term break will be expanded to two weeks.

· Childcare providers will also increase the numbers of children in attendance from 9 June.

 

How

· In each school there will be a phased approach.

· Year groups will be split into cohorts with staggered starts, lessons and breaks.

· It is expected that this will mean, at most, a third of pupils present at any one time, though schools may need time to reach this level of operation.

· Much smaller classes will provide secure dedicated time with teachers and classmates.

· This time will include online and personalised classroom experience, getting children and teachers ready for a similar experience in September.

 

Why

· We are creating the opportunity for children to Check in, Catch Up and Prepare before the start of September.

· Since the decision to close schools for statutory provision, our understanding of the virus and its longer-term impacts has continued to develop.

· We know that we are going to have to live with it for some time.

· We know that it will remain our biggest challenge for the foreseeable future.

· We know that the classroom experience will be different for a long time to come.

 

What next

· Next week, the Welsh Government will publish guidance to support childcare, schools, as well as further and higher education institutions.

· This will include information on managing their facilities and logistical arrangements, including buildings, resources, cleaning and transport.