School FAQs

Page updated on: 21/04/2021

Our key priority has always been the safety of children, their families and school staff and this will continue to be our main consideration as we begin to enter the recovery period.

Please be assured that we have been working hard to put plans in place for our schools. Thank you for your continued support and co-operation.

Please visit this page for all information, it is being continually updated. The following FAQs should answer any queries that you may have about schools and Covid-19. Get in touch via the "Ask a question" tab if there is anything you need additional information about.

All school staff and secondary school pupils are being offered lateral flow testing that they can carry out at home twice a week.

The aim is to quickly identify those who are unknowingly carrying the virus so that they can self-isolate. Many people with COVID-19 have mild, or even no symptoms, but can still spread the virus. With regular self-testing we can slow the spread and help protect the most vulnerable in our families and communities. 

Self-testing for COVID-19 is simple, quick and can be carried out at home without the need to attend a test centre or post samples to a lab for analysis. Lateral flow devices (LFDs) are easy to use and give results in 30 minutes.

Testing is voluntary, but individuals are strongly encouraged to take up the offer to further reduce the risk of transmission in those that do not show any symptoms.

It is important to remember that the purpose of the testing is to complement the safety measures that have already been put in place in schools to allow face-to-face learning, such as social distancing and wearing face coverings. Furthermore, a negative LFD result should not be read as a means to relax or ignore social distancing or other measures to help reduce transmission – lateral flow testing is an additional tool that contributes to reducing risk.

The testing kits can be collected from your school, who will also provide you with further information on when and how to carry out the tests and how to record the results, and what you should do if you test positive.

Further information on lateral flow testing in schools including some useful FAQs can be found on the Welsh Government website.

More information and FAQs

 

No, all the other safety measures must remain in place. The purpose of the testing is to complement the safety measures that have been put in place in schools to allow face-to-face learning to continue, such as social distancing and wearing face coverings. Furthermore, a negative LFD result does not mean that pupils should relax or ignore social distancing or other safety measures. Lateral flow testing is an additional tool that contributes to reducing risk.

Yes, consent, either from pupils themselves if over 16, or from parents/carers or guardian if under 16, is required for participation. If you would like to take part you should familiarise yourselves with the testing process and privacy notice, if you choose to participate, you are committing to self-administer the test and provide results for all tests (negative or positive).

Individual pupils can opt in or out at the point of collecting kits each week. Testing remains voluntary.

Testing is voluntary. Furthermore, it should not be viewed as a ‘test to enable’ or ‘test to return’ to face-to-face learning, that is, it is not a condition of coming on to the site or accessing learning.

Those who choose not to participate should still attend school if they are not displaying symptoms. It is also important that they follow the usual national guidelines on self-isolation and get tested if they show any symptoms.

Your school will advise which two days to carry out the tests, please stick to the same days and times each week. Please note that each school will be different, and it may also be that different year groups within the same school test on a different days.

It is very important that you record your test result correctly on the online portal.

If you record a positive test result in error, do not attend school and wait to speak to a contact tracer who will be able to advise you further.

If you record a negative test result in error, then you will need to phone 119 to inform them of your mistake, and inform your school immediately. You will need to follow the self-isolation guidance and book a PCR test within 24 hours.

 

 

No, testing is to be carried out during term-time only and does not need to be carried out during school holidays.

If your child has been in close contact with a pupil who tests positive using a LFD (within two days of the positive test being taken), you will be notified and your child will need to self-isolate.

If the pupil who has tested positive has a negative PCR test result, then your child can stop self-isolating and return to school.

If the PCR test comes back positive, then your child will need to follow the self-isolation guidance and self-isolate for 10 days.

The main aim of the testing is to quickly identify those who are unknowingly carrying the virus so that they can self-isolate to prevent more people from catching the virus. However, with regular testing it is likely that we will see an increase in the number of positive cases linked to schools in the first instance.

No, the tests are for those working in education, childcare and play settings, and pupils in secondary schools (years 7 to 13) and students in Further Education. This means that tests should not be used for other family members including younger children, as they are currently not included in the testing approach.

Furthermore, lateral flow tests should not be used on anyone with COVID-19 symptoms. If you develop symptoms, please book a PCR test. You can arrange a test by booking online or by calling 119.

The aim of lateral flow testing is to quickly identify those who are unknowingly carrying the virus so that they can self-isolate and stop the spread. The tests need to be carried out regularly, on a twice weekly basis in order to be effective.

Primary head teachers will not accept a negative lateral flow test result as a means to enable a child to return to school if they have been sent home with symptoms.

Coronavirus rates are falling across Wales to enable the return of pupils to schools.

Please be assured that the safety of both pupils and staff is our main priority, and we have robust health and safety measures in place, which are consistent with the measures identified in the most recent scientific advice and current Welsh Government guidance.

These include:

  • Staggered start and finish times to reduce congestion around school gates at drop-off and collection times
  • Effective and frequent hand-washing/sanitising
  • Wearing of face coverings (where appropriate)
  • Managing movements around the school to reduce contacts
  • Ventilation in classrooms via open windows/air conditioning
  • 2m social distancing between adults at all times
  • Maintaining pupils in consistent contact groups/classroom bubbles
  • High levels of effective cleaning
  • Staff and pupils to stay at home if they have symptoms, have tested positive or are required to self-isolate
  • Effective management of symptomatic pupils / staff at school

Research shows that transmission rates between children and other children, and children and adults in schools is very low; and transmission is more likely in households or via community-based activities for example, sleepovers, children’s parties, parents meeting in other homes etc.

Children should not be mixing outside of the classroom environment and contact groups/classroom bubbles only apply within the school setting.

It is extremely important that we all continue to follow the guidance around hand-washing, social distancing and face coverings. We cannot reiterate how important this is to reduce transmission within our communities.

Please remember:

  • Only one parent to drop-off/collect children
  • Wear face coverings (unless exempt)
  • Maintain a minimum of 2m social distance from other adults including school staff
  • Do not gather at the school - leave as soon as you have dropped off/collected your children
  • Do not to attend school if self-isolating or you have any symptoms
  • Do not enter the school grounds without permission (unless in an emergency)

If you or your child or anyone else living in your household has any of the Covid-19 symptoms, you must immediately self-isolate and get tested. It is also important that you inform your school if your child tests positive.

Learners undertaking GCSE, AS and A levels approved by Qualifications Wales will have their qualifications awarded through a Centre Determined Grade model.

This means that grades will be determined by their school or college based on an assessment of the learner’s work.

Schools and colleges will be able to use a range of evidence to determine the grades to be awarded to their learners, including NEA elements, mock-exams, and classwork. In addition, the WJEC will offer a set of adapted past papers which can enable schools to continue to assess learning within their teaching plans, providing extra support for teachers and learners. But there will be no formal external assessments.

WElsh Government FAQs

Qualifications Wales

If a child/parent/household member develops symptoms of COVID-19, the entire household should immediately self-isolate, and you should book a test for the individual with the symptoms.

The COVID-19 symptoms are:

a new continuous cough: this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature) 
a high temperature: this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
loss of or change to sense of smell or taste: this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

If your child becomes unwell outside of school hours with any of the COVID-19 symptoms or needs to self-isolate, please report this to us by calling Delta Wellbeing on 0300 333 2222 or by emailing TTP@deltawellbeing.org.uk who will notify the school on your behalf.

Please only contact Delta Wellbeing out of hours if your child has COVID-19 symptoms. During school hours and for all other health-related issues please inform your school directly.

If a child does NOT have symptoms of COVID-19 but has other cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, they do not need to be tested and they and you do not need to self-isolate. Your child can go to school if fit to do so.

We recommend testing only for those with a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or loss of or change in the sense of taste or smell.

To apply for a test for yourself or someone in your household with symptoms including children under 5s please visit the Welsh Government website or call 119.

If you or your child feels unwell and need medical advice, please telephone NHS 111 for advice or visit their website or telephone your GP.

It is essential that anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms, or who shares a household with someone who has symptoms, must self-isolate, even if your symptoms are mild. To protect others, you must not attend school, nursery, other childcare settings, work, or go to or to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

Anyone with symptoms must self-isolate for 10 days from when their symptoms started. They can return to school or work after 10 days if they are well enough to do so.

Anyone in the household who does not have symptoms must self-isolate for 10 days from when the first person in the home started having symptoms.

If a parent thinks their child has symptoms BUT chooses not to put them through a test all household members must remain in self-isolation for 10 days from the onset of symptoms.

If you receive a positive test result, you will be contacted by the Test, Trace, Protect Team who will advise you further.

If the test is negative, self-isolation can end for everyone, children may return to school and parents can return to work if they are well enough to do so and as long as nobody else in the household has developed symptoms.

Parents and carers on low incomes with children who are self-isolating are now eligible for a £500 support payment.


More information on self-isolating

We would expect parents to discuss any concerns they have about their child returning with their school. This will help the school and the council to plan and understand any barriers to pupils returning to school and identify any further support needed.

However, if your child does not return to school, it is the Welsh Government’s view that it would not be appropriate for the council or school to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) or commence proceedings for non-attendance. The Welsh Government will monitor the situation over the first half of term before reviewing its position.

Decisions regarding school uniform is a matter for individual schools' governing bodies and you should contact your school if you have concerns. However, we would encourage all schools to return to their usual uniform policies. Uniform can play a valuable role in contributing to the ethos of a school and setting an appropriate tone.

Did you know grants of up to £125 (or £200 for Year 7 pupils) are available to to help eligible families buy school uniform and other kit?

Welsh Government has extended the grant to include additional year groups and the purchase of laptops or tablets.

MOre information

Start and finish times may be staggered so that schools can safely manage the drop off and collection of children. Schools will clearly communicate these arrangements with parents before children return.

Drop off and collection arrangements will be a different process to that of a few months ago. Please wear a face covering when dropping off / collecting your children. Social distancing measures will be in place with separate entrances and exits, and one-way systems. Floor markings with arrows to help direct children and parents and footprints two metres apart will also be in place. Parents will not be permitted to enter the school building.

It is vital that parents keep their distance to avoid close contact and potential transmission of the virus.

Please remember:

Arrive promptly in your designated time slot.
Wear a face covering.
Stand 2m from other families.
Leave promptly and move away from the school as soon as you have dropped off your child.
Please do not congregate outside the school gates as this is making it difficult for other families arriving at staggered times.

If your child is entitled to free school meals, you will receive payment of £19.50 per child per week during the following:

School holidays
If you child is instructed by Welsh Government to stay at home for periods other than school holidays
If your child is instructed to self-isolate for 10 days because of a positive case of COVID-19 at their school

You need to apply online to receive this payment. If you have already applied for and received free school meals payments, you do NOT need to apply again.

*The payment relating to the one day Bank Holiday on Monday, May 3 will be included with the week’s payment for the half-term holiday which starts on Monday, May 31. Payment for the six days, that is, £23.40 per eligible child (£3.90 + £19.50) will be made in advance of the half-term holiday.

Apply online

Risk assessments have been carried out in all of our schools and a comprehensive range of measures to limit the risk to staff and children have been put in place.

These include:

  • Separate entrances and exits
  • Clear signage around the school on the importance of handwashing, hygiene and maintaining social distancing
  • One-way systems in schools with clear floor markings to encourage social distancing
  • Perspex screens at reception areas
  • New classroom layouts with desks arranged two metres apart
  • Contact between individuals will be minimised as much as possible and pupils will stay in their groups
  • Staggered start and finish times where possible - to keep groups apart as they arrive and leave school and during lunch and break times
  • Daily health questionnaires to be completed
  • Schools will ensure that pupils and staff clean their hands regularly, including when they arrive at school, when they return from breaks, when they change rooms and before and after eating and after using the toilet. Increased number of hand-washing and hand sanitiser stations installed in all schools
  • Schools will ensure good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach
  • A limit on the number of pupils using the toilets
  • Increased cleaning - frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned regularly during the school day and a full clean will take place every evening
  • Each school will have its own designated isolation room should a child or staff member start to feel ill during the day.

Further operational guidance for schools can be found on the Welsh Government website.

Contact between individuals must be minimised wherever possible. However, it is recognised that this can be difficult for younger pupils and that is why in schools the emphasis will be on forming groups of learners and ensuring separation of those groups, and for older pupils it will be on social and physical distancing.

Grouping pupils will help to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, and in the event of a positive case, it will also help to identify those who may need to self-isolate and to keep that number as low as possible.

Staff responsible for younger pupils will remain with set groups and should adhere to social distancing measures as far as possible with younger pupils.

All staff should adhere social distancing measures in their interactions with older pupils, other staff members and visitors to the school.

 

Signage and floor markings will be in place throughout the schools and children will also be reminded by staff if needed.

Fun resources have been developed for use in primary schools, including life-size posters encouraging young children to remain ‘one cow apart’ and ‘social distance hero’ high-vis jackets. We have a song and book to help deliver key messages around social distancing and handwashing in a more light-hearted way.

Poor behaviour from older pupils who wilfully ignore the social distancing rules will not be tolerated, and parents may be asked to collect them from school to carry on with their learning at home. We would appreciate parents support in helping to emphasise the importance of adhering to these new rules to their children before they return to school.

We have increased the cleaning arrangements at all of our schools. Cleaners will be on site, all day cleaning high touch surface areas. A full clean will then be carried out every evening.

New operational guidance from Welsh Government now states that if 2m social distancing cannot be maintained, face coverings should be worn, including in the classroom by primary and secondary school staff as well as secondary school pupils.

The exception is at mealtimes and when they are outside, unless the school risk assessment indicates that additional measures are needed, for example on a school yard where there are a large number of learners in a relatively small space without separation of contact groups (such as when waiting to enter school).

Pupils aged 11 and over are also required to wear face coverings on school transport.

Visitors to the school or setting should use a face covering, including parents when dropping off and picking up learners.

This use of face coverings does not apply to those pupils who are exempt for medical reasons.

We are encouraging the use of reusable face coverings where possible, rather than single use face coverings, as not only is this better for the environment but it costs less too.

It is important to remember that face coverings are not to be used as a substitute for social distancing and handwashing.

The use of face coverings in schools will be continually reviewed.

Please see Welsh Government guidance on how to make a 3 layer face covering.

Welsh Government has advised that it is not necessary to check pupils’ temperatures. It is not seen as a reliable indicator of being symptomatic, as many children will not have symptoms but could still be positive. High temperatures are also a common symptom of a large number of childhood conditions so there could be a large number of false positives. Our daily health assessments for pupils should pick up any children who should be isolating rather than being in school.

Physical distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene (catching a cough or sneeze in a tissue or covering the mouth and nose with an elbow or sleeve) are the most effective ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

There is therefore no need to use personal protective equipment (PPE) when undertaking routine educational activities at school. PPE will be available to school staff in the event of a child with suspected coronavirus or for personal, hands-on care such as such first aid.

Strict procedures are in place for this and the child will be kept in a separate room until they can be collected and taken home. The room and any surfaces they have come into contact with will be thoroughly cleaned.

Similarly, if a member of staff develops symptoms, they will leave the premises immediately and a thorough clean of their classroom and any surfaces they have come into contact with will be carried out.

When a confirmed case of COVID-19 is identified as attending an educational or childcare setting (staff or pupil) contact will be made with the case (or parent) to assess whether they attended the school during their infectious period and whether further tracing of contacts in the school is needed.

If any staff member or child within the school is a contact of the case, they will be required to self-isolate for 10 days and contacted by the local Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) team. If your child is required to self-isolate, everyone else in the household can continue as normal (however if your child becomes symptomatic, the whole household would then need to self-isolate). It is important parents answer their phones to the TTP Team as they will be providing information and advice and will be able to answer any questions you may have.

If a staff member or child from the school is not a contact of the case, they will not be required to self-isolate.

A positive test does not require closure of that school. The process of testing and contact tracing is part of the ‘new normal’ and where schools follow these guidelines carefully, there is no cause for alarm.

If there are multiple cases of COVID-19 in a school then experts from across the NHS and local government will work together to prevent ongoing transmission within the school. This will involve identifying those exposed, any child or staff member who is at increased risk and providing tailored infection control advice. Advice based on the assessment of each individual situation will be provided to support the school in preventing further spread.

Further information and questions and answers about Test, Trace, Protect can be found on the Welsh Government website.

Our aim is to make the return to school as normal as possible. However, your child may feel:

  • security from the close and extended contact at home with parents and carers and reluctant to leave this environment
  • anxious at extended contact with people beyond his/ her home
  • heightened anxiety caused by the continued emphasis on social distancing and what it means about his/ her safety outside the home

These are difficult but normal responses to process. Teaching and support staff will be ready to give individual reassurance and support to children experiencing these or related feelings. Together with the school environment changes, we will be doing everything to make this a safe and positive experience.

When staff can’t give physical comfort, staff can still do a lot to provide comfort from a distance. Staff can use comforting language and tone of voice; and can reinforce the message that school is a safe and happy place. Staff can validate a child’s feelings and provide reassurance and let them know that it is okay to have worries.

Children with additional learning needs may have been affected more significantly by the changed circumstances resulting from COVID-19. They may have found it difficult to adjust to a new and different situation without the daily structure of school to support them.

Schools will continue to work with professionals and other agencies such as Educational and Child Psychologists (ECPs), Behaviour and Community Support Professionals, ALN Advisory Teachers etc to support the needs of pupils with additional learning needs.

The Welsh Government has announced a further £9.8 million to support learners with Additional Learning Needs. The funding will remove barriers to education for children and young people due to Covid-19.

All children will have had different experiences of home learning during the period of lockdown. Learning from home is not the same as learning at school. Schools will be assessing what gaps a child may have in his/ her learning and will plan to address these from September.

We appreciate that for some pupils going back to normal will continue to be a challenge and for some lockdown will have had a significant impact on their learning and engagement in school education. The time pupils spent in school over June/July 2020 was focused on wellbeing and preparation for a return to learning in autumn 2020.

The Welsh Government will provide an additional £29 million to schools to boost support for learners at crucial stages in their education from September.

The equivalent of 600 extra teachers and 300 teaching assistants will be recruited throughout the next school year, targeting extra support at Years 11, 12 and 13, as well as disadvantaged and vulnerable learners of all ages. This will support learners taking their A level and GCSEs in 2021 and those known to have been affected most.

Professional learning resources will be provided to support the new and existing teachers, in preparation for September. Staff will be recruited on a one-year fixed term contract and are expected to move into educational roles in the following school year. The support package, provided additional at a school level, could include extra coaching support, personalised learning programmes and time and resources for exam year pupils. A range of teaching approaches will be relevant, including blended learning.

Depending on the country you have travelled from you may be required to self-isolate for 10 days on your return to the UK. The situation is subject to change and we recommend that you check the latest guidance before planning any travel within or outside of the UK.

Yes, however, it is important to follow social distancing at all times. The majority of school crossing sites have social distancing markings in place to help remind you of the rules.

Please follow the instructions from the school crossing patrol and wait on the kerbside until instructed to cross. Ensure that you cross the road in a straight line maintaining a safe distance from the patrol.

Please hold the hands of smaller children.

If your children cannot safely walk, cycle or scoot to school and you must bring the car, please park away from the school and walk the last five / 10 minutes of the journey.

It is more important than ever to keep the yellow zig zags (Keep Clear markings) free of vehicles to help keep the area safer for parents and children to cross.

Motorists are also being asked to allow more distance between them and the crossing point when a school crossing patrol displays their stop sign, so that they can ensure a 2-metre distance from pedestrians crossing the road.

 

Pupils are being encouraged to make their own way to school, and to safely walk, cycle or scoot to school where possible.

Transport will be provided to pupils who have been through the application process and deemed eligible.

Unfortunately, we are unable to continue to provide spare seats during this period.

Pupils will be asked to show their travel pass at the start of each journey (or at the start of the morning journey only for primary pupils). If you do not have your travel pass you will have to give your details to the driver, in order to comply with Test Trace Protect.

We are asking parents to please remind their children to wash their hands before and after travelling.

We are also asking you to please remind your children that they will need to keep 2 metres apart when waiting for their bus to arrive.

Pupils aged 11 and over are required to wear face coverings on school transport.

Buses will be boarded one at a time keeping a safe distance between passengers, and the vacant seat at the rear of the bus must be used first. When disembarking, again pupils must do this one at a time keeping 2 metres apart, starting with the most forward seats first, working back in turn to the rear seats (so that pupils walking down the aisle do not pass any other seated pupils). These rules apply for both inbound and outbound journeys.

Remember pupils should NOT travel if they are feeling unwell, particularly if they have symptoms of COVID-19, or they live in a household with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive to COVID-19 in the past 10 days. If any pupils become ill while at school, their parents will be contacted to take them home.

Pupils who normally use local bus services and pay to travel to and from school should be aware that bus companies are operating limited services and have limited capacity on their buses, so pupils and parents need to plan ahead.

Some journeys usually used by school children may be running at different times, may not be calling at the schools they usually do, or not running at all.

Schools fare paying services L23, L24 and L27 will not operate until the week commencing March 22.

The 227, 243, C11, C12 are NOT operating for fare paying services. C11/C12 will run for eligible pupils with travel passes only.

Reduced timetables will continue where they are already in place, however First Cymru will be adding some extra journeys to assist with the phased return to school. These will be as follows:

  • Service 126: 0751 Tycroes – Pantyffynnon – Ammanford for Aman Valley School
  • Service 128: 0810 Ammanford to Ysgol y Gwendraeth and Service 129 returning at 1540 from the school as far as Capel Hendre
  • Service 195: 1545 journey from Carmarthen to Llanelli will start from QE High School at 1532
  • Service X13: 1611 journey from Ffairfach square back to Ammanford for Ysgol Bro Dinefwr (the morning journey from Ammanford at 0810 is already running anyway)

Richards Brothers will be running school day timetable on service 460 for Ysgol Emlyn.

Please check times and plan your journey before you travel. Information on bus services throughout Wales is available from Traveline Cymru or Freephone 0800 464 0000.

Parents will not be permitted to board the vehicle under any circumstances and must observe the social distancing guidelines when waiting for their child to board the bus or collect their child from it.

Yes, however we would encourage you not to share lifts with any other pupils that are not from the same household.

Yes, all vehicles will be cleaned after every journey.

Some operators may provide hand sanitiser. However, we would like to remind parents of the importance of making sure the children wash their hands before / after travelling.

Timetables are available to view on our website. Once you have received your travel pass, please make sure that the stopping details shown are correct, as bus / taxi drivers will only be able to pick up and drop off pupils at the locations shown on the travel passes, and at the points shown on the timetables.

Pupils who are starting at a new school need to re-apply as a matter of urgency.

College students need to apply for transport via their college - not through the council.

Yes, it is important that families who have changed address re-apply as soon as possible.

Please email publictransport@carmarthenshire.gov.uk with pupil name, date of birth, address and full details on the error.

Please email publictransport@carmarthenshire.gov.uk with pupil name, date of birth, address and confirming your return to sixth form.

Pupils who are starting at a new school also need to re-apply as a matter of urgency.

The transport arrangements for pupils with Additional Learning Needs will be looked at individually. We have reassessed every child’s needs in respect of Covid-19 to minimise the risk of transmission to either the child or transport staff. Subject to those additional individual risk assessments , it is likely that alternative vehicle provision will be made and/or that passenger assistants (escorts) will be required to wear PPE due to the need to be in close proximity to the children to carry out their role. We have categorised children to identify those with higher needs in respect of Covid-19 and these have led to further measures that transport staff will put in place.

If parents do not intend to make use of a free school transport place for their child they should contact learnertravel@carmarthenshire.gov.uk providing the name, date of birth and child’s school.

It is not possible to practise social distancing on school transport; however, in order to maintain social distancing between the driver and the pupils, the front row of seats nearest the driver will not be occupied.

As most vehicles will be full and learners cannot sit together in their year groups, we wish to emphasise the importance of good hygiene. Not only will this help to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 but also common colds and flu, which will also be of benefit.

Pupils will be required to fill the rear most seats first on the vehicle for each journey and use the same seat on the return journey home.

All pupils aged 11 and over are required to wear face coverings on school and college transport, unless they have a medical exemption. Coverings are required for the whole of their journey to and from school.

The council will provide a reusable face covering for those pupils who do not have suitable provision.

Failure to wear a face covering will result in transport being withdrawn.

Please remember the most effective way to protect your child and others from infection is to follow social distancing rules, avoid touching surfaces and face, and wash your hands regularly. The wearing of face coverings must not be used as an alternative to any of these other precautions.

Pupils must not touch the front of their face covering during use or when removing them. They must wash their hands immediately on arrival at school or home, dispose of temporary face coverings in a covered bin or place reusable face coverings in a plastic bag for washing.

We are encouraging the use of reusable face coverings where possible, rather than single use face coverings, as not only is this better for the environment but it will cost less too.

Please see Welsh Government guidance on how to make a 3 layer face covering.

We are asking parents to provide face coverings for their children where possible and to ensure they have it on when they get on school transport, and that they have washed or sanitised their hands. The council will provide a reusable face covering for those pupils who do not have suitable provision.

Please see Welsh Government guidance on how to make a 3 layer face covering.

We ask parents to make sure their child has their face covering on when they board the vehicle, and that they have washed or sanitised their hands. If a pupil turns up without a face covering, they will be permitted to travel to school but will be asked for their full details by the driver who will inform the school. The school will provide the pupil with a face covering for the return journey. However, should the pupil forget their face covering a second time, they will be refused travel.

Refusal to comply with this requirement will result in your child’s place on school transport being suspended. Your support in reinforcing this message with your child would be greatly appreciated.

Primary pupils who are 11 years-old and over are required to wear face coverings on school transport unless they have a medical exemption. This follows guidance from Welsh Government and risk assessments from our transport providers. Younger children may wear face coverings, however it is not a requirement. 

Only secondary school pupils are required to wear face coverings in schools.

All college students travelling by bus to Coleg Sir Gâr and Pembrokeshire College are required to wear face coverings on transport unless they have a medical exemption. Coverings are required for the whole of their journey to and from college. If you need any further information, please contact your college directly.

 

All parents should have been provided with an activation letter / code for their new school and guidance on how to update their account. If you have not received it, please email us direct at schoolmeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk including your child’s name, school and year / class.

We are working with individual schools to extend the lunchtime service and offer more sittings.

Please email us at schoolmeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk and include your child’s name, school and year / class and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Please email us at schoolmeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk and include your child’s name, school and year / class and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

If you require a refund please email us at schoolmeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk and include your child’s name, school, and year/class. We can also arrange a transfer of the balance to another child.

If you are unable to pay online, you can have a PayPoint card so that you can pay by cash at local convenience stores. To request a PayPoint card please email schoolmeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk and include your child’s name, school, and year/class.

Yes, PE is really important for children, but lessons will be adapted to reduce risk of spread of COVID-19.

You can make it much easier by checking when your child has PE lessons and making sure that they go to school in their PE kit on those days.

 

If a child does not have symptoms of COVID-19 but has other cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, they do not need to be tested and they and you do not need to self-isolate. Your child can go to school if fit to do so.

If your child is routinely tested for COVID-19 whilst receiving medical care or treatment for an unrelated condition, they must remain at home and not attend school until the test result has been received.

If the result is negative, they can return to school immediately; however, if the result is positive, they must continue to isolate for a period of 10 days from the date of test (this means they can return to school on day 11).

If a child/parent/household member develops symptoms of COVID-19, the entire household should immediately self-isolate, and book a test for the individual with the symptoms. It is not necessary to test the entire household if they are not symptomatic.

The COVID-19 symptoms are:

a new continuous cough
a high temperature
loss of or change to sense of smell or taste

If a child has been in contact with someone experiencing symptoms, they should carry on as normal until that individual receives their test result.

If this is positive, the TTP Team will contact people identified as contacts.

Contact means:

face-to-face contact with someone less than 1 metre away (including when you have worn a face covering or face mask)
spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of someone
travelling in a car with someone (even on a short journey)

If your child is required to self-isolate, everyone else in the household, including any siblings, can continue as normal and go to work / school. However if your child becomes symptomatic, the whole household would then need to self-isolate.

 

Not everyone will be contacted by a contact tracing advisor. Much of the advice and guidance will be issued via the school.

When a school has a positive case of COVID-19, all those who are in the pupil’s school group or ‘bubble’ are immediately asked to self-isolate and work from home as a precautionary and preventative measure whilst the Test, Trace, Protect process gets underway to identify those individuals that are direct contacts.

If it is established your child has not come into contact with the individual concerned, then you will be notified by the school with a date they can return to class (as long as they are fit and well with no symptoms). A contact tracing advisor will only speak to those identified as direct contacts.

For secondary school pupils, yes face coverings should be worn outside of the classroom, that includes within the school yard at break times and lunch times and at other times of the day when pupils are congregating in those areas (for example, waiting to enter school).

No. PE lessons, whether indoors or outdoors, are an extension of the classroom and should have other mitigating measures in place.

All adults should wear a face covering when dropping off and picking up pupils, or visiting schools.

This is a term which describes a wide range of teaching methods and approaches – some digital, others non-digital, some face to face with a teacher in school, others from a distance such as learning from home.

Synchronous learning describes online learning where the teacher and learner can interact in real time e.g. live streaming meetings. These meetings are often arranged beforehand through MS Teams or Google Meet.

Asynchronous learning describes digital learning which is not in real time (live) with the teacher (e.g. researching on the internet, watching a pre-recorded clip of the teacher online). These activities can be done at a time determined by the learner (on-demand) and via resources delivered online through J2E, MS Teams, Google Classroom or Hwbmail.

Asynchronous non-digital learning describes, for example, written work such as writing an essay, completing a written past paper, reading a book such as a textbook or a story book/ novel. Creative activities, such as listening to music, drawing/painting, rehearsing a part for a play, physical activities, such as taking an exercise class, or playing sport.

When working from home, schools will arrange that pupils are able to complete reasonable hours of activity drawn from the wide range of blended learning opportunities available to them. A blend of these methods can be more effective in delivering teaching, promoting engagement within a positive learning environment.

This means that schools will not expect pupils to be on-screen for hours on end during the day. We expect pupils to undertake activities which are a mix of digital and non-digital and asynchronous/synchronous. Therefore, parents should not worry, for example, about expecting five hours of live streaming every day. A healthy balance of activities is expected.

Visit the Welsh Government website for more information on what schools are being asked to do to support the continuity of learning for children and young people.

Welsh Government has also set out its expectation of schools in relation to remote learning for pupils in exam years - more information

In terms of time to be spent on schoolwork at home, this is a difficult matter to be precise upon.

In normal times:

Schools are open to deliver 25 hours of lessons a week
A-Level students can do well in their studies if they complete an average of one hour per subject per day above their teacher contact time
GCSE students might spend up to a couple of hours a day above their teacher contact time
Younger learners in secondary school might reasonably have a few items of homework per evening, taking around 20 minutes each to complete
Older primary pupils might be spending some time above their teacher contact time
(e.g. a year 6 project or similar)

For distance learning (working at home):

Under current circumstances, we would promote a flexible approach where the teacher could provide a variety of lesson delivery as outlined above, and our preference is to leave it to schools and teachers to gauge how much work can be reasonably completed as compared to a normal working week in school.
Online lessons delivered by teachers may vary in length. Teachers may also choose to show a shorter pre-recorded clip to stimulate discussion and then be on hand online or on email to answer questions.
Some educational sources suggest that time spent on the computer over and above the teacher’s
input should be approximately 30% of the normal school day (which is about 90 minutes)
Teachers will then gauge an appropriate time for pupils to complete other set tasks which are broadly consistent with the age, stage and ability of the pupils and be guided by the norms of what is
required to ensure good progress. So, our first instinct would be to encourage you to trust in the
teacher’s professional judgement.

As parents consider:

  • Giving some thought to the additional challenges of working at home, such as encouraging your child to take regular breaks and having a quiet space to work.
  • Older teenagers, particularly, may have a different body clock to other household members and choose to complete work at alternative times, as compared to the normal working day. That said, we would always support that:
    - They have a good pattern of sleep
    - Take regular mealtimes
  • Think about when it is appropriate to support your child and when not to.
  • We are also trying to nurture resilience in our young people to help them develop as independent learners so, if they are stuck and you think you can help, guide them to come to their own answers rather than complete the task for them.

Teachers and school leaders will monitor that work set is completed to the required standard and on time. Staff may on occasions take longer to mark/assess a piece of work compared to the ‘norm’. However, if they have concerns, they will chase that up with your son/daughter in the normal fashion and will only contact you if they begin to have concerns.

In the same way, we would ask you as a parent to kindly do the same. Give your child every opportunity to complete their work and only contact school through the normal channels if you have any concerns.

Since the start of the pandemic, we have provided digital support to almost 2,000 families with approximately 1600 devices and 267 connectivity devices distributed so that children are able to learn from home.

Our IT department have worked closely with schools to identify suitable devices to be repurposed with up-to-date software to help pupils continue with their schoolwork.

This work is ongoing, and we are in the process of sourcing further equipment so that we can continue to help families.

If you need any support or equipment, please contact your school so that we can help.

Access to learning and connectivity is one of the key priorities in our Distance Learning Plan which aims to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on children and young people as far as possible.

If you have been loaned equipment that you no longer require, please let your school know straight away so that it can be re-distributed to another family to support another child with home learning.

Access to learning and connectivity is one of the key priorities in our Distance Learning Plan which aims to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on children and young people as far as possible.

We have distributed approximately 1600 devices and 267 connectivity devices to families since the start of the pandemic so that children are able to learn from home and this work is ongoing, so it is important that any devices that are no longer needed are returned.

 

 

 

 

No, you only need to apply online once but you must keep us updated of any changes by calling us on 01267 246521 or e-mail FreeSchoolMeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk.

When you apply online we are able to check your entitlement using the Eligibility Checking Service provided by the Department of Education.  You will be advised whether or not your claim is successful.  You will only be asked to provide documentary evidence if you eligibility cannot be confirmed.

You need to apply to Carmarthenshire County Council for your child’s /children’s free school meals.

Unfortunately we are unable to backdate entitlement to free school meals to cover unpaid school dinner money, or to refund dinner money paid prior to the date of a successful application.

No re-imbursement is given for school meals money unless there are “exceptional circumstances” – you will need to email / or send a letter to the free school meals office explaining the “exceptional circumstances”.

Local authorities do no set the qualifying criteria for free school meals and we are unable to waive them.  Any change to the criteria is a matter for central, not local government, so your Member of Parliament is the appropriate person to contact about this issue.

For every child that is entitled to free school meals the school receives extra funding from the Welsh Government to enhance provision and improve progress and outcomes for children.  This is called the Pupil Premium Grant.  Your child can still bring a packed lunch if they prefer but by applying you ensure their school receives this grant.

We will notify the schools therefore you do no need to do anything.  Secondary Schools have a cashless catering system so the money will be credited to your child/children’s account each morning, any remaining monies are cleared at the end of the day. (Ysgol Dyffryn Taf is not run by the CCC Catering Service so they have their own arrangements in place).

Contact the school office or contact the free school meals office to inform the school on your behalf by calling us on 01267 246521 or e-mail FreeSchoolMeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk.

Unfortunately there is no free school meals eligibility if either partner is entitled to Working Tax Credit.

Where a parent/carer is entitled to Working Tax Credit during a 4-week “run on” period immediately after their employment ends or they qualify for Working Tax Credit, then they are eligible to claim free school meals for that 4-week period.

Unfortunately as we are unable to confirm eligibility using the Eligibility Checking Service you will need to submit a hard copy of your Tax Credit Decision Notice.

Once the 4-week temporary entitlement period has expired we will require proof that one of the other qualifying benefits listed on the webpage has been awarded.

As the child’s / children’s carer you are eligible to claim free school meals for them if you are in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits.  Either parent is also eligible to claim for free school meals for the child/children who are living with you providing they claim a qualifying benefit.

If it is permanent and you will be getting Child Benefit etc., you can apply in your own right.  If it is temporary, the claim can stay as it is but it must be noted by the free school meals office so you will need to contact us by calling us on 01267 246521 or e-mail FreeSchoolMeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk.

We cancel free school meals on the following Friday from when work started, as Tax Credits will be backdated to the day you started work.

Students are in most cases eligible as they are receiving Child Tax Credit Only, but you will need to apply as normal.

If they’re over 16, they are not eligible and will need to apply for an “Educational Maintenance Allowance” instead.  If they’re under 16, you need to contact the free school meals office for further details by calling us on 01267 246521 or e-mail FreeSchoolMeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk.

Foster Carers are unable to claim for free school meals if they are in receipt of the full fostering Allowance.

Special Guardianship Orders are eligible but you need to apply in your own right. If you receive a Kinship payment you are not eligible.

A parent may not yet have benefits in their name, or proof etc. due to an emergency situation.  Women’s Aid will need to confirm the circumstances in writing by email and then the free school meal provision can be granted provisionally until eligibility can be confirmed.  However you will still need to apply.

Applications are normally processed within 5 working days.  If an email address was supplied, a response would have been emailed (which may have gone in your “spam” folder), you will need to check with the free school meals office for the reason why you have not heard anything by calling us on 01267 246521 or e-mail FreeSchoolMeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk.

We can e-mail a copy of your free school meals confirmation letter to you as proof by calling us on 01267 246521 or e-mail FreeSchoolMeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk.

We can make a note of the transfer but you could advise us during the summer school holidays to ensure our records are updated correctly by calling us on 01267 246521 or e-mail FreeSchoolMeals@carmarthenshire.gov.uk.

The upper annual income threshold of £16,190 applies to families who receive Child Tax Credit but have no entitlement to Working Tax Credit.

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Education & Schools