Re-opening schools

Page updated on: 26/06/2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Schools will re-open from June 29 until July 17 for pupils to check in, catch up and prepare for the summer and September. Further information for parents can be found on our Newsroom.

Please continue to visit our Newsroom for the latest information. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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 and prepare to re-open our schools.

There will be a phased approach at schools with year groups 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. There will be much smaller classes, providing secure dedicated time with teachers and classmates.

Please be assured that we have been working hard to put plans in place for re-opening 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 re-opening. Get in touch via the "Ask a question" tab if there is anything you need additional information about.

Secondary schools

Schools will re-open on June 29 and will finish for the summer holidays on July 17. 

 

Welsh Government wants to give all pupils the chance to check in, catch up and prepare before the summer holidays and September. In each school there will be a phased approach, and year groups will be split into cohorts.

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

Your school will be directly in touch with parents to let you know the days and times our children will be attending. Children of key workers in year 7 and vulnerable children will have priority and will be able to attend five days a week.

Your school will use this time to help pupils prepare for the transition to secondary school. We are planning for year 6 pupils to have some dedicated time in their new secondary schools in September.

There is no need for year 11 pupils to return to school. GCSE results are being published on August 20 and your school will be in touch regarding this.

Schools will be in contact with Year 11 learners to ensure that their post 16 pathway is clear and arranged, that is, back to school, further education or work / training.

Year 13 pupils do not need to return, A-level results are being published on August 13 and your school will be in touch regarding this. Further information and support can be found on the Hwb website.

Parents who choose not to send their children back to school at this time will not be fined. We will respect your decision on what you feel is best for your family and understand that some children may not be ready to return. Your school will continue to support you and help your children with learning from home.

Children can wear school uniform but it is more important that children wear clothing that is comfortable and easily washable. Please check with your school.

Your child will need to bring a packed lunch and a water bottle. Please check with your school if your child needs to bring their own pencil case / pens / pencils, as some schools will provide children with their own resources for their individual use. Pupils will not be able to share resources with other children or staff.

Start and finish times will 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. 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.

Whenever possible, however this cannot be guaranteed as each class needs to be split into smaller numbers. Some staff may also not be available to work during this time, for example, if they are shielding. The aim is to have at least one adult who will be familiar to the children in each class; this may be the teacher or a teaching assistant as far as possible. Your school will be able to advise on this.

Each school will have to calculate how many children can be accommodated in each class and this is dependent upon the size of the classrooms and the layout of the school.

The aim of this term is to give pupils the opportunity to check in, catch up before the summer holidays and prepare for the new school term in September. It will also help to prepare them for what the ‘new normal’ will be like before the autumn term begins.

There will be a clear focus on your child’s wellbeing during this term. After being away from the school environment for so long, it is an opportunity for them to be able to see both their friends and teachers within familiar surroundings.

There will be greater emphasis on outdoor learning which has physical, mental and educational benefits for learners (as well as reducing the risk of infection).

Pupils will benefit from some face to face sessions with their teachers, as well as continuing distance learning activities.

Later in the term, schools will also be looking at age and stage appropriate key skill development such as literacy and numeracy, whilst also exploring the four new curriculum purposes.

This term will also help prepare Year 6 pupils for the transition to secondary school, and for pupils in Year 10 and 12, it will further support their GCSE and A-level work.

You can find more information on the type of learning that will be taking place over the summer term on the Welsh Government website.

Yes. Online remote learning will continue via the Hwb platform and your child’s school will continue to communicate with you until the end of the school term. The aim is for every pupil, whether they return to school or not, to stay learning.

Our aim is to make the return to school as normal as possible. Moreover, we want the positive experience of connecting and communicating with peers and teachers to be the focus of our return.

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.

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 using this ‘catch-up’ to plan to address these from September.

With pupils only attending school for part of the school week, blended learning will be an important feature of how schools will operate over the coming weeks and months.

Blended learning is an approach to learning that combines in-class (school-based) and online (home-based) learning experiences. Each online and offline session will complement the other.

There will be an opportunity for using the time spent in school to find out what support will be needed to make sure that blended learning works well.

This will be a personal decision for you and your family to make; however:

  • This is an opportunity for children to have dedicated time with teachers and classmates.
  • This time will help to get children and teachers ready for their school experience in September.
  • This will be a chance for Year 6 pupils to say goodbye to their friends and staff in primary school and to prepare for the transition to secondary schools.

Families will not be fined if they do not send their children to school this term.

Most of our school crossing patrols will return on June 29, 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.

Where there are reports of the 2-metre social distancing being breached, it may be necessary to remove the provision from the school.

Unfortunately, we have been unable to ensure a social distance of 2 metres for a small number of our patrols to safely return. Some schools may also introduce different opening and closing times, particularly around lunch times, and staggered starts and finishes, that we may not be able to fully cover with crossing patrols. Those affected schools have been asked to inform parents / carers.

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.

 

We are waiting for guidance from Welsh Government for when schools return in September. The Education Minister has said that they are working on a range of scenarios and that they will continue to be guided by the scientific advice and will set out their plans accordingly.

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Education & Schools