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St Mary's C of E Primary

Academy and Nursery

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RE: Wet start to the school day.

Dear Parent/Carers

I changed the start of the school day procedures at least 12 months ago so that we had a trickle in system, and we allowed children to come into school from 8.45 for an 8.55 start.  This avoided the need for children to wait around outside. I found this to be very effective and would like to return to this as soon as possible. 

Unfortunately, the Government guidance states that schools must provide a staggered start and finish to the school day. This is part of our risk assessment to keep everyone as safe as possible.  I do understand that having siblings in different year groups can cause some issues due to different start times. If a sibling must be dropped at an earlier time it may be prudent to go back to the car if you have driven to school or to wait under the protective canopy of the trees in wet weather.  We are unable to have the children in the hall or send them to class half an hour early as pods will then mix, in addition there may not always be staff available to supervise them. I have stood with the children outside when it is raining and have sent the children in as early as is possible to avoid cross over of pods in an attempt to keep them dry but safe. The only way to avoid children standing in the rain as autumn and winter approach is to ensure that they do not arrive more than 5 minutes before their allocated times.

The staggered start and end times were carefully considered by me and my team to ensure the safety of our pupils. I have considered different ways of managing the start/end of the day and other possible solutions are not feasible for our site. I have considered, for instance, siblings being dropped together but this will affect end times and reduce some children's school day which I am not allowed to do.  I have considered placing children in a house system and letting each house arrive/leave at the same time - this does not work for dismissing the children as we do not have the facilities to bring out the house group from each class separately and to supervise classes in school with the houses that have a later end time.  The logistics of our site mean that dismissing children directly from classrooms is not possible. The only solution in the current situation it seems is for children to arrive at their allotted times and to be equipped with an umbrella for inclement weather. Where possible I do endeavour to send children in early but must consider the through traffic in school.

I wish the situation was one which could be resolved soon but I do believe that the guidelines will be in place for some time.  We will constantly reflect and alter procedures as we are able.  We have the best interests of our children at heart and make all decisions based on what will work to keep them as safe as possible.  

Thank you for your continued support at these difficult times.

Yours sincerely

Mrs Booker

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