Update 4th September 2020

Dear Families


I trust this letter finds you well.


In my letter of last week, dated August 28th, I outlined the measures we have put in place to ensure the safety of our children and staff when school reopens on Monday 7th September.


I am acutely aware there will be a great many parents still feeling very anxious at this time and questioning themselves about whether they should send their child to school. 


It is important to remember that for most people who do catch it - and especially children - the virus will be mild. School is also important to learn and develop emotional and social skills, but the health and safety of children, teaching staff and their families is the top priority.


At Lark Hall we have put in place a number of safety measures aimed at protecting children, staff and families and reducing the spread of the virus as more children return to school. Many of these measures were highlighted in my letter of the 28th August. Over the coming days, all parents will be able to view the school website for detailed guidance on the measures (risk profiles and risk assessments) we have put in place for the safety of staff and children.


To summarise, there has been a focus on the following key actions for a planned return:

  1. Frequent hand washing, good hygiene and regular cleaning 
  2. Ensuring children and staff only come to school if they are well 
  3. Clear procedures if a child or staff show symptoms at school 
  4. Limiting contact by keeping groups of children and staff who learn and play together and keep distant from other groups. Keeping children within the same group is similar to keeping within family groups. It limits the amount of social mixing to help reduce the spread of the virus. 


We will continue to do everything we can to keep children safe and happy. Most children will adapt quickly and well to a different way of being in school and the school will provide support to those who need more help.


To further support parents in getting ready for Monday, it is important parents understand the systems at the start and end of day.


Start of the Day:


From now on, there will be social distance markings at each of the school entrances. Families must follow the social distancing measures and line up where required. To limit the number of people gathering, only one parent for each family should come to school.


For Year 1, parents and children are asked to arrive promptly at 8:40am. You will line up at Gaskell Street, to the right hand side as you face the school gates, where your child will be greeted by a member of the Year 1 team and taken to their classrooms.


For Year 2 – 6, parents and children will arrive at Gaskell Street between 8:45am and 8:55am, to the left hand side as you face the school gates. This will allow time for the Year 1 children to arrive safely. You will leave your child at the wooden gate. Year 2 – 6 children will walk to their classrooms practicing social distancing. Staff members will be on hand to guide the children to their classroom. Here, the children will be greeted by their teachers.


For those parents with children in both EYFS as well as Y1 – Y6, you will drop your first child off and then walk around the school premises to drop the other child at the alternative entrance.


Parents will not be allowed onto the school premises during the morning arrival.


End of the Day:


At the end of the day all children will be lining up in their class lines on the playground. Again, to limit the number of people gathering, only one parent should pick your child up.


At 3:10pm, Year 1 parents will line up at Gaskell Street, to the right hand side as you face the school gates (as you do in the morning), where you will be met by a member of staff.


At 3:15pm, Year 2 – Year 6 parents will arrive at Gaskell Street, to the left hand side as you face the school gates (as you do in the morning), where you will be met by a member of school staff.


A one way queuing system will be in place for parents to collect children. Parents will enter at Gaskell Street and leave at Smedley Street. Parents will be asked to come into school in groups of approximately 6 to ensure a smooth and safe flow.


Please do not be concerned about the start and end of the school day arrangements. Staff will be on hand to help you through this.


What can children bring to school?


Following guidelines, it is still recommended that schools limit the amount of equipment children bring into school each day. However, we recognise essential items such as lunch boxes, hats and coats can be brought to school. Children can also take books home.


What can I as a parent do to keep everyone safe?


Check everyone at home is well before your child goes to school. If your child or anyone in your household have symptoms (a temperature or a new, continuous cough, or loss of/change to their sense of taste or smell) please let the school know, and keep your child and the rest of your household at home.


Hygiene - Handwashing is vital. Wash hands regularly for 20 seconds, with soap and running water, especially before and after school, before and after eating, and after using a tissue or the toilet.


Social distancing outside school - Only one parent should take your child to school. Do not stay and chat at the school gates. The safest and healthiest way to travel to school is outdoors: on foot, by bike or scooter. All parents should talk to their children about the importance of social distancing.


What happens if someone has symptoms of COVID-19?


If a child or member of
staff gets these symptoms in school, they will be sent home with advice about what to do. Families must be contactable at all times. If your child is displaying symptoms of coronavirus whilst at school we will call you. We will need families to answer and collect your child as quickly as possible. All parents need to ensure we have your correct numbers to contact you on.


Important Note


In order to limit the number of people coming into contact with staff and children, unfortunately, parents are advised to not turn up at school unannounced. If you need to drop something off for your child (eg packed lunch, etc) you will be asked to wait at the school entrance and a member of school staff will come and collect it from them at the gate.


Anyone with symptoms needs to self-isolate along with all of your household and get tested as soon as possible. Find out how to get a test, and how long to isolate at nhs.uk/coronavirus. School staff can support parents to book a test.


If the test is negative, and the person no longer has symptoms, the child and their household can leave self-isolation and return to school. 


If a child or member of staff tests positive, then the rest of their class group will be sent home to self-isolate for 14 days. The households of these other children do not need to isolate, unless their child also develops symptoms.


That is it from me.


I want to reiterate, your child’s safety is at the heart of everything we are doing for the reopening of school.


As always, if you have any questions please call the school on 020 76223820 or email me at head@larkhall.lambeth.sch.uk


In the meantime, many thanks for your understanding and patience during this difficult time.


Best wishes


Gary and all of the staff at Lark Hall