Dear Parents and Carers
I am thrilled to report that the children have continued to settle impressively well over the first few days. They are into new routines and I have seen so many enthusiastic, happy faces as I have walked around school.
As parents, you have also been adjusting to the new drop-off and pick-up times. I sent a reminder on Monday reminding you to not arrive at school before your allotted time slot. Unfortunately, every morning and afternoon so far this week we have had many parents arriving well before their time slot, causing crowds to gather on the pavements around school. The lack of social distancing is causing us significant concern with cases of COVID-19 in England rising. We have also been advised by the BCP council to remind parents not to congregate in groups as such breaking of bubbles allows the virus to spread.
Therefore, I wish to reiterate five key messages.
1. Do not arrive early to drop off and pick up
We recognise that, in the past, we have been pleased to see how keen parents and children have been to arrive in good time. However, in this current situation we are doing all we can to stagger the busy starts and ends of our days and therefore our message now, and for the foreseeable future, is: please do not arrive at school before your allotted time slot to avoid crowding outside of school. With increasing cases of COVID being reported in England, we wish to reiterate the message to socially distance. By arriving before the allotted start times, it makes social distancing harder. If you do arrive early, we will ask you to leave and return at the correct time. Please do not be offended by this request; the safety of your community is of paramount importance.
2. You have a 15 minute window in which to drop off and pick up – there is no rush
Please also remember that 8:40am marks the start of a 15 minute window for Y1, 3 and 4 to arrive in. 8:55am marks the start of a 15 minute window for Y2, 5 and 6 to arrive in. You can arrive any time within this window. Over the past three days, the vast majority of parents have arrived and left within the first 5 minutes of this window; this has made these times very busy. It would help to minimise crowding if parents delayed their drop-off by 5 or 10 minutes into this window.
This also applies at the end of the day. 3:00pm marks the start of a 15 minute window for Y1, 3 and 4 to be picked up. 3:15pm marks the start of a 15 minute window for Y2, 5 and 6 to be picked up. Again, there is no rush to pick your child up at the end of the day, so long as you do so within this 15 minute window. The reason we have given you 15 minutes is simply to give you time to spread out pick–ups and therefore reduce the risk of overcrowding.
From now on, we will be limiting the amount of parents entering at any one time through the Year 5 gate. Such arrangements are no different to that which you would have experienced in many shops.
3. If you have one child in the early drop-off window and one in the later drop-off window
As we identified in the ‘Welcoming children back in September’ booklet we made available on our website before the summer, we recognise that many of you have children in different drop-off and pick-up times. In order to get around this problem, we would recommend you drop off or pick up your first child near the very end of the first window, allowing you time to then walk to the next entrance and drop off or pick up your second child. This is shown in the diagram below.
4. Drop and go… pick up and go
To ensure there is sufficient social distancing and to avoid the mixing of households, we would ask you not to congregate and chat in groups on the playground at the point you drop off or pick up your child from their classroom or year group door. Please swiftly exit the playground to avoid crowds gathering. If you do need to speak to a teacher, please phone the school office to make an appointment rather than talking at length at the start or end of the day.
5. Traffic on Somerville Road
Unfortunately, some parents continue to use the bus bay outside school on Somerville Road to drop off their children or even park for some time. Some parents are also driving rather quickly down the road. Again, we need all of your support to stop these things from happening, to keep you and your children safe. We do have traffic wardens patrolling the road regularly and we are actively liaising with the BCP council to look at ways to reduce the pressure on this road. Please be aware that parking in the bus lane is illegal and may result in a £70 fine. In the meantime, we would simply ask for you to park in the local car parks (a permit for only £15 can be purchased for the year) and avoid the use of Somerville Road.
We are also concerned that some parents are choosing to stand on the road rather than the pavement. We would ask that you avoid standing in the road. With less crowded pavements, this will be much easier to achieve.
Thank you for your support and cooperation in following the above requirements. We will continue to monitor the situation at drop-off and pick-up times and, if the situation does not improve, we may have to further change the arrangements for drop-offs and pick-ups in the near future. Your child’s safety is our first priority.
Mr Evans and Mr Fry
Headteacher and Deputy Head