The full reopening of Downlands School September 2020

28th August 2020


Headteacher: Mr J Rielly

Dear Parent/Guardian,


I hope you and your family have had a happy and healthy summer holiday. My colleagues and I are very much looking forward to welcoming your children back to school from Monday 7th September 2020.

I have met with my senior leadership team today and will be engaged in on-going preparations and training with all staff from Tuesday 2nd September.

Revised guidance was issued (7/8/20) by the DFE in relation to the full reopening of all schools in September. I have updated the full risk assessment for Downlands Community School which can be found here. Also, I am once again presenting you with a ‘potted version’ of this risk management strategies and other considerations in the appendix 1, 2 and 3 at the end of this letter (originally sent to you on Friday 17th July 2020). I would also remind you all again about the following points in particular:



For primary schools, the guidance on face masks in schools is unchanged: they are not required in schools as pupils and staff are mixing in consistent groups, and because misuse may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission. There may also be negative effects on communication and thus education. Staff may wear masks in the event of a child becoming unwell whilst in school or if administering first aid. Children choosing to wear a mask whilst travelling to school, they must remove the mask before entering the school building, being sure to remove and store their mask in a hygienic way. If you have any further questions or queries regarding the use of masks in school, please get in touch in the week beginning 1/9/20.



Attendance will once again become mandatory for all pupils from the start of the Autumn Term. Therefore, we will be required to record attendance and follow-up on any absence, taking any subsequent steps in line with the Dorset Council policy. Nevertheless, pupils and adults who are ill must remain at home.


Response to any infection in school

Pupils who become ill in school will be isolated and parents contacted in order that they be looked after at home. They should not return to school until they are not presenting with symptoms. Any child presenting with Coronavirus main symptoms (temperature, continuous cough, loss of smell/taste) will be asked to get a COVID-19 test. If a positive test is returned, that child and members of household will need to self-isolate following government guidelines (which now includes a 10 day isolation period). Once we are made aware of a positive COVID-19 test for any member of our school community, we will contact the new National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP) who will advise about the need to instruct other pupils and staff to self-isolate.


Shielded pupils

Shielding advice for all adults and pupils has paused since 1 August subject to the declining rates of community transmission of coronavirus. This means that the small number of children who were on the shielded patient list can return to school, as can those who have family members who were shielding. Nevertheless, we understand that this may be a particularly anxious time for those children and parents, so we will be contacting you in the week beginning 1/9/20 to discuss the arrangements in place and any possible individualised plan that may be needed.



All of the adults in school will spend time planning for how they can use their role to reduce the anxiety for returning pupils. Fundamentally, class teachers will lead their pupils on ‘protect the pack’ mentality which aims to develop a collective responsibility for one another in terms of physical and mental health. Also, new timetables are being devised which allow for daily reflection and mindfulness approaches for the whole class. Beyond this, we


have the services of our Emotional Literacy Support Assistant as well as other mental health support agencies who we are already engaging with.


Extended provision

Our breakfast and after-school club will once again be operating. Please get in touch with the office if you would like to book this for your child on any weekday – bookings must usually be made a month in advance using a form available from the office. Price details are available on our website.


Start of school in September

School starts for all pupils on Monday 7th September – although reception children will start back in a phased way

– Mrs Loveless has already written to all new FS2 parents about this.

Thursday 3rd September is our registration day. This will be an opportunity in the morning for new parents only to purchase uniform and have a limited view of the school – one adult and child at a time. For existing parents, by appointment only, visits to the school (one adult and one child) can be arranged for the afternoon of Thursday 3rd September. This is not a chance to purchase uniform (this should be accomplished via email), rather it is an opportunity for existing pupils who have not attended school since March 20th who may be anxious about restart.


First Day Back

More information will be sent out via learning platforms (Seesaw) and emails by Friday 4th September, including contact from the class teacher and more information about the classroom layout and what to expect on the first day. However, a key focus for the first morning will be to make all children aware of new routines and safety expectations – embedding our ‘protect the pack’ mentality. There will be no PE on the first day so all children should be dressed in full school uniform.


I hope you enjoy the last remaining days of the holiday and I look forward to supporting you and your family during this new school year.


Yours faithfully James Rielly


PS – Here are some video links showing the expected routes to and from school for different phases/packs: This is the route for FS1 (Nursery) Video Link

This is the route for FS2 (Reception) Video Link This is the route for KS1 (Year 1 and 2) Video Link

This is the route for LKS2 (Year 3 and 4) Video Link This is the route for UKS2 (Year 5 and 6) Video Link

These videos should be used in conjunction with the maps in appendix 3.


Appendix 1 – Risk Management (full risk assessment documents available on website before September start)

Child social distancing:

  • Phases (FS; Y1/2; Y3/4; Y5/6) are the new ‘packs’ – no mixing between packs;
  • 5 entry routes and routines for different phases;
  • Staggered breaks and lunchtimes;
  • No whole school assemblies;
  • Classroom furniture arranged for facing forward rather than clustered;
  • Reduced mobility in classrooms;
  • Children to use designated desks.


  • Plentiful soap and paper towels available in child toilets;
  • Hand wash on entry to school, before and after all breaks and PE, and prior to leaving school, along with normal toilet hygiene;
  • Each pack has separate toilets with minimal door opening and regular during-the-day cleaning of necessary handles;
  • All classrooms to have nose-blowing stations;
  • Children to not share basic equipment: Provided for FS2/KS1 pupils; Pencil case needed for KS2 pupils;
  • No water fountains available – children to use their own named water bottle.

Protect the pack

  • Educating children about the need for good choices to protect the pack from COVID-19 on a daily basis. Plus, there will be a new reopening reorientation film sent home before September restart;
  • Supporting children to give encouragement to one another on social distancing, hygiene and positive mental health.


  • Full cleaning rota and overtime hours for cleaning staff, each day;
  • DFE guidance followed in relation to cleaning of potential COVID-19 exposed areas;
  • Regular, in-situ cleaning (Toucan fluid) from all staff in classrooms.

First aid response:

  • Normal first aid room used for non COVID-19 first aid cases. Non pack adult first aider may wear PPE at the point of need;
  • Separate medical isolation room for children showing possible COVID-19 symptoms;
  • Requests for COVID-19 tests if children present with main symptoms: continuous cough; high temperature; loss of smell or taste.

Adult social distancing:

  • Strict entry routes and routines for different phases, but single start and finish times:
  • Strict 1m+ social distancing and no congregating whilst dropping off or picking up children:
  • Appointment only entry to school via reception. All initial contact via phone call:
  • Contact with teachers using phone calls and video conferencing where appropriate. Face-to-face meetings will adhere to strict social distancing.


  • Windows to be open in each space used within school;
  • Outdoor learning space used wherever possible;
  • Door jams to prop open all regularly used doors.


  • Effective hygiene and social distancing signage in place;
  • One-way drop-off and pick up area for KS1/FS2 parents;
  • In-situ cleaning materials.
  • Plentiful hand washing materials.

Staff Training:

  • Site manager to retrain cleaning staff on focusing on frequent use surfaces;
  • All staff to receive training to go through full risk assessment before reopening;
  • All staff to undertake online Prevent COVID-19 training.


  • DFE guidance underpinning actions;
  • Full risk assessment reviewed by Dorset Council and School Governors;
  • Full risk assessment document available for public scrutiny on website.


Appendix 2 – Other considerations


Start and End of the day:

  • All children from FS2 – Y6 must get to school no earlier than 8:35am and no later than 8:40am (unless using extended provision);
  • All children to leave school at 3:00pm (unless using extended provision);
  • Please refer to map in appendix 3 for entry routes and routines.

Food and Drink:

  • Hot school meals (Food Links) prepared on site;
  • Universal offer available for infant children (FS2 – Y2);
  • Milk available for infant children.
  • Children may also bring their own packed lunches;
  • No snacks provided at the moment, please provide healthy snack and water bottle.


  • Reception to Y6 children should wear full school uniform.


  • Pencil cases and named basic equipment for KS2 pupils;
  • Basic equipment will be provided for infant pupils’ individual use;
  • PE kit needed and should be worn to school on days when PE is scheduled – no changing in school for KS2 children;
  • Bags allowed;
  • Named lunch box allowed;
  • Work/books can be taken home.


  • Prioritising maths and English;
  • Catch-up interventions available;
  • Broad and balanced curriculum, with some subjects delayed till 2nd half of the year;
  • Children will also take part in activities to strengthen and support mental health;
  • Seesaw used by all pupils for a record of achievement and for home learning.

Physical Education:

  • Outdoor where possible;
  • No contact sports yet;
  • Use of equipment with strict cleaning or fallow rotas;
  • PE kit is needed and should be worn to school by KS2 children on days when PE is scheduled – no changing in school for KS2 children;
  • Active mile several times per week, weather permitting.


  • Staggered playtimes only within pack;
  • Reduced time for breaks;
  • No ball games until further guidance from national associations;
  • Use of adventure playground once per fortnight for each pack;
  • Some use of play equipment with cleaning rotas.

Extended provision:

  • Before- and after-school now available to all children once again;
  • 0745 – 1715 available if booked in advance;
  • Food and drink provided for extended provision;
  • Risk assessed activities;
  • Bookable in advance.


  • Mandatory for all pupils once again;
  • Pupils should not attend school if they are ill;
  • Schools to follow-up on absences.


Appendix 3 – Start and ends of the day (excluding before- and after- school club)

Drop off notes:

  • FS2, Y1/2, Y3/4, Y5/6 to arrive at school no earlier than 0835hrs and no later than 0840hrs;
  • FS1 to arrive at school no earlier than 0850hrs;
  • Parents advised to limit car use where possible, arriving on foot if possible;
  • Bike racks near yellow route are for Y1/2 only. Bike racks near blue route are for Y5/6 only;
  • If use of car is absolutely necessary please do not park on school site – please use ample parking around College Road (as indicated);
  • All parents must observe 2m distancing and not congregate;
  • No access to school buildings unless by appointment;
  • FS2 and Y1/2 children to be accompanied by parents along agreed routes. Staff will be positioned (Star) where handovers take place;
  • Y3/4 parents may accompany their children along agreed routes, but handover takes place at star;
  • Y5/6 pupils are expected to proceed independently along agreed blue route.
  • FS1 parents to follow markings towards rear decking area in front of pre- school. No access to school building unless by appointment.

Pick up notes:

  • FS1 full day children will finish at 1450hrs, to be collected along orange route;
  • All other children (not attending after-school club) to finish at 1500hrs
  • Parents advised to limit car use where possible, arriving on foot if possible;
  • If use of car is absolutely necessary please do not park on school site – please use ample parking around College Road (as indicated);
  • All parents must observe 2m distancing and not congregate;
  • No access to school buildings unless by appointment;
  • FS2 parents to follow red route, collecting children from waiting staff under covered area outside classroom, before returning via red route;
  • Y1/2 parents to arrive and wait in netball courts next to relevant letter (first

letter of child’s name). Staff to handover when sighting made;

  • Y3/4 parents may wait for their children along agreed routes (green dots) but handover takes place at star when sighting is made. Y3/4 children may also proceed off site independently with parental agreement;
  • Y5/6 pupils are expected to proceed independently off site along agreed blue route.

Before- and after- school club notes:

  • Parents advised to limit car use where possible, arriving on foot if possible;
  • If use of car is absolutely necessary please do not park on school site – please use ample parking around College Road (as indicated);
  • Arrive to side door via purple route;
  • All parents must observe 2m distancing and not congregate, allowing space for parents returning back the same way from decking area;
  • No access to school buildings unless by appointment;
  • Member of staff available for handover at star.
  • Earliest drop-off is 07:45 and latest pick-up is 17:15, bookable in advance.

Headteachers Letter to Parents

Headteacher Update 03/07/20
Headteacher Update 01/05/2020
Headteacher Update 11/04/2020
Headteacher Update 11/09/2020
Headteacher Update 12/06/2020
Headteacher Update 15/05/2020
Headteacher Update 17/04/2020
Headteacher Update 19/06/20
Headteacher Update 24/03/2020
Headteacher Update 24/04/2020
Headteacher Update 26/06/20
Headteacher Update 27/03/2020
Headteacher Update 28/08/2020
New Risk Assessment
Risk Assessment for Full Reopening in September 2020

Downlands School
College Rd
Blandford Camp
Dorset DT11 8BG

Tel: 01258 453348

Dandelions Pre-School

Tel: 01258 489914

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Headteacher & Safeguarding Lead
Mr James Rielly




Downlands Community School