News & Events

Newsletter: 4th March 2021

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

You have all done an amazing job during this lockdown. Thank you. It is now time, though, to return to the “normality” of the school day. We are so excited to be welcoming everyone back on Monday. Schools are very lonely places when they aren’t full of children! We know it isn’t going to be quite like the “normal” of past years but at least we are back!! We still need to do everything we can, though, to keep everyone safe. We all need to follow the guidance.

Here is a little welcome back video for the children.

As we mentioned last week, we will be returning to similar routines put in place during the autumn term but with a few changes – either things that we have learnt along the way and amended or changes made due to changes in national guidance, such as the introduction of lateral flow testing for staff.

As before, all the children will be based in class bubbles. They will all have their own staggered drop off time, collection time, playtimes and lunchtimes. (Please see the table below for drop off/collection times.) We know, from past experience, that the timings do not work for all families and we apologise for this but we have tried to be flexible where we can. Please make sure that you keep to the allocated time and entry point as much as possible. We still need to keep the bubbles as small as possible and limit the interaction between them.

However, in the updated guidance, we are able, for specialist teaching such as phonics/ spellings group, to mix the children across the year group. We will also do this for the children who will be having hot dinners and WAP. (Please see the reminders below).


Whilst we would hope to return to normal school uniform, ventialtion is still needed so please send the children in with additional layers.

Many parents have voiced concerns about the need to buy new uniform at this point in the term. We will be discussing this matter with the Governors on Monday so will update in the newsletter next week.

As before, please allow your child to wear their PE kit in to school on the day that they have PE to avoid having to change.

Drop off and collection

All parents and caregivers are expected to wear a face-covering in the school vicinity and to maintain social distance if waiting with their child. If parents and children arrive at the allocated time, there should be no need to wait with your child as the children can come straight onto the site. This will help with social distancing and general safety, especially at the traffic light entrance. As previously, parents and visitors will not be allowed onto the school site unless for pre-arranged meetings. Thank you!

All children need to be in school by 9.10am at the latest. Arrivals after this time will be counted as an absence on the register.

Drop offCollection
Year 3Willow classTraffic light gate8.55-9.00 am3.20 pm
Rowan classCar park gate8.55-9.00 am3.20 pm
Ash classMain school gate8.55-9.00 am3.20 pm
Year 4Holly classTraffic light gate8.45-8.50 am3.10 pm
Cedar classCar park gate8.45-8.50 am3.10 pm
Fir classMain school gate8.45-8.50 am3.10 pm
Year 5Pine ClassTraffic light gate8.35-8.40 am3.00 pm
Hazel classMain school gate8.35-8.40 am3.00 pm
Sycamore classCar park gate8.35-8.40 am3.00 pm
Year 6Elm classTraffic light gate8.25-8.30 am2.50 pm
Yew classCar park gate8.25-8.30 am2.50 pm
Oak classMain school gate8.25-8.30 am2.50 pm
School timings and entry points – we ask all parents and caregivers to adhere to this as strictly as possible

You may want to refer back to the guidance we sent out at the beginning of September to refresh your minds about other areas. Please be aware, though, that under the new guidance some changes have been made.

What should my child bring into school?

We are still asking children to limit the items they bring to school. They need their reading book, drinks bottle and lunch. Cloakrooms will not be used so please try to limit the size of the bag where possible- especially in the smaller rooms. Please do not allow your child to bring in additional items such as soft toys and toys, unless agreed with the class teacher.

What if my child is unwell?

Normal rules apply! If your child is unwell, please keep them away from school and contact the school office.

If your child shows any symptoms of Covid 19, please do not send them into school. You should follow the national guidance and request a PCR test. Please keep the school informed of the results and actions needed.

If your child falls ill at school or develops any Covid related symptoms, we will call you and ask you to come and collect your child. Your child will be kept isolated from everyone until you can collect them. This can be very worrying for children. We ask that you collect your child as soon as possible in order to allay their fears. We understand that it may be inconvenient and that it is “probably just a cough” but we still need to make sure that everyone is safe and stick to Government guidance. You will be expected to book a test for your child. Thank you in advance for your support.

Tracy and Mike

Website posts you may have missed:

Keeping children safe online – we have updated this post to include DfE guidance and support for families

Gardening at Elmhurst – week 7 – our grounds are amazing! Mrs. Chard and the year 5 gardening team have added lots of new features to enhance the school grounds. please, under the guidance of your teachers, explore these new areas but treat them as we would like you to treat everyone and everything, with kindness and respect. Thank you!

News items and updates

FSM lunch provision from Monday 8th March -a reminder

From Monday 8th, we will only be able to offer a hot meal to children entitled to FSM. This will be until Easter in the first instance.

Meals, for the first week, will be automatically ordered for the children based on their dietary information on the school system. Due to the time frame, we do not have the time to ask parents to do this – the meals needed to be ordered by Monday. Parent Pay will be used by parents to book the remaining weeks until Easter.

All these children will eat their lunch in the school hall in their year group bubbles. Under the latest guidance, this is allowed. Children who are having a hot meal will still need to bring in their own drink for lunchtime.

Don’t forget – bookings close on Parent Pay today.

WAP from Monday 8th March – a reminder

From 8 March, you should work to resume all your before and after-school educational activities and wraparound childcare for your pupils, where this provision is necessary to support parents to work, attend education and access medical care, and is as part of pupil’s wider education and training.”

Schools coronavirus operational guidance

We appreciate that there are many parents and caregivers who would like to resume using the Wrap Around Provision. Up until Easter (for the next four weeks) we will continue with a similar provision. We do not have the staff capacity to increase numbers significantly at this point in time and any increase in numbers could increase the risk to both staff and children. Our current maximum number is based on the need for social distancing between year groups.

The advice is:

Consistent groups reduce the risk of transmission by limiting the number of pupils and staff in contact with each other to only those within the group.

We would ask all families to make alternative arrangements for before and after school care where possible.

Families who have accessed the provision during the lockdown will continue to be given priority bookings. Any families who had made bookings for January (which were then put on hold) will also be given priority booking. These families should all have received a letter inviting them to book via Parent Pay.

If you have not received a letter, please assume that we have contacted all the parents who we are inviting to book in. Any additional bookings, after this, will be considered on an individual basis only – please contact Abbie Laffan to discuss if needed. Our response will be based on numbers at the time of the request. All requests should be discussed via email, the week before the booking is needed, with Abbie Laffan ( and confirmed BEFORE booking on Parent Pay.  All bookings need to be completed before Friday lunchtime, 12.30pm, ready for the following week.

We thank you all in advance for doing all that you can to secure alternative arrangements and helping to keep the school community safe. We will review the WAP after Easter.

World Book day

We hope that you have a lovely day today celebrating the wonderful world of books. I know that the school team has put a lot of lovely book-related activities on Google classroom so I do hope that you are able to join in with some of them. Please send photos through – they are always lovely to see.

The World Book day vouchers have arrived in school. We investigated the online version as well but you still need to print out a copy and take it to the shops. You cannot use them online. Due to this, we will hand the tokens out to all children on Monday 8th – a little welcome back gift!

Read, Write, Inc

Following the remote learning last summer, the school was ready to begin using our Read, Write Inc phonics programme for catch up in year 3 in September. This uses a stage not age approach whereby children are taught in groups for their current ability in decoding when reading. We were not able to go ahead at the time based on advice from the county council around mixing children within year group bubbles and so instead used this programme to provide whole class teaching for our year threes within mixed ability classes.

The guidance that has come from the government has now changed and states:

You may keep pupils in their class groups for most of the classroom time, but also  allow mixing in wider groups for specialist teaching.

We have also been issued with very sensible guidance that we should:

For pupils in Key Stages 1 and 2, you are expected to prioritise identifying gaps and re-establishing good progress in the essentials (phonics and reading, increasing vocabulary, writing, and mathematics), identifying opportunities across the curriculum so they read widely, and developing their knowledge and vocabulary.

As a result, we intend to begin Read, Write Inc sessions across all four year groups from the second week back. In year three, there will be five groups of different sizes that use Read, Write Inc books matched to current reading ability to re-establish good reading and look to develop phonic decoding. One group will continue to use VIPERS and spelling shed as they do not need phonics – the rest of year 3 will come away from VIPERS and spelling shed for the time being whilst we prioritise phonics. In years 4, 5 and 6 there will be small groups that have direct phonics catch-up teaching using the Read, Write inc programme.  

Crispin transition newsletter

Photos for the website gallery

Please email photos (JPEGs) of any work completed through to me, Tracy Edwards at Alternatively, if easier, you can send via Messenger. By sending them in, you agree to share them in the Elmhurst gallery on the website. Thank you in advance.

You can have a look at the gallery here: Elmhurst Lockdown Gallery 2021

And finally..

If your child is feeling anxious about returning to school, why don’t you have a walk around the school boundary over the weekend to help familiarise them with the route to school/ entrances, etc? They may even see some messages from their class teachers.

We will also be there to welcome them on Monday – we do know that it isn’t going to be easy for everyone.

Everyone has handled the lockdown and the pandemic differently. It is okay to be different.

On that note, this short Pixar film is just so beautiful! A perfect reminder that we need to celebrate our differences. Thank you to Mr. Mullen for sharing it with me.


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