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St Joseph's Catholic

Primary School, Withnell

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Corona virus update

Update 18.06.20


In addition to this week's details relating to the wider opening of school, we informed parents that school would be closing at 1pm on a Wednesday afternoon for a deep clean. 


This earlier finish will also be subject to staggered pick up times to prevent the crossing of bubbles and I can now tell you that the times will be as follows:


Families: 12.45pm

Key worker and vulnerable children: 1pm

Year 6: 12.50pm

Year 1: 12.30pm

Reception: 12.15pm


Children will have had their dinner before they leave school on this day. The pick-up process will work in the same way as the other days, just at a different time. 


Thank you. 

Update 17.06.20


St Joseph’s Withnell

Information about returning to school


Dear parents/carers,


We wrote to you on Monday to advise you that school would begin its wider reopening to some year groups from Monday 22nd June. Today, I am writing to you to further supplement the information already given with some finer details about the school day and the logistics of how things are going to work.


I will detail below how we plan for the school day to operate but should you have any questions by the end please do not hesitate to contact me.


What sized bubble will my child be in?

Reception – 12 children are due to return.

Year 1 – 11 children are due to return.

Year 6 – 10 children are due to return.


When will the school day start and finish?

This will depend on which group your child/children fall into. We have been advised to have staggered start and finish times to ensure that as few people as possible are on the school grounds at any one time. Additionally, this will minimise the risk of children from different bubbles coming into contact with one another.


We do understand that some families will have children in more than one bubble and therefore, we will also be running a ‘family’ drop off time to ensure that children from the same family can be dropped off and picked up at the same time.



Drop off time

Pick up time




Key worker and vulnerable children



Year 6



Year 1

9.20am- 9.30am






We are going to have to be extremely strict with these drop off and pick times to ensure our safety measures and controls are adhered to properly so we ask you that you rigidly stick to the time frame that is allocated to your child/children. Thank you.


How will the school drop off and pick up operate?

We ask that when dropping off or collecting children, only one adult accompanies the child where possible. The school car park will be closed during this time. When you arrive at school, we will ask that you wait at the gate at the bottom of the car park and observe 2m social distancing between yourselves other parents and families who are also dropping children off – these distances will be measured out. Here, you will be met by staff and Mrs Wilsdon will take a register and any dinner orders for the day. There will be a hand sanitising station upon arrival for children to use. Staff (from your child’s assigned bubble) will show children where they need to go and you will be asked to leave your children at the gate and follow the path back out of the carpark, still maintaining a safe, 2m social distance. There will be strictly no communication with class teachers and staff during these drop off and pick up times. Unless absolutely urgent, we ask that communication is made via telephone and/or email.


At the end of the day, children will be brought out by the staff in their bubble during the allocated time for their pick up and be asked to wait at the bottom gate observing social distancing. We ask that parents wait there and staff will organise releasing your child to you in a way that observes the control measures we’ve put in place to keep school as safe as possible.


How will the bubbles be maintained during break and lunch times?

Break times and lunch times will be staggered so that bubbles do not cross. Break times will be taken outside and lunch will be served and eaten in the classrooms with a time slot for the children to go outside. It will operate as follows:


Break time


Key worker and vulnerable children


12pm-12.30pm – Outside break (Field)

12.30pm-1pm – Lunch in classroom


Year 6


12pm-12.30pm – Lunch in classroom


12.30pm-1pm – Outside break (Playground)

Year 1


12pm-12.30pm – Outside break (Playground)


12.30pm-1pm – Lunch in classroom





12pm-12.30pm – Lunch in classroom


12.30pm-1pm – Outside break (Pencil Playground)


Will school dinners be available for my child?

Yes, school dinners will be available for your child and we can email home the options in advance. However, it will be a limited menu based on the current circumstances. There will be one hot meal choice and one sandwich filling daily but that will be all. In addition, we would advise that you only order a school dinner for your child if they like BOTH choices on the menu that day, given that stock is limited and deliveries aren’t yet expected. If your child doesn’t like both options, it may be a better idea to choose to bring a packed lunch.


If your child is planning to bring a packed lunch, please bear in mind that staff will not be able to help them with it. They will not be able to unwrap or cut up food etc.


What does my child need to bring?

The ONLY thing your child needs to bring to school is their water bottle and packed lunch if they have chosen to bring one. They will need a coat but not a bag. Books and resources will not be allowed to cross between school and home.

Children are invited to attend school in their own clothes so that clothes can be washed daily and suitable outdoor footwear i.e. trainers etc.


On a hot day, we will not be able to apply suncream to children and we ask that you lather it on before they come to school. Likewise, medicines cannot be administered by staff and if your child needs to take medicines during this period, we would ask parents to come to school administer them.


What about toilets?

Each bubble will be assigned their own toilets then children from different bubbles don’t come into contact with one another. Their use will be monitored by staff from that bubble.


What happens on a Wednesday afternoon?

School will close on a Wednesday afternoon at 1pm to ALL children. This is so the school can be deep cleaned. The children will still have their dinner at school before being picked up.


Will school be running a breakfast and after school club?

As previously outlined, unfortunately, school will NOT be able to offer any breakfast or after school club provision.


I hope that I’ve covered everything above but please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any more questions regarding the finer details of school reopening. We look forward to welcoming back a larger group of children and seeing you again. Thank you to the staff for their efforts and support throughout this period in keeping school as ‘normal’ as possible and providing a support network for the school community and each other.


As ever, thank you for your continued support and kind messages. Your patience and understanding is truly valued. Because of our school family, St Joseph’s has continued to shine even in the face of uncertainty and unrest and for that we are eternally grateful.


Kind Regards,

Mrs Wilkinson

Update 15.06.20


As outlined in our previous update, school will be closed every Wednesday afternoon from 1pm for a deep clean. This will begin from the week of the 22nd June and therefore school will shut on Wednesday 24th June at 1pm and every following Wednesday afternoon (at 1pm) thereafter. This means that any children in school on a Wednesday must be picked up at 1pm from 24th June (next week) onwards. Unfortunately, this applies to all children, not only Year 6, Year 1 and Reception children but the key worker children and the vulnerable group too and we will not be in a position to be able to offer childcare on a Wednesday afternoon for this group. 


We understand and appreciate the inconvenience this may cause - especially if you are a key worker - and for that we apologise but unfortunately, it is a control measure we must have in place and one that we must adhere to in order to reopen school safely. 


Thank you for your support and co-operation. 



Update 15th June 2020



St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School

School Re-opening


Dear parents/carers,


The Director of Public Health for Lancashire has revised his guidance about schools reopening to more pupils and has advised that it is safe enough to begin to invite back a wider group of children back into school, namely, Year 6, Reception and Year 1 from Monday 22nd June.


The plan to reopen will remain the same as it did when we shared it with you in May. We have outlined it once more below.


When do we intend to reopen?

The Governors have decided that school will reopen on 22nd June.


Which children can attend?

You may have read that schools will reopen to children in REC, Year 1, Year 6 and those children of key workers and vulnerable children. These children will be placed into ‘bubbles’, assigned 2 members of staff to teach them and given one base in school. The bubbles, base or members of staff cannot change – there will be strictly NO integration. The bubbles cannot exceed 15, and when classrooms are reorganised, desks must be placed 2m apart. This creates a logistical problem. If we follow these measures (which we must) the school capacity will be drastically reduced. We have 98 children on roll. Having estimated current capacity we feel that we may only have space for 45-50 children maximum. Clearly, under these measures, some children will not be able to attend school.


What if my child has been attending school as key worker or vulnerable child? What bubble will they be in?

If your child has been attending school as a key worker/vulnerable child and they fall into one of the above Year groups, they will be filtered back into their year group with their peers as and when they return to school. If your child has been attending and doesn’t fall into one of the above year groups, they will remain in the key worker and vulnerable child group that they’ve been in already.


Who will be in my child’s bubble and which teacher will they be with?

This is going to be complicated. We cannot guarantee that your children will be with their friends. We cannot guarantee that they will be with their normal class teacher and they may well be taught in a different area of school.

 We have a broad plan of how we believe this can work – however, if demand for places is high then we will not be able to execute this plan and we will have no other option other than to adopt a rota based system where your children will attend school on a part time-basis.

Within this system we will make every effort to ensure that children of key workers and vulnerable children are given priority and they will be offered a full time place.




Bubble Group


Mrs Cunliffe and Mrs Millar

Year 6

Class 3

Mr Byrne and Miss Bailey

Key worker and vulnerable children from Yr 2-5

Class 2

Miss Hinawski and Mrs Fleming

Year 1

Class 1

Mrs Aldridge and Miss Walsh

REC class


Will all the children come back at once?

No – we will phase the children back. We think that the older children will adapt to the new measures more quickly so they will return first. We plan:

Week beginning 22nd June: Year 6 and children of key worker and vulnerable children (from any year group)

Week beginning 29th June     Year 1 children

                                      REC children


Can my child change bubble if they prefer another one?

No. This cannot happen.


What will happen to the rest of the children in school who are not eligible for a place?

They will continue to have access to work via See-saw as they currently do. Given the fact, however, that staff will now be teaching and planning work for children in school, staff will not be able to respond to work produced by the children in the way that they have been doing.


What safety measures will be in place?

We have complied a detailed risk assessment which has been shared with staff and governors. The purpose of this letter is not to explain every single control that we have in school – the governors have scrutinised this as is their responsibility. I will, however, give you a flavour of the types of control which will be in place. I want manage expectations. School will look and feel very different. This is not because we want to discourage you from sending your child back, it is rather to allow you to prepare your child for what a return to school will be like. Here is selection of the measures we will have in place:


  • Children will be taught in bubble groups by 2 adult. The bubble groups will be taught in one base in school and will not mix with other groups in school
  • All children will be assigned one desk and chair which will be spaced 2m apart
  • There will be a one way system in school to minimise contact on corridors
  • Children will be explicitly taught how to wash their hands and will do so frequently throughout the day
  • Desks and surfaces will be routinely cleaned throughout the day
  • We will adopt the ‘catch-it bin it kill’ – children will have access to a box of tissues when they cough or sneeze. The tissues will be place in a bin with a lid and this bin will be emptied frequently
  • Children will have staggered break and dinner times
  • Children will be assigned a specific toilet and wash basin where they can wash their hand
  • Children will be given their own individual equipment and there will be no shared resources
  • There will be staggered start and finish time to the school day – specific details can only be sent out when we know how many children will be returning to school
  • School will be cleaned each night and on Wednesday afternoon for a deep clean

Will school be open Mon-Fri?

Yes. School will be open every day however we will need to close on Wednesday at 1.00pm to allow for a deep clean of the premises.


How will school look and feel?

Different. Very different, as you will be able to see above. However, there will be many things to look forward to. The children will see their friends in their own bubble – OK this will be at a safe 2m distance (mostly) but we will want the children to reconnect with their friends – they will talk with each and discuss how they have been feeling – their mental health will be the priority. Yes, they need to learn to re-adjust to a different way of life in school but with the care and guidance of our staff I know they will.

The classrooms may look a little different but some of the children may like them! Their own table, their own resources – more space. We will spend more time outside – as much as we can as this is where they will be safest.  The children will adapt quickly to the new routines. Like a new pair of shoes it will feel uncomfortable at first and they may even wish they could back to how it was before…or indeed stay at home…however over time they will adapt. Children will be required to wear their own clothes with suitable outdoor footwear then clothes can be washed daily.


What happens if a child or adult becomes ill?

This is an important question – please read the policy ‘What happens if a child or adult becomes ill’ on the school website.


Why are you phasing children back into school?

We are phasing children back into school to firstly ensure that new procedures and control are adhered to, staff are comfortable with the new way of teaching and parents can grow in confidence that we can run school safely and effectively in this way. Y6 are the older and most mature children who we believe will adopt the measures most readily. We will then bring back Y1 and REC children when we are confident that systems are running smoothly.


Will there be a breakfast and after school club?

Unfortunately no. Given that we need to keep the children in bubble we will not be able to open either a BC or ASC. Opening one would mean that we will be mixing groups and thus undermining the controls we have in place to reduce the spread of infection. I know that this will be immensely inconvenient for parents who rely on this and may have hoped that a reopening of school may help them return to work. Sadly, such are the measures that we have to put in place we find ourselves heavily restricted in how we can help parent with wrap around care.


Do I have to send my children?

The advice states that children would be better in school however no fines will be given to parents who do not wish to send their children. Some parents will be eager for their children to come back to school and confident in the control we have in place. Some other parents may have their own particular set of circumstances which mean that they are more fearful for their children contracting an infection and bringing it home. We know this and will not pressure any families. The decision is yours. We want you to know that we cannot eliminate all risk in school but we will have stringent controls in place to make it safe. We also know that what school will be like may well discourage some parents. I know it will be strange but I have every confidence in our teachers – I know that they are already looking at ways in which they can teach under these circumstances.


What if I change my mind?

This will not be a problem, however, if numbers in each group fluctuates each day without notice we may find that we have too many children in one group and not enough space. This cannot happen.


We will ask for at least one weeks’ notice if you change your mind and wish to send your child into school. If you have not taken up a place in school for your child and you now wish to you must inform us by email giving us a minimum of 7 days’ notice. Request that are sent in late cannot be considered.


Please email:


This is actually going to be very disruptive for me and my work

This is true, no BC and ASC, staggered start and finish times with the added possibility of the whole group of children being sent home to isolate if a child tests positive for COVID19 (please see policy). If staff become ill of need to self-isolate we may need to close the school for that bubble. If there is an outbreak in school Public Health England may well instruct us to shut school.

The classrooms cannot accommodate all eligible children and maintain social distancing. This means that if ALL eligible children want to return to school we will have no option other than to adopt a rota where your child will attend school on a part time basis.

Time will need to be built in to the week to allow a half day closure and deep clean – this will mean that we will close at 1.00pm on Wednesday.


If we lose key staff, for example cleaning staff, we will not be able to fulfill the requirements in the risk assessment and school may close until new staff can be found.


All of what I have said is not to discourage you. I do however need to manage expectations. We absolutely need parents to be contactable and able to come and collect their child immediately – especially if there is a suspected infection.


What do you mean this is all provisional?

As I write this we must be aware that everything is conditional on the reopening of school. If anything changes we will be sure to let you know immediately.


Which children should NOT attend school?

If a child is ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ they should not attend school – seek advice from your GP about this.

If a child is living with another person who is ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ – they should not attend – again seek advice from your GP.


Will children remain socially distant at all times?

No. We will do our best but this will not always be possible – especially with young children. The 2m social distancing is just one of a hierarchy of control designed to reduce the spread of infections:


Guidance states:

We know that, unlike older children and adults, early years and primary age children cannot be expected to remain 2 metres apart from each other and staff. In deciding to bring more children back to early years and schools, we are taking this into account. Schools should therefore work through the hierarchy of measures set out above:


  1. Maintain class bubble with no mixing of groups
  2. Catch it bin it kill – use of tissues for cough and sneezes
  3. Handwashing and cleaning of surfaces regularly
  4. 2m social distancing

The guidance tells us that the fact that children won’t always remember to stay 2m apart from each has been factored into their advice and if we try to follow this alongside the control above the risk of spread is greatly reduced.


Will children receive first Aid?



Will my child see adults in face masks?

There is a possibility of this. Staff are not required to routinely wear face mask but if child has suspected symptoms then an adult will have to wear PPE whilst we wait for their parents to arrive – please see policy – ‘What if a child or adult becomes ill’.

Children cannot wear face masks – it is unlikely that they will have received training, masks will probably be ill fitting and I know children will be likely to take them off and abandon them around school thus creating a greater risk. Face masks are not in the hierarchy of controls for reducing the spread of infection.


My child may need intimate care – can this continue?

Yes: as is in our policy, we will encourage children to be independent and change themselves if needed. If they do need assistance staff will wear their normal PPE: gloves, apron etc as always happens.


Will school administer medicines?

No. Given the circumstances we ask that if children need to be administered medicines their parents come to school to do so. Staff will not administer any medicines - this is a change in our policy.


What should I do now?

We ask that parents let us know whether they wish to take up a place in school (see below). We know that you have already done this but as we have all learnt, things change daily and we would like to reassess the number of places being taken up and ensure it is accurate for our risk assessment and its execution.


Who is invited to take up a place in school?

Priority will be given to vulnerable children and key worker children. Thereafter, children in Year 6, Year 1 and Reception class are invited back to school.


If your child falls into one of the above categories, please can you email school on to state whether you intend to take up a school place or not – we would like to know either way (whether you plan to take the place or not) then we can plan for our groupings. Again, the decision is yours and we will not be asking why if you decide that your child will not be returning to school from the 22nd June continuing into the week of 29th June. We will endeavor to provide home learning opportunities for all pupils who are at home at this time, including pupils who do not attend in Year 6, Year 1 and Reception class. We advise that you follow the format below in your email.


This MUST be completed no later than midday on Wednesday 17th June to allow us to prepare and plan.

Where parents do not let us know in time, we cannot guarantee that you child will have a place in school for the first week that they are eligible.


Please follow the current format for your request for a school place:



SUBJECT: request for a school place:

Name of child(ren):

Year groups:

Are you a key worker? (Please see list) We reserve the right to request proof in the form of a pay slip or letter from your employer.

Key Worker list:

Which year group do you require a place for?


Please do not delay in requesting your place.


I feel it is important, once again, to commend the staff on their extraordinary efforts both in school and at home throughout this time. The children at St Joseph’s and the wider school community have been at the heart of everything they have done and we incredibly lucky to have such a supportive, dedicated staff team whose commitment knows no bounds. 


Thank you for your on-going support and patience at this incredibly difficult time – it is hugely appreciated and if you have any questions whatsoever please email on the above email and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Once we receive, gather and collate the information about children who intend to take up a place, we will send out further details with the finer details of the school-day plan – including staggered start times, finish times, curriculum, entry into school etc.


Kindest regards


Mrs. Wilkinson

Update 2


Dear parents/carers,


Today marks the first day that the advice to delay reopening primary schools to a wider group of children (Year 6, Year 1 and Reception), given by the Director of Public Health, has been reviewed. He has determined that it should not change.


That means Dr Sakthi Karunanithi is advising that schools should continue to delay reopening to Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils. It is still the case that he believes two of the five government tests are not being met in the county.

This advice will be reviewed again next Monday (15th) and again, we will keep you informed of any developments.


In the meantime, we will continue to follow the advice given and remain open for vulnerable children and the children of key workers. If you have booked a place for your child for the key worker childcare provision, the arrangements and days that you have arranged still stand. Children are asked to continue to come in in non-uniform. Drop off and pick up will be at car park gates at the bottom near to Class 1. Unfortunately, we will still not be able to accommodate breakfast club and after school club safely as stated in our previous letter to you. The childcare provision will run from 9am-3.15pm. If your childcare needs or days change, we ask that you let us know as soon as you can.


Additionally, teachers will continue to provide home learning opportunities online and offer feedback to children.


I would just like to take this opportunity to thank the staff for their tremendous efforts both at school and at home. They have worked tirelessly to try and keep a purposeful, harmonious and supportive network going in these times of uncertainty and unrest. I am so proud and humbled to work alongside them. Equally, we would like to thank parents and families for their continued and invaluable support throughout this period – it is has instrumental in keeping things going as they have been and it is appreciated by all staff.


We look forward to seeing you all again whenever that may be and in the meantime we will continue to offer support to both children and families in any way we can. Please take care and we look forward to seeing you all soon.


Kind Regards,


Mrs Wilkinson



‘We work, we care, we pray, we share’

Update 1


Dear parents/carers,


I am sure that many of you saw the Lancashire County Council advice issued this week from the Director of Public Health advising schools not to open to more pupils from the 1st June. The advice to schools urges against wider opening because in Lancashire, which would allow this decision to be taken safely. We have been informed that Lancashire County Council will review the situation regularly and provide further advice to ensure schools are only opened more widely when they judge it is safe to do so.


You can read the update and further information regarding this here: 


Our plans to open school more widely have always firmly focused on the safety and wellbeing of our children, families, staff and wider community which is why we were able to open to a limited number of the year groups suggested by the government guidance. We have worked really hard to implement thorough systems and procedures to minimise risk and support the wider opening of our school but we feel we must follow the advice. Myself, Mr Lawman and members of the Governing Body agree that school should only open more widely to more children when Lancashire County Council inform the school that it believes it is safe to do so.


The question this naturally raises is when will school reopen? The honest answer is we don’t know. The situation is going to be reviewed regularly by Lancashire, who will then keep schools informed. We will alert you as soon as we know anything. We predict that once the announcement is made that schools can reopen safely in Lancashire, it will take us 2-3 days in school to prepare for an opening. Therefore, once Lancashire announce it is safe for schools to open, we anticipate that school will be open 2-3 days later and many of the arrangements we have communicated with you will remain in place, but for a later opening date i.e. Year 6 will be invited back first etc. Again, this is purely provisional and as you have experienced, may be subject to change.


In the meantime, we will continue to follow the advice given and remain open for the children of key workers. If you have booked a place for your child for the key worker childcare provision, the arrangements and days that you have arranged still stand. Children are asked to continue to come in in non-uniform. Drop off and pick up will be at car park gates at the bottom near to Class 1. Unfortunately, we will not be able to breakfast club and after school club as stated in our previous letter to you. The childcare provision will run from 9am-3.15pm. When children are invited back, children in this key worker group WILL be filtered back into their year group bubble. If your childcare needs or days change, we ask that you let us know as soon as you can.


Additionally, teachers will continue to provide home learning opportunities online and offer feedback to children.


We would like to thank everyone for their support during this difficult time. Your kind words, messages of support and encouragement and patience and understanding is truly valued. Please take care and we look forward to seeing you all soon.


Kindest Regards,


Mrs Wilkinson and Mr Lawman



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