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School Updates

Monday 10th May 2021

Dear Parents and Carers 

The COVID situation has significantly improved within our region and local area. However, guidance from the Government and Local Authority does require us to ensure that we take appropriate precautions and continue to access testing where appropriate.  

The symptoms to look out for are: 

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature) 
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual) 
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal 

If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19: 

  • Get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) to check if you have COVID-19 as soon as possible. 
  • You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test. 
  • Anyone in your childcare or support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started. 

Please do appreciate that the school needs to implement the government's guidance, therefore we do ask that parents and carers do not send children into school who are displaying COVID like symptoms.  

Some parents have asked about the use of LFD tests to check whether their children have COVID. Although these tests are useful and are in place so that asymptomatic cases can be picked up, guidance does require schools to ask that PCR tests (drive through/test centre) are accessed when symptoms are present.  

We do appreciate that colds and other minor ailments can cause children to display COVID like symptoms. Therefore, we do recommend that parents and carers do access professional advice from NHS 111 to check whether it is safe and appropriate to send children into school.  

Kind regards 

Steven Holmes 

Headteacher

Friday 7th May 2021

This week children across the school have explored Vikings, dinosaurs and dragons. It has been lovely to see the creative ways that teachers and adults have inspired the children and I have enjoyed seeing pupils being so excited and engaged with their learning.

COVID Update

As the situation nationally and particularly locally has improved, we have reviewed classroom organisation. As you will know, teachers have seated children in rows, however as the risks are now lower than they have been, we have decided that we will be changing classroom layouts (already in place in Year 1 and Year 2). This will support more effective collaborative learning. Measures to restrict contact between bubbles will continue to be in place.

New Chairs

Children in Year 1 - Year 6 now all have new chairs. These chairs have been bought as they promote good posture, prevent tipping and are easier to clean. The children have already provided feedback that the chairs are very comfortable and they love the new colours which are unique for each class!

Thank you for your ongoing support. Have a great weekend.

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Thursday 29th April 2021

Despite the weather, it has been great that the children have been able to have a Football Festival this week. They really enjoyed the opportunity to play together (within their bubbles) and contribute to a school wide competition.

As the COVID situation continues to improve we are hopeful that the opportunities for more extra curricular activities will increase.

 

Thank you for your ongoing support. Have a great weekend.

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 23rd April 2021

It has been a lovely sunny week and it has been really nice to see children from across the school making use of the local area and school grounds to support their learning.

Training Day - 30th April 2021

Just to remind all parents that Friday 30th April 2021 is a training day. There will be Oscars provision available - bookable via the magic booking website.

Football Festival

As the weather has improved we are keen to ensure that the children engage with a wider range of activities. Next Thursday we will be having a Football Festival Competition that will involve children in Year 1 to Year 6. Please can parents ensure that children have their PE kits with them on this day so that they can take part. Children will remain in their class bubbles during the festival.

Morning Times

As you are aware we do stagger entry times to ensure that bubbles can be safely transitioned into school. We do realise that there are challenges with regards timings for siblings across year groups, however we do ask, where possible, that children do not arrive earlier than necessary at school.

Start times

Nursery - 8.55am ... Reception - 8.45am

Year 1 - 8.50am ... Year 2 - 8.40am

Year 3 - 8.50am ... Year 4 - 8.45am

Year 5 - 8.55am ... Year 6 - 8.40am

 

Thank you for your ongoing support. Have a great weekend.

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 16th April 2021

I hope you had an enjoyable break with time to relax with your family and enjoy the festivities of the Easter Christian festival.

The children have come back so positive and eager to learn. It has been a real delight to visit every classroom and see such enthusiastic children! I know we will have a really enjoyable summer term!

Training Day - 30th April 2021

Just to remind all parents that Friday 30th April 2021 is a training day. There will be Oscars provision available bookable via the magic booking website.

A Warm Welcome to New Staff

Mr Gold is not new, however for the next half term he does have a new role, teaching in Year 3 until Mrs Beckett returns from her maternity leave. Mrs Pitt has taken over from Mrs McIllmurray for the summer term teaching our Year 5 class. Thank you to Mrs Pitt and Mr Gold who have worked really hard to ensure that the transition has been as smooth as possible.

Parent Consultations

I hope that the new system for parent consultations worked well for families. We will be asking for feedback soon about the process and how it was for you!

It is great to see that Covid infection numbers continue to be low, particularly in the Ripon area and the staff and I are very hopeful that restrictions will be reduced over time.

Thank you for all your support.

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 26th March 2021

A Letter from the Governors

Dear Parents, Carers and Friends

It hardly seems possible that we are about to break up for Easter already. The end of term has certainly been more normal than the beginning and the governors are celebrating that the children are all safely back in school. It has been the most challenging of times and I think as a school we have risen to those challenges. We are very proud of how hard our staff have worked to ensure high quality home education. We are also very proud of our families who have supported the children’s learning. You have all been amazing.

We would particularly like to thank our teaching assistants, administrators and ancillary staff for being in school throughout the lockdowns and supporting our key worker families. I think the fact that the school remained open during the snowy weather says it all. Well done everyone!

The governors have managed to go about our normal business via Zoom and have maintained our monitoring duties and supported the school in as many ways as we could. I know many schools have functioned well below their normal capacity but at Cathedral School standards have been maintained and as many activities as possible have gone ahead. This is largely down to the hard work and ingenuity of the staff team. They have gone above and beyond what could reasonably have been expected. As well as ensuring high quality learning for our children, the school has even kept daily school worship going and I know many of you have enjoyed “dropping in” to Zoom sessions which were aimed at keeping our school family connected with one another. I’m sure parents have appreciated that the school has kept everything as normal as possible for everyone.

As a school we are very blessed to have a strong sense of community and this has helped us through the worst of times.

We wish you all a wonderful Easter holiday and the joy of the Resurrection.

With our grateful thanks,

The Governors

Friday 19th March 2021

Dear Parents and Carers 

It has been lovely to see the children in their fabulous outfits today and I know that all the classes have really enjoyed the activities organised by the School Ambassadors! If you haven't yet contributed to Comic Relief you can still make a donation through ParentPay - www.parentpay.com

Many thanks for your generous donations, we have raised over £100 so far.

End of the Day

Please can we remind parents and carers to be punctual for pick ups. We do appreciate the staggered end times can mean that there are some complexities, however some staff are waiting for parents to pick up for quite some time. Please note if parents and carers do not arrive after 10 minutes of the expected time, children will be taken to Oscar's so that they can be cared for and parents may be charged.

Can we also ask again that parents keep their children with them after picking up and leave the site as quickly as possible.

Parent Consultations

All parents and carers should have received text and email notification relating to parent consultations. If you haven't received a message or need the link resending please do get in touch with the school office.

Thank you for your continued support

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Friday 12th March 2021

Dear Parents and Carers

It has been a really good week in school. The children have been absolutely fantastic at working with their teachers and also supporting one another over the last week. Our attendance for this week is 99% which is great and we are very grateful for the way that parents and carers have been so supportive at this transitional time.

To help us further, please can we ask that parents and carers are as punctual as possible for picking up and dropping off. Times are staggered to enable us to transition children into school and avoid bubbles using corridors and shared spaces at the same time.

Parent Consultations

Feedback for booking Year 3 and Year 5 consultations has been very positive and our new system seems to be working well. Next week we will be communicating with parents in Nursery, Reception, Year 1, Year 2, Year 4 and Year 6 so that they can book appointments for parent consultations that will be taking place on Wednesday 14th April and Thursday 15th April.

LFD Testing

Around 1 in 3 people with coronavirus do not have symptoms but can still pass it on to others. Regular testing of people without symptoms is therefore important to ensure each Covid-19 case is found as quickly and easily as possible. Staff in school access LFD tests for Covid-19 and anyone who lives with primary aged children can also access these tests (please note that primary aged children are not being tested at this time). Information about these tests can be accessed on the school website under COVID and School.

Thank you for your continued support

We look forward to seeing you next week

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Friday 5th March 2021

Dear Parents and Carers

Everyone at school is really looking forward to opening fully from Monday 8th March. At school we have had our final zoom catch ups of this lockdown period and I have been so impressed with the children and how they have demonstrated such positive attitudes during such a difficult time.

 

If you do have any questions that the overview does not address (see below - also sent by email), please do contact school on 01765 602355 and we will do our best to support you.

As we return to school we would really appreciate parents and carers support with the following:

  • Please wear face coverings when on the school site unless you have an exemption.
  • Please arrive at school only at the allocated times to help keep the number of adults on the school premises manageable.
  • Please follow the arrows, practise social distancing at all times and leave the premises as soon as possible after dropping off or picking up children.

We are very excited about being back together and look forward to seeing everyone in our school family next week.

Parent Consultations

We are planning virtual consultations for parents and carers in Year 3 and Year 5 to take place in the last week of this half term Tuesday 23rd March - Thursday 25th March. Consultations for parents of children in the Early Years, Key Stage 1 and Years 4 and 6 will take place in the first week after Easter. We will communicate as soon as we can about the timings and systems to be used for booking appointments.

Thank you for your continued support

We look forward to seeing you next week

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Wednesday 3rd March 2021

Dear Parents and Carers

Everyone at school is really looking forward to opening fully from Monday 8th March.

The following link is for updated information about the actions being taken to support everyone at school.

Overview of Risk Assessment Measures 2021

It includes times for drop offs and pick-ups and key information about the way that the school is working to minimise risk. We would be grateful if all parents would take the time to read through this information to remind themselves of actions and expectations necessary to protect all members of our school family.

If you do have any questions or queries that the overview does not address, please do contact school on 01765 602355 and we will do our best to support.

As we return to school we would really appreciate parents and carers support with the following:

  • Please wear face coverings when on the school site unless you have an exemption.
  • Please arrive at school only at the allocated times to help keep the number of adults on the school premises manageable.
  • Please follow the arrows, practise social distancing at all times and leave the premises as soon as possible after dropping off or picking up children.

We are very excited about being back together and look forward to seeing everyone in our school family next week.

Thank you for your on-going support.

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 12th February 2021

Dear Parents and Carers

I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks to everyone in our school family for their support and encouragement over the last half term. At school we really have appreciated the wonderful way that the vast majority of our parents and carers have helped the children access their remote learning on a daily basis and have kept children going!

Engagement

Each day staff have kept a register of pupil attendance, whether that be in school or at Zoom sessions, and they have maintained a record of how children have engaged with their daily work. We have been so impressed with the way that children across the school have shown such a positive attitude to their learning and have demonstrated increased independence and resilience during these challenging times. Our tracking shows that 88% of children have engaged more than 90% of the time and an impressive 65% of children had 100% engagement!

Spring - first half term engagement

Year 6 engagement 96.1%

Year 5 engagement 94.8%

Year 4 engagement 90%

Year 3 engagement 93.5%

Year 2 engagement 92.4%

Year 1 engagement 92.5%

Thank you to everyone in our school family. We do hope that you are able to have a well-deserved rest over the half-term break.

Returning to school

After half term, in many of the classes, teachers will be in school to check on learning, provide some face to face teaching and hopefully begin preparing for the full return of all children.

At school we are still very hopeful that the government will announce that schools will be fully open on 8th March.

Have a great half term.

Kind regards

Steven Holmes
Headteacher

Friday 5th February 2021

Dear Parents and Carers

As you will notice from our newsletter, despite lockdown, the children at Cathedral School have been busy learning, exploring, making and expressing themselves.

We are so impressed with their wonderful attitudes and continued hard work, both a school and at home.

Lateral Flow Testing

Lateral Flow Tests are now being used regularly by staff in primary schools so that positive cases of coronavirus in people who may be asymptomatic can be identified. The science currently shows that 1 in 3 people infected with COVID 19 may not display symptoms.

The Department for Education do not have plans at this time for the regular testing of primary school children but we will inform you if this ever changes in the future.
We are pleased that we are now able to access rapid testing for staff as this is helping us to keep school as safe as possible for everyone and minimise risk. We do hope that this will provide our school family with some reassurance, as it will minimise the chance of asymptomatic staff attending school.

If a member of staff does receive a positive result from a Lateral Flow Test, then we will ensure that this is confirmed with a PCR test. As I am sure you will understand the safety of everyone in our school family is our highest priority and therefore in the instance where a Lateral Flow Test is positive we would temporarily close any affected bubbles. If the PCR test is positive, in line with guidance, there would be the need to isolate for 10 days from contact; however, if it is negative the bubble would be able to return to school.

Start and End of School

Please can we remind parents and carers who have children currently attending school that the start of lessons is at 8.45am and school ends at 3.15pm. We would be grateful if families can try to be prompt and on time to help ensure smooth transitions in and out of school. Can we also remind parents and carers that they should leave the premises immediately after picking up and dropping off.

Chromebooks

As we have received some new devices from the DFE into school we do now have a limited number of Chromebooks that we can loan out from next week. If your family has a need and would like to be considered please do email admin@riponcathedral.n-yorks.sch.uk and we will be in contact.

Have a lovely weekend.

Kind regards

Steve Holmes
Headteacher

Friday 29th January 2021

Dear Parents and Carers

I hope you are well. As you can see from our newsletter it has been another full week!

School fully reopening

I am sure that you will have seen the news that the government is on track for everyone in the first four most vulnerable groups to have received their vaccination by 15th February. This group will then develop immunity over the next three weeks so that by 8th March the government can consider the potential full re-opening of schools. We have been told that students, carers and parents will be given at least two weeks notice to prepare for the return to face to face education and I know that all the staff in school are very hopeful that it will be at the earliest opportunity.

Cancelling our planned training day

Friday 12th February 2021 was planned in the school calendar as a training day. We would have used this day to support staff development and offer parent consultations. However, as the pandemic has obviously had an impact on how we can operate, we have decided to move this training day to the summer term and we will notify you of the date when it has been agreed with governors. Children will continue to receive remote learning and there will be provision for critical worker families on Friday 12th February before breaking up for half-term.

Engagement with learning

We are aware that the novelty of remote learning doesn't last long and the daily challenge of ensuring that children keep up with their studies isn't easy. Our remote learning registers show that high proportions of children are engaging with their learning and we are very grateful for the way that parents have supported their children and also the school. If you are finding things difficult do contact your child's class teacher. One of the ways we can help is through the Zoom tutor groups as we can talk with the children about their work and offer direct support; therefore, attendance at these sessions is very important.

Chromebooks

As we have received some new devices from the DFE into school we do now have a limited number of Chromebooks that we can loan out from next week. If your family has a need and would like to be considered please do email admin@riponcathedral.n-yorks.sch.uk and we will be in contact.

Have a lovely weekend.

Kind regards

Steve Holmes
Headteacher

Friday 22nd January 2021

Dear Parents and Carers

I do hope you are well and coping with the challenges that a National Lockdown brings.

Remote Learning

The highlight of my week is the Zoom catch up and worship sessions on Thursdays and Fridays with classes across the school. It is really wonderful to see all the children and hear about the fabulous work that they have been doing. Thank you to parents and carers for the amazing support that is being given to the children and the school at this difficult time. It is really great that we are able to still have time when we can come together and celebrate our achievements as a school family!

As a school we are working hard to ensure that our remote learning offer is flexible and in line with the recent guidance from OFSTED ‘What’s Working Well’.

Our Remote Learning Plan has also recently been updated and can be found on our school website via the following link:

Remote Learning Plan January 2021

Staff at school fully understand that the challenges at this time for families can be varied and complex. If you need support, reassurance or just want to say thanks, please do contact class teachers via email.

Further advice and general support can be accessed on the following blog:

The School Run Home School Worries

Mrs McCormick

Congratulations to Mrs McCormick who last week was appointed as the new headteacher at Kirkby and Great Broughton Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School. She will be starting in her new role after Easter and although we will be very sad to say goodbye to Mrs McCormick, we are really pleased for her as she moves on to a new exciting opportunity in her career.

Mrs McCormick is a really valued member of our leadership team and a very talented teacher. I am sure that Kirkby and Great Broughton School will be very pleased that they will be getting such a dedicated, committed, caring and enthusiastic new Headteacher.

The governors and myself are already in the process of looking at teaching in Year 3 for the summer term to ensure that the children continue to receive high quality provision.

Have a good weekend

Kind regards

Steve Holmes
Headteacher

Wednesday 20th January 2021

Dear Parents and carers

I am sending this message after discussing the coronavirus increases in our local schools with other Headteachers. We are collectively worried about the current situation. Presently at Cathedral School we have no confirmed cases, however this is not the situation in other schools locally.

National Lockdown

The government are sharing

  • This is a National Lockdown
  • COVID 19 is spreading fast
  • Do not leave your home unless necessary
  • 1 in 3 people who have the virus have no symptoms so could be spreading it without knowing

An ongoing challenge for schools is ensuring that there is sufficient staffing in school for critical workers and also at home to support home learning. As the variant is spreading, all schools are encountering difficulties. Staffing at school is already stretched in order to ensure support for critical workers and remote learning and we are aware that if there are cases of infection this would have a significant impact on what we can provide. We do recognise it is a very difficult time for many and appreciate all that everyone is doing.

Please do continue to take this situation seriously as we are worried on a daily basis for staff and children in school and families at home.

Thank you to all our critical workers – including all the school staff. Everyone is very committed to supporting our key workers and children who have specific needs; however we do wish to reiterate that if children can be at home, at this time of lockdown, this is the safest place for them.

We do ask that all parents and carers accessing onsite provision consider the following:

  • Is a critical worker place absolutely necessary?
  • Are you working at home?
  • Are you aware that if it is not essential you could be taking the place of somebody who has no option?
  • Is your work critical to the coronavirus response?
  • Onsite provision should only be accessed if you a critical worker or your child has been invited into school for specific support; otherwise, your child should be at home

We do fully understand that remote learning can be a challenge and ask that if you have any concerns or need support do let your child’s class teacher know and we will endeavour to help where we can.

Thank you for your continued support at this challenging time.

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Tuesday 19th January 2021

Despite all the challenges the children had lots of fun in the snow last week

Thank you for all your wonderful pictures

Friday 15th January 2021

Dear Parents and Carers

I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to staff who work and live in Ripon as they have been a really vital part of our school team this week. Local staff have ensured that school has remained open to provide support for critical workers' children despite the snow and ice. We are very blessed at Cathedral School to have a very committed and caring team.

We know that families have a wide range of competing priorities on their time and that home learning is often one amongst many. We are always very grateful for the effort that is made by parents and carers in helping children to start, access and complete their learning.

It is our intention that our approach to remote learning should hopefully give some flexibility to enable families to manage time effectively with many aspects that children can complete independently; however, If you do have any issues or difficulties please do email your child's teacher or school and we will continue to do our best to support.

A reminder of the expectations around daily work from the government:

The remote education provided should be equivalent in length to the core teaching pupils would receive in school and will include both recorded or live direct teaching time, and time for pupils to complete tasks and assignments independently. The amount of remote education provided should be, as a minimum: :

  • Key Stage 1: 3 hours a day on average across the cohort, with less for younger children
  • Key Stage 2: 4 hours a day

Thank you for all your continued support.

I hope you have a lovely weekend

Kind regards

Steve Holmes
Headteacher

Monday 11th January 2021 

Dear Parents and Carers 

I do hope that you had a good weekend and your children enjoyed the snow! 

Attendance and Absence 

Although many children are remote learning and not physically at school, we do have to provide daily information to the Department for Education about all children.  

Please can you inform school by calling 01765 602355 (during normal school hours) or emailing admin@riponcathedral.n-yorks.sch.uk in any of the following circumstances: 

  • Your child/family are isolating due to a potential case of COVID (awaiting test result)  
  • Your child/family are isolating due to a confirmed case of COVID 
  • Your child has a confirmed case of COVID 
  • Your child is ill (with the details of the illness) and therefore will be unable to access remote learning (this can also be emailed directly to the class teacher) 

It may be that a member of school staff will contact families to obtain more information (particularly in the case of a positive COVID outcome), so please do ensure that we have up to date contact details. Please also be aware that as many class teachers may be using their personal mobiles to phone parents the calls may come up as private or no caller ID.  

Critical Workers 

Guidance released at the end of the last week by the Department for Education states “Parents and carers who are critical workers should keep their children at home if they can." We are doing our best to meet the varied needs of our families, however If you no longer need any sessions please do let us know as some days are fully booked for particular bubbles. 

Remote Learning 

It is really good to see how many children are accessing remote learning. Keep up the great work! Updated guidance regarding the amount of education to be provided states 

  • Children in Key Stage 1: 3 hours a day on average across the cohort , with less for younger children 
  • Key Stage 2: 4 hours a day 

Staff are monitoring the work that children are completing and providing regular feedback and support through the tutor groups. If we identify that children are not accessing learning, staff will be in contact to see if there is anything we can do to support the family.  

Should your child not be able to access a Zoom session or work (eg. appointment etc.), we would be grateful if you could let your child’s classteacher know in advance. If there are any concerns regarding remote learning, do share these with your child’s teacher and they will do their best to provide appropriate support.  

Thank you for your support and understanding at this time. 

Keep safe and look after yourselves 

Kind regards 

Steven Holmes 

Headteacher 

Friday 8th January 2021

Dear Parents and Carers 

I would like to take the opportunity to thank the staff at school who have shown astonishing commitment and dedication this week. From a situation of preparing for opening, they have quickly implemented our plans for home learning and have been so positive and accommodating in their approach.

I would like to also thank all those parents who have been so very supportive and understanding over the last week and have shown such care for everyone in our school community. It is at times like these that we do need to help one another.

I am however concerned with reports that some parents are taking advantage of the goodwill of the school and sending children in when they don’t need to. The number of COVID cases in our area is the highest it has ever been and we do need to consider the needs of everybody, particularly the staff caring for the children. Whilst COVID is very mild in children with potentially no symptoms, there are staff in school who could be very ill, if infected. We do not use PPE when working with the children and social distancing is difficult, particularly with younger pupils. Therefore I do ask that people show respect and due regard for staff and children and consider whether they do need to access provision.

As a school we are doing our best to be as accommodating as possible, particularly for critical workers and children who have specific needs, meaning they need to access provision. However, as a school we do continue to reserve the right to refuse the offer of provision where it is not genuinely needed.

There have been some minor teething problems with remote learning, but I know that the teachers have been really impressed with how children have accessed sessions and work. We do ask that when children are on Zoom that they ensure that their name/family name is used rather than generic terms such as ipad. This means that staff can identify who is in the waiting room. Without an appropriate name, staff may not allow access to the online session.

Thank you for all your continued support.

I hope you have a lovely weekend in the snow!

Kind regards

Steve Holmes
Headteacher

Thursday 7th January 2021

Dear Nursery Parents and Carers 

Following the lockdown announcement, we took the decision to only open Nursery to vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. This has helped the school to gain an understanding of the level of essential provision and staffing that is needed across the early years unit - both in Reception and Nursery. 

We have now looked carefully at the potential reorganisation of staffing and the needs of our community to help us to work out how we can offer provision as safely as possible for parents and carers in our Nursery class. 

In order to protect both children and staff we have taken the decision to split Nursery into two bubble groups and have increased staffing accordingly.  

As from Tuesday 12th January, all parents and carers will be able to access provision in line with their allocated times prior to lockdown. Staff will be contacting parents and carers on Friday 8th January to discuss intentions regarding attendance so that they can appropriately organise groupings. From 12th January parents will no longer need to book provision (critical workers should book provision for Monday 11th January). 

I do hope that you appreciate that the school has tried its best to respond promptly to the changes imposed upon us at very short notice and is prioritising the safety of children and staff. 

Many thanks for your continued support. 

Kind regards 

Steven Holmes 

Wednesday 6th January 2021

Dear Parents and Carers

We are now “officially” in a lockdown situation as numbers of covid cases continue to rise. At school we are very mindful of the difficulties our school family may be encountering and do want to be as supportive as we can to all in our community. Please do keep in contact with your child’s class teacher and also do call school during normal hours if you need any specific support that you feel that we may be able to help with.

Nursery Update

The announcement from the Prime Minister about the continuing provision for early years was very poorly communicated and guidance has been slow to be updated. The contingency framework does state “school-based nurseries in primary schools have discretion to follow arrangements for the primary school.” At a national meeting last night that I attended (virtually) with schools across the country, the vast majority stated that their school nurseries were open to vulnerable pupils and children of critical workers only. This was primarily due to limitations with staffing and to ensure the safety of children and staff. If you are a nursery parent who considers themselves as a critical worker we do ask that you email details of your status to admin@riponcathedral.n-yorks.sch.uk.

I am still awaiting further information from the DFE and I have been in contact with the Local Authority about how we should proceed. As a school we are looking at potential ways that we can safely develop our provision, considering the limitations with current staffing and safe working practices within an environment where children are unable to socially distance. I will update you again as soon as I am able.

Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time.

Remote Learning

I have had some good feedback about the first sessions with online learning today and I hope your children managed to gain access to Zoom. As a school we do not want children to be staring at a screen all day and this is the reason that there is time and space between face to face sessions to allow children the chance to focus on their work. If children are having any difficulties these can be discussed in tutor group sessions in the afternoon. If you do have any specific concerns please do email your child’s classteacher and they will do their best to offer appropriate support.

Technology Support

At school we are preparing our Chromebooks so that they can be loaned out to families. These devices have Google Classroom and Zoom installed so that they support our approach to remote learning.

Please be aware we have a very limited number of devices that we can loan out, therefore we would want them to be with those who have the greatest need. If you do feel you need a Chromebook please email admin@riponcathedral.n-yorks.sch.uk and we will consider all requests and then allocate devices on Friday morning. Families borrowing Chromebooks will need to complete a digital loan agreement.

Thank you for you continued support

Look after yourselves and keep safe

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Tuesday 5th January 2021

Dear Parents and Carers

As you can imagine last night was difficult for all at school. We did our best to communicate with parents, however the school’s email and text system ‘Eduspot’ went down, meaning it was impossible to directly contact parents and carers. We did post information on our school website and Facebook page so I do hope these were shared. Please do understand that we only received the notification about closure the same time as everyone else and did our best to respond promptly.

Initial guidance regarding the situation was sent to school at 11.00pm last night so we will be working through this information to ensure that we are fully complying with expectations.

Critical Worker and Vulnerable Pupils Provision

As I am sure you are aware we have very limited time to set up this provision and evaluate need in relation to our school community. All teachers will be working on remote learning, therefore provision in school will be managed by teaching assistants, following the same learning that children will be doing at home.

If you believe you are a critical worker and require this service please do email admin@riponcathedral.n-yorks.sch.uk today with suitable evidence of your critical worker status (a list of critical worker categories has been included with this email – see attached). We do ask that parents and carers use provision sensibly and considerately. Children (particularly in Key Stage 2) should be able to access most aspects of their remote learning independently, therefore where critical workers are working from home, and you are able to, we do ask that you avoid using this provision.

Mrs Rich has set up a booking system for critical worker provision which will be live from this afternoon via the usual booking site. Further information will be sent later today to parents to outline how to book your child into provision. As there are limitations with staffing and for health and safety reasons places are limited. If children are not booked in advance they will not be able to attend.

The school is required to offer provision for vulnerable pupils. We will be in touch during this week with families who we feel will benefit from this support.

Nursery Provision

We are still seeking guidance with regards Nursery Provision and the announcement about childcare provision. We have been informed at this early stage, that where nurseries are attached to primary schools, leaders will have discretion to determine the level of provision they are able to make. Presently we are asking that only critical worker children are sent into Nursery. As soon as we have full clarification we will inform parents and carers.

Out of school provision

We are still intending to run before and after school care provision. After school provision will only run until 5pm. As a school we will monitor how this service is being used and whether it is viable during this period of lockdown. If there are changes to this provision we will ensure that parents and carers are notified.

Remote learning

Teachers will be focused on the organisation and delivery of remote learning. Children will receive interaction in the morning with their child’s teacher to provide some teaching and instruction for the day. In the afternoon, tutor group sessions with staff will provide feedback, support and encouragement.

In line with our remote learning plan, learning will be on Google Classroom, so please do ensure that your child can access their class area. We have encountered some difficulties when using Google Classroom for video calls, therefore staff will be also using Zoom to provide support. Codes needed to access these sessions will be emailed and posted on Google Classroom class pages.

We did ask all parents to sign up to the remote learning plan in the autumn, if you haven’t yet informed your teacher that you give consent in line with the agreement that has been sent to you, please do email your child’s class teacher.

If you need support or hard copy materials, please do communicate with your child’s class teacher and we will do our best to accommodate your needs, as we are able to provide some materials that can be picked up from the entrance area.

The updated guidance received last night gives the following expectations with regards Remote Learning:

Requirement schools should:

School Response

·         set assignments so that pupils have meaningful and ambitious work each day in a number of different subjects

Children will receive daily work in core (English and mathematics) and foundation subjects.

·         set work that is of equivalent length to the core teaching pupils would receive in school, and as a minimum:

primary: 3 hours a day, on average, across the school cohort

It is expected that children will complete work every day in line with a normal school day

The work will be outlined on Google Classroom and via video sessions

·         provide frequent, clear explanations of new content, delivered by a teacher or through high-quality curriculum resources or videos

 

Daily tutor groups will allow staff to provide support. We will also use resources that provide appropriate instruction and guide children through their learning

·         have systems for checking, at least weekly, whether pupils are engaging with their work, and inform parents immediately where engagement is a concern

·         gauge how well pupils are progressing through the curriculum using questions and other suitable tasks, and provide feedback, at least weekly, using digitally facilitated or whole-class feedback where appropriate

·         enable teachers to adjust the pace or difficulty of what is being taught in response to questions or assessments, including, where necessary, revising material or simplifying explanations to ensure pupils’ understanding

 

Daily tutor groups will help us to assess children – review their learning and also give them encouragement and feedback.

We do know that families may encounter challenges with technology at home to enable children to access learning. If you do have any difficulties please do let us know and we will do our best to support each individual circumstance. Please also do understand that the school does have a duty to follow up where there is limited engagement with remote learning so that we can ensure that children continue to make progress.

Free School Meals

Mrs Rich is currently seeking clarification on provision for children who are entitled to Free School Meals and how this can be organised. She will update you later in the week.

Finally, please do be patient with us. I am very blessed to have a staff who are very committed, who want to do the best for your children and I can assure they are working really hard in difficult circumstances. Many staff do have children themselves who they are having to provide for as well as fulfilling their duties with regards to work.

As always we will endeavour to do the absolute best that we can and thank you for your ongoing support and understanding.

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 18th December

Dear Parents and Carers

It has been a really enjoyable last week, full of many happy moments and also happy children who are really looking forward to Christmas.

Track and Trace

After the end of the term the school is still required to notify Public Health England about positive COVID19 cases up until Thursday 24th December. If a member of our school family tests positive within this period (Saturday 19th December - Thursday 24th December), please do email admin@riponcathedral.n-yorks.sch.uk as soon as possible. I will be monitoring this email account and will make contact with families at an appropriate time following receipt of any notification.

Thank you

As we come to the end of a year that has truly been like no other, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff at Ripon Cathedral School. We are very lucky to have such a hard working committed team who put the children at the heart of all that they do.

I would also like to say thank you to everyone in our school family, who have supported the children and the school during this extraordinary year. I do hope you have a restful, peaceful Christmas break and enjoy family time over the festive period.

Wishing you all a merry Christmas and a better, blessed 2021.

Kindest regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 11th December

The season of Advent has been quite different this year, however staff in school are ensuring that Christmas is still suitably celebrated. Our Nativity will be released next week and I do hope you will join with everyone in school when we watch the Year 2's new movie on Thursday 17th December at 11am.

End of term

You may have seen in the press that on Wednesday afternoon, the Department For Education suggested that schools may move one of their training days from the spring or summer term to the last Friday of this term (Friday 18th December). This is to reduce the monitoring period for track and trace. As a school, we feel it is unfair on parents and cares to make this change at such short notice. Therefore, the school will be open on Friday 18th December and will reopen after Christmas on Tuesday 5th January 2020. Thank you for your understanding.

Track and Trace

After the end of the term the school is still required to notify Public Health England about positive COVID19 cases up until Thursday 24th December. If a member of our school family tests positive within this period (Saturday 19th December - Thursday 24th December), please do email admin@riponcathedral.n-yorks.sch.uk as soon as possible. I will be monitoring this email account and will make contact with families at an appropriate time following receipt of any notification.

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 4th December 

This week we have started on our Nativity which will be different this year, but I am sure will still be uplifting and a very important part of the school's Christmas preparations. Nativity, A Message of Hope, will be released exclusively on the school's YouTube Channel on Thursday 17th December at 11am. Please do add it to your calendars!

Can I offer a huge thank you to parents and carers for their incredible generosity. The donations for the Friends' hampers was very impressive! Thank you for your continued support, I would encourage everyone to buy some raffle tickets to be in with a chance of winning one of the many fabulous prizes. (information below in the Friends' section of the newsletter)

Bad Weather

As we head into the winter months we do ask that children come to school suitably equipped for the weather. Please do ensure that all clothing is named so that we are able to return lost items.

In the event of bad weather the school always does its best to stay open, however it is worth being aware of the following:

  • The decision regarding closure for bad weather needs to take account of local conditions as well as conditions in places that staff travel from as we need to ensure that suitable staffing is in place to open safely.
  • The school will notify parents and carers about a school closure or late opening via the school's texting service. Please be aware that we will endeavour to update you as soon as possible, however it can take time to draw together intel about conditions from across the area.
  • If it necessary to close the school during the day we will notify parents and carers by text.
  • Please do avoid calling school to ask if we are open or closed as this can block communication channels.
  • In the event of snow do send children with wellington boots, hats and gloves.

Christmas Cards and Gifts

As you know we are asking that Christmas cards are put into a box in classrooms so that they can be quarantined. The last day for cards to be brought in is Monday 14th December. We are also discouraging the giving of gifts due to the current situation. The most important gift this year, as many will agree, is a COVID free Christmas! Thank you for your understanding.

Thank you for your ongoing support

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 27th November

It has been lovely to welcome our Year 3 children back to school this week. We really missed them and it is so good to have everyone back in school again. During their time on remote learning I did meet daily with the class for worship and these sessions did help to remind us all how important community and interaction is at this time.

It is pleasing to see that the number of cases of COVID has significantly dropped in our area to now be below the national average. Next week we return to a tiered system with renewed guidance and expectations. In school, little will change and we will maintain systems that we have in place to help protect everyone in our school family.

We do ask that parents continue to wear face coverings whilst on the school site and ensure that they leave the premises as soon as they have picked up or dropped off their child. Can we please also remind parents that they should inform the class teacher if anyone different will be collecting their child.

Thank you for your ongoing support

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 20th November

It has been another busy week in school. I have enjoyed this week seeing children's fabulous odd socks and hearing their thoughts about how we should treat one another and tackle bullying.

Remote Learning

As you know this week we have had our first class bubble on isolation who have accessed remote learning.

The government does give guidance around what schools must do in these circumstances and I have shared the ways that we are meeting requirements (which is detailed in our remote learning plan that has been included in previous newsletters).

  • Schools should provide around 4 hours of work per day in line with the work that would have been completed in school - this work is being provided via Google Classroom.
  • Schools should check in on learning on a daily basis to support children and provide feedback. Where a child/class needs to isolate we are running daily class sessions .(where relevant) and tutor groups to ensure that we provide differentiated support.
  • Schools should check and monitor engagement of all children. The tutor groups support us in interacting with children and work should be submitted on Google Classroom. We do also text and call parents to check on learning and offer support.

Isolating

We have had a few queries regarding isolation. It is a legal requirement for those who have been in contact with a positive case to isolate.

At school we are very mindful of the impact the requirement to isolate can have on families. As a school, we have had disruption when staff's children and families members have had to isolate and at times it has been a challenge to manage teaching. So we do understand how difficult it can be to co-ordinate and adhere to the government's guidance.

Wherever we can support families, please do let us know.

The following are the requirements of the government for isolation: 

  • Stay at home for 14 days after the last contact. This is because you may have been exposed to the virus and could pass it on to others, even if you don’t have symptoms. Do not leave your home and only exercise within your home, garden or private outdoor space.
  • If you are isolating because someone in your house has had a positive test result but does not have symptoms, your 14-day period starts from the day their test was taken.
  • If for any reason you have a negative test result during your 14-day isolation period, this does not mean you can stop isolating. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you could still pass the infection on to others. Stay at home for the full 14 days to avoid putting others at risk.
  • If you are told to isolate, you have a legal duty to self-isolate. Failure to comply may result in a fine, starting from £1,000. Parents or guardians are legally responsible for ensuring that anyone under 18 self-isolates if they test positive for COVID-19.

Thank you for taking time to read through these reminders. Have a lovely weekend - 12 days of lockdown to go!

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 13th November

Dear Parents and Carers

An email was sent to all families to let you know that we have a confirmed case of COVID in one of our bubbles. The parents of the children in that bubble have been notified and the children have been sent home to isolate.

I am sure that many parents have concerns about the case. Can I take this opportunity to assure you that we do have systems in place to ensure that bubbles do not mix inside school and at break times, therefore only children in the bubble where there has been a confirmed case need to isolate.

As you will know we do have regular cleaning, sanitising and hand washing which are measures to help ensure that the chance of passing on the virus is as low as possible and as children do not have shared areas that they use and occupy, the risk is effectively managed.

Today's news does remind us that we all need to ensure that we follow the guidance to protect one another. On the playground, please do continue to social distance and ensure that masks are worn. Can we also remind parents that they should leave the premises immediately after picking up and dropping off.

The increasing number of confirmed cases in the Harrogate area does mean that everyone needs to take the measures seriously. I would like to reassure you that the school will continue to work to minimise risk and protect everyone in its family.

If you do have any concerns or questions please do speak to me or email on admin@riponcathedral.n-yorks.sch.uk

Many thanks for your ongoing support

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 6th November 

Dear Parents and Carers

The children have settled back into the new half term brilliantly and they are enjoying the opportunities that school can offer.

I'd like to offer a big thank you to parents and carers for the way that you have responded to the request to wear face coverings. I am sure you can appreciate at this time of lockdown that we all need to take a role in protecting one another. In school, staff are also now wearing face coverings in corridors and when they are near children who are not in their allocated bubble.

Please do continue to let us know on a daily basis regarding any health concerns or absences. Do be aware that children only need to have one of the reported symptoms to potentially have COVID and as children's symptoms can be mild, we do ask that you seek appropriate advice from NHS 111 even when symptoms might be a simple cold.

Attendance this week has been excellent and we do thank you for all your ongoing support and encouragement at this time.

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Tuesday 3rd November

Dear Parents and Carers,

I do hope that you had a restful and enjoyable half term break. It has been great to welcome children back to school.

As you will be aware, it was confirmed in Parliament yesterday that the country will be entering into a second lockdown from Thursday 5th November. We are very pleased that children will be able to remain at school throughout the lockdown, as we believe this is the best place for them to continue their education.

The number of cases of coronavirus nationally and in our region continues to increase, although it is good to know that for primary aged children cases are still very low and symptoms are mild.

We do appreciate the support that we have had from everyone in our school family over the last half term and as we move into the winter months and a lockdown situation we would like to ask for your assistance in the following ways:

  • From Wednesday 4th November we are asking that ALL parents and carers wear a face covering on school premises, including when dropping off and picking up on the playground. Children and adults with an exemption do not need to wear a face covering.
  • Please ensure that you maintain a distance of 2 metres from adults when on the school site and leave the premises as soon as you have dropped off or picked up your child/children.
  • If you wish to communicate with your child’s class teacher, please do this via email or by contacting the school office. Please do avoid talking to staff at drop off and pick up times.

Across the school there are children who are coming in at earlier agreed times to access additional teaching sessions. These are part of the way that the school is using its ‘catch up’ funding to support pupils’ learning. We are aware of the difficulties that the staggered starts and timings can impact on families with more than one child and wherever possible we will try to find solutions to support families with morning drop-offs. If you have any issues or concerns please do email your child’s teacher. There is supervision on the playground from 8.30am each morning and I have been very impressed with the way that children in our Key Stage 2 classes come into school and line up each day.

We have been informed that the crossing patrol officer is not available this week so please do remind children about the importance of road safety.

If you do have any questions, please do get in touch with your child’s class teacher (via email) the office or myself.

Thank you again for your continued support.

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 16th October

Dear Parents and Carers

As we reflect back on the last half term, it is great to see how well the children have adapted to our new normal and the great progress that many children have made since our early baseline assessments were completed. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in our school family for their 'can do' attitude and the way that they have ensured that the children come first.

As I am sure you are aware, we have continued to have a high focus on the core subjects of English and mathematics ensuring that we consolidate and embed learning. It has, however, been lovely to have a day focussing on our community and PSHE and I have really enjoyed seeing how much the children enjoyed the Harvest Festival, creative activities and even sports tournaments. At Cathedral School we are all committed to ensuring that the children continue to experience a broad and rich curriculum.

Thank you for your continued support and I hope you have a great half-term break.

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 9th October

Dear Parents and Carers

We have had another full week at school, including COVID safe educational visits! It was so lovely to see Year 3 return from Murton Park with big smiles, enthused about their learning.

Morning and end of day routines are working really well. Can we take this opportunity to remind parents and carers that wherever possible, please limit the number of people accompanying children at drop off and pick ups and avoid bringing additional siblings (eg from secondary schools) onto the premises.

If you do have any concerns or queries, I am often available on the playground should you wish to speak to me.

Community Day - Thursday 22nd October

Although it is difficult to interact directly with our local community, we do feel it is hugely important for our children to know who they are and the community within which they belong. As part of our PSHE work we will be having a school community day on Thursday 22nd October. This will include our virtual Harvest Festival which will be led as always by Year 4.

If you have any ideas about ways in which you, as a valuable member of our school family, can contribute - eg Zoom chat with a class etc, please do let us know by emailing admin@riponcathedral.n-yorks.sch.uk.

Autumn Reports

We will be issuing autumn reports to families on Thursday 15th October. There will be opportunity given in the final week of this half term, for parents to request a phone consultation with the child's class teacher.

Thank you for your continued support.

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 2nd October

Dear Parents and Carers

Firstly a huge thank you. Our attendance has been great this week. Yesterday 98% of children were in attendance which is fantastic and well above the local and national averages.

COVID Symptoms

If your child does have symptoms that may be COVID related we do ask that children are not sent to school. We really do appreciate how difficult it can be to evaluate whether symptoms are merely a cold or COVID related. It is important to be aware that children may only display one or two of the symptoms as described by the NHS (see https://riponcathedralschool.org.uk/Coronavirus-Guidance/ for more details); children do not have to be showing all symptoms in order to be considered as potentially having COVID.

At school we do monitor children and may need to call parents and carers to discuss any concerns that we may have. It may be necessary to send a child/children home and in these instances we ask that the child's symptoms are monitored and if necessary a test is accessed or advice from NHS 111 is sought. I am sure you will understand that the health and well being of all children and staff within our school has to be our top priority.

The children have settled well and over the last week we have carried out well-being surveys so that the children can tell us how they are feeling about the lockdown and life back at school. We are also continuing to assess children's attainment and identify any gaps in learning. Teachers will provide a simple report for parents and carers before half term and there will be opportunity for parents to access phone consultations. We will provide more details about these arrangements when we issue reports.

Thank you for your continued support.

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Friday 25th September

Dear Parents and Carers

We have had a really good week at school, despite the rain and the on-going concerns around the virus. In our school bubble we are getting on and enjoying our learning.

Start and End of Day Routines

Thank you to all parents and carers who have really helped ensure that transitions are smooth and organised. Please can we request that wherever possible families follow the arrows and stay together. In the mornings, please can we ask that parents in Key Stage 1 avoid turning up too early so that there is no congestion outside the classrooms. Please use the painted foot prints to help with social distancing.

Informing School About Absences

Another thank you to parents and carers for the way that they have kept us informed about absences, or sought advice regarding the best course of action when children develop specific symptoms. Please do let us know about the circumstances of your children and we will do our best to support you and them.

Remote Learning and Google Classroom

Last week we sent out the Remote Education Plan. We have considered feedback we have received in the event of a bubble closure and staff are supporting children to learn how to access Google Classroom. This is so that they can use the online platform to access and submit work as well as participating in online video sessions.

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 18th September

Dear Parents and Carers

Thank you for your continued support and all the help given to the children as they become accustomed to our 'new normal.' It has been really pleasing to see the positive attitudes being displayed across all classes. The children always amaze me by how quickly they adapt to new situations and settle into new routines and we are pleased that our attendance continues to be above the national average.

Testing times

Like yourselves we are frustrated that the government's coronavirus testing service is not operating effectively which is having a profound impact on schools across the country. The government have recently reviewed systems for advising schools, in the event of an outbreak and we are hopeful that the situation will improve quickly. However, if you do need advice regarding personal circumstances please do contact the school or NHS 111. Further guidance and links to key government sites can be found on our school website by following the link below:

https://riponcathedralschool.org.uk/Coronavirus-Guidance/

Remote learning

All schools need to have a clear plan in place by the end of September for remote education. This can be quite complex, as the school needs to consider how it will respond in different circumstances and the best ways that quality learning can be maintained for children in school and those isolating at home.

We have put together a plan which can be accessed by clicking on the link below, if you have any feedback please do let us know by emailing admin@riponcathedral.n-yorks.sch.uk.

Remote Education Plan September 2020

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 11th September 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

It has been wonderful to welcome families back to school and we really do appreciate the support we have received whilst we have worked to effectively implement systems and guidance to help minimise risk.

Many thanks for your patience and understanding with regards to morning and end of day routines. We do appreciate how parents and carers are following the arrows and using the footprints to help with social distancing. Please do continue to help us by ensuring that you arrive at school at the appropriate time to either drop off or pick up.

Attendance

This week our attendance has been over 97% which is fantastic. The children have really been amazing at settling into their new routines and I have been extremely impressed with their fabulous positive attitudes. Although cases of COVID-19 have increased across the country, it is pleasing to note that confirmed cases for primary aged children continue to be extremely low and we are all hopeful that the school will remain fully open for the foreseeable future.

Children who have potential symptoms

As I am sure you are aware, the school does have to adhere to guidance and take appropriate action when children present with potential symptoms. We follow the recently published action list provided by the Department for Education (link below):

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/915553/Symptomatic_children_action_list_SCHOOLS.pdf

Should a child or adult become unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia), they must be sent home and be advised to follow the guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

We do appreciate a phrase such as ‘a continuous cough’ is open to some interpretation and it may be that we ask parents to collect a child and monitor their symptoms, seeking medical advice from a GP or NHS 111 as appropriate.

The NHS provides the following criteria for a continuous cough:

  • Coughing a lot for more than an hour
  • 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours.

The NHS provides the following criteria for a change to smell and taste:

  • This means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything
  • Things smell or taste different to normal

The NHS provides the following criteria for a temperature:

  • This means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

Where NHS criteria is met, children should be taken for a test. We do fully understand the difficulties that this can present, however as a school we do have to ensure that the safety of children and staff is our highest priority. If symptoms are not deemed in line with NHS criteria, appropriate professional advice should be sought and parents and carers should communicate with school so that the child can return, when appropriate, to their class.

In any situation please do maintain communication with your child’s class teacher, or do call school so that we can work together to support you and your family.

Supporting children’s learning

It is great that the school is full with the ‘buzz of learning’. Teachers are ensuring that our curriculum is being adapted and matched to the needs of our current children. We will be carrying out assessments towards the end of September to help identify gaps and aid us in providing additional support and teaching so that learning is accelerated. We are also working on developing our plans for remote learning, should children need to quarantine or isolate and will communicate these in due course.

If you do have any concerns or queries about your child’s learning please do communicate with your child’s class teacher.

The year ahead

The restrictions that are in place do mean that this academic year will be different to the norm, with some activities not possible, some being adapted and also new potential ways of learning. Thank you for all your on-going support and help. We do appreciate your feedback and I am sure that we will have a good year.

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Thursday 3rd September 2020 - Message form SKID survey Antibody Testing

 
Dear Parents, Staff and Students,

Many thanks for taking part in the sKIDS study of COVID-19 transmission in schools. Your support with this study has been incredibly important in helping us understand how COVID-19 might spread within schools, and this information has helped schools open safely and confidently at the start of this new academic year.

At the end of the summer term, many of you took saliva swabs looking for COVID-19 antibodies. We know you are very keen to have the results of these tests. These saliva swabs are being processed using completely new technology which needs validation tests and quality assurance so that we can provide you with the most accurate results that we can. Once the saliva tests confirmed, we will have several thousand saliva swabs to analyse. We hope to have the results available as soon as is practically possible, but this will take several weeks. Thank you for your understanding.

Once again, we really would like to thank you for your help with the sKIDS study. It has been invaluable, and the results to date have made a huge difference to our understanding of COVID-19 in children and schools.

If we could kindly as for this message to be circulated to the participants of your school this would be very much appreciated.  

Yours gratefully,

The sKIDs Team

Tuesday 1st September 2020

Dear Parents and Carers 

We hope you have had a good break over the summer and enjoyed the sunshine that we have been blessed with.

The staff at school are very excited about welcoming all children back to school from Tuesday 8th September and they are working hard to ensure that measures are in place to help minimise risk.

At the end of the summer term we shared our overview of our risk assessment and arrangements for full opening with you and we have now reviewed these plans alongside the latest government guidance for school opening which was published on 28th August 2020. As a result of this updated guidance we have made some slight changes to our arrangements and have published further information on the website to support all families at this time.

https://riponcathedralschool.org.uk/Wider-Opening/

The link below is the updated overview of our arrangements and risk assessment which includes important information about start and end times and measures that we have put in place to protect children and staff. We will continue to review our arrangements on a weekly basis and we do ask that you do bear with us as we work to refine systems and iron out any difficulties encountered as a result of the changes.

Overview of Risk Assessment and Arrangements for Opening

It is clear that the government’s intention is for primary schools to remain fully open, even in the event of changes in local restrictions and at school we are very hopeful that children will be back for good!

Kind regards

Steven Holmes and all the staff

Monday 13th August 2020

Antibody Testing

I am aware that the results of the antibody tests that were administered in the last week of the summer term have still not been provided. Public Health England have apologised about the delay and have said that there have been complications. They are still hoping to get the results to all staff and families who took part. They were unable to give me a date as to when this will be.

Thanks for your understanding

Friday 17th July 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

This year has been one of the strangest and most challenging in education and I am sure that the impact of coronavirus will linger on for quite a period. However, as we come to a close of this academic year I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to pupils, staff, governors, parents and carers. The support we have received throughout the year has been tremendous.

We have worked on our plans for September 2020 based on the guidance issued by the government. An overview of our risk assessment can be accessed by clicking on the link below. This document provides information about the measures in place, along with timings for school and the answers to frequently asked questions. If there is a change in the national situation and government guidance, plans will be reviewed and communicated accordingly.

Overview of Risk Assessment for September 2020

As I look back on all the updates since September, there has been so much achieved despite the many challenges that we all have faced. Thank you for all the pictures, messages, updates, emails and notes of encouragement that we have received. I know staff have really appreciated the help from everyone in our school family.

This week we said goodbye to our Year 6s. They have been such a wonderful group to have around over the last half term and have made the most of the opportunities given to them in their last few weeks at primary school. We are proud of each individual and wish them all the best as they move onto their new schools.

Thanks to the Friends of the School. As always, come rain or shine, or even global pandemic, they have continued with their sterling work (even online) to help raise funds for the school. THANK YOU!

Have a wonderful, blessed, restful summer break.

Steven Holmes 

Headteacher

Friday 10th July 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

As we approach the end of the year, we are working hard on our plans for full opening from September. We have received a model risk assessment from the authority which we are using and adapting to ensure that guidance is effectively implemented so any risk is minimised. Further information about the measures along with class timings for staggered starts and finishes will be communicated next week.

School Uniform

From September we will be asking all children to wear school uniform. By informing parents now we would expect that all families have the opportunity over the summer to purchase relevant clothing or footwear. Please can we take this opportunity to remind parents that children should wear black shoes to school and not trainers.

A reminder of uniform expectations are below.

Reception Class

Please see main school uniform below. Please note that ties are optional in Reception.

Years 1 6

Boys

  • Bottle green woollen ‘V’ neck jumper or cardigan (logo preferred)
  • School Tie
  • White shirt (sleeves long or short) Grey trousers (long or short) Sensible black shoes
  • Grey or white socks

Girls

  • Bottle green woollen ‘V’ neck jumper or cardigan (logo preferred)
  • School Tie
  • White blouse (sleeves long or short) Grey skirt, trousers (long or short)
  • or pinafore dress Sensible black shoes Grey or white socks or Grey tight

Gifts

A number of parents and carers have asked about sending gifts to staff in school. This is very kind and we really do understand that parents wants to say thank you, however the guidance from the government does mean that we have to avoid bringing anything into school. We are truly appreciative of parents' support, however we do need to adhere to our risk assessment and ensure that we keep our focus on safety. Thank you for your understanding.

End of term

We will be closing for the summer break on Friday 17th July. In the past we have finished at an earlier time, however due to the need for staggered timings pick ups will be at the usual timings communicated for each year group.

This time of year would have been full with many events, such as school productions and celebratory events for our leavers. We are working hard to ensure that our Year 6 children will have some opportunity to have access to some of these experiences and will share these with our wider family through our newsletter next week.

Thank you for your ongoing support

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 3rd July 2020

Dear parents and carers

I hope you are well at this time. We have really enjoyed having our new Year 4 and Year 5 bubbles starting this week. All the children who have been in school have been fabulous and we are very proud of the way that they have been so positive and supportive of each other.

You may have read in the media about the government’s plan for schools from September. Guidance states that ‘circumstances have changed and the improved position means that the balance of risk is now overwhelmingly in favour of children returning to school.’

It is important to remember at this point, that we are still two months away from the start of the autumn term, and we know how quickly things can change, for example with the new localised lockdowns in Leicester. It is clearly impossible to predict with any certainty how the virus will play out on a local or national level, however it is clear that the government would like schools to actively work towards full opening from 7th September 2020.

The guidance provided to schools yesterday is extensive. Although a significant proportion of the requirements are already fully in place at our school, the implications for a whole school opening mean that we do need to review the way the school day will be organised with routine measures maintained and developed to help minimise risk. Essential requirements include:

  • A requirement that people who are ill stay at home
  • Robust hand and respiratory hygiene
  • Enhanced cleaning arrangements
  • Active engagement with NHS Test and Trace
  • Formal consideration of how to reduce contacts as far as is reasonably practicable.

As now, children will be taught in bubbles, which will increase to a ‘class size’ from September. Measures to avoid contact with other bubbles will be maintained and the use of staggered starts and break times remain so that we can limit contact with other children and families as far is reasonably practicable.

The school will be taking advice from appropriate bodies and we will review our risk assessments and policies accordingly, in preparation for September. Some of the changes will be communicated to families before we break on the 17th July 2020, however we will continue to communicate using the usual channels in the lead up to 7th September. Do look out for emails and texts which will provide important information about the school’s potential full opening.

I am truly hopeful that the national and local situation will have dramatically improved so that we all have the confidence to return to a more normal situation in the autumn with our full school family back together again.

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 26th June 2020

Dear parents and carers,

It has been another busy week in school. The children whom we welcomed back this week have settled really well and we were very impressed with the children’s attitudes to the swab testing on Monday. Public Health England have confirmed that they will inform us if any tests are positive; however, if we do not hear anything then tests were negative.

School capacity

From Monday, every classroom space along with Oscars will be in use and teachers will continue to teach allocated bubble groups with time provided to help organise home learning.

I know there are a number of families who would really like their children to return to school who have been extremely understanding with regards the difficult decisions that the school is having to take. Communication with families and attendance in key year groups, does indicate an increasing confidence that the school can operate effectively and minimise risk sufficiently to support learning.

From next week, we will have almost half of the main school in attendance. We have all really appreciated the kind and supportive comments that we have received from parents and carers about the current arrangements and the school’s continued focus on safety at this time. Thank you.

Year 2 and Year 3 key worker provision

From Monday 29th June, key worker provision for children in Year 2 and Year 3 will be in Oscars. If you need your child to be in school please book via https://riponcathedralschool.magicbooking.co.uk

Parents should drop children off via the sloped entrance down to Oscars and Reception at the front of the school at 8.40am. Pick up will be from the same place at 3.10pm to 3.30pm

If you have a Year 2 or Year 3 child, who you believe does need even a small amount of time at school due to specific needs, please do contact school on admin@riponcathedral.n-yorks.sch.uk and we will endeavour to explore how we can provide appropriate support.

Year 4 and Year 5 Bubbles

Next week, until the end of the summer term, we are welcoming back a Year 4 and a Year 5 bubble. We have chosen to invite children who need regular care provision and children who have academic needs. Relevant families have been contacted to inform them of arrangements. We would really have liked to have more children back, however due to limited capacity with space and staff we are only able to accommodate a limited number of children.

Drop off and pick ups

Thank you so much to parents and carers for helping us with our start and end of day routines. We know that the staggering of times has caused challenges for some families.

Please can we ask that you try to stick to the times that have been given for dropping off and picking up and do not allow children to play in the playground and school car park areas before and after school. We do ask that you keep your child with you at all times before they enter the school buildings.

End of year reports

We will be issuing children’s annual reports at the end of next week. For children who are attending classes, the reports will be sent home by ‘pupil post.’ For children who are working from home, we will post the reports directly to you. If you wish to discuss any aspect of your child’s report please do contact your child’s class teacher via email.

Transition

As a school we are looking ahead to the new academic year and we are mindful of the need for effective transition.

For our new starters Mrs Roberts will be in touch over the next week regarding plans for Nursery and Reception with time available to share (via online) how provision will work. In all other year groups, new teachers will be writing to all children on the week beginning 6th July. Do take the time to share this letter with your child.

We do try to ensure that there is regular communication with all our families, however if you do wish to speak to myself or a member of staff about anything please do email admin@riponcathedral.n-yorks.sch.uk or call the main office on 01756 602335 during opening hours and we will be very happy to have a chat.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 19th June 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

This week we were delighted to welcome back our second group of Year 1 pupils who have settled really well. This group are working in the Year 2 classroom and it has been particularly lovely hearing children engaging in learning from my office, which is just across the corridor.

The updated guidance from the government now states that we can welcome back children from all year groups as long as it is safe and practical to do so. Although we would really like to have all children back, all classrooms are now in full time use and bubbles have been increased to take additional children. As a school we are looking at ways that we can be creative to get a few more children back to school, however any decisions will need to be carefully thought through to ensure that we can staff additional groups and provide suitable hand washing and toilet facilities.

Currently we do not have any guidance from the Department for Education with regards to the way schools will function and operate from September 2020. As soon as I have an understanding of the government’s intentions I will notify you of how the school will be responding. I hope that this will be before the end of the summer term, however based on the experience of the last few months, it is likely that I will need to maintain communication through the usual methods over the summer break.

What has gone well this week

  • Children are continuing to social distance and respond appropriately to instructions and guidance
  • Systems for cleaning are helping to ensure that classrooms are regularly disinfected
  • Use of outdoor space is being used regularly by all bubbles
  • Access and egress arrangements are running smoothly so that playground spaces are not crowded – a big thank you to parents and carers for all your help with timings.

What do we need to improve 

  • We need to ensure that as many eligible families as possible are able to access key worker provision.
  • We need to ensure that children have coats and named water bottles with them.

What's next?

  • Next week we are really looking forward to welcoming more children into our Year 6 and Reception bubbles. These parents have already been contacted and can access information about the organisation for their year group by visiting our wider opening page on the school website. https://riponcathedralschool.org.uk/Wider-Opening/
  • You will be aware that the school has been selected for a Public Health England surveillance study which includes weekly swab testing for the coronavirus on a Monday. Thank you so much to the parents who have already returned forms. This study is a way that we can further minimise risk for children and staff and it is one way that our school can contribute to the national effort in tackling this virus.
  • Some parents have shared concerns about the swab and if it will hurt– to ensure you are fully aware of how the procedure will be administered the instructions given to nursing staff are as follows:

“Place the tip of the cotton bud gently JUST inside one of the nostrils and gently wipe the cotton bud around the inside of the nose. This should be repeated for the other nostril using the same swab. No force is needed the swab does not need to be pushed far into the nostril.”

Parents can be in attendance and we will start with our youngest children in the area outside Oscars from 9am. However, as there is paperwork that will require completion it may take some time and mean parents would have to wait. We are happy to accompany the children and ensure that they are suitably supported through the process which I am sure will be straightforward. It would really help us if you could let us know if you would want to be in attendance by emailing admin@riponcathedral.n-yorks.sch.uk.

If you are a key worker and your child will not be in attendance on Monday but you would like your child to have the swab test, please do email us to let us know and we will let you know a suitable time when you can come to school to have the swab administered.

If you have forms to return for your child they can either be emailed to the above address, or given to the adult in charge of your child’s bubble. If you want a hard copy of the forms they are available from the school entrance area. We really do appreciate your help and support.

Keep safe

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 12th June 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

This week we were delighted to welcome back our first Reception and Year 6 groups. I have been hugely impressed with children from across the school and how well they have adapted to the changes that we have made. It was particularly lovely to see children using the full extent of our grounds engaging in play, socialising and learning.  

You may have heard in the media that the government has now scrapped their plans to have all primary children back at school before the end of the term. It is pleasing that the government has now finally realised that there is not the capacity within schools to allow all children to attend; however, I am disappointed that this ‘false hope’ was shared and publicised, as it has built up children and families expectations for something that was highly unlikely ever to happen.

The Secretary of State has stated that the government is ‘working to bring all children back to school in September.’ I am hopeful that the improving national picture will continue and that we will have timely guidance with regards to how learning will be organised in the autumn term so that we can support all our children as they transition back into school. 

What has gone well this week

  • Groupings are working effectively and children have responded well to instructions and guidance.
  • We have been really impressed with the way children have demonstrated positive attitudes and transitioned back into school.
  • Children are doing their best with social distancing and have really managed well in the circumstances.
  • Children are in on time and lessons are starting promptly.

What do we need to improve?

  • We need to ensure that key worker families book places in advance and let us know as soon as possible when sessions are not needed.
  • Parents and carers should arrive at communicated start times and not too early to avoid long periods of queueing.
  • Although we have stated that children do no need to come in uniform, children should not be wearing jeans.

What’s next?

  • Next week we are really looking forward to welcoming children back to our second Year 1 bubble. These parents have already been contacted and can access information about the organisation for their year group by visiting our wider opening page on the school website. https://riponcathedralschool.org.uk/Wider-Opening/
  • Over the next week we will be contacting parents in Reception, whose children are not currently at school regarding their intentions and thoughts about sending their children back to school in the week beginning 22ndJune. We do understand that this is a significant decision and want all parents to know that there is no pressure on them to conform to the government’s expectations. It is for every family to consider what is right for them and we do appreciate that many parents and carers may wish to wait at this time.
  • In line with government guidance we are prioritising the return of Reception and Year 1 children; however, next week we will also be exploring the options for potentially increasing the number of children in our Year 6 bubbles.

From the week beginning 22nd June, if we do increase our intake further, staff within the school will be fully deployed. Many bubbles will be taught by class teachers, although some will need to be led by support staff under the direction of a class teacher. If there are instances of sickness within staff, or changes within our staffing capacity, this may mean that the school will be unable to provide education and care for specific bubbles. In such circumstances we will communicate with parents and carers to make them aware of the situation.

We do try to ensure that there is regular communication with all our families, however if you do wish to speak to myself or a member of staff about anything please do email admin@riponcathedral.n-yorks.sch.uk or call the main office on 01756 602335 during opening hours and we will be very happy to have a chat.

Thank you again for all your support

Keep safe.

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 5th June 2020

Dear parents and carers,

This week it has been lovely to have more children in school and to see how excited they are about being back in classes, learning together.

These are unprecedented times and every school across the country is trying their best to address the government’s plans for wider opening. There are no experts in how this is to be done and I do ask for your understanding and patience as we try to navigate our way forward. I do expect that there will be bumps in the road, but our gradual, phased approach is helping us to learn and to adapt what we are doing so that we can best support families, respond to guidance and facilitate learning.

What has gone well this week

  • Children seem very happy and are well engaged in their bubble groups.
  • Children have adapted well to new ways of learning.
  • Organisation at drop off and pick up times has been effective and people have ensured that they have kept their distance.
  • Lunches in the classrooms have worked well and ensured that bubbles don’t mix. (A big thank you to the midday supervisors and kitchen staff who have done a wonderful job).
  • Staff are confident in how they manage children within internal and external allocated spaces.
  • Outdoor spaces have been well used by each bubble for play and learning.

What do we need to improve?

  • Ensure that key worker families (Nursery, Years 2, 3, 4 and 5) do not arrive at school without booking into provision.
  • Parents and carers need to ensure that they adhere to communicated drop off and pick up times.
  • As an increasing number of staff are now on site most days, parents and carers should not be using the car park when picking up and dropping off.
  • We need to communicate with families about the organisation of learning bubbles.

What’s next?

  • Next week we are really looking forward to welcoming children back to the first of our Reception and Year 6 bubbles. These parents have already been contacted and can access information about the organisation for their year groups by visiting our wider opening page on the school website. https://riponcathedralschool.org.uk/Wider-Opening/
  • We will be communicating with the remaining parents in Year 1, whose children are not currently at school regarding their intentions and thoughts about sending their children back from the provisional date of Monday 15th June. We do understand that this is a significant decision and want all parents to know that there is no pressure on them to conform to the government’s expectations. It is for every family to consider what is right for them and we do appreciate that many parents and carers may wish to wait at this time.

Following discussions with families there are a number of points around bubbles that I would like to clarify:

  • We will ensure that children have allocated spaces and learning resources.
  • Bubbles will not mix together and will remain the same group throughout the week. Any changes that need to be made will be implemented over a weekend period.
  • Key worker bubbles are limited to 10 pupils for Y2/3 and Y4/5 and up to 5 in nursery. Over the week these bubbles may have changes in children within the stated year groups as this is a bookable resource, however each bubble will not mix with other bubbles in the school.
  • We cannot guarantee that your child will be in a bubble group with their class teacher.
  • Children returning to school in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 are returning to full time education and therefore expected to be in school every day.
  • We cannot guarantee that children will be taught in their usual classroom or with specific friends.

I know many parents are understandably anxious and may have concerns. We do try to ensure that there is regular communication with all our families, however if you do wish to speak to myself or a member of staff about anything please do email admin@riponcathedral.n-yorks.sch.uk or call the main office on 01756 602335 during opening hours and we will be very happy to have a chat.

It is good that we have been able to take our first steps forward this week in wider opening and I am really looking forward to the day when we can eventually all be back together as a school family, whenever that may be!

Thank you again for all your support

Keep safe.

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 29th May 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

I hope you are well and have had the chance to enjoy the sunshine over the last week.

In my last communication I informed you that I would write to you after the government’s announcement with regard to the five key tests on May 28th. The Prime Minister has stated that there is evidence to show that each of the tests has been met and therefore schools can begin to open to wider groups of pupils from June 1st at the earliest.

We are very keen to welcome back children into school for education, however the changes needed to accommodate groups and minimise risk are substantial and need to be implemented in a careful, phased manner. Just providing education for identified year groups and care provision for key workers in Phase 1 of our plan, will take up 6 out of our 8 classrooms.

We are also very aware of the guidance from SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) about the level of risk, how it will change over time and the higher than average R rating for the Yorkshire and North East Region. This evidence does indicate that we need to be very careful in how we implement guidance and may in the future necessitate a change or reduction to school provision, should there be a spike in the local infection rate.

I have also ensured that I have maintained contact with schools within the city, regarding their plans for opening. It is clear that there will be significant variation in how school’s approach wider opening as each establishment has its own individual circumstances, such as pupil numbers, buildings and staff availability. All these factors have an impact on how school leaders are able to address government guidance.

There are numerous reasons why we, like the vast majority of schools, are taking a careful phased approach for children returning. These include, ensuring systems across school are effective and implemented safely, as well as providing the flexibility and time to meet the requirements of constantly changing government guidance. We also, most importantly, need to ensure that your children are suitably supported as they transition back to school to provision that will be quite different to the one they left at the end of March.

As you may recall in my communication on 19th May, I explained how we had decided that we would initially invite the following groups to return to school.

  • Our Year 6 children
  • Key worker children in Nursery, Reception and Year 1
  • Vulnerable children who are individually assessed, where we consider their needs would be best met at school

In consultation with governors we have identified the following phased approach to wider opening:

 

PHASE 1

Monday 1st June

Key Worker Children

We will continue to provide on-going provision for key worker children and identified children with specific needs in Nursery and Years 2-5

Places can be booked via https://riponcathedralschool.magicbooking.co.uk/

For Key Worker children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 please email admin@riponcathedral.n-yorks.sch.uk to let us know of what provision you require for the coming week.

 

Wednesday 3rd June

Year 1 (First bubble group of 10 children - prioritising key worker families and vulnerable children)

We will communicate directly with these families regarding daily organisation

 

Monday 8th June

Reception (First bubble group of 10 children - prioritising key worker families and vulnerable children)

We will communicate directly with these families regarding daily organisation

Year 6 pupils (2 x bubble groups of up to 10 children)

We will communicate directly with these families regarding daily organisation

 

PHASE 2

Monday 15th June

Wider opening prioritising remaining pupils in Year 1

School will be in contact with families to discuss preferred options for sending children back to school

 

Monday 22nd June

Wider opening prioritising remaining pupils in Reception

School will be in contact with families to discuss preferred options for sending children back to school

 

PHASE 3

Week beginning Monday 22nd June

Review school provision and government’s ambition for children in other year groups to return

 

Please note, all dates are conditional. Provision will be reviewed on a weekly basis to ensure that decisions are right for our context and matched to the on-going capacity of the school.

The demand for provision in Nursery has been lower than other year groups. In order to prioritise space and teaching capacity for school aged children we have made the decision that Nursery provision will continue to be bookable care provision. We will review this decision again in the week beginning 22nd June 2020.

I do understand how precious your children are to you and want to reassure you that everybody at school is doing their best to adapt classrooms, organise learning and review policies and assessments to manage and minimise risk.

It is an incredibly difficult time and I appreciate there are significant challenges facing many families as the national situation evolves. I do want to thank you again for your understanding, patience and support at this time, as we try to take the first steps towards a hopeful return to a ‘more normal’ status.

Look after yourselves. Keep Safe.

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 22nd May 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

I hope you are well and have managed to enjoy the recent warm weather that we have been blessed with.

It is very strange to be writing to you at the end of a half-term, not really knowing what exactly will happen when we return due to the current national situation.

As you are aware, we have been putting plans in place for the potential phased wider opening of the school to children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. It is frustrating that at this point the government have not yet confirmed whether the five tests that they set have been met, so that we can move to stage 3 of the government’s alert levels.

The school does have a robust and thorough risk assessment in place and logistical plans for how we will operate when we welcome children back to their classes. There are, however, a number of factors which are out of our control such as the local R rate and the availability of testing and tracking, which will have a bearing on how safe it is to open up the school to more children.

Can I assure you that I am regularly communicating with all staff, governors, our senior education adviser from the Local Authority, health and safety advisers as well as accessing information from professional bodies, the diocese and the government to help us to make the right decisions for our school and families.

My understanding presently is that the government will update the country on the 28th May with further information on lifting the lockdown and how this will impact on schools.

As soon as we have the recommendation from the government, I will notify parents and carers via email regarding specific arrangements for the next-half term as per my previous communications. Thank you so much for your understanding and patience at this time.

Mrs Rich has already been in contact with relevant families with regards to the booking system and potential changes for key worker children in Years 2, 3, 4 and 5. For these families we do wish to reiterate that the number of places available is limited to 20 and provision should only be accessed when it is essential and necessary and there is no appropriate adult at home.

If the wider opening of school is delayed, we will continue to provide care provision for children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 from June 1st onwards.

I know that there is a heightened level of commentary in the media about schools and parents. As mentioned in my last letter, we are all in the same storm but our boats can be very different. No parent should be made to feel guilty or ashamed for whatever decision they make regarding the education of their children; in situations like these compassion and understanding are so important.

Many thanks for your continued support and the well-wishes that we have received. They have been very much appreciated.

Have a lovely half-term, look after one another and keep safe.

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Headteacher 

Tuesday 19th May 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

I hope you are well and managing with the current situation as best you can. Everyone at school is missing the children and they are eager to return to the normality that we had before the outbreak.

I expect you may well have been listening over the last week to the extensive announcements, commentary and analysis about the wider opening of schools. I know there has been a high level of misinformation in the media and very confusing comments made about what schools should or shouldn’t be doing.

Such an amount of wrangling and disagreement is due to the fact that this issue is so important as it relates to our children: What is right and best for them.

The government’s initial announcements stated that the wider opening of schools would be from 1st June at the earliest, if the ‘five tests’ were fully met. Communications from politicians and guidance seem to have recently lost the conditional aspect of the initial statement, however, I hope that over the next two weeks we will be given clear evidence to show how the situation has changed so that we can have greater confidence in the government’s plans for schools.

We have looked at advice and our own context to decide how best to implement actions to improve safety for children and adults and minimise risk.

So that you are aware of how, as a school, we are addressing the guidance and planning to provide education when we open classes so more children can attend, an overview of our risk assessment measures with the answers to some frequently asked questions can be accessed via the following link:

Overview of Risk Assessment

The government has stated that the return to school should be careful and staged, even though their own documentation states that schools should strongly encourage all children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to return from June 1st. If we include our key worker children, I am sure you will realise that this is a large proportion of our school family.

Therefore, as a school, we have taken the decision that there needs to be a structured, phased approach which helps school and families transition to new ways of working.

We have decided that, when we do extended our opening, we will aim to invite:

  • Our Year 6 children
  • Key worker children in Nursery, Reception and Year 1
  • Vulnerable children who are individually assessed, where we consider their needs would be best met at school

 

Class groups initially will be limited to 10 pupils to support us in implementing measures to minimise risks effectively. Each week we will review the school’s position and will move, when the time is right, onto the second stage of our plans to increase the numbers of children attending in the classes stipulated by the government for return. In the meantime, we will continue to do our very best to provide appropriate home learning resources and activities for those children who are at home.

If your child is in one of the initial groups, we will be in touch with you to gather your views and intentions for your child’s return. We have already contacted Year 6 parents.  Thank you for your responses, we will be in touch shortly with those parents requesting a June 2nd (at earliest) start. Information gathered over this week will be used to help us to organise teaching spaces and work out staffing ratios. 

I know it is a very anxious and difficult time for everyone. The decision regarding sending children back is not an easy one. With regards to the pandemic, although everyone is in the same storm, the boats we are in can be very different.

I do want you to know that even though the school has been told to actively encourage all children to attend, we will not put pressure on families to make decisions that they feel are not in their best interests.

I can fully understand why some parents feel that they are happy for their children to return to school as soon as the school opens, whilst others would prefer to wait. The decision is personal to each family, and as a school we will endeavour to be respectful of your views and wishes at this time.

Many thanks for your continued support. Keep safe.

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Head Teacher

Thursday 14th May 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

As we are in our eighth week of lockdown, I am sure like me you have a wide range of mixed emotions about what happens next and many questions about the potential re-opening of schools. When I look back to this time last year and the opportunities and activities that the children enjoyed on a daily basis, it is deeply upsetting how this pandemic has impacted on the children within our school family.

On Sunday the Prime Minister announced that the government believes it may be in a position to implement a phased re-opening of schools from 1 June, starting with pupils in Nursery, Reception, Year One and Year Six.  This is part of the government’s conditional plan which it says will remain under regular review.

Everyone at school is very keen to get more pupils back into school as soon as it is safe and practically possible. The teachers and staff in school are very committed and they do not want to see any child missing out. However, our first priority has to be the safety of everyone in our school family and this has to be the key consideration in all our decision making.

The plan and guidance provided by the government, does not take sufficient account of the significant implications of increasing numbers in school. Presently there are two main difficulties that the guidance presents.

Capacity

The government would like all children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, along with key worker children to be in the first phase of children returning to school. The guidance states that children should be taught in small groups with the same adult, with staggered starts and breaks. According to the government these groups should be up to a maximum of 15 pupils.

If all children in these categories return there would be nearly 150 children in school. This would require at least 10 classrooms. Part-time timetables could be used, however this would mean that classrooms would need a deep clean every time cohorts change.

The school currently has 8 classrooms and when I take into consideration that the government’s ambition is to have all children back into school by the end of June, which would need at the minimum 16 rooms, the practicalities needed in order to achieve the government’s aims are immense.

It is worth sharing with you that in a recent poll of schools, 97% of leaders stated that opening schools for all primary children by the end of June was not feasible.

Social Distancing

I know that as parents and carers you will realise that it is impossible to manage social distancing with young children. Requiring small children to stay away from each other or remain in one spot for an extended period of time, is a very hard task. We all know that illnesses can spread quickly in a school and although we do focus on good hygiene, young children touch everything!

Guidance does state that PPE is not appropriate in the classroom and the government recognise that social distancing may not be possible with young children. From my experience, I can tell you that with class sizes of up to 15 children, effective distancing will be difficult to implement. Currently with our key worker children we are working in class groups of about 6-8 and social distancing is still very challenging.

Repeatedly the government have told us that their decisions are being led by the scientific evidence and we need to be mindful of what this information is saying about the virus and effective management of interactions. Although it is clear that children, if infected, do have very mild symptoms and the risk to children is extremely low, the scientific evidence around the spread of the disease amongst children is limited. Yesterday Mr Rahman, the Department for Education’s scientific adviser, told MPs there was only "low confidence" in evidence suggesting that children transmit Covid-19 any less than adults.

As a school our first priority is the safety of children, staff and our families, therefore it is difficult at this time to implement all aspects of the guidance, when it is not supported by clear scientific evidence and could potentially lead to the virus being spread in school and within the local community.

How the school is responding

Currently as a school we are taking the following actions to support us in making the right decisions for our families and community.

  • We are working closely with local schools to understand how headteachers are addressing the guidance
  • We are following guidance provided by the Local Authority to examine how we can minimise risk
  • We are completing and updating risk assessments to ensure that changes within provision are safely and effectively implemented
  • We are monitoring the national situation and the call on government to ‘step away’ from the planned changes

My priority is to ensure that you have the confidence to send your most precious gift, your child, into school and that they will be safe. I, like many leaders across the country, am not yet convinced that changes in school, at the pace that our government are suggesting, are workable.

I do know that as the situation nationally improves, and as testing and track and tracing is implemented, schools do need to begin reopening. However can I assure you that at all stages we will not rush into any decisions and will give care and due consideration to any changes that we will need to implement in the second half of the summer term.

I will communicate again with you over the next week to update you further.

Finally can I take this opportunity to remind you that until we move into the next stage of alert, nothing has changed within school and parents and carers should only send children if they are key workers (unable to work from home) and there is no other adult who can provide care.

Thank you for your fabulous support and the way that you are continuing to provide for the children in our school family.

Do remember to prioritise well-being and keep safe.

Steven Holmes
Headteacher

Monday 11th May 2020

I am sure you will be aware of the announcement made on Sunday evening by the Prime Minister and the staged opening of schools. 

As you know the school has remained open for key worker children and we have already been exploring how to mange increased numbers of pupils.

Like you, I only received the information from the government last night and have not yet received any guidance to support us in answering questions about the way that the school could appropriately accommodate 3 classes and key worker children.

Until we move into the next stage of alert, nothing has changed within school and parent and carers should only send children if they are key workers and it is essential and necessary.

We will keep in touch about the guidance that we receive and changes that may be put in place over the summer months.

Thank you

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Thursday 8th May 2020

Dear Everyone in our School Family,

As I am sure you are all aware there has been a significant amount of unhelpful speculation and conjecture in the press about when and how schools will reopen. These kind of articles and comments by some high ranking officials do cause confusion and undue anxiety at a time when we all need to be positive and supportive.

We are so lucky at Cathedral that we do have a wonderfully supportive set of parents and carers who do appreciate that although teachers may not be at school everyday, they are working on a daily basis to support all our children.

The school gets daily updates from the Department for Education and government, and to date has received no information about when schools will open and what will need to be put in place to ensure children's safety. We are expecting that there will be information that will be shared on Sunday when the Prime Minister is due to speak to the nation.

As I am sure you can appreciate whatever decisions are reached by Westminster it will take schools time to plan for any changes that are needed in order to provide for increasing numbers of children.

We will continue to update you as we receive information and ensure that you know how the school is responding to guidance.

Look after yourself and do keep safe

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 1st May 2020

Thank you for all the support and on-going communication that we have received.

We are all missing the children and our families. Do stay safe and as the picture says, we can't wait to see you again.

Mr Holmes

Friday 27th April 2020

Dear everyone in our school family

It has been wonderful over the last few weeks to see how communities are supporting one another, particularly the critical workers who continue in their key roles. I have been particularly touched by the way the children have responded and shown great positivity and hope at this time.

At school we are very aware that it is a time of anxiety and sadness for many families who have been affected by this disease. I send on our thoughts and prayers to those of you who have been adversely impacted by this horrendous pandemic.

Presently, we have no indication from the government or DFE of when there will be a change to the closure and I do not anticipate it is likely to be soon. When we do get some relevant information we will of course inform you and ensure that careful planning is put in place in line with updated guidance.

A big thank you to parents and carers who are accessing home learning tasks and supporting children with their work. It can be difficult to get the balance right and there are many demands on everyone at this time. All the staff really do appreciate all that you are doing. If you have any concerns or queries or want to share something, please do contact your child's class teacher via email. I know the staff really do enjoy hearing from all our families.

Do be kind to yourselves and remember to prioritise your family's well-being and mental health.

Take care and keep safe.

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Good Friday Message Friday 10th April 2020

It has been one of the most unusual and challenging terms that I can remember and I would like to thank everyone within our school family who have been so supportive and wish you all well this Easter.

We have not had the opportunity this year to celebrate and reflect on the festival of Easter with the children; however, over the last term, the children have regularly asked to sing the song 'Living Hope' by Phil Wickham which does include lyrics that remind us of the meaning of Easter and the hope of God's promises. This might be a song that your child could share with their family A version with lyrics can be accessed via the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9f2FXxDVO6w

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in our Cathedral School family and community. Thank you for all that you are doing, whether that be keeping your children safe and supported at this time, working as a key worker or supporting those around you. Have a safe, restful Easter.

Steven Holmes

Headteacher

Friday 3rd April 2020

HAPPY EASTER TO OUR SCHOOL FAMILY

Over the last week we have been inundated with wonderful pictures of the fabulous work, activities and experiences that the children have had while home learning.

Well done to everyone! We are all very proud of you all!

We have put quite a few of these pictures onto our gallery pages and these can be accessed using the following link:

https://riponcathedralschool.org.uk/News/Galleries/

The teachers have put together a bank of ideas that you might wish to access to help keep children active and learning over the Easter period. These can found under the home learning tab on the school website.

https://riponcathedralschool.org.uk/Learning-from-Home/

Although continued learning is important, the current situation within the country is difficult for everyone, particularly the children in our care, who may express their frustration and confusion in many ways. What our children need now, more than anything is to be loved and to feel like it is going to be ok. Please do prioritise the wellbeing of yourselves and your children.

School guidance and links

https://riponcathedralschool.org.uk/Mental-Health-and-Well-Being/

Please do not worry about children regressing, every child in the country is in the same situation. When we do get back to school we will all work hard to support your child. Teachers at Ripon Cathedral School are experts at this.

At the end of this current situation the most important thing will be your child’s mental health and well-being; how they have felt during this period will stay with them longer than the memory of what they did during this time. 

We are sending you our best wishes from everyone at Ripon Cathedral School. It is going to be an unusual Easter break, however we hope that you can make some special memories while staying safe at home.

If you are struggling or do need any help please do email the admin account and a member of staff will be in touch.

Be safe and look after each other.

Steven Holmes

Monday 30th March 2020

Dear parents and carers

We hope you are well and managing with the current national situation. It has only been a week since the school closed to the majority of children and although it has felt like a long time, we have appreciated the regular communication from parents and children about what they have been getting up to. We are very proud of how the children have responded to the recent challenges and have been so positive in the way in which they have adapted to the changes imposed upon them.

As you will be aware teachers are setting and reviewing home learning on a weekly basis and making every effort to provide a range of tasks that keep the children engaged and learning. I know that the teachers are also following up on any IT issues and looking at all the fantastic work on Purple Mash and via email that they have received. If you have any concerns, or would like to share your child’s fantastic home learning please do communicate with your child’s/children’s class teacher via email. Please note that the teacher’s school email address is on the information they send out and you should use this to communicate with them, rather than the admin email address. 

We appreciate all the support being given with home learning and know that it isn’t always easy to get children to work through everything that is planned for them. Please don’t feel the need to do everything for your child, this is a great chance for them to develop their independence, resilience and self-reliance. We hope that the work planned is sufficient and that you are getting lots of opportunities to do things as a family, such as baking, playing games and keeping fit. Additional links to resources that can support learning from home have been shared on the school website under the home learning tab.

At school we have had a very high level of staff absence, but are managing to organise daily care provision for the children of key workers. A big thank you to all the staff who have been willing to come into school and have been so flexible and positive in their approach. A big thank you as well to GFM who have ensured that the school is opened and lunches have continued to be provided.

Support for those children eligible for free school meals. 

The government are working on a national voucher scheme and we had hoped to have received information last week, however the expected guidance has not been received. Mrs Rich is now looking at possible solutions and will be in touch with relevant families soon.

We are maintaining contact with a number of families and at times might even give some parents a call to check that they are OK. If for any reason you would like to speak to myself do contact school on the admin email address.

And finally, below is a prayer that was shared with me recently about the current situation and the need to think particularly about those in our society who are the most vulnerable. I thought it would be good to share with you at this time as it does help us to think about the blessings that we should be thankful for.

Do look after yourselves and keep safe.

Steven Holmes

A Prayer in times of a Pandemic

May we who are merely inconvenienced
     Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
     Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
     Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.

May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close
     Remember those who have no options.

May we who have to cancel our trips
     Remember those that have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
     Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
     Remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country,
     let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
     Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbours.
Amen

Friday 20th March 2020 - letter

Dear Parents and Carers

It is a truly unprecedented situation at school and across the country and I know everyone is increasingly challenged by the coronavirus pandemic. I would like to thank you for your understanding, support and patience as we have worked through the daily updates and changes from the DFE and government.

The school only recently received guidance regarding care provision that it is being asked to provide and today we have endeavoured to collate information from our recent survey and communicate with relevant eligible families by email. If you believe that you are eligible and have not received an email or text do speak to myself or Mrs Rich.

As a school we have struggled to maintain staffing up to this point and I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere thanks to all the staff in the school and the additional teachers that we have employed. They have really been positive and hugely supportive, ensuring that we can provide teaching and learning provision in all classes.

Due to the limited staffing that we have in school we do ask that our care provision is only utilised where it is essential and absolutely necessary. Government guidance is very clear that wherever it is possible for children to be at home they should be. Please do help the school by looking at working patterns and flexibility so that children are not in school.

If you are not working, have a partner at home not working (or can work from home) or are not included in the critical workers list, your child should not be in school and you should make arrangements. We all need to ensure that we do our part to prevent the spread of this disease.

There are some key guidance points that we all need to follow to ensure the country is able to reduce the spread of the virus:

  1. If at all possible keep children at home
  2. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions
  3. Parents should do everything that they can so children do not mix socially in a way that can cause the virus to spread – employing the same social distancing principles as adults

To support learning at home, teachers in every year group will email out a weekly plan of suggested activities. These will also be posted on the school website under the Home Learning tab each Friday for the following academic week. Any school updates will also be posted on the school site and emailed to families as appropriate.

Please do keep in contact with your child/children’s class teacher via email.

Whatever happens in the next few weeks and months, we are in this together and we will all work our hardest to do our best.

Thank you for your on-going support and from everyone at Ripon Cathedral School we send on our best wishes, be safe, be kind and do look after one another.

 

Kind regards

Steven Holmes

Thursday 19th March 2020 - letter

Dear Parents and Carers

As you know school will be closed as from the end of the day tomorrow for the majority of children for the foreseeable future.

In line with the announcement from government, we will endeavour to provide appropriate care for children who have specific needs or have parents who are classed as key workers.

We have been waiting for the Cabinet Office to provide clarity with regards to key worker status and whether this relates to only one parent or both. Frustratingly this information has still not been received, however to aid our planning, if you consider that your occupation falls into one of the following categories - Emergency services, NHS, hospital workers, supermarket delivery workers or those caring for vulnerable and elderly people. Please complete our online survey as soon as possible and at the latest by 9am tomorrow.

 Link: https://riponcathedralschool.org.uk/Key-Worker-Survey/

We will notify parents by text regarding the offer of a place within the care provision.

Daily care will be organised in line with school hours with the opportunity to use OSCARs before and after school care. If your child is not eligible for school care they will not be able to attend school or OSCARs.

Updates from the school will be posted on the school’s website under the ‘Home Learning’ tab. Each Friday we will publish home learning plans for the following academic week to support on-going learning.

Thank you again for your continued support and understanding, particularly at such a difficult and challenging time.

Kind regards
Steve Holmes

Thursday 19th March 2020

In line with the statements that have been made by government the school will be closed from Friday. We are currently still awaiting information in relation to provision for families of key workers and pupils with specific needs (eg EHCP). 

We will continue to provide updates via the school website and any information regarding school opening as we receive it. 

In school we are ensuring that learning continues and children regularly wash their hands in line with PHE expectations. 

The learning from home page will include outlines of learning arranged on a daily basis for children in each year group. We do encourage you to support your child in engaging with this learning. We will update plans on a weekly basis.

Please do keep in touch with your child/children's class teacher via email.