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Hollymount Primary School

Reminders and FAQ's 28/08/20

Friday 28th August 2020

Dear Parents/Carers,

 Important Reminders

I do hope that you and your family have had a relaxing and enjoyable August. We are looking forward to welcoming all children back to school from Thursday 3rd September. I appreciate that some parents or children may be feeling apprehensive about the start of term, whereas others may be excited to return. I want to reassure you that we have been working hard over the summer on three priority areas for when children return:

  1. The Health and Safety of children and staff;
  2. The social and emotional wellbeing of children (Recovery Curriculum);
  3. The academic progress and lost teaching time (Catch-Up Curriculum)

We have carried out a thorough risk assessment that can be viewed on the school website (Latest News page) and we have put in place many preventative measures. A ‘Recovery Curriculum’ will be implemented that takes into account the different experiences children will have had during lockdown. It focuses on supporting their social and emotional wellbeing so that they can return to being efficient, effective and engaged learners. Staff have worked together to identify areas of the curriculum that may need to be re-learnt or re-visited, in order for children to access this year’s curriculum. This is an ongoing process and informal assessments will take place in the first half of term so that we can identify any gaps in understanding.

During August, there have been many emotive articles in the news about the re-opening of schools. At Hollymount, we have continued to take a calm and measured approach. A recent Government study found that only 0.01% of open educational settings had an outbreak and out of more than 1 million children attending pre-school and primary school in June, just 70 children were affected. We have worked alongside the Local Authority and school Governors to put robust preventative measures in place.

The following page includes FAQs, as well as a reminder of start and end times for each year group. If you have any questions or you need to make us aware of any changes of circumstances since lockdown, please do not hesitate to email the school at replies@hollymount.merton.sch.uk. A reminder that if you or anyone in your family has the symptoms of the virus, they must get tested and self-isolate for at least 7 days (rest of the household self-isolate for 14 days) and follow Government guidance. The current symptoms are:

  • New, continuous cough OR
  • High temperature OR
  • Loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell

I am excited to have the whole school back to full capacity from Thursday after such a disjointed and difficult period for all. Have a wonderful Bank Holiday Weekend.

Kind regards,

Sam Birnage


Frequently Asked Questions


Is it mandatory for children to return to school?

Yes. The Government have stated that, ‘All pupils, in all year groups will return to school full time from September.’ If your child is not returning to school, you must inform the office.

Will staff and children be wearing masks?

No. Wearing a face covering or face mask in primary schools is not recommended by the Government (recent guidance is only relevant to secondary schools). Staff may however, wear protective equipment if a child or adult becomes unwell; if intimate care is required; or if a risk assessment supports the use of PPE. 

What happens if someone becomes unwell at school?

If anyone in an education or childcare setting becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste of smell (anosmia), they will be sent home. If a child is awaiting collection, they will wait in a designated room with appropriate adult supervision. A window will be opened for ventilation. They should remain at home and advised to self-isolate for 7 days. Their fellow household members should self-isolate for 14 days. They all should access a test ASAP and inform the school of the outcome.

Where the child, young person or staff member tests negative, they can return to their setting and the fellow household members can end their self-isolation.

Where the child, young person or staff member tests positive, the rest of their class, bubble or a larger group within the school may be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. The school will follow advice from the London Coronavirus Response Cell.

Should children wear school uniform?

Yes. Children should wear school uniform in September. They should wear PE kit on the days they have PE and they will remain in PE kit for the entire day. Parents are encouraged to frequently wash their children’s uniform. Reception children should only bring in plimsoles in their PE bags and children will just be expected to change their shoes for PE. They will not be changing into their PE kit for PE at this stage.

Will Breakfast Club or Tea Timers be provided?

Yes, from Monday 7th September. Children will be kept, where possible, within consistent small groups whilst at Breakfast Club and Tea Timers. It will not be possible to separate year groups whilst running a workable provision. However, the pre-booking arrangements will facilitate constant groupings so far as possible. We have assessed the potential risk associated with managing this provision in this way, whilst bearing in mind its important function for working parents. We will continue to review this provision regularly, taking account of any further amendments to the Government guidance for schools and educational settings. Tea Timers will be in touch with those children previously booked in or you can email teatimers@hollymount.merton.sch.uk  to make a booking. Please understand we are limited in numbers. To make a booking for Breakfast Club please contact Roger and Remi Amos on 07939 534966 or email omoamos@btinternet.com .

Are children allowed to bring water bottles and books to school?

They can bring water bottles to school but not books from home. Children will have the opportunity in the first week of term to reserve a book online from the Library and Mrs Richards will deliver this book to their classroom. These books will remain in school.

What if my child is reluctant to enter the classroom?

If your child cannot enter the classroom on their own, staff will reassure them and encourage them to enter the classroom. We will not be able to physically help your child into the classroom and may ask your child to return home and try again the next day. We understand this may be upsetting. We have not had to do this over the summer term.

What if my child is not toilet trained?

Please inform the school if your child is returning to school in nappies as an additional risk assessment will need to be carried out.

What will the curriculum be like at school?

The staff will focus on the social and emotional wellbeing of children through the school’s ‘Recovery Curriculum’. Teachers have received training on this. The school has developed a ‘Catch –Up Curriculum’ so that any gaps in learning are identified and filled. It is recognised that children will have had different emotional and learning experiences during lock down so the school will adjust to meet the needs of all children.

Will my child be taught by their normal class teacher and in their normal classroom?

Yes, we expect all teachers to return. If, for whatever reason, a teacher is absent from school for a substantial period, parents will be informed.

What are the drop off and collection arrangement at school?

See the start and end of day procedures below. We recognise that for parents or childminders with siblings, a staggered start and finish time will mean that you may need to walk around the one way system and wait to drop off and/or collect your child. However, due to the increased numbers of adults on the school site, we request that you do not wait within the school grounds.  We are unfortunately unable to accommodate pupils leaving earlier or later. This would pose additional risk and logistical difficulties with increased numbers, as well as impacting on curriculum delivery. All children should be collected at their allocated time.  This system, along with the timings will be regularly reviewed.

Can my child be dropped off and collected from the school office?

If your child has a medical appointment, is late or requires an early collection, please advise the school office via email or a phone call in advance and sign them in or out

Can I bring siblings to school on the pick-up and collection?

If your child has siblings that have a different drop off / collection allocation, then yes, they may come with you on the school run, if there is no one else to safely look after them. However, they should stay with you once you have dropped your other child off, and leave the school grounds with you via the one way system until their allotted time.

Can I come to the school office?

In order to reduce the number of adults in school, we ask that you do not enter the school building unless it is an emergency, or that your visit has been pre-arranged.  Please telephone or email as your main form of communication.

What should my child bring to school?

The school will provide stationary for all children. Children in Years 1 – 6 will have an individual set of stationary that will not be shared with others. Children in the EYFS will be sharing frequently sanitised equipment and toys to facilitate the free play EYFS curriculum. KS1 pupils should bring in a small clear pencil case as they do not have trays to keep their stationary in.  Please ensure no additional items from home are brought in to school. 

Will children be provided with a snack?

Children from Nursery to Year 2 will have fruit, as part of the National Fruit Scheme in schools, healthy snack time. For children in Years 3 to Year 6, children are encouraged to bring in a piece of fruit or vegetable to have at playtime. This should be kept separate from their packed lunch. Please note we are a nut free school.

How will the school manage music lessons?

We have carried out a Risk Assessments to reduce the risk, following the Merton Music Foundation Risk Assessment guidance. Limiting group sizes, physical distancing and playing outside wherever possible. Music sessions will take place where good ventilation is available or outside and instruments will not be shared.

If schools are closed again, will there be online learning and will this include live lessons?

We have developed a ‘Remote Learning Policy’ and this will be shared with parents shortly. There will be increased opportunities for children to interact with their class teacher and peers in the event of school closure.

Can I talk to my child’s class teacher?

As always, communication between class teacher and parents is very important.  However, due to social distancing rules, and the need to minimise the number of adults at school, meetings will be difficult. If you would like a phone call with the class teacher, please email or call the office so this can be arranged. We have contingency plans for a virtual Parents’ Evening in October, if Government guidelines have not changed.

What Social Distancing Measures will be in place at school?

We will limit contact as much as we can, however, social distancing for primary children, particularly Early Years, is not going to be possible. The Government has acknowledged in its guidance that, unlike older children and adults, Early Years and primary age children cannot be expected to social distance from each other and staff.

What transition arrangements are in place for Nursery/Reception children?

These have been communicated with parents via email. If you have not received them, please contact the office.

Will clubs start in September?

We need to take a safe and sustainable approach to fully re-opening.  With rooms taking additional time to clean, extracurricular clubs will in the first instance, be delivered by sports providers.  The clubs will be run outside (weather permitting). Providers will conduct their own risk assessments, following DfE, specific affiliation and/or Sports England guidance. More information will follow. We are mindful of ensuring a variety of provision so far as possible within these constraints.