March Return to School Arrangements

Friday 26th February 2021

Dear Parents/Carers,

Plans for Return to School on March 8th

Following the announcement by the Government that it is safe for all pupils to return to school on March 8th, I am writing to you to explain how we will put this into practice at Cherry Orchard. We are looking forward to having everyone back but we must still adhere to Government guidance if we are to prevent further outbreaks and isolation of bubbles. Therefore, the changes to the school day that were put in place before lockdown will remain. I will outline these safety measures and our expectations below as a reminder. 

Drop off and collection 

To reduce the risk of contamination, parents will not be permitted to enter the school building.  Only one parent will be permitted to drop their child off and collect them at the end of the day, and parents will be responsible for ensuring that they follow social distancing guidelines when on the school grounds.

Parents and carers must wear a face covering when dropping off and collecting their children.

The timetable will be staggered to allow different groups to enter and exit the school at different times to avoid large numbers of parents congregating at the same time. It is essential that you are punctual for your time to avoid bubbles mixing.  This is for your child’s safety.

EYFS (Nursery and Year R) will use the nursery entrance gate to the left of the school reception, and Years 1-5 will use the main playground entrance to the right of reception.

On the main playground, a member staff will be at the gate to allow year groups (1-5) to enter at the correct time. There will be a one-way system in place with a separate entrance and exit gate to reduce the potential for crowding at the gate as one group of parents leaves the playground and the next year group enters. Teachers will be waiting behind the yellow line to meet their class and direct them into school, parents must not cross the yellow line at drop off or pick up.  Parents are reminded that they need to be prompt when dropping off and collecting to enable staff and children to have moved away before the next bubble arrives/departs.

As teachers will not be available to talk to parents at the beginning or end of the day, any communication should be done in the first instance via the contact page on your child’s Google classroom or via Tapestry for Nursery and Year R.  This system will replace contact books and further details will be sent out later to explain this.  Where  further discussion with a teacher is required, a telephone call can be requested by contacting the school office.

Communication with the office will be via email at or, if it is urgent, telephoning the office after 9:30am on 01322 242011. There are to be no pop-ins to the office and all communications are to be done via phone or email, this is to prevent people congregating in the small reception area.

The bubble drop off and collection times will be as follows:

Bubble Drop off time Collection time
Reception  8:45am 2:45pm
Year 1 8:50-9:00am 3:05pm
Year 2 3:10pm
Year 3 3:20pm
Year 4 9:05-9:15am  3:25pm
Year 5 3:30pm

Cherry Pips Nursery:  Morning session 9am-12 noon   Afternoon session 12-3pm

Any children arriving late and missing their window will, as before, need to wait in the car park for the year 4/5 window to close at 9:15am and then a member of staff will bring the children into the school.

Please keep your child with you once collected and DO NOT allow them to move around the playground as this puts other children and families from other bubbles at risk of cross contamination. We take your safety very seriously and politely request that you do too.


The children will be kept in their class ‘bubbles’ of 30 children for the majority of the time, but year group bubbles will be used for some events where class bubbles are not practical. Arrival, departure, playtimes, lunchtimes, and some teaching sessions (e.g. Read,Write Inc.) will be organised in year group bubbles. Staff will largely work within the same year group bubble but the guidance allows staff to move between bubbles. This will be the case for some TAs who work across different year groups, or run specific intervention activities such as Speech and Language, ELSA, Lego therapy and phonics. 

Children will not be expected to socially distance from one another but will be asked not to touch each other, hug, or have close face-to-face discussions. Staff will need to socially distance from pupils as much as possible, although we appreciate that this is less possible in Early Years. In Reception, both class ‘bubbles’ will free-flow indoors and outdoors together during child initiated times.  

In school, we are working hard to follow the guidelines in ensuring bubbles are kept seperate so we strongly encourage parents not to allow their children to mix with others outside of their bubble when not in school. 

Breakfast Club and After School Provision

We are delighted to announce that we are able to offer this service to our working parents only  from the week beginning 8th March.  Parents have been asked to sign up via the Google form in the usual way. If you have not already done so, please do so before 9am on Monday 1st March. Please note that if you have an outstanding balance for previous terms you will not be allocated a place until this balance is cleared with finance. The new government guidance has allowed us some flexibility in providing wraparound care so we are able to arrange children in Key Stage bubbles.  However, these bubbles must remain consistent for Test and Trace purposes, so regrettably we will no longer be accepting ad-hoc bookings, parents must sign up for the days they require at the beginning of the term.  If you have signed up for these sessions further details will be sent to you via email by Mrs Williams in due course. 


The Department for Education has now updated their guidance on pupils’ uniforms. All children are expected to return to full academy uniform from March.  Details of uniform expectations can be found  on our website here


All staff will wear face masks in communal areas of the school but not when they are working in their own bubble.  Staff will not be wearing face masks in class unless a member of staff has particularly requested this or staff need to have increased physical contact (i.e. to assist in changing a child or dealing with a first aid issue) or to deal with a child who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19. 

Water bottles and lunches 

All children will need to bring their own labelled water bottle which they can refill as required from the classroom tap under supervision from an adult. Water coolers will not be in use but the water in the classrooms is drinking water also.

 Lunches will be eaten in the hall in year group bubbles. If your child wishes to bring a packed lunch, please remember their lunch box should be clearly named on the outside to make it very clear to all whose lunch is whose. We wish to prevent unnecessary touching of items brought in from home so clear naming is essential please. It is also important that children are able to manage the opening of packaging themselves as adults are not able to touch their food items in the current situation.  Their lunch box should be made of a wipeable material, e.g. plastic, so that it can be easily sanitised at home.

Just a reminder that Key Stage 2 children are not provided with a snack so will need to bring in their own fruit or vegetable snack. Years 4 and 5 will not be eating their lunch until 1pm so we recommend sending in a fruit/veg snack for morning play as they may start to get hungry. 

P.E kits

We will continue to deliver PE sessions in a COVID-19 secure way.  All children from Years 1-5 are to come into school on their designated PE day in their PE kit.  This minimises the risk when changing and ensures that PE kits are not left in cloakroom areas where they often end up on the floor. Children will be expected to wear the academy PE  kit (please see our website for details here).   On warm days, you may wish to send your child in their P.E shorts, but a tracksuit is probably the best option in case of changeable weather.

Children should not wear earrings or watches on P.E days, and anyone with hair longer than chin length should have their hair tied back.

Resources from home

Children will not be permitted to bring any resources from home, other than their water bottle,  packed lunch (if they bring their own lunch), a coat and a sun hat (if required). PE kits will not be kept in school.

Google Classroom

To continue the success of our online learning, we will be utilising Google Classroom in years 1-5 to set Home Learning. 

We will continue to use individual contact books on the Google Classroom. These contact books will be in the form of a Google Doc, and your child will be allocated a personalised Google Doc named ‘(Child’s name) Contact Book’. 

If you would like to leave a message for the teacher, this needs to be completed on the Google doc contact book. The contact book will be formatted as a table, where you will be able to write the date and comment for the teacher. You will then need to ‘hand it in’ like an assignment. 

When the contact book is handed in, teachers will then be able to review any comments from parents/carers and reply. We kindly ask that comments in the contact book are to be submitted before 9am from parents/carers, to allow teachers to respond before the end of the school day. Teachers will leave a reply on the same Google Doc contact book in the next column – ‘Teacher Comment Box’ and will then return the assignment back. When teachers return the assignment, you will be able to read the teachers comments by clicking on the contact book.

 The next time you wish to leave the teacher another comment, you will be using the same Google Doc Contact Book. Simply put the date, write your comment and ‘hand it in’ again. Teachers are able to easily see handed in assignments and then respond before the end of the school day. 

Preparing your child for return to school

It would be helpful if parents could talk to their children about returning to school and go through the routines and measures in place. If children have any questions or concerns then please encourage them to utilise the Google Meet drop in sessions with their teachers next week.  

We appreciate that during lockdown and home-schooling, timings for bedtime and getting up may have altered a little.  It would be a good idea to begin reestabilishing usual school routines next week, so children are used to this by the 8 March.   


From 8th March, attendance once again becomes compulsory and we will be reinstating our usual absence protocols. If your child is unwell please call the absence line on 01322 242011 to let us know they will not be in and what is wrong. If we do not hear from you, Mrs Williams will call to find out where your child is. Unauthorised absences will once again be subject to fines. No holidays will be authorised during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances, but after such a long period of time off school we would hope that no one will be planning to remove their child from school.

If a child, or another member of their household , has symptoms of coronavirus they must not return to school until they have been tested and received a negative outcome. If anyone in the household tests positive then the household must isolate, parents should refer to government guidance in these circumstances found at:

Thank you in advance for your cooperation with the measures outlined in this letter, by following the guidance we can continue to minimise the risk of transmission in our school community.

We are all looking forward to seeing all the children back in school very soon!

Kind regards,

Mrs. J. Forsythe