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Headteacher Updates

Tuesday 14th July

This week there is a lot of information to share and so I thought it best to include it here.

As we approach the final few days of the summer term, there is a lot of planning and preparation going into September when we expect to be able to welcome all children back to school in all classes.  We are working on risk assessments and relevant planning both as a school and as part of Pathfinder trust to ensure the safest return possible.

I’d like to set out below some of the key elements that we are working on now.  Please bear in mind that the guidance from the government does change from time to time and there may be further updates while we are closed for the summer.  Everything set out here is subject to change - we will follow government and local updates over the summer and send out anything relevant during the holiday.

This is not an exhaustive list and we will write to you again by the end of the week with any further updates.

Who will be back at school in September?

We are expecting all children back from Tuesday 8th September (Monday 7th is a staff training day).  Children will be able to come to school 5 days a week.


We expect all children to be back at school and will monitor attendance.  Our approach to managing attendance will be to work with you to ensure good attendance - we don’t intend to issue fines for non-attendance any more than we do now.

The school day

We will be extending the opening and closing of school to try and support social distancing.

Start of the day

Classroom doors will be open from 8.40am-9.00am at the start of the day

End of the day

Children can be collected from 2.40pm-3.00pm.  Children walking home alone will leave at 3.00pm.

Children can be dropped off at and collected from school during this window at each end of the day.

We ask that you and your children don’t arrive earlier than these times and don’t remain on site any longer than you need to in order to help the flow round school to be a steady one.

Children in years five and six may come to school unaccompanied as usual, all other children should be brought to school by one adult only.

How children will be grouped

Children will be in their own class with their own class teacher.  We will be using bubbles for break, lunch and sharing resources.  Our bubbles will be as follows:

  • Reception
  • Year One & Year Two
  • Years Three & Four
  • Years Five & Six

Most of the time, children will stay in their own classroom but we will need to mix sometimes and this gives us the flexibility to do this. 

How classrooms will be organised

Reception and Year One children will have some tables in the classroom but will learn through a mixture of areas of provision and in small groups, sometimes with a teacher or teaching assistant.

Year two children will, where possible, be seated facing the front of the room.

Year three and older children will be seated facing the front of the room. 

Outdoor Provision

Bubbles will have access to shared outdoor space and will use this at break and lunchtimes and throughout the day.

Uniform and Equipment

We expect all children to wear correct school uniform, including PE kit.

Children must not bring pencil cases or other equipment to school.

Children walking to school alone may bring a mobile phone but they must switch it off when entering the school grounds and hand it to the teacher on entry to the classroom.

Water bottles should be brought to school as usual and taken home daily to be washed.

We will not maintain a lost property box.  Unnamed items will no longer be stored in school.

Parents in school

Unfortunately we cannot let parents come into school other than by prior appointment (eg for a meeting with the SENDCO).  For general queries, please phone or email the office.

Parents will not be able to talk to the teacher at the classroom door at the start or end of the day – all queries will need to come through the school office by phone or email.

Bikes and scooters

Children may come to school on a bike or scooter and park them in the racks.

Hygiene Requirements

Handwashing will be a big feature of the school day – with handwashing before entry to school and regularly throughout the day.

We will follow the ‘Catch it, Kill it, Bin it’ routine with tissues being available in all classrooms.

All children should wash their hands before leaving the house each day.


We will continue with the enhanced cleaning regime we have in place now.

Social distancing

Staff will be encouraged to keep socially distant from each other and from children where possible.  We will, however, support and comfort children if we need to.

The following information applies to the return to school for some children only from 1st June:

Monday 1st June

All staff have been into school today having an induction into the new systems, walking round the site to be clear on entrances and exits and discussing all things health and safety as well as planning for the children in reception and year one to be back from tomorrow.

I have sent out information in the posts below about our health and safety planning and the key measures in place.  Please see here the key messages:

  • All children must be accompanied to school by an adult - this adult should supervise hand washing at the outdoor stations and wait until the child goes into school before leaving.
  • Please follow all social distancing signs and instructions round school.
  • Please use this map to ensure you use the correct entrance and route around school. 
  • Please arrive at the correct time as indicated on the map.
  • Please use the specified entrance only.
  • Key workers can arrive for breakfast club from 8.00am-8.20am - please make sure you book these places with the school office in advance.  Otherwise, they should arrive at 8.45am at the specified door as per the map above.
  • Children should only bring the following items to school:
    • Packed lunch (unless a school packed lunch has been ordered)
    • Sun hat
    • Sun cream (if can apply it themselves)
    • Inhaler
    • Chromebook and charger (if borrowed a school device)
    • There is very limited access to bike storage at school.
    • All other equipment and resources will be provided by school
  • Any work children do at school can be brought home at the end of the day but cannot then be returned to school
  • Children will work in their bubble with their staff all day, with time inside and outside to learn and play.
  • If your child or anyone in the household has symptoms of Covid-19, they must not come to school and should be tested as soon as possible.

Thursday 28th May

There are two important documents to share today - one is a detailed letter with information about the plans for next week, along with a map showing entry and exit points round school for each group.  The second is a return to school guide for parents produced by the MAT.

Parent Update 28/05/20

Return to School Guide

We have had a busy few days in school, preparing rooms and outdoor spaces for next week.

We have been marking areas in classroom as 'teacher zones' so that children and teachers know where to stand or sit in order to stay safe.  Tables and chairs have been set out 2m apart and resources prepared for use that can be easily wiped or washed clean after use.

We have had a delivery of PPE and cleaning equipment today along with three hand wash stations that will be placed outside in key areas to enable children to wash their hands before entering school and also at break and lunchtime and during outdoor sessions.

These are some key messages below that you may want to share with your children to help with their return to school confidently next week.  We considered sharing some photos of the rooms as we prepare them but feel on balance that it is better to show the children in person and explain and talk through the changes - a photograph won't tell the whole story and could end up looking worse than it really is.

  • We are looking forward to seeing you back in school next week.
  • You will be in a class with other children that you know and teachers or teaching assistants that you know - although it might not be your own teacher or teaching assistant if they are working with another group.
  • School won't look the same as it did before we closed but we are working hard to make it still be a fun place to learn.
  • Some of the tables and chairs have been taken out of classrooms to make more space for us all to learn and help keep everyone safe.
  • We have put some colourful tape on the floor so you can see where to go in the classroom.
  • Some equipment and toys have been moved but we are setting up boxes of exciting things to do when you are in school.
  • Your group will stay together all day, playing outside and inside together as well as having lessons from the teachers.
  • You will have lunch in your classroom or outside if the weather is nice.
  • We will remind you lots of times in the day to wash your hands and make sure you can do this properly.  We might even learn some songs to help us remember how to do this.
  • You don't need to wear school uniform or bring anything with you from home apart from a water bottle - we will give you everything else that you need.
  • We want you to come back to school happy and ready to learn but know that you might be a bit worried about it.
  • Everyone will feel the same and we will help you to settle back in again.

Finally for today, a reminder of our three over-arching priorities at the moment:

1. Ensuring that school is as safe as possible for children, parents and staff.

This has been the major focus of our work in the past week, creating safe spaces to learn and work.

2. Planning for the wider opening of school

We are almost ready for this now and once we have had all staff in school on Monday to look at walk through the health and safety requirements we will be ready to go.

3. Home learning

This is now going to be the priority moving forward.  As the majority of children will be remaining at home for some time yet, we will be looking at how we maintain momentum with home learning in order to maximise engagement and learning opportunities for all children.

Tuesday 26th May

Today we have been working on risk assessments, preparing to clear and set up classroom spaces for the return to school next week of more children and organising logistics of groups.

We have taken the difficult decision that we can't accommodate year six children at this stage because of the restrictions on the number of children we can fit in one room with social distancing and the fact that we simply don't have enough staff to run this safely.  As per the government guidelines we need to prioritise the children of key workers and those who are vulnerable first, followed by reception, then year one and then year six.  I am sure children and parents will find this disappointed and we are also feeling the same, but the priority remains safety at all times.

We have contacted parents of children who requested places from 1st June in reception and year one with details on which days their children can return from next week.  

A reminder that we are closed on Monday 1st June to all but the children of key workers and will start admitting reception and year one from Tuesday 2nd June.

I will write again tomorrow with more details - including which room your children will be based in and with which members of staff, how to enter the school site and other safety measures we have in place.

Please also see this visual guide to staying safe and the planning that is taking place to prepare for next week.

Friday 22nd May

I said yesterday that I would write again today with more details for the return to school of some pupils.  We are not quite ready for this as we are still working on risk assessments and grouping children so this will now come out at the start of next week - after the bank holiday weekend.

A few key questions that I know parents have been asking:

  1. Lunches - these will be cold lunches only, provided for reception and year one pupils at no cost (as usually happens).  Year six pupils can purchase a packed lunch in the usual way, payment must be made online - no cash will be accepted.  Children may choose to bring a packed lunch instead.
  2. Uniform - children are not expected to wear uniform.  I know that lots of children will have grown out of their clothes or school shoes so may wear their own clothes.
  3. Groups and days - we will be allocating children to groups taking into account friendships.  Groups will be as small as possible but may not be in the children's usual classroom or with their usual teacher.
  4. Start and end times - we will publish information next week on the start and end time for each child's group along with details of which entrance children should use to enter and leave school each day.
  5. Other equipment - children must not bring any additional equipment to school - this includes PE kit, pencil cases, mobile phones, book bags or backpacks.  We need to restrict the amount of items brought into school from home

I will provide further information next week. 

To avoid repetition, the latest update from Pathfinder details all the work that has been going on and continues in school through next week.  This update can be seen here:

Next week would have been half term.  We remain open for vulnerable children and the children of key workers at this time.  I'd like to wish you all a safe and peaceful weekend.  The next update will be on Tuesday 26th May.

Thursday 21st May

Our number one priority at this time remains the safety and wellbeing of all pupils and staff at school as well as the wider families of everyone involved in school.  All of our planning and risk assessment is based on the premise that we can bring more children back to school as safely as possible and following local and national guidelines.

Many thanks to those of you with children in reception, year one and year six who completed the survey indicating whether you were sending your child back to school.  We now know the numbers that will be in so will be sorting out the finer details over the next couple of days. If you have not made contact with us regarding a place, we have assumed that you do not want one. Should you change your mind after this date, please contact school. Please note that we will need at least 7 days notice to arrange this, so that we can prepare the classrooms, organise staffing and ensure that everyone is as safe as possible.  We will not be able to accept any parent or child that turns up without being booked on and having received confirmation from school.

What if I don't want to send my child back?

It is absolutely fine if you have decided that you do not want your child in school at this time. The home learning we have in place will continue and your child’s teacher will still be responding to their work, although you will appreciate that they are in school some of the time so might not be responding immediately. We are continuing to look at how we can develop home learning and will keep doing so over the coming days and weeks.

What about children in Y2, Y3, Y4 and Y5?

For those of you with children in other year groups, home learning will also continue. During the course of the week all staff will be in school working with small groups of children from reception, year one and year 6 so again there may not be immediate responses to questions and to work done, but we will respond to all messages and make contact with all children over the coming weeks.

What happens next if I said I want to send my child back?

If you have decided to send your child back to school, please find below further information about how we are beginning to organise this. You will understand that we are having to make changes to the way we come and go from school as well as the way we learn both in and out of the classroom. I am sure that you will support us with these changes which will become clearer in the next few days.

We will write to you tomorrow with more information about which days your child will be in school – Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday. As I am sure you will understand, we are unable to accommodate individual requests from parents as to which days they will be in, although we have of course considered siblings and friendships when grouping children.

Coming to and leaving school

We will be having a staggered start and end to the day and we may be asking you to come in to school at a different time of day than usual. We are looking next week at systems for moving round school and will be marking out using spray paint lines and cones to make this clear to everyone and to aid social distancing. It is vital that everyone sticks to the timings given for their child to be in school. If you are late we may not be able to accommodate you that day. If you have more than one child to bring to school we may contact you individually to make separate plans. It is also important that only one adult accompanies their child on to the school premises and other siblings stay at home where possible.

What next?

We will be contacting parents very soon with more specific details for their child. We know that you may still have concerns and questions and we hope that we can answer as many of these as we can.

What about key workers?

Provision for children of key workers has not changed.  Places can be booked by contacting the school via phone or email.  Places are available across the whole week.  This will be a 'bubble' in itself, with mixed age groups - including some children who are in reception, year one and year six (if they need to come more than two days as outlined above).  There will be consistent staff with these children and they will have access to learning and teaching based on either their home learning or on what their peers are doing in the classes attending school.


School will look and feel very different to normal. However, we will all do our best to make your child feel happy and settled. They will be taught and be learning during the day but this won’t look and feel like a normal day and may not be with your child’s usual class teacher – class teachers will be supporting and leading planning for this learning.

Take care and stay safe.

Wednesday 20th May

Thank you to everyone who has a child in Reception, Year One and Year Six who has filled in the survey so far.  We have 22 responses still to come in - we need these back as soon as possible so we can finalise the plans and then contact you again with more information about what happens next.  Thank you also for the positive comments we have received about how we are handling this difficult process - we are absolutely committed to getting this right and will be open and transparent with you throughout this process.

I have had a number of meetings over the past couple of days for planning, including a whole staff 'Zoom' meeting where we discussed the information I shared with you all yesterday.  Staff are keen to get into school and to see the children again and are dedicated to getting this right for everyone - keeping safety as our number one priority.  We discussed home learning and how this will work when some children return to school and I want to be clear that there needs to be a continuation of provision for those children who remain at home - whichever year group they are in - and also for the days when the children who are returning aren't in school.

For those parents who are key workers - please also complete the survey but also continue to book places on the days you need via the school office by phone or email.

If you haven't yet completed the survey, it can be found here:

Monday 18th May

I hope you all managed to have a good weekend and had a chance to relax.  I apologise for any rain you may have had - I got the barbecue out and the sky darkened over my village, although it didn't put me off!

There is still much speculation and debate about the re-opening of schools and I want to keep sharing our position and the work we are doing to prepare for this.  I will be able to add more detail in the next 24 hours once key discussions with other schools in the city have taken place - it is a testament to the passion of leaders across York that we are working together so closely to provide clarity and consistency and I thank you for your patience - we want to get this right and not rush out mixed messages.

Once again I address our three key areas:

1. Ensuring that school is as safe as possible for children, parents and staff.

Our overarching priority is to ensure the safety of everyone involved with the school.  We have been developing a comprehensive approach, both as an individual  school and as part of the trust, to this aspect and will share these with you prior to the children returning to school.  This is a vital part of our planning.  We want you to have the confidence that we are planning for more children to be in school, following local and national guidelines for safety, cleaning and protocols.

2. Planning for the wider opening of school

We are firming up plans locally to re-introduce children to school and will be sharing these plans with you over the next 24 hours or so alongside the information on health and safety considerations in order to give you a clear picture of next steps.  Our plans will continue to evolve as the situation develops and we will keep you fully informed about any new developments.  We want to ensure our plans can be scaled up to meet any changes in local or national policy to minimise disruption to the children.

3. Home learning

We are almost at the point of setting out our key principles for home learning that are being developed across the trust and in tandem with the return to school of more pupils.  There has been a lot of positive feedback about this work, but I also recognise that some of you are finding this more difficult and we want to support you, and importantly your children, as best we can so are reviewing this provision to take all of this into account.

Friday 15th May

As we reach the end of another week, I would once again like to reassure you that we remain absolutely committed to the priority of making sure school is safe place for everyone.  I provide our latest updates here alongside warmest wishes to you all for a safe and relaxing weekend.

As mentioned previously, we are working towards the potential re-opening of school to more children from 1st June.  We are focussing in particular on these areas:

1. Ensuring that school is as safe as possible for children, parents and staff.

We are working with the estates manager at the MAT to confirm maximum safe numbers for different areas of the school and work out the best way to manage social distancing for drop off and pick up from school as well as during the school day.

We are getting extra cleaning materials and equipment as well as signage to increase facilities for and awareness of handwashing.

2. Planning for the return of Reception, Year One and Year Six children

I will give more details at the start of next week of our planning for this.  We are working tirelessly with safety as our number one priority.

3. Continuing to provide resources for home learning for those children who aren't coming back in June.

I want to make sure we are getting this right and see how it can evolve from the initial set up we put in place to providing the best support we can.  This will take some time and has to run parallel to plans for re-opening for more children.  Thank you for your patience and support with this.

We continue to work closely with other schools in York to get a consistent approach so we can get the very best for our children.

Remember at this time that we remain open for children of key workers and if you have alternative to keeping your children at home.  To book a place, contact school in the usual way:

• Call the school on 01904 798453
• Email 

The weekly newsletter  is available on the website and can be read here: 

Weekly News 32 15-05-20

The latest updates from Pathfinder MAT can be seen here:

Thursday 14th May

We are continuing to work on our planning for the potential re-opening of school on 1st June to some children.  Our key areas of focus are:

1. Ensuring that school is as safe as possible for children, parents and staff.

We will be carrying out risk assessments of the school - both inside and outside.

We are enhancing our cleaning regime and providing more equipment and resources - such as for handwashing, cleaning surfaces regularly during the day and measuring classrooms to see how many children can safely be accommodated in them whilst maintaining social distancing.

We will be setting up systems for example around the safe drop off and pick up of a larger number of children.

Safety is our top priority at all times.

2. Planning for the return of Reception, Year One and Year Six children

Looking at what we can provide for children who return to school.  It will be a very different experience to that which they have had prior to school closures, but we need to make sure it is meaningful and supportive.

3. Continuing to provide resources for home learning for those children who aren't coming back in June.

We are reviewing systems for other year groups and for those in Reception, Y1 and Y6 who don't return on 1st June so that we can still provide support online or in hard copies.

We will continue to follow national guidance and to be transparent with staff and parents as we move forward.

We know that some people will have real anxieties about this situation and will continue to do everything we can to alleviate these.

A reminder of the documents available regarding the potential re-opening of schools on 1st June which can be seen here:

Covid 19 government recovery strategy  

Actions for educational and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening from 1 June 2020   

Opening schools and educational settings to more pupils from 1 June: guidance for parents and carers  

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Acomb Primary School, York

A video prospectus about life at Acomb Primary School. See some of the many special things we do...

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A video made by one of our pupils about space

Gorge Walking 2014 GoPro

Bewerley Park