School Communications to Parents

Sent 19/3/2020

Dear Parents,

At the time of writing, we are still no clearer as to which roles are considered key Workers and that therefore their children can continue to attend school. We have been assured that this information will become available later today. Many parents have caught/asked/messaged us to seek clarification and all I can say is that at the present time - I don't know.

I do appreciate it's frustrating going forward, but please bear with us.

Please also be aware that our Learning Platform (e-schools) has really struggled today and the communications we have wanted to send have been either stacked up or disappeared. I will set up a link on the Welcome page of the school website later and will keep this updated with information that we send out. To keep this simple I will title it 'Coronavirus'. 

Finally and sadly there won't be a Whole School Newsletter tomorrow - our focus is likely to be on clarifying who the Key Workers are and how those parents can validate their professions in readiness for Monday. There are a couple of other things that need to be done as well.

If you do see Mrs Bourne tomorrow, please feel free to ask her what happened to the Boost Bar that Mrs Skinner had brought for me and which I was planning to eat the other day - only couldn't!



Simon Billings

Sent: 23/3/2020
Dear Parents,
Many of you will have picked up from our communications that since Friday we have been populating the school website with Home Learning resources and that these have been added to today.
There is a plethora of both links and ideas to support you in your endeavors with Home Learning for your children going forward and we will continue to update these.
The left hand column has online resources for Home Learning
The right hand column has Home Learning Timetables and subject specific links.
If you scroll down to the bottom of the page you will find resources specific to this weeks school theme which is, 'Family & Friends.'
Please continue to keep an eye on the website as we will update these resources each week.
Many parents have been tremendously supportive in these very difficult times and your kind comments continue to be very much appreciated by all the staff.
Please stay safe, make sure you both self and socially isolate and wash your hands regularly.
Our challenge is simple, we self isolate as much as we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
'previous generations gave their lives for freedom, we are being asked to stay at home to protect the ones that we love - you wouldn't have thought it would be that hard to do the right thing.'
We are in unprecedented times, life is not normal at the moment and nor will it be for some time to come. 
Simon Billings
Sent 14/4/2020
Dear Parents,
A few updates for you.
1, The Essex Child and Family Well Being Service has produced some guidance via a brand new resource hub. This includes information on Financial Welfare, safeguarding and Home Schooling. The guidance is available from the school website in the Coronavirus link.
2, On the Home Learning section of the school website we have now included a new section which is called 'New Websites'. These are the websites/links we have added since last week. I would specifically draw your attention to the Home Learning planner which is an excellent resource.
3, Please don't forget to send in pictures of your Easter Hats. Those giant eggs won't eat themselves! The competition closes tomorrow - but you do have all day to send the pictures in to the account. Current hat-tries are on the school website in 'Our School's Learning at Home.'
4, The staff's effort for the Talent competition is also on the school website, perhaps not our finest hour, but a solid effort none the less. This is also in 'Our School's Learning at Home.'
5, Facebook. For at least the duration of the lock down we are operating a facebook page. This is just for information and will in essence duplicate the information we send out via e-mail and put on the website. The facebook id is: @SJGreenNews and this will also available from the 'Welcome Page' of the school website. when we can get it to work.
6, Those parents eligible for FSM will be sent a separate e-mail tomorrow about the national voucher scheme.
7, Please do send in some pictures of the things you're doing at home and share the website with your children. It's been brilliant to see the different things you've been doing and learning at home.
I would urge parents to keep an eye on the Home Learning sections of the website and read the weekly newsletters and to engage with some of the things we're putting on there. In these very un-normal times, the website does give at least a modicum of normality for the children and for that matter - for us.
I wish you all well, please continue to stay safe.
Simon Billings
Dear Parents,
Firstly many thanks for all the pictures and explanations of Home Learning that you've sent in. These have almost all been put on the website. It's been fantastic to see the different things everyone has been getting up to at home.
Thank you as well for the St John's Green got Talent entries. We do have these and will start adding them to the website at the end of the week. Please remember that the closing date for entries is Monday 27th April.
Miss Stockwell has put together a video that talks through how you could use the school's Home Learning at home. This is on the website and is available here
Today is World Earth Day. Mr Folkard has very kindly sent a link which has 50 Earth Day Activities for kids - Everything from Fairy DIY to Egg Carton projects. This link is on the website in resources for WB 20/4/2020 along with one called Countryside Classroom which is also excellent.
Do have a look at this weeks website link. There is also one from Colchester Museums that has some lovely activities on it.
There are also resources for World Earth Day by doing a Twinkle search and the links for this are also on the school website in Home Learning.
Clare Kershaw, the Director of Learning for Essex, has sent a letter for all parents. In short the letter tries to dispel any myths as to when schools may reopen again as the short answer is nobody knows. It also thanks you for the work you are doing with your chikldren at home. The letter is attached to this e-mail.
In addition, I do appreciate that many of our families are experiencing difficult times, both with being in lockdown and also with the financial implications that come with that. Colchester Borough Council have published a 'Support for Residents' website which includes links for financial support and domestic abuse.
Again this is on our website in the 'Coronavirus' link.
All parents should be receiving either by St John's Green Mail - or Royal Mail the Home Learning Packs for the next two weeks. The school started delivering these yesterday and finished off today and the Royal Mail ones were sent yesterday. There's nothing bad in these envelopes so they are safe to open - your children may disagree!
Finally, I wish you all well. Saty Safe, keep washing those hands and Socially Distancing and hopefully we'll see you all sooner rather than later.
Simon Billings
Sent 13/5/2020
Dear Parents,
You will no doubt have been following the Prime Minister's announcement on Sunday and considering the implications for you and your families with regards to schools being able to start the process of welcoming more children back. The announcement has since been followed by several guidance documents, which contain various bits of advice and guidance which all told currently add up to 48 bullet points which if we achieve them will mean we have a rigorous approach to Social Distancing in school!
However, in my opinion, the very real reality is that Social Distancing in school is not attainable, however many risk assessments we have. We can and will put measures in place to enable good hygiene and Social Distancing, but we work with children who are by their very nature tactile and who will get closer than 2m to their peers. When children are allowed to return they will seek physical contact and reassurance with each other and this is human and child nature.  I say this honestly, because I don't want any parents to be disillusioned by what is achievable in school or give any false assurances that once your children are able to return they will not be exposed to COVid 19. In the same way that children pick up coughs and sneezes etc when they are in school and out and about.
The other part of the very real situation is that COVid 19 is not going anywhere and we will and will have to continue to make very real adjustments in our daily lives for a significant period of time to come. Some parents are then faced with having to make a decision based on whether they feel comfortable in sending their children back to school, when they are able to do so. I must stress that this becomes parental decision and at this time there are no attendance implications if parents chose not to send their children back to school.
I'm also very conscious, that at the time of writing everything could change again before we can begin to put our plan into action.
Based on the government's announcement, the school at this point in time will be taking the following approach to welcoming more children back into school.
  • Week Beginning 25th May is Half Term week and the school will be closed to all children this week. School staff, have been working solidly since February Half Term including the Easter Break and Bank Holidays. In addition many children have also been in school this time as well and they need a break too.
  • Week beginning 1st June. The school will be open for Key Worker and vulnerable children only, as it has been since lock down and school closures began. 
  • Week beginning 8th June. The school will be open for Key Worker children, vulnerable children and Year 1 children only.  More details will be sent to Year 1 parents next week.
  • Week beginning 15th June. The school will be open for Key Worker children, vulnerable children, Year 1 children and EYFS children only. We will send more details to EYFS parents nearer the time.
It is important to note that this will not be school as you know it. As well as the approach to hand-washing. We will also be splitting the classes into smaller groups. These children could well be being taught by a teacher who is not the normal teacher or by an LSA of the school and may also be in with a group of children who do not include their specific friends. School drop off's and collection will also be staggered as will a drop off and collection one way system, which means that children will be coming straight into school as soon as they arrive at the school site - it is very important that parents support this process.
The school will then review the situation with regards to how we can bring back into school some of the older children. 
I will email specifically Year 1 and EYFS parents next week and that will contain far more specific guidance about the measures that the school will have in place and how it will work for those children. Please be aware though that we cannot accept siblings from Year 1 and EYFS children.
Parents should also be aware that Home Learning packs for all Year Groups will continue to be both posted and put on the school website for the duration of the Summer Term.
As always Stay Safe
Simon Billings
Email sent to Year 1 Parents 20/5/2020
Dear Year 1 Parents,
Not withstanding what new announcements may or may not be made about schools' reopening over the next few weeks, our school's plan at the time of writing continues with us welcoming back all Year 1 children, who wish to come back from Monday 8th June.
Bearing the above in mind, please could you complete and return electronically to the attached form indicating whether you wish your child to return to school on Monday 8th June or whether you're planning on continuing their learning at home. Either decision is fine and we will continue to put the Home Learning on the website.
The guidance that the school has been given means that at the current time from Monday 8th June we will apply as best as we are able Social Distancing within the school. This will look like the following:
  • The school day will start at 8.45 and Year 1 children will be at the AF site.
  • The school will operate a one way system and we are asking children to enter the school site from the alley way (between the adventure play equipment and school car park)
  • Children will come straight into school and wash their hands and go to their class base - they will not be lining up on the playground.
  • Children will be in class bases of no more than 15 children with two members of staff. This will in effect become (for the current time) their in school social bubble. 
  • Each group of up to 15 children will have separate playtimes and lunch time with half the dining room/playground whilst another class base has the other half.
  • Whilst we will advocate and try to instill on the children that they need to remain in their halves of the playground - there will inevitably be some degree of cross over - these are children after all.
  • The school day will finish at either 3.05 or 3.15 (once we know the numbers of children attending - sending back that form will be very helpful) we will let parents know what time their children will need to be collected.
  • Children only need to bring in a packed lunch box. Please do not send them in with reading records/book bags/reading books/pencil cases etc - we will have in school all the resources that we need and children will choose a reading book from within school. We know the virus prefers hard/shiny surfaces so by limiting those items brought into school we limit the potential for the virus.
  • If children are going to be having a school dinner then they only need to bring themselves.
  • Children should still wear school uniform - we are after all in school.
  • Children will be washing their hands continually throughout the day - if they have a soap that is slightly kinder on their hands then they should bring that in with them.
  • We will also be working with the children on how to facilitate good hygiene - so for example pencils/pens/desks/tops of chairs etc will all be washed down at the end of the day and we will involve the children in this.
  • COVID 19 is specifically transmitted through mucus and through our mouths/noses/ eyes - you cannot catch it by touching someone's hand - you catch it by putting your hand near to/into your mouth. Washing your hands kills the virus and sends it off into the sewage system...
  • If your own circumstances mean that you only want to take advantage of the school being open for Year 1 for a part of the week, this is absolutely fine. (My wife and I are looking to sending our own children back to school for a few days after Half Term but not for the whole week.)
I am very sorry for how formal this sounds but the school must comply with the guidance as it currently stands, and follow that guidance as best as we are able. I will not though allow the school to turn into some sort of Police State with children getting told off for wandering from where they should be or playing (within their bubble) as children should. It is also important to stress that although we will open windows and doors for ventilation I cannot possibly guarantee that the COVID virus will not be present within the school. What we can and will advocate is good hygiene.
As I wrote before: When children are allowed to return they will seek physical contact and reassurance with each other and this is human and child nature.  I say this honestly, because I don't want any parents to be disillusioned by what is achievable in school or give any false assurances that once your children are able to return they will not be exposed to COVid 19. In the same way that children pick up coughs and sneezes etc when they are in school and out and about.
The school will send a child home if they are displaying any of the current symptoms of the virus, there is I'm afraid no wriggle room for this.
Current symptoms include:
  • high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • 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)
  • 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
We are living in strange times and must as parents be very aware that the virus is not going anywhere for a bit. It is also I think exceptionally likely that we will return at some point with class numbers at 30. Therefore the above Social Distancing in school is, I believe, an interim measure by the government and we will have to see that change for schools to be able to welcome back all children. 
Therefore as parents we have to make a decision as to whether we should or should not send our children back. As I've said I cannot guarantee that children will not catch the virus whilst in school and that despite the measures we will put in place, children will be children and quite rightly. However, I do believe that we have to learn to live with the virus and learn how to protect ourselves as best as we are able and the school will continue to reinforce good hygiene whilst they are in school.
I hope therefore that you will feel able to send your Year 1 child back - but I would completely understand if you wanted to wait for a bit. 
The link below is for the governments current guidance on schools' reopening which you may find interesting.
The guidance on PPE is also very clear and that information is available here:
I would finally stress that everything could and is very likely to change and possibly change again.  If this happens and directly affects our school plan for Year 1 and Monday 8th June I will of course let you know.
For now though, we plough ahead and I'm very hopeful of welcoming our Year 1 children back in school on the 8th.
Simon Billings
Key Workers
Dear Parents,
Good Morning.
The school will communicate via e-mail today, with a hard copy of the letter via children who are in school and through the Coronavirus link on the school website those children who the school will provide an educational setting for from Monday.
The governments advice remains the same - 

If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.

That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

Schools are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children - children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

Vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

We know that schools will also want to support other children facing social difficulties and we will support head teachers to do so.


Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined below. Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

As always please bear with us and be patient. My thanks for your support and understanding of the school and the ongoing situation that we are all facing.
Simon Billings
Key Workers Letter 20.3.2020
Return Slip



To support you and your family through the COVID-19 pandemic, Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service has created a brand new resource hub. We understand this is an extremely challenging time for families, children and young people because everyone’s daily lives and routines have significantly changed. The closure of schools, social distancing and workplace changes is likely to have created new challenges for families.


The COVID-19 Pandemic Resource Hub includes guidance and information on:


  • Talking with your children about COVID-19
  • Emotional and physical wellbeing – keeping positive
  • Support for young people
  • Home schooling
  • Relationships at home
  • Safeguarding yourself and others
  • Dealing with a very young baby
  • Home safety tips
  • Families with children with SEND
  • Financial welfare