Important Information

A Guide for Pupil’s and Parent’s/Carer’s returning to School in September 2020

August 28, 2020

Pupil and Parent/Carer Guide


  • The transmission rate of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK has decreased.
  • The government has stated that they ‘are asking schools to prepare for all pupils to return full time from the start of the Autumn Term‘.
  • Schools are being asked to plan on this basis.
  • This guide sets out our plans and demonstrates how we will keep everyone safe.
  • We ask that parents/carers t read this guide carefully with their child before they return to school, so that everyone understands what they need to do.

Basis of our plans

Our planning is underpinned by the Department for Education’s advice on effective infection protection and control which identifies that there are important actions that children and young people, their parents and those who work with them can take during the coronavirus outbreak, to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Essential measures that schools have been asked to engage with are:

  • A requirement that all people who have coronavirus symptoms, or who live with someone who has symptoms, do not attend school.
  • Cleaning hands thoroughly more often than usual
  • Ensure robust respiratory hygiene (the ‘Catch It, Bin It, Kill It’ approach)
  • Enhanced cleaning arrangements, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often
  • Active engagement with NHS Test and Trace and management of confirmed cases of coronavirus within the school community
  • Consideration of how to reduce contacts between groups of pupils and maximise distance between these groups in school wherever possible
  • The full reopening of The Link School ollows a period of partial re-opening, where pupils have been kept in small bubbles and where we have been able to implement the above procedures in school. We are therefore confident that we are ready to welcome all pupils back to school with these measures in place.

Relevant guidance:

  • Implementing protective measures : oronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective- measures-in-education-and-childcare- settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing- protective-measures-in-education-and- childcare-settings
  • DfE information for parents and carers: what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about- early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges- during-the-coronavirus-covid-19- outbreak/what-parents-and-carers-need-to- know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and- colleges-in-the-autumn-term
  • Further re-opening guidance: h /actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus- outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools
  • Union guidelines and checklists have also been consulted, as well as information from PHE and WHO.
  • Planning has been scrutinised by our Management Commitee, and approval has been given to implement the measures we have identified and outlined in our risk assessment, in order to re-open to more pupils in a safe manner.

Our Plans – Site Preparation

In order to fully open the building, a number of actions have taken place to ensure pupil and staff safety:

  • A thorough inspection of the site, to assess water quality, fire safety and facilities
  • A full risk assessment, to ensure all appropriate safety measures are in place regarding coronavirus management
  • New classroom layouts
  • Removal of excess furniture to ensure appropriate spacing where required
  • Spacing of seating and tables in the dining areas, and creation of new dining areas, to ensure safety at mealtimes
  • Deep cleaning
  • Markings, signs and tape to ensure clearly marked entry and exit points and movement systems around the building
  • Markings, signs and barriers to ensure clearly marked outside zones for pupils to use safely
  • Signage to issue reminders for hand washing and good respiratory hygiene
  • Provision of sanitiser stations around school and in PPE boxes in all classrooms
  • Provision of PPE for the medical room and for first aid usage
  • Review of fire evacuation routes and assembly points
  • Provision of door wedges for classrooms, to ensure good ventilation
  • Staff training

Arrival and Departure Times

We will have staggered start and finish times for each Key Stage bubble at Springwell Dene

KS1: 845am – 2.30pm

KS2: 9.30am – 3.00pm

KS3: 9am – 2.50pm

Pupils will leave school at 12.30pm every Friday (packed lunches will be provided for those pupils on FSM) to allow time for the school to be thoroughly deep cleaned.

At Pallion, there are 9 year group bubbles each with allocated start and finish times.

  • Each Key Stage will be based in a zone of the school and will have all their lessons in that zone.
  • KS1 and KS2 will be based in Key Stage bubbles. They will have all their lessons in the same zone (teachers will stay with their classes).
  • KS3 will be based in Key Stage bubbles. They will have all their lessons in the same zone (pupils will move to teacher classes with their teaching assistant – the teacher will remain in their 2m zone at the front of the class).
  • In KS1, KS2 and KS3 pupils will have lunch in the dining hall at staggered times, time has been built in for the tables and chairs to be cleaned between each sitting.
  • KS4 will be based in Year Group They will have all their lessons in the same zone (pupils will move to teacher classes with their teaching assistant – the teacher will remain in their 2m zone at the front of the class).
  • At KS4, packed lunches will be ordered for those pupils who require one and given to the pupil either on arrival or as they leave.
  • All pupils must leave the site immediately at their finish times, and ensure that social distancing measures are adhered to carefully.

Class room layouts and routines

  • Classrooms have been rearranged as far as possible so that pupils all face in the same direction ( rows).
  • Individual stationary packs will be provided for all pupils, these must not be shared with other pupils.
  • Teachers are to remain at a 2m distance from pupils wherever possible.

Maintaining a distance

  • Visitors are not permitted on site without an appointment
  • All visitors to the site (not delivery drivers, postal staff etc ) will be required to complete a test and trace form on arrival at reception.
  • Visitors at reception must adhere to 2m social distancing measures.
  • Access to the site by deliveries is restricted to times when there are not pupils arriving and departing.
  • Staff will aim to keep a 2m distance from pupils where possible, as staff will teach across the year group and class bubbles.
  • Large gatherings, such as assemblies, coffee, will not be possible to begin with, as adequate distancing cannot be maintained.

Hand Cleaning arrangements

  • Hand washing facilities are available in all toilet areas, and pupils are encouraged to use these frequently during the school day.
  • All pupils are required to sanitise their hands on entering the building / classroom.
  • Pupils are additionally required to sanitise their hands at the end of break and before and after eating.
  • Unnecessary touching of the face is discouraged.
  • Teachers will remind pupils to use tissues where needed and dispose of them in the lidded bins provided in each classroom. Where a tissue is not available, pupils should cough or sneeze into their elbow.
  • Signage will be displayed throughout the school to promote good hygiene.

Cleaning regimes

The Link School has implemented additional cleaning regimes. These include:

  • Frequent cleaning of classrooms, toilets, communal areas and dining areas.
  • Frequent cleaning of regularly touched surfaces such as door handles, banisters, tables and equipment.
  • Classroom furniture has been reduced where appropriate in order to improve the ability to clean effectively.
  • Antibacterial wipes and spray are provided for shared equipment and facilities, eg. Photocopiers.
  • Communal areas will be cleaned after use.
  • Equipment used by pupils and staff will be cleaned at the end of each day or before it is used by another person.
  • Pupils will leave school at 12.30pm every Friday to allow time for the school to be thoroughly deep cleaned.

Responding to illness

Coronavirus symptoms

If your child, or member of their household, has any of the following symptoms;

  • 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

then the following actions must be taken immediately:

  • Do not attend school
  • Report the reason for absence to school.
  • Self-isolate
  • Arrange a coronavirus test (for children over 5)
  • Provide school with the results of the test


Pupils who are unwell in school

  • An isolation area has been set aside for managing cases of Covid-19 at The Link School .
  • If a pupil displays symptoms of coronavirus, they will be taken to the designated area until collected by their parent/carer. If needed, staff will remain with the child. If the child is well enough, staff will observe through the interior window.
  • First aiders assisting children or colleagues who feel unwell will wear full PPE including apron, gloves and mask or visor. First aiders have all completed appropriate training for ‘donning and doffing’ PPE.
  • PPE will be disposed of in accordance with NHS Covid-19 waste management guidance.
  • The designated area and medical room will be cleaned frequently and after each use.

If there is a confirmed case of Coronavirus in school

  • We will co-operate fully with Public Health England (PHE)’s Track and Trace programme:
  • Seating plans will be used to identify any pupil who has been within 2m of the affected individual for more than 15 minutes.
  • The school will report to Public Health England who will investigate and advise next steps in line with government guidelines.
  • In the event of a confirmed case, Public Health England may advise self-isolation for the rest of the class or year group bubble to help contain any potential outbreak.

Readiness to return to lockdown

  • If the government implements a local lockdown, they have indicated that they would prefer for pupils to remain in school.
  • However, in the event of a local lockdown in which schools are closed, or if self-isolation is required for a class or year group bubble, we will switch instantly to remote leaning.
  • Our remote learning plan in this case would operate as follows:
    • All work set on Teams/Century Learning
    • Teachers available to support pupils and provide feedback during regular lesson time
    • Printed packs / remote learning booklets provided for pupils without internet access

Vulnerable pupils and those with Special Educational Needs

  • We anticipate that all of our pupils will be able to return to school in September.
  • Where parents are uncertain if their child will be able to attend school on the grounds of medical advice, parents must contact the school to arrange a meeting. In these cases, a risk assessment will be developed for the pupil to support their safe return to school.
  • If it is necessary for a pupil to shield or self-isolate for a period of time, their learning will continue remotely on Teams/Century Learning.
  • Staff will receive safeguarding training in September, and this will consider the impact that lockdown may have had on pupils and their families.
  • If parents have any concerns or queries, they should contact school to discuss these.

Pupils with Special Educational Needs

  • Our pupils have had to adapt to a range of challenges during lockdown.
  • We know that some of our pupils with special educational needs have found it difficult to adapt to changes in their education.
  • Pupils may need support in adjusting to new routines and expectations, as well as the demands of the work in the classroom. We will assess their starting points and adapt teaching appropriately so that they can experience success and re-engage with learning.
  • Our SEND team will work closely with parents and update pupil plans so that teachers have appropriate information to support each individual child.

Pupils who are worried about returning to school

  • Government guidance states that all pupils must return to school full time from September.
  • Staff are aware that some pupils have been at home and have not left their families for a very long time and that they might therefore find it difficult to return to school.
  • All staff will be vigilant and will work together with parents to address any concerns about pupils returning.
  • For the majority of pupils, a return to the formality, structure and routines of the school environment will be welcomed, and they will quickly settle into the new structures in place.
  • Mindfulness forms part of our school curriculum.
  • Drop in sessions to talk with our mindfulness practitioner of school counsellor can be accessed throughout the week.


We are aware that there are some pupils in our community who have been directly affected by Covid-19. We offer our deepest sympathy to any family who has suffered the loss of a loved one.

Our school staff can provide additional support for bereaved pupils and signpost support for families.

We can refer pupils who require additional support to our school counsellor.

Attendance and Punctuality

  • All pupils are expected to return to school in September and attend full time.
  • Our school attendance target is 95%. Frequent absence will be investigated by the Attendance Officer and appropriate support put in place to ensure good attendance.
  • All pupils are expected to a be punctual. Sanctions will be put in place for repeated lateness. Frequent lateness will be investigated by the Attendance Officer.
  • While we have staggered start times in place, pupils should arrive on site no more than 5 minutes before their designated start time. This is important so that mixing between groups is kept to a minimum.
  • Parents should ensure that their children attend school and are on time.
  • Parents should contact the school as soon as possible if their child is unwell. Parents should inform the school of the reason for their child’s absence by telephoning the school.
  • Please remember that no child should attend school if they have symptoms someone in their household has symptoms of coronavirus.


  • To ensure the safety of all pupils, staff and visitors to the school during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, a new code of conduct will be in place for September and all pupils will be asked to sign this.
  • Any breach of this agreement may result in sanctions being put in place, including exclusion. This is particularly the case if a pupil’s behaviour jeopardises the safety of others.

Our usual expectations in terms of behaviour and conduct remain the same.


Face Coverings due to the circumstances of COVID-19

What is a face covering?

In the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, a face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth. You can buy reusable or single-use face coverings. You may also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face.

Face coverings are not classified as PPE (personal protective equipment) which is used in a limited number of settings to protect wearers against hazards and risks, such as surgical masks or respirators used in medical and industrial settings.

Face coverings are instead largely intended to protect others, not the wearer, against the spread of infection because they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission of virus that causes coronavirus infection (COVID-19).


The following guidance is being used to inform our current practice at The Link School:

The World Health Organisation published a statement on 21 August about children and face coverings.They now advise that “children aged 12 and over should wear a mask under the same conditions as adults, in particular when they cannot guarantee at least a 1-metre distance from others and there is widespread transmission in the area.”

Nationwide, the government is not recommending face coverings are necessary in education settings generally because a system of control, applicable to all education environments, provides additional mitigating measures. Schools and colleges will have the discretion to require face coverings in indoor communal areas where social distancing cannot be safely managed, if they believe that it is right in their particular circumstances.

Link School Practice

As a school the safety of our staff, children and young people is our utmost priority. Current Government guidance recommends the use of face masks in communal areas and where social distancing measures cannot be adhered to for adults and children that are 11 and over,  in addition they are mandatory in places where that are in local lockdowns. The rest to the decisions is down to the discretion of the head teacher. This advice can be accessed via:

We are taking the decision that the use of face coverings is optional for all staff, parents, carers, pupils and visitors to the site. They are not required to be worn in school. The only place where face coverings will be mandatory for staff and pupils 11 and over is in the mini buses.

Should the Government guidance change we will review our current practice.


Guidance on safe use of face coverings

  • Masks should NOT be worn by children under age 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • Do NOT use a mask meant for a healthcare worker.Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.
  • Face coverings for children and young people’s personal use in school must be provided by parents/carers – these can be in the form of re-usable face coverings or temporary ones.
  • Temporary face coverings should be disposed of in a covered bin or place reusable face coverings in a plastic bag they can take home with them, and then wash their hands again before heading to their classroom.
  • The school will provide temporary face coverings for pupils over 11 and over for their use on the minibus, however pupils will be encouraged to bring their own re – usable ones.
  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help protect others in case you’re infected with COVID-19 but don’t have symptoms
  • Wear a mask in public settings when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when it may be difficult for you to stay six feet apart
  • Wear a mask correctly for maximum protection
  • Don’tput the mask around your neck or up on your forehead
  • Don’ttouch the mask, and, if you do, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to disinfect


Link School Springwell Dene
Swindon Road, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear  SR3 4EE

Tel: 0191 561 5777

Office Opening Times

Mon-Thurs: 8am – 4:30pm

Friday: 8am – 4pm

Link School Pallion
Waverley Terrace, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear SR4 6TA

Tel: 0191 561 4777



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