Update 25th March
And so we settle into a new 'normal'.
As the country grapples with the challenges of COVID-19, our children are settling into new routines at home and, for some, in school.
I want to take the opportunity to say THANK YOU to all those parents who have gone out of their way to organise child care at home. I realise it isn't possible for everyone, but where it is it really helps. We already have higher numbers attending than most schools and whilst we can staff this, the more children there are in school, the higher the risk for both staff and children. We really appreciate your support and don't take for granted how hard it has been to arrange to keep your children at home.
We're now settling into a routine and whilst late arrival at school would cause problems, if you are able to collect your child after lunch (1pm), that would help us to keep numbers down. You can either email us
(firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com)
or just turn up at the office if you don't know in advance.
For those working at home, I'm exploring a range of online learning platforms and we're gathering ideas to keep our school community together. We'll soon have our half termly learning objectives online too.
Watch out for our thought for the day on our website. Staff are taking turns at doing this for us all.
Now you've had a go at home learning, let me know what support would be helpful - and please send us photos of your children learning. We want to know what they're up to! If you're happy for them to go on the website and Facebook, please include the sentence 'permission to post on Facebook'. It all helps us to stay connected.
This has all happened so quickly and we're still working it out, but we have lots of ideas. We're still working on some issues including free school meals and visits. Watch this space but don't call the office - they can't tell you anything more yet. Please keep logging on to the website and Facebook and remember if you have any questions or concerns - we are here on email (although we do sleep sometimes :) )
Emails you can use:
head : firstname.lastname@example.org
We know you are all facing your own particular challenges and you are all in our prayers. But we are also here, albeit virtually. Please ask if you need help and we will do what we can. These are interesting times with all sorts of challenges, but we hope you are enjoying the unexpected time with your children and not running out of ideas for activities. Over the next week we will be helping you to make sure these are linked closely to the learning they need to be doing this year.
In the meantime, the sun is shining and the children are smiling. Together we can do this!
Update 24th March 2020
Thank you so much to all the parents who are going out of their way to rearrange work and childcare. This is really helping to keep our numbers down and therefore to keep everyone as safe as possible. Please keep emailing us to let us know of any changes.
We are currently expecting to close during the Easter holidays.
We're in the process of updating learning resources on the Parents' page. Just a reminder that the activities are devised to be self marked or assessed using post tests or grids. Waiting until the children return to school isn't practical because the feedback will be too late to be useful and there'll be an unmanageable amount of marking. Instead, when we return to school, children will be assessed on the learning objectives for this half term and the summer term. Learning in school will also be aligned to these objectives where possible.
Free School Meals vouchers have now been delivered for this week. We will keep you informed for next week. The government has yet to make a decision about Universal Infant Free School Meals but we will let you know when they do.
Meanwhile, I hope everyone is settling into their new routines and staying safe. This is a challenging time for everyone, but it won't last forever and we look forward to sharing experiences when the children return to school. Remind them they are making history and will have lots of stories to tell their grandchildren.
We are still very much here and have enjoyed reading your emails and Facebook posts about what the children have been doing. Please keep in touch by email or Facebook. Remember, the building is closed but Hope Hamilton is very much open.
Update 21st March 2020
Firstly, thank you to everyone for your patience and support through an unprecedented week of uncertainty and confusion. Despite the challenges we know you are all facing, everyone has tried to work with us and responded to random requests for information that have never before had to be made.
Whilst the request for schools to provide child care is currently not mandatory, we feel we have a moral imperative to support the key workers who are keeping our country going at this difficult time. Please help us to continue to do this by avoiding the temptation to use it as free convenient childcare if you are able to care for your child at home. If we have too many children we will be forced to prioritise for everyone’s safety.
We think we are now ready – at least for next week. Those children who have places will have received a letter with details of what will happen on Monday. I am concerned that there may be around 25% of the children in school which is beginning to feel unsafe for children, their families and our staff. If you are able to keep your children at home, even if just for some of the week, please do! It will help everyone to stay healthy so we can carry on.
If you did not receive a letter, please keep your child at home. Only children on the list will be admitted to the school from now on. Remember, there are plenty of ideas for activities and learning in the Parents section of the website. Try to give your child a structure or timetable. The Home Learning booklet has ideas for this. The activities themselves are designed so children can do them and, to some extent self assess, independently. They will be updated regularly.
If you are a key worker but are currently able to care for your child at home, even for some of the time – THANK YOU! If your circumstances change, please email me on email@example.com and we will of course help if we possibly can.
FREE SCHOOL MEALS
The government have said they will make provision for children who normally get Free School Meals but we have not yet received any details of how this will be done or how much parents will receive. We have therefore purchased Tesco vouchers for each child to the value of £11.50. If you have not already received these, they will be delivered on Monday to your home. This will cover meals until 27th March, by which time we hope to have more information.
Unfortunately there are no plans to provide support for children who normally receive Universal Infant Free School Meals (up to year 2).
We will continue to keep you updated as things develop.
Stay safe and healthy and remember we are still here to help.
Letters have been sent to parents whose children have a place in school on Monday. Please do not send your child if you have not received one. Children who come on Monday need to bring the form attached to the letter with them.
Remember we are still here for you. Stay healthy and safe and we look forward to seeing everyone again in the near future.
For HOME LEARNING RESOURCES please see:
LETTER TO PARENTS 20th March 2020
Firstly let me apologise for the inevitable confusion that has arisen from the delays in the government publishing details about keyworkers. Thank you to everyone who has been in touch and for your kind, supportive messages.
We have a duty to safeguard staff and children and school closures are being implemented to reduce the spread of the virus and keep everyone safe. It is therefore not advisable for us to stay open for large numbers of children as this would defeat the point of closing. Government advice contained within their guidance this morning was that parents should keep their children at home, wherever possible and they have asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.
The government guidance sets out a broad range of key workers. Key to this is the principle
We realise every situation is different and every family is facing their own challenges. We obviously want to support our families, but we need to balance this against being safe. These are decisions we have not had to face before.
In line with government advice, the school will close this evening and not reopen on Monday.
Parents of children who have met the criteria and are eligible for a place will be contacted before 6pm today
to confirm that they can attend on Monday. If you are not contacted, please DO NOT send your child to school on Monday.
There are a range of home learning resources on the website in the Parents section, including specific activities for each year group and a booklet including a timetable to help your child to structure their learning. We do not expect parents to become teachers so the activities are intended to be as independent as possible.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during these difficult times and we hope you all stay safe and well. Please don’t forget that Fiona Brooks, the deputy, and I are available on email. Don’t hesitate to contact us with concerns and questions and we will help if we can. Remember, the building is closed but Hope Hamilton School will remain open, albeit as a virtual school. We will continue to remain in contact with you and look forward to welcoming everyone back when this is over. Please check the website and Facebook regularly for further information.
20th March 7am
Please read carefully. It does say
'If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.''
If your child meets the criteria and you would like them to have a place, please email fionababy@hopehamilton,leicester,sch,uk
If you haven't already sent us proof of being a key worker, please include this.
19th March 7pm update
Swimming tomorrow IS going ahead!
I'm still waiting for more details on key workers. However it looks like there will be a government portal to apply for places and BOTH parents (with parental responsibility) need to be key workers, even if one lives separately (unless this is some distance away).
We're confident we can resolve this tomorrow when we have more certainty but I am well aware parents are anxious to sort out child care arrangements.
We're also beginning to resolve free school meals and lunches for children in school. If your child is in school, lunch will run as normal, including using parentpay. For Free school meals children at home, there will be some system of vouchers.
I know you need more detail - so do we! We're following guidance and sharing with you as soon as we can.
In the meantime, we are very aware the children are concerned and anxious. Please reassure them that whatever happens, they are still part of Hope Hamilton and we are still here (even if its more of a virtual school for now).
Please try to avoid calling the office unless you have to - if it isn't on the website / Facebook - we don't know either! Fiona Brooks, Nicola Edwards, the School Business Manager, and Jacky Farnell will all be in school on Monday consolidating plans. We will then share them with you.
And in case you were wondering - - - we have enough toilet rolls and hand gel in school for now!
18th March 2020 UPDATE
Today's news was not entirely unexpected but we know it still comes as a blow to parents who will face many different challenges. We understand that information is really important to you at the moment and keeping you informed is our first priority.
Our early information is as follows:
All schools to close from the end of Friday “for the vast majority of pupils”
Children of Key workers – Health workers, Police officers, Food deliverers
Vulnerable children which seem to be Children with an EHC Plan and those who have social worker involvement.
More detail on who is included will be given shortly by the Government.
We will keep you informed so please don't call school for now.
We are already working on the details of what this will look like at Hope Hamilton. Much work has already been done on putting strategies for home learning in place. However, please bear with us as it will take a little while to get the details out to you tomorrow.
PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE OFFICE FOR INFORMATION.
They will not be able to tell you any more than we are putting on the website and Facebook and they are incredibly busy putting plans in place for your children, whether they will be at home or school.
For Thursday 19th and Friday 20th, we will carry on as we have been. If anyone in your house has symptoms, children will need to be kept at home. If children have a cough or a high temperature, they need to stay at home.
On Friday, we will be giving each child a folder containing an exercise book, pen, pencil and ruler to take home. If your children are already at home, you can pop into the office to collect these on Friday afternoon (when they should have arrived).
We have started to add work to the Parents section of our website in year group folders and will continue to add messages and activities specific to each year group. There is plenty for your children to get on with!
Despite the challenges, we will carry on ensuring your children learn and where we can, work with you to keep them healthy and safe. (We are already looking at free school meals provision for instance).
During these difficult times, we know you will all be facing your own challenges. Don't hesitate to contact us if you think we can help.
You can email us on
We pick up email at least daily.
Please don't email teachers but if you have queries about children's work we can forward emails to them for you.
REMEMBER - THE SCHOOL BUILDING IS CLOSING BUT HOPE HAMILTON IS NOT!
We are still here and thanks to the internet and modern technology, we will remain in contact until we can all return to school as usual. The children are and will continue to be amazing. We've been so impressed by how mature and sensible they have been.
I am now going to spend some time planning how we can best support all our children (and parents!), whether in school or not. Watch this space - and our website in the parents section- for more information.
You are all in our prayers. Take care, look out for each other and remember we are all a family and we will all come through this. Together we will make sure that whatever happens next, the children will be safe, continue to learn and have an amazing story to pass on to their grandchildren. We are technically making history right now - it will be a story of resilience, kindness and working together.
Finally - please reassure your children this is not going to be a long holiday!! :) We're going to keep them VERY busy!!
Collective worship and special mentions
From Tuesday 17th March 2020, collective worship will be class based and there will be no further special mentions assemblies until further notice.
Government announces move from Contain to Delay phase
Yesterday, the Government announced that we are moving from the Contain phase of the coronavirus action plan and into the Delay phase, in response to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
To support the delay of the spread of the virus, the Department for Health and Social Care has asked anyone who shows certain symptoms to stay at home for 7 days, regardless of whether they have travelled to affected areas. This means people should stay at home and avoid all but essential contact with others for 7 days from the point of displaying mild symptoms, to slow the spread of infection.
The symptoms are:
Current advice remains in place: no education or children’s social care setting should close in response to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.
The Chief Medical Officer has advised that the impact of closing schools on both children’s education and on the workforce will be substantial, but the benefit to public health may not be. Decisions on future advice to schools will be taken based on the latest and best scientific evidence, which at this stage suggests children are a lower risk group.
COVID-19 travel guidance for the education sector
The Government has issued new travel guidance for the education sector. This advises against all overseas education trips for children under 18. This does not apply to domestic trips, or overseas trips which are already underway.
The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.
The e-Bug project is led by Public Health England and has a dedicated webpage for learning resources on hand washing and respiratory hygiene.
Where to find the latest information