Keeping children safe online
The increasing use of the internet during this time means we need to be extra careful. We have attached some useful information put together by Maude Wright, Deputy Safeguarding Officer. Please enjoy what the internet has to offer and stay safe.
Dr. Sue Peat. Trustee with Responsibility for Safeguarding
The Little Gnome
We are attaching a ‘healing story’, The little gnome who had to stay at home from Susan Perrow, to tell the children whilst at home.
Date: Thursday 19th March
Since the government has decided to close all schools until further notice, we want to assure you that we will continue to be working in the ways that we can, so that when we are allowed to return to school, we can ‘hit the ground running’.
At the moment, teachers are preparing work for the children and working out how best to get it out to you and support it. You will receive more information on this soon. Administration staff will continue to work from home, where possible. All staff will be able to focus on the on-line Continuous Professional Development courses for health, safety and safeguarding and Ofsted readiness.
With regard to ‘key workers’, the Department of Education (DofE) notified us that: “Where schools are unable to provide this reduced provision, local authorities will work with the DofE regional teams to ensure an alternative option is available.” The list of key workers’ categories will be published today.
Please look out for it and let us know if you are on this list.
We do still need to provide support in our safeguarding and child protection capacity, so please don’t hesitate to contact the safeguarding team should any need arise or if anyone has any concerns.
Our safeguarding team is: Helen Fraser (Lead) 07792 068 883, Maude (Deputy) 07758 426 182, Julessa (Deputy) 07474 654 380.
Date: Tuesday 17th March
The situation with the increasing numbers of people falling ill with COVID-19, mean that the government are now giving stringent direction to organisations and the public, in an attempt to best manage the situation. Current advice to schools continues to be that we keep the school open and encourage good hygiene – through hand washing and use of sanitiser.
In order to limit close contact inside the school, we ask for parents to think carefully about whether they need to come inside, so we can limit visits into the building. We ask that parents who need to come inside do so quickly and leave promptly. In light of this, and also considering the difficulty of buying even a bag of pasta and bag of apples at the moment, we are cancelling the Friday Café till further notice.
The School’s situation is changing from day to day, and we cannot be sure that we will not have to close the school from one day to the next, but we will keep you informed. Currently we are experiencing staff having to self-isolate because a member of their family is ill with symptoms that may be COVID-19, and we may have to close classes. We know that this will be very inconvenient for many of you and we are keen to keep the school open for as long as practical.
Last week we signed off this policy, which we advise everyone to please read.
If your child is ill, it would be useful for us to know a bit more detail than a lot of people are telling us – most importantly we need to know if children have a fever or cough – please let us know if your child will be absent as soon as possible, and give details – this will enable our assessment of staff to pupil ratios on an ongoing basis.
If someone else has an illness in your household, or has contact with someone whom you know to be unwell, or later find out is unwell with a new continuous cough, or high temperature, please let us know, and look at the national guidance – link here – you may need to isolate your whole household for 14 days. If this happens, we will expect that the 14 day period begins on the first day of the illness, and will expect that you can return to school 14 days after that, unless someone else is ill.
This may mean huge changes for your family, and we do hope that you do not have to do this, but we do have some families in the community who are already in this situation, who may be able to offer support – if only in giving tips for things to do with children who like the great outdoors…they may also appreciate the contact. Please read the guidance, keep records of when each symptom began and how long it lasted, so that you can easily work out when each person can resume normal daily life – keep in touch with the school, particularly if you need something, or you have a safeguarding concern.
If you and your family do have to isolate yourselves, try to keep your children in a routine – get up reasonably early and go to bed early, keep regular mealtimes, and try to do activities that are similar to the daily school routine – this will be reassuring for the children. Please also help them to keep in touch with their friends, and encourage activities that they can do together whilst apart – hearing about what their friends have been doing will keep them engaged. Please make sure that you have parental controls set up with your internet service as well as on any devices that they are using. Teachers are planning how to give absent and isolated children activities, so keep looking out for emails from them.
There is guidance about school trips too – to summarise: advice is to cancel overseas trips, but not domestic trips, including residential, keeping in mind the possibility of anyone needing to self-isolate at any time.
Because large gatherings will also be discouraged, and not supported by the emergency services, we must seriously consider other school events… more information will follow.
In case you are concerned about the school authorising absences, there are new guidelines that give us the possibility to authorise absences due to self-isolation or social distancing due to a household member being vulnerable (see guidance here), as well as illness. We have been advised not to authorise absence that is not any of these things. Today, the Chancellor has confirmed the Government will continue to pay for free early years entitlement places even if settings are closed on the advice of Public Health England or children are not able to attend due to Coronavirus. We expect local authorities to follow the Department’s position, and to continue early entitlements funding for all childminders, schools and nurseries. We will not be asking for funding back from local authorities.
The Government’s advice remains that childcare settings should stay open unless advised otherwise by Public Health England, and today’s announcement should help settings to continue to do so. This will minimise both longer-term disruption to parents and any income losses that providers may otherwise experience.
The full statement can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/free-childcare-offers-to-continue-during-coronavirus-closures
Further guidance can be found on the government website, the NHS website, and lots of other places – I encourage you find out as much as you can about how others are managing, and to do as much as you can to help you all to remain calm and positive in these stressful times.
The best advice, as ever, is to keep things normal, try not to talk about it all the time and make children panic, and to take care of the whole family as best you can. Please don’t hesitate to contact me, should you need to.
Helen Fraser, Health & Safety Officer
‘Bluebells’ Parent & Child
The Octopi Project
London Steiner School Class 3 and 4 (ages 8-9) are supporting The Octopi Project. An initiative helping premie babies to thrive thanks to little crocheted octopi donated to premature baby hospital wards. London Steiner School, and in general Steiner Waldorf education, places great importance on craft activities for child development.
“This is SO amazing! Nothing is more incredible than young children helping even younger ones! I’m beyond excited and proud of those kids, just unbelievable”Marta Gradaille, The Octopi Project