Life at Pinewood in the Covid-19 Era
This past year has seen the school and its Governing Body work incredibly hard on putting a number of measures in place which ensure the safety of all members of our community (such as in-school testing, one way systems, clear signage and measures to allow for social distancing). These changes are regularly revisited and revised in order to adhere to the latest Government guidelines and recommendations. The measures are clearly explained to the children in an appropriate manner and daily reminders are given.
We recognise, though, that Covid-19 has had a marked change on our day-to-day life and, therefore, hope that the information below highlights that, although changed, Pinewood is still able to offer a comprehensive and varied education to our children. Their well-being and enjoyment of school life is as important to us as their safety.
Are parents allowed onsite?
The number of visitors and parents onsite is kept to a minimum. Day children will move into school independently in the morning and be ready for collection from the drive in the afternoons. Maintaining good communication between teachers and parents is of great importance but should be through email in the first instance. In addition, virtual catch up meetings with either Class Teachers, Form Tutors or Heads of School can be arranged. Any other visitors on site are very carefully managed.
What are the drop-off and pick up arrangements in the morning?
The start and end of the school stay is now staggered to keep children in different pods apart and minimise congestion on the drive. Pre-Prep children need to be ready to get in and out of cars quickly and the Head and Deputy Head of Pre-Prep will assist children as necessary. Prep children will need to have their belongings ready in the car and move quickly and independently from the car to the classroom in the mornings and vice versa in the evenings. At the end of the day the children will be ready to leave and waiting on the drive at the specified time. There is no parking available for parents on the drive at pick up.
How is the school managing large gatherings?
For the time being we are unable to host large gatherings. However, traditional school life has been maintained, albeit in a different manner. Events such as assemblies, lectures and church services are still taking place, but in smaller pod gatherings.
How are mealtimes managed?
We are delighted to confirm that a full catering service has resumed, offering children a freshly cooked, hot lunch, in addition to delicious breakfasts and suppers for our boarders.
Are the children able to play sport to the level they were pre-Covid-19?
Children are able to enjoy a comprehensive games programme. Although Prep Inter-School fixtures are currently postponed, a full games programme is on offer, with internal matches, such as Inter-Form Multi Skills Challenge and an Inter-House Exercise and Fitness Challenge.
The sports programme will be delivered in line with all National Governing Body (NGB) and DfE guidance with the focus being on physical and mental well-being – maximising our outdoor facilities and grounds.
Are music lessons still taking place?
Individual music lessons are continuing to run. All instrumental music lessons, where possible, will be offered to Prep School children only and will take place with the relevant safety measures taken into consideration.
All individual music lessons will also be offered remotely to Year 2 children. This will be a private arrangement between the parent and the music peripatetic teacher.
Is Drama still being taught?
Drama lessons are continuing as normal and we are continuing to plan and prepare for our usual production schedule. That said, it may be that the performances are in-house events only, with the possibility of filming any productions for the benefit of parents. We will continue to review this in line with government guidance.
Is boarding still an option for my child?
We have been delighted to be able to welcome back our weekly and regular boarders. Regular boarding will consist of either 3 or 4 consecutive nights; therefore, boarding either Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday, or Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday. This continuity will help us to protect the ‘boarding pods’.
Laundering of both school uniform and PE kit , for all boarders, will be carried out at school.
We will continue to closely monitor the situation and would like to open for further flexibility in due course, as and when it is safe to do so. We will continue to follow government guidance, as well as advice from the Boarding Schools Association.
What about extra-curricular activities and the Thursday activity programme?
The Thursday Activity programme will run as usual with some adaptations in place to work within our Covid responsibilities.
Does the school offer School Transport?
The normal minibus service has resumed for all pre-booked places. We feel that with the proximity of the children, and the fact that they will be from different age groups and pods, all children should wear a face covering, even if they are under 11 years old. We ask parents to ensure that these coverings are correctly put on before the children enter the minibus.
Government guidance states that pupils are allowed to be on school transport together even if they are not in the same pod. This is because it is solely for school use and not public transport. A perspex screen has been installed between the driver and the passengers.
What emotional support is offered to the children?
We recognise that lockdown will have had a huge impact upon children and families and, although they may have had many positive experiences, the pandemic may have affected the mental wellbeing of some in more negative ways. Pinewood staff are aware of and prepared for this and will be guided by the Head of Well-Being and Emotional Support in supporting children as they resume school life. Measures in place offering additional support have been communicated to all children.
What will happen if there is a case of Covid-19 in the School?
In accordance with government guidance, we will take all the necessary steps if children or staff display symptoms of Covid-19.
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