St Agnes’ prepares for possible school closure
In these unprecedented times, we must take time out to thank all of our staff for doing such an amazing job of keeping St Agnes’ open as usual. Our ladies in our front office, admin, teaching staff, support staff, cook and cleaners have worked tirelessly to keep the school day as normal as possible for the children. Mr Green has been working extremely hard to keep school as clean as possible for us all and we cannot thank the EYFS staff enough for their work on deep cleaning all equipment for our youngest children in the school. Lots of work has gone into making it possible to stay open, but we are now in the planning process for the inevitable school closure as eventually this will be required.
Keeping children safe is something we pride ourselves on and we have been taking advice from lots of providers on how best to keep our children safe if school closes. We have many types of families who attend our school, some whom need a little support and some that need none. As we prepare to close, we need to ensure that all families are able to gain the support they need, if we are closed. Below is some guidance for all of our families. some may need it more than others, but rest assured even whilst we are closed, you will still be able to contact our Safeguarding Team for advice and guidance.
Over the next few weeks
Ms Lynton and Miss Oven will be making regular contact with our families if school closes. This can be for a variety of reasons, but is mainly to check that everyone is ‘safe and well’. You can contact either staff by adding comments below here.
Safeguarding Advice from Kerry Dawson – Safeguarding Expert
Talking to your children about the Coronavirus
Children may be feeling anxious about what they are hearing in relation to the Coronavirus. They hear it being discussed at home and obviously concerned, but sometimes will find it tricky to discuss. As a parent, you can help to provide a safe space for children to talk about their worries. Remember to be led by them, ask what they know already and what questions they have about it. The wonderful illustration above is from a resource from Mindheart
. If you click on the Mindheart link it provides you with a colourful and thoughtful way of discussing the virus with your child. It is in child speak and supports their understanding of the virus.
Safeguarding Children in the event of school closure
- Staff have been taking to children about who their trusted adults are outside of school and how to get help if they are worried or sad. This is something we do in school regularly, to ensure they do speak out when they feel something is not right, or their right to be safe has been taken.
- Staff have shared information about Childline and other support services that can help children.
- SafeguardingResourceHub has a range of services listed in one place for both children and parents. Please click on the link for advice and guidance and support for the children and you as a family. There are links for things such as Women’s Aid and Share aware.
- Check school social media (Twitter) so you increase your social connection and are updated as much as possible with advice and guidance at all times
- Online safety- check if the children are on suitable games/apps and how much you are supervising this.
- Remind children of ways to stay safe online by sharing advice such as: ‘Think you know’, ‘BBC Own It’ and NSPCC
- Use resources to support your children and yourselves with your emotional wellbeing during times of isolation e.g. Go Noodle, Calmzone
- https://www.headspace.com/ provides some mindfulness tasks as do www.actionforhappiness.org
- If you do have an enquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org – this will be checked daily
What our Safeguarding Team will do in the event of a school closure
- We will ensure some children receive a ‘Safe and Well’ phone call at least once a week
- We will ensure children where there are safeguarding and child protection concerns receive a ‘Safe and Well’ home visit at least once a week where the child is seen and spoken to – where possible (isolation may make this impossible)
- Ms Lynton or Miss Oven will attend any multi-agency meetings and or reviews for children or consider making arrangements for conference calls
- Record home visits and telephone communication using your record-keeping systems whilst also considering additional measures that you may need to take with data
- Ensure staff conducting home visits have received appropriate training and that systems and procedures are in place to ensure their safety and wellbeing
Supporting life at home if self-isolating
• Set daily self-care challenges for your children and families, encourage social connection
by promoting opportunities for them to share how they have met them
• Enjoy time together, play board games or out in the garden, or try these Non-screen activities – from Pobble
• Try and keep routines – get up as if you are intending to go to school. Setting targets across the day, such as completing home learning tasks set by school at certain times in the day.
Action for Happiness suggests:
- Set an intention – make a personal commitment to make a positive impact each day for yourself and those around you, even if it is something small.
- Look after your body – move your body each day even if indoors dancing round the living room. Load up on healthy fruit & veg to support your immune system.
- Nurture relationships – Reach out digitally by sending messages to friends; remind them of a memory or let them know something you’re grateful to them for.
- Help others – make some extra food and drop a meal off on the doorstep for a friend who is unwell. And encourage friends to make wise & kind choices too.
- Look for what’s good – take some time to notice the world around you and be grateful for the good things. What can you appreciate even in difficult times?
- Make the most of it. If you end up self-isolating or have events cancelled, how can you make the most of that time? eg learning a new skill.
If school is closed, and your concern is urgent please contact the Manchester Contact Centre on the number below:
0161 234 5001 (open 24 hours a day, seven days a week)
Need help for someone being abused or neglected? Concerned?
If an adult or child is in immediate danger you should ring the emergency services or contact the police on 999
If the situation does not require emergency assistance you should report your concerns to:
Manchester Contact Centre
Telephone: 0161 234 5001 (open 24 hours a day, seven days a week)
Useful Safeguarding Numbers
- CHILDLINE: 0800 1111 free confidential helpline for children and young adults
- NSPCC: 0800 800 5000 free 24 hour national helpline for information and confidential advice about all types of problems
- Barnados: 020 8550 8822 works to transform the lives of vulnerable children and young people
- Kidscape: 020 8830 3300 – produces leaflets and booklets on bullying and runs a helpline
- LGBT Foundation: 0345 330 30 30 runs a helpline to support people who identify as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and trans-gender
- National Domestic Violence: 0808 200 0247 Free 24 hour helpline. Gives information on housing, welfare, health and legal rights, refers women and children to refuges, makes referrals to temporary emergency accommodation and helps to get support from the police
- Stonewall: helpline 0800 050 2020 working for equality for LGBT people
- ThinkuKnow: A CEOP programme that helps with online safety thinkuknow.co.uk
- UK Safer Internet Centre: 0844 381 4772 e-safety helpline for professionals working with children
- Young Minds: helpline: 0808 802 5544 support for people with concerns about the mental health of a young person