Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information

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Monday 29th June

Dear Parents & Carers,

End of Summer Term - Revised Date

We hope all of our families are keeping safe and well.

Further to meetings of the Governing Bodies of both schools at the end of last week, a decision has been taken to change the date of the end of the summer term from Tuesday 21st July to Thursday 16th July at 3.30pm.  This decision has not been taken lightly and is in support of transition arrangements for children new to Reception in September 2020 and current Y2 children who will be moving to Y3.  Bringing the end of term forward by three days will enable staff to reinstate classroom furniture and resources and enable children new to both schools in September, to visit in small groups on Monday 20th July and Tuesday 21st July.   Unfortunately, neither school has been able to organise the usual transition visits for any of the above children owing to the necessary restrictions that have been in place.  Transition visits for children entering Nursery will be organised for September.

We wanted to give parents as much notice as possible of the change in arrangements as we appreciate that there may be childcare implications for some families. Arrangements for the start of the autumn term in September will be issued by each school once detailed guidance has been received from the Government.

Thank you for your on-going support and understanding. Each school will contact parents with further details regarding groups/timings.

Elaine Haney                                                              Paul Swift         
Headteacher                                                               Headteacher
Forefield Infant & Nursery School                               Forefield Junior School

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Friday 26th June

Forefield Matters

Forefield staff say 'Hi!'This week saw the return of more pupils and the opening of additional PODs.  With over 100 pupils in school, it is hard to believe that during lockdown there were days when we only had 4! However, with the measures we have in place to keep everyone safe, it remains very calm and quiet!  Each POD uses one of the six entry points, with staggered drop-off times, playtimes and lunchtimes and the children stay within their POD group and even eat their lunch there.  This means that the PODs operate as a ‘family’ group and do not mix with any of the other PODs.  Looking ahead, it is likely that next year this model will be extended to PODs of 30…

We are still awaiting further clarification about September, but in the meantime, we are busy planning to welcome everyone back at the start of the Autumn Term.  Hopefully, the guidance will be published within the next few weeks and we will be able to share more details with you then.

This week, we also welcomed back Miss Smith (pictured above holding the FJS sign) from maternity leave.  She certainly returned to a very different FJS, but it’s great to see her back in school!

Keep viewing our website/Twitter for news, home learning and videos and remember to keep in touch via our year group email addresses.  Before the end of term you will receive an end of year report about your child – but for obvious reasons this will be briefer than previous years and any assessments will be based on the first half of the year.

For now, stay safe and have a lovely weekend!

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Monday 22nd June

Dear Parents, Carers and Year 2 Children,

Normally at this time, I would be writing to you to outline the transition projects, buddy system and parent meetings coming up in the next few weeks. This year is very different and there will be a greater level of uncertainty surrounding the transition from Year 2 to Year 3 than we would have liked. We wish we had all of the answers to your questions, but currently we are waiting for further guidance from the government.

Whilst we cannot yet tell you about arrangements for September, we can tell you of the plans we have in place at the current time.

Mrs Russell (Deputy Head Teacher) and Mrs Barton (SENDCo) have already been in touch with several families by telephone and will be continuing to make contact over the next few weeks.

Our IT technician is putting the final touches to a dedicated Y2 Parent section on our website. We anticipate that this will be fully functioning next week. It will include more detailed information about the school, uniform, payments etc.

Our Year 6 pupils have been tasked with preparing a series of videos to introduce your children to the juniors – as they would normally have led guided tours for families in July.

Although we don’t know exactly what schools will look like in September, we have been asked to prepare for two possibilities: either a return to classes of 30 with staggered timings for play and lunchtime or a continuation of teaching smaller groups. With this in mind, we will endeavour to keep the children with their Year 2 classmates, either as three classes or in smaller groups. We will not be mixing the three current classes at this time.

We are also looking into the possibility of some face to face time in school before the end of the Summer Term, but this will only be possible if the guidance and health & safety allow it. Clearly, there will need to be a lot of pastoral work centred on the children’s well-being alongside the academic ‘catch-up’ work. Please keep an eye on our website as we will keep you updated regarding further developments.

Thank you, in anticipation of your support,

P A Swift (Headteacher) & S Russell (Deputy Headteacher)

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Sunday 21st June

Forefield Matters

“Hi!” from everyone at FJS.

Forefield staff say 'Hi!'We had six PODs open this week and following advice from Sefton LA we will be welcoming back some more of our Year 6 pupils next week.

Thank you again for your patience and understanding as we make our way through unchartered territory!

All of our new routines and protocols are running smoothly and it will be great to see PODs 7, 8 and 9 open on Monday.

As I am writing this, we are awaiting news from the Government regarding future ‘Catch Up’ programmes for those children who have not been in school and I will update you as soon as we know any more details.

In the meantime, keep viewing our website for news, home learning and videos and remember to keep in touch via our year group email addresses.

For now, stay safe and have a lovely weekend!

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PS - Check out news of the Virtual Merseyside School Games on our Home Learning page.

Thursday 18th June

Information for Returning Year 6 Pupils

Tuesday 16th June

Dear Parents and Carers

Sefton Council has issued updated guidance relating to the wider opening of schools. Please follow the link below to read the latest letter to parents and carers.

Letter to Parents from Sefton Council - Tuesday 16th June

Sunday 14th June

Forefield Matters

Forefield staff say 'Hi!'“Hi to all our FJS Community!” from the teachers working in school this week. Our year group PODs for the children of key workers are running smoothly, with pupils accessing the same lessons in school as those at home via our website.

Every day there are specific lessons in English, maths and foundation subjects available on the Home Learning page of our website and children are emailing their teachers with work, pictures and photographs of their learning. Teachers are responding to every message!

If you have completed work, but are unable to share it by email, there will be a ‘drop box’ in our Reception from Monday. Any work shared in this way will be acknowledged by text message.

Although the Government has announced that schools will not reopen for all pupils until September, at the earliest, we are still here for you! If you are struggling in any way, not just with understanding fractions, please email or phone us. There are always staff in school – we have only closed for Bank Holidays and weekends – so please do not hesitate to contact us! Keep checking the website and our Twitter feed.

We miss you more than ever, so please keep safe and remember we are here to help.

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Tuesday 9th June

Dear Parents/Carers,

Sefton Council met today to reflect upon the announcement that the R number in our region (the North West) is above 1.  The outcome of the meeting was to recommend that we delay our plans for the wider opening of school.  We were intending to open our Year 6 PODs next Monday (15/6/20) and you will have seen on our website the detailed planning and organisation that we had put in place to facilitate the safe return of more pupils.

In light of the letter from Sefton Council we must put the health and safety of our children first and, despite the upheaval, delay the opening of the Y6 PODs until Monday, 22nd June 2020 at the earliest.

I appreciate that this announcement may be disappointing, but I’m sure you would agree that the decisions that have been taken over recent weeks have not been taken lightly.

As always, I will update you as soon as I know more,

Thanks again and stay safe,

P A Swift
Headteacher

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Letter to Parents from Sefton Council - Tuesday 9th June

Friday 5th June

Dear Parents/Carers

We have prepared an additional POD for Year 3 pupils whose parents are key workers, which will open on Monday 15th June. Please follow the link below if your child has been assigned to POD 10.

Key Information for children in POD 10

Thursday 4th June

Dear Parents/Carers

Sefton Council has issued helpful guidance to schools, with regard to what should happen if a pupil becomes unwell, which we would like to share with you.

What do I do if someone becomes unwell at an educational or childcare setting?

Wednesday 3rd June

Dear Parents/Carers,

This week at FJS we have successfully opened our first 5 PODs and reinforced routines and procedures to support social distancing and promote good hand hygiene.  You may have seen the video on our Twitter feed explaining this (p swift @ForefieldJS).

Some more of our Year 6 pupils will enter similar PODs from the 15th June, taking our numbers up to just under 100.  Each POD has been carefully timetabled to ensure that we do not have large numbers of children gathering in any one area.  So far, the staggered entry/exit times, using different entry points have worked well – we are very fortunate to have such a large site with several access points.

We would like to thank, at this early stage, all those parents who have made sure that their children have arrived at the correct gate, at the right time, on the right day!  Your support has been invaluable and greatly appreciated.  During the hot weather, it was great to see children arriving with sun protection applied, caps and water bottles.  As the weather is more unsettled today, coats have been hung on the back of chairs to avoid using cloakrooms.  Every child has been provided with essential equipment, so apart from their lunchbox, water bottle and coat, they should not need to bring anything else from home.  PE lessons are taking place without needing to get changed, but most children are wearing trainers to facilitate this.

All of the planning and organisation of our PODs has been based on the responses that we received between 14th and 22nd May when we asked parents to indicate if their child would take up a place in June.

With the easing of the lockdown and introduction of new government guidance (sometimes daily) circumstances for many families have changed and will continue to change.  However, with the introduction of our POD system, where it is recommended not to mix groups, we now find ourselves in a difficult position.  Although the children of key workers remain the priority group to be in school,
we are unable to change or open additional PODs at short notice.

If you are a key worker, but have not previously accessed school during lockdown and haven’t been allocated a POD, we will endeavour to provide your child with a place – but you will have to wait for us to set up additional spaces and find appropriate staff.  It may be a week or two before we can establish a new POD.  All of our classrooms have been assessed for capacity and all of our staff have been allocated roles in the system.  We will work with you to find a solution, but for the health and well-being of the existing PODs (both pupils and staff) we will need time to put things in place so that we do not compromise the measures we have already established.  Ultimately, we will reach full capacity – either in terms of space or staff.

This situation is unlike anything we have encountered and we fully appreciate the support we have received from parents and thank you again for your understanding and patience.

As a school community we are facing a great deal of uncertainty and we still have lots of unanswered questions.  The majority of our pupils remain at home and we are missing them all so much.  Our website has daily lessons for every year group and links to lots of fantastic resources.  We know that it is hard to maintain enthusiasm, but would urge you to use the dedicated year group email addresses to keep in touch:

Every child that has sent work, pictures, photographs or just wanted a chat has had a response from teaching staff and there are three pages of wonderful examples of what children have been up to during lockdown in the ‘Gallery’ on our website.

If you click on ‘Follow us on Twitter’ you can access the school Twitter feed and you do not have to sign up for Twitter to be able to view ‘virtual assemblies’ and messages/videos from staff.

As we keep a keen eye on the latest developments, we will continue to provide you with updates and our Year 6 team is currently working on plans to celebrate all of our Year 6 pupils – despite not being able to provide the usual events we are determined to find a way!   We are also beginning to make contact with Year 2 parents and putting together information packs and videos of our school.

Thanks again and stay safe,

P A Swift
Headteacher

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Thursday 28th May

Dear Parents/Carers

OK

If you have requested a place for your child to return to school in June, you will receive a text today informing you of the POD to which they have been assigned. Please select the appropriate POD from the menu to download a PDF containing further important information.

Thank you

Wednesday 27th May

Dear Parents/Carers,

Although it is officially the Whit holidays, we have been busy in school preparing to welcome back additional key worker children and finalising numbers of Year 6 pupils wishing to return in June.

Hopefully, you have had time to read the letters setting out our plans (14/5/20 and 19/5/20, see below) and appreciate that we are still waiting for final confirmation from the government that pupils in England will start to return.  In the meantime, we have organised, from the responses received, ten PODs for the following groups:
(POD is the term we are using to describe the small groups we have created – numbered 1-10)

These 5 PODs, which will increase our numbers from below 20 to almost 50 will be open from Monday 1st June 2020. 

POD 1              Year 3 Key Worker’s children or vulnerable pupils

PODs 2 & 3      Year 4 Key Worker’s children or vulnerable pupils

POD 4               Year 5 Key Worker’s children or vulnerable pupils

POD 5               Year 6 Key Worker’s children or vulnerable pupils

PODs 6,7,8,9 and 10 are for the Year 6 pupils who answered ‘yes’ to returning to school. 
They will be welcomed back on Monday, 15th June, increasing our numbers to just under 100. 

If you requested a place, either as a key worker or Y6 parent, we will be sending you a text message identifying which POD you are in.  Please note that the guidance does not recommend mixing groups or adding to them.  If you haven’t been allocated a place in a POD you will need to contact school. Do not just turn up at the school gates. 

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the children are in the most suitable group, we have followed the guidance from the government’s scientists regarding health and safety.

Our next letter will set out more detailed instructions for dropping off/picking up, which entry point to use and any other additional information.

Thank you for your continued support,

P. A. Swift
Headteacher

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Friday 22nd May

Forefield Matters

It’s hard to believe it, but the school calendar says that we break up today for the Whit Holidays.  It also says that Year 6 pupils sat their national tests last week and that yesterday they climbed aboard coaches and set off for Ambleside, via Whinlatter Forest.  Sadly, none of those events have happened.  As teachers, that feels surreal, because those events are a huge part of our school life and we share your sadness and frustration that they haven’t happened; but then we have all had to make changes to our daily lives.  Instead, this week, we have been asking our ‘key worker’ and Y6 parents to let us know if they will be taking up a place in school in June – if that is given the go ahead.

Thank you to everyone who responded.  It wasn’t an easy question to ask, never mind answer and staff have been overwhelmed by the level of support we have received from our Forefield families.  In response to the question many parents added that they would support whatever decisions we made.

Whilst we were formulating our plans to reopen safely, the guidance from the government was updated, then updated again.  The media reported daily, presenting different scientific viewpoints and various Local Authorities, including Sefton, sent out letters of support and suggesting a delay.  No wonder so many families found it difficult to answer.  Further guidance is due to be issued by the government on the 28th May.

At this moment, we are still waiting for final responses from parents and of course, confirmation from the government, that the criteria of their 5 key tests have been met.  However, next week we will contact parents setting out more detailed plans for increasing the number of pupils in school.  The first priority, in-line with advice, is to increase the number of children of key workers in school, to ensure that those parents whose jobs are critical to the national response to Covid-19 are able to work.  We are expecting greater numbers from 1st June.  The next priority is to establish consistent, small groups of Year 6 pupils, for the 48 who have requested a place.  Staff are busy working on the details and ensuring everything that is needed to minimise the risk of infection is in place – but our guiding principle is that we can only reopen to other pupils when it is safe to do so.

Detailed plans will be shared next week.  For now, thank you for your understanding. Please take care of each other and we look forward to seeing more of our wonderful children in June.
Keep viewing our website, Twitter and Text2Parents for the latest updates, daily lessons for each year group, virtual assemblies and links to additional resources and competitions.

School will be closed on Monday, 25th May for the Bank Holiday.

Take care and stay safe!

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Letter to Parents from Sefton Council - Tuesday 19th May

Tuesday 19th May

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR KEY WORKERS
Please read and respond by ASAP and no later than Friday 22nd May

Dear Parents/Carers,

I hope you are all well and staying safe throughout these unusual times. Thank you so much for the support you have shown us in recent weeks and your patience, understanding and resilience.  With daily headlines and speculation surrounding the reopening of schools in England it must be really difficult to make any decision about whether or not your child should be in school.  Everybody’s circumstances are different and subject to change, often with very little notice, and with many employers now asking their staff to return to work, juggling child care, work and everything else is increasingly problematic.

At FJS, despite being closed for the majority of pupils, we have remained open every day (except for weekends and Bank Holidays).  The children of key workers and vulnerable pupils have been able to access school throughout lockdown, but many have followed government advice to stay at home, resulting in very low numbers of children in school.

In an effort to increase the numbers in school, government advice has changed.  You may have seen on our website some of the plans we have drawn up in order to accommodate additional pupils.  The guidance is very lengthy, but the main points are:

  1. Children whose parents are key workers and any vulnerable children must be prioritised when reopening schools to more pupils. 
  2. Children in Year 6, in order to support their transition to high school, must be the first year group at FJS (since we do not have any Nursery, Reception or Year 1 pupils) to be phased back into school from June onwards.
  3. In order to follow social distancing guidelines, children must be in groups of no more than 15 – but in reality, due to the size of classrooms, this will be between 10 and 12.

In a school of 360 children that immediately creates more questions.  The most obvious one being about capacity.  In order to plan the next phase, we need to know which children will require a place in school after half-term.  We have already asked our Y6 parents to inform us and as you can imagine that has not been an easy question to answer.  We now need to confirm the number of children of key workers who will be in school in June, in order to make the necessary arrangements for everyone’s health and safety.

Therefore, if you are a key worker (health and social care/education and childcare/key public services/local & national government/food and other necessary goods/public safety/national security/transport/utilities, communication and financial services) please inform school, either by phone or email, ASAP and no later than Friday, 22nd May. 

Thank you again.

Yours sincerely,

P. A. Swift
Headteacher

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Thursday 14th May

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR PARENTS & CARERS OF YEAR 6 PUPILS
Please read and respond by 3.00pm on Tuesday 19th May

Dear Year 6 Parents/Carers,

Following the government’s announcement on Sunday and the guidance that was published by the Department for Education, we have begun to prepare for the possible return of our Year 6 pupils in June. As you will be aware, the reopening of schools is dependent on many things as well as clear evidence that the right conditions are in place.

With this in mind, I would like to share with you the actions we are taking to prepare for reopening and clarify for children and parents what ‘school’ will be like. Clearly, the children need to understand that the guidance around social distancing and the recommendations from the experts mean that classes will be organised very differently, utilising different rooms in school and whilst a great deal of thought and preparation has been put into the plans, inevitably children may find that they are not with their teacher, not with their entire class and not in their usual classroom.

The table below is designed to briefly set out some of the plans in place. We would like you to be as informed as possible, but the plans can’t be finalised until we have an indication of numbers. Therefore, we would like you to email us, stating whether or not you intend to send your child into school using the address by 3:00pm on Tuesday, 19th May.

Guidance

How this will look at FJS

Staggered start and finish times

Children will be allocated a start and finish time for their teaching group. It is very important that they stick to this time and that a 2m distance is kept between adults and children around the entry points. The design of our building allows us to use several entry points – once plans are finalised you will receive detailed instructions about where/how/when to arrive.
Please note: Only one adult from each household should drop off/pick up.

Temperature checking

Children will have their temperature checked by staff on entry to school using an infrared forehead thermometer. If a high temperature (above 37.8) is recorded, the child will need to return home and self-isolate for 7 days. The rest of the household will need to self-isolate for 14 days. Testing is also recommended.

Cleaning rotas

Our cleaning team will focus on the rooms being used and teaching staff will also have access to appropriate cleaning materials in the classroom. High touch points such as light switches will be cleaned more frequently than usual and doors will be wedged open where possible to limit the amount of ‘high touch’ surfaces.  Windows will be opened to allow for ventilation.

Classes in use

We will make use of all the available spaces – particularly the larger rooms in school, therefore each teaching group will have a maximum of 15 children (but most groups will be smaller) and they will remain in the same classroom with the same people as far as possible. This may not be your child’s usual classroom but this measure is necessary to limit any cross-contamination.
Outdoor spaces will also be used as ‘teaching spaces’ – as recommended.

Teaching staff

Each teaching group will have one teacher and a teaching assistant may also be allocated, depending on the needs of the children in that group. These adults will remain with this group, even though this may not be your child’s usual class teacher. Again, this measure is needed to ensure smaller teaching groups and to avoid cross contamination.

Social distancing of TA

Teaching assistants will be allocated to certain groups according to need but will still need to social distance. This will mean that children will get the support they need but may need to be encouraged to work with more independence than usual.

Use of stationery

School will provide children with a ‘named’ pencil case containing pens, pencils etc so that they will not need to share equipment or bring any additional items from home.

Marking books

Marking of books will be limited to avoid any virus transmission to staff.  Children will be able to self-mark where possible (for example in maths and verbal feedback will still be provided).

Curriculum

Whilst online learning has been provided, the children will have still missed a large chunk of the curriculum. We will therefore have to prioritise the aspects which we feel are most important, particularly within the core subjects of English, maths and science.  Our ‘Rainforest’ topic will provide the main theme and there will be an emphasis on well-being and transition to high school.  Sefton high schools are providing opportunities for pupils to visit their new school from the week beginning 15/6/20.

Breaktime

Children will still need to abide by social distancing measures at breaktimes. These times will be staggered according to teaching groups and will mainly consist of exercise, rather than play that would lead to contact.  We are very fortunate to have lots of outdoor spaces

Lunchtime

Groups will stay together during their lunchtime.  There will be time for exercise and these times will be staggered according to teaching groups and will need to comply with social distancing. Welfare staff will supervise the groups. A packed lunch, rather than a hot meal, will be prepared by the kitchen and delivered to school – payment should be made in the usual way.  Alternatively, pupils should bring in their own packed lunch.  In order to plan ahead, please indicate whether you will require a school packed lunch or provide your own, when replying to this letter.

Pupil handwashing times

Regular handwashing rotas will be in place for teaching groups. The children will wash their hands when coming into school, before eating, after using the bathroom, before leaving school and regularly during the school day.

Online learning continuation

For those classes that are not able to return to school in this next phase and for those children whose parents do not wish for them to return we will continue to provide work on our website.

As staff are going to have to set work online as well as teach full-time, no children (other than children of critical workers) will be in school on Fridays. This will allow staff to plan for the classes they are teaching in school as well as giving them time to set work for the following week.

Parent communication

We will continue to communicate via Teachers2Parents for general matters, via our website for online learning matters and via the year group email addresses if parents have individual enquiries. Our school Twitter account has been used to share/celebrate events and will continue to do so.  We ask that everyone communicates via email whenever possible rather than sending physical letters into school. Electronic communication is safest by far.

Office traffic

Our school reception area is not designed for social distancing and we ask that parents email where possible or telephone when email is not an option. We will be limiting visitors to school to an absolute minimum and ask that parents only come to the entrance if it is absolutely necessary. Only one person at a time will be allowed in. If you are waiting, it is safer to wait outside and at a distance of 2m from others.

School uniform

 

Face Masks

Children who have attended school throughout the lockdown period have continued to wear our school uniform – but there has been no requirement to wear a tie as the emphasis has been on comfort.

The latest guidance is: “Wearing a face covering or face mask in schools is not recommended.  Schools should not require staff, children and learners to wear face coverings.”
As a school we endeavour to keep up to date with the latest guidance and all decisions will be evaluated daily and changes implemented as soon as they are needed.

Displaying symptoms

No child or adult will be allowed in school with any virus symptoms, however mild.  Parents must contact school immediately if their child, or anyone in their home, start to display symptoms to ensure any necessary actions are taken.

In order to put these plans in place, alongside all the other preparations we are making to ensure that reopening school to more children is safe for everyone, it is vital for us to know how many children will be returning.

There is a lot of information contained in this letter and parents will need to decide for themselves what they think is right for their family.

Next Steps:

  1. PLEASE EMAIL TO INDICATE IF YOU WILL BE SENDING YOUR YEAR 6 CHILD INTO SCHOOL IN JUNE IF THE GOVERNMENT CONFIRM IT IS SAFE TO DO SO.
  2. IF YOUR CHILD WILL BE ATTENDING, PLEASE INFORM US IF THEY WILL REQUIRE A SCHOOL LUNCH.

WE NEED YOUR RESPONSE BY 3:00pm ON TUESDAY, 19th MAY 2020.

When we have a clearer idea of numbers and further guidance from the DfE and the government we will contact you with the specific details for your child.

Thank you for your continued support,

P A Swift
Headteacher

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Sunday 3rd May

Dear Parents and Carers

We have been asked to share this letter from the School Health Team:

During this difficult and uncertain time we wanted to remind you that the School Health Team are still available to offer support and advice if you have any health concerns regarding your child.

The School Health Team is part of the 0-19 Team which includes health visitors, nursery nurses, school nurses, community staff nurses and clinical support workers. There is a duty practitioner available Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) 9am to 5pm. They can be contacted on: 0151 247 6354. If they are unavailable, please leave a message including your child’s name, date of birth, school attended and your contact number and someone will return your call. Alternatively, you can email the team email address on: nwbh.princestreet0-19@nhs.net.

If you are concerned that anyone in your household is showing symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19), either a high temperature (this means you feel hot to touch on your chest and back) or a new continuous cough please stay at home and refer directly to the NHS 111 website www.111.nhs.uk/covid-19  for further advice.

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Wednesday 15th April

Dear Parents and Carers

When your child is ill or injured it is very difficult to decide if/when to call your child’s GP, NHS 111, or go the Accident and Emergency Department (A&E). While the government is asking everyone to stay at home, it can be confusing to know what to do. This document from NHS England offers some guidance around what to do if your child becomes ill or suffers an injury.