|Updated Thursday 26th March 2020:
To download this please click here: http://www.downs-view.kent.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Family-Support-Guide.pdf
Family Support Guide
With current routines disrupted and families having to stay at home, some families may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do for the best. Current advice suggests there are a number of things families can do to make the situation a little better.
Here are a few helpful tips:
Be open and honest
- Don’t be afraid to discuss the Coranavirus – children will have heard lots of people talking about it and might have seen people wearing face masks. Not talking about it can sometimes make children worry more.
- Listen to your child’s concerns, empathise with their worries and try to reassure by giving factual information and explain what you’re doing to keep safe.
- Answer questions as honestly as you can but in an age-appropriate manner. Try not to give too much information as it can be overwhelming.
- Keep communication open so they can talk to you whenever they need to. Allow children to tell you what they know and how they feel.
- There are lots of online support clips that can help you explain what Coronavirus is and can open up conversations. ‘Dave the Dog’ is a simple online book that helps children understand what Coranavirus is and reassure young children’s concerns.
- Be aware of your own anxiety as children will pick up on how we are feeling – so if we are calm, children will be calm.
Keep to a routine
Children are used to structure, so start the day with your normal routine, including getting up at a regular time, getting washed, dressed and having breakfast. Try and keep to a schedule of daily activities, but include a good mix of both school learning and downtime. If both parents work from home, try and take turns to supervise the children and set aside time to talk and listen to each other’s concerns. Structure regular mealtimes and try to keep to bedtime routines to keep the children happy and healthy.
Suggested downtime activities for 5-11 year olds
- Art and craft activities: drawing, painting, junk modelling, clay modelling
- Outdoor activities: walking, scooting, cycling, roller skating, hopscotch, obstacle courses, skipping
- Eye Spy
- Make play-dough
- Treasure hunts (hide a favourite toy somewhere in the house, give clues where to find it)
- Making music – singing and making musical instruments. Listening to music.
- Board games, party games and charades
- Puzzles and card games
- Construction play – Lego, Meccano, Knex
- Exploring science – magnetic sets, plan and carry out experiments
- Imaginative play – performing their own shows, dancing, karaoke, dressing-up
- Cooking with family – have a bake-off
- Reading: favourite comics/magazines and books
- Computer games
- Watching TV and favourite films
- Helping with household chores
- Gardening (if you have one)
- Planning a project together – building something or making a den.
At present families can still go out once a day to exercise as long as they stay at a safe distance from others (2 metres) however for families who are well but self-isolating, there are also ways in which they can build exercise into their daily life.
Some suggestions are:
- Mini circuits
- Bear crawls
- Make up a workout and do it together (10 star jumps, hop like a bunny, running on the spot, leg raises, planks)
- Online children’s exercise sessions
- If you have a garden – skipping, running, cycling, jumping/hopping, scooting, throwing and catching a ball.
Adults need around 30 minutes of exercise per day and children need 60 minutes.
There are many benefits for why children should exercise daily, these are:
- Help strengthen bones and muscles
- Promotes healthy growth and development
- Improves child’s cardiovascular fitness
- Improves concentration and thinking skills
- Less likely to become overweight
- Helps maintain positive well-being
- Increases self confidence
- Learn new skills
Give each other space
Self-isolating may be difficult for families who are used to having their own space. Try and create spaces within your home where people can have some time on their own. This does not have to be in a different room, it can be a chair or bean bag in a specific part of the room where children can go to do a quiet activity away from others including listening to music/stories using a headset, looking at a book or playing with a toy.
Stay in touch
Staying in contact with family and friends can be essential for our well-being. There are a number of different ways to connect with people and share experiences without having physical contact. These include;
- Phone calls
- Video calls
- Group chats
- Adults can use social media such as, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter.
Self-Isolation may be challenging for many families, unfortunately we cannot magic the situation away but we are here to listen and talk through any concerns and worries that you have. Sam Ansell (Family Liaison Officer) will be around during school hours to support families, she can be contacted on 07884866105 or by email email@example.com. Please do not hesitate to get in contact.
Other support agencies that may be of help during these difficult times are:
Fareshare – charity aimed at getting food to vulnerable people.
Sunday and Bank Holidays 2pm – 9pm
Contact No: 01316080967
01233 502 355??
Ashford Vineyard –
115 Cudworth Road
Contact no: 116 123
This update was made on 20th March 2020
Schools, colleges and early years settings to close
Following guidance given on Wednesday night by the Government, Downs View closed at the end of the school day on Friday 20th March. It will remain open for children of key workers and vulnerable children only.
Children who may still attend
If you feel are a key worker and will need childcare at school next week, please can you call the office. The list of key workers can be found on the Government website.
‘schools are safe for a small number of children to continue attending- but asking others to stay away will help to slow the spread’.
There has been an indication from the Secretary of State that schools will continue to provide this service during Easter holidays but we will need to await further guidance about this.
Pupil premium/Free school meals
We are conscious that a number of children are eligible for Free school meals. We will be open for children to come onto site to have a hot meal if safe to do so. There will be social distancing in place for this and you will be informed of your time slot on Monday. If you are not able to come to school for this please contact the office and we will be able to advise you. Update: packed lunch take away packs will be available from Tuesday for pupil premium children.
We would not want to leave any child in need without food; therefore during this initial period, if you require support with provision of food please contact Sam Ansell our FLO during school hours and we will support where we can. Her number is 07884866105.
Support for parents
Sam will also be available during school hours if you need further support. She will help as she can and somebody else will monitor the phone in her absence. A support sheet will come home with every child today with useful telephone numbers and links to local support. Please do not suffer alone, your children need you at this challenging time. Keeping a routine from day one will help you and your child to get through so please keep to this, building in learning time and breaks including time for some fresh air in gardens or in your street with you. Look out for a social story which we have used in school to explain the Coronavirus in a child friendly way can also be found on our website.
Your child will bring home their home learning book with the topic grid and creative learning which you can complete with your child over the next few weeks. In addition there are a range of apps and links to website which will also support you with activities to complete with your child at home. We will keep updating our website and will alert you via parentmail or facebook about this. Children must be kept at home or indoors during school hours.
Throughout the period of school closure all pupils will be Y coded. No absences, authorised or unauthorised will be registered against pupils.
The government have announced that no Primary Assessments will take place in May and June. This includes Year 1 Phonics Screening and Year 2 SATs. Some of the learning provided practises these essential skills and knowledge. Please continue to support your child with learning spellings and using these within their writing.
Safeguarding and other urgent concerns
A Designated Safeguarding Lead will be on site daily so if you have any concerns you can contact one of them via the school office. May I also remind you that you can contact KCC safeguarding team if you need to via calling 03000415648.
I assure you we will continue to send regular information as soon as we have it.
May I remind you that Government guidance regarding self-isolation has not changed. Even if you are a key worker you still need to follow the guidelines below:
- If your child or another member of the household have symptoms of coronavirus, then all members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from day when the first person in the house became ill.
- It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could give to others in the community
- The symptoms are:
- A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above) OR
- A new continuous cough
We have been very fortunate to remain open all week and would like to commend my staff who against all odds have put your children first and ensured that the Downs View’s team work has shone brightly. They have shown dedication, hard work and provided emotional support to you and your children as well as trying to keep their own families safe too.
They will continue to be on a rota whilst we are open to come in and support children in school or work at home to prepare for when your children return.
Thank you for your ongoing support, we will continue to do our very best for you and your children, keeping that positive community spirit alive.
Please stay safe, follow the Government guidelines and as hard as it is keep calm and support one another.
The Department is working through the policy implications of this announcement and, over the coming days, will be sharing with you the further information that you need.
Update on assessments and examinations
Yesterday, we confirmed that we will not go ahead with assessments or exams, and that we will not be publishing performance tables for this academic year. Tomorrow we will provide greater clarity on how students and young people will be awarded the examination results that they deserve.
New free school meals guidance
We have confirmed that we will give schools the flexibility to deliver meals or provide shop vouchers to children entitled to free school meals if they are no longer attending school, either due to closures or as a result of self-isolating at home.
Schools will be able to provide meals or vouchers for supermarkets or local shops, which can be sent directly to families who are either self-isolating at home or whose schools are closed on government advice. Final rates will be confirmed in the coming days, but we have confirmed that the voucher value for each eligible child will exceed the rate that schools are paid for free school meals, recognising that families will not be buying food in bulk and may therefore incur higher costs.
Full guidance can be found here:
Update on school funding
We will put in place new measures, to reimburse schools for reasonable, additional costs that they face in order to stay safely staffed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Funding for all schools and colleges (including maintained and academy special schools, non-maintained special schools, independent special schools, pupil referral units, general further education colleges and special post-16 institutions), whether from local or central government, will be maintained and not reduced because many pupils are not in attendance (either because of self-isolation, or where the institution has closed). This includes top-up funding in respect of individual children and young people, which will still be needed by the school to keep their staff in employment.
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 latest guidance and video on hand washing can be found here:
Department for Education coronavirus helpline
The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday)
Please note, we are currently experiencing high volumes of calls. We appreciate your patience at this time and apologise for any wait that you may experience. To ensure that we answer your calls as quickly as possible, we have now extended our opening hours to cover weekends and are increasing the number of call handlers available to answer your calls.
If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UK PRN) available when calling the hotline.
Where to find the latest information
Updates on COVID-19:
Guidance for educational settings:
Guidance for social or community care and residential settings:
Travel advice for those travelling and living overseas:
Latest Department for Education information:
Please keep your GIAS school contacts up to date
If you work in a school, please take this opportunity to review your contact information in Get Information About Schools (GIAS).
To update your record, please go to the GIAS home page, “Sign in” using your “DfE Sign-in” credentials and select GIAS from your available services here: