Victoria Park Primary School

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Return to School Arrangements

4 August 2020.


Dear Parents,

As we move into August, our summer holiday begins to near an end and return to school becomes closer. Unfortunately, we still remain uncertain as to the safety of a full return but recent news suggests that the Education Minister intends to ask the NI Executive to advise a full time return for all pupils by removing social distancing. However, this has not yet been confirmed.


Until then, I still have to assume social distancing remains in place and therefore part time / blended learning for all pupils may remain in September.


As outlined in my June letter, P7 will return part time from week of 24th August, 2 days per week. From 1st September, P2-P6 will also return to 2 days in school, 3 days online.

P1 have already received their individual programme of return.


Returning to school after almost 6 months will be a challenging time for everyone and so, pastoral care and settling back in safely will be an essential part of our initial return.  The part time return will focus on pastoral and social elements rather than a plunge straight back into the full curriculum, as well as learning the new COVID-19 protocols required within and around school.


If covid19 remains under control and Minister Weir removes social distancing to allow a full return, we will then begin a gradual move from induction to full time schooling as soon as it is safe and our children are ready. This may be in the second to third week in September.


Returning will bring many new routines for our children, parents and staff. Details of new protocols will follow before school starts regarding the staggered drop off and collection times, hygiene procedures and social distancing around the school building and grounds. Packed lunches only will be allowed with all children eating at their desks. These will be provided for children on free school meals. There will be limited movement around the school and year groups will remain in their own “bubbles” with staggered separate year group breaks and lunchtimes.


Before the end of next week, I will inform you of your child’s induction days for attending school for the first weeks, starting and finishing times and equipment required. I also hope to have received some further information from the Dept. of Education.


Until then, please go ahead preparing for the school return including buying uniform - all children will return wearing normal full September uniform.

You can avail of the Eastside Partnership’s School Uniform Recycling Scheme. You can “click and collect” at their online shop on the ESP website from this week.


All children will also require their own stationery items which should be labelled and placed in a plastic bag. They will be put in plastic folders in school which can be wiped. These will remain in school and should not be used or shared with any other children.   No pencil cases, book bags or school bags will be used for a while yet.

A list of equipment will be sent with next week’s information.


I apologise for not being able to give more precise information at present but I know you appreciate this is still a fluid situation with hopes of reduction of the spread of Covid19 as well as fears of a new spike. There is no hidden information being issued to schools by DE and I am receiving news as you do on tv.


A safe return for our children is the aim for all of us and together we will arrange a gradual resettling which brings our pupils back to Victoria Park feeling confident and safe.

Kind regards

Andrea Gourley.


Summary of information issued.

All pupils will return wearing normal full school uniform.

Stationary equipment should be brought in a plastic bag and left in school.

No pencil cases, book bags or school bags.

Packed lunches only, brought in a plastic bag.  (FSM provided in school)

No after school clubs or Waiting Club will take place.

Assemblies, swimming or educational visits will not take place yet.

Only outdoor PE lessons will take place.


Week beginning Monday 24th August

P7 return. Full days.

Group A Monday and Tuesday.

Group B Thursday and Friday


Monday 31st August

School is closed for bank holiday.


Tuesday 1st September


P2 to P6 return to school. Full days.


P2-P7 induction days:

Group A Tuesday and Wednesday.

Group B Thursday and Friday.

Staggered start and finishing times will apply.

Tuesday 1st September


P1 follow individual return in small groups-already advised by letter.


Week beginning Monday 7th September




Group A Monday and Tuesday.

Group B Thursday and Friday.

3 days’ online home learning.


This pattern will continue unless social distancing is removed for schools by the NI Executive and it is possible to move safely to fulltime, 5 days a week.


Staggered start and finishing times will continue.

Week beginning Monday 14th September



As above.

Staggered start and finishing times will continue.

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