Return to School Overview and FAQ

Dear Parent/Carer,

We appreciate that the return to school in August will be a challenging and new experience for us all. With this in mind, we want to keep you updated with as much information as possible.

We have published below the first 2 parts of our planned communication:

1. St Columbkille’s Primary Back to School Leaflet (Thursday 18th June)
2. Parental FAQ (Thursday 18th June)
3. Your child’s class and teacher for next session (Monday 22nd June)
4. A video explaining the new class layout, entrance and exit to the school etc. (Tuesday 23rd June)
5. St Columbkille’s Recovery Plan (Tuesday 23rd June)

*Please note that these dates are subject to change, however we will endeavour to release information as outlined above.

Yours sincerely

Andy Gray

Head Teacher

Back to School leaflet

Please click on the link below to see an overview of your child’s return/start to school in St Columbkille’s Primary:

Parental Questions

Please see below answers to some of the questions you have been asking us.

Pattern of Attendance

Question: How will the phased return to school work? Mornings only or afternoons only will not work 4 most parents. Preference for parents is full days at a time or a week at a time.

Question: How will you select which days / hours my child will attend school. If this is part time will days / hours be considered in line with parents current working arrangements? And when will we know the details of this to prepare in advance ?

Answer: South Lanarkshire Council have advised that each child will be offered 2 full days in school which will be complimented by 3 days learning at home. This is called ‘blended learning’. We have ensured that all siblings will attend school on the same days. We will inform parents of your child’s allocated days the week beginning 22nd June. Please contact the school before this date if there is a specific issue you wish to discuss. The model we are using is Family Group A: Monday/Tuesday, a deep clean of the school will take place on Wednesdays and Family Group B: Thursday/Friday.

Question: How will the school week work if children are doing half learning at school and the other half at home

Answer: During the days that children attend school, they will be taught new concepts and skills, which they will then be able to consolidate through set additional tasks to be completed at home. Further guidance on how this this will operate will be issued in due course.

Question: The government said that all children will be back in school from the 12th of August but this is a Wednesday when no children are meant to be in.

Answer: South Lanarkshire Council has indicated to schools that it is expected that children will be back from 12th August and, given the length of time our children and young people have not been in school, arrangements should be made to ensure all children attend at some point that week. This means that the practicalities of Week 1 will look a bit different from subsequent weeks as all pupils are expected to experience some introductory time back in school during these three days. Therefore the model for week 1 will be as follows:

Tuesday 11 August 2020              In-service day – Staff only in school

Wednesday 12 August 2020        (Family Group A – introductory day)

Thursday 13/Friday 14 August    (Family Group B – introductory days, as per your model)

Wk beginning 17 August               (revert to two day model Mon/Tues and Thurs/Frid model as outlined above)

Social Distancing

Question: What social distancing measures will the school put in place?

Question: Will drop off and pick up times be staggered.

Answer: As advised by the Scottish Government, social distancing measures will be adhered to by both pupils and staff within the school. All classrooms have been reorganised to ensure that each pupil has the required 2m distance between desks and elements of the school day such as start time, playtimes, lunchtimes and the end of the school day will all be staggered to ensure this. The school car park will be closed and a one way system for dropping off will be in operation. More information on the specifics and practicalities of social distancing within St Columbkille’s will be sent to you next week.

Question: Given the extremely low risk to children of the virus why are the government going to these extreme lengths which sound completely impractical and unworkable with the implications for the mental health of our children. They have been separated from their friends for long enough. Life isn’t risk free and can’t be lived at a 2m distance from people. If the kids go back to school they should be allowed to socialise with their friends. I would have no qualms about sending my children to school as it was before the lockdown.

Answer: The school are duty bound to operate under the guidance and advice issued by our local authority, as directed by the Scottish Government. Therefore, we are required to implement the blended learning model explained above.

Question: How many children will be in a class

Question: How many children per class will you be looking to have in August and for how long will this continue ?

Answer: In accordance with the 2m social distancing requirement, classes are able to safely occupy 14 pupils at a time in almost all of our classes. This will remain in place until the Scottish Government and South Lanarkshire council advise of changes to the requirements.

Question: How can I prepare my child for social distancing in return to school so that they are prepared for this?

Answer: We will send out pictures of the classrooms to allow pupils to see what to expect upon their return in August. Explaining to your child the importance of social distancing and why we have to do it will help in ensuring this is successfully implemented. We will also support pupils in this upon their return.

Allocation of Classes

Question: Is it possible for the children to return to the same teachers when the school starts back for the next year as there has already been so much change for them?

Answer: It is very unfortunate for everyone involved that the last session was disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we are planning to ensure that the pupils return to school is as smooth as possible. In August, all pupils will begin a new stage and the vast majority of pupils will have a new teacher. This is due to the staffing cohort changing for next session and to meet the needs of all of our pupils across the school.

Question: One of my concerns is my daughter not being in class with her friends if the numbers in the classroom need to be reduced.

Answer: The configuration of classes is a complex and challenging process which has been compounded further by the necessity of splitting classes into two groups, ensuring siblings are placed together, co-ordinating days with local nurseries, individual class size limitations and ensuring a gender balance within each group. The school follows guidance set out by SLC when forming classes with pupils placed to progress academically within their set working groups. Due to the complexity of arranging classes with social distancing we are unable to guarantee friendship groups being together.

Question: Will kids still have access to glow during the summer holidays and will kids be told of who their teacher will be for next term before they return?

Answer: Pupils will still be able to access their GLOW account from home, but no formal work will be issued during the summer holidays. Parents have been emailed on the 16th of June with their child’s school report and a note of the class, teacher and attendance days for August will be sent out w/b 22nd June. Please ensure the email account your Parentpay account is linked to, is accessed regularly.


Question: When will the nursery be opening in the 2020 period as nothing has been said about it as I did a transfer from her nursery to St Columbkille’s Nursery

Answer: Due to the current situation, the development of our nursery has been placed on hold by South Lanarkshire Council. It will not be opening as planned in August 2020. We will update our website and contact prospective parents accordingly when we are advised of any new plans to progress. If a transfer request was submitted to joining the nursery they will remain in their current nursery until further developments. Every child who has either applied for a place or requested for a transfer will have been lettered by South Lanarkshire Council advising of this. Please contact the school if this is not the case.

P1 Transition

Question: My youngest is starting school this year, I am concerned about him not getting the visits to the school, will he be expected to go straight into full days in school or will it be a couple of half days to start etc?

Answer: We were saddened that our planned transition programme for our new Primary 1 pupils had to be cancelled, so to ensure our new members were supported in their preparation for joining our school, each P1 pupil has been visiting the school during this week beginning 15th June. These individual, 30-minute socially distanced appointments have been put in place to allow pupils to meet their teachers, see their classroom and build some familiarity with our school. On the first day of school your child will start a little later and leave a little earlier but from day 2 it is expected the children will be in full time.

Lunch Arrangements

Question: Will the children have to sit themselves at lunchtime?

Answer: There is recognition that due to physical distancing requirements the number of meals that can be taken in our dining area in any one sitting will be significantly reduced, (even with family members sitting together), and that two separate lunch breaks will be necessary, supplemented with the delivery of a packed lunch to classrooms in order to ensure lunch provision is managed in a safe and timely manner.

The process for lunch service will be as follows:

  • Pre-ordering will continue in the same way
  • Payments via ParentPay will continue.
  • In dining areas, tables will be wiped clean after each sitting.
  • In classes, food would be delivered by catering staff with 2 separate lunchtime sittings in operation.
  • Catering staff will remove all rubbish and clean tables before the afternoon learning begins.

In addition:

  • Pupils with special dietary requirements or allergies will continue to be catered for.
  • Packed lunches will be allowed.
  • Hands will be washed/sanitised before and after eating.
  • Communal water areas can be accessed with the requirement to sanitise hands before and after use. Children will be encouraged to bring their own filled water bottle for use during the day.
  • Facilities Services have produced the menu for the new school session. You can find detail of this at:  


Question: Will the breakfast club be available in August?

Answer: South Lanarkshire Council has advised that breakfast clubs in primary schools will not be available from the beginning of the session but will be under review as the term progresses.

Question: Will primary 7 still have a chance to be buddies when they return to school

Answer: Presently, due to the social distancing measure that must be adhered to and the change in the school day, P7 pupils will not be able to buddy our new P1 pupils as they normally would. Whilst this is disappointing, we will look for opportunities throughout the year, where possible, to allow our p7 pupils to support our younger learners.

Question: Will we get an option to purchase school uniforms?

Question: Will we be enforcing school uniforms? GIven that they must be clear every day for infection control? Blazers could not be cleaned every day. I wonder if non-uniform policy should be adopted.

Answer: We are proud of our uniform and it remains unchanged for August. We feel this is important as, with so many changes being put in place, we want to create the most authentic school experience we can under present circumstances and our uniform plays a big part in our school identity.  School ties can be purchased from the school office and uniform orders are being accepted online through our uniform supplier Scotcrest ( Pupil will be sitting at their individual desk and their blazer/jacket will hang over their sterilised seat. Pupil will not be permitted to sit anywhere except their designated area to ensure appropriate infection control measures.

Question: Will manor lodge be cancelled or moved to another date if possible?

Answer: We are liaising with SLC and Manor Lodge about the best way to proceed and will communicate this with you as soon as possible.

Question: Will the p5 swim lessons carry over until next year?

Answer: Once we have received guidance from South Lanarkshire Council and Active Schools regarding the resumption of swimming lessons, we will advise all parents.

Question: Will we get our money back from Musical Theatre?

Answer: Yes refunds will be organised for anyone who paid for the block.

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