Update on School Re-opening

26 May 2020

Practise like you’ve never won and perform like you’ve never lost.

Dear Parents/ Carers,

I wanted to update you on our current position as I’m sure you will have seen many news reports about schools reopening and to share with you the plans, we are putting in place for children and staff to return safely.

The return to school buildings will be a very carefully planned and organised event.

In June some staff will be allowed to access our building initially to work with Support Services Co-ordinators to complete risk assessments for our building in light of social distancing guidance.

Staff will then be allowed to enter the building to plan and organise classrooms to facilitate keeping children 2 metres apart.

Staff will familiarise themselves with new procedures and plan for how to safely have children entering and leaving the building and how to move about the building avoiding contact with other groups.

We will be meeting with cleaning supervisors, janitorial staff and catering staff in order to ensure that there is a rigorous plan for the cleaning and disinfecting of all areas used by children and staff.

We plan not to open certain areas of the school for instance the Playroom, Sensory Room and ICT suite.

It is likely that in August children will come to school in small groups of about 8-10 per mainstream class. They might have staggered start and finish times to try to cut down on numbers of parents entering or leaving the school grounds at the same time.

We are expecting to receive guidance on numbers for ASN classes soon.

Children will be issued with a resource folder of stationery and essential items to prevent the sharing of resources.

Children will experience what is being called blended learning: Numeracy, Literacy and Health and Wellbeing curricular areas taught in school and home learning for time that they are not in school covering other curricular areas. We are awaiting advice from The Scottish Government and SLC on how best to proceed with the organisation/ grouping of children to facilitate this.

It is likely that children will have reduced time in front of a teacher and will work from home for some of the time on set tasks.

I understand that this gradual reopening of school buildings is very concerning for parents and carers and staff as there are many aspects to take into account.

Please be reassured that the safety of our children and staff is paramount in all the decision-making processes and that at times we may need to revise our procedures due to further advice from the Scottish Government and SLC.

I have not made classes for next session as yet and will try to keep siblings coming to school on the same days/ times to minimise disruption to parents and carers where possible. Children will be coming to school with only 7-9 others in their year group at a time to reduce the risk of infection to all. As the advice and infection rate change, I will then make up classes for when children can attend in larger numbers.

I have asked teachers to remain at the same stage they are teaching this year and to remain in the same classroom again to reduce the disruption and movement of staff and belongings around the school. There are a few minimal changes due to us reducing from 10 mainstream classes to 9.

Although I have asked teachers to remain at their current stage there may need to be some changes depending on shielding and staff ability to attend school.

To help with Primary 1 transition into the school we have posted information and a virtual tour on our school website. We encourage all new parents and carers to show the tour to their child and talk to them about the information on the page.

Our Secondary School colleagues have been busy creating transition packs for our Primary 7 children. These have been emailed directly to children or are on secondary school websites.

I am aware that as parents you will have lots of questions about returning to the school building. I will endeavour to answer your questions and if I cannot I will try to find out for you.

If you have any questions please email me at


Thank you for all the hard work you have been doing with the children. We recognise that learning comes in many forms and that although this unprecedented time has given us many challenges it has also provided time to spend with our families, especially our children.

I will keep you updated as I receive further advice and guidance.

Your sincerely,

Alison Hope.

Head Teacher

Headteacher Letter – Home Learning

Dear Parents/ carers,

We very much appreciate all of your positive comments and offers of support we have received since school closure.

As it looks as if schools may be closed for sometime I wanted to thank you all for your hard work, perseverance and positive attitude with home learning.

We understand that it is very challenging to juggle work commitments and schooling and want to reassure Parents/Carers that we know you are doing everything you can. Even if children can try a few activities over the week it will help them to remember and apply key knowledge.

Home learning can in no way replicate being in a classroom with a teacher and receiving direct teaching to move learning on, however, home learning can help to consolidate current knowledge and give children the chance to use taught skills in different ways with real life applications.

Our teaching and support staff are dividing their time between working in Hubs to provide child care for key workers children and setting tasks for children to consolidate learning at home. If a child is attending a Hub it does not mean that they are receiving a normal taught curriculum nor automatically will these children be advantaged against others who are not attending.

I have asked teaching staff to set tasks for literacy and numeracy on a weekly basis and to include some fun activities which could be done as a family. We do not wish to add undue pressure to families and ask only that children try some activities that can be managed in the home.

On Wednesdays and Fridays children can showcase their activities to their class by emailing a photograph of what they have been up to.

Hamilton Grammar are preparing transition activities which will be posted in P7 folders in May to support the move from Primary to Secondary.

Council Offices are continuing to work on Placing Requests and Parents/Carers will be notified of decisions by post after 30 April.

South Lanarkshire Council are working to produce support packages with a loan of a laptop or support with boosting internet connections. As more details emerge I will update you.

We understand how disappointing it is for our senior pupils not to be able to attend our residential trip to Auchengillan. I have completed an insurance claim and hope to be able to fully reimburse all monies paid soon. Again as soon as I receive an update I will communicate this with Primary 7 parents.

We are thinking about how best to welcome our new Primary 1 pupils for August and are discussing possibilities with Early Years Workers.

I hope you all keep safe and well.

Kind regards,

Alison Hope.

UPDATE – Monday and Tuesday Arrangements


Following updated advice from SLC, we would like to summarise the current arrangements for the school on Monday and Tuesday.

  • School will offer child care only for parents/carers who are listed as Category 1 workers or are emergency service workers (NHS staff, police, fire and rescue, ambulance and prison service)
  • Even if families fall into these categories, these arrangements are only for children who are well and healthy and who cannot secure personal, alternative childcare arrangements.
  • Given the unique and evolving circumstances, children should not expect a normal school day.  Staff will strive to keep children occupied, safe and secure from 9.00am until 3.00pm.
  • We ask all children to enter the front PE hall door from 8.50am at the earliest.  Parents will be required to sign in each child in the reception area before the children enter the school. Parents should observe the 2 metre social distancing regulations when waiting to sign in.
  • Similarly, all children should be collected no later than 3.00pm from the PE hall door.
  • We anticipate there will be many questions, however you will appreciate that our priority and all our focus will be to ensure children enter and exit the school safely.  We will ensure any information or updates will be sent to families as we have it throughout the day using the school app and school website.
  • School lunches will be available to those who are eligible from the front office hatch, 12.30pm until 1.15pm.

We would like to emphasise that the specific arrangements in place are only for Monday and Tuesday.  The details of arrangements for after this time will be communicated to you when available.

We would like to thank everyone for their understanding, kind words and support during this unique time.  Events are fast changing and we will strive to keep you informed as best we can.

We wish you all good health in the weeks ahead and look forward to the school opening as normal as soon as it is safe to do so.

Important Update

SLC have advised that school will be open Monday 23 March and Tuesday 24 March from 9am- 3pm in the first instance to the children of Category 1 key workers only.

Category 1 Key workers:

  • Health and Care workers supporting Covid and associated staff.
  • Health and Care workers supporting life threatening emergency work
  • Critical primary and community care provision
  • Energy suppliers
  • Staff providing childcare for other category staff. (i.e. teachers, and all other school staff including facilities)

If your occupation is listed above and you require childcare on Monday and Tuesday, please email the school office as soon as possible. Office@st-johns-hamilton-pri.s-lanark.sch.uk

Please do not call as we are currently dealing with a high number of calls.

Please include in your email:

  • Your child/children’s names and class
  • Your full name
  • Your role within Category 1 descriptions.

If your child is entitled to a free school meal, lunch will be available from 12.30-1.15pm on Monday and Tuesday in the first instance.

To allow catering staff to prepare food please email the school office to request a lunch.

At this point, we are unable to provide details of the lunch choices.

Thank you for your continued support and good wishes.

Communication with Families During School Closure

Over the period when the school is closed, we will communicate with families through the School App and through the school website.

In addition we will send a GLOW email to each child on Monday 23rd March to let them know of any work/activities available to the children.

The initial email will have a link which will take them to their class work folder.  There will also be a link to a whole school folder with useful activities any class can browse and access.

Please note that this email service is provided only to give families information from school.  Can you please remind your children that this should never be used for communicating with friends or teachers.  By doing this, we will keep the communication channel clutter free, so messages from school are clear and easily accessible.

If families wish to contact the school they can email the headteacher or a member of the school senior management team.  We will endeavour to read your email and respond during the hours of a normal school working day.



gw07odonnellyjames @glow.sch.uk

If you do not know how to access GLOW at home, please click on the link below for instructions.

If your child has been absent and you do not have their GLOW sign in details, please email the school and we will get them to you.

You can also email if you would like information about downloading the school App.

Please use the following email,

gw07odonnellyjames @glow.sch.uk

Many thanks for your understanding and support at this unique time in the school’s history.