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Welcome to St. Mary's C.E. Middle School. Latest - New guidelines on what to do if your child is ill have been added to the COVID-19 pages.

Welcome to St Mary's C.E. Middle School

Thank you for visiting the website for St. Mary's C.E. Middle School. We are a 9-13 middle school situated on the outskirts of Puddletown, a small village in the beautiful Dorset countryside. We are a church school with an ethos built on the core Christian values of respect, forgiveness, justice, uniqueness, equality and acceptance.

Our aim is to give every pupil the chance to achieve their God given potential in all areas of their life and we are proud to have been assessed as an outstanding church school in our last two Church of England inspections. We expect the highest standards in both academic work and behaviour and we place our children at the centre of everything we do.

The pupils, staff and governors are very proud of our school and we hope that this website will allow you to see why. We look forward to having the opportunity to meet you in person.

Information about returning to school in September

Returning to school in September 2020 (Last updated 30th July 2020)


Following the release of detailed guidance from central government, schools will reopen to all pupils from September 2020.  The provision will be full-time.  These pages are to inform you of all the arrangements that St. Mary's C.E. Middle School will put in place to ensure that the return to school is safe for both staff and pupils.  The arrangements are based on the document entitled 'Guidance for full opening:schools' which can be accessed by clicking HERE.  Please note that any text in blue italics has been taken directly from the government guidance document.


The following passage is taken from the government literature and explains their rationale for pupils returning to school (abridged).

It is our plan that all pupils, in all year groups, will return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term...The prevalence of coronavirus (COVID-19) has decreased, our NHS Test and Trace system is up and running, and we are clear about the measures that need to be in place to create safer environments within schools...The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from coronavirus (COVID-19) is very low and there are negative health impacts of being out of school. We know that school is a vital point of contact for public health and safeguarding services that are critical to the wellbeing of children and families...Given the improved position, the balance of risk is now overwhelmingly in favour of children returning to school. For the vast majority of children, the benefits of being back in school far outweigh the very low risk from coronavirus (COVID-19)...We are, therefore, asking schools to prepare to welcome all children back this autumn. While coronavirus (COVID-19) remains in the community, this means making judgments at a school level about how to balance minimising any risks from coronavirus (COVID-19) by maximising control measures with providing a full educational experience for children and young people. Schools should use their existing resources to make arrangements to welcome all children back...In welcoming all children back this autumn, schools will be asked to minimise the number of contacts that a pupil has during the school day as part of implementing the system of controls outlined below to reduce the risk of transmission. If schools follow the guidance set out here and maximise control measures, they can be confident they are managing risk effectively....While our aim is to have all pupils back at school in the autumn, every school will also need to plan for the possibility of a local lockdown and how they will ensure continuity of education.


It is strongly advised that you talk to your child before they return to school.  The learning environment and the style of learning will be different to what they are used to.  Pupils have restrictions on who they are able to socialise with and what they are able to do whilst at school.  We will be going through all of these changes as part of the return to school in September.  Please notify the school if you feel that your child is anxious or worried about returning to school and will arrange for a member of staff to talk to them to help reduce this.

Public health advice to minimise coronavirus (COVID-19) risks


The school will follow the advice from Public Health England and establish a set of actions that all staff and pupils must follow whilst on the school premises.  There are:

  • Cleaning of hands more often in the school day (at least when arriving at school, at break and lunchtimes).  We have installed a new set of outdoor sinks to increase the hand washing capacity within the school. Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an easy virus to kill when it is on skin. This can be done with soap and running water or hand sanitiser. Schools must ensure that pupils clean their hands regularly, including when they arrive at school, when they return from breaks, when they change rooms and before and after eating. Regular and thorough hand cleaning is going to be needed for the foreseeable future.
  • Establish good respiratory hygiene by promoting the 'catch it, bin it, kill it' approach.  Every classroom will have a pedal bin provided specifically for any tissues or other contaminated waste.  The ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach continues to be very important, so schools must ensure that they have enough tissues and bins available in the school to support pupils and staff to follow this routine.
  • Increased cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.  Each classroom will have a tray with standard cleaning materials in such as spray detergent and wipes.
  • Increase cleaning of frequently touched surfaces in between lessons.  Each classroom will have a tray containing standard cleaning detergent, wipes and tissues.  Toilets will need to be cleaned regularly and pupils must be encouraged to clean their hands thoroughly after using the toilet.  Increased cleaning of toilets and communal areas part of the way through the day.
  • Minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing wherever possible.  The school will limiting contact to pupils within their own year group wherever possible.  Schools must do everything possible to minimise contacts and mixing while delivering a broad and balanced curriculum.
  • Have a clear action plan should a pupil either present with symptoms whilst at school and contain any outbreak by following local health protection team advice.
  • Engage fully with the NHS track and trace process and enforce self-isolation periods in staff and pupils where required.


Specific Information on the Day to Day Organisation of the School


How will the school be organised?


  • Pupil will only be able to mix directly with pupils in their own year group.  The majority of their lessons will be with their tutor group.  In lessons where more than one tutor group is timetabled to have a lesson together (P.E. and technology), the sames classes will be mixed together for consistency.  They will only be with their year group in collective worship in the hall and at lunch.  Schools should assess their circumstances and if class-sized groups are not compatible with offering a full range of subjects or managing the practical logistics within and around school, they can look to implement year group sized ‘bubbles’. Whatever the size of the group, they should be kept apart from other groups where possible and older children should be encouraged to keep their distance within groups.  Groups should be kept apart, meaning that schools should avoid large gatherings such as assemblies or collective worship with more than one group.
  • Pupils will be allocated a set area of then school grounds for their breaks and lunches.  Pupils will not be able to mix with pupils from different year groups during these times including siblings.  Pupils will be asked to maintain social distancing at break and lunchtimes.
  • Timings of the school day will be different for each key stage.  This to allow a split break and lunchtime sessions so that no more than two year groups are on the playground at any time.  To allow for double technology lessons, there will be different timings on certain days of the week.  These will be reflected on the pupils class timetable.  When timetabling, groups should be kept apart and movement around the school site kept to a minimum.  Schools should also consider staggered break times and lunch times (and time for cleaning surfaces in the dining hall between groups).
  • Pupils will be following a broad and balanced curriculum and will study all subjects on their timetable.  There has been some adjustments to the units of work taught in certain practical subjects due to restrictions on being able to share equipment.
  • Pupils, wherever possible, will have their lessons in their tutor rooms with staff moving to them (which is a change from previous years where pupils moved to a teachers designated teaching space).  Pupils will continue to use specialist teaching facilities where appropriate.
  • Within their tutor room, each pupil will have their own desk that should be used for all lessons.  All rooms in the school will have desks arranged in rows and facing forwards, in line with published government guidelines.  Rooms have also had unnecessary furniture and object removed.  Schools should make small adaptations to the classroom to support distancing where possible. That should include seating pupils side by side and facing forwards, rather than face to face or side on, and might include moving unnecessary furniture out of classrooms to make more space.
  • Pupils will be supported to catch up on lost learning and will complete some activities to reinforce some of the tasks that have been studied at home.  These will be planned into the units of work they are studying in school.
  • There will be a strong emphasis on pupil wellbeing and mental-health type activities during registration and PSHCE lessons.  
  • Classes will not exceed 32 pupils at any time.  The maximum number of pupils who can be together in the school hall or gym is 128 (equivalent of one year group) and will only ever be with their year group or pupils in the same key stage (only applies to wet break arrangements).
  • Teaching and support staff will be moving between classes and key stages during the day as required by the timetable.  This has been kept to the minimum possible to allow us to run a full curriculum offer.  Staff will be employing social distancing measures in lessons as a result of this.  All teachers and other staff can operate across different classes and year groups in order to facilitate the delivery of the school timetable. This will be particularly important for secondary schools. Where staff need to move between classes and year groups, they should try and keep their distance from pupils and other staff as much as they can, ideally 2 metres from other adults.
  • Toilet areas will be designated for use by pupils in a particular key stage.  Toilets will also be cleaned more regularly.

  • There will be a one way system in operation around parts of the school site to reduce the congestion in corridor areas and to limit the chances of pupils from different key stages mixing.  We will brief pupils on the movement around the site once we return to school in September.  While passing briefly in the corridor or playground is low risk, schools should avoid creating busy corridors, entrances and exits.

  • There will be restrictions on pupils visiting their locker areas during the day to avoid congestion and crowding in these areas.  These arrangements will be discussed with pupils during the first few days in September.


How will we be supporting SEND and vulnerable pupils?


  • Our SEND team will be working to support additional needs, primarily within the classroom environment, and the TLC will be available to access the provision.
  • Where possible, teaching assistants will be restarting small group intervention work outside of regular lessons.  This will be with social distancing guidelines of 1m+ in the smaller rooms where these lessons take place.
  • TLC will be available before school and during breaks and lunches although this may be limited by the size of the room and the available resources.
  • Where pupils have specific complex needs, staff may reduce the distance between themselves and the pupil.  Where this is necessary, staff may use PPE to reduce any risk of transmission.  It expected under government guidance that these pupils' educational care and support will continue to be provided as normal.


How will minimise the spread of virus through touching surfaces / sharing equipment?


  • Pupils will be asked to supply their own writing equipment when coming into school.  They should have a pencil, a writing pen, a ruler, a pair of scissors, a rubber and a pencil sharpener.  It would also be useful if pupils could have a set of colouring pencils and a glue stick of their own.  The library and school office is able to sell some the above items at cost price should pupils need to purchase them.   For individual and very frequently used equipment, such as pencils and pens, it is recommended that staff and pupils have their own items that are not shared.  It is still recommended that pupils limit the amount of equipment they bring into school each day, to essentials such as lunch boxes, hats, coats, books, stationery and mobile phones.
  • Staff will be taking in books or work for marking although this may be less frequently than in previous years.  More feedback will be given on whole class level or through self marking of work.  Wherever possible, staff will leave sets of books for 72 hours after marking to allow any viruses to die.
  • Any specialist equipment, for example for use during science lessons or art lessons, will need to be cleaned immediately after use and should not be shared between pupils.  The school has dedicated technicians for P.E, Science and technology subjects to help with this area.  There will be restriction over the shared use of musical instruments during music lessons.  Resources that are shared between classes or bubbles, such as sports, art and science equipment should be cleaned frequently and meticulously and always between bubbles, or rotated to allow them to be left unused and out of reach for a period of 48 hours (72 hours for plastics) between use by different bubbles.
  • Pupils will not be allowed to bring in any balls or items to play with on the playground.  A football and basketball will be provided and these will be cleaned in between each break and lunchtime.
  • Pupils will be asked to minimise any contact with surfaces and equipment around the room other than the desk they are sat at.  Classroom based resources, such as books and games, can be used and shared within the bubble; these should be cleaned regularly, along with all frequently touched surfaces.
  • Where appropriate, doors across the site will be open to avoid the need to touch handles with the exception of those doors which are fire doors and need to be shut off for the purposes of safeguarding entrance to the school site.
  • The library will remain open for use by pupils and staff.  Returned books will be quarantined for 72 hours before being placed back onto the library shelves.
  • Tutors will not look after pupils belongings during the day, including mobile phones and other electronic devices.  All such materials should be stored in a locked locker.
  • The school office will not be able to look after any mobile phones during the school day and these should be placed in a locker for safe keeping.  Pupils without a locker who bring a mobile phone to school do so entirely at their own risk.


What additional cleaning measures will be put in place?


  • Each of the teaching rooms used by pupils will be cleaned thoroughly each evening or each morning before pupils arrive.  

  • Staff in each teaching room will have a supply of cleaning products for wiping down surfaces and equipment as needed during the school day, including door handles.

  • Pupils will be given opportunities to wash their hands regularly throughout the school day.

  • Toilets will be cleaned more regularly.


What are the arrangements for school meals and lunchtime?


  • Local Food Links will be offering a hot meal service from September.  Details of this service will be sent to you before the start of term.  Hot meals will need to be eaten in the dining room (with the exception of staff hot meals and those pupils who have arranged to eat their lunch in the TLC area).
  • Pupils will be allowed to bring a packed lunch with them to school and these can be eaten either in the dining hall or outside in their designated picnic area.  We ask that pupils do not share food with each other.  Lunchboxes need to be cleaned each evening.
  • Each year group will have lunch together at a specified time during the school day.  Pupils should not eat their lunch other than in their specified lunch session.


How will pupils get to school and what are the arrangements for dropping them at school?



  • Following the change in the law, it is now a requirement for any person using public transport to wear a covering over their mouth and nose.  School transport is not classed as public transport and it remains the discretion of the family on whether a mask is worn.  However, school transport services would advise your child to follow this guideline if at all possible.
  • The bus companies have confirmed that a normal service will be in operation from September to transport children to and from school.  There will be social distancing and hygiene measures in place on the buses and we ask that all pupils follow the directions of their bus driver at all times.
  • Pupils will need to sit in the area of the bus allocated for their year group.  This will be Year 5 at the front, followed by Year 6, Year 7 with Year 8 being at the back of the bus.  Siblings must sit with their year group and not with brothers or sisters in other year groups.
  • On arrival at school, pupils on buses should exit the bus a year group at a time and use the side path to make their way directly to the playground.  Please do not stand around the front of school or wait for friends.
  • At the end of school, pupils will be dismissed from their tutor rooms via the speaker system and will exit school via the front office and make their way directly to their bus.  A bus monitor will tick off each pupil as they get onto the buses.
  • School buses will only transport children to one school.  Dorset council are no longer running a shared bus service between St. Mary's and some of our feeder first schools.

Arrival by Car

  • Please limit the number of people collecting or dropping off a child at school to the minimum number possible.  Any persons who are shielding or have symptoms must not travel to school even if they do not get out of the car.
  • Parents who want to drive their child to school will need to understand that the car park is likely to be busy at drop off and pick up times.  Please consider dropping pupils away from school and asking them to walk the remaining distance onto the school site.  Alternatively, try to stagger your arrival at school.  Parking is limited and, should the situation become dangerous, the car park will be closed.
  • The school site will be open to pupils from 8.20am (please do not drop your child at school before this time).  Upon arrival at school, pupils must go directly to the playground.  Pupils will be invited into school at 8.40am.
  • The top car park will be for staff use only.  The lower car park will be reserved for parental use as much as possible.
  • On arrival, pupils should access the playground via the gate in between the building and the bin area and use the path around the outside of the building (via the art room).  This is a different route from pupils arriving by bus.
  • At the end of school, pupils will be dismissed straight from their tutor rooms and will access the car park via the gate in between the building and bin area.  They should use the outside path via the art room and NOT travel through the building to exit via the door in between the hall and dining room.  Pupils MUST NOT come down the slope onto the car park area or come via the top staff car park.
  • Pupils need to use the grass behind cars to walk on to access their parents cars.  Pupils should not walk in behind cars on the road as they may be reversing.
  • Parents must remain in their cars at the end of the day and pupils will come to you.  Please do not congregate on the front steps or on the slope UNLESS this is by prearrangement with a member of school staff.

Arrival by foot

  • Parents who wish to walk their child to school should say goodbye to them at the school gate unless they need to go to the school office.  We ask that parents do not congregate in large groups or stand talking by the school gates as this is a small area.
  • Parents who wish their child in person should wait on the path out of school at a distance of 2m from each other (marked out on the path).  Please DO NOT come up to the school office or wait in the area by the new building so that the path is clear for pupils to travel to the school buses.
  • On arrival at school, pupils should use the side path via the Year 5 classrooms to make their way directly to the playground.  Please do not stand around the front of school or wait for friends.
  • At the end of school, pupils should leave school via the playground and travel down the side path via the Year 5 classrooms to access the front of school.  Please leave the school site as soon as possible and avoid congregating in large groups.


Should pupils be returning in school uniform?


  • Pupils should attend school in full school uniform from September 1st 2020.  This includes pupils wearing shoes in line with the schools published uniform guidelines.  To view the uniform guidelines for the school, please click HERE.
  • Guidelines suggest that normal washing of school uniform is required.  If it is possible to wash clothes daily, please do so.  
  • Pupils will be asked to come to school in their PE kit on days when they have a formal PE lesson (this will be twice a week).  This will avoid the need for pupils to change for their PE lessons.  They will not need their PE kits on the days where PE is not on their timetable.
  • Pupils will need to bring a uniform to change into on days where they may get wet or muddy.  
  • School jumpers are the only tops to be worn around school, including on days where pupils come into school in PE Kit.  Pupils are not permitted to wear branded sports tops or school trip hoodies in place of their school jumper.


What will my child need to bring to school each day?


Your child needs to bring the minimum equipment to school each day.  This should only be the essential equipment for each day.  Pupils should share any of their possessions with anyone else in school or borrow equipment from another child.

  • Pupils will need a packed lunch (unless they are planning on using the hot food service delivered by Local Food Links).  
  • Pupils should have a filled water bottle (they will be allowed to refill this during the day if needed).  
  • Pupils will need a single pencil case containing a pencil, a writing pen, a ruler, a pair of scissors, a rubber and a pencil sharpener.  It is also useful to have a glue stick and some colouring pencils.
  • Pupils will also need their homework diaries, general work books and reading book each day.
  • Pupils MAY wish to bring hand sanitiser to school for their own use.  This MUST NOT be shared with any other pupil.


Other important information


  • Please avoid coming into the school office area and use email or phonecalls to contact members of the school staff wherever possible.  No parents must enter the rest of the school building, sports hall or playing fields at any time (unless invited to do so by a member of the school staff).
  • Mobile phones must be kept in lockers at all times once on the school site and must be off (not just on silent).  Normal school rules apply regarding mobile phones.  Any phone seen will be taken, cleaned and put in storage until a parent collects it from the school office.  Please note that no phones will be collected in by any teacher or by the school office.  Therefore, all phones are brought into school entirely at your own risk.
  • Pupils are not required to wear a face mask to school under government guidelines.  However, we are aware that this is a very contentious issue with many parents and that we will have opinions both for and against face coverings.  The school will allow a pupil to wear a face mask in the building if they feel it is necessary and only ask that it is removed for P.E. for safety reasons.  However, if a pupil does wear a mask it is essential that this does not pose a further risk to others by it being left on desks or comes into contact with other surfaces.  Some staff may also choose to wear a face mask or face shield for some parts of their job.
  • The school will be revising the behaviour policy over the summer to include details of sanctions should pupils act in a way that puts the health and safety of others at risk.  The health and safety of all members of the school population remains the most important element of all considerations and it is not acceptable for the actions of any pupil to put any other at increased risk of infection.


Attendance Expectations


It is expected that all pupils who are able to come to school in September do so.  Pupils will only be authorised for not attending school if:

  • they are ill (including with COVID-19).
  • have been given a leave of absence by the headteacher following an application on the school form to request time off school.
  • have specific medical advice with written confirmation that they should not be at school.
  • are shielding as the result for an instruction to do so via the track and trace system.
  • are not attending for a reason of necessary religious observance.


The following passage is taken directly from the governments guidelines for the full reopening of school. 

In March when the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak was increasing, we made clear no parent would be penalised or sanctioned for their child’s non-attendance at school.  Now the circumstances have changed and it is vital for all children to return to school to minimise as far as possible the longer-term impact of the pandemic on children’s education, wellbeing and wider development.  School attendance will therefore be mandatory again from the beginning of the autumn term. This means from that point, the usual rules on school attendance will apply.  These include:

  • parents’ duty to secure that their child attends regularly at school where the child is a registered pupil at school and they are of compulsory school age.
  • schools’ responsibilities to record attendance and follow up absence.
  • the availability to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices in line with local authorities’ codes of conduct.


We understand that parents may be very anxious about their child returning to school.  Please contact your child's class teacher or the school office if you have concerns.  We strongly advise that pupils attend school from the beginning of term wherever possible so that they take part in the reintegration activities on the first few days and become familiar with the new way in which the school will work.


We will work with any family who are struggling to get their child back to school or have concerns about them returning in September.  However, the school does have a legal obligation to ensure that every child attends school and so will have to follow Dorset Council's procedures if needed.

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