COVID-19 information

Latest Information

You should only send your child to school on Monday if you have to, because your work is critical to our COVID-19 response.

This is now about saving lives, your children lives, our staff lives and our community. Please if at all possible stay away.

If you are able to keep your child at home, you should. #StayHomeSaveLives

Friday 3rd April - 2020 - Week 2

Week 2 - Friday 3rd April

Parents / Carers,

So we have made it to the Easter Holidays. I'm guessing you would all like to know about how you can get into teaching? Just let us know and I can point you in the right direction. The school will remain open every day over Easter if parents of key workers need us. During the Easter holidays please don't worry about the learning. Instead try to enjoy your time together with your family. One of the things that my family has enjoyed doing is #Hometasking every couple of days children are sent a new challenge that they can complete at home.

Work after Easter

Work after Easter for Nursery, Reception, Year 1 & Year 2

Work and ideas you can do at home will continue to be posted to the website. This will be published ready for Monday 27th April. You can send in work in the usual way as outlined below.

Work after Easter for Year 5 & 6

Teachers will be using google classroom after Easter and teachers will be setting work on here for you to complete. The benefit of this is that work can be submitted via the classroom and teachers can comment and help you on work produced. This can be found through logging onto your school emails and then in the top right hand corner where the 9 boxes are click on Classroom. Or click the following link. If you need your password resetting don't worry just email us on and we will reset this for you.

Work after Easter for Year 3 & 4

Teachers will be using google classroom after Easter and teachers will be setting work on here for you to complete. The benefit of this is that work can be submitted via the classroom and teachers can comment and help you on work produced. As you don't have accounts yet we would ask parents to talk to children about using this safely. A link to school rules can be found here. Next week I will send out emails to parents with details of pupil logins and how to access this.

Online Safety

The government have updated information for parents and carers to include a section on keeping children safe online. It provides links to online resources that will help support parents and carers in keeping their children safe online.

Full details can be found in section 6.3 of the guidance for parents and carers on the closure of educational settings:

Online Chat

If you or your child would like to chat with any teacher during the closure please use the online chat facility on the school website. There are always two staff members available to help during school hours.

Share your learning

We are really enjoying seeing all of the things that you have been up to at home. To share them with us please send them to or see further details or use the hashtag #harlandsathome Any work sent to this email address will also be shared on our social media which includes, twitter, facebook, youtube & instagram.

Key Workers

So we have had around 10 children of key workers in school this week most days and staff are working on a rota to ensure that we have provision in place for the next four weeks to continue this support. If your circumstances change and your shifts increase please get in touch.

Free School Meals

If your child usually receives free school meals you should have had an email now with some voucher codes that you can use at many different supermarkets. Please let me if you haven't received them and you think you should have.

Monday Assembly

Thank you for the comments from last weeks assembly. I will try to make this a regular time every Monday at 10:00am. You can tune in on Monday 6th April at 10:00am just after your workout with Jo! At this assembly I will share some of the learning from last week that you have been doing at home. To connect to the youtube channel please click here.

Book Reviews

We have been thinking about how we can encourage children to continue to read so if you have read a book and can write a review of that book we can share that with others as well.

Please see an example of a key stage 1 template and a key stage 2 template or, why not create your own.

Many thanks

Richard Blakeley

Friday 27th March - 2020 - Week 1

Dear Parents / Carers,

What a strange week!

Firstly, can I just say a huge thank you to all the parents who have sent in such supportive comments for all that the school has been able to provide.

Secondly, How are you all doing? I know that this week you have all joined the staff team at Harlands and as I'm sure some of you are finding teaching isn't for everyone. I certainly know from experience it's far easier teaching other children than it is teaching your own!

Highlights of the week

Parents have been getting in touch to say how much they are enjoying their morning PE session with Joe Wicks and the daily story by David Walliams. Let us know what you have found helpful and we can pass it on to others. We are also continually updating our school website with new resources. We are also using our social media to share this as well.

Online Chat

If you or your child would like to chat with any teacher during the closure please use the online chat facility on the school website. There are always two staff members available to help during school hours.

Share your learning

We are really enjoying seeing all of the things that you have been up to at home. To share them with us please send them to or see further details or use the hashtag #harlandsathome

Key Workers

So we have had around 10 children of key workers in school this week most days and staff are working on a rota to ensure that we have provision in place for the next four weeks to continue this support. If your circumstances change and your shifts increase please get in touch.

Monday Assembly

So it's been a week of firsts and on Monday I plan to deliver our first virtual assembly via youtube. You can tune in on Monday at 10:00am just after your workout with Jo. At this assembly I will share some of the learning from last week that you have been doing at home. To connect to the youtube channel please click here.

Book Reviews

We have been thinking about how we can encourage children to continue to read so if you have read a book and can write a review of that book we can share that with others as well. Please see an example of a key stage 1 template and a key stage 2 template or, why not create your own.

Many thanks

Richard Blakeley

Sunday 22nd March - Message for Key Workers who have no other option but to use school

Dear Parents / Carers

You are receiving this email because you have signup up your child for childcare at some point in the next four weeks. Please remember to minimise the risk to everyone I stress again to only use this service if you have no other option.

Check in

When coming into school please use the main entrance and your child will be signed in. All children will be required to wash their hands on arrival and regularly throughout the day. We will first confirm with you that you have no other option but to send your child.

We will need to check with you when you arrive the following as your child will be cared for by different staff to usual.

  1. Emergency Contact details
  2. Allergies
  3. Medical details (Including any medicine)
  4. Details of who will pick up your the end of the day

What do bring

Much of what we plan to do in school next week will be practical, messy, creative (some outdoor) type activities. Children will therefore not be required to wear school uniform and can wear clothes that are comfortable. They should also wear trainers or similar and have with them warm waterproof clothes. It would also be helpful if they could bring in some wellies.


Children who usually receive free school meals (Including all of Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children) will be provided with a packed lunch every day. If you are not in this category and require a school lunch please order this in the usual way. Alternatively you can bring in your own packed lunch.


If your child becomes ill whilst in school we will isolate them from the other children and call you immediately. Please be as quick as you can to pick up your child (and any siblings) as we are working with minimum staffing levels and wish to reduce the risk of infection to other children and staff. Following the national guidelines, then all family members will need to self isolate for 14 days.


If your circumstances change and you need to work more and want to change your initial request please don't hesitate to email the office and we will do our best to accommodate you. If you no longer require anything you have booked it would also be helpful if you could email us.


Please direct all communication through the school office via email or telephone. We will communicate future updates through email should the situation change.

Thank you as ever for your continued support and understanding.

Richard Blakeley

Friday 20th PM - Details about Closure, Medication, Work and Communication

Dear Parents / Carers,

Thank you again for your understanding and patience at this incredibly difficult time. For all of the latest news and advice please see the school website which we will keep up to date throughout.

Work for the children

Staff have been working really hard on work for the children which will go live on the website on Monday morning. This work is designed to keep the children engaged up until Monday 20th April.

As your children complete their learning we what to hear about it. Send us in pictures, videos any examples of work and we will share them on our website and media platforms to inspire others.

We are currently looking into other more streamlined ways in which children and parents can contact us for advice and help. More details about this will follow.


If you have medicines like inhalers which we hold at school and they would be useful to you as parents at home please email the school to arrange pickup.

Changes to your situation

If your situation changes and you are suddenly called up to work and require a change in childcare arrangements please don't hesitate to be in touch via email and we will see what we can accommodate.

And finally

With thanks to the many of you that have shown our school your unrelenting support both personally to me and publicly on social media.. Your positive communication at such an extraordinary time means an enormous amount to us all at Harlands.

Take care

Richard Blakeley

Friday 20th Morning - Information about Key Worker Support

Dear Parents / Carers

Thank you very much for your support and kind words from so many of you at this difficult time.

The Government early this morning produced a list of 'Key Workers' which can be found here.

I have updated the first form we sent out on Wednesday which can be found here. If you have already filled it out this doesn't need to be done again.

A reminder that this should only be used if it is essential and that all other childcare options have been explored. I have a duty to protect my own staff as well as their families. Remember the purpose of closing schools in the first place is limit contact with others and therefore minimise the chance of infection.

Please also fill out the second form for each child to indicate which days you will need provision in line with your working pattern.

I realise that things will probably change and you may be drafted into work so if they do just email us at the school office.

Thank you again for your support.

Richard Blakeley


Thursday 19th - How to Talk to Your Children about COVID-19

How to Talk to Children about COVID-19 Sam Cartwright-Hatton, Professor of Clinical Child Psychology.

Abby Dunn, Research Fellow. University of Sussex, and Sussex Partnership NHS Trust.

It’s a worrying time, isn’t it? At the Flourishing Families Clinic, we spend all our time thinking about how parents can raise happy, confident children, when they themselves are anxious. At the moment, you don’t have to be a particularly anxious person to be feeling worried and upset. So, what have we learned about keeping children on an even keel, when you yourself are not? Here are some tips that we think might help in the current situation. We are using themselves with our own children.

Should I talk to my children about this…?

Yes, DO talk about it. It is tempting to try to shield children from knowing about frightening things. But, chances are they’ve heard it about it school, or even nursery. And, in all likelihood, they will have heard things that have scared them. They’ve also probably heard things that are just plain wrong – rumours and myths do seem to flourish in playgrounds. So, DO answer any questions that your children ask. And if they don’t ask any questions, try starting a conversation with them: “Have you heard anything about this new bug that is going round?”. Keep your tone casual and light. Try to keep the worry out of your voice and out of your face.

What do I say…?

Start by finding out what they know. And by this, we mean, what they think they know… Ask open questions such as “What are the kids at school saying? What do you think about it?” If they’re carrying round any weird ideas (“Mr Smith the PE teacher has got it, and if you go near him YOU WILL DIE”), you can then set them straight!

How much detail do I go into…?

The general and not very helpful advice that we always give to parents is to give just enough, but not too much. By this, we mean, listen to your child and just answer the question they are asking. If your six year old has asked how you catch COVID-19, they don’t need an undergraduate-level seminar in virology. Just a few words about germs getting on our fingers and into our mouths. And if they asked about how you catch it, you don’t need to start telling them about fatality rates – save that for if/when they ask. Which brings us to our next question…

How honest should I be…?

If your child asks a straightforward question about the risk of dying, do answer it. If you fudge the issue, they will make up an answer themselves and chances are it will be worse than the truth. But, again, read your child a bit, and try to give just what they need to know. So, a seven year old doesn’t need to know chapter-and-verse on percentage estimates. A teenager may want detailed information and benefit from a discussion of it. But, for a younger child, a simple “most people will be just fine, but some people get very poorly and need to go to hospital and sadly, some people will die.”

How much reassurance should I give…?

Give plenty of reassurance. In particular, make it very clear that children and teenagers are extremely unlikely to get very ill – a cough or a sore throat at worst. At time of writing, we don’t believe that any child under 10 has died anywhere in the world. If you, yourself, are youngish and reasonable healthy, you can also give some assurance that you are also very unlikely to get seriously ill. However, be wary of giving absolute guarantees. For instance, it is very tempting to say “Oh Granny and Grandpa will be fine, I promise!” The chances are that they will be fine, but if they are not, then it might be difficult for your child to trust your assurances in future.

Let your kids see you in control

Let your children see that you are taking steps to control the situation – feeling that your parents know what they are doing is very reassuring. So, maybe you can take everyone’s temperature if the morning, and remind everyone to wash their hands lots. But, try to do these things calmly – giving an air that it’s all under control, rather than a vibe that you are panicking! Even better, let your kids get involved in preparations. Maybe they can take their own temperature, or disinfect a few doorknobs. This will help them feel in control too.

Is there anything I shouldn’t tell my kids…?

In general, we say that honesty is the best policy – if a child asks a question, it is best to answer it, even if you do so quite simply. However, we do advise that you keep young children (up to the age of about 10) away from all sources of news. We say this all the time – not just when there is a scary story in the news. Children just don’t need that level of information. They can’t put it into context, and they definitely don’t need some of the scare stories that are out there. Turn off the TV and radio when the news comes on, or when people start talking about the coronavirus. Don’t leave newspapers lying around. After about the age of 10 (you know your own child best) we usually say it’s OK to see a little careful news – CBBC Newsround is good for taking a calm, child-centred approach. But, watch it with them, and be ready to discuss anything that it brings up. If your child uses the internet, be aware that there are a lot of horrible, scary stories out there. You have probably got quite good at filtering out the most ridiculous bits, but they haven’t learnt how to do that yet. Keep a close eye on what they are viewing.

How do I help my kids deal with the big life changes…?

If there are going to big life changes, explain these to kids, again keeping a calm and practical tone of voice. So, if Granny has decided to self-quarantine for a few months, do tell your child this and explain why. Explain that it is a good thing that Granny is doing to this to look after herself. Explain that you will chat to Granny lots on the phone and Skype. If you can, get your children on board with any changes that are happening in your family. So, for example, one of us (SCH) has explained the need to reduce social contact to her 10- year old, and then asked her to think of ways that she could reduce her social contact. She suggested cutting circus skills this week, and then trampolining next week. In all probability, both will have been cancelled within days, but if not, she ‘owns’ this decision. This will hopefully mean less moaning about not being able to go, and a gives her a small feeling of control over the situation.

At Flourishing Families, we are always looking for opportunities for ‘emotion coaching’. These are times when a child experiences a strong emotion, such as anger and fear. It is only through experiencing these feelings that children can learn to deal with them – with our help. So, one of us (AD) has been using her child’s upset at a cancelled Easter holiday to help her daughter talk about, understand, and tolerate frustration and disappointment.

What if we get locked down…?

Children will react to a lockdown in different ways. Some will see it as an adventure, and if so, go with that! Others will take it as a sign of impending doom and will need more reassurance. If your child takes it badly, to try to keep the daily routine going as much as possible – same time to get up, same to go to bed. Do a bit of schoolwork if you like. But, spot the opportunity here - use it as a real chance to re-connect as a family. We are all so busy usually – most children say that they don’t get enough time with their parents. Well, here’s your chance! Play silly games, watch films together, read to them. Encourage them to take control and find ways of making new types of fun – can you play Monopoly over Skype…? Who knows – give it a go! Have fun and try to find the silver lining – if you can do that in a situation like this, you are teaching your children a truly wonderful lesson.

Children need a lot of exercise. If they don’t get enough, they can get antsy and stressed and badly behaved. This might be difficult to arrange in a lockdown. Get them out in the garden if you have one – kick a ball around, bounce on the trampoline, do cartwheels. If not, see if you can find some fun dance videos online and do them together in the sitting room.

Children need a lot of play. They really do NEED it. If you’ve got more than one child and they play well together, great. If you haven’t, then you may need to get stuck in yourself. Playing with kids can be unbelievably dull, but dive in and try to do it. They really, really need it! With older kids, you might be able to arrange some Skype playdates.

What if I am feeling really anxious…?

Many of us are feeling quite anxious at the moment. But what if you are really struggling? The first advice is talk, talk, talk. Call a friend, Skype your sister, talk to your partner. But, try to make sure that your children do not overhear these conversations. Little ears are surprisingly good at hearing things (when they want to…) so if you are having a big worry session, make absolutely sure no children can overhear.

When we feel anxious, it is very easy to become over-protective, and this is quite bad for kids. The problem is, at the moment, we are all having to be quite protective about things – keeping clean, social contact, staying healthy. Make a big effort to stop this protectiveness from spilling over into other areas of your child’s life. It’s still OK to swing upside-down from the climbing frame if that’s what they normally do. It’s still OK to be out of sight for a few minutes, if that’s what they normally do. In other words, try to be the same parent you would usually be.

If you find talking to your kids about the coronavirus too upsetting, it’s OK – delegate to someone else. Get your partner to do it, or your friend – anyone who you can trust to talk calm good sense.

What if my child is very anxious…?

If your child is really struggling, here are some extra things that you can do.

  • Whenever there is something scary in the news, we tell parents and children to ‘look for the helpers’. So, rather than focusing on the virus, focus on the nurses and doctors who are working really hard to help people get better. Look at the scientists who are working really hard to come up with a cure. Look at the cleaners who are working really hard to keep everywhere clean and germ-free. Everyone is working together to try to sort this problem out.
  • Reassure them (and yourself) that is OK to feel worried. We all feel worried at times – it’s a normal human emotion. But if it really does get too much and you feel as if they are constantly worrying and looking for reassurance, you could try ‘worry time’. This is a technique that we use with kids who are real worriers. It’s where the parent and the child agree a time each day that will be ‘worry time’. Say, 5pm, just before dinner. Then, for 20-30 minutes, sit down with your child and let them worry to their heart’s content. Your job is mostly to listen. If there is a worry that you can easily resolve, do so. But, mostly listen and be sympathetic. Then outside of that time, when your child starts worrying, gently ask them to save the worry to ‘worry time’. It can be a good way of getting children to start feeling a bit of control over their worries.
  • Do something positive to help the situation. Helping other people is a really good way of dealing with a bad situation. It releases feel-good chemicals in our brain and makes us feel more in control. So, with your child, think of what you can do to help other people. Could you make a small donation to the local foodbank (most take cash online, if your own supplies are running low)? Can you phone an elderly neighbour and offer to get shopping for them? Do ask your child if they have any ideas.
  • Do some meditation or relaxation exercises. There are tons of these on the internet. Find something aimed at children and then do it together.
  • Do something fun! Fun is a great distraction – play a game, bounce on the trampoline, bake a cake. Whatever floats your child’s boat.

Finally, if you have read this, you are clearly a good parent. You are making your child’s wellbeing a priority at this difficult time. Remember, when they have caring parents, children are incredibly resilient. They will be fine!

Wednesday 18th March 2020

Harlands School, Nursery & Breakfast Club will close from Friday 20th March until further notice.

We are required to offer childcare for essential key workers.

For us to be able to establish the necessary staffing please complete the form using this link. A list of Key Workers will be clarified by the Government on Thursday 19th

Work for children will be provided on the school website from Monday morning.

Tuesday 17th - Update

Dear Parents

As you are now all aware the guidance for households with possible Coronavirus infection has been updated since yesterday - and I would ask you to follow the advice on the Government website

COVID-19: stay at home guidance - GOV.UK

This advice is for people with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), including those with a diagnosis of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, who must remain at home until they are well ...

I will endeavour to keep you informed of any changes here but would suggest you refer to the latest advice from the Government during these challenging times.

With continued thanks for your understanding and support at this time.

Richard Blakeley

Monday 16th - Update

Dear Parents/Carers,

As you are probably aware, the government’s response to the COVID-19 virus has moved from the ‘contain’ phase to one of delaying the spread of the virus. We are contacting you to inform you of what we are doing in light of this, and what we expect from all of you, to help ensure our school community keeps safe and calm.

Even as I am writing this I am aware that this is an extremely dynamic situation which I will need to continue to monitor, seek advice on and respond swiftly to as required.

We would like to reassure you that at Harlands school we are taking all of the necessary steps to protect our community and are continuing to follow official guidance from the government and East Sussex authority.

What is the current situation?

  • The school remains open – in line with the current official guidance
  • All school functions continue to run as normal, this includes Breakfast Club, Nursery and after school clubs
  • Pupils should attend unless they feel unwell – if your child has either of the following symptoms they should remain at home for 7 days:
  • a new, continuous cough – this means they are coughing repeatedly - and/or
  • a high temperature - this means they feel hot to touch on their chest or back
  • If your child is unwell, report this in the usual way to the school office
  • We will keep you up to date with any changes to the current situation.

What we are doing to protect and support pupils and staff?

  • If a child is ill at school we will contact you in the usual way
  • Our cleaners follow the national guidance on infection and control procedures
  • We have taught the children how to wash hands using the NHS guidelines
  • Teachers are using various strategies learnt in Mental Health week to help children deal with increased levels of anxiety.

What we need you to do?

  • If you have recently changed your contact details, please inform the school office as soon as possible via the office email address or phone number
  • Talk to your children about the coronavirus. It is a scary time and we should make sure children feel supported. BBC Newsround has regular updates for younger children and YoungMinds has practical steps older children can take to help with anxiety
  • Come and collect your child straight away, if we ask you to (we will contact you if they become ill with either a high temperature or a new, continuous cough).

What happens if the school has to close?

We will only close if we are either officially advised to do so or we do not have enough staff to run the school. In either case:

  • Parents will be notified via the school website of school closures and subsequent re-opening
  • Work set for pupils during a school closure will be available on the class pages of the school website.

Please keep in mind that we are only sending out this information to help the school community prepare. There are currently no plans to close.

If you have any questions

Please consult the:

  • School office, if you have any questions about our response to this issue
  • NHS, if you want to know more about the symptoms of coronavirus. If you think you or your child may have the symptoms, use NHS 111 online if at all possible before calling 111
  • Department for Education’s coronavirus helpline: 0800 046 8687, if you have any questions about the government’s response to coronavirus in relation to schools
  • Government’s travel advice, if you want to know whether any upcoming trip or holiday you are taking abroad should go ahead

It is a tricky time and we know you are worried about the impact this might have on our community. It is important we keep each other safe and talk about these events to help with any anxiety.

Thank you for your continued support.

Richard Blakeley