St James' Church of England Primary School

Together in faith, we are a winning team.

COVID-19 Updates - March to August 2020

Here are the updates we provided from March to August 2020, for your reference.   This page will no longer be updated. 

Please see the main COVID-19 Updates page for current information and guidance (from September 2020).


Some of our parents have told us that they have seen online videos which say that children with COVID symptoms will be taken from school to a quarantine facility without their parents' permission.  Understandably, this has caused great worry and upset.

Please rest assured, that we would never send your child anywhere without your knowledge and permission.  If your child becomes ill during the school day, we will contact you straight away - just like we always do. 

For whatever reason, these videos are out to create panic and distrust.  Please ignore them.  


Hello to all our families!  Hope you're having a lovely holiday.  You may well be starting to think about the children coming back to school in September.  We have sent an email to all our families with important information about the new term, school meals and school milk.

Here are the three letters that have been sent out - please click to open.  We will have paper copies of the school dinner and milk forms available at the start of term, so don't worry if you can't print them out.    

Back to school letter from Mrs Marsh

School Meals Menu

School Milk

The School Day - adjustments for September

We think the simplest way to get everyone in to school safely in the morning is to open the doors earlier.  Children will not line up on the playground in their class lines.  Staff will be at the doors to welcome children in as they arrive in the time 'window'.  We have hand sanitising stations at every entrance to the main school and FSU buildings. 

Lots of our families have children in more than one class, so please check your email carefully for your personalised family hometime.  We need everyone to be on time, especially at hometime, so that the playgrounds are not too busy.  

Nursery (Bubble A)

School starts 8:50am. Doors open for arrival 8:40-8:55am.

Hometime 11:50am.

Reception (Bubble A)

School starts 8:50am. Doors open for arrival 8:40-8:55am.

Hometime 2:50pm (unless siblings in main school)

Class 1 and 2 (Bubble B) 

School starts 8:45am. Doors open for arrival 8:35-8:55am.

Hometime 2:40pm (check email if siblings in school)

Class 3 and 4 (Bubble C) 

School starts 8:45am. Doors open for arrival 8:35-8:55am.

Hometime 2:50pm (check email if siblings in school)

Class 5 and 6 (Bubble D) 

School starts 8:45am. Doors open for arrival 8:35-8:55am.

Hometime 3:00pm (check email if siblings in school)

If you haven't received the email, it may be because we don't have your email address on file. Please send an email to to be added to the emailing list  (don't forget to include your child's name so we match you up properly). Thank you.

21.7.20 You can see the school dinner menu that we will soon be sending out in our 'parent information pack' below.  To help with the September arrangements, we have worked with our cook to simplify the menu (she knows the children's favourites) so that there are two meal options to choose from each day.  It would be great if you would have a look and talk to your child about their choices.      

17.7.20 As the last week of the summer term approaches, we want parents and carers to know that we are working hard on our risk assessment and plans for September.  We will share them with you as soon as they are ready and approved.

So that you can start to get ready, you need to know that all children from nursery to year 6 are expected back in school in September. We are back to compulsory education and attendance will be monitored carefully.  The first day of term for children is Wednesday 2nd September.  Children will be in school uniform and will be changing for PE.  School uniform information is in the Virtual Office.  We will be asking children to only bring their book bag (reading book, reading diary and homework), rather than larger bags and backpacks.  We will be asking children to pre-order their school dinner (£2.32 per day) or bring a packed lunch from home.           


Thank you to everyone who collected their bumper summer packs last week. It was lovely to see so many of you looking safe and well.

For those of you who have been receiving free school meal vouchers, there is one last collection for most of you this week for your summer holiday vouchers.  Please note, those of you who collected on Thursday have already had these.

If you came on Monday or Tuesday (or not at all) last week, you haven't had these yet.

You can collect them on Tuesday (14th July) or Thursday (16th July) between 3pm and 4pm. 


Parents and carers - if you haven't been to see us already this week, you can collect your child's school report, work packs (and fsm vouchers) from school today between 3pm and 4pm. See you later! 


This week in school would have been sports week and moving up day! We know that lots of you have been doing sporty, active things in lockdown (especially when the weather was so lovely) and we're really proud that we have received the Virtual School Games Award this year! Well done to you all.

We are thinking very carefully (and creatively) about the transition into the new school year and now that we have received the government guidance on full opening we can begin to make more solid plans about what school is going to look like in September.  You can read the government guidance by clicking here.

Our brilliant class teachers are coming up with all sorts of ways to make contact with their new classes and help the children feel reassured and welcome. Mrs Thomas and Mrs Harper will be making doorstep visits to our new reception and nursery families and online 'moving up' meetings are planned higher up school. So, look out for invitations to Zoom meetings from class teachers over the next few weeks! 


We are sending the letter below via email to our families today - it's about picking packs up from school next week.  These bumper home learning packs will be the last ones to collect before September.  The photocopier has steam coming out of it and the library is a hive of activity with staff getting everything ready for your children to keep them busy from now right through the summer holidays!

The class teachers and teaching assistants will still be ringing each week for the rest of this half term to check in and catch up. You'll also be hearing from  your child's new class teacher over the next few weeks.

We look forward to seeing you on the school playground and ask that you respect social distancing when you visit us.  Thank you.


As we still have some home learning packs (and vouchers) at school, we have added one more time slot for parents/carers to come and collect them this week.

Thursday 25th June between 3pm and 4pm.

Please don't come to collect on Wednesday 24th as the playground is in use for sports all day and it's staff meeting after school, so there won't be anyone to open the gate. Thank you. 


There are two time slots for collecting home learning packs and FSM vouchers (if applicable)  from the main school playground this week.

Monday 22nd June between 3.00pm and 4.00pm or Tuesday 23rd 3.00pm and 4.00pm.

Please be prepared to socially distance in the playground. We look forward to seeing you! 


We will be contacting some more of our families today to talk to them about their children coming back to school from next week.  We are very excited about the prospect of more of our lovely children in school, but fully understand this is an anxious time for everyone. We are doing everything we can in school to minimise the risks as best we can and will be happy to talk through this and answer your questions when we speak to you.

We always have high expectations of behaviour at St James' and at the moment adhering to rules is even more important, so we have added an extra section to our school behaviour policy which you can read here.

Part of our risk assessment is the limit on numbers in each of our 'bubbles', so at this time we cannot offer places to everyone who is eligible. Please don't send your child(ren) to school on Monday, unless we have agreed this with you. Thank you. 


Ready for collection from the school playground between 3pm and 4pm today, Tuesday 9th June:

  • Home learning work packs for children in Classes 1 to 6
  • FSM vouchers (if applicable)

Please be prepared to socially distance in the playground. We look forward to seeing you! 


Parents and carers, please remember that school is only open to key worker/vulnerable pupils who have already been with us since March at this time. 

We will contact families during the next two weeks about additional places from 22nd June.

Thank you. 


Tameside schools have been strongly advised by Tameside's Director of Public Health to delay their planned wider opening until 22 June at the earliest.  You can read their advice letter below and visit the council website here.

St James' will therefore not be reopening to more pupils before 22nd June.

We continue to be open for our vulnerable/key worker group that have already been with us since March.  

We will, as always, continue to keep you updated.


The Nutrition Team have sent their final set of meal planners. We hope you've found them useful and they've given you some new ideas. You can find more information and ideas on the Children's Nutrition Team Twitter page @NHSTamesideCNT.

Family Meal Planner Issue 6

5 Day Lunch Planner Issue 5

Fact File - Food on a Budget


There will be not be any staff in school during the half term holiday. If you need to contact us for any reason, please email 

Thank you.


Here are the latest fantastic meal planners from the Children's Nutrition Team. We hope you find them useful.  You are welcome to share them with your friends and family.

Family Meal Planner - Issue 4

5 Day Lunch Planner - Issue 5

Fact File: Applying for Free School Meals


We've used our purple pen and tweaked our letter a little bit to make it even clearer.  Please read the updated version below (dated 22.5.20).


Here's our latest update letter to parents.  If we have your email address, we have emailed it out to you.   


Thank you for your initial responses to our 'back to school' survey last week. We are now sending the letter below via email to parents/carers of children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6 to get a clearer view of the numbers so that we can complete our next step in planning and risk assessment. Your speedy response to our email would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.   


Here are the latest fantastic meal planners from the Children's Nutrition Team. We hope you find them useful.  You are welcome to share them with your friends and family.

Fact File - Practical Tips

Family Meal Planner - issue 3

5 Day Lunch Planner - issue 4


The next set of Y1-6 workpacks with 2 weeks of printed Power Maths work will be ready for collection on Monday 18th May and Tuesday 19th May next week between 1pm and 3pm.  

Those with FSM vouchers will be able to collect those too (w/b 18.5.20 and w/b 25.5.20). (Apologies - the text message said 11.5.20 and 18.5.20, which was incorrect. Thank you Mrs J for kindly pointing it out.)

Please do your best to stick to the given time slots as there may not be anyone available to answer the gate at other times. Many thanks.


The government made more announcements yesterday on the proposals for reopening school to more pupils.  Here are the two key documents for parents and carers:

1. What parents and carers need to know about schools, colleges and other education settings during the coronavirus outbreak.

2. Opening schools and educational settings to more pupils from 1 June: guidance for parents and carers

We know that you will have many questions and concerns about how we can safely manage this - rest assured, that we have the same questions and concerns too! We will be consulting with staff, governors, unions, the local authority and the Trust over the next few days to try to find answers and make plans. We also want to know what you, our families (and that includes the children) think. To start us off and give us an idea of your initial thoughts, please would you answer the yes or no question below. Thank you. 

13.5.20 Thank you for all your responses to our parent/carer poll. The poll is now closed. 56 families have taken part.

The question was: 

Question for St James' parents and carers.

The results are:

Yes  7.14% (4)

No 92.86% (52)


We have sent this letter from Mrs Marsh out to parents via email. If we haven't got your email address, please would you let us know either by phone (0161 330 2008) or email ( so that we can add it to our list. Thank you. 


All workpacks and fsm vouchers for w/b 4.5.20 and 11.5.20 have either been collected from school or delivered by our wonderful staff.  Please keep looking at the Year Group pages to keep up to date with the class teachers and encourage your children to leave them a message on the Padlet wall. 

With regards to the Prime Minster's briefing regarding schools on Sunday evening, we will let you know more when we do!


Thank you for collecting your children's work packs. It has been lovely to see lots of you and have a - socially distanced - catch up :)

The Children's Nutrition Team have produced these really useful meal planners and recipe cards for use at home. Please download a copy if you can make use of them in your home and feel free to share them with friends and neighbours too.

Fact File - cooking essentials

5 day Family Meal Planner 

5 day Lunch Meal Planner


Work packs are now ready for collection from school for children in Years 1 to 6. 


FSM vouchers for w/b 4.5.20 and 11.5.20 are now available for collection from school (or posting out if requested).  

The Power Maths work on the class web pages is fantastic and will make sure that the children are revising Books A and B and preparing for Book C. Lots of parents have asked us for paper copies, so we are collating work packs for all Years 1 to 6 with two weeks of Power Maths work and English work too. We'll put the maths answers in for the grown ups! As soon as these are ready, we will let you know. 


FSM vouchers for w/b 4.5.20 and 11.5.20 have been ordered.  If you would like to change your supermarket, now that Aldi have joined the scheme, please let school know.


Class teachers and TAs are really enjoying ringing their classes and speaking to all the children. If you haven't had a call yet, you soon will! Some of the staff are ringing from home so their telephone numbers will be blocked - don't worry though, they'll leave a message if you don't answer first time and ring you back when they can. 

21.4.20 pm

Vouchers for w/b 20.4.20 and 27.4.20 are printed and ready for collection. If you would prefer them posting out to you, please let us know.

21.4.20 am

We're in the process of printing the next set of FSM vouchers and will be in touch later today to arrange collection from school or posting out. Thank you.


FSM Vouchers: all families have now received the first set of vouchers and orders have been placed for the next two weeks. Given the amount of problems we have had with the eCodes, we have ordered all families paper vouchers going forward. We will be in touch to ask you to choose your supermarket, if you haven't already, early next week. As soon as the vouchers arrive, we will let you know.


We have heard today that some families have had difficulties using their vouchers in the local Asda stores - as you can see on our Twitter feed, colleagues from other local schools are raising this too.  We sincerely hope that this will be resolved soon.


Free school meal vouchers.

Despite best efforts from school, we are really struggling to access and order the next set of vouchers for our families.  We will certainly persevere, but please bear with us.


There is a huge amount of support available for families during this time from Tameside Council. Click this link to  open a new page full to bursting with information about local support:

Parenting Customer Services  Early Help  Housing
Healthy Start Vouchers Citizen's Advice Bureau Foodbanks and Food Supliers Other useful links


Most paper vouchers have been collected or posted. We're still waiting for the eCode vouchers to process. Thank you for your patience.


We have now placed all requested voucher orders. Please be patient though, it is taking some time for these to process (it's like every school is trying to do it at the same time!).

When paper vouchers are ready for collection, we will let you know.

1.4.20 (pm)

We are in the process of contacting our eligible families to see if they would like to accept their free school meal vouchers.  Eligible families are those in receipt of benefits-related free school meals. Please note, this is not the same as Universal Free School Meals that all children in reception,  year 1 and year 2 receive.  

We will need to know if families would prefer eCode vouchers (delivered by email) or paper vouchers (by post or collection from school).  If you have paper vouchers, we will also ask for your preferred  supermarket from this list.

  • Morrisons
  • Tesco
  • Asda
  • Sainsbury's 
  • Waitrose
  • M&S

Please click here for more information and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the scheme. 

If we do not contact you and you think your child is eligible, please click on this 'applying for free school meals' link.


The National free school meal voucher system is on its way! We will be in contact with our eligible families as soon as we have have more information.

Click here to read the new guidance.

Click here for the press release.

Click here for information about applying for free school meals.


Thank you to all our parents and carers who have sent us their email addresses. It's really important that we all keep in contact whilst school is closed.  If we haven't spoken to you or messaged you this week, we will be in touch soon.  You can also email us at

Tameside Council have set up a dedicated helpline 0161 342 8355 for anyone who is struggling or needs help or advice to call.

Take care, stay at home and stay safe.


Parents warned of scam emails: from Tameside Council

PARENTS are warned to beware of scam emails claiming to offer free school meal vouchers.
Some parents have received the email that states: “As schools will be closing, if you’re entitled to free school meals, please send your bank details and we’ll make sure you’re supported.”
The Department for Education (DfE) have confirmed that it’s not official and is a scam email. Parents are urged that if they receive such an email then not to respond and to delete it immediately, and to never provide their bank details in such circumstances.
Tameside Council is working with local schools and meal providers to ensure suitable systems are in place, with schools contacting parents to make arrangements.
HMRC also has details of other financial scams, including phishing emails and bogus text messages offering rebates. Examples of these can be found at 
Tameside Trading Standards have already warned consumers to beware of scammers who are taking advantage of the covid-19 emergency by charging vastly inflated amounts for in-demand goods.
Chartered Trading Standards Institute guidance on covid-19 related scams can be found at 
Tameside Council Executive Leader Councillor Brenda Warrington said: “While the majority are pulling together to help their community, we need to beware the unscrupulous few who are trying to take advantage of the situation.
“Please be vigilant to this email and don’t respond to it. And please be aware that these new scams can take many forms and you should take all necessary precautions. The general rule of scams applies - if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.”


Thank you to you all for making safe and sensible choices regarding the new 'stay at home' directive from the government. It is vital that we all play our part in reducing the spread of the virus. 

For those staff and children still in school, we are maintaining the highest levels of hygiene that we can and insisting that the 2m distance is maintained - this is really hard to do!

We are working with our catering company to find the best solution to providing free school meals. At the moment we are still asking parents to collect from school. We know this isn't ideal, but please be patient with us - it's a work in progress.

We will always contact you by phone or by the school texting service - please be on the look out for phishing emails regarding vouchers. Don't click on links in emails unless you are absolutely sure you know who has sent them. Sadly, some unscrupulous people will take advantage of any situation.

Take care and keep safe.

As always, you are all in our thoughts and prayers.


St James has now closed for most pupils.  Please do not bring your child/ren to school on Monday, unless we have asked you to.  We all want to keep safe and respect social distancing. 

Our wonderful staff are working hard to prepare and update their class web pages, so please keep an eye on those. There are lots of links to online activities on the Fun Stuff page and children have been sent home with learning packs and logins to subscription sites (like Espresso, TT Rockstars and the Spelling app) to help keep them busy. Learning from home will look very different - it's not all about sitting behind a screen or a device or filling  in workbooks. Look at all these fantastic ideas for '100 things to do indoors' for a start!

We are really proud of our school community - you are strong and you are resilient - and we will be in touch with you all over the next few weeks to check in and see that you are OK.  Please take care of yourselves.  You are all in our thoughts and prayers. 


Please read the letter about childcare places. If you think this applies to you, please contact school.


We are texting parents of children who are eligible for free school meals. We will provide a packed lunch for your child for collection from school each day if you would like one. You need to reply to the text to confirm - if you don't reply we will assume you don't want this.


We have been preparing a letter for parents/carers about provision for children of key workers. When we receive the official key worker list from the Cabinet Office (promised today), we will be able to finish it! 



 It is our aim to have this letter ready for you as soon as we can tomorrow morning.  

We will keep updating you as we find out more information. 

Stay safe.


The Prime Minister has announced that schools will close to the majority of pupils at the end of the school day on Friday (20.3.20). He has said that schools have a duty to make provision for the children of key workers and for vulnerable children. 

St James' will therefore be closed to most pupils from the end of school on Friday 20th March 2020, until we are directed otherwise.

School is open as usual on Thursday 19th March and Friday 20th March.

The Cabinet Office will announce more details about the groups of children for which schools are expected to make provision on Thursday. So far we are told:

'Examples of these [key] workers include NHS staff, police and delivery drivers who need to be able to go to work. Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with Education, Health and Care Plans.

A full list of key worker categories will be published by the Cabinet Office tomorrow.

Children who do not fall into these groups should remain at home with appropriate care.'

If you feel that your child/ren are in either group (key worker or vulnerable), please contact school on Thursday 19th March 2020.

 6:00pm Prime Minister's statement 18th March 2020 


We have sent this letter home today with our children (nursery class will get theirs in the morning) along with a work pack just in case school is closed in the upcoming days and/or weeks.

There are lots of links to online learning activities on the 'fun stuff' tab (above).

Click here for a useful Newsround page to share with your children. 

Click here for e-bug education resources you may find useful if the children are at home.

Page Hits: 00017