Letter from Mrs Hughes 15th May 2020
Last Sunday the Prime Minister announced that the Government believes it may be in a position to implement a phased opening up of schools from 1st June, starting with pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. This is dependent on the R (infection rate) remaining below 1 and the Government meeting its 5 tests. If anything like me you were probably left with more questions than answers.
We want nothing more than to have all of our children back in school- but only when it’s safe for them to do. We will do everything we can to make school as safe as possible. The three year groups have been prioritised by the Government as the latest scientific evidence suggests that younger children are less likely to become unwell if infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) and because evidence shows the time spent out of education can have a detrimental impact on them.
Whilst we will do everything we can to keep school as ‘normal’ as possible, it will be a very different place, one which the children (and staff) might take a little while to get used to. We endeavour to put plans in place but these may change. We will take things very slowly and will constantly keep the situation under review.
The Government guidance means:
- Children will NOT be together in one classroom or share a playground or dining room or mix with other groups during the day. They will remain in their own social ‘bubble’.
- The phased return of certain yeargroups aims to limit the numbers of children in school at any one time. It does not include siblings in different year groups.
- Class sizes will be smaller to reduce the risk of transmission. Children will work in the same small groups of no more than 15 at all times each day. They may be in a class with children who they do not usually work with and won’t necessarily be with their friends.
- To minimise the risk of transmission, children will have their own stationary pack which will contain all of the equipment they need to complete tasks.
- The same teacher and staff will be assigned to each group and, as far as possible will remain with that group. It may mean children working in a different classroom with a teacher who isn’t their usual teacher.
- Classrooms will be redesigned as a way of enforcing social distancing, although the Government recognise I quote ‘unlike older children and adults, early years and primary age children cannot be expected to remain 2m apart from each other and staff’. We will encourage children to do this throughout the day but as you can imagine we cannot guarantee this will happen.
- We will encourage children in eligible groups to attend school but appreciate that as parents you have concerns at this early stage and we will respect your decision if you chose to keep them at home. It is your decision. Parents will not be fined for non-attendance.
- Lunchtimes and break times will be staggered to avoid groups of children mixing and to minimise children moving around school at the same time. Lunches will be eaten in the classrooms.
We understand many of you will be worried about your child’s health and emotional wellbeing and also, the health and safety of your own family members. We are in regular discussions with the DfE, Local Authorities and unions on how we can open schools safely and with minimal risk to our children, staff and our families.
We are very proud of all the work everybody is doing to support our children at this difficult time and have been amazed by the efforts you have made to support your child with their home learning; the messages and photographs you send into school are a delight for staff to see.
Over the next few weeks, as we work out how we are going to operate on a day-to-day basis and ensure our schools are the safe place they always have been, we will be in contact with you. Until then our advice is to Stay Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives and look after your family. This is a very difficult time for everyone but, hopefully, we will all get through this.
Thank you to those of you who have already filled in the survey, it’s still not too late to fill it in.
Take care and stay safe