19th May 2020
I hope that this letter finds both you and your loved ones safe and well. We are living through extraordinary times! I write to update you on the general principles of our planning for increasing the number of people on our school site.
You will be aware of the Government's recently announced ambition for a possible phased re-opening of schools after the Whitsuntide holiday. We have been working on plans for expanding onsite numbers for some time. You will understand many of the challenges involved. Our planning has considered health and safety, the physical environment, staffing, wellbeing and learning.
Our first principle is that any expansion of onsite numbers must be safe enough to command the confidence of you, our parents and our school staff. The Headteacher is the person who makes the decision every day about the safety of the site to be open. This decision is an even more difficult one in the current circumstances. It is taken with care, always. It is taken in the best interests of everyone involved, always.
Any increase in onsite numbers in school must be measured and very carefully managed. We understand that there will be a wide range of feelings and some anxieties. This work will take place over the coming days and weeks. It is about planning carefully and does not imply a fixed ‘return to school’ date.
We have prepared a short Frequently Asked Questions note overleaf, aimed at keeping you as informed of the situation and our planning as is possible. Thank you for working so supportively with us during uncertain times. This remains essential. The situation remains uncertain. Planned arrangements made now may be subject to change. We aim to make our arrangements as resilient as possible in order to keep changes to a minimum.
We understand that further discussion is taking place around the scientific evidence used to inform the government's decision-making. I welcome this as a necessary action to help secure the confidence of parents, staff and children for a gradual, safe and managed increase in numbers on school sites as we take the careful steps towards our new normal. Coronavirus remains active amongst us. I urge you to continue to follow the safety guidance and to play your part in reducing the spread of the disease.
With every best wish,
Mr P. Hartley
Head of School
Frequently Asked Questions 19th May 2020
What is being proposed?
The government has stated a plan for a return to school from 1st June 2020.
Will this happen?
The government’s 1st June 2020 plan remains an interim date. We await further information from them. We will also listen to the trade unions. We have been planning carefully for a gradual increase in numbers onsite for some time. We will monitor this closely and will move through the various stages of our plan as we reach each safety checkpoint.
Who will be returning first and when?
We have been providing childcare for many children daily throughout the period of lockdown. Most staff have been in school on a rota basis. From the beginning of June we will extend our school provision to some children from invited Year groups only.
Is it safe?
The government’s guidance on reopening schools notes that full social distancing inside buildings is impossible.
Much remains unknown or unproven about children’s contracting or transmission of the virus. The British Medical Association note the “relatively small amount of research available.” The risks to children are at this time generally considered to be low. The government believes that the general conditions make it safe enough to return to school.
Low risk is not the same as no risk. There are no easy answers. We can make it safer by all of us observing as many of the safety protocols as possible as often as possible.
Has it been done elsewhere?
The Covid-19 situation is different, country-to-country. Germany and Denmark have reopened primary schools with social distancing restrictions in place. There have been no new outbreaks of Covid-19 worldwide in schools that have gone back.
Does my child have to attend?
The Department of Education has confirmed that there will be no penalties for parents who keep children off.
We will contact you later this week to confirm any imminent plans to return to school at your child’s school.