Dear Parents and Carers,
May I take this opportunity to firstly thank all my staff who have provided the superb childcare provision to the eligible pupils since we were told to close the school because of the Covid-19. Whilst they have created a happy environment for up to 50 pupils, they have also set up and run an online home learning community. Additionally they have regularly phoned all the pupils in their classes to check in with them. I am extremely proud to be part of this team and acknowledge many have achieved this whilst managing their own anxieties around Covid-19 and balancing their own childcare needs and home learning requirements. I would also like to thank you, for your ongoing support of the school and for providing safe learning environments for your children. I am sure they will look back with fond memories of when home became their school for a short period of time.
Whilst we have successfully met this initial challenge, the recent Prime Ministerial announcement that Reception and Year 1 would reopen from, at the earliest 1 June, has now provided us with a new and significant one. The Senior Leadership Team have worked tirelessly to create a local solution to what has been asked and I am writing to outline how we will open our school. We have decided to follow the guidelines provided by the Government last Friday and what is proposed here is non-negotiable. I am sure by working together, and supporting one another, we can meet the requirements laid down by the Government to make the best of this situation.
We want to be honest about how the school will operate so you can make an informed choice about whether you want your child to attend. I therefore apologise if you find the following frank.
The fundamental point to make is that, in line with Government guidelines provided for primary schools, we are not expected to make the children socially distance from one another in school. Whilst we will do this where we can (e.g. arrange seating in the classroom to be 2m apart), invariably the children of primary school age have, and always will be, in contact and play with one another. That is why childhood illnesses spread so easily in school.
In the absence of social distancing, l therefore want to share with you what we will do to mitigate the risk of the virus spreading across the school. This follows the advice from the Government.
I do apologise if this letter seems blunt, but I needed to communicate with you with clarity over how we intend to keep the school community safe. We care dearly for your children and their safety has always been, and will continue to be, our main priority. We want nothing more than everyone to return to the school we all loved to be part of but recognise this is not possible at this time. For every child that comes back to school we will do our very best to make it an enjoyable experience. There is a lot of debate about the mental wellbeing of our children and I have my own concerns how children will cope in coming back to our school in this new and twisted reality. That said I have every confidence in my staff to make this the best it can be. Please take some time to carefully consider whether you want to send your child back to school in this format. It is your decision and you have the option not to.
As a next step I would like you to complete an online registration form only if you would like your child to return to school and they are in Reception or Year 1 or on the approved Key Worker list. (There are currently no places for Years 2,3 or 4 pupils who are not key worker children). To do this please click on the button below. Please do this by midday on Monday 25th May so we can plan groups and allocate drop off and collection times. To ensure we plan the opening effectively, we will only accept the pupils booked in by this date for the next 4 weeks. We will not add to the list during June but will run a similar process for July. NB: Key workers do not need to specify which days they want, just that they need a place.
We propose to have the 1st June as training day for all staff covering these new procedures. The 2nd June will then be used to set up the revised school and pupils will be welcomed back on Wednesday 3rd June. That said, the School will be open as normal for critical care worker children at Harris Way on the 1st and 2nd June.
The Government has a bigger ambition that all year groups should return before the Summer break, but pending the demand from these initial groups, this may not be possible. I know that some Year 4 parents were also keen for a transition to Middle School, but speaking to the Middle School Head Teachers, this will only be virtual.
Following Government guidelines, priority will be given to allocate school places to key worker pupils and vulnerable pupils and then to pupils in Reception and Year 1 (in this order). We will confirm whether your child has a place by midday on Thursday 28th May.
We will continue to evaluate our position and we will keep you updated if things change. At the Full Governing Body last night we discussed the current risk assessment in detail and an updated one will be published on our website next week.
Thank you for your patience and understanding at this incredibly difficult time.
Mr Chris Tavener
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