14 May 2020
POTENTIAL PARTIAL RE – OPENING OF SCHOOL FROM 8TH JUNE 2020
Dear Parents/ Carers,
I am writing to you with information regarding the children’s proposed phased return to school.
I joined Manchester Road 10 years ago this month – and arrived at a school which needed a lot of TLC and care. We have all worked hard as a whole community to make this a school to be proud of, and my loyalty to you as the principal here is unwavering and without question. I have gotten to know you, your families and of course your children well – and I care about them a great deal.
With this in mind, I am going to be frank and honest with you about the next few weeks, and the position this leaves us in as a school. Myself and the rest of the team here would like nothing more than to see all our children return to school – to be able to see families, to carry on with the amazing work that we do, but also believe that this should only be done when it is absolutely safe to do so. This is also an opinion upheld by the Enquire Learning Trust. Trustees have stated that unless the 5 key indicators of recovery from the government have been met, no ELT school will re – open.
Closing the school on the 23rd of March was heart – breaking to say the least. We had had such a successful year… an amazing OFSTED in September, children who are focused and hard – working and high expectations of the results the year 6 pupils would achieve. All of this though, becomes less important when compared to the well being and safety of your children and all of our families at home. The aim of closing was to spend time at home so that the NHS could cope, lives would be saved, and we could all return to school when it is deemed to be safe to do so.
School has been open every day for children of our key workers – and this has been a vital service for the 20 – 30 families who have been using it on a regular basis. As well as staff being on a rota for this, teachers have also been running an excellent home learning offer through Microsoft Teams, and will continue to do this for years 2 – 5.
The announcement from Boris Johnson on Sunday was vague to say the least – and the addition of our very youngest children to the ‘safe to return’ list has sparked controversy across parents and educational professionals alike. The guidance we received on Monday gives a lot more information about what is expected from schools, and ways in which we can keep the children as safe as possible. Myself and Miss Leah have spent time going through this document and have now established ways in which we can follow the government guidance once children return on the 8th of June.
I must make clear that social distancing children who are 5,6,7,10 and 11 is almost impossible, and we are acutely aware also of the fact that the children will be returning to school and expecting it to be exactly the same as it was when they left. This will not be the case. Things will feel and will be very different.
Below are the key decisions that have been made in order to follow guidelines and to minimise the risk as much as possible.
Although the purpose of this list is to essentially reassure you of the things we have put in place – I also hope that it will inform your decision as to whether to send your children back to school now or wait until there is more scientific certainty around the spread of the virus.
I understand that these procedures may seem overwhelming – but as I stated at the beginning of this letter, I feel it is best to be honest and open about the strategies put in place in order to decrease the risks to families as much as possible.
The government have made it clear that schools are to partially re – open but that the choice about whether the children attend is solely down to the parents and families. As a parent myself, making this decision has been a difficult one – but as a school we are being asked to encourage attendance and offer reassurance (I thought it better to offer the facts and reality of the above systems).
The government has made clear that there will be no fines for parents who choose for their children to not attend.
The on – line offer for children in EY, Y1 and Y6 will end on Friday 22nd May, as these children will then have a place in school (should it be taken up), and will resume with some of the curriculum alongside a well – being focus. Any children who are not attending will be able to access on – line programs through Teams, but teacher interaction will be minimal as all teachers are in school teaching the groups of EY, Y1 and Y6.
If you have children in Y2,3,4,5 there will be one teacher per year group providing the on – line service for home learning – so please look out for new exercise books arriving in the post. There will be no further ‘packs’ of work sent home. This learning is very important, so if you have not yet accessed teams, please do so ASAP.
Children of critical and keyworkers will still be offered a place in school from 8am to 4pm should it be needed. If in EY, Y1 or Y6 the children will join their year group then be taken to the Key worker group. The classroom for this will now be set up in KS2. Children of Keyworker children cannot be picked up from school until at least 3.30pm.
In order to continue with plans over the next couple of weeks, I am asking that parents who have already made a decision NOT to send their children back during the summer term send an e mail to school so that we can adjust groups and get the staffing right.
Finally, I would like to thank all parents and families for your continued support for the children during this difficult time. As a staff we have been amazed by some of the on line learning that you have done, and we know that many of you will have had some brilliants times and some really tough times too.
Let’s hope that the plans the government and scientists have put in place are effective, that the virus is slowed dramatically and that as a country and a world we can feel safe once again.
Please look out on the website for more information as we have it, and in the meantime here are the links to the government guidance:
Thank You Again, Keep Safe
Joanne Taylor Principal MRPA