Dear Parent / Carer
I hope that you and your family are staying well and continuing to cope in this unusual time.
I am writing to you again, following my letter of 15 May, to share with you our plans for welcoming more children back to school from the week commencing 1 June. We will only do this if the Prime Minister confirms that the five key tests set by the government justify changes at that time. The Prime Minister is due to speak to the country on this matter on Thursday 28 May.
Should the Prime Minister announce on that date that it remains the Government’s ambition to continue with the widening of school provision, then we will begin a process of gradually opening our schools up to more pupils. Though this process will start in the week commencing 1 June, we will not be taking in more pupils until we have taken sufficient time to provide training and induction for staff. This is because our commitment to prioritising the safety of all pupils and staff remains paramount. The training and preparation will be for staff returning to our Academy sites and will be planned so that we can be sure that when pupils attend, movement around the site will be managed safely and with clear, new routines.
As a trust we have central leadership of Health & Safety and a consistent, trust-wide approach to Risk Assessment. We have carried out detailed Risk Assessments at each of our Academy sites, including checking safe physical capacity, combining the Government’s ‘hierarchy of controls’ guidance with the principles of social distancing; these site checks will be repeated on a regular basis. When pupils do return we will provide them with instruction and training about how to stay safe in our behaviour on site, in what will look and feel very different from ‘normal’ school.
Your Academy will contact you to inform you when your child can start to attend school again after 1 June.
Throughout the lockdown period we have been open for priority groups of children and we will continue to offer full-time places in school for these children in their own Academy. We are now preparing to widen provision to more children described as vulnerable and children of ‘critical workers’ (as per guidance from the Department for Education, updated 5 May 2020).
We will also begin to invite children in some year groups to start to attend. As stated in my letter of 15 May, this will be in a priority order of year groups identified by the Government, according to the number of children in total that we can safely accommodate in each Academy.
Our planning has included the phased return of children from Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to our Primary Academies and for Year 10 and Year 12 students to be invited into our Secondary Academies for some face-to-face contact with teachers or tutors during June (although this will not take place in the first week of term).
Primary Academy staff have been in contact with parents this week to survey needs and requirements for places in school; your Academy will be in contact again very soon with opening information that is particular to your child.
Specific details about plans for the Year 10 and the Year 12 offer will be shared with parents and students today, in a letter from your Academy, with links to a survey to collect responses and needs.
Throughout Term 6 we will continue to provide regular, high quality distance learning for all children and young people in our trust. We are grateful for your continuing support in helping your child to engage with this so that they continue their learning whilst at home and until they are able to return to school.
To reiterate, we will only progress these plans for more of our children to attend school when the Government informs us that their conditions have been met and confirms for us to go ahead. We will continue to regularly review and prioritise safety arrangements for all pupils and staff as we move through the term. We look forward to welcoming your children back into our schools as soon as this is possible. Meanwhile I wish you a pleasant half term week.