21 September 2020

Dear parent/carer,

I hope you and your family are keeping well. As we are now three weeks into term I thought I would write to update you about the return to school and how we are ensuring that all schools in our trust are able to be open and maintain health and safety for pupils, staff and everyone in our communities.

Thank you for your continued support in helping us to get all pupils back into school safely at the start of this new academic year. I have seen how much our children and young people are enjoying the school experience again. It is clear that many of them understand the risk of coronavirus, both because of messages in school, but also from the support and guidance you have provided at home. As a result, most are sensibly observing the health and safety measures and new routines, such as staggered entrance, washing hands and using hand sanitiser, and staying in their own bubble.

Part of our preparation for re-opening has been about what we will have to do if there is a positive case of a child or adult with coronavirus in one of our schools. If this happens, a decision about actions that must be taken is made by Public Health, not by the school in isolation. If this decision is that a group of pupils, ‘a bubble’, must go home, we know how disappointing this will be for children and families. Nevertheless, it is also a sign that the plans are working as they were intended, prioritising safety as well as learning. I want to reassure you that we are very well prepared for this scenario and our schools have been working hard to set up remote learning where pupils have to remain at home for reasons associated with COVID-19. As you might expect, we are better prepared now than we were in March, with high quality online resources for learning and assistance with access to the work, including devices to support online learning.

As I write I am pleased to be able to report that the vast majority of the 12,000 children in the trust are in school. We have one bubble that had to close earlier this week, Year 8 at Bristol Brunel Academy, but the school remains open to pupils in all other year groups. We have not yet needed to close any other bubbles and all our schools are fully open.

As this term progresses, what happens to the infection rates locally in society will likely be reflected in schools and there may be more cases where bubbles move from being in school to remote learning. I want to reassure you that our utmost priorities remain safety and continuity of education.

Thank you for your ongoing support with your child’s safety, attendance and engagement in what continue to be challenging times.

Yours faithfully,
Mr S Taylor CEO