Thursday 11th June 2020
I hope all is well for you and your families,
I am emailing you again today with the WBC communication regarding returning groups of children and in response to some parents' emails sent in today. I have also attached some guidance from DfE (should you want to read it). I would like to emphasise to everyone, parents, staff and governors that I am very diligent in following all DfE, Diocese, WBC and Union guidance which flows regularly into my in-box and any decisions I make are carefully considered,risk evaluated and I regularly ask for, accept and act on advice from all educational and health professionals.
I have included a link to the DfE Guidance on the actions for education and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening from 1 June, at the earliest, which can be found here should you wish to look:
The Communication from WBC Council Leaders attached to this email summarises our school's position - which to be as "well-prepared to accept more children in as safe a manner as possible." They recognise that, "Our school leaders are understandably keen for their pupils to come back to the classroom but have also, reasonably, balanced this with prudence and caution given the absolute need to keep our schools and communities safe."
In my email this morning I explained that, following a staff INSET day tomorrow, we will be able to welcome children from Reception class back into school on Monday 15th June, as we have previously arranged. We are very much looking forward to seeing many more children in school from Monday!
In my email this morning I added, "We hope to be able to welcome back Y1 and Y6 but will contact you when we can confirm arrangements for them." Some parents have expressed concern that the arrangements proposed to allow Y1 back to school on Monday 22nd June might have changed. I apologise for any lack of clarity, but please be advised that the plan for Y1 and Y6 to return is just that, a plan. We hope very much that we will welcome Y1 back (on 22nd June) as planned, and Y6 (on 6th July) as planned, however, if anything changes I will let you know with as much notice as possible.
I would advise that parents don't encourage children in any year group to think of the returning arrangements as 'set in stone' as I don't have control over the vast majority of our school's partial closure or our re-opening for priority groups. We do need to protect places for children of critical workers and vulnerable children and many of these parents are not able to make firm plans yet. These are truly very uncertain times.
Some parents have kindly contacted school to say how much their children (and they) have enjoyed watching the videos I recently uploaded onto the school website. Some have asked for more communication between teachers and children and we realise that it has taken longer than we originally thought for school to return to normal and we understand the need look for different ways to manage communication. During my meeting with teaching staff this afternoon we discussed ways that we could encourage children to 'feel more connected' with school.
Staff are very positive about the home learning that they are setting; the routines they have established, the monitoring they are carrying out and are (in the main) pleased with the majority of children's level of engagement. I do appreciate some of the concerns staff have and their apprehension about uploading videos. Some told me about videos on YouTube they have seen where the original videos teaching staff have been creatively altered so that whilst they may be humorous, they can also be personally upsetting, or insulting, for the staff themselves.
It's not appropriate for me to pressurise staff into uploading videos , I am sure you will understand this.
All staff are very keen to do everything possible that they can for all our children, whether they are at school or at home, and we do recognise that it is obviously more difficult for those children who remain at home and are missing school.
So, from next week we have arranged the following:-
We hope that, by making these changes, children will begin to feel more connected, and we look forward to receiving your feedback.
Thank you to those parents who have sent very kind and encouraging, supportive emails and messages into school. It is very hard to meet everyone's needs so it is good to know that, in many cases, we are getting it right!