Update Coronavirus or COVID-19 Thursday 14th May 2020
Dear Mums, Dads and Carers,
After Sunday’s announcement it has been a very busy, complex and emotional week so far. I did not intend to write to you today, as two letters have been sent this week already, however after many of the conversations I have had by phone and email this week I just wanted to ensure you all have the information that you need to make an informed choice for your household.
So this is the current expectation and position stipulated by the government:
School will be open for: Nursery children, Reception children, Year 1 children, Year 6 children, children of our critical workers, children who are considered vulnerable and children with an EHCP.
As the Headteacher I am obliged to tell you this and encourage you to send your child by the Government Guidelines released on Monday. As a parent of primary school children myself, I share the same concerns, and am no doubt having the conversations as you all are, about whether to send my boys to their school. Hopefully the information below will support you in making the decision that is right for you and your child/ren
Frequently Asked Questions in phone calls and emails this week:
What is happening regarding transition?
For the Year 6 children going to secondary school we have little information at this moment. Mrs Heppenstall is due to have a Facetime meeting with Horizon next week, and will try to make contact with Darton and any other school our Year 6 pupils will be attending in September. Once we have received the information from the secondary schools we will share this and any relevant dates with you.
As always on our school calendar we have timetabled the transition dates in, these are scheduled for Monday 13th July and Tuesday 14th July and are the days the children will spend with their new teacher in their new classroom. Also this is the time the current Yr1 would move down to Star Building, and they would remain there for the rest of the week to become familiar with that building and specific routines. At this moment in time these dates will remain as the intended transition days. However, if these dates do need to be changed, for whatever reason, we will give at least a weeks notice of any new date, so that those of you only wanting your children to attend for transition have that information and they do not miss out. I am very pleased to say that all of our current staff will remain with the school in September and to aid consistency for all involved each teacher will stay in the same year group and in the same room. If we are in a position where transition is not practical or achievable in July for our pupils, then we will investigate all avenues in an attempt for them to return to their current teacher and class in September and carry out transition then. For this to happen there will be some logistical barriers to overcome (new children to school in Reception and new Nursery children) but we see transition as vitally important at our school and will do everything in our control to ensure we try to make this happen.
If my child comes to school, what work will they be doing?
Due to the layout and safety guidelines that need to be in place, it will be impossible for teachers and learning assistants to carry out their job as they usually would, with the interactions needing to officially be from the 2m social distance requirement. However, the children will have some academic work planned and delivered in English and Maths. The children will also do elements around PE and Art, plus PSHE and work around our school values. We will continue to provide the weekly plan on the school website for all year groups, including those Nursery, Reception, Yr1 and Yr6. However none of this will be provided after 18th July, as under current plans school will be closed as usual over the Summer.
Does my child need to come to school everyday?
The expectation is that if you ask for your child to attend school from 1st June then they will need to be here Monday to Friday at their specified start and finish time. Please do not think we are trying to be difficult, but we need to create safe work hubs containing the same children interacting with the same adults. Therefore having children coming in and out of the group would create additional barriers and concerns for us to negotiate and thus place more children and adults at potential risk.
Will my child need to wear school uniform?
Originally we stated that school uniform would need to be worn, but after reviewing the guidance we feel that the safest course of action is for the children to wear their own clothes. The reason is that advice states clothes need to be washed each day after any social interaction. For most of you this would cause issues with trying to wash and get uniform dried on a rapid turn around each day or couple of days. Also, if your children have been eating as much as mine in lockdown, their uniform is now at the this point in the year of being too small for them, and we really do not want to put any of you under additional pressure to source anything new at this point. So the children attending school from 1st June will not need to wear school uniform.
Will Breakfast Club and After School club be running?
Again our original intention was to try and provide this service. However, with the guidelines indicating ‘bubbles’ of children in school with the same adult, both clubs would not be achievable as children from different ‘bubbles’ would possibly attend breakfast club and interact with one another, and then go to their class ‘bubble’ and interact with different individuals. Therefore, at this moment in time, we will not be able to meet the safety measures required for Breakfast and After School Club on the 1st June. As always we will continue to review this service and re-introduce it as and when we can meet the necessary guidelines.
How can school guarantee the 2m social distance expectation?
The honest answer to this is that I cannot guarantee that this can be maintained at all times. We will of course endeavour to put in routines, structures and timetables in place to do this the best that we can. However, and I know most of you will be aware, there is not a chance that we can stop our youngest children from interacting at a social distance from the adults and each other. Plus the staff and I will not chastise any child for not following the social distancing expectation, as I truly believe, for these young
children especially, this could cause more long term harm psychologically. Of course we will remind and encourage them to do it whenever possible.
Should I send my child to school?
This is the one I am unable to answer for you. This has ultimately got to come down to what is right for you as a household and as a family. The reasons most people are torn between attending and not is the feeling that their child/ren will be missing out on transition and a worry that they will fall behind academically. Transition will take place, somehow, and we will inform you of any dates that this will occur, even if you chose to keep you child at home at the present time. As for academic issues, I have taken a stance throughout this pandemic that the aim is for all of my children, all of my parent/carers and all of my staff come through this healthy both physically and mentally. Academic progress is of course important and one of the main reasons children go to school and teachers teach, but I truly believe this is not the time for this to be the priority. As a parent, in the same position as all of you reading this letter, my children will be going to their school on Monday 1st June. However this is only because both my wife and I are teachers and have no option but to go to work. Like many of you, our usual child care are Grandparents who currently need to self-isolate due to age and additional conditions. We are therefore in the position that it is our only option, and have every faith that their school will do all they can to keep my children safe, but if my wife and I were able to keep Will, Ned and Arty (my children) at home, we would certainly be doing so until we had more information and felt more confident.
I hope the information above helps you make a decision on whether to send your child if they are eligible. It is really difficult one to make and from schools perspective we respect and will support whichever decision each household makes. When you have made your decision can you please either respond to this email or send your response to email@example.com by 10am Monday 18th May. Thank you to those who have already let us know.
As always if you require any support or have any questions do not hesitate to contact us through the school parent email and we will endeavour to do our best to answer.
Please continue to stay safe and we will hopefully see you all soon. Take care.