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Covid-19 Letters and Information

Proposed reopening letter to parents and carers May2020(1).docx

 

Friday 15th May 

Dear Families of St Thomas a Becket,

We hope this finds you all well and safe given the difficult circumstances we are all living through. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.

I am sure you are all aware of the news given by Boris Johnson that schools will be looking to re-open beginning with year groups Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.

Since this announcement the school has been planning how it will manage this by following government, local authority, diocese and union guidelines. The first priority of the school must be to keep the children and staff and parents safe. The government states in guidance:

'We are therefore gradually increasing the numbers of children and young people attending schools and colleges. This decision is based on the latest scientific advice. By returning pupils gradually, settings can initially reduce the number of children and young people in classrooms compared to usual and put protective measures in place to reduce risks.

We will prioritise younger children in the first phases of wider opening, for several reasons. Firstly, because there is moderately high scientific confidence in evidence suggesting younger children are less likely to become unwell if infected with coronavirus; and secondly because evidence shows the particularly detrimental impact which time spent out of education can have upon them. In addition, older children are more likely to have higher numbers of contacts outside of school so pose a greater transmission risk, and they are typically better able to learn at home.

One of the protective measures we can take to reduce transmission is to have smaller group and class sizes. We know that, unlike older children and adults, early years and primary age children cannot be expected to remain 2 meters apart from each other and staff. In deciding to bring more children back to early years and schools, we are taking this into account.' DFE Actions for Education and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening from 1 June 2020 guidance.

We will be looking to have Reception children attend school on a transition part-time basis for the first two weeks at least and constantly review the situation. Children will be in small groups and attend two full days every other week. This will enable us to maintain small groups and social distancing and keep children and staff safe. It will also enable us to maintain effective cleaning of the site and resources. We will inform each year group of your actual start dates once the school has met with governors and in light of any future guidance. To clarify, we are planning for Reception to return first, following the government guidance above.

Having been out of education for an extended period we need to ensure the children have transition time to readjust into school life and learning. Once we are satisfied that all groups are safe (and by reviewing any future released guidance from government, local authority, diocese and unions), and only then, we will move on to Reception returning to school full time and each week. We will be keeping all families informed of developments as they are planned and put into place. We will then do the same with Year 1 children returning to school. Once this transition has happened safely, we will then invite Year 6 to return to school. Depending on guidance changes or the situation in general this may be a speedy or extended process.

Critical worker families that have been identified by the school will continue to access learning at the school as they have been since the school closed to the wider community in order to maintain essential services.

Each school context, setting and staff team structure is different and each school will be working in different ways to re-open to the children - some faster than others. Currently, due to staff absences for a number of reasons, we will not be able to run to our full capacity. This means we are not in a position to accept all identified year groups back at present but will work towards this as fast as we can bearing in mind any guidance given, health and safety and staffing numbers.

We are also working very closely with the Chair of Governors and will be meeting next week to discuss plans for re-opening the school. Once agreed, we will send out more detailed information on which children will come into school first and when. As well as giving further details on social distancing measures that families will need to adopt when entering the school grounds and the staggered starts to drop off, pick up, play times and lunch breaks.

Thank you for your continued support and patience. We hope you all remain well and safe during this time.

With best wishes during the holy season of Easter,

 

Paul Beverton

 

Monday 11th May

Dear All,

We hope all our families continue to remain safe and well. The staff have posted on our Facebook page a lovely video message to the children to let them know how much we are thinking of them and how much we miss them (and you). Miss Barrow and myself have also posted out the next home learning pack last Thursday which should arrive on your doorsteps over the coming week. Please can you ensure that we have your correct address details in order for you to receive these. We hope the children are also making good use of the e-learning available on our website, DBPrimary, Education City, White Rose Maths, Espresso, My Maths, BBC Bitesize and the National Oak Academy resources amongst others. 

Please do contact the school if you are experiencing any issues with accessing the learning or any hardships being faced by your family. We may well be able to support or know where to signpost you to receiving the support you need.

I am also writing in response to Boris Johnson's announcement yesterday evening. Although guidelines and safe working conditions have not been detailed, we have started to plan for the eventual return of some year groups after the half term - namely Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. This will obviously be staggered and we will be working to ensure there is adequate social distancing. We will create a return programme and then refine this in the light of government guidance documents as they are released.

It is difficult to know what this will look like today but I am sure this will become more apparent over the next week or two. We will make sure we try to keep you posted with as much notice as possible. We will ensure we continue to keep the safety of your children, yourselves and our staff at the centre of all we do.

I can't thank you enough for all your commitment and flexibility to ensure the children have a good educational experience.

Wishing you all Easter blessings as we continue through this most holy season.

 

Paul Beverton

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