Following the Government’s guidance regarding the potential wider opening of schools, I am keen to provide you with as much information as possible, as soon as possible, to help you plan for the weeks and months ahead.
Below are answers to some questions that you might be asking.
Q 1. I have a child in Nursery/ Reception/Year 1. I am not a key worker. Will my child be guaranteed a return to school from June 1st?
Answer: No- we cannot guarantee this at this point. It is important to understand that wider places for pupils from June 1st other than the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils will be limited by risk assessment and cannot be guaranteed by the academy for pupils in Early Years and year 1.
Q2. Why can’t my school confirm their plan now, so parents can plan ahead?
Answer: No school can confirm that it will widen its educational offer beyond the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils until the government has confirmed that it is safe to do so. As you know, the Government have been clear that before confirmation, wider opening may or may not happen unless:
- The 5 key tests are met
- The rate of infection continues to be decreasing
If this criteria is met by June 1st and if it is feasible for schools to extend their provision (a risk assessment of individual schools), additional places may be extended to children in Early Years, Year 1 and year 6.
Q3: If the above tests are met and the government allows widening of places to Early Years, Years 1 and 6, then will those groups of pupils have a guaranteed and full time place in school?
Answer: No. We cannot guarantee full time places. It is possible that following the risk assessment process we may have places other than those available for key workers and vulnerable pupils in Early Years and Years 1. However, safe distancing will determine the numbers. Parents will be updated regularly on latest information as we start to be able to welcome more pupils back to school safely.
Q4: What safeguards will my school put in place for pupils and staff to minimise transmission of coronavirus?
Answer: The Government have published detailed guidance to all schools to support schools to plan ahead of the confirmation. It clearly states that:
‘The safety of children and staff is our utmost priority. Every setting should carry out a risk assessment before opening. The assessment should directly address risks associated with coronavirus, so that sensible measures can be put in place to control those risks for children and staff. All employers have a duty to consult employees on health and safety, and they are best placed to understand the risks in individual settings.’
We are currently risk assessing and consulting employees. Our risk assessment will give us the maximum numbers of pupils in each year group that we can welcome back, whilst maintaining protective social distancing measures to reduce transmission.
Q5: When the school has completed its risk assessment and a graduated plan is in place, when will parents be told the outcome?
Answer: Parents will be updated regularly and any changes posted on the school’s website. Our plans are dependent on several factors, the overriding factor being the health and safety of pupils. Our aim is to welcome back as many pupils to school as we can safety accommodate. As soon as I have further information I will communicate it with you.
Thank you for your support and understanding.