Wednesday, 10 June 2020
Dear Parents, Guardians and Carers,
In my letter of the 22nd May I promised that the Governing Body would meet again today to review how children and staff have responded to the phased reopening of the school and to decide if we felt it was safe and appropriate to reopen the school further to YR and Y1. The Government has confirmed that it will not be expecting schools to open more widely to pupils before September and this is a welcomed announcement given the restrictions that social distancing enforced on the school provision.
As I outlined in my letter of the 22nd, I am going to be as transparent as possible in relation to the information the Governing Body has received and how we have assessed the situation in relation to re-opening the school, I would like to therefore advise you of the following:
We heard in detail from Mrs Montague about the 2m social distancing in Y6 and Keyworker provision. We heard about the continued work on the extensive programme of distance learning in which the staff are engaged. We satisfied ourselves that the school is closely following
a) the Government guidelines in the organisation of the school day and management of classrooms
b) the Risk Assessment (RA) approved by the Governing Body on the 22nd May.
We have heard feedback through from the Senior Management Team led by Mrs Montague that the result of applying the guidelines is an experience of school that is far from ideal, children are at tables 2m apart and outside time continues within a grid space to keep all children apart.
The advice we received from teachers and the Senior Team, was that there is no advantage for children in school and children are as well off following the excellent distance learning programme at home.
There was concern that maintaining social distancing across YR and Y1 would present the children with a very altered view of schooling.
The children currently have very positive memories of what school was like and we fear that the experience of school under the Government’s social distancing guidelines will not be enjoyable, will have little benefit to their learning and make them fearful about returning to school in September. Our children’s health and mental well-being remains paramount in our decision making; and from information released from Public Health England (PHE), the rate of infection is dropping across the United Kingdom. Cambridge University who are working alongside PHE has however advised the “R Factor” is at or close to 0.97 in the South East of England, meaning there is a very real risk the local rate of infection could increase to above 1.
As a result of this information, the Governing Body unanimously agreed the following:
The school would remain open to Y6 and to the children of key workers only.
We will meet again in two weeks’ time on the 25th June to review that decision. Following this meeting, I will write to you again with any updates that could change this decision, which will be based on the professional advice of Mrs Montague, her senior team, health authority and government.
We have asked Mrs Montague and her staff to devote their energy to preparing to open the school in September so that our children can be safe and benefit fully from being in school once more.
Finally, I know that a lot of you and your children are concerned about moving up year groups, this was also discussed at length this morning and I can confirm that Mrs Montague will be writing to you all over the next two weeks with her detailed transition plans to both close off this academic year and share news of September transition arrangements.
We are all disappointed not to be able to have all our children in school, happy and learning. We understand how difficult it is for you and your families and we ask for your patience and understanding at this challenging time.
Chair of Governors