Dear Parents and Carers
As we reach the end of this extremely unusual academic year, I would just like to take this opportunity to express my thanks, pride and admiration in how brilliantly everyone in our school communities have worked together in the face of the immense changes to our lives.
As parents and carers we know this has been an extremely difficult time for you as you coped with your own worries and tried to keep your children engaged and occupied whilst we were all required to stay at home. I would like to thank you all for the support you gave to your children and our staff as we all tried to ensure that they were able to continue with their learning as best as possible whilst our schools were closed.
I would also like to thank our dedicated health workers, and critical workers across the country and say how grateful every one of us is for their heroic work during these difficult times.
This way of working was new to us all and not something that we had prepared for, so I think you can be incredibly proud of all you have achieved for your family over the past few months since schools closed. There are lots of things that we have all learnt but the most important is that the health and wellbeing of your family is our top priority and comes before everything else!
You will have heard the government announcement that schools will be open for all students from September 2020. Our academies have been welcoming students in different year groups back to school since June. We approached this with great caution, reviewing all the scientific and DFE advice to ensure that we could be as safe as possible. This has gone extremely well, as our safety measures and risk assessments were excellent. Thank you to all those parents who sent your children back into school as requested – it has been lovely to see them all across the Trust.
We are delighted that we can now look forward to seeing all our wonderful students back in school next term! We have been very busy over the last couple of weeks planning, completing new and detailed risk assessments, and working out exactly what each school will look like and feel like when our students return.
The Government has stated: ‘Given the improved position, the balance of risk is now overwhelmingly in favour of children returning to school. For the vast majority of children, the benefits of being back in school far outweigh the very low risk from coronavirus (COVID-19)’.
We’re working hard to consider how we group students together, ensure that we reduce contact between different groups of students, and keep the stringent cleaning and disinfecting processes we already have in place to ensure that our academies are as safe as can be for our students.
Your child’s school will send out further detail before the end of term, but in the meantime there are some key points that you need to be aware of.
- You must ensure that if anyone in your household has COVID-19 symptoms, your child does NOT attend school. Any child or staff member who develops symptoms in the school day will be sent home immediately. You must follow the government guidance ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’ If anyone in your household, or your child, tests positive for COVID-19 you MUST inform your school.
- Your child will be expected to follow strict behaviour rules relating to physical contact with other student, and keeping their hands clean. Students will be expected to wash their hands regularly, and use hand sanitiser.
- The government has advised walking or cycling to school wherever possible to reduce the use of public transport.
- Attendance at school. The government has relaxed the rules on attendance during lockdown. However, this will change in September. The government guidance says:‘Missing out on more time in the classroom risks pupils falling further behind. Those with higher overall absence tend to achieve less well in both primary and secondary school. School attendance will therefore be mandatory again from the beginning of the autumn term. This means from that point, the usual rules on school attendance will apply, including:
Parents’ duty to secure that their child attends regularly at school where the child is a registered pupil at school and they are of compulsory school age;
Schools’ responsibilities to record attendance and follow up absence
- School kitchens will re-open in September, and lunches will be available. Students eligible for free school meals will return to having their lunch at school, and will no longer receive lunch vouchers.
- Students will be expected to wear school uniform again from September.
- The curriculum that we offer our children will remain broad and balanced, and will continue to include music, arts and sport – as usual.
We understand that some of you and your children will be anxious about returning in September, after some months out of school. Please be reassured that we are taking exceptional measures to make our schools as safe as can be. We will be providing additional emotional and wellbeing support for any children that need it, and will also be providing additional opportunities to support learning where this is required. Although it feels like this situation has lasted forever, in fact children have lost, at worst, only 62 school days of learning. And very many of them have worked hard using online resources or work books provided by our hardworking and dedicated teachers. We are all determined that they will absolutely not be ‘a lost generation’ and we’re adapting our curriculum to make sure that they get the learning and knowledge that they need to achieve success in the future.
Your children deserve a great, and safe education – we will not let them down.
See you in September!
Chief Executive Officer