Monday 18th May 2020
I had hoped to be able to write to you this week to provide you with clear details of how the proposed reopening of schools would look within our school. Unfortunately, this is still not possible due to the well-publicised discussions continuing to take place between the government, medical professionals and teaching unions.
Schools have now been provided with government guidance outlining the steps we should begin to consider as part of our preparations for the safe re-opening of schools, whenever that might be. We have spent much of last week considering these in conjunction with further guidance provided by our local education authority.
Unfortunately, we are still awaiting lots of the finer details but feel it is important to share with you what is likely to happen, based on the information we currently have.
- When schools re-open it will be through a phased approach which prioritises the children of critical workers, vulnerable children and those in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 classes.
- The government has recommended that children should be taught in groups (‘bubbles’) of no more than 15 children. Coventry LA recommend that there should be between 8 and 10 children per group (‘bubble’). We agree with Coventry LA’s recommendation based on the size of our classrooms and the very young age of our children which will make social distancing very difficult.
- The number of pupils we can safely accommodate on our school site could be less than those parents who wish their children to attend.
- This may mean that, in line with government guidance, we will have to prioritise which children are offered places. This could mean that children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 only attend on certain days of each week.
- Vulnerable children and those from critical worker families will be able to attend every day of the week, (including those from other year groups) and will be given priority over any available places.
- Children will remain in their groups (‘bubbles’) of 8-10 for the entire day.
- Each group will have their own playtime, lunchtime, classroom and class teacher, teaching assistant and lunch time supervisory assistant.
- Pupils and staff from different groups will not be allowed to mix with each other or share resources and equipment. (N.B. your child may not be in their usual classroom, be taught by their usual teacher or be with all of their closest friends)
- The start and end times for each group will be staggered.
- Only 1 adult should accompany a child to school. (Staff will meet your child at the gate or main school entrance).
- Breakfast club will not be available as it would result in children from different groups (’bubbles’) mixing together.
- Unnecessary classroom furniture and soft furnishings will be removed from classrooms wherever practical to do so.
- Children are likely to have their own workspace and/or carpet space to promote social distancing measures and movement within the classroom will be restricted.
- Well-being, Good Social-distancing, Maths, Reading and phonics will be priority areas of learning for Reception and Year 1 children. Well-being and Transition activities will be the priority for Year 6.
- All children will be required to bring a packed lunch to school with them in the morning. FSM vouchers will still be provided for those families currently receiving them to support in this.
- Children will eat their lunch in their classroom with the other children from their (‘Bubble’)
- No school resources will be sent home. (This will include reading books)
- Strict hygiene measures will be followed at all times.
Please be aware, that whilst we will do our best to put in place every possible measure to safeguard your children (and our staff) on their return to school, very young children who have not seen each other in months are likely to struggle to understand or keep to these ‘new’ rules. As such we cannot guarantee their safety – only try our best to minimise the level of risk they are exposed to.
With only five school days remaining before the possible re-opening of schools on 1st June I understand the great anxiety you must all be feeling regarding the decisions you are being asked to make.
I am sorry for this and feel greatly frustrated by the fact that at this moment in time I have very little to offer you which will assist you in that decision making process.
As a parent you will need to make the decision which sits best in your heart and as a school we will respect you for that.
If you feel that your child fits into the Key Worker/Vulnerable category set out by the Government, please let me know if you will be taking up a school place from the point at which school opens again (Tuesday 2nd June at the moment)
If your child is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 6, please let me know if you will be taking up a school place for 2 days each week (currently this would be Monday & Tuesday or Thursday & Friday)
To let the school know, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the school office between 9am and 12 noon.
Please stay safe and well