In light of the Prime Minister’s address to the nation on Sunday night and the further guidance that we have received today in ‘The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy’, I wanted to provide our assessment of what it means for parents, carers, children and schools.
The document specifically refers to education within phase 2 of the recovery strategy and states that we should be planning for a phased return for schools. Specifically, it says that:
- Schools should prepare to begin to open for more children from 1st June
- The Government expects children in early years’ settings, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to be back in school in smaller sizes, from this point
- Secondary schools should also prepare to begin some face to face contact with Year 10 and 12 pupils who have key exams next year, in support of their continued remote, home learning
- The Government’s ambition is for all primary school children to return to school before the summer for a month if feasible, though this will be kept under review.
We are already planning for this partial reopening but it will not be a simply return to pre-lockdown schooling. The safety of staff and children will be paramount and social distancing will be strictly enforced. This explains the Government’s reference to a return for identified year groups in small sizes. They will not be in school all day, every day between the 1st June and the end of term. Details of how this will work will be issued shortly.
The Government has also realised that full time education for pupils in Years 10 and 12 is unlikely for the remainder of the academic year but we will run in-school sessions with pupils invited in in smaller groups once we are given the go ahead by the Government. No date has been announced for this. It goes without saying that we will continue to provide home learning materials to all those not attending school.
Rest assured that safety and well-being are key elements of our reopening planning. Prior to any pupil returning we will outline what measures we have in place to minimise the risks of being in school.
Prior to the 1st June our status is as it has been since the 23rd March – we are only open for those children of critical workers who need to be cared for while their parent(s) are at work and for those children deemed ‘vulnerable’. Thank you for all the support we have received so far; it has made a huge difference.
Mrs H Dibden