Following on from some comments from parents around the adjusted arrangements to the start of the school day, I provide further clarity.
Why are there changes to the start of the school day arrangements?
There are 3 threads leading to the change, all of which are safeguarding linked.
- WHY CAN'T I WAIT WITH MY CHILD (Keys Stage 2) ON THE REAR PLAYGROUND WHEN STAFF ARE ON DUTY? There are now in excess of 180 children to take into school on the rear playground, through 2 doors (one class having to walk around the building to get to a third door). Ensuring children are in line, with the right class and not wandering off to someone else is always challenging for staff when there are well meaning parents present. Even if only half of parents accompanied their children on the rear playground, this equates to around 270 people for staff to manage in accordance with point number 2. It is therefore logical to limit this number. Staff are present after 8:35am and will call the children through – they are safe.
- WHY CAN I NOT WAIT FOR MY CHILD TO WALK AROUND THE SCHOOL AND ENTER THE CLASS (Mr Brooks') / WAIT ON THE PLAYGROUND? School gates must be closed promptly in accordance with safeguarding requirements. Parents wishing to remain on site as long as they can or who arrive late often have issue with this. The site must be secured as soon as possible to the school day commencing at 0845. This is for your child’s safety. Again, this has been challenging with a minority of parents waiting after the teacher has taken them in or waiting to do so, notably for Mr Brooks' class.
Whilst I do understand the desire to wait as long as possible to give that extra assuring wave, even after the children are with the teacher, staying on the premises means my school site remains open to the general public. Free flow of pupils on site cannot commence, resulting in additional adults being required to accompany children from building to building, (including those arriving late!) The longer the gates are open, the longer the delay to staff starting their work and school being secure.
- YOU SEEM TO BE WANTING US TO LEAVE AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE, WHY? This is true, but don't take offence! The fewer people on site and for a reduced time, the less opportunity there is for Covid infection to pass through the school community. Although we may ‘feel’ that the risk has gone, it has not and it remains sensible (indeed recommended by Public Health England) to limit numbers on site *.
*There are increasing infection rates in schools and young people. I have personal knowledge of two schools who have re introduced staggered starts in the space of 1 week of opening to reduce the numbers of adults on school site at one time. I do not wish to go back to such a system, but may be forced to if parents do not follow the procedures in school.
Should a parent have issue with the strategies put in place to safeguard children, they are free to discuss this in person with me. Keeping children and the community safe is my priority.