Dear Parents and Carers
I write to you all today to provide some very important updates in relation to announcements made by the Department for Education and the return to school for all pupils in September 2020. As I often do, I will address each area in the format of frequently asked questions.
When will schools be fully open?
As you are likely to be aware, the Prime Minister has announced the intention that all children will return to school in September 2020 following the summer break. This is welcome news for all, especially those who have not been eligible to attend to date.
Whilst we have remained open during lockdown for key worker children, as well as those deemed ‘vulnerable’ by social care, we have greatly missed all the children and it is evident that this has been reciprocated by them. Whilst resources provided by staff to support home learning have been well thought through and greatly received by families, face to face learning and the social interactions children have in school cannot be replaced online. It has become increasingly evident that Ashgate Primary School, as well as others like us, provide so much more for children and their families than ‘the curriculum’ and this has been widely felt.
We must be mindful that guidance may be provided between now and September that impacts on how a return to school is managed and circumstance may dictate additional considerations. We will of course adapt and improvise where necessary, but at this time are planning on a full return.
What date will children start back?
The first day back for children will be on Monday 7th September. At time of writing the school day will commence as normal.
Staff will be returning to school during the week leading up to this.
I have opted to block 3 of the 5 INSET (In Service Training) days schools are required to use each academic year in advance of children returning. INSET days, which are additional to the 190 school entitlement for pupils, will be used to complete the compulsory safeguarding training and amend curriculum planning that has been disrupted as a result of lockdown. Planning will be key to ensuring that curriculum recovery is effective as well as enabling us to quickly address gaps in learning that have been a result of lockdown. Working in this way supports an effective and well-ordered return to full time education and reduces intermittent disruption for parents and children later in the year.
Will school be open during the summer break?
No. Earlier in the lockdown the government said they would review options to provide care during the summer, despite the Education Secretary reporting that they ‘we are not planning to, nor will be planning to open [schools] during the summer break’. As a result, the Department for Education have not established mechanisms needed to do so.
A financial package to support schools deliver a catch-up programme in the next academic year, announced last week, has clearly been the preferred option to support missed learning. I await confirmation of how this will be structured and delivered.
Are children re sitting the year because of lockdown?
No. Although children are organised into what are referred to as ‘year groups’, effective schools do not meet needs on the basis of a factory line or by a ‘date of manufacture’. Children are individuals with differing need and we will always address gaps accordingly, regardless of age. We are pleased to hear that there are plans to support this financially with a £1bn pledge from the Prime Minister.
Will we receive a school report this year?
Yes. All staff have prepared a school report for each child. Clearly there are limitations as to what can be accurately reported, as detailed assessments have not been possible and the curriculum has not been covered in its entirety. We aim though to give you a sound overview of your child’s time in school this year and support you in understanding their strengths and areas for development.
A date and time will soon be shared as to when reports can be collected.
When will my child know whose class they are in?
All children currently in years 1, 3 and 5 will remain with the class teacher they have had this academic year. Those currently in Early Years, years 2 and 4 will move to their next teacher.
All will be informed which class they are in before the school break begins. This will be done via the school report. Please note: on some occasions there may be a need to move specific individuals into different classes for administrative or needs specific reasons. However, the vast majority will be placed alongside peers from their current class when moving to a new teacher. Where an unscheduled change is made, you will be made aware.
What are the term dates for next year?
These have not changed from that issued by Derby City Council before lockdown. They are available on line but I will include a copy in this message.
As already stated, there will be only 2 INSET dates for parents to plan for as we are applying 3 before children return in September. The remaining 2 dates are planned as follows:
As always, we will keep you updated as more is known and planned. In the meantime, I wish you and all your families well.
Please click on the icon below to view term dates 2020 / 2021