Hello to all our families.
I hope you are as well as can be.
I wanted to update you all on some developments and to keep you abreast of steps towards wider unanswered questions. In doing so, I aim to alleviate any unnecessary worries and put minds at ease, but also to manage expectations amidst a world of press speculation. Apologies in some cases where I do not have all the answers.
Simply answered, we do not know – but we may know more soon.
What we don’t know:
There is no firm indication yet as to when schools may open, although we know that there will be a briefing on Sunday by the prime minister who may give us a clearer view. A recent report made clear that even if schools were given the go ahead to re-open at some level, the earliest possible date would be June 1st, but this could be as late as September. Even in these cases, there would be limited access initially.
What we do know or can be sure of:
A rapid or immediate ‘full open’ is not likely if current medical advice is maintained. With this in mind early indicators are that specific year groups will be the first to re attend school. We do not have confirmation as to whether or not schools will decide on these or whether there will be central government direction – the latter is likely.
What we can say is that is that it will not be routine opening and there will need to be clear, calculated and medically guided routines. These are likely to include (but not exclusively):
It may be necessary that in order to meet stipulations given to us, children attend only on given days and not Monday to Friday.
As I have always promised, when any information is known (based on fact and not speculation) I will let you know.
Year 6 staff have already spent considerable time uploading and sharing information about your child to the secondary schools between working on school site and when in lockdown. This includes their academic skills (forecasted SAT results), individual needs, known areas for development etc. This has been done by a central portal established to get information to the schools quickly and effectively.
This has not been a quick task and I wholeheartedly thank my teachers who have worked diligently and with pace to submit the information and make what has been a new system managable.
You will be receiving information from the secondary schools in the not too distant future I am sure. They, and not the primary schools, will arrange this. They, like us all, are awaiting guidance on what access children can have to schools and this will be key to their planning for September and the transition of Year 6 children.
Teachers are currently preparing a report for you all. It will be based on a similar format to those normally issued, but clearly there will be information about some aspects of learning that will be less data driven and more teacher assessment. This is not necessarily a bad thing as I have always been proud of how well staff individually know their children.
As some learning time has been lost, staff will have to focus only on what they have taught the children and how they have progressed within that time scale. These will not be standard end of year expectations. The focus will be on the core learning of mathematics and English (reading and writing). For Years 2 and 6 assessment will be based on where they were a the point of lockdown.
I have yet to set a date for these being released, but they will arrive to you before the end of the summer term.
As many of you know, school remains open in line with guidance from the government for vulnerable children and those of key workers. The message has been and remains that whilst children in these categories have a safe alternative to coming to school, they must do so.
I opted to keep the school open during the Easter break as well for these families which was well received.
Staff are attending school on a rota basis to support the children who attend, and like many other key workers working from home when not on site. Staff have not been furloughed and continue to work Monday to Friday on a set of given tasks, including assessment, planning, publishing home learning, communicating with families, training and information sharing with external agencies. I have been very impressed with their commitment to using this time effectively and as always, they work long hours to ensure that the children are well supported on and off site.
Mrs Forte, Miss McKnight and I have been liaising with all those linked to safeguarding, including Social Services, Health Care and other support agencies to ensure that all those in need of specific help get everything they can. Some doorstep visits have been undertaken and on a weekly basis agency meetings are undertaken remotely to ensure that children are safe at home and information sis shared at appropriate levels.
If you have any urgent questions, the school office remains open between 0800 and 1600 Monday to Friday and we will be available to speak to you. We ask though that you limit your calls to those that are of an urgent nature. Where we do not have an answer, we will try to direct you to the right people.
In the meantime, stay home and stay safe where you can. We will update you as we hear more.