Many of you may have heard the government announcement this lunchtime that the decision to expand provision for more year groups/children is now to be managed by individual schools and trusts. The government are not directing schools to do this as had been communicated previously. This is because it seems clear nationally that it would be unsafe, unmanageable and completely impractical to expect all schools to do this at this stage of the pandemic. There is not enough physical space or sufficient staff to follow and maintain safety guidelines.
I hope our previous communication has helped you to expect that many of our children will be unable to return to school this year. We hope this has helped you top prepare children too. We realise this is bad news and disappointing for many. We are, of course, really concerned about the impact this has on children, their learning and their families. Ultimately we would have loved to have been able to open more widely, but as I have said all along, safety must not be compromised. This communication is short as we have only received the information after the Secretary of States formal announcement in the House of Commons this lunchtime. We have promised to try to keep you as update to date as possible in very tight timescales and want to ensure you are informed that:
- There will NOT be a wider opening to specific year groups BUT
- We are working to consider how we can work with targeted groups/individuals
- Exploring the idea of ‘reading/well-being/maths’ clinic/mentor sessions IF we can find organisations to temporarily donate marquee/tents
- Ensuring there are transition plans to provide good endings for children transferring to different schools (Y2/Y6)
- Bignold is still trying to increase toilet and handwashing capacity for Y6
If there any families who have contact in the locality who may be able to help by donating currently unused marquees/large tents, we are exploring the idea of being able to offer some form of provision to wider groups/individuals. We are exploring this because there is some evidence to show that transmission rates are reduced outside. Please contact the school office if you know of anyone that may be able to help but ensure you have made contact with any potential donor first. We do not want to be making ‘cold calls’ to organisations who themselves may managing difficult circumstances.
We will be in touch when we have further information about any wider provision.
Please be assured that we are working hard to try and find safe and meaningful ways to keep our communities connected and to find safe ways of expanding provision. I am really sorry not be able bring clearer plans and certainty. We are very keen to be able to support families who are struggling to cope as the impact of the restrictions continue. Please do get in touch if you would like a welfare call. Again I would ask families not to call the school office about details of re-opening as this prevents them from carrying out work that is linked to safe management of schools.
You have been so understanding and respectful of our requests and the staff teams are very grateful of your support, patience and kindness throughout this period.