Phased re-opening of schools

Dear Parents and Carers,

During the week we have had daily guidance released as to what the phased re-opening of schools may look like for Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Y6 from the week commencing 1st June, some of which I’m sure you may have heard or read.

Up until 1st June we are continuing to provide care for those parents who are key workers or those who are classed as vulnerable. The overall message now, is that it is still safer to stay at home.

Below is a link for info for you as parents which you may find useful to provide further guidance.

The current guidance is that if it is safe to do so we will re-open for those year groups listed above as well as to key worker and vulnerable pupils. There is a huge amount of guidance around health and safety in that we would have no more than 15 children in a group and those children should not mix with other children in the school. The guidance recommends that they stay in the same group with the same adults. Pupils will be sat apart working at desks that are 2m apart where possible.

To prepare for this if it goes ahead, we have spent lots of time discussing as a leadership team and as Trust schools how this can be implemented as safely as possible. These plans will not be finalised or shared publicly until we are sure we have the right plan for us here at TCS Mill Lane, which adheres to the government guidance.

With pupils working in groups of 15 pupils, not all children will be in groups with their usual teacher. Some groups may be looked after by a Teaching Assistant (who are all suitably qualified). It is also very likely that children will not be in their usual classroom or with preferred friendship groups, or following their usual timetable and structure. Pupils will continue their online learning on Seesaw as in addition to working with pupils in school, we will continue to support the online learning of pupils in Y2, 3, 4 and 5 as we are very keen to ensure no child is disadvantaged through not being in school.

Your child’s class teacher will be phoning home in the next week as usual and asking if you plan to return your child to school, so that we have an indication of numbers to plan for.

Bearing in mind all of the points above, I want you to know that we miss all of the children and want them to return when it is safe to do so. We remain committed to helping our school community feel safe and secure as we move forwards with this next stage. If you as parents decide that the situation in school is too concerning, we would support you in the decision to keep your child/children out of school. We will not fine for non-attendance.

The speculation in the press and on social media is about how schools can open safely and we are doing a huge amount of risk assessing at the moment to implement the guidance if we are to open. As always, we take the view that we need to consider all of our actions and communications to parents carefully before making decisions. These decisions will always first and foremost take into account the welfare and well-being of pupils, staff and parents. Once the guidelines and our plans have been finalised, I will let you know what this will look like through the website and app.

Until then please do not worry. We will continue to keep in contact with you and continue to support each other in these very difficult and uncertain times. I would like to once again thank you for your continued support. We’ve had lots of positive comments about the home learning which staff and pupils have worked really hard on, but it has been so successful for the children thanks to you and the time and commitment you have given to it. I truly believe the most effective schools are where the school and parents work together in guiding children on their learning adventure, and this has been evident over the last couple of months – we couldn’t have done the learning without you! I’m sure you appreciate the difficult decisions schools are having to make with little time to do so. This is new ground for all of us.

As always, if you need to talk, please do not hesitate to phone or e-mail me and I will be in touch with more information next week.

Yours sincerely

Mrs Annabelle Thomas
Head of School.