18th May 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
As you are aware, schools are being asked to prepare for a possible staged re-opening from the 1st June. It is important to note that this has still yet to be confirmed. This may have left many of you feeling unsettled. In this letter, we will explain how we will be planning for the next steps.
Schools have been asked to continue to prioritise provision for key worker children and vulnerable pupils, then children in Reception and Year 1, and then pupils in Year 6. Government guidance suggests classes of 15 students. However, in all of our classrooms this will not be possible if we are to maintain safe distancing, so we will be looking at maximum class groups of around 8-10 students.
This means that at this time we do not have the sufficient space and rooms available for all these groups of children to be in school at the same time. Guidance has made it clear schools should prioritise provision in the order outlined above.
Therefore, at this time we are planning for a possible opening for Reception children only on June 1st.
We will be reviewing our provision every two weeks and communicating any changes with parents and carers regularly.
Our first duty is to plan and consider carefully how we can ensure the health and safety of all the pupils and staff who come in to our school. The school team, senior leaders and governors are all working hard to make sure that we are appropriately prepared and that we have in place the protective measures outlined in the government guidance to keep everyone as safe as possible. Risk Assessments are being prepared to help us consider the safety of all staff and children at Kilmersdon. These will remain constantly under review as the situation in school evolves.
As well as planning for the logistics of social distancing and safety, we are also planning the curriculum changes that will be required to ease children back into school. The activities on offer will focus on wellbeing as well as academic learning.
School days will be significantly different from what is normally on offer, both in terms of the learning on offer and how the day is organised.
Groups and equipment
Cleaning and hygiene
School will be closing after the morning session on Friday of each week to ensure there is time for a deep clean and to allow for further planning and re-arrangement of working practices for the coming week.
Children of Critical Workers and those considered vulnerable will still be permitted to attend Friday afternoons.
It is important for us to be absolutely clear with parents and carers that we do not believe it will be possible to maintain social distancing of 2 metres at all times with 4 and 5 year old children in particular. We will endeavour to put systems in place to achieve this, but recognise that it is a significant challenge. Indeed, in their documentation the Government has recognised that young children are unlikely to be able to keep to social distancing rules.
We realise that for many families this will mean having to make a decision whether or not they are going to send part of their family to school whilst still having children at home. It is clear from available guidance that any family who choose to keep their child at home during the remainder of the summer term will not be penalised for non-attendance. In light of this, we would like to reassure you that the school will not be taking any action regarding attendance if children in these year groups do not return in the summer term due to parental choice.
One of the pieces of information we require at this stage to help with planning is an indication of how many children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 we are likely to have in as and when we are able to accommodate greater numbers of pupils. To help us collect this information we would ask you to let us know whether or not you intend to send your child back to school when the school re-opens by return of email. To help us plan effectively, it would be really appreciated if all parents with children in these year groups can send in a reply by no later Wednesday 20th May at 12.00pm to Sch.email@example.com
Key Worker Provision
School will not be open over half-term for any children in order to prepare for the beginning of phased return on June 1st.
School provision for vulnerable children and those of the families of key workers remains unchanged from June 1st. Please refer to previous letters for details.
The letter sent out last week from Julian Wooster, Director of Children’s Services, gave links to the guidance documents specifically for schools and parents that are widely available on the internet. The link to the parent document is included again here:
We know that this letter will not have answered every question that you may have, but we hope it has clarified what is happening, as well as how and why we are making decisions about next steps. More information will come out in the coming days. As we finalise our plans and confirm them with school governors, we will continue to share these with our parents and carers at Kilmersdon.
We really appreciate everything that you can do to support us in bringing the children back to school. If you have any questions please contact us. For now, please continue to take care of yourselves, your families and those around you.