Dear Parent / Carer,
In the letter I sent to parents of children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, earlier this week, I explained that the key words in regard to wider school reopening, were “plan” and ”proposed”. These words were used advisedly and following further review and consultation, the timetable for our reopening is changing to an even greater phased arrangement. Advice to schools from the local authority recently, has been to take smaller steps in the recovery plan.
Children currently in school, will continue to access this service, when the school re-opens after the half term break, on Thursday 4th June.
A wider range of children from vulnerable families will begin accessing provision in school from Monday 8th June, on invitation, but on a much reduced, part-time basis, maybe as little as two days per week.
The return of the Year 6 cohort will take place no earlier than Monday 15th June.
The return of the Year1/Reception cohorts will take place no earlier than Monday 22nd June.
Schools across the country are having to make decisions that their school leaders, including governors, are confident about. There are huge uncertainties at the moment. As we break up for half term today, we still have no concrete evidence from the scientists or the politicians about many issues, crucial to providing us with that confidence. Two such concerns relate to testing/tracing/tracking and the R value, particularly that of the north west of England. It feels like announcements from the government seem to be driven by the situation in London and the south east, which is currently regarded as being at least two weeks ahead of us here in Lancashire. We may only just be reaching the peak here. Yet, the government is still advocating reopening of schools across England on one date. Whilst in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, their local situations have led to their governments taking a more cautious approach to reopening, mindful of the consequences of there being a second spike in cases and deaths. Locally, schools are different, even neighbouring ones and each school will need to come to a plan which works for them.
In order for there to be greater confidence in the safe wider opening of schools, we believe this course of action is in the best interests of everyone in our school family. I am sorry we won’t be opening more widely sooner, but more time is needed to provide the reassurance to school leaders, teachers, and other practitioners as well as the wider school family of parents and the children themselves. We want all our children back in school but we need the confidence that it is safe to do so. With so many local authorities in this region taking the decision for the wider reopening of schools to be delayed, we are clearly not the only ones coming to this conclusion.
So for now, we will close for the half-term break. From 4th June, staff will resume supporting home learning. (Depending on who is covering teaching within school, on any particular week, this may result in a member of staff, other than your child’s regular teacher, being the person to make contact.)
We ask for your patience and support. These are challenging times for us all and we are doing our best, as I’m sure you are at home. I hope the disappointment of having to deal with a more delayed phasing back of our children, as part of our amended school recovery plan, is something we can all accept with equanimity and calmness. We will return to some kind of normality. Just not yet.
Duke Street Primary School