18. 5. 20
I wrote earlier in the week in response to Governmental proposals to ask schools to “strongly encourage” families with children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to begin to return to school after the half term break.
I informed you that we would work tirelessly to respond to what we were told to make available and that we would work as hard as we could as a school to mitigate risks considering your children’s and all the staffs safety and emotional wellbeing. I informed you that whilst I cannot make decisions for you as to whether you return your children when you are told, or continue to work with them at home as we are now and that I would provide you with as much information as possible to help you make this difficult decision. Remember at this stage school attendance from June is your choice.
Governors last week, informed me that they will fully support the school and its parents in their decision making process, to make informed decisions that the reopening of school for specific trail years could have in relation to your child’s safety and wellbeing. I now communicate potential changes you and your children may see if you choose to send your children back on or around 8th June.
I apologise in advance as the school I describe to you below that I am preparing to open in line with Governmental instruction is nothing like the Westmorland you and your children have grown to love.
How will the times and routines of the school be different?
How will the classrooms be different?
What will the school timetable be like?
How will the school keep the children and staff safe from COVID19?
The school will act on advice provided by Government
What about specific groups?
For our oldest children, those in year 6 I understand that the transition to secondary school is very important, in a sense they have already drawn a line under their primary school career and need to know what happens next. I understand that secondary schools are making arrangements for your children to “come and visit” in July. They will be sending details in the near future; you really should try to allow them to attend, they will be happy to talk to you about how they will keep your children safe on that day.
Sadly, this year we have already cancelled the year 6 residential and such are COVID19 restrictions we will not be able to undertake the following much loved events, the leavers “Graduation” assembly, leaver’s party and leaver’s play. I can only apologise but there is no way around this due to the nature of these events.
For our youngest children, those in Nursery or Reception, social distancing simply can’t apply. These children will be allocated to a key worker, not necessarily a teacher or assistant from their phase. This group may also be based in the main building, in groups of about 6, resources will be limited and activities far more formal, whilst they will be able to play out doors will have limited equipment.
What if I have a family member or child with a significant health issue that is shielding in my household?
What if you choose to keep your child at home?
If you decide to access space at school and your child’s year group is open then you must send each of your other children in when their year groups become available. You cannot pick and choose which of your children you send in.
How will school support my child’s wellbeing?
Your child’s wellbeing is as always a significant priority for us. I’m sure you will have opinions from reading the above about the impact of attending school when it reopens might have on your children. Whatever you decide, your child’s wellbeing and safety is of great importance to us all. James, Roxanne and the team will support you in any way we can, they are highly skilled and are able to access many other services to support you and you families whether this be at home or in school.
The situation is changing rapidly, I understand that schools in Stockport have now been informed that the 8th and 9th June will be staff training days to upskill staff on new ways of working, so on these days there will be no provision available. You may also be aware that there is some discussion nationally about which year groups could be offered to be in the trial groups.
I know these levels of uncertainty do not help you but as of Sunday this is the best information I have. I will be asking my teams to contact you all over the next week in order to establish your views and answer any questions to the best of our ability. Many of you have already indicated your decisions to be about your children coming back at the start of June.
It would greatly assist me after reading this letter if you could e-mail me with your initial thoughts for your child. Please consider your child’s safety and welfare in line with the information above, if possible email me with your initial thoughts a simple YES (I think it’s safe for my child to return) or NO (its too soon) would be great along with your child’s name. firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Martin and all Team Westmorland