Dear parent / carer
As you know, our timetabled teaching week has been organised differently since September 2020. While the change was necessitated by COVID restrictions, it has had a myriad of benefits for our school and children as communicated to families back in July.
This organisational change involved changes to the start of the school day, changes to lunchtimes and the school week ending at lunchtime on a Friday. School still meets the requirements for the length of the teaching week while finishing at lunchtime on a Friday and has in fact increased total teaching time. Schools are not required to provide childcare outside of their timetabled teaching week. A local primary school similarly altered their timetabled teaching week this year and did not provide this option.
We initially provided on site child care for free on a Friday afternoon. This was to support families during a change to the traditional timetabled teaching week at a time when COVID restrictions were very challenging. However, families are now in a different position than they were in September:
- Childcare bubbles are now allowed.
- Outdoor clubs for children are able to resume.
- Government restrictions on household mixing are set to reduce.
- The COVID vaccination programme is making steady progress with older and more vulnerable adults already vaccinated.
- Families have had time to adjust to the altered timetabled teaching week.
- Many more adults working patterns have changed and many more adults are now working at least some of their week at home.
Remote learning was given on a Friday afternoon to keep families familiar with remote learning systems in case of a second lockdown. This is no longer needed as we have hopefully seen our last lockdown.
For the summer term (Monday 12th April to Friday 16th July), school will retain its current timetabled teaching week, with school closing at lunchtime on a Friday (staggered finish times remain unchanged). Remote learning will not be set for a Friday afternoon. This will allow families even greater flexibility to enjoy time together, to make up for some of the things they have missed out on during lockdown as restrictions begin to ease. This will mean that our children will be able to enjoy the freedom and experiences that they have had to miss out on for so long.
Free onsite childcare will cease, as the COVID restrictions of the last 12 months making childcare difficult are coming to an end. However, the requirement for schools to still operate in bubbles continues. We will continue to support our families by providing an additional OOSC session, which will be introduced on a Friday afternoon for anyone who needs it. This will run from lunchtime, which is the end of our school week, until 3.15pm. The fee will be £6.50 for the afternoon session. The fee is highly competitive with other childcare providers. If you would like to book OOSC, you can do so in the usual way via the School Gateway app. Just go to ‘Clubs’ and select ‘OOSC Friday Afternoon Club’. If you would like credit to be transferred from any of the other OOSC sessions you use, please email email@example.com. The deadline for booking is three days prior to the session.
We appreciate that our school is taking a different approach to the timetabled teaching week and this has required some adjustment for families. However, we have never been afraid to be innovative and create bespoke solutions that best suit the needs of our children. Just because something has been done traditionally, does not make it the best way. We see this as a key strength of our school. The flexibility for our children and families to be able to spend Friday afternoons as they wish throughout the summer months, after such a difficult and challenging 12 months for all of us, can only be beneficial for our children and their well-being. We hope you agree and understand the reasons behind our decision.
Miss Byrne and the Governors of the Staffing and Finance committee