Government announcement and school response

 

You will no doubt be aware of the Prime Minsister’s speech on Sunday night, asking schools to begin to think about children coming back to school sites.  As a head teacher, I appeciate the need for schools to begin to take children back on site. I support the decision, when it is safe to do so.  It is important that we now plan for this.

 

I finally received some guidance for schools, late on Monday night.  Since then I have worked through the detailed guidance and I hope to be able to share my plans with you this week.  Thank you to the parents in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 who completed initial surveys for me.  Your thoughts and views have been useful.

 

The safety and well-being of our school community is absolutely my priority. It is the driving factor in the decisions I will have to make.  It was the same priority when I made the difficult decision on March 17th, to send our children home for remote learning.  Not a decision any head teacher would ever want to make.

 

I appreciate that these are challenging times for all of us.  As adults and as children.  The safety and the well-being of everyone has to be the priority.

 

It is very clear from the guidance sent to schools, as well the responses to questions that the Prime Minister gave on Monday night, that we will not be providing full time education to children on-site, for some time to come.  For any children.  But throughout, we are providing a range of remote learning and social activties, as well as daily on-site childcare for key workers.

 

I now have the herculean task of providing daily remote learning, on-site childcare and partial opening of the school site……… safely.  So as I’m sure you can imagine, this will be an immense challenge.  With the absolute priority of safety and well-being, it can only be managed for some very small groups of children, on a rota basis.

 

I appreciate that this is not going to provide those of you who need to return to work with ‘childcare’.  But whilst I understand that, our role is not to provide childcare, but to provide a safe and emotionally secure return to the site.  Schools need to take very small and measured baby steps, if children and staff are going to begin to return to school sites safely and happily.

 

We understand the challenges this partial opening is going to bring to familes.  Some siblings in, some not.  Some children in on some days, for part of the day, whilst others are not in at all.  As a great many of us are parents ourselves we get it.  But it is the challenge we face nationally.  We will make a plan until the summer holidays and no doubt, there will be much more to think of by then.

 

Once I share this plan, the choice is then yours.  It will ultimately be a decision for each parent to make, about whether you feel it is safe for your child to return.

 

Thank you for your kind words and for your messages. Thank you too for the kind things sent in to our childcare.  It means a great deal.  To us all.

 

Take care and stay safe.

 

Kate Byrne

 

 

 

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