Dear Parents & Carers,
Many of you will have tuned in to the Ministerial Announcement last evening, hoping to gain some understanding of how the Government intends to bring schools back into operation. I want to make clear that School Leaders up and down the country are hearing messages shared about school reopening at the same time as the general public. Currently I have no other information from the Government or the Local Authority to further advise you about the next steps.
What was clear from the briefing from Boris Johnson is that any move to partially re-open schools is dependent on growing evidence that this is a safe move to make. In the short term I am not anticipating any change to Key Worker eligibility criteria and until I receive any further information about the planned re-opening of schools, arrangements in our school will remain unchanged.
If you heard the Prime Minister’s message you will have noted the emphasis on the priority for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils to return to school first. In principle, I am supportive of a move to provide support for our youngest school-age learners, who are likely to gain most from spending some time in school during the summer term. Year 6 is typically the year group transitioning to Secondary schools, so I will be seeking clarification about whether the focus in our locality might be altered due to the different age of transitions in our three-tier system. I believe that children transitioning to new schools, regardless of their curriculum year, would also benefit significantly by having some time in school before the end of this academic year.
Ultimately we are reliant on the advice and instruction from the authorities. Please be aware that there are likely to be additional requirements and expectations impacting any groups of children returning to school during the summer term. This might include reducing the number of children in any classroom environment and applying, as far as practically possible, social distancing measures. I am sure during the weeks ahead I will be receiving further information, guidance and advice from the Department of Education and the Local Authority and I would reassure you that I will share any relevant information with you that might help you best plan for the months ahead.
Please be aware that I am working with Headteachers locally to ensure that our approach in the town is consistent and fair. I thank you all in advance for you continued patience and understanding as we begin plans to return to some normality.
Mr Kristian Hewitt
My child is eligible for income-based Free School Meals, what help can I get?
The government is keen to support families who are placed in a difficult situation by school closure and the school is working on a solution that can support you. We have now signed up to the national voucher scheme and if you are eligible for this financial support you would have been contacted already by the school to arrange access to vouchers.
I have paid for a club for my child, what will happen now?
Any clubs cancelled due to closure will be refunded to you. The process of returning funds to may be delayed due to the current circumstances but we are committed to getting this done as soon as possible.
I have booked a Preshcool or Fun Club session - will I still be invoiced for payment?
We will not be charging for preschool or Fun Club care sessions that are cancelled due to school closure OR were missed due to you following the Governments 'stay at home' guidance (if you missed sessions before school closed). If you chose to keep your child away from a pre-booked session as a precautionary measure, some fees may still be payable.
If you qualify for critical childcare during the closure period before and after school sessions will still be charged. Please note though that we will only charge for sessions you use to support you keeping your child away wherever practical.
What about the Year 4 Residential Trip planned for May 2020?
We are currently in communication with Kingswood regarding the plans for the trip. In the event that the trip is cancelled we will ensure any payments you have made are returned to you. In the meantime, please make trip payments the school as scheduled.
When will the school open again?
We do not know! We will be receiving updates from the government and will share any news when we have it.
How will the school keep in touch during school closure?
We will continue to use our texting service and the school website to keep in touch and share information with you. Depending on the length of closure we may also review our 'contact strategy' to consider other ways we might stay in touch with you. If you need to communicate with us during school closure period, you are welcome to use the following contact details:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org - we will aim to monitor this account regularly, but please be mindful that responses within 48 hours may be difficult.
Email: email@example.com - you can also contact our core pastoral team at this address if you need specific advice or help with the impact of staying at home on family life. We will do what we can to help find the support you might need.
Telephone: It is uncertain whether we will be able to take or monitor phone calls/messages at this stage. If in any doubt please ensure you email us as a back up.
Unfortunately not the ones with chocolate chips.
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