Dear Year 6 Parent / Guardians,
I wrote to you yesterday regards the government’s announcement on Sunday10 May 2020 for schools to plan a phased return for Year 6 pupils. Having spent many, many hours considering this request, and planning in micro detail with Mrs Johnson, I returned home yesterday, and after 7pm further guidance was published by the Department for Education to support this phased return.
In yesterday’s letter, I did not express my personal thoughts in relation to what I am being asked to do. I outlined some practical details that may help you to make a decision regards what is right for your child; to do this I felt that you needed to have some factual information on which to base your decision.
I attended an on-line Full Governors Board meeting on Wednesday 13 May. I consider Ranvilles Junior School very fortunate to have such a committed body of people placing the interests of your child at the heart of what they do. At this meeting I expressed my ultimate priority of safeguarding children and adults alike. I also expressed to our Chair of Governors that I will not dutifully follow without questioning, but rather lead with integrity in relation to my fundamental principles and values, asking questions at every step of the way to ensure that I feel confident to achieve what is being asked of me.
The new guidance refers to us adapting to conditions that are far from typical in a traditional school environment, indeed it will appear very alien to our children. I believe children at this age range require and thrive through positive relationships and interactions and there is a reason why there is a designated class teacher for a whole year. The guidance is available online for you to access; rather than me detail it here I want to let you know the following:
- I can risk assess in the context of existing guidance provided by the DfE but have no knowledge of access to published scientific facts in relation to Covid 19 and transmission amongst young people and adults
- I have an extremrely dedicated team – some are shielding/clinically vulnerable and the rest are prepared to do everything they can for the children in school; I am as committed to their wellbeing as I am to that of our children
- I am being asked to plan for a phased return which, while I believe is imperative, feels reactive in relation to new, daily information and guidance which is being updated regularly in relation to expectations
- I remain determined to be proactive, well-planned and transparent in communication with you
It is inevitable and wholly right that we plan for the children’s return to school. At the moment this preparation feels reactive with more uncertainty than assurance. Whilst I have an outline of a plan and am preparing the site ready, in order to be more considered and confident I will wait for one more week to see if there are any further considerations I need to make in relation to our plans. This is a pandemic; our children, teachers, staff and community deserve the right to feel confident in what is being asked of them. I truly want to see all children back in school but not at the risk of wellbeing.
Please do let me know what you think regards what is best for your child. Email the school at firstname.lastname@example.org to advise me if you plan for your child to attend school from June 1st (following an additional school update), or if you plan for them to remain at home. In turn, I will write to you again before half-term to detail any final provision with the most updated recommendations I can confidently access and interpret.
Angela Williams, Headteacher