Letter to Parents & Carers : 15 May 2020
Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”
Dear parents and carers:
Like me, I am sure that you have taken careful note of the change in government guidance regarding some pupils attending school from 1st June at the very earliest.
We are being told that there could be some face-to-face teaching for children in the Nursery, Reception, Years 1 and 6 from this time onwards.
Clearly, this does not mean that these pupils will be in school following a normal timetable.
Once we receive more information, we will arrange an appropriate schedule for pupils in these year groups to work in small groups of less than 15, in some of the larger teaching spaces in the school.
Pupils will be encouraged to distance themselves from each other and school staff as much as possible and there will be a strict adherence to what the government calls the ‘hierarchy of controls’:
- Minimising contact with unwell individuals (please keep your child at home if they or any other member of the household is ill with COVID-19 like symptoms)
- The encouragement of regular hand cleaning
- Good respiratory hygiene (‘catch it, bin it, kill it’)
- The regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces
- Minimise contact and mixing of pupils
It is important to note that social distancing will be a major challenge in the Early Years and in Year 1. Throughout the seven-week lockdown period, staff who have been running continuous childcare (for vulnerable pupils and pupils whose parents are key workers) have noticed in all of the host schools that although the children were practising good hygiene and regular hand washing, they were naturally drawn to each other and did not observe social distancing.
We have been preparing for some time to implement the ‘hierarchy of controls’ and have finally been able to purchase bulk amounts of hand sanitiser. You will be pleased to learn that we already have a fixed hand washing station on our ground floor. We will do as much as possible to minimise the risk of transmission once pupils return to school, both in class and at breaks and lunches. This will include regular hand-washing breaks.
We are now in the process of creating a new timetable for Nursery, Reception, Years 1 and 6. When this is complete, we will provide further details on how the school site will operate and when pupils will be able to meet with their teachers and be assisted in their learning.
Next week, we will be calling all parents of pupils who are in Nursery, Reception, Years 1 and 6 to assess their needs and writing to them at the end of that week with the date for their child’s return to school.
Since the lockdown began, we have provided resources for every child to use at home, together with online learning activities and communication through the Google Classroom learning platform. Whilst we remain committed to continuing this provision, please note that from 1st June there will be a reduction in the number of activities and resources uploaded.
This is because all our staff will have to juggle the provision of online learning on top of maintaining face-to-face support in school throughout the week for Nursery, Reception, Years 1 and 6, as well as the other pupils deemed as being eligible for continuous childcare by the government.
I am mindful that parents of pupils in Years 2, 3, 4 and 5 may have uncertainties and concerns about the next steps for their child. To address this, we will contact the parents of pupils in Years 2, 3, 4 and 5 during the week beginning 15th June to assess their needs and we will write to them by 18th June with the date for their child’s return to school.
I would also like to take this opportunity to inform you that the school will be closed to all pupils for a Staff INSET day on Monday 1st June to ensure that we have the appropriate health and safety procedures in place. The other primary schools in the south cluster including St Matthew’s, St Barnabas, St Clement Danes, Westminster Cathedral, Soho Parish and St Peter’s Eaton Square will also be closed for their Staff INSET day.
All these plans outlined here are subject to further government guidance and may change if there is an increase in the numbers of new cases. I will of course be in touch if this happens. As always, your support, patience, encouragement and gratitude over these last few weeks has been overwhelming and I am appreciative of all your efforts as we face these challenges together.