17th May 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
At Hetts Lane we have been working hard over the last week to consider how we can possibly plan to increase our current provision in school both safely and confidently. Whilst taking into account all the latest Government guidelines we are just as importantly thinking carefully about the safety, mental and physical health and wellbeing of children and staff.
I would like to reassure you that every member of our staff team really cares about your children and we would like nothing more than to welcome them back to school– despite what is being said and implied by some. But we will only do this when we have taken time to ensure we have plans and resources in place to do it safely.
We are receiving guidelines from the Government on a daily basis and are working very closely with the Local Authority. At present staff and governors are working incredibly hard undertaking detailed risk assessments and only after these have been completed will we be able to share any potential plans for any further reopening.
All staff, including myself understandably share your anxieties and concerns and I would like to reassure you that we will not do any more than our space and staffing will allow us to safely do.
Therefore, what I can share with you at this stage is: with Government guidelines placing limits on group sizes and considering the space we have available in school, as well as continuing to provide for the key worker and vulnerable children group we are currently supporting, if and when we are in a position to reopen further, initially this will be for a small number of additional pupils, probably starting with FS2 (classes 2 and 3). This is conditional on all the 5 government measures being met, the school risk assessments showing it is possible and the school being fully prepared.
In line with Government guidelines: it is highly likely children will be in groups of up to 10, working with a member of staff, not necessarily their class teacher. As per guidelines we will be staggering start and end times to the school day, so that only one group will be arriving or leaving at one time. This will obviously mean there will be a change to our normal school times.
Once we are in a position to do so we will give you as much information as possible about our protocols and what any provision will look like so you can make an informed choice on whether to send your FS2 child back to school or not. Home school learning will continue to take place for those children not in school including F2 children of parents who chose not to send their children back to school.
At every stage any plans will be subject to change as further guidance and updates are given and as we all closely monitor the impact of what is happening locally and nationally. As you are aware we only have 6 classrooms that we can accommodate groups of children in, so no other year group will be able to be invited back full time whilst the Government’s maximum of 15 children to a room restrictions are in place.
Whatever any reopening looks like and whichever year group(s) it involves, it will still be up to parents to decide whether they want their children to attend. The Government have stated that parents will not be fined for non-attendance, in other words you are not being forced to send your child back and we will fully respect and support your decision.
To help us start planning what a phased return at Hetts Lane could look like. I kindly request that parents of initially FS2 children (classes 2 and 3)contact school ideally by emailing the school office (email@example.com) or calling the school office if you do not have email, to let us know whether at this stage you think your child would be attending school. We do not require a reason for your decision and this will not be regarded as a firm commitment from yourselves. You will of course be able to change your mind as circumstances develop and change. It is simply to give us an idea of the numbers to help in our planning.
In addition, if you are key worker parents who have not been sending your child to school over the Lockdown period, but are thinking that you need this facility from the 1st June 2020, please can you email me on firstname.lastname@example.org stating your child’s name, class, your job/jobs role and the days of the week you would require. This is really important so we can plan what key worker provision is needed moving forward. Please note the definition of key worker has not changed and does not include all those who may be returning to work.
It may be that if we judge that the guidance cannot be applied safely in our school or our risk assessments show we need more time to prepare then we will not be in a position to open further from the 1st June and we will notify you as soon as we can.
I am sure you will appreciate this is a complex matter that we need to ensure we get right and although I cannot give you more information at this stage, I wanted to share with you that we will not be able to initially accommodate more than one year group. I will keep you informed of our plans and developments and would like to thank you for your continuing support.
Finally I would like to thank every one of the caring and dedicated staff at our school for working incredibly hard every day during the Lockdown, whether they have been in school or working remotely.
We all miss our fabulous Hetts Lane children and their families and would love to be back with them in school BUT only when we can make sure it is safe for us all to do
Keep Safe & warmest wishes
Mrs Lucy Stancliffe