Information Update: Prime Minister’s Announcement – 11.5.20
I’m sure that you will by now have seen the key headline messages from the Prime Minister’s broadcast last night.
It is clear that the government are keen for schools to reopen on a phased basis – possibly as early as June 1st, with some year groups returning to school earlier than others. The Prime Minister cited Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 in his message. We heard this information at the same time as you, so currently have no further details – although we expect guidance to be issued over the coming days and weeks. The Department for Education (DfE) have said up until now that they will work with the sector to ensure the safe and appropriate re-opening of schools and we trust that this will continue to be the case.
I would like to reassure you that we will be working tirelessly to consider all those things that we need to plan practically for a safe re-opening, as well as how we support children as individuals in terms of their personal well-being and learning. As educators, we are in uncharted territory.
We do have concerns about how the reintegration of significant numbers of pupils in primary schools can be safely managed, particularly considering that Reception and Year 1 comprise of very young children with whom social distancing is extremely difficult. We are also worried that personal protective equipment in schools has so far been dismissed, leaving an over-reliance on social distancing in environments where this is inherently problematic, especially in a school like ours.
However, we welcome the Prime Minister’s assurance that this timescale is not set in stone, that it is dependent on a number of key factors he outlined and will be postponed if necessary.
We recognise that you and your children, like us, will have many questions or concerns about the ‘new normal’ when schools return at a future date. Whilst we cannot provide answers at the current time, as some of these will be dependent on the guidance or directives we await from the DfE, we will as always endeavour to keep you informed.