Letter from Executive Principal
I am writing in my capacity as the Brooke Weston Trust’s Executive Principal for primary schools to set out the next steps we will be taking as we prepare to gradually admit more pupils from the start of June.
The government has said it will only make a final decision regarding whether primary schools should begin re-opening to early years, reception, year one and year six on May 28th. For now, we are working on the basis this will occur and we are working hard creating plans which your own school’s leaders will share with you as soon as we can. Each primary school is being helped in their planning by input from teaching and support staff, Brooke Weston Trust specialist colleagues and, importantly, an independent health and safety professional who has visited each site and will be returning regularly to see how each school is operating during June.
This week all primary schools are undertaking a detailed evaluation of the levels of risk across their sites and how best to address these. Each school will have a clear picture of what needs doing to ensure that all children, parents and staff are entering an environment that is as safe possible.
Our top priority remains the safety of pupils, their families and school staff.
However, no environment is, or can be, entirely without risk. If you are anxious about sending your child back to school, please be reassured you are welcome to keep them at home and the government guidance clearly states parents will not be fined if they do not send their children to school. Please also be reassured that if we feel we are facing an unacceptable level of risk in some aspects of our operation in school, we will support school leaders in taking a different course of action until a solution can be found.
It is important you understand that your child’s experience at school will not be the same as it was before the lockdown when they return. It is likely, for example, that some of the things on the list below will be the case:
- Some staff will be absent, perhaps because they are unwell or have family members at home who are being shielded.
- The school day may be shorter than usual, or children may be asked to only attend part time.
- Your child may not be taught by their usual teacher.
- Your child may not be taught in their usual classroom environment
- The curriculum taught in the school is likely to be limited compared to normal.
- Some areas of the school site might not be accessible, and routines will be different, to promote ‘social distancing’ and to ensure the highest levels of personal hygiene.
- The ways in which we support pupils with SEND (Special Educational Needs or Disabilities) may change.
- With schools opening more widely, larger numbers of staff will be needed to provide face-to-face teaching at school. This means that it may be more difficult to maintain the same level of home learning provision.
We are fully aware of how much children are missing their friends and school. We want to get them back to some schooling as soon as we can in order to ensure we maximise their learning and can support their wellbeing. All our schools are trying hard to support their children at home but there is clearly no system of home learning that can compensate for being in school with their teacher and their classmates. We want as many of our children in school as soon as it is safe for them to be there.
We will keep you updated with all our preparations for making sure the school is as safe as possible, so you can make an informed decision that is in the best interests of your child and family circumstances.
Finally I would like to emphasise that I am in contact with all our Principals on a daily basis as well as following all our schools on social media and I am hugely impressed with the effort and dedication of our wonderful staff during this challenging time. I am sure you will support me in thanking them for their magnificent efforts in continuing to support our children’s education and welfare since this crisis started.
Best wishes and stay safe
Brooke Weston Trust