I hope this letter finds you all and your loved ones well.
The last few weeks we have been planning our response to the proposed re-opening of school. I would like to thank you all for responding to our questionnaires. That has been a great help to our thinking. A number of guidance documents have been released to us over the past ten days. Our planning has been amended with each document we have received. At all times, we have based our judgements upon providing the safest possible experience for the children, families and staff members of our community based upon all the guidance we have received. We have had to make decisions outlined in this letter using all this guidance and I know and understand some of the decisions we have had to make may disappoint you and some of the children.
In short, following the carrying out of a thorough risk assessment with Leeds City Council support, and based upon your responses to our questionnaires, we will only be able to re-open for children in Reception classes and for those children of critical (or key) workers who cannot work from home and children of other parents who had previously been directly contacted by school.
Please note, we are basing this re-opening on the numbers who responded to our survey. Any significant changes in actual requets by critical worker families may alter this offer for children in Reception.
I know many of you who are parents of children in Year 1 and 6 will be disappointed by this news. It isn’t a decision that we have taken lightly and we certainly did not set out with this plan, but we have come to the conclusion that this is our only possible course of action after June 1st.
I’d like to explain how this decision has been reached:
The Government’s guidance is that classes cannot be larger than 15 children going forward. However, that is a maximum number of children we can have in a class, and due to social distancing and as part of our risk assessment work with Leeds City Council support, we have had to calculate the area of each of our classrooms. Only one classroom in school is large enough to hold 15 children after June 1st. All the other classrooms can only safely accommodate 9 or 10 children plus staff.
The Government has given a priority order to the groups that schools should re-open for after June 1st:
- The children of critical (key) workers and those children deemed vulnerable
- Other children in Reception Class
- Other children in Year 1
- Other children in Year 6
We then looked at the results of the surveys we issued last week. School has remained open for the families of key workers and certain other children throughout the “Closure period.” We believe a minimum of 65 children will need to be allocated places in school for this group, based upon the response to our survey. 65 children will require 7 classrooms after June 1st.
Response from our Reception Class parents suggests 46 children would potentially take a place back in school. This means a further 5 classrooms would be used by children in Reception after the 1st June.
School has 14 classrooms in total and two halls. From the above, these two groups would require the use of 12 classrooms and if a few more children return from the Critical Worker group, we may need 13.
In the guidance received it states staff should only work with one group of children throughout.
With a great deal of equipment being required to be removed from classrooms (as per guidance) at least one the halls will become a storage space for tables, chairs, water fountains, cupboards, equipment not deemed suitable to remain in class, etc. We also need at least two rooms to be available to use as Isolation spaces should anyone in school start to display the symptoms of Covid-19.
The Government guidance states any rota should be avoided. We also have a finite number of teachers, who can all only work with one group of children, and not all our staff will be able to return after June 1st as some are shielding, some living with shielded family members and some are deemed vulnerable.
I hope the above has explained our decision. To some extent, we haven’t made a decision at all, we have simply followed the outcome of the risk assessment and government guidance. I can honestly say, everyone in school is very disappointed about this outcome and I write to you with a bit of a heavy heart but after hours of planning, reading, measuring, discussion, thinking and taking advice we know this is the only offer we can make at the current time. We simply don’t have the space to make any other provision within the current guidance.
The next stage of our planning is to group the children of key workers and certain other children previously invited into school during closure. Can I please now ask you to help us futher if you are a parent of a child or children in Years 1 to 6 and you believe you qualify as a Critical (or Key) worker, or if you have a child in Reception, you feel you are a key worker and they have siblings attending from other year groups, and you wish your child(ren) to come to school, that you email to the following address:
- your names and your employer’s details
- the names of the children you expect to be in school between June 1st and June 30th
- the year groups the children are in
- the days of the week the children are likely to be attending school (if known).
Could you please send your information to us by 5pm on Friday, May 22nd.
We can then group the children as best we can, for example, ensure siblings are grouped together. If we don’t know your child is coming in, we can’t place them into a group. We need to plan so we can allocate staff and rooms carefully. We won’t be able to accept children that we haven’t been informed would be attending via the above method.
Following this step, we will be writing to parents in Reception Class with further details. School will only be open for the children of Critical (or key) workers on Monday, June 1st and Tuesday, June 2nd. We may re-open to Reception Class on the Wednesday, but we will confirm this as soon as we can. Although school is likely to be open every day after re-opening for children in Reception, we can understand that you may not want to send your children in for the full week, especially at first. We will write to you again will further details.
We will be reviewing our risk assessment and planning as guidance from the Government is updated and things may change over the coming weeks. All I can say is that we will keep you all informed as to any amendments we are able to make to the provision outlined above. Everyone is really looking forward to a time when we are all back in school together.
Children in year groups 1 to 6 will still receive daily work via seesaw, but with all the teachers who are able working with groups in school every day, there may be some adjustment to our current provision.
Parents of children in Year 6, please look out for further communications as we are aiming to find some way of seeing all the children, safely via the internet if needs be, to wish them all well as they move on from us.
Once again, we are sorry that we will not be able to accommodate all the children from Years 1 & 6, but I trust you understand it is not the outcome we originally hoped for, but the only one we can offer at the current time.
Please take care, stay safe and look after those close to you.
R Curran (Head teacher) S Littlejohns (Chair of Governors)
Below is the Leeds Letter for Parents. Please click on the link to read.