Monday 11th May 2020
Plans to Open School to more Pupils
I have no doubt that you will have heard the Government's plans to extend the opening of schools to Reception and Year 1 pupils on June 1st 2020. School leaders heard that information at the same time as the general public and are yet to receive any additional information or detail, this is expected in the next couple of days.
Of course, we have been preparing and planning for a phased extension in some form for some time so we already have certain things in place. As ever, the safety and wellbeing of the children, their families and our staff have been the main driver in all decisions made (within our control). I would like to share our first thoughts with you in the hope of alleviating some of your concerns and fears and answering some of the many questions you will have. Until we receive further information, we know and have plans for:
With the youngest children returning to school first, this is going to present us with some challenges. We have conducted a capacity survey of the school, determining how many children (and adults) each learning space can cater for. We have plans to stagger the drop off and pick up times, as well as staggering our use of shared spaces, such as the playground. To allow for social distancing, it will not be possible for us to have both Reception and Year 1 cohorts in school at the same time, so it is likely a rota will have to be in place. As class sizes will be considerably smaller, it will not be possible for children to be taught by their regular teachers in their regular classrooms.
We know that not all children will be returning to school at the same time, so our home learning offer will remain. For us to keep some form of consistency and in the interests of equal opportunities, the children in school will follow the same topics and lessons as those not in school. The staff in school will use the online material that is available to those at home. There will be opportunities for the children to learn through play and discuss their thoughts, questions and any worries they have with our staff.
Childcare for Key Workers and Vulnerable pupils
We are anticipating that this emergency childcare provision will continue for children in all three year groups. This week, people are able to return to some places of work. If you believe your child may be eligible for this service, but haven't accessed the provision so far, could you please email me firstname.lastname@example.org with some details of your employment and how you intend on using the service. This will provide us with vital information allowing us to cater for the numbers of children arriving each day.
I appreciate that after reading this letter, you may still have many unanswered questions, and in truth, so do we! I am certain though, that when the time comes to extend our opening to the next phase of learners, whoever they may be and whenever that may be, we will be fully prepared to welcome them and their families with a warm heart and a comforting smile. Chalkwell has always been about so much more than learning to read and write; please know, at this time, our primary concern will be providing all our children with an environment that supports their wellbeing; a happy place, where we will do all we can to keep everyone safe from harm.
I will be in touch again, hopefully soon, with more information as to the finer details of our phased opening. In the meantime, please respond to the Ping survey (Reception and Year 1 parents only) as soon as you can.
Continue to look after yourselves and one another.