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Wider reopening of school - 19/05/2020

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Recent government decisions have seen a proposed reopening of Primary Schools to some pupils from June 1st. Special Schools have received slightly different guidance. Please note the information below wich was previously sent in a letter to all parents and carers on 15th May 2020.

Special schools have received guidance that falls broadly in line with Loxley’s current provision – catering for children who have keyworker parents or fall into the ‘vulnerable’ category. I am pleased to say that your support throughout this period has been an huge help in ensuring we can support the most vulnerable pupils effectively; whether that has been at school or remotely. I think it is fair to say your collective actions have genuinely helped us keep priority pupils safeguarded. Thank you so much for this and for your patience.

The current guidance to special schools states:

Special schools, special post-16 institutions and hospital schools should work towards welcoming back as many children and young people as can be safely catered for in their setting. They may want to prioritise attendance based on key transitions and the impact on life chances and development, and to consider creating part-time attendance rotas so that as many children as possible can benefit from attending their setting. Special settings should work with local authorities and families to ensure that decisions about attendance are informed by existing risk assessments for their children and young people, which should be kept up to date.

The full document can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-educational-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020/actions-for-education-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020

We are in the process of constructing a draft plan that should allow us to phase pupils back into school over time, but as the statement above indicates only ‘as many children and young people as can be safely catered for’. Within this plan we will look to prioritise attendance in line with our current principles which will seek to target those considered most vulnerable and those whose parents are keyworkers. As numbers increase it may be necessary to create a rota for attendance, this will most likely mean that all pupils invited to attend will only be afforded a part time timetable. It also means we will not be able to provide for all pupils. Any step in the phased plan is dependent on the levels of staffing available to work on-site and the success in implementing the previous phase(s); as such it is difficult at this moment in time to offer exact dates for each phase.

This phased approach will likely be greatly influenced by governmental decision making in the process and the country’s ability to meet the 5 key tests: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52374513

You will also note the guidance states that ‘decisions about attendance are informed by existing risk assessments’. There are some pupils whose behavioural profiles mean that their risk assessments relating to social distancing and/or risky behaviours call into question our ability to effectively keep all pupils and staff safe.

It is important all parents and carers understand that we will make every effort to plan for and encourage social distancing and hygiene rules and expectations, but we cannot guarantee it. There will be a ‘code of conduct’ for all pupils, which will be shared with all parties and will be consistently revisited with pupils when they are on site. Clearly, pupils who cannot abide by these rules and expectations will not be offered places on-site due to the risks they present to themselves and others.

For pupils who do not attend site, either through parental/carer choice, due to medical conditions, through self-isolation or shielding or due to risk assessment, the current remote learning and safe and well checks will continue.

Some parents and carers have expressed concern about non-attendance, fearing they may be penalised. To reassure you the guidance clearly states:

“Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time, and schools and colleges will not be held to account for attendance levels.”

You can see the full guidance for parents and carers here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/reopening-schools-and-other-educational-settings-from-1-june

We will be contacting you when we are able to effectively implement these plans and discuss any arrangements that need to be made regarding your child.

Thank you again for your patience and support. We are all looking forward to returning to a full school day for all pupils as soon as possible – but I’m sure you agree that we should only do so when we can be assured it is safe to do so. I hope to be able to write to you again soon with more updates and hopefully some positive news!

Yours sincerely,

David Bownds

Headteacher