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A message from Mr Hayles

4 May 2020 (by admin)

Mr Hayles has written to all parents with updates on the current situation at school.

Dear Parents
It is a little while since I last wrote to you, so I thought it best to get in touch.
School continues to operate on a much-reduced basis in order to provide for the children of key workers who have no other childcare (in the range of 14 to 22 pupils each day at the moment).  I am incredibly proud of my staff who have engaged the children in such a wide range of stimulating and creative activities, often outdoors, helped by the recent good weather.
We opened across the entire Easter break, including the two bank holidays, with Woodland Grange also taking pupils from Brookside Primary, Overdale Infant and Overdale Junior (up to 24 pupils on any given day in total).  We will be doing the same from the next half-term break (week of the 25th May).
It is possible that there may be a government announcement this week regarding the re-opening of schools, albeit in a phased way and it will be my job, with other headteachers and my senior team to ensure we translate whatever guidance is issued into practical measures.  At this stage I genuinely cannot second guess what may be advised or even directed by national government which has the unenviable job of balancing health, education and the economy.  If there is just general guidance that leaves it to headteachers to decide on what a phased return or gradual reopening looks like, then I guess it is also education leaders who are trying to balance this.
Whatever measures we do put in place please be assured we will be doing our very best to ensure the safety of your children and of course, I also have a responsibility to my own staff; I still have staff members who are shielding so may not have a full complement at the point we need to open or start to re-open.  Social distancing is likely to be with us for some time and this is hard enough in a general workplace let alone a school.  Pupils currently in school are NOT socially distanced from each other and the confines of a classroom means that keeping a 2m gap between pupils with more than half a dozen in a class would be nigh on impossible, let alone the difficulties of keeping them away from each other in the playground etc.  There will be lots of possibilities to consider, e.g. access to school only for certain year groups/classes; staggered school start and end times as well as staggered break and lunchtimes times in order, for example to at least keep classes separate from each other; limited access to school by parents; possibility of all children having to bring a packed lunch so multiple children are not having to use the same hall for hot dinners etc but I am roaming into the realm of speculation until we hear more about the Government's thinking.
Whatever happens I will be totally straight with you, tell you exactly what we can do and make no promises about safety unless I am 100% sure of what we can provide.  Headteachers have been promised time to prepare and I am hopeful this will be the case.
Can I ask you, as some parents have already started to do so, NOT to contact to ask school what is happening as unfortunately, I have nothing further to share at this time.  As soon as I know anything and can formulate a more definitive plan with my headteacher colleagues and in particular with the other headteachers in our Trust and the school's governors, I will be in touch again.
Kindest regards and keep safe
Mr Hayles