Easing the lockdown in schools
Since the prime minister’s announcement that, subject to key safety criteria being met, he would like to see schools begin to open for wider groups of children from 1st June, schools across the country have been examining the challenges those intentions present.
At the same time, as more people return to work, the numbers of children of workers critical to the response to the Covid-19 pandemic are increasing the numbers of children attending our schools. These pupils, together with vulnerable children and those with Educational Health Care Plans, continue to put pressure on available school capacity. They remain the priority group.
We have consistently said we would look at opening our schools to include the year groups suggested only when we are satisfied that risks have been minimised to an acceptable level. The health and safety of staff and pupils continues to be our overriding principle.
Part of our preparatory work, therefore, means our schools are currently carrying out risk assessments that will dictate next steps. By their very nature, these risk assessments are thorough and any vulnerable areas they are highlighting need to be very carefully considered. It may be possible to completely mitigate some risks and to lessen the risk in others. All our 24 schools are different. They have different numbers of pupils, ranging from under 50 to over 700; some are rural and others are in urban areas. All share the same desire to widen the opening of our schools, but only when the trust can be satisfied that any remaining risk can be safely managed.
We do not wish to prejudge any of the ongoing risk assessments but I wanted to convey both the complexity and enormity of the tasks currently being carried out – as, indeed, they are at all schools. As and when we are able to widen our opening, because of larger numbers of priority children, please bear in mind this will only mean a gradual reintroduction and not, initially, all year groups specified at the same time.
Your school will be in touch with details of their plan, and associated guidance, in due course.
Mrs Gail Brown
Chief Executive and Executive Headteacher