Thursday 11th June 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
As I write this update we are heading towards the end of our first week of the wider opening of school. The weather hasn’t been particularly kind but it hasn’t dampened the spirits of the staff or children in school!
As I suggested last week, the Government’s ambition of a further wider opening to additional year groups will not be possible with the present stringent safeguarding guidance and raft of control measures that we have in place. I am glad that they have recognised this, rather than to give false hope to many families over the coming weeks that things would be back to normal or that we can accommodate any more children. Like you, I await the plan for September. It is pointless for me to speculate or plan about what it will look like as there are many factors that will affect us, not least some insight as to what the Government expectation will be. As always, I will keep you updated with any additional information as and when we see it but our focus in the meantime must remain with the safe provision of education and child care for the children and staff we have in school now, as well as supporting families at home.
The plan that Governors approved and was shared with you last week set out our hope to get Year 1s back in this week, Year 6s next week and starting to think about Reception subsequently. I am pleased that the 2 Y1 bubbles have worked well. Thank you to the parents who have got into the new routines so well, adhering to the staggered start/finish times and making the process as smooth as possible. I would like to thank the staff too for their valiant efforts to make it such as smooth transition. We even managed a socially distanced birthday party yesterday!
Going forward we have to take things cautiously and we must not overpromise things that we may not be able to deliver. As anticipated, we have received a significant increase in the requests for Key Worker places, which alongside places for children with additional challenges have to remain our priority. The Government guidance states that staff cannot work across bubbles of children and having flexibility for these groups obviously impacts on how many children we can take in Years 1,6 and Reception.
We have had additional requests for places in Year 1. The 2 bubbles were planned around the numbers of parents who requested a place by 20th May. For any additional requests priority will be given to Key Worker children. We have opened a waiting list now for those who have made recent requests just in case we can expand the capacity in Year 1 at a later date, once we have accommodated Key Worker children and the children in other year groups who originally applied to return. If you have made a recent request and meet the Key worker criteria, please request a form from us and we will get back to you. I realise that some parents will be disappointed but we have to be fair to all families and we based our original plans and risk assessments on the number of requests submitted by parents.
12 children requested a place in the Year 6 provision and with some ingenuity we have managed to fit all 12 desks in that classroom but it is now full. Any further requests will be subject to a waiting list, the same as Year 1. Letters will be going out to those 12 children tomorrow.
The provisional plan is open to a small number of Reception children in the week beginning 22nd June. These will initially be the Key Worker Reception children to create some space in the Key Worker Bubbles and to allow staff to quarantine before working with a new set of children. Please note that this is provisional and subject to staffing availability. We will notify those reception parents nearer the time.
We will continue to review our arrangements weekly and will let you know of any changes or updates.
In other news, Miss Ridge will be starting her maternity leave this week. It has been the most unusual of times to be expecting a baby as she has not been able to be in school at this exciting time. However she has been busy supporting Year 5 from a distance as well as keeping on top of SEND issues and working with individual families. We wish Miss Ridge all the best and are looking forward to meeting the new baby as soon as we can. I will be your the main point of contact during Miss Ridge’s maternity leave for all matters SEND and I am delighted that Mrs Erwin, who usually beavers away behind the scenes will be supporting me. Mr Dancer will take over supporting Year 5 until the end of term , so please drop him a line on the Year 5 email to say,”Hi!”
Sadly, Mr Dodd will be leaving us at the end of term as Miss Duffy is due to return as Deputy Head Teacher in September from secondment. Mr Dodd has been a great asset to the team and his French beret and lessons will go down in Deighton Gates folklore! At the moment he is turning his hand to teaching Year 1 with Mrs Thompson who has returned from maternity leave and judging by the smiles on faces in there, everyone is having a good time!
I am delighted to report that Mr Bolton from Year 1 is continuing to recover from his illness that has kept him away from school. We have missed him lots but know that he needs to make sure that he is doing what the doctor says and makes sure that he gets better.
I think that is all for now! Let’s hope that the rain holds off – being outside in the sunshine has been the saviour of this crisis in school and the Harrison household!
Mrs Claire Harrison