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Letter from Simon Cavell - on behalf of Deighton Gate Governors

Friday 29th June 2020


Dear Parents,

I wanted to follow up the regular letters from Mrs Harrison and write to you on behalf of the Governing Body at Deighton Gates.

Firstly, I wanted to thank you sincerely for your support over the past few months.  As a parent of Deighton Gates since 2010, I’d never have imagined a situation when the friendly, caring, learning environment of our school wasn’t available.  Whether it’s Reception children in their early days with us, up to Year 6 looking back at happy memories as they move on to high school, the break from normal life has been a huge shame.  For many of us, that’s been compounded by other concerns and challenges – whether childcare, working life, personal health, or simply keeping in touch with family and friends.


Update on School Re-Opening

Yesterday’s announcement by the Government confirmed the intention to re-open schools for selected primary year groups.  I’m very grateful to Mrs Harrison and her leadership team for their work in putting the detailed plans in place, thinking about the complex logistics that are needed to create a safe working environment for our children, staff and dependent families.

The final decision about re-opening will be taken by the Governing Body and Headteacher.  Despite the excellent work to date, after careful consideration, we have concluded that we are not yet able to re-open the school until the Governing Body has been able to:

-        ensure that the government’s latest guidance, supported by the school’s own risk assessment, mean that it’s a safe environment for our children and staff;

-        consider the current public health situation, particularly in Yorkshire compared to UK national trends, and whether that poses any heightened risks;

-        understand whether changes to who are defined as ‘Key Workers’ could mean we’ll be providing childcare for more children in coming weeks; and

-        reflect the feedback we’re getting from you, our staff, our colleagues in other local schools, and other professional bodies. 

This means that:

•  The school will be closed to all children, including those of Key Workers, on 1st June.  However, we’ll continue to provide childcare for the children of Key Workers from 2nd June.

•  We will not re-open for Year 1 children on 2nd June but will confirm a revised opening date as soon as is possible.  Mrs Harrison’s letter on 21st May described some of the arrangements we will make and we’ll send individual letters for children nearer the time.

•  As a result of this, we will be delaying the return of Year 6 and also the decision about whether we are able to re-open for Reception children.  Again, we will write to parents as soon as we have further information to share.


I’m sure that this news will be disappointing to many of you, but I also hope you’ll appreciate the complexity of the decision.  Whilst we’re all keen to open the doors as soon as possible, that can only take place when it’s right and safe to do so.  We still hope it will be possible to start re-opening the school later in June.


I’ll be chairing a meeting of the Full Governing Board on Wednesday 3rd June where we’ll be considering the situation in detail.  We’ll ensure that you’re updated on our decision about how and when to reopen, after that meeting.


And finally…

I’d like to again offer my sincere thanks to a number of people within our school community.To Mrs Harrison and her leadership team for their work in keeping up with continually changing requirements.  To our teaching and support staff for supporting the childcare provision and for their enthusiasm to get back into the classroom.

And most importantly, to you and our children, for your patience and support throughout these challenging times.  The many pictures that brighten the school’s gates today act as a great reminder of what we’re all missing, but also the school community that’s still around us – and will return.


I hope you and your family keeps safe and healthy.


Yours sincerely,


Simon Cavell

Chair of Governors, Deighton Gates