COVID-19 Update 13-05-2020
Re-opening schools, supporting learning, parent survey and uniform
I hope my latest letter finds you well and taking stock of the Prime Minister’s latest announcement last Sunday and again during the Monday live briefing. Today I have attended a meeting of the School Leader Recovery Coordination Group for Lincolnshire and am in a position to update you in detail.
After the PM’s address on Sunday evening and his live briefing appearance on Monday, it was clear to secondaries that we were subject to further lead in time to return to school. However, by 8pm on Monday evening as the PM finished his briefing, the following was published:
Whilst this is a lengthy and detailed document one particular paragraph caught my eye:
‘For pupils in year 10 and 12, we are asking schools and colleges to supplement remote education with some face to face support for these year groups from 1 June. We do not expect these pupils to return to school or college on a full-time basis at this stage, and so we do not expect a full timetable to be offered as schools and colleges look to minimise the number of pupils in school or college each day. Schools and colleges should consider how to best use additional year 10 and 12 time to support those pupils who are starting their final year of study for GCSEs, A levels and other qualifications next academic year.’
This was not in either of the PM’s briefings/addresses and is different to the original guidance. This guidance is unclear and I have sought further clarification from the DfE as to what their expectations are. I await an answer.
However, what I can tell you is that I am not prepared to open from 1 June for Years 10 and 12. It is simply not safe to do so. I promised you that I would show principled leadership on a local level if needed to ensure that you feel comfortable, when the time is right, to return your children to school. Our community has come such a long way in working to defeat this virus that I won’t jeopardise that good work now by playing a risky short term game which backfires.
In light of these recent announcements, I do not see a scenario where Years 7, 8 or 9 return to the Academy site for classes before September. Whilst this is subject to change if the data supports it, I will now be planning to support the learning of our youngsters in these year groups in the best way possible moving forwards. This may include remote learning, particularly in core subjects in Year 9.
In addressing the question of returns for Years 10 and 12, I feel it prudent to be cautious and watchful. I intend to add certain offers to our armoury moving forwards. These include voluntary mentoring sessions with Year 10 and 12 tutors online in groups or on site by appointment, 1 to 1, socially distanced and safely carried out at an appropriate time after half term and well into June. These appointments would be available for parents who wish for their children to have one and will allow tutors to deal with holistic concerns remotely or face to face as well as signposting students to future work to do online/remotely. They will remain voluntary and there will be no compulsion upon students to take up this offer.
I am also exploring the possibility of offering ‘subject support surgeries’ in English, mathematics and science for students in Years 10 and 12 who may need some specific support. Again, these appointments could be online in groups or on site 1 to 1, socially distanced, safely supervised and entirely voluntary. Again, this is likely to be available into June.
Should these support mechanisms be needed, they can be trialled from this week. For on site work, they could be up and running at some point in June but by no means as early as the first day of the month.
I would welcome your thoughts as parents as to the usefulness of the above suggestions. In addition, I would welcome your opinions as to when you feel that we should consider reopening. I do not believe that there is a ‘one size fits all’ approach to this and your opinion counts. If you wish to participate, I will be sending out a separate surveymonkey message in the very near future. I do this to gauge opinion and in order to continue to engage with you in the most open and effective way possible.
Uniform Direct, who are our main supplier of school uniform, are continuing to operate their warehouse, production, and Online Ordering Service although their stores currently remain closed. They are fully stocked with uniform ready for the September 2020 intake and they are accepting on-line orders; any parents wishing to make contact with them directly should do so initially by email through email@example.com
We will be sending out further information shortly detailing delivery charges, returns and how they will operate their stores once they re-open in line with Government guidelines. This information will also be available on our website.
I would be grateful if you would continue to keep up to date with the Public Health England guidance on Coronavirus via the website below, which is currently being updated daily:
As usual, I will keep you updated on developments via the Academy website and parent email. Curriculum plans will continue to go live each week by 9am each Monday morning. I will also ensure that our social media channels are updated accordingly.
If you have any further questions with regard to whole school arrangements, please email the Academy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before I sign off, I think it is important to remember the work my staff team are doing at the moment. In particular, my House teams who are leading on pastoral care and student support and my site team who have not had any time off as of yet. Indeed, many of my staff have not had a break since we closed the Academy in March as we have remained open for the children of keyworkers. I am also committed to keeping them safe. The challenges we are facing are multifarious and have only become more acute this week following government announcements. I assure you we are listening to you and will take into account all available data and advice before finally opening the Academy again.
I will continue to stay in touch with you and as circumstances change. In the meantime, please take care and stay safe.
Mr D Hardy