Letter from Alison Hurley Director, Education and Skills

Dear Parents and Carers,

I hope this letter finds you and your family well in these difficult times. I know most of you have been working closely with your child’s school, during the last few weeks, to provide a home learning programme.

I am sure you will be aware that, following the government’s update guidance on education settings, there are provisional plans for schools to begin to expand the current offer and welcome back children, in some year groups, from 1st June. This will only go ahead if the government is confident that the five key tests it has set out suggest that this is appropriate.

Of course, every school wants to welcome children back as soon as possible, but arrangements will vary from school to school, according to different circumstances. The priority, at all times, will be the safety of children, families and staff. The school’s risk assessment will be used to decide what the school can and cannot provide.

If your child has been attending school during the last few weeks, he or she should continue to do so.

Primary and Nursery schools have been asked to plan for the readmission of children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, from 1st June, at the earliest.

Secondary schools, sixth form and further education colleges, including alternative provisions, have ben asked to offer some face-to-face support for students in years 10 and 12, who were due to take exams this summer.

Special schools have been asked to plan a phased return, but without a focus on particular year groups.

Every school’s head teacher and governing body or trust board will be planning accordingly to reopen for the above year groups. In order to prepare, each school will undertake a very thorough risk assessment.

This will involve a careful consideration of the individual school’s circumstances, buildings and staffing levels to ensure they are able to keep children, families and staff safe.

These plans will involve a whole range of protective measures to reduce the risk of spreading infection – including, for example, smaller teaching groups, staggered breaks and lunches, use of outdoor spaces, arrangements for drop-off and collection and frequent cleaning of surfaces.

Please be reassured that your child’s school will contact you before 1st June to let you know the arrangements they have made and whether your child can start re-attending. Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time.

Yours sincerely

Alison Hurley

Director, Education and Skills