There have been a number of announcements over recent days about the government’s wish to see schools re-opening for some year groups. In Primary, they wish to see Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 return as soon as is safely possible after June 1st.
We support this intention fully. We are enormously grateful for all the support you are giving to helping your children learn at home, but want as many children to return to school as quickly as possible. We are also very aware of the concerns and anxieties that parents, children and staff have about returning to school safely. That is why all ESW schools have as their key objective for this first phase of re-opening:
To maximise the effectiveness of teaching and care for our pupils, whilst safeguarding the health and well-being of everyone on site.
I want to explain why it is not straightforward to achieve this. We have to follow the clear guidance we have been given by the Department for Education and Devon County Council on how to re-open safely. We have to re-organise classes into much smaller ones, and we have to reshape the school day to minimise the amount of contact between these new classes. We have to minimise the number of staff having contact with any one class, and to put in place measures to ensure social distancing throughout the day. We have to make sure that we have enhanced cleaning measures in place. This all means that we need more teaching and support staff at a time when some are being instructed to shield and isolate themselves because of underlying health conditions.
We are in the process of working out the detailed plans that make all of this possible. We will not be in a position safely to invite back all of Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 from the 1st June. At the moment we are looking at being able to safely accommodate Reception and Year 1 classes only. I will write to again by the end of this week to tell you the details of how we will phase the re-opening to keep everyone as safe as we possibly can.
Thank you for your support,