Education

Letter from our Head of Schools about returning to school

primary school aged child writing on a white board

Posted on: 18 May 2020

(You can find the following letter to parents and carers translated into Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Farsi, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian and Turkish on Babcock’s website by clicking here)

Dear parent or carer

As you will have heard, some children will be returning to school from the 1st June, if it is safe to do so. On the 11th May the Government published further detailed information for parents about the planned re-opening.

Schools and Multi Academy Trusts across Devon County Council are working closely with the Local Authority and others to support families during the COVID-19 pandemic.  I wanted to let you know about the arrangements that will be made for schools opening for more children in Devon.

Special Schools will work with families individually to agree when it is safe for each pupil to return to school.

Primary, infant and junior schools and nurseries are reviewing the Government guidance and planning how they can open to more year groups (Reception, Year 1 and Year 6) after half term, if it is possible to do so.  This does not change the arrangements for children of keyworkers and vulnerable children.

Schools readiness to open for more year groups will vary depending on their situation.  However, the decisions schools make will all be based around the same safety criteria and risk assessments.

Some schools may not be able to open on the 1st June or they may open to some of the suggested year groups and not others.  Some children may be asked to attend for just part of the day or go to a different setting. Siblings, if not in the allocated year groups for opening, will not be able to attend.  You need to feel well informed and well prepared for this as everything will depend on ensuring it is safe for more staff and children to attend the school.

There are some other important things you need to know.

  • Your child’s school will need to follow Government guidance so things will feel different
  • To be as safe as possible your school will ask you not to come into the school and to carry on being two metres apart at the school gate.
  • Your children will be in smaller classes and will not mix with other groups and may have different break times.
  • Attendance is encouraged. If you feel worried about your child or family’s safety, please talk to your school in the first instance.  No action will be taken (such as a penalty notice) if you decide it is not safe to send your child to school.

Each school will provide information on their website and in newsletters so that parents will know exactly when the school will be able to once again offer a place for their children.  Schools will provide this information when the safety and risk assessments have been completed.  You may also be invited to say whether you will be taking up a place if it is offered.

Secondary schools will continue to be open for the children of keyworkers and vulnerable pupils.  They will also aim to have some face to face contact with Year 10 pupils (and Year 12 if they have sixth forms) to provide them with support for their home learning.

Early years settings will be increasing the number of children they can support and separate information will be provided for parents with children in this age group.

If you are a keyworker or have vulnerable children, your child may have been attending school for some time and they will be able to continue to do so as they do now.

It is important to note that clinically vulnerable or shielded children will not be expected to attend School, and those children who live with someone who is medically certified as clinically extremely vulnerable should only attend if stringent social distancing can be adhered to.  It may not be possible for very young children and older children without capacity, to follow instructions on social distancing and in this situation we do not expect those individuals to attend. Children who live with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable), may attend School.

Parents may be feeling a mixture of emotions, that’s understandable.  We are here to help and support families.  If you need help or support, please contact your school first and they will put you in touch with services who can help

When planning how your child(ren) will get to and from school the Department for Transport has issued the Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers.  For any children entitled to transport assistance from the local authority our Transport Coordination Service is working with transport providers and your school.  Please speak directly to your school regarding this.

Thank you for supporting your school to stay safe.

Dawn Stabb

Head of Education & Learning

Posted in: DCC Homepage