24th June 2020
The Trust has received a number of queries from parents about which children are currently able to attend school. You will be aware that the Government's hope was that all children in Early Years, Year 1 and Year 6 would be able to return. However, it was always made clear that this was subject to local factors. Schools were told to carry out a risk assessment to determine how many children they could accommodate whilst maintaining the social distancing and other infection control measures set out in government advice, and an appropriate level of staffing could be provided. The Government also advised primary schools that if the physical layout of buildings, or the availability of staff, meant that they did not have the capacity to bring back everyone in the target year groups, then priority should be given to Nursery, Reception and Year 1, before Year 6.
Arrangements in all schools have been kept under constant review by our school leaders. In some schools, where it has been possible to do so, they have been able to open more widely to include all of the Government's priority year groups. Provision will be different across the Trust in relation to the demand for critical worker places and places for vulnerable children. These decisions are based on each school's staffing level, the differing needs of the children in each setting, available space in the school and continuing to follow the current Government guidelines regarding infections (social distancing). Arrangements will continue to be reviewed regularly through the remainder of the term.
In reaching our decisions, we have applied the Government guidance to each setting. We have not been influenced by what other local schools may have decided, as the circumstances in every school are different. We are fully aware of the impact on our children, both educationally and socially, of being unable to return and wish things were otherwise. We would like to reassure all families that we continue to regularly review the Government guidance on infection control, social distancing and the prioritisation of year groups for any changes which might enable our schools to reopen for other year groups this term. This position has been reached by the Trust collectively, and cannot be varied by individual headteachers.
Some parents have expressed their views via the Trust's complaints procedure. The Department for Education has advised schools that it does not expect them to handle new or existing complaints while they are partially closed during the coronavirus outbreak. Having provided the explanation above, we are applying the same principle to informal requests for clarification about our reasoning.
If you wish to refer to the detail of the Government's advice to schools, it can be found here:
Chief Executive Officer
Chair, Board of Directors
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