Last week we launched our 'Wellbeing' Google Meet video conferencing calls for children in Years 2-5. Thank you for your co-operation and patience as I understand that we had a few technical issues at the beginning of the week but I am assured the technology is now working fully. Indeed, I managed to sit in on a few calls and it was just so lovely to see and hear the children. The teachers will continue planning to hold at least one of these sessions each week until the end of term.
Last Friday you will have heard Gavin Williamson announced that "all children" will be able to return full-time to school in September and that the Government would be publishing their guidance soon. Then on Monday Boris Johnson set out his plans to further ease the Lockdown for the wider public and he agreed that the two metre social distancing rule could be reduced to one metre plus whilst taking mitigations to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus. Thus, pubs, restaurants cafes etc will be able to reopen from 4th July. Unfortunately currently this rule does not apply and cannot be applied to schools. I have to say that I found this quite unbelievable, so I emailed the Local Education Authority, the Right Honorable Greg Clark, Roger Gough the leader of Kent County Council and Sean Holden who is our local County Councillor requesting if there was going to be any more flexibility for schools to be able to invite more children back before the end of term. In response to my email, Sean Holden actually rang me and suggested that he come to visit the Federation and see for himself the lengths that we have already gone to. Needless to say he was very impressed with our organisation and indeed sympathetic to our cause. However, sadly despite his support, I am advised that there will be no change in government guidance for schools until September.
Below is an extract from the daily Dfe Bulletin:
"Yesterday it was recommended that from 4 July 2020 people keep two metres away from others as a precaution or one metre when the risk can be mitigated by taking other precautions in the staying safe outside your home guidance. Over the coming weeks the Department for Education will publish further information and guidance to help schools prepare for a full return in September. Primary schools should continue to operate in groups of no more than 15".
The staff and I feel so strongly that all our children should have the opportunity to return to school that we have decided instead to cancel our 2 Inset days planned for 21/22 July in order for us to welcome those children back into school before the summer break. We believe it is essential that these children have some sense of closure from their current class, have an opportunity to meet their new class teaching team, as well as just experience our slightly 'modified' school life again before the summer break. Please note the school will remain CLOSED to all other years including those children of Key Workers on these two days.
If the current guidance remains the same, the children would be coming to school under the same conditions as the children currently in school - ie in 2 bubbles if numbers are over 15. We hope that with if the good weather continues, the majority of their time will be spend outdoors.
Day 1 - will be spent with their current class teaching team.
Day 2- will be 'jump up' day with their new class teaching team
We are very much looking forward to welcoming the children back on these two days.