return to School - Parent Views

Returning to School - Parent Views

Following the government announcement on Sunday that school may start to welcome back some pupils from June 1st, we have now received guidance from the DfE. We have started to sketch out our plan, but I am very interested to hear the thoughts of parents at this point. As a headteacher, I very much would like school to return to normal, but this can only be done when it is safe to do so. 

Government Plans 

If the next three weeks go well and the infection rate continues to fall, then schools may open to some pupils in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. It seems the reason for these year groups is that there is high scientific confidence  that children of all ages have less severe symptoms than adults, if they contract coronavirus. There also is moderately high scientific confidence that younger children are less likely to become unwell, if infected with coronavirus.

The government believes that by limiting the numbers of children going back to school initially, they then can gradually increase numbers, guided by scientific advice, which reduces risk of increasing the rate of transmission. Therefore, they have an ‘ambition’ that the remaining primary year groups can return before the Summer. 

The guidance acknowledges that maintaining a 2 metre social distance in school is unlikely as children of this age will not be able to do so. Instead, the protective measures suggested are:

  • Create groups of 15 children who stay in the same group or bubble, preferably with the same adult;

  • No mixing of groups/bubbles, so separate playtimes and lunchtimes;

  • Staggered starts and pickups to avoid too many parents gathering and groups mixing;

  • Only one parent to collect and drop off children;

  • Regular hand washing by staff and children;

  • Increased cleaning of spaces, surfaces and resources;

  • Minimize sharing resources (eg. pencils, books, computers).

The guidance does not recommend the use of PPE such as masks for children or adults.

To read more information from the government there is Parent Guidance to read - click here

What does this mean for Raglan?

  • Raglan is not a typical school and is considerably bigger than the average primary. So the government’s plan for a small number of children to start from 1st June is actually 450 pupils for Raglan, nearly half of the school. It is likely our start will be slower, staggered and part-time as we would not have enough space for dividing each class in half. 

  • As we have three gates, we would be able to manage the start and end of day, so that parents and pupils remain apart. However, there will be different times and a slower process and specific instructions.

  • As some staff are not able to be in school, there is no guarantee that your child will have their teacher. Each group/bubble of 15 will be assigned an adult, where possible their teacher or another teacher, but some groups may be led by TAs.

  • It is likely that a significant number of pupils will remain at home, by parental choice and therefore we will still be providing learning online. To manage this, as well as teaching pupils in school, the same learning online will be done in school. This will limit some of the gaps that could appear, if we had a different curriculum in school than at home. 

  • The benefits of returning to school are related to children’s social and emotional needs, seeing their friends, teachers and also getting back into a routine. However, school will not be as we know it, but will be able to offer some support for transition for the new academic year.

  • Some things in school will not happen, such as big gatherings like assemblies, sports days, school trips, Year 6 production, clubs or the Summer Fair. Although we recognise this is disappointing the safety of the children and staff is paramount.

  • We would also be continuing to provide Essential Childcare and Support for the pupils of key workers and some vulnerable pupils. However, this will be shaped differently and more in line with the rest of the school. 

Your Views 

These are our first thoughts and we will await further support and guidance from the local authority and take into account the views of parents and staff before making a firm plan. 

I would very much appreciate it if you could complete this survey, which explores how coronavirus has affected your household and also your initial thoughts on children returning to school. I will be having a virtual meeting with governors tomorrow evening and it would be good to have some data and feedback from parents to share.

Parents - please see your email for the link to the survey.