Download Letter here: Letter to parents 19th May
19th May 2020
Thank you for your patience while we have waited for further information on re-opening schools. The government has now published more guidance particularly for primary schools but we are still waiting for further guidance specifically for secondary schools. We do have some clarification on how things are going to proceed as the lockdown is gradually eased. It would seem that at time of writing Years 7, 8 and 9 will not return to school until September at the earliest. Schools have been asked to “offer some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of year 10 students who are due to take key exams next year”. Guidance from the DFE says “This will not be a return to full timetables or pupils back in school or college full time, rather some support to supplement pupils’ remote education”.
I am consulting with staff, Unions and the Local Authority on what form this might take. I envisage it is more likely to be a form of mentoring than attendance to lessons. You will know from the media that there is considerable concern around re-opening at the current time and the Government itself is saying that this will only happen if the data and science allows it. I am not in a position at this stage to confirm what “face to face support” will look like for Seaham High School.
The government are clear that, they are asking schools to re-open only if the school has the capacity to do so safely. I have listed below some of the factors that will need to be considered in order to plan for gradual re-opening:
- Classroom size – How many children can be safely accommodated in each classroom?
- Number of classrooms
- School population
- Parental demand
- Number of staff a school employs
- Number of staff self-isolating as they are in a vulnerable group or live with vulnerable relatives
- Availability of cleaning and hand sanitisation products to meet the increased demand
Over the coming days and weeks, we will be creating a detailed plan, which will hopefully allow us to safely welcome back additional pupils when appropriate. If it is safe for us to start the phased reopening of the school at some point in June, precautions we will be considering could include:
- An initial opening phase for only Year 10 “face to face sessions” plus Key Worker students and vulnerable students
- Limiting and managing group sizes and interaction in the building at any one time
- Staggering break times, and pick-up and drop-off times
- Increased cleaning
- Keeping students and staff with coronavirus symptoms at home
I will update you further as I have more confirmed plans in place. However, if your child is clinically extremely vulnerable, or living with someone who is in this group, they should not come back to school until advised to do so and should continue home learning. I want to reassure you that when we do re-open we will not be pressuring parents to send their children to school, normal attendance sanctions have been suspended – you know what is best for your child’s health and wellbeing. We will provide you with more details on the arrangements for any re-opening for Year 10 in the coming weeks, so you can make the appropriate decision. However, to help us to plan, I may send out a survey to Year 10 parents aimed at gauging the likely uptake in the event of a Y10 re-opening. Please remember that in the meantime, the school is still open only for vulnerable pupils and the children of key-workers.
May half term
I have instructed staff not to set work for the May half term period as I feel both staff, students and parents will benefit from a chance to have a rest. I know from personal experience the challenge of supporting children complete work, whilst simultaneously working from home is a difficult one.
Children of Key Workers and Vulnerable students
The school remains open to these students over May half term and if you have not already completed the key worker booking form please ensure you do so. You also have the emergency number handed to you prior to Easter to use if you are suddenly called into work.
A reminder please if you have any safeguarding concerns please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org Once again I am grateful to all of you for your support. Please stay safe.
Mr G.W. Lumsdon