Friday 22nd May
Letter to Parents/Carers regarding Wider Opening of the School Dear Parents/Carers,
I hope this letter finds you and your family in good health.
After my message to you last week following the Prime Minister’s announcement regarding the intention for a wider opening of schools from June 1st, I am writing again to you now to explain what we have been doing and our current position.
As you know, we have been communicating regularly with parents/carers to try to support you with the wellbeing and learning of your child at home. We recognise that for some parents this has been a difficult time, and it continues to present challenges for different reasons. As a school we are committed to supporting our Oaklands families, and moving forward we want to be able to continue to work with you to keep our Oaklands children safe and well.
The Government plans detailed a ‘road map’ for easing of the lockdown, with a phased opening of schools being part of this plan. The scientific evidence underpinning the government's decision to reopen schools to more pupils from 1st June is due to be published today, the prime minister's office has confirmed. However, there remains concern over this step from MPs themselves, families up and down the country and teaching Unions. As you will be aware it is contrary to what other nations in the UK are doing.
Our City Mayor, Peter Soulsby, has said ‘In Leicester, I do not expect all schools to extend their opening on 1st June or on any other particular date - nor will I be pressing them to do so. I believe schools should only extend their opening when school leaders and governors are convinced that all that is possible has been done to make them safe for children, families and staff. Council officers are helping to advise and support this process’.
We are still waiting for the Government to publish specific guidance relating to special schools and children with complex needs. Meanwhile, we have been reading the breadth of guidance and advice that is available to us to try and determine the most effective and safe way for us to invite back more children.
As previously detailed, I am very concerned that our children will find it incredibly difficult coming back to Oaklands currently, when the school is very different to normal. The different class groups, staffing, classrooms and restrictions within the building ie not using shared areas such as soft play, sensory rooms, means that it is a very different experience being on site at the moment.
Nevertheless, our intention is to have a few more children on site in June, possibly from Monday 8th. We have carried out detailed risk assessments for each child to determine who to allocate places to. We will be contacting families directly today. If you have not heard from us, it is likely that we will not be able to offer your child a place until there is further easing of the lockdown, and this is likely to mean that they will not return to Oaklands until the end of August.
For parents of Year 6 children, we intend to have 2 days with only the Year 6’s on site. These will be specific days for your children to come back to Oaklands, to reconnect with us & their peers and to prepare for moving on. The curriculum on those two days will be specific to transition. We are working closely with our secondary school colleagues to make arrangements for this, so we can do some virtual links and remote integration work where children see classrooms, teachers and start building understanding of the change that will happen in the Autumn term. All Year 6 parents will receive a phone call at the beginning of week beginning 1st June about this, inviting your child to attend. The transition day dates are Friday 26th June and Friday 3rd July.
All of the above plans are provisional, on the understanding that we are awaiting feedback from the Local Authority regarding our Risk Assessment, and this also needs the approval of the Governing body. We will also need to ensure that we have certainty our plans continue to be consistent with any further Government updates.
For those children who are not invited back in to school, we will continue to keep in touch with you at least once a week by phone, and provide home learning resources to support your child. Our family support worker, Dhrupti Champaneri, also remains available for you to contact with any issues that you may require help with on 07514 985590.
Please continue to stay safe and keep in touch.