On Friday, the government’s independent SAGE group published its scientific papers relating to education and on Saturday the government published its account of how it took the scientific and medical advice and used it as the basis for its decisions on wider opening.
Yesterday afternoon the government released its specific guidance for secondary school provision from 15 June 2020. The expectations on secondary schools are that:
From 15 June, secondary schools are able to offer face-to-face support for a quarter of the year 10 and 12 cohort at any one time. Alongside this the government is asking secondary schools to:
- continue providing full-time provision for vulnerable pupils in all year groups (including year 10 and year 12)
- continue providing full-time provision for children of critical workers in all year groups (including year 10 and year 12)
- provide some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of year 10 and year 12 pupils, with a clear expectation that remote education will continue to be the predominant form of education delivery for these year groups and that this should be of high quality
- continue to use best endeavours to support all other pupils remaining at home, making use of the available remote education support and ensuring a high quality offer
I am fully aware that many parents will have reservations about sending their children back to school, for a whole variety of reasons, and ultimately the decision whether to do so this term rests with the parents of those in Year 10 and Year 12. There is an element of risk involved in virtually every aspect of everyday life and all we can do as parents or teachers is to try our very best to minimise any risk.
The government guidance on implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings provides detailed advice on the changes schools can make and the measures they can put in place to help prevent the spread of the virus. In addition, we will be conducting a range of risk assessments to make sure any return to school is as safe as possible for students and school staff, their families and our wider community.
We are starting to make provisional, but detailed plans about how we can safely follow the government guidance and scientific advice to provide some face to face learning for our year 10 and year 12 students. I will write to parents again once these plans are.
The feedback you have provided through the questionnaire included in a previous letter has been invaluable. There were many very positive comments, accepting that is exceptionally difficult for staff, students and parents. As I have said previously, I have read every comment and these have informed the conversations we are continuing to have in school, in particular about how we set work and provide feedback. I am in regular contact with a significant number of secondary headteachers across the North West and we are all wrestling with the same significant, logistical issues; none of us have got all the answers to these and no-one I have spoken to feels they have an ideal system they would recommend to other schools. Further information will be provided in due course as our thinking develops in the next week or so.
As always, I am happy to speak to any parent who has a concern or wants to raise a question with me. At the very least I will be able to explain the ‘why’ behind any decisions we are taking as a school.
I have been very grateful for, and encouraged by, the overwhelming support of our parents and your continued patience and endeavours in supporting your child’s learning and wellbeing, whilst juggling the demands of your busy lives. Thank you!