Dear Parents & Carers,
It has been lovely to see some more of the children back at school this week and we are looking forward to welcoming more children back next week.
I am sure that you are aware that this week the Secretary of State for Education finally clarified the government’s position regarding the full opening of primary schools for a month before the end of term. He has accepted that most schools (particularly primaries) do not have the capacity, in terms of both physical space and teachers, to welcome back all students, but went on to say that if schools do have capacity, then government would like them to accommodate the return of more children before the end of the summer term.
As a result of this statement, we (myself, the staff and our governing body) are considering what this means for us at Chalfont St Giles Village School.
We understand that this situation is far from ideal and is frustrating for both yourselves and more importantly, your children. You, and they, will have many questions about the future, some of which we cannot answer ourselves at the moment, but we are currently making decisions and arrangements to try and facilitate some form of access to school so ALL children can experience some time with us before the end of the academic year.
We will also be communicating our plans for the new academic year and in early July will let you know who will be teaching your children in September.
In the last few months we have been asked to respond, usually at very short public notice (we really do only hear when you do via the news) to circumstances we could scarcely have imagined as we entered into 2020. Over the past few weeks, we have been tasked with the complete redesign and reorganisation of our classrooms and other learning spaces in school to ensure it was safe for a phased return of Nursery, years R, 1 and 6. Following several incarnations of government guidance and risk assessments, this has meant: emptying classrooms of furniture to enable social distancing; sectioning off playground equipment; the procurement of sufficient cleaning and sanitising products as well as acquiring sufficient PPE for staff. Revised timetables were then drawn up to allocate staff to these smaller groups, alongside opportunities for them to continue to provide work for- and monitor learning at home. This is alongside the key worker provision we have been providing which is now increasing in size and therefore needing more staff to run. We were, of course, committed to doing all of this and more and thank the governing body and you, the parents, for your support in delaying the start until this was in place and the school was as safe as possible, following guidelines, for your children to begin to return.
As a staff, we all feel concerned for the children who remain at home. We know that the vast majority have been keeping up with their learning, but this can never replace the experience of physically being at school. If we were able to bring everyone back safely, believe me we would do it.
As yourselves, I await the next announcement from the government to find out what arrangements for September will be. Thankfully, the average number of new infections and deaths from Covid19 continue to fall at present, so we are hopeful that September may bring the opportunity for a normal start to the school year but we can only, like you, keep our fingers crossed at this stage.
Thank you for your support over the past couple of months as it has made a very difficult situation more manageable and ensured we have all been able to stay safe and healthy.
I hope you have a lovely weekend