Dear Parents and Carers,
Having read through the Guidance for Schools and the wider document re the Governments Recovery plan, there are two statements that stand out for us as Special Schools. The first is as follows:-
‘Special schools, special post-16 institutions and hospital schools should work towards welcoming back as many children and young people as can be safely catered for in their setting. They may want to prioritise attendance based on key transitions and the impact on life chances and development, and to consider creating part-time attendance rotas so that as many children as possible can benefit from attending their setting. Special settings should work with local authorities and families to ensure that decisions about attendance are informed by existing risk assessments for their children and young people, which should be kept up to date.’
For those children who we feel are safe to return to school, we have started to plan for our school to reopen after the Half term break. The Guidance states that we are able to create part time attendance rotas for the different groups, to allow as many pupils as possible to access their learning. The Primary group will not all be in school at the same time. Therefore, the attendance groups will be rostered in school on different days.
Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils are to return to school on Monday and Tuesdays only with Year 2, 3 and 5 joining us on Wednesdays and Thursdays. We will also continue to provide for students whose parents are Key Workers and those students identified as requiring additional support. Transitions for new pupils will take place on Fridays with individual parents and children visiting and meeting their new teachers via arranged appointments only. We will be adding more groups later in June so that the older students can complete their transitions into new settings and say their goodbyes to staff and other pupils. We feel this is an important part of the student’s onward journeys, into their next phase of learning.
As our classrooms are small compared to our mainstream schools, the class groups will be a maximum of four per room, with appropriate staffing and allocated play spaces so that the children can access the fresh air. This fits in with the second piece of guidance, which is as follows: –
‘One of the protective measures we can take to reduce transmission is to have smaller group and class sizes. It is still important to reduce contact between children and staff as far as possible, and settings can take steps to achieve that and reduce transmission risk by ensuring children, and staff where possible, mix in a small group and keep that small group away from other people and groups.’
The curriculum will also include outdoor learning, such as Forest School, Physical activity and Art. The teachers may also decide to hold their literacy and numeracy learning activities in the wider fresh air as we know that the transference rates are reduced in the wider outdoors. Of course, this will be highly dependent on the weather.
If you decide that you wish to keep your child at home, as you feel, they are safer with you, then this is acceptable too. There are no penalties for deciding to do this for the rest of the summer term. However, we would appreciate it if you would let us know when we contact you, if this is the decision you have made for your child. We will happily support this decision and offer to provide activities and tasks whilst your child remains at home with you. Staff will be in touch advising you of the offer and the timetable of year groups will follow later this week.