Can I welcome everybody back after half term?
I hope everyone had the opportunity to have some sort of rest.
We’ve had quite a number of announcements over the last few days, so I’ll try and summarise where our schools and organisations are up to.
First of all, on Monday, the Prime Minister offered the country a roadmap that navigates our way forward over the next few weeks and months. The initial key date I want to focus on is the 8th March when we have been told we can welcome more children back into school. Why do I say “more” rather than “all”? As you will no doubt be aware, at times, the headlines do not always quite line up with the reality of the situation! Over the next few days, you will receive correspondence from your child’s school or college informing you of their plans. As a principle we are trying to get as many children and young people back into full time, face to face teaching as soon after March 8th as is practicable. My plea to you all is to try and work with our school leaders as they work through some of the details – particularly around Lateral Flow Testing and revised school organisation. It is a very demanding task for everyone concerned. I know they will appreciate your support.
Next, I’ll move onto before and after school clubs. I think it’s important to realise that when we eventually get all the children back into school we will have to think carefully about before and after school clubs. Again, the government has put out statements suggesting that all schools should deliver extra-curricular clubs etc. The reality is that all of our children and young people will continue to work in “bubbles” (during the day). We know that if any member of the “bubble” has a positive test it inevitably leads to all the people in that “bubble” having to self-isolate for 10 days. We know how disruptive this is. If we were to adopt different “bubbles” for before and after school clubs it could significantly multiply the risk of transmission. Placing children in different before and after school “bubbles” could lead to more of our school based/learning “bubbles” popping. Our school leaders are discussing these issues as I write, and they will communicate with you directly. Again, I know you will support our heads with these tricky challenges.
If I’m a little “wary” about before and after school clubs, I am more confident about the Summer playschemes – both at half term and throughout the summer. Assuming little change in the R and transmission rate, I think we will have enough time between now and June to have a clearer view. As soon as we have a steer, we will let families know.
So, overall, it feels it’s a little bit of calm before the storm. It’s going to be a really busy few weeks. We all need to continue to act as responsibly as possible to ensure as many children and young people, as possible, can maintain their school places. Most importantly we need to maintain our safe working practices for another few months. I’m really hopeful that the science, and particularly the vaccination programme, will see us through this pandemic.
As always can I thank you for your continued support – and as always I’m more than happy to be contacted on my email address at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find all Graham’s previous updates and blog entries here