Bristol City Council has opted not to make a local authority decision on the reopening of schools to specific year groups on 01 June, instead leaving schools to make individual arrangements.
A letter to parents and carers this week from Alison Hurley, Director of Education and Skills says: ‘Of course, every school wants to welcome children back as soon as possible, but arrangements will vary from school to school, according to different circumstances. The priority, at all times, will be the safety of children, families and staff. The school’s risk assessment will be used to decide what the school can and cannot provide.’
She recommends that children who have continued to remain at school throughout lockdown carry on attending.
Nursery and primary schools have been ‘asked’ to plan for the readmission of children in early years as well as year 6 from 01 June.
Secondary schools, sixth form and further education colleges – including alternative provisions – have also been asked to offer ‘face-to-face support’ for students in years 10 and 12, as well as those who had been due to take exams this year.
Special schools in the city have also been asked to put together a ‘phased return’ for their pupils but without any emphasis on specific year groups.
Parents who choose not to send their children back to school will not be fined for non-attendance at this point.
The full text of the letter is below:
Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope this letter finds you and your family well in these difficult times. I know most of you have been working closely with your child’s school, during the last few weeks, to provide a home learning programme.
I am sure you will be aware that, following the government’s update guidance on education settings, there are provisional plans for schools to begin to expand the current offer and welcome back children, in some year groups, from 1st June. This will only go ahead if the government is confident that the five key tests it has set out suggest that this is appropriate.
Of course, every school wants to welcome children back as soon as possible, but arrangements will vary from school to school, according to different circumstances. The priority, at all times, will be the safety of children, families and staff. The school’s risk assessment will be used to decide what the school can and cannot provide.
If your child has been attending school during the last few weeks, he or she should continue to do so.
Primary and Nursery schools have been asked to plan for the readmission of children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, from 1st June, at the earliest.
Secondary schools, sixth form and further education colleges, including alternative provisions, have been asked to offer some face-to-face support for students in years 10 and 12, who were due to take exams this summer.
Special schools have been asked to plan a phased return, but without a focus on particular year groups.
Every school’s head teacher and governing body or trust board will be planning accordingly to reopen for the above year groups. In order to prepare, each school will undertake a very thorough risk assessment.
This will involve a careful consideration of the individual school’s circumstances, buildings and staffing levels to ensure they are able to keep children, families and staff safe.
These plans will involve a whole range of protective measures to reduce the risk of spreading infection – including, for example, smaller teaching groups, staggered breaks and lunches, use of outdoor spaces, arrangements for drop-off and collection and frequent cleaning of surfaces.
Please be reassured that your child’s school will contact you before 1st June to let you know the arrangements they have made and whether your child can start re-attending. Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time.
Director, Education and Skills
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