1st June 2020
I trust you had a restful half term. Thank you for your patience while we have waited for further information on reopening schools – the government has now published more guidance, and a summary of what we know so far is below.
If the government thinks it is safe at the time, they are asking secondary schools to consider re-opening from 15th June prioritising Year 10 pupils. The government are clear that, they are asking schools to re-open only if the school has the capacity to do so safely. Each school is unique and has its own circumstances. The Government has asked that we “offer some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of year 10 students who are due to take key exams next year” and says on-line learning remains the main source of education for Year 10.
At Seaham High School we are pleased with the on-line distance learning package we have put together and happy with student engagement and uptake, particularly in Year 10. As this is going well we don’t wish to disadvantage any students who are unable or unwilling to attend. Therefore, we are exploring a mix of academic and pastoral support that will supplement this provision. Our on-line package will remain our main focus for education over the summer term. We will be creating a detailed plan, which will hopefully allow us to safely welcome back additional pupils. If it is safe for us to start the phased reopening of the school then in order to re-open, we need to take some of the following considerations into account;
- Classroom size – How many children can be safely accommodated in each classroom
- Number of classrooms
- School population
- Parental demand
- Number of staff a school employs
- Number of staff self-isolating as they are in a vulnerable group
- Availability of cleaning products to meet the increased demand
If it is safe for us to begin widening the numbers in school on June 15th precautions we need to have in place are;
- Limiting group sizes
- Ensuring social distancing
- Staggering break times, and pick-up and drop-off times
- Increased cleaning
- Keeping pupils and staff with coronavirus symptoms at home
If your child is clinically extremely vulnerable, or living with someone who is in this group, they should not come back to school and should continue home learning. If your child is clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable), you should seek medical advice to decide if they should come back to school. Please refer to government guidance for further details of these groups.
I want to reassure you that we will not be pressuring parents to send their children to school. This letter is about gauging parental response in order to assist us with our planning. There are no sanctions in place for parents who choose not to send their children to school in the current situation – you know your family’s circumstances and what is best for your child’s health and wellbeing. I will provide you with more details on the arrangements for reopening in the coming weeks, so you can make the appropriate decision. I ask that you complete the on-line survey to help us plan. It is non-binding and you are able to change your mind at a later date once you know more of the details.
Please remember that in the meantime, the school is still open only for vulnerable pupils and the children of critical workers. This group continues to be the government’s priority, and will remain so even if schools partially re-open on 15th June.
Thank you for your continued support.
Mr G.W. Lumsdon