12th May - planned return of schools
I appreciate that the last few days have brought a lot of information in the news, government announcements and guidance documents. The significant announcement has been the planned reopening of schools for face to face provision for some year groups.
I wanted to ensure I had the opportunity to discuss with a range of colleagues so that we were clear on what this means for Chilwell school, the students, staff and parents. Whilst I can provide you with some information below, please be patient whilst we develop a full and clear plan for all.
We want things to return to normal, but I am afraid that we must recognised that our daily lives have changed and so will how our school operates. We will continue to face challenges and difficulties and so we need to consider carefully how we rebuild our school life and our school community.
I need to recognise that many parents may be considering whether to not send their children back to school when we re-open. You will, quite rightly, have concerns for their and your welfare. It is the reality of the situation that we will work with, but we will put in place and then continue to provide a safe environment in which to study and grow.
The school reopening will also mean that on line learning will continue and we will also have to recognise that some year groups will continue to experience the majority of their learning at a distance from school.
The school will be planning to re-introduce on site provision for years ten and twelve students. We are currently drafting the timetable on the basis that class sizes will be reduced to ten students or less, that students will spend limited time moving around the school but that as far as possible, the full range of their curriculum subjects will continue. Students will have face to face contact with their teachers, but students will not be in school for the full week, but only for the times they are timetabled. This will all be communicated home when we are ready to welcome students.
We are planning how students can safely learn in classrooms, can arrive and leave in safety and be clear on how to move around the site including to the toilet and for lunch in a way that protects themselves and others.
Students in years seven, eight and nine will currently continue their learning on line and at present will not come to the school site. Google classroom and telephone contact will continue for these students and families.
All of our arrangements are there to save lives. I did not think I would ever put that in a letter to parents, but these are the times in which we live. As a result there are a number of conditions that need to be clear.
There are national conditions that have been identified by professional associations that need to be met before we can consider that schools can operate safely.
The school will not be returning unless we are satisfied that we have in place at Chilwell systems and resources to protect staff and students.
The return to school will follow an opportunity for staff to return to school first to undertake training and preparation for the intake of students.
School systems will be different from those before 20th March.
Systems will be in place for the health and well being of all and adherence to every aspect of these systems will be a pre-condition of being educated on site.
Everything we do will be about ensuring safety and well being of our staff and students.
On line learning continues for all and will do so also for year ten and twelve, even when they are on site for part of the week. We are now well into the habit of using google classroom and I have been really pleased with the feedback from staff, students and parents in becoming more familiar with a new way of learning.
Timing of our return
There is a lot to arrange as well as structures to put in place and issues to resolve before we can confirm that we are open for students to learn on site. I will ensure that you are kept informed of developments and how we will operate in these current circumstances. Whilst 1st June has been identified as the start of the process, at present I can not confirm that the school will be open on that date for year ten and twelve students but as soon as we are able. I will inform you as soon as possible of the start date for your children.
Communication and changes
Thank you to all the parents who have communicated with us about our provision and support. We have tried to adapt and change as a result of helpful suggestions. This includes the addition of parents and guardians to google classroom. From this evening, parents and guardians will receive information on the tasks set and the deadlines for work that is set by teachers. You can choose whether to receive this as a daily or a weekly update.
We are also aware of students who are finding themselves falling behind with the work - if this is the case, please try where possible to undertake the current work that is set so that students do not feel overwhelmed. There will be time at half-term to catch up anything missed, if necessary.
Also, all faculties will give a response to the work that has been received, either through automatic marking, a class response or individual feedback to students. Some subject areas will develop a range of small tasks followed by a larger assignment which generates feedback.We know you value the contact with school and we do with you.
These are times that change rapidly, but I wanted to let you know the planning that is in place to ensure that we can provide the best.
We miss our students and the environment we have worked so hard to create. We are determined that we will rebuild it. It will require commitment from all of us and this will mean that I will expect complete co-operation from anyone who will be arriving on our site. It is too important for any of us to not follow safe behaviour. Our staff, our parents and our students will expect nothing less than a focus on staying safe, staying healthy and staying learning.