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18/05/20 - Reopening update


18th May 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,


I hope you are all keeping safe and well.

Having written to you last week in a joint letter with our CEO, Andrew Buckton, I wanted to further update you.

By now you would have received a phone call, email or SeeSaw message from your child’s classteacher regarding completing the first phase of our risk assessment towards planning for a phased re-opening. If you have not been able to respond yet please could you email or send an email/SeeSaw message with your responses to the following two questions to your child’s class teacher.  A simple ‘yes or no’ answer is fine. Thank you.

  1. Would you want a place if we can make school as safe as possible?
  2. Is your child or anyone in the household ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’ as per the latest Government guidance?

We will be contacting you again shortly to ask for further information towards completing the risk assessment and we very much appreciate your support with this.

Government guidance states:

          “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.”

I want to reassure you that we already have and will continue to have clear infection control procedures in place when your child comes into school. This includes temperature checks three times a day and staff will wear gloves, aprons and masks to do this as well as when assisting with pupil’s personal care and at lunchtimes. There may be other times in the day when staff will wear protective equipment as safety of pupils and staff is paramount.

As I’m sure you know, social distancing measures for our children whatever their age is a real challenge. What I can say is that our aim is to have as few children as possible in a class (with no more than two adults), break times and lunchtimes will be staggered, children will remain in the same groups with the same adults during this period of phased re-opening and there will be no large gatherings such as assemblies, eating lunch together and playtimes. We will also have to encourage and support children to play as socially distant as possible and are we are currently investigating the feasibility of this.

Children will be supported to understand the importance of hand hygiene and will wash their hands frequently and surfaces and resources will be frequently wiped and washed down. For full details of our infection control procedures and other protocols, please read our Safeguarding Policy Annex which is on our website.

We are also working closely with the local authority school transport providers, their aim is to have as few children as possible on their transport, to have their own infection control measures and to stagger drop-off and pick-up times so that we don’t have too many children entering and exiting the school building at the same time. I’m sure you can appreciate that this is a complex issue too.

School staff have been working relentlessly throughout the school closure period as I am sure you know from the communication you have had with your child’s class teacher. The admin team have been in school every day and have been communicating with the local authority, completing attendance records and sourcing and sending out details for free school meal vouchers, amongst other tasks to keep the school operational.

The school leadership team have continued to monitor all aspects of safeguarding, risk assessments and health and safety so that our most vulnerable children are kept safe. We have also been planning and implementing plans so that the school can be ready to adapt and offer provision as each phase of the government’s re-opening advice and plans change.

Our utmost priority is the safety and wellbeing of children, families and staff and the planning of our recovery curriculum will be underway soon. You will be invited to be involved in this planning and your thoughts and ideas about what your child needs will be integrated into these plans. I must emphasise that the traditional education that school provides may look very different for some time as we recognise that our children will need a substantial period of support to build their resilience, emotional well-being and mental wealth, re-build their friendships and relationships and re-learn how to do school.  We do not take for granted the impact of this pandemic on their wellbeing and this must be an area of priority.

You have been doing wonderful things to support your children’s learning over the last couple of months and we thank you for all that you have done and continue to do. For some of you this support at home will continue as you feel you are not yet ready to send your child to school. This is very understandable and I want to reassure you that I welcome the news that the government have stated that no parent will be fined or prosecuted if they do not wish to send their child to school at the moment. Neither will it go against your child’s attendance record. The most important thing is that you feel confident that your child will be safe at school at the right time for you and them.

For the time being, I send you very best wishes from all of us at Culverhill and we will be in touch again shortly regarding the next stage of our re-opening plans.

My very best wishes and please stay safe and well,

Sue Hewitt


Culverhill School