Dear Parents and Carers - Download the letter
I do hope you are all well and I would like to thank you for your adherence to the government advice on social distancing and remaining at home where possible. We are all making a real difference when it comes to defeating this virus and ensuring that our community stays safe at this time. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank parents for ensuring our pupils are engaging in the distance learning programme.
We will report to parents before the end of this term to inform you how well your son or daughter has engaged in distance learning. As I am sure you are all aware the Education Secretary announced on Wednesday 3rd June that there will be a wider opening of schools for all pupils on the 29th June. Now that we have received the official guidance from the Department for Education and the Local Authority, we can now begin to plan how this wider opening can be done safely. Prestatyn High has remained open to many pupils over the past twelve weeks and we have been able to organise this in a very safe way for pupils and staff. This experience puts us in a good position to further open up the school safely.
The Local Authority has already sent out a questionnaire to gather some basic information about whether you intend to send your child back to school from June 29th. After reading this information you may wish to change your decision, please email email@example.com so that we can update our records. If at any point you change your mind, we will require 5 working days notice so that we can alter our arrangements to accommodate an increase or decrease in pupil numbers.
The logistical challenges we face will be many and knowing the number of pupils we expect to return before the end of the summer term will help us plan effectively. I have outlined below what school is likely to look like for all pupils upon wider opening. In every aspect outlined below the safety of pupils, students, staff and parents is our number one priority.
Teaching and Learning
The full curriculum will not be in operation but we will focus on teaching the core elements of literacy and numeracy.
We will have a focus on teaching good hygiene and routines in the coronavirus world. This will include an induction on how all pupils must now operate and behave in school during these unprecedented times.
Our aim is to provide an education for all pupils and a sense of routine/normality during our catch up and check in sessions.
Different year groups will be in on different days of the week.
There will also be pastoral and wellbeing sessions to foster good mental health within lessons.
We will develop “Learning Fitness” which will prepare pupils so that they are ready to learn again.
The 6th form students will experience subject specific support from their teachers.
We will use far less resources than normal as they would require thorough cleaning.
We will not be sending books home with the pupils.
There will be no expectation that pupils should wear the school uniform.
There will be no assemblies. Start and finish times
The start and finish times will be staggered into designated slots.
Pupils must not arrive to school any earlier or later than the time slot allocated.
All pupils will have a designated entry and exit point into school.
No adults can accompany pupils into school. Parental meetings will take place by phone or remotely.
Further advice will be given to pupils arriving on school and public transport soon.
We encourage all pupils where possible to come to school by walking or cycling. Arrangements during the school day
Pupils will be split into groups (bubbles) within their year group of no more than 10.
Each bubble will have their own classroom space for the day they attend school and will not mix with pupils from any other bubble throughout the school day.
Pupils may not be in their normal teaching classroom.
Each bubble will be led by a teacher who may or may not be a teacher they have had throughout this academic year. All sessions will happen with these designated teachers.
Desks and furniture within the classrooms will be spread out to maximise the distance between pupils. Only classrooms with good ventilation and enough space for desks to be separated by 2m will be used.
Pupils will be allocated their own chair and desk space, they must only work in this space.
Pupils will be asked to provide their own equipment. Pupils without equipment will be provided with equipment that must be retained for each session they are in school.
We will insist on regular handwashing and hand sanitising throughout the day.
We will provide additional hand cleaning products. Pupils can also bring their own hand sanitiser or anti-bacterial wipes into school if they wish.
Pupils will be asked to bring in their own water bottles as all water fountains will be disconnected. Breaktime and lunch times
Breaktimes and lunchtimes will be staggered so that each bubble has their own space and time to be safe. Pupils from other bubbles will not mix during these times. At break and lunchtime, the 2m social distancing rules will still apply.
The school kitchen staff will provide meals for anyone who wants one. Pupils will eat in their designated classroom before being able to access outside areas with their bubble. Orders for food will be placed earlier in the day and ParentPay will be used to credit accounts.
The current Hub provision
Pupils needing to access the hub provision will still be able to do so.
The procedures and organisation will be amended to take into account the increase in pupil numbers accessing the school. Further details will follow nearer to the time of wider opening. Distance learning
The distance learning provision will continue.
There will be significant changes to the regularity and volume of work set as teachers will be now be teaching lessons during the day.
We will do what we can to ensure this provision still provides meaningful work that will allow pupils not in school to still progress over time.
Further details will follow nearer to the time of wider opening.
The normal school rules and expectations will still apply on behaviour and conduct.
Any pupil not following the social distancing rules will be removed from school and parents will be contacted to collect their child.
Under no circumstances should you send your child to school if they are exhibiting any symptoms or illness of any kind.
We will not be taking pupils’ temperatures on arrival as the science shows that many children with coronavirus are asymptomatic.
If a pupil does develop symptoms they will be isolated immediately and we will insist on them being collected as soon as possible.
PPE has not been advised in schools except when administering first aid and for our cleaners. It might be that some pupils and staff choose to wear facemasks.
All areas of the school will be thoroughly cleaned before and after each school day. Ongoing cleaning will also take place throughout the school day to ensure that that the building is a safe and sterile environment.
I hope I have provided enough information to help you make your decision. As a parent myself, I would want to know exactly what school will look like, that their school is doing everything they can to minimise any risks and that they are fully following the advice and guidance from the Department of Education. Should you wish for your son or daughter to stay at home, that is absolutely fine and I assure you I understand and respect that choice. Attendance is totally optional and there will be no sanction or fine for parents choosing not to send in their children.
Many of the things I have listed above are about changes to how the school will operate. I should also say that our school values and ethos have not changed and pupil wellbeing and respect is at the centre of everything we do.
I’m sure you can appreciate there is a huge amount to organise and think through. I will write to you all soon with a detailed plan for each year group when we know how many pupils to expect. We are also working on how our school will be organised from September and information on this will be available nearer the time.
Opening up the school further will only take place when I am satisfied we can keep pupils, staff and families safe.
Thank you for the time you have given to reading this letter. I appreciate that it is a difficult decision to make and one that will take careful consideration.
Take care and stay safe,
Neil Foley - B.Sc. MA.