Plans for returning to school

return to school letter to families 22 5 20

22 May 2020
Dear Parents/Carers
I write on behalf of the Diocese of Chichester Academy Trust, of which Christ Church CE Primary & Nursery Academy is an important part. You will be aware that the government has announced its plan to widen the opening of schools from 1 June, starting with Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, with some face to face opportunities for Years 10 and 12. As a family of schools, we have been busy planning since the announcement on 10 May 2020. This has included asking parents/carers from these year groups if they would feel able to send their children into school. We have also needed to carefully consider the safety and wellbeing of our excellent staff in order that they feel confident to support your children in a different, adapted school environment.
The Trust is governed by a Board of Trustees who met today to carefully consider all of the schools’ plans and risk assessments. As the employer, they are satisfied that the four tests we set ourselves have been met and that, from 1 June, we should carefully widen the reopening of our schools following the government’s guidance. All of our schools are unique and the Headteacher knows them best so they will be writing to you with the details of how this will be managed at Christ Church.
For reference, our ‘four tests’ for widening the opening of our schools are set out below:
1. Academy risk assessments (informed by DfE, LA, legal and union advice) show that it is safe to open for children
2. After the actions taken following the risk assessment, your Headteacher and I continue to feel confident to open
3. We will have safe staffing levels
4. We are clear of what is meant by social distancing in schools during this period
I am sure you would want to join me in once again thanking leaders, teachers and staff at Christ Church who have kept the school open for keyworkers and others over the holiday periods and bank holidays and provided regular learning for your children. I wrote to the papers to recognise the work of your school. You can find a link to the article here.
I would also like to thank you as parents/carers for juggling your own lives with the challenges of home learning and the uncertainty of the next steps. Some of you may be understandably anxious about sending your child back in to school. To manage the risk of Covid-19, the school, supported by the Trust, has thought carefully about the approach they are initially taking from 1 June 2020, and each school has tailored this approach to their own context. They have worked with our family of schools to share ideas to make our schools as safe as possible. They have carried out a full risk assessment with over 100 points for careful consideration. The Trust carried out onsite visits to check the risk assessments, as well as bringing in new policies to keep children protected during these challenging times. Please do follow instructions at all times.
There has been a wide range of national guidance provided to schools. As the government has indicated, the situation is not set in stone and subject to change. Please be patient with our schools as they navigate their way through these unchartered waters. As a Trust, we are in regular contact with the Department for Education, the local authority and school unions in order that our schools can plan for the next steps at this challenging time.
We will continue to pray for the safety of you and your families and all connected with Christ Church.
Yours faithfully
Mark Talbot
Chief Executive Officer