Dear parents, carers and friends,
Following Julian Wooster’s letter on Tuesday, we wanted to write to you as promised to share the current expectations around extending provision at Elmhurst during the lockdown.
Before we do that, though, we would like to thank you for your continued support. We know that the decisions we have needed to make haven’t always been the popular ones and they certainly haven’t helped those of you who have been expected to return to work. You have continued to be supportive of our decisions, though, and for this, we are incredibly grateful. The decisions we make have always been, and will continue to be, for the safety of our children and the team at Elmhurst.
Mr Johnson announced last week that his plan for all Primary school children to return to school before the summer holidays was too ambitious and that schools could not do this with the current safeguarding measures in place. Instead, schools were asked to look at their own capacity for expansion.
The current guidance for this is: There is no expectation on primary schools to welcome back additional children where they do not have capacity to do so, and they should only do so where they can accommodate more children while still following the approaches set out in this guidance and their own risk assessment. Where schools have capacity, they may choose to welcome back additional pupils. It is up to schools to decide which pupils to prioritise, based on their knowledge of their children and communities.
We had hoped to be in a position whereby we invited all our children back into school before the holidays for at least some contact with their current teacher. Having looked at this, however, it simply isn’t possible and the guidance from the Education team at County, in line with the Government’s ongoing advice, is to focus on the year 6 and priority groups.
We are disappointed that we will not be able to see more of our children before the summer “break”.
We will, however, continue to expand provision for the priority groups. We are encouraging all eligible children to attend – it is no longer necessary for parents of eligible children to keep them at home. In particular, as per the existing guidance on vulnerable children and young people, vulnerable children of all year groups continue to be expected and encouraged to attend educational provision where it is appropriate for them to do so. If you need to access this provision, please contact us.
With regard to September, we are still waiting for decisions to be made. We were hoping to receive more news and a potential plan by Tuesday 16th June. As of today, this has still not been distributed. The guidance that has been received states: It is unlikely that there will be a return to normal in September and more likely that there is a ‘blended’ curriculum offer i.e. some face to face & some on-line provision for more pupils.
We are going to have to do things differently – unfortunately, children will not have the opportunity to meet their new class teacher as they would normally do. However, we will make sure that when the children do return we will have plans in place to address this. We will continue to update you as and when we know more.
Thank you again for your continued support,
Tracy and Mike