William Byrd Primary Academy
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September Return to School

Letter from the Head - 9 July 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

As you will be aware, the government recently announced its plans for all children in all age groups to return to school full-time in the Autumn Term. William Byrd will reopen for all children from Monday 7 September 2020.

All children in all year groups will be expected to return in September. It is not optional and all parents will need to send their children in to school each day. Children have missed so much direct schooling and we have to begin the work to start plugging the gaps in their learning and development.

There is clear guidance from the government on what schools need to do to get ready for the return of children and we are currently finalising our plans. All measures are subject to Trust Board approval but I wanted to write to you now to reassure you that we will put everything in place that we can to ensure the school is as safe as possible, including a full risk assessment. We will continue to use the protective measures we currently have in place, including:

  •  Everyone, children and adults, will be washing and sanitising their hands on arrival to school and regularly throughout the day.
  • A more frequent cleaning schedule will be in place across the school with particular attention given to frequently touched surfaces  Good personal hygiene and promoting the ‘catch it, kill it bin it’ approach
  • Minimising contact and maintaining distance as much as possible, including through the use of ‘bubbles’ of children who will not come in to contact with children from other bubbles
  • Break and lunch times will be staggered to ensure children are able to remain in their protective bubbles
  • One-way systems for dropping off and collecting children. For those parents whose children have been at school in the last few weeks, you will know how this works

All of this means that things may continue to look at little different when we return in September and there may be things that we are used to which will not be able to happen for a while:

  • Assemblies (although we will continue to reward and recognise children’s effort, work and attendance)
  • To begin with we will not be able to run Breakfast Club, After School Care or Extra-Curricular Clubs. We are looking at ways to get Breakfast Club safely up and running as quickly as possible because I know how vital a support it is to children and parents
  • We will not have a ‘soft start’ and we will have staggered drop-off and collection times

Our priority is to get children into a normal routine as quickly as possible, and that will include wearing full school uniform from September.

Many children may be unsure and even anxious about coming back to school and we will be spending a lot of time with them when they come back talking through and trying to ease any concerns they may have. As part of that programme, we are planning to create short sessions for children to come in to school, see their new classrooms and meet their new teachers in person on Friday 4 September. We will be in touch shortly with further details. You will also receive a telephone call from your child’s new class teacher next week where they will introduce themselves to you and your child. This may come from a private or withheld number. Please can you ensure your child is with you when you take the call. Furthermore, your child’s new teacher and the other teachers in your child’s new year group have created a video for children to watch as part of our virtual transition programme. They will be available on the school website from tomorrow.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our families for your continued support. It has been a difficult time for everyone and we have all faced challenges. You, as parents and carers, have had to support your children with home learning. The school staff team have had to adapt to new ways of working and worked tirelessly to ensure school remained open throughout the lockdown. Above all, children have had to face the unprecedented challenge of learning at home and losing their familiar routines, structures and friendships. We are very much looking forward to reestablishing these with them in September. I will write to you again in the coming days with final details about dates, times and arrival points for September. I am very much looking forward to seeing all of you again when we return.

Yours sincerely
Mrs S Roberts
Head of School