Headteacher Updates

Head Teachers Letter 21st September 2020

Dear Parent/ Carer,

As I write, three weeks into the new school term, we have a national picture of around half of all schools reporting COVID positive cases, localised lockdowns and the prospect of further national lockdown if the incidences of COVID cases continues to rise.  Given this picture, it appears that all schools are likely to experience partial or full closures at some point - depending on the number of cases and who is affected at any given time.

We have robust risk-assessed measures in place in school to minimise the risk of virus transmission.  We will continue to operate as closely to ‘normal’ as we are able while it is safe to do so.  We cannot, however, offer any guarantees about how this situation will evolve or how it will affect the operation of the school.

I warmly encourage you to plan as flexibly as you possibly can around your own working and childcare arrangements for the forthcoming period.  If we have to close class bubbles, etc – we are likely to have to do so at little notice.  The more prepared you are for this, the easier this transition.  We have measures in place to maintain continuity of education in the event of closure.  These will be implemented as and when required.

We should anticipate that these conditions will exist on into the near future.  There is much still unknown about the virus, its behaviour, the potential for re-infection, etc.  We also have the prospect of the winter colds and flu season fast approaching.  These are very difficult times for all of us.

No school would make a choice to have children at home were there safe enough prospects of them being in school.  It is a great frustration for all that this position exists in the country.  It is crucial that we support one another and support our schools through this next period.

With every best wish,

Mark Wilson

Chief Executive Officer, Wellspring Academy Trust

 

Head Teachers Letter 1st September 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

As we come to the close of the summer holidays, I wanted to write to you to just clarify details for the return of children next week.

We are very excited about welcoming the children back and we know that there will be a mix of feelings from our children (and you) about their return. Some will be really looking forward to it and naturally some will be very anxious about it.  As always we will do everything that we can to provide a reassuring and therapeutic environment for them.

Safety remains at the forefront of our decision making and the revised school risk assessment is available on our school website should you wish to take a look at this.

You will have heard in the media about the wearing of face masks in schools.  I have attached the link to the government's guidance https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-in-education/face-coverings-in-education

but for I have also picked out the most relevant element as we see this in school:

On the basis of current evidence, in light of the mitigating measures education settings are taking, and the negative impact on communication, face coverings will not generally be necessary in the classroom even where social distancing is not possible. There is greater use of the system of controls for minimising risk, including through keeping in small and consistent groups or bubbles, and greater scope for physical distancing by staff within classrooms. Face coverings can have a negative impact on learning and teaching and so their use in the classroom should be avoided.

On this basis children WILL NOT be required or permitted to wear face coverings in school, unless we are subject to a local lockdown (and if that happens then I will let you know).  Teachers will not be wearing face coverings, but there may be one or two occasions when some colleagues are wearing the see through visor.

On a practical level, the school day will now run at its pre COVID times, with children starting school at 8.55 and finishing at 3.30 Monday to Thursday and 2.00 pm on Friday.  When children arrive at school on their school transport they will remain in the vehicles until staff members come out to collect them.  We will of course be continuing with enhanced hygiene protocols and I would ask that you please support the wellbeing of all of our community and do not send your child to school if they are running a temperature or displaying any symptoms of COVID-19.

We are aiming to make school life as 'normal' as possible for our wonderful children who have been through so much these last 6 months.  I know you will be patient with us whilst we all adjust to things being just a little different.  Some of your children will be returning to us on a part time basis initially to aid their smooth transition back into school but those parents have already been contacted separately about these arrangements.

You can expect continuous contact with your child's teacher and you are always welcome to contact your child's teacher via email or by telephoning the school.  I would ask that you respect their entitlement to a healthy work life balance and restrict contact to reasonable office hours.  That being said I am mindful that there are times when you have queries that fall outside of 'office hours'.  You have my email address and I will always endeavour to respond and I am happy for you to make contact with me at any time that you have any questions, worries, queries etc.

You should all reflect on the amazing work you have done with your child over these last 6 months.  You have needed to balance things that no one could have ever prepared you for and you have risen to the challenge in an incredible way.  Your wonderful children are coming back to us now and I couldn't be more delighted.

With all my very best wishes.

Michelle Farr

Headteacher

The Forest School