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         21 May 2020

Dear Parents and Carers 

Thank you for the kind comments and positive feedback about our home learning resources and all of your lovely words of support and appreciation. The support you have shown us as a school means a great deal to us all.

 

I informed you last week, although you are probably already aware from the national news that schools in England have been asked by the government to plan for reopening in some form from 1 June to Nursery, Reception (Foundation Stage), Year 1 and Year 6 pupils. This will only happen IF the government thinks it is safe at that time and all of their five tests to ease lockdown further have been met.  It is the government’s ambition to bring back all primary aged children for at least some time before the summer holidays, again only if it is safe to do so. This means Year 2 will hopefully be back before the end of the Summer Term.  Ensuring your Year 2 child has a successful transition to Junior school remains a key priority for us, and we will work closely with you and the Junior school to ensure this. 

 

As a school we have started to make plans for the wider reopening of our school for children in Year R and Year 1 from 1 June.  The governors of William Austin Infant School and I give you our strongest reassurances that we will only reopen to these Year Groups once we have undertaken all the Risk Assessments, ensured Health and Safety compliances and all risks are minimised, and consider that it is as safe as possible for the children to return.

 

Plans for reopening as mentioned in my previous letter will involve many key changes, including:

  • Limited safe class sizes - small numbers of children in a classroom in ‘bubble groups’
  • No social mixing and limited contact with other children/friends outside of their ‘bubble’
  • Staggered break/play times and lunchtimes – packed lunches only provided by school
  • Staggered pick-up and drop-off times
  • One way systems for entering and leaving the school premises
  • Signage and markings clearly displayed to follow the 2 metre rule for social distancing for all
  • Changes to timetables and teaching
  • Changes to staffing in classes to facilitate teaching
  • Increased cleaning and hygiene standards

 

We are aware that these will be huge changes to your child’s normal school experience that they will not be expecting so please talk to your child about how it will be different so that they are as prepared as they can be.

 

Our proposed plan for the wider reopening is currently:

  • From 2 June continue to support our key workers and vulnerable children
  • From 3 June opening for Year R children only
  • From mid-June opening for Year 1 children – dates to be confirmed
  • From July opening for Year 2 children – dates to be confirmed

 

Detailed information will follow for the phased reopening of individual Year Groups. Year R parents, as your children will be the first to return, we will be emailing you tomorrow (Friday 22 May) with more comprehensive plans.  We will also be asking Year R parents to complete another short survey to tell us whether you intend to send your child to school from 3 June. Please complete it, as it will help us to plan for their safe return if we have a clear idea of the number of children to expect.

 

This is all of course if the government deems it is safe for schools to reopen as planned, and as you are aware things are constantly changing, so we will keep you fully updated as and when we have more information. We expect the government to make a final decision about the reopening of schools next Thursday, 28 May.

 

It is very important to emphasise that guidance issued to all schools makes it clear that it is not compulsory for parents/carers to send their children to school at this time and there will be no penalties if you choose to keep your children at home. This is a decision only you as parents can make but, for the time being, the school’s usual attendance policy (including the use of fines) will not apply.   I have also attached a letter from John Wrigglesworth, Service director for Education for Luton Borough Council, which explains the situation regarding the phased return to school from the Local Authority’s perspective.

 

As a school we will endeavour to continue to provide home learning to the pupils not attending school, and to keep in regular touch with the families of all our children, whether they are in school or not.

 

I would like to thank the Year R and Year 1 parents who took the time to complete the survey online about the reopening of school to Year R and Year 1 children from 1st June. I acknowledge your concerns, and hope that some of those fears have been addressed in this letter.

 

Next week is still classed as a half-term holiday, even though most children have been at home. For this reason there is no home learning planned for next week, this will recommence on Tuesday 2 June. Please enjoy the week’s ‘holiday’ with your children, make the most of the sunshine and make memories that your children will treasure!

 

Finally, for those of you that will be celebrating Eid in the next couple of days, I wish you Eid Mubarak!  I know your celebrations will be very different from what you are used to this year due to this pandemic, but I hope that you are still able to enjoy yourselves at this special time.

 

Kind Regards

Mrs B Kang                                         Mr S Boelman

Headteacher                                      Chair of Governors

 

To contact the school: 

  • For all Special Educational Needs enquiries:   office@williamaustininfants.co.uk FAO Mrs Barltrop
  • For any safeguarding concerns: office@williamaustininfants.co.uk    FAO Mrs Kang/Mrs Cullen or call 07788 474241
  • To contact a teacher about your child’s learning at home: Go to the Home Learning section, select your child's year group and use the contact form at the bottom of the year group page 
  • General enquiries: office@williamaustininfants.co.uk or call 01582 595198
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