14th May 2020
I hope you are all well. It seems such a long time now since we moved into lockdown but our sense of school community has remained strong, and it has been heartening to see such support being given to one another in so many different forms.
There has been a flurry of activity since my last update, with responses from school leaders and others to the government announcement on Sunday regarding the phased re-opening of schools. Not surprisingly, there is much concern being expressed by both parents and professionals alike.
I want to reiterate that at Alfriston pupil and staff safety will remain the primary concern in any planning and that it may not be possible to welcome back all pupils in the way the prime minister described. At the moment, we are beginning to evaluate whether and how it might be safe to expand the number of pupils attending, and to begin to consider what a phased return might look like. Any phased return will need to be managed with extreme caution and care, and will be a gradual and staged process.
We will continue to prioritise the vulnerable pupils and those of key workers as we have been doing up until now and then we can consider whether it might be possible to offer additional pupils places. There are many challenges to face in considering what a safe return for some pupils might look like and to help us to do this, among other things, we need to assess the potential demand for places and our capacity to provide.
Over the coming days, we will be reviewing our staffing availability, as there are those who fall into categories where there is a higher risk to themselves and to the school and who will need to remain at home. We will be contacting parents to assess the demand for places, and will be considering priorities. Many parents will still feel that it is safer for their daughters to remain at home at this stage, due to their individual circumstances, and we intend to continue to develop and provide some form of home learning.
I am very aware of the need for an extensive risk assessment to be carried out before any changes can be made, and there is an abundance of advice and checklists to support this. We will be following local and national Health and Safety guidance, and taking into account the views and needs of our whole school community. As our plans become clearer, we will keep you informed.