8th July 2020
I hope that you and your families remain well.
The DfE have now issued guidance to all schools on re-opening for September. The plan is that all children and young people, in all year groups and setting types, will return to education settings full time from the beginning of the autumn term. The guidance outlines the measures that need to be in place to create a safer environment, and we have used this to inform our own risk assessment for Alfriston and to inform our plans on how we need to operate for September. The guidance issued to special school settings is different to that issued to mainstream settings, therefore the highlights that you may hear on the news or in the press may not be applicable to our school.
At Alfriston we plan to welcome all pupils back for September. We already have measures in place which will be adapted to meet the new requirements. These include:
1) Minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend the setting.
2) Clean hands thoroughly more often than usual.
3) Ensure good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.
4) Introduce enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often
5) Minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing wherever possible.
We have reviewed how we manage the daily organisation of our school, which includes movement around the school, management of lunchtimes, transport pick up and drop off times, good hygiene practice and the use of toilets. Pupils will have the routines and guidance clearly explained to them when they return.
It is recognised that maintaining distance or forming bubbles is particularly difficult in special settings. However, the average number of pupils or students attending a special school is much lower than the average number in a mainstream school, and this in itself, will help to limit the number of contacts for any individual. As such, we will be operating in a single “bubble” across the school, and in the event of a possible case, the whole school will self-isolate.
For the remainder of this term, we will be operating “as usual” with the additional year group bubbles attending for one day a week, along with the regular attenders. Home learning will continue to be provided. This arrangement will end on Friday 17th July, and then only the regular attenders in bubble 1 will attend for the last two days of term.
From September, we have 2 INSET days planned for Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 2nd September. We will then have a phased return for the whole school, with our new year 7 pupils along with the year 11s and Post 16s attending on Thursday 3rd September, and all year groups attending for Friday 4th September. This will allow for the new routines and procedures to be explained and practised, and for us to offer additional pastoral support and guidance to all our pupils, prior to the full curriculum and timetable to be in place for the term starting properly on the following Monday. Details of the revised procedures will be sent to parents at the start of the term.
Meanwhile, you will be informed today of which pastoral group your daughter will be in for next year. You will also be receiving her annual report by email early next week.
We are very much looking forward to having all the girls back in school, and although I realise that this won’t be easy for some, after an initial re-adjustment period I am sure that they will settle back into school and adapt to a new routine.
With kind regards,