Friday 5th June - a message from Binks Neate-Evans, our Executive Principal
THIS WEEK – PHASE 2
This week has been an important week in the next stage of re-opening schools. Both the Angel schools have completed a really positive week with Y6, Reception and Nursery. I know Bignold has been incredibly busy in order to fulfill the safety aspects but now is looking shipshape and ready to begin the process on Monday 8th June. Each of your heads will communicate about details for each setting. However, I wanted to take this opportunity to reassure families that a highly rigorous process has meant that schools have felt safe, welcoming and, very importantly, clear about how to manage should anyone show signs and symptoms. Whichever school your children attend, whether they are eligible to attend or not, may I again thank you for the huge support you have shown us. Likewise, staff should feel very proud of what they have managed. They have worked so hard – whatever stage each school is at.
We have not yet received any further information from the government about plans to expand. If there are any updates or announcements, as with the previous phase, school leaders will work with Evolution Academy trust to come to local decision as to whether we can expand. We will communicate to you as soon as we can. School offices will be unable to answer queries about wider expansion. I have said all along that I want to support families and help them to manage their expectations. At this stage, it looks unlikely that numbers in schools will increase significantly before the summer holidays as we are using a risk assessment based on what we believe are safe capacities given the widest set of information we have available to us. Many of you will be worried about the impact this will have on your children. This is something we too are very concerned about and any loss of learning will be a priority on school development planning for the future.
It is very hard to get the balance between giving good information about ‘in school’ activity, whilst being very mindful and sensitive of the many children not able to come to school and the impact on them and their families. We have decided not to send out separate information for the evolving groups because we are ONE community. Many of you may have children at home AND at school. We recognise this is potentially difficult too. We hope that by sharing information about what is happening will go some way to reassuring people in the longer term.
EDUCATING AT HOME
We are aware of the huge challenges families are facing, as well as knowing some families have enjoyed aspects of co-educating. As the time out of school lengthens, we are trying to ensure that we support families in engaging their children in some learning. Teachers are still making KIT calls and we will continue to provide work. If you are struggling to engage your child in educational activity, please do talk to your teacher about it or contact the school office and we will try and support and advise as appropriate. You may be interested to know that there has been evidenced-based research that indicates peer to peer teaching can be powerful. If you have older children, encouraging them to take on the role of ‘teaching’ can be powerful and sometimes less painful from the child: adult battle. The simplest form of this is encouraging children to read together. This is of course only possible with multiple children or if you have good digital resources to allow children to connect up with other households safely.
HERE TO HELP
Please do contact school if you are worried about your child’s mental health or anyone in your household. Whilst we have limited resource as we meet the challenges we are facing, no person should feel alone in our communities.
TAKE A KNEE
We have been deeply saddened about the appalling death of George Floyd in the USA. It is already a complex time for children. Staff will deal with this sensitively in an age-appropriate way in children’s bubbles as children are already managing a lot. We recognise this terrible incident may have impacted on families/children in different ways. The staff have been invited to mark their support for anti-racism next week in school by following the ‘Take a Knee’ movement. Racism, hidden or explicit will not be tolerated in our schools. We want to build a better brighter future for all our children. It is their right. We care.
Take good care and please keep up the social distancing to keep our communities safe.
Bignold Primary, Angel Road Junior School and Angel Road Infant and Nursery school