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Letter from the Governing Body of  Balfour Infant School

 

Dear Parents

We hope you are keeping as well as possible in these unusual times

The Governing Body of Balfour Infant school have been discussing the latest updates on Government policy on schools during the lockdown, alongside the current position for children who are currently attending school.

You will all have seen how the situation continues to evolve, and (at time of writing) the latest Government statement about schools fully re-opening in September.  It is not clear how that will be achieved but we are all very keen to see schools back to some sort of normal routine for all children as soon as it is safely possible to do so.  

For the immediate future, under the current rules in force today, the school cannot safely increase the number of children we can accept into school, whilst keeping the health and safety of all children and staff as the paramount concern. 

We are very much aware that many parents are starting to return to work and are looking for their children to be able to come to school to make that possible.  It is very important for us as a school that every child has the right to a good education, which has been seriously disrupted since the lockdown period began.  The school and the Governing Body need to try to balance those clear needs with the overriding priority of protecting the health and safety of the children and staff, by complying with the rules handed down to us by the Government and health care experts.  It is fair to say that this balance is very uneven – the Government has changed its policy in recent weeks, as it has become clear that many schools have not been able to re-open as instructed and still meet the health and safety rules which must be the top priority. 

On Monday 15th June the school welcomed back 15 year R children, to add to the children who have already been attending school because their parents are key workers, along with those children who are considered vulnerable according to local authority assessment. 

The measures that the Headteacher and staff have implemented within school, which parents can view on the school website, are working well and children, parents and staff are steadily adapting to the new way that the school needs to operate in order to meet the requirements for Health and Safety set down by Public Health England and the Department

for Education.   Governors are pleased to say that the measures appear to be working well, and the school is able to maintain a good regime of cleanliness and social distancing.

However, we have also learned that the school cannot accommodate many more children whilst the 2-metre distance rule remains in force.  The number of children of key workers has started to settle into a reliable level but is still high enough to take up a large proportion of the available safe capacity. The school buildings are very old for significant parts of the site, with some narrow corridors and relatively small, odd-shaped classrooms.  There are several pinch-points within certain classes and in transition areas, which we are just about coping with at present but which would be impossible to maintain with higher numbers of children and adhering to the 2-metre rule. 

The Governing Body have reached the disappointing conclusion that the school is not able to accept more children to return to classes within the current Government guidelines before the end of the school year.  All of the teachers are very keen to see all of their classes together again and to get back to provide the great learning environment the school is very proud of. But we cannot safely do that for any more children until the Government rules change, and social distancing is reduced (or eventually removed altogether). 

We do realise that this will be disappointing and frustrating for parents who were hoping their child could return to school very soon.   We will obviously keep constantly reviewing the latest Government updates and will look at increasing the number of children in school as soon as it is safe to do so in line with Government guidance. 

In a related matter, we are very pleased with the level of interaction between pupils, families and teachers using SeeSaw.  The teachers are very grateful for the large number of positive comments from parents about the learning offered to children, all of which has to be created by the staff (sadly there isn’t a pre-set bank of material for teachers to draw on for this situation).  If your children are not currently accessing SeeSaw, please contact the school as soon as possible to discuss alternatives. 

And finally, for parents of Year 2 children who are due to be moving into junior school in September, we would like to reassure them that the staff and Headteacher have been in close contact with the junior school and are confident that the transition will be as smooth as possible.

Yours sincerely

Steve Horton

Chair of Governors

Balfour Infant School

 

 

STAFF DEVELOPMENT DAY- WEDNESDAY 22ND JULY 2020

Please note that Wednesday 22nd July is a staff development day and pupils do not attend school.

A special message from all of us to all of you!

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