Letter from Mrs Quinn, following PM Boris Johnson’s update

Dear Parent / Carer

Firstly, and most importantly, we hope you and your families are all safe and well.  We are very aware and saddened that some of you have recently suffered the loss of loved ones; we send you our deepest sympathy and will continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

Thank you all for your commitment to home learning and for keeping us updated with all the wonderful work and fun children have been having.  Fun and relaxation are most important activities during this difficult time, so if home learning is getting stressful maybe consider reducing it or leaving it for a while, but please do not allow children too much time on electronics and gadgets etc as this can create greater problems.

I am sure after the Prime Minister’s statement last night you must have lots of questions. We have lots of questions that need clarification too but we have time to get answers to these before we consider opening the school for some children; we all just have to be patient for a little longer.

At this stage, we must be clear on exactly what the Prime Minister said, “In step two, at the earliest by 1st June, after half term, we believe we may be in a position to begin the phased reopening of shops and to begin to get primary children back into schools in stages, beginning with Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.”  Understandably, there remains a lot of uncertainty as 1st June is three weeks away and the unpredictability of this virus means planning ahead is extremely difficult, so much could change before then.

With the statement only being made last night, it is too early for us to have received any guidance from the DFE and Local Authority to support us in devising a new plan to start the phased reopening of school for some year groups.  We expect we will receive further information from the DFE during the week, hopefully with some clarification and guidance on how we can keep children, staff and families safe, expectations around social distancing, pupil numbers, hygiene, timetabling, organisation, attendance/non-attendance and suggestions as to how these can be achieved.  We will then need time to plan and implement these, ready to start welcoming children back into school.

We are very aware that school is not going to be the same as when the children left in March, it is going to be a very different environment and we want to ensure we get it as comfortable, caring and safe for the children as we possibly can.  We know the first priority will be their well-being, reducing anxieties, offering reassurance, restoring relationships, confidence, routines, expectations etc; this too will take time to plan for and a lot of time and commitment once we start receiving children back into school.  But please be reassured, children are at the heart of All Souls and we will do all we can for as long as it takes to ensure they feel safe and well cared for.  We owe all children this, as they too have been heroes throughout lockdown!

At the moment for us in school, there is no change to the guidance.  We will continue to provide care for those children whose parents’ work is critical to the COVID-19 response and those that cannot be safely cared for at home.  The message is still that it is safer to stay at home. 

As always, we will keep you up dated and inform you immediately once the Governors have received and considered the guidance that we are sure will follow from the DFE, Local Authority and Diocese and are ready to make a decision on the way forward.

In the meantime, please do not worry; our plan is to continue to provide activities for home learning, to keep contact with you via the website, newsletter, phone calls, virtual meetings, door step visits and to continue to support our families as best we can in these difficult and uncertain times.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all staff who have done such a marvellous job in supporting all children and they have done this selflessly and with such love, care and positivity.  They truly are a great team.

A small positive that has come out of this situation but one that cannot in anyway be underestimated and is most powerful, is that the All Souls Community has proven itself to be one that truly lives out the Gospel values.  Amongst our families and parishioners there have been so many wonderful examples of love, compassion, service, care, generosity, reconciliation, hope, friendship, togetherness and so much more.  There is a great pride in our sense of belonging which has been strengthened through our faith and it is this that we will rely on, particularly in the next few months and it is this that will give us the determination, positivity and ability to work through an extremely difficult period that will continue for some time.

Please continue to take care of each other and stay safe.

Yours faithfully

Caroline Quinn

Headteacher

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