Last updated 25 May 2020
Information for Schools
We are asking schools to re-open their doors and welcome back children in nursery, Year R, 1 and 6 from the 1st June 2020.
Before moving onto practicalities, let us first thank each and everyone of you for all you have done so far. By making provision available for those critical to the COVID-19 response you have eased the burden on parents who have countless other worries at this time. This has been invaluable to the countries efforts to fight this pandemic and here at the DfE and in the wider government we will ensure that moving forwards the profession is valued for the important role it does. This has been highlighted by the countless messages we have received at the DfE praising the dedication and professionalism of staff across the country and in all types of setting. We are sure you have received such messages and suggest you treasure and value them as evidence of the excellent job you have done in this time.
We thank you for your efforts as an educational body as you re-wrote what provision should look like in these unprecedented times and have ensured that, despite ongoing and persistent difficulties with ordering systems, the neediest families in our communities have continued to receive support and provision for school meals. The efforts many of you have gone to achieve this are nothing short of miraculous.
Where guidance can often be based solely on technical aspects we, here at the DfE, wish to commend you on the level of importance you have attached to children’s well-being at this time, with many of you going above and beyond your normal working practices to ensure that children’s safety and mental health is being ensured.
We are fully aware of the level of extra work that new guidance has placed upon you, at every level of school life. The extra work, responsibility and decisions you are having to make are unusual and alien to your job role. You focus on improving children’s and families education and lives – not on how best to save them. Throughout this time we recognise that the guidance has been overlong, changed too often and therefore not helped the planning process you have had to undertake. We realise this has been more of a hinderance than a help and apologise for this. We respect those of you who have taken decisions in the best interest of your school community and will support any decision you have taken to protect the children in your care.
This bank holiday, we would encourage you to take time for yourself. We realise you are still planning for re-opening, but your mental health is important too. You have given everything for this profession and your children over the last three months and we realise that a burned out teacher is not a functional one. We can confirm that no new guidance will be forthcoming for the duration of this half term* and commend you on everything you have done so far to prepare for opening. Take this time to rest and refresh. Your plans will be meticulous already and you will have considered everything you can to keep your staff and pupils safe. Now keep yourself safe and rest. See your families, go outdoors and leave your work alone. We are well aware that things will get busier again once pupils return and plans are made for introducing more pupils. Rest now, so you have energy for later.
This final section of guidance is statutory and must be applied today.
Information for Parents and Carers
Your schools have been incredible during this time. Please heed the following guidance:
Support your school and it’s staff. Show them you value them and encourage and praise them.
If you have an issue with the group your child has been placed in, do not raise this with school unless you are concerned for their safety. The groups have been carefully considered, taking into account a number of factors. They have been done to the benefit of as many children as possible.
Your child school will be doing their best. They will have written comprehensive risk assessments and plans for all eventualities. Some incidents may occur which could not have been foreseen. Appreciate this when bringing them to your schools attention.
Despite all prepared plans, schools are still working with children. If your child did not wash their hands effectively at every juncture during the day, the teacher cannot be held solely responsible for this.
Respect the decision your school makes if they send your child home. They are not doing it to reduce numbers, they are doing it to safeguard everyone in their care.
By following this guidance we hope you can ensure a safe and smooth return to school for everyone involved.
*wish I could guarantee this.