Statement on pupils returning to CPET schools full-time in the Autumn term
On 2nd July the Department for Education (DfE) published its ‘Guidance for full opening: schools’ alongside the announcement of its plan that all pupils, in all year groups, will return to school full-time from the start of the Autumn Term.
We reviewed and reflected on this guidance and met with our Trustees to agree a course of action. We were also grateful to be able to take part in a variety of external meetings to discuss the way forward. Through conversations with the DfE, Cambridgeshire County Council, Confederation of School Trusts and other multi-academy trust leaders and school headteachers we have been able to share ideas about organisation, policies and procedures, which has been reassuring and thought-provoking.
We subsequently updated parents and carers across our five CPET schools on our plans for September at the end of term (17th July) and, as has been the case throughout this unprecedented period, the health and safety of our pupils, colleagues and their families remains the single most important priority for the Trust. As we look ahead to the Autumn Term we feel as ready as we can possibly be for the return of all children and, whilst this is something we are excited about, protecting all is paramount.
Our Trust-wide risk assessment will be updated for September, and personalised for each school, as more children and staff will be in each building. Our schools have already prepared their environments; updated their health and safety arrangements to ensure that social distancing can be adhered to; revised their cleaning arrangements; purchased PPE and additional cleaning products; and ensured that their staff are familiar with all new procedures and protocols such as increased handwashing and cleaning. We will continue to leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of health and safety.
We would like to thank everyone for working together so effectively to meet the challenges of the last five months and providing support and education to all our children. It has been a testing time for everyone, but colleagues’ hard work, commitment, dedication, resilience and ongoing good humour has been quite remarkable and appreciated. The messages of support we have had from parents and carers have been very welcome. The children who have been back in school in the Summer Term have been a delight to work with; and for those who have been home learning it has been wonderful to have them participating in ‘Classroom Teams’ and interacting with their teachers and peers as well as completing their online and paper packs. We are so proud of our children, our colleagues and our wider communities for the genuine ‘team effort’ during this unchartered territory.
We are now busy preparing for the new school year and, as always, are setting high expectations in terms of school operations, curriculum, behaviour and pastoral support, and assessment and accountability. At the same, we will also react to whatever comes next, and provide whatever support is needed for our children on their return to school as well as continuity of education in the case of a local outbreak. We are aware that some staff and children are anxious about everyone returning and we will do our best to alleviate their anxiety and fears by continuing to listen and offer assistance where needed. We are looking forward to September with huge positivity and optimism.
Lesley Birch John Frost
CEO/Executive Principal Chair of Trustees
Cambridge Primary Education Trust