Statement on re-opening of CPET schools from Monday 8th June 2020
On 10th May 2020, the government announced that some primary schools in England could ‘reopen’ to some year groups from 1st June 2020 “at the earliest”. In its statement it was proposed that a phased return to school would begin with pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, should infection rates and the government’s other key tests at the time allow it.
The Department for Education (DfE) published further guidance on 11th May 2020. Initially, and for mainstream settings, the focus would be on children in the following year groups:
Reception (aged 4 to 5)
Year 1 (aged 5 to 6)
Year 6 (aged 10 to 11 – in the final year of primary schooling in two-tier systems)
Year 10 (aged 14 to 15 – the year before GCSE or equivalent exams)
Year 12 (aged 16 to 17 – the year before A level or equivalent exams)
Following this announcement, unions including the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), National Education Union (NEU) and NASWUT teachers’ union have all publicly responded to this plan. These groups also held a briefing with government science and medical health advisors on 15th May 2020 around the safety of ‘re-opening’ schools – and discussions have continued throughout this week.
Cambridge Primary Education Trust (CPET) clearly recognises the concerns being raised around the phased return of children into its schools after half-term, and the health and safety of our pupils, colleagues and their family members is paramount. Throughout the lockdown period, all of our schools within the Trust have remained open providing education facilities and support to those children whose parents are key workers.
The Trust has consulted with parents/carers of children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils to request who, and how many, plan to send their children into school so we can make appropriate plans going forward. We asked for returns to our questionnaire by the end of 15th May 2020. Across our Trust schools approximately 60% of parents/carers have indicated they would send their children back to school in June.
Ministers will make the final decision on whether to press ahead with its schools ‘reopening’ plan. In the meantime, we have taken the decision as a Trust (ratified by our Board of Trustees at a meeting on 18th May 2020) to prepare for the phased return of Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils from 8th June 2020, as well as continuing home learning for children who do not return and remain at home. Each school’s offer will be communicated to parents during the week of 1st June 2020.
There is clearly a lot to consider to ensure a safe environment for everyone. We have therefore enhanced our rigorous risk assessment to reflect Covid-19 and how we re-open our schools in a safe manner. This includes, but is not limited to issues such as staffing, class sizes, social distancing, PPE, cleaning, catering, first aid, fire safety, dealing with waste, reporting incidents and behaviour. We are leaving no stone unturned in our attempts to create a safe environment for all in our schools.
Once we have confirmation from the government on ‘re-opening’, our schools will write to parents/carers again during the week of 1st June 2020. Schools will outline their offer and ask parents/carers to confirm their child’s place as per the school’s offer. We will confirm arrangements as appropriate for each year group in each school.
Rest assured that the protection of pupils, colleagues and their families is the single most important priority for the Trust. Whatever the outcome, we will remain open to vulnerable children and those of key workers.
Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our staff for their unwavering commitment and dedication during these unprecedented times. We also wish to thank parents/carers, and children, for their amazing support.
Lesley Birch John Frost
CEO/Executive Principal Chair of Trustees
Cambridge Primary Education Trust