12th May 2020
I just wanted to catch up with you regarding the announcement by Boris Johnson on Sunday 10th May, and the subsequent advice that we have received from the Government regarding the reopening of schools from the 1st June if the data allows.
We take a slightly different view and we will aim to reopen Stone Soup Academy on Monday 8th June. This delay will give us time to assess how the country is reacting to the gradual opening of schools. It will also give us time to prepare the buildings for the safe return of students and staff.
The exact guidance states:-
Alternative Provision (AP) settings should follow the same principles and guidance as mainstream schools and welcome back, from 1 June 2020, APs should offer some face to face support for students in year 10 and year 11 to supplement their remote education, as they are approaching key transition points. In line with the advice above for mainstream provision, settings should limit the numbers in attendance at any one time and aim to keep students in small groups as set out in our guidance. Settings should also consider ways to minimise use of public transport to get to and from school at peak times, in consultation with local authorities. Priority groups of all ages should continue to be offered a place and strongly encouraged to attend.
As you can see this advice only impacts year 10 and year 11. Year 9 students will continue to work remotely with our teachers and the support of our engagement team.
As you may imagine this news presents some enormous challenges for us to ensure that moving forward we keep both students and staff safe. In the coming days we will be contacting you to establish if you are intending to send your children back into school. Attendance is encouraged but parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time. We will also ask for information regarding the method by which your child will travel into school and if they or your family are vulnerable in any way.
We are putting together a robust plan and Covid-19 risk assessment to ensure that our premises are Covid Safe, which we will share with you as soon as it is complete. To produce this plan we need to know numbers of students who would like and feel safe to return at this time. This plan will include social distancing, small numbers of students admitted at one time, hand washing and sanitising heavily promoted and enhanced cleaning during and at the end of each day.
As you will be aware exams have been cancelled for year 11. Therefore our intention, moving forward is to offer all year 11 students the opportunity to come into Richmond House for scheduled appointments with our Head of Careers. This will be to support their transition to college, work or training. By arranging 1:1 meetings at Richmond House we can be robust in the safety of both staff and students.
For Year 10 students we are planning an approach that will allow each student an opportunity to meet 1:1 (observing social distancing) with their teachers at High Pavement. This will be very much a phased approach, and will start after the May half term. It will not be full time but will supplement their remote working. Once I have confirmed the plan I will of course be in contact with you to confirm the details.
Due to the time that students have spent outside of school we will not be sending out reports this term but we will send out a written report on the 19th June. This report will detail the progress that has been made over this year. To provide academic data would not, accurately show progress as we have not been setting assessments during this time. We are also unable to share predicted exam grades for year 11 students as this must remain confidential as instructed by the exam board. We understand that this may be frustrating. We hope that you will understand that the grades that we have submitted do accurately reflect the great progress made by our students across our curriculum.
Finally during this period we will continue to issue free school meals vouchers for those students who are eligible. I will endeavour to keep you fully updated as we know more and when this return to school is confirmed by the Government. For your information I have also enclosed with this letter the Government guidance for parents and carers issued on the 11th May.
Please let me know if you have any concerns or questions.
Kind regards and keep safe
Stone Soup Academy