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Stockport School

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Important - 15/05/2020


Dear all,
As you will be aware the Prime Minister earlier this week, announced what he termed the next phase of the governments ‘roadmap to recovery’ against the coronavirus pandemic. As part of his announcement, reference was made to the government’s aim for a partial re-opening of schools, starting in Primary Schools, with Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 aiming to return from 1st June, and then possibly for Year 10 and Year 12 students to have some form of ‘face to face contact’ before the end of the summer term.
Whilst the government are clearly facing some unenviable difficult decisions, in all honesty, I found that there was a lack of clarity and detail in the Prime Minister’s announcement around the expectations on schools, students and you as parents and carers moving into this new phase. However, following the Prime Minister’s announcement, the Department for Education (DfE) produced further guidance setting out further expectations about what the phased re-opening of schools and colleges might mean in practice. Whilst there is more detail contained within this guidance, unfortunately there still remains a good deal of uncertainty and questions about what exactly the expectations are, particularly regarding the potential return of Secondary School students. The government priority from the announcement and the additional documentation is mainly focused upon the return of some Primary School students. Understandably, the majority of the aims set out by the government and in the use of their language to explain their aims, are conditional, based upon the fact that they are reportedly under constant scientific review and may be revised or delayed if certain conditions are not met.
Whilst we are all eager to move safely out of the lockdown period, and return to a more normal way of life, including schooling and work, I would like to reassure you that we will only look to return in some form as a school, when under the guidance and instruction of the government and their specialist medical and scientific advisors, it is deemed safe to do so. Despite the government announcement, there is no exact date currently set or outlined at present for this to occur in Secondary Schools for our students. When a more exact date is communicated to us along with any more detailed instruction/guidance as to how a return is expected by the government, we will then look to do so, taking account of our own particular circumstances, and planning accordingly in as safe a manner as possible, putting into place all that we reasonably can, to protect the health and safety of our students, staff, parents and our school community. For the moment however, other than behind the scenes scenario planning that myself and my senior team are required to consider, little has changed from that of our current position.
Therefore, at least for the moment until we know it is safe to do otherwise, no students will return to school. We will continue with our current plans and provisions to support students in their learning, as effectively as possible, via our remote learning provision. Based upon the current information available, this is set to continue at least for the next few weeks and beyond into the start of the next half term.
With regards to the coming weeks, we will continue with our current provision of remote working through until half term, upon which, I would encourage our students, you, and your family, to all take a well deserved break from the home schooling routines for a few days. Whilst having continually encouraged our students to get into positive daily working routines, I think they also deserve a short break from their studies during the half term, before picking back up again immediately afterwards on Monday 1st June, when we resume our home learning for the second half of the summer term. It is important with the emotional strain and juggling of your own personal family commitments that you all get some time during that week to relax and re-charge your batteries ahead of what is set to be another challenging half term ahead. There is no expectation therefore, for students to continue with online working during the half term holiday, although if they prefer, they can of course continue to work through any outstanding tasks that they might have from before half term.
As ever, I will seek to keep you all fully informed of developments as they arise, and in particular, of any potential plans, for a safe return in some form, of students and staff later in the summer term after half term. For now however, I would like to reiterate and reassure, that it is business as usual (our new temporary usual at least), with the continuation of remote home learning routines, until we are assured it is safe for us to consider a return to school, as the health and safety of our students, staff, parents, and school community are of paramount importance.
Thank you again for your ongoing support and for the terrific work that you are putting in to assist your child during this very difficult and unprecedented time.
Best wishes and keep safe.
Mr Irwin.