Education bosses say measures being taken in schools across Lichfield and Burntwood “should reassure” parents of children due to start returning after the coronavirus closure.

The Government’s plans will see pupils in some year groups back in the classroom from 1st June.

Under the proposals, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 students will return once schools feel it is safe to do so.

In a letter sent to parents, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for learning, Cllr Philip White, and deputy chief executive Helen Riley, said that while it was not compulsory for children to return, families should ensure education is continuing at home if they choose not to send youngsters back.

“We recognise that many parents are anxious and concerned in the current climate.

“However, we believe the measures that headteachers and staff are taking should reassure and encourage parents and carers to send their children to school if they have been invited to return.

“It is not compulsory for a parent or carer to send their child back at the present time and there will be no fines for parents who decide not to.

“It is, however, important that any children not returning to school continues to complete home learning activities to minimise the impact on their education due to not being in school.”

Letter from Cllr Philip White and Helen Riley to parents

“We trust schools to make the right decision for pupils”

The final decision on when and how to reopen is being left to individual schools.

“With an education landscape as large and varied as Staffordshire’s, there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes our schools.

“They are autonomous and we trust them to make the right decision for their school and pupils.

“Every school is different, so this means arrangements will differ from school to school.

“Each school and academy will inform their parents and carers of their individual arrangements.

“This will include which year groups they can safely accommodate, how many pupils per classroom, and what social distancing measures will be in place, and how to stagger the start and end of the school day.

“Staffordshire’s health, safety and wellbeing team are providing advice and guidance to schools to support their planning.”

Letter from Cllr Philip White and Helen Riley to parents

The education chiefs said the situation was likely to evolve in the coming weeks as children return to classes and more advice is given.

“There will be further Government announcements this month on its plans for schools and wider recovery arrangements.

“This may mean that schools do have to change arrangements at short notice, but they will be sure to keep parents and carers informed.”

Letter from Cllr Philip White and Helen Riley to parents

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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1 Comment

  1. We’ve had our update from our girls school.

    Reception in full time, year 1 split and in 3 days in 5 across the groups, no other pupils at this time and year 1 not in until the 29th June.

    The letter thanks us for our support and understanding, it’s an incorrect assumption.

    For example “We are disappointed that we are unable to accommodate an earlier return for our lovely Year 1 class, but promise you that we are working hard to get your children back to school as safely as possible.” Well what is going to change between 29th June and the end of July? Absolutely nothing, then the school intends to take the summer holiday, which defies all logic, at which point the kids will have “completed” an academic year, despite missing 6 months of education – assuming they go back in September.

    There’s an enormous assumption from headteachers that we can simply absorb this disruption, that their decision to put into place measures far beyond anything we see in supermarkets will simply be understood by employers and won’t be an issue for parents, they assume too much.

    We’re all supposed to be understanding about this situation, but it cannot continue like this, the unemployment rate is now over 2 million, we have borrowed more money in April than in any other month since records began, the national debt (at the last release by the OBR) is at 95%+, with 128 billion spent on servicing furlough and other schemes and we can expect a recession “beyond anything we have ever seen.”

    The simple fact remains that they are assuming that parents either stay off with their children or have employers who are understanding enough to have their staff at home, and doing their best to be efficient, but with the best will in the world – it is unlikely that home workers are operating at full FTE, therefore costing employers money – that may be as mercenary as it sounds, but businesses make money – that’s how they provide jobs, they’re not charities and it’s naive to suggest otherwise.

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