Yesterday, Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, finally released the governments’ plan with regards to getting all pupils back to school in September. While the plan is not exactly big on details, it does give us flexibility in terms of organising how Woodlands will look come the autumn term. We will be sending more details home in the next couple of weeks once we have had a chance to properly scrutinise the document. I’ve listed a few of the key points covered in the guidance:
- All pupils will be expected to return to school in September (full classes, no rotas).
- The plan is based on a twin strategy of limiting contact between pupils & implementing hygiene measures.
- Ensure pupils remain in consistent groups ('bubbles') wherever possible, thereby minimising the number of contacts between different people across the school [these bubbles do not have to be limited to one whole class, it could be a phase, e.g. Year 1 & 2 as one bubble, Year 3 & 4 as another, etc.].
- Maintain distance between individuals wherever possible ('social distancing'). This would include sitting the children at forward-facing desks so that they are not facing each other, but full classes would be in operation.
- The DfE has recognised that strict social distancing will not always be possible, especially with primary-aged pupils. The guidance specifically states "we recognise that younger children will not be able to maintain social distancing, and it is acceptable for them not to distance within their group."
- Ensure thorough and regular handwashing / sanitising and promote good respiratory hygiene (the 'catch it, bin it, kill it' approach).
- There should be no large gatherings bringing different groups together, e.g. whole-school assemblies.
- Schools are encouraged to consider staggered break and lunchtimes.
- Where possible, schools have also been asked to consider staggered start and finish times to keep different bubbles apart as they arrive at and leave schools. However, schools are asked to ensure that the total amount of teaching time pupils receive remains the same, e.g. an earlier start would mean an earlier finish for pupils.
- School attendance will be mandatory again from the beginning of the autumn term.
We feel we can work with these guidelines to ensure that all our pupils can safely return to Woodlands from September.
Who invented fractions?