Please ensure you read all of this letter.
Earlier this week I informed you of Sefton Local Authority’s decision to advise delaying the return of more children (other than key worker / vulnerable children) to Woodlands until the week beginning Monday 22 June.
From the beginning of this situation, I have made it very clear that our plans will be liable to change depending on a number of factors: government direction, local authority advice, number of children returning to school, availability of staff, etc.
After consultation with staff & the chair & vice chair of Woodlands’ governing body, we have revised our plan to re-open to a wider number of children from the week beginning 22 June 2020.
We will be welcoming back the children from nursery (N2s only), reception & Year 1 from this date (22 June). Parents in these year groups have already been informed as to what pod their children will be part of, which end of the week they will be attending (Mon/Tues or Thurs/Fri), which entrance they are to use to access school, & arrival & departure times).
Woodlands has followed government guidelines as to which year groups to prioritise: Early Years (nursery & reception), then Year 1, then Year 6.
Over the past few of weeks, the number of key worker / vulnerable children attending Woodlands has grown quite considerably. As I’ve stated throughout this whole process, this will have an impact on which year groups can return to school. Our key worker / vulnerable children numbers were less than 20 at Easter, they are now over 50 & increasing daily.
As a result, more & more classrooms will be needed to accommodate these children & more & more staff will be needed to supervise them.
I feel it is important that our Year 6 pupils are given the opportunity to return to Woodlands for a whole range of reasons. As well as getting them used to tackling school work in a classroom setting, they will be able to complete transition activities to help them prepare for their move to Y7, have contact with their high schools, say goodbye to their friends who will be attending different high schools, & bring their time at Woodlands to some sort of close.
In order to accommodate our Year 6 pupils returning, I have decided to close Woodlands from Tuesday 14 July for all the pupils in nursery, reception & Year 1. It would not be possible to have these year groups plus Year 6 plus our key worker / vulnerable children in school at the same time. We simply do not have the space or the staff.
Year 6 will hopefully return to Woodlands on Thursday 16 July on a full-time basis. They will have 5 full days in school & break for summer on Wednesday 22 July. Y6 pupils who are in the key worker / vulnerable children group can choose to return to school with their classmates. We cannot guarantee that the Year 6 children would be taught by their own teacher or even be taught within their own classroom. They may be taught by a combination of teachers and Teaching Assistants. Y6 pods will be released at a later date.
Even this plan cannot be set in stone; it is dependent on having enough space in school & having enough staff to supervise these groups.
We will continue to be open for key worker / vulnerable children until Wednesday 22 July (regular drop-off & pick-up times still in place).
I know this situation is not ideal & I have no doubt it will cause issues for individual families. I feel that this latest plan gives all the government targeted year groups a chance to return to Woodlands. I can only apologise & ask for your understanding as we try to make the best of a difficult & ever-evolving situation.
Gavin Williamson, Education Secretary, announced this week that the government has finally acknowledged that the idea of bringing Y2, Y3, Y4 & Y5 pupils back to school before the end of the summer term is a complete non-starter. It’s a shame that it took the government so long to realise that what they were proposing was impossible to achieve in reality.
The government is yet to announce anything with regards to how schools will look in September. We don’t know if they will propose that all the pupils return together, whether there will be some sort of phased return or if pupils will be put on a rota. As soon as we have been made aware of any decision, we will let you know.
Just to recap our revised plan:
Take care & stay safe