Wider School Re-Opening
At St Helen's, following a huge amount of work and effort from staff and governors, we began the phased re-opening of our school following staff INSET on the 1st and 2nd June. We started this by welcoming back an increase in pupils entitled to Critical Worker Places. Before the half term holiday, parents of pupils in Nursery, Reception, Year One and Year Six were also contacted to discuss interest in a place for their child. During the half term holiday, parents of those children who did request a place were contacted individually to discuss the school's proposed arrangements and to consider how this might impact on each family's circumstances. While some may be celebrating the return of school, it brings inevitable anxieties for many members of our community, particularly for our BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) Community who have been unfairly and disproportionately affected by the virus. As a result St Helen's Risk Assessment, COVID Policy and procedures have been developed to support a cautious and graduated approach to wider re-opening at this time. It is important that the whole community are familiar with and abide by the content of these documents. In having decided if it is the right time for your child to return to school or not, we would like to reassure parents that their health and well-being is, as always, at the forefront of our approach. Parents who do not wish to send their children back will not be penalised and their decision is respected by the DfE and the school.
If you have decided not take a place, please do not send your child to school. You will need to contact the office as the risk assessment completed has taken account of the number of children currently set to return against staffing availability and safety measures put in place. This may also mean that we may be unable to offer further places in some classes as a result at this time.
We want to thank all our families for supporting their children at home during this difficult time in whatever capacity you have been able to. Your kind messages of appreciation for the support you have received have really helped us as a staff too. Teachers have loved hearing about your adventures and speaking with happy children at home. We also recognise that children have all had very different experiences during this time and trying to support home learning, as well as juggling the demands of working from home or trying to deal with wider worries and anxieties has not been easy either.
Though we may all be craving some normality, we have to be mindful that the environment we face at school will be different to that which we left behind. As parents, it is understandable that you may have your own concerns and pressures on returning to work yourself. If you are a member of the BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) Community, you should seek to discuss your personal circumstances and needs with your employer and a risk assessment should be undertaken to support your return to work to ensure essential safeguards are put in place to protect you and your family. Please do contact us if you need support with this.
While some children are returning to school, we recognise that many more will be continuing to access their learning from home. We also recognise the needs of some of our families who have been further disadvantaged during this pandemic. Therefore, we will continue with our home learning and provisions made as we move forwards.
Our care and provision will continue to include:
- Use of the school website to post a Summer Term 2 Teacher Home Learning Newsletter.
- Weekly updates, on the website and sent directly to you via email from the class teacher if requested
- Weekly well-being phone calls for families and home learners.
- Breakfast Hampers to those in need - please contact the office if you would like to receive one if you do not already and are in need.
- Continued access to Free School Meals Vouchers - please do let us know if you would still like to apply.
We are also looking at ways in which we can interact with families using platforms such as "zoom" and we will be in touch shortly once we have found a way to do this.