As you are aware, on 10 May, the Prime Minister announced a roadmap towards recovery which included plans for a phased return to school for some pupils. Since this announcement, the senior leadership team in school have been carrying out risk assessments of the school building in order to prepare for this wider opening and to establish which pupils could be safely catered for. As part of the decision making process, we have had to take into account the size limitations of our school building including the space available both indoors and outdoors as well as the health and availability of our staff. All of the decisions we have made have been informed by up to date government guidance and information sent to us by the local authority.
We would have loved to have been able to welcome more pupils back to school from 2 June, however, the demand for keyworker places at Headlands remains high and has significantly increased over the last few days. Therefore, we only have enough places in school for the children of keyworkers and for children from some of our most vulnerable families. All places have now been allocated upon request but if you are a keyworker and would like to be considered for a place, please send your keyworker form into the school office with your ID and we will add you to a waiting list. We will contact you if/when a place in school becomes available.
It was with much regret that we had to send a text out earlier this week to you all to inform you that we are not able to safely allocate places to pupils in any of the other eligible year groups. We understand that this may have been upsetting for some of you and that some children in EYFS, Year 1 and Year 6 may have been disappointed by this news. However, the safety of all of the staff and pupils in the building has had to remain a high priority.
Limiting the number of pupils in the building each day will ensure that we are able to apply and adhere to some strict social distancing measures in school alongside rigorous handwashing and cleaning routines. The parents of the pupils who have been allocated places will receive a detailed letter informing them of these new safety protocols and procedures which will include information about staggered start/finish times for pupils, small class group sizes, use of resources and staggered lunchbreaks. These parents will also be informed about a strict zoning system in school which will be enforced from 2 June.
We would like to take this opportunity to tell you that we are still thinking fondly of all of the children and families who will continue to stay at home during these unprecedented times. We miss you all greatly and hope you enjoyed watching the video message that we recently uploaded to the school website for you. We hope it will reassure you to know that we will continue to provide home learning tasks/activities for pupils via our remote learning site. From 2 June, larger numbers of staff will be needed in school each day to provide face to face teaching. However, there are still some members of staff for who it is safer for them to remain at home. These members of staff will take on wider responsibilities for setting and marking home learning tasks. Please be aware that if your child submits work for feedback, there may be occasions where they receive a response from a member of staff who is not their normal class teacher.
When they haven’t been preparing and marking home learning or teaching keyworker children in school, the class teachers have been busy at home carrying out subject leadership duties and beginning to develop the Headlands curriculum ready for the next academic year in line with Ofsted’s new Education Inspection Framework (EIF). The class teachers have also loved receiving work/photos/messages from children and parents through their year group email accounts and have enjoyed communicating with pupils throughout the closure period. They have also been delighted to award lots of pupils with home learning certificates. We are aware that there are still many children who haven’t yet submitted any work or communicated with their teachers via email but the teachers would still love to receive emails from anyone who has the ability to send them.
School is going to be closed to all pupils from Monday 25 May and will re-open to pupils with allocated places from Tuesday 2 June. Unlike many other schools, this will be the first time that Headlands School has closed since the beginning of the lockdown period. School staff have worked incredibly hard over the last 9 weeks to provide learning opportunities, routine and a safe environment for keyworker and vulnerable pupils. This included staying open throughout the Easter holiday and on all recent bank holidays. Each day in school, at least 17 members of staff have been required to ensure that the school has remained a safe and protective factor for the pupils attending. Each day this has included a designated safeguarding leader, 2 members of office staff, 2 cleaners, 2 members of the catering team, 2 lunchtime supervisors, 2 teachers and 3 teaching assistants. Our specialist music teacher and sports coach have also continued to support the school on a weekly basis. The number of pupils who have continued to access school provision has been consistently higher than many other schools in the local area. A total of 52 pupils have accessed school provision at Headlands throughout the lockdown period. We have also been congratulated by the local Spen Hub Coordinator who has acknowledged the high number of vulnerable families that we have catered for in school during these difficult times. A number of other families have also received weekly phone call check-ins as have all of our pupils with Educational Health Care Plans.
Class teachers will not be providing any home learning tasks for pupils to complete next week. Instead, all teachers have written a personal letter to their classes which we hope you will be able to access with your child via the remote learning website. In June, once the majority of staff are back in the school building and have access to our school phones, we plan to provide opportunities for them to ring all of the children in their class via telephone to say hello to them. We are sure many of the children will be excited and comforted to hear the familiar voice of their teacher.
We would also like to take this opportunity to remind you that during normal school hours there is always a member of staff available in the school office to answer your calls should you have any questions, comments or wish to raise any concerns. There is always a designated safeguarding leader in school too if you wish to disclose or discuss something of a confidential nature.
We are sure that you are aware that the government’s ambition is for all primary school children to return to school before the summer for a month if feasible. This ambition remains under review but we will follow available guidance and instruction about this if/when we are required to do so.
In the meantime, we continue to wish you all well and hope that you continue to stay safe. You are always in our thoughts.
The Senior Leadership Team