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I am pleased that today the Government have released guidance regarding the new academic year. Over the coming days and weeks we will be working as a staff team to plan for all children to make a full time return to school in September and we will update parents as plans develop. Many of the arrangements and measures within the new guidance are already in place but may require ‘scaling up’ to accommodate larger numbers.

Although much is still to be finalised, initial suggestions are…

All children will attend school full time from the start of the Autumn term (Wednesday 2nd September). Children starting Nursery and Reception will be able to begin their planned transition as per the Welcome Pack information these parents have received.

Attendance will be compulsory.

Children will be in class ‘bubbles’ as they are now but with bubble sizes increasing to 30.

Children mixing between bubbles will be avoided although staff may move between bubbles.

Whilst social distancing is not a requirement within bubbles as such, it will be encouraged where possible.

We will operate staggered drop off and collection times for different classes to ensure the number of people on site at any one time is manageable.

Playtimes and lunchtimes will be staggered. We very much hope that we will be able to offer cooked school dinners once again.

We hope to offer before and after school club provision. However, this may be an adapted version of our ‘normal’ offer. (We will confirm arrangements for this to parents as soon as possible as we appreciate how important this service is to working families.)

The heightened cleaning regimes and infection control procedures currently in place will continue.

We will continue to offer a broad and balanced curriculum whilst nurturing children’s well being and providing support to address gaps in children’s learning resulting from the school closure.

Access to the school site will still be restricted and ‘normal’ school events that involve large gatherings of people will not be possible.

Stringent risk assessment procedures will continue.

Any arrangements and plans put in place will, of course depend on the developing national and local picture. We will be required to have contingency plans in place should an individual school closure, local or national lock down be deemed necessary. Again, these initial plans are based on the guidance released so far and as such are subject to change as further guidance is released and the situation develops.

As always, every decision made is considered very carefully with the well being, safety and best interests of the children, staff and school community at the forefront. We will continue to do all that we can to support our children and families in the coming months as we all adjust to these new arrangements.

Thank you once again for your understanding, support and patience. When we closed the gates on March 20th nobody could have imagined how long we would be apart. I speak on behalf of all the staff at Birches to say how happy we are when we think of the time we can welcome all the children back into school again. I hope that today we really are now on our way!

Best wishes,

Mrs Ferretti