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Elms School

Latest School Update

Dear Parents and Carers

I am sure you saw the Prime Minister’s speech on Sunday evening.  Subject to certain conditions being met, schools may be asked by the Government to ‘re-open in stages’, from 1st June, beginning with Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils.  The Government’s ambition is also to give secondary pupils completing exams next year “at least some time with their teachers” before the summer holidays.

As you are aware, during the Covid-19 lockdown, we have remained open for those pupils who have needed to be in school, whilst also doing our utmost to support the families of pupils who have remained at home.

We have not yet received any communication from the government outlining how their plans will be safely implemented. 

As an all age Special School, it would not be practical to match suitably experienced staff to only age- related groups of pupils.  Having to prioritise certain year groups would also mean that we would simply not be able to offer a service to some of our most vulnerable pupils.  In our setting, we need to consider children’s ability to understand and comply with social distancing because it is extremely difficult for some of our children to understand and comply with this. 

We will therefore continue to:

  • Work with the Local Authority, Social Services and parents to support appropriate cohorts of pupils who are safer attending school / remaining at home
  • Assess staff availability, staff requirements and staff support / wellbeing needs
  • Assess the capacity of our building(s) and make appropriate adjustments

However, there is no doubt, that whatever measures are put in place, we cannot eliminate the risk that illnesses spread in a school because we are all in close contact with each other. We will therefore consider pupil and staff safety in our decision making.  Of course, we want staff and pupils back and we are constantly reviewing our practice to see if we can make things safer, but as soon as we increase the numbers of pupils coming into school, the risk will increase.

Although the government has suggested prioritising Y6, the reality at Elms is that the most significant transition for our pupils is from Year 8 to Year 9, when the “Primary” model ceases and pupils begin their coursework with subject specialist teachers in readiness for final exams in Year 11.  Therefore, we will be making plans to bring year 8 pupils in, even if for only one day per week.

My team and I will be making plans for how best to bring in more pupils and staff as safely as possible and, as soon as we have finalised our plans, I will be in touch to let you know.

In the meantime, thank you for your continued support and understanding.  Stay safe!

Yours sincerely

Juli Timoney