Possible Yrs 10 and 12 in school support sessions
Following on from recent information issued by the Department for Education, there is still a huge amount of uncertainty about any schools opening from 1 June 2020. Recent Local Authority updates are also doubtful of appropriate criteria being met for 1 June.
In order to open Gateshead Schools to increased numbers of children safely, Headteachers have agreed that the initial date suggested by the government of June 1st is too early and, instead, have set a date of June 8th, at the earliest. The reasons behind this difficult decision were:
It is generally agreed that Gateshead has one of the highest transmission and infection rates in the country for COVID19. We are, therefore, cautious about bringing large numbers of people together in a confined space for a number of hours. Although this position may be improving, the situation remains fragile.
Schools have not had sufficient time to complete and consult on robust risk assessments.
The Government has yet to confirm progress on their five tests, which is a key condition they set for schools to bring more children into school. This is not expected until Friday 29th May which is too late for an opening of 1st June.
The scientific evidence is not yet conclusive regarding child to child and child to adult Coronavirus transmission. This is a significant issue when working with younger children where social distancing becomes impractical and unrealistic. If asymptomatic children are capable of spreading the virus the impact on families and communities could be severe.
Guidance shared on 21 May 2020 by Gateshead Local Authority
At Kingsmeadow School, once we have completed detailed risk assessments then I will write to you again with a final decision. In the meantime, we are considering various possibilities, should we be able to offer some support sessions for Yrs 10 and 12 students at some point after 1 June. As I pointed out in my previous update, this will not be a return to a full timetable. It will rather provide some support to supplement students’ remote learning. We will need to limit the attendance of the year 10 and 12 cohort in school at any one time and keep students in small groups. These will not necessarily be led by their usual teacher and will not consist of normal lessons. These sessions would be designed to offer practical support to allow students to continue working remotely. It will not be possible to offer sessions in all subject areas.
The earliest date that this would happen, if we are in a position to proceed, would be in the week commencing 15 June 2020.
There is no planned return for Yrs 7, 8 and 9 before September 2020.
The ongoing support for key workers and vulnerable students is not affected by this and will continue in the current format until further notice.
My primary concern is that staff and students and their families are safe and well and I will be very mindful of not putting anyone at risk. I will continue to monitor the situation closely, taking advice from Gateshead Local Authority as well as Government scientific evidence and guidance. As has been stressed, any return to school will be subject to key criteria being met which boils down to whether it is safe to do so.
Thank you for your support. Please continue to encourage students, regardless of year group, to engage with the remote learning materials that have been provided. Do not hesitate to get in contact with individual staff if you have any questions or concerns. All updates and resources can be accessed via the school website.