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A letter to parents about reopening Merit to Year 10 and 11 pupils

Dear Parent/carer,

 

Firstly, I would like to thank you all for your overwhelming support and positive feedback you have offered the school over the past few weeks. We have really appreciated the way in which we have all been able to work together to provide quality learning and emotional support to our pupils and we couldn’t have done it without you!

 

In these unprecedented times, I know that regardless of your circumstances at home and at work, it has been incredibly testing for you all; adjusting to new ways of working, dealing with furlough and changes to, or loss of, employment whilst supporting your children with their home learning and their well-being. All of this against a backdrop of a very different way of life during this pandemic.

 

I am sure that you have now seen the news about the Government’s intention to reopen schools, in a phased approach, starting on June 1st 2020. At Merit, we support this aim, as long as it is safe for our pupils and staff. The Government’s aim is to: provide some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of Year 10 pupils who are due to take key exams next year alongside the provision we make for vulnerable groups of pupils.

 

As we are an Alternative Provision, we will still be required to have opportunities for the current Year 11s to have face to face time with teachers.

 

To ensure you are fully informed, please find the link to the DFE guidance here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-educational-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020

and

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

 

As I am sure you will appreciate, there is an enormous amount of work for us to do as a school in order to support the DFE with achieving their aims, but most importantly of all, keeping all our pupils and staff safe.

 

Any plans that we will attempt to put into place will be driven by pupils and staff numbers only. There can be no risks taken regarding the implementation of the requirements for social distancing within the very small environment of the Merit building. To support our planning, we have recently contacted you to know your thoughts about whether you would like your child to attend school, or not, in this last half of the summer term. Please try to respond as soon as you are able, so that we are able to put safe plans and detailed risk assessments in place.

 

What is clear is that the current Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 pupils will not be returning to school this academic year. Home/remote learning will continue for these students, despite the challenges this poses. As such, we will very soon be sending out a short survey to parents of Years 7, 8 and 9 so that we can collate some feedback about your experience of home learning to date. We will use this information, along with the feedback we have been receiving via emails and telephone calls, to improve our remote education offer. Please try to return this within the timescales outlined.

 

To be very clear, we will only remain open to care for the children of critical workers and those who are identified as vulnerable. The Government advice is clear that the critical worker list is not being updated in view of the latest direction that those who cannot work from home to go to work.

 

The safest place for children is currently at home with you. The Government have confirmed that there will be no prosecutions for non-attendance this academic year.

 

We will be sharing our plans for Year 10 pupils once all parents have responded to our request for information. Please let us know if you wish for your child to attend.

 

We will only offer learning in school once we are sure that all risks have been mitigated and you, as parents, are comfortable with our plans.

 

Please continue to stay safe and take care,

 

With kind regards,

 

Mel James

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