I watched last night’s announcement from the Prime Minister at exactly the same time as the rest of the country. There was a time when any government statement relating to schools would be relayed to Headteachers beforehand but we receive no notice at all despite the fact that staff and parents alike are keen to hear what the Pegasus response will be at the earliest opportunity. I have now spoken to Lynne and our Chair of Directors and our current thoughts are as follows:
- Our primary duty as school leaders is to keep pupils and staff safe. We will only open when it is safe to do so. Arbitrary dates for reopening, like June 1st, are entirely unhelpful as three weeks is a very long time in the current situation. The Prime Minister said in his speech ‘In step two – at the earliest by June 1 …. we believe we may be in a position to begin the phased reopening of shops and to get primary pupils back into schools’. There are two very important caveats in this one sentence alone and it was disappointing that the speech didn’t provide the answers we were hoping for and left us with just as many unanswered questions;
- We have not received any clear guidance about how it is possible to socially distance in primary schools, especially with two of the three year groups that Mr. Johnson identified. Similarly there was no information on we might start to phase the return of groups of children returning. We will not rush into something we might later regret and we will not reopen until we are 100% prepared;
- It is is clear that any return to school before the summer holidays will not be ‘business as usual’. It is highly unlikely that whole year groups will be schooled full time, five days per week, with their classmates as they were before. We have duties in law to protect the health and safety of our children, staff and families and any arrangements will be put in place with this at the forefront of our thinking.
So for now please try not to worry and do not begin to plan for any particular date. We will continue to provide resources for learning at home, care for the children of critical workers and our vulnerable families, and maintain our support for our whole community in these difficult and uncertain times. As the situation becomes clearer we will update you in the normal way and will give you plenty of notice of any changes. Stay safe. Jolyon Roberts