You’ll be aware that last night the Prime Minister confirmed that the five tests upon which the easing of lockdown depended have been met. As a result, primary schools will begin to open schools more widely.
The response to this from the Director of Children and Families, Leeds City Council, is:
The Leeds position is unchanged. It is important for children to resume their education so they can once again learn and interact with their peers but that this is done in such a way that the risks to pupils, staff and parents are minimised as much as possible. We know that every school is different and your offer to pupils will vary according to your unique set of circumstances. We will continue to support [headteacher] decisions about the timing and level of phased return for children to school that are based on the comprehensive risk assessments you have been diligently undertaking.
The position in Sphere Federation schools is unchanged, too. We’ll continue to prioritise the growing numbers of children from key workers (as more people are expected back to work, there’s more demand for places in school) and children who may be vulnerable in some way. After this, we’ll look at increasing numbers of children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, and we’ll aim to balance this by considering safety in school and the needs of children and families in other year groups.
There are two more important messages for today.
Agreeing a place for your child
Only come to school if we’ve confirmed there’s a place for your child. Please note we only have a small amount of room for manoeuvre. We can’t allow more children without carefully checking the numbers we have already: each of the ‘bubbles’ can only take so many without undermining safety.
This morning, school leaders across the federation have agreed the following course of action if we have concerns about social distancing:
- continue a conversation with the child in an informal, friendly way – this will help us to gain a better understanding and (hopefully) reassure ourselves that social distancing has not been undermined (we won’t ask any leading questions)
- contact the child’s parents / carers to discuss what the child has said and to clarify the situation
- isolate the child away from the rest of the children in their ‘bubble’ while we wait for more clarification from the child or their parents / carers