12. Coronavirus update from the Peterborough Service Director for Education

Dear Parent / Carer,

I write following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday of a phased plan to beat the virus and provide a road map for re-opening society. This may lead to an easing of the restrictions that have been put in place to minimise the spread of COVID-19 in relation to schools.

I recognise that this has been a very stressful time for young people and their families. I am sure we are all looking forward to children returning to school when it is safe for this to happen. Schools will be following government guidance, as soon as it is released, to enable this. The Local Authority, the Diocese and those who are responsible for Academy Schools, will help and support individual school leaders to make the necessary arrangements.

Our top priority is the safety of pupils, their families and school staff. We will support any school if safety has to take priority over any other consideration. Every school’s circumstances are unique. Schools will not be able to respond to the government’s decisions in the same way. For some schools, the size of classrooms and play areas may limit the number of children who can be accommodated safely under social distancing rules. In others, staffing shortages will limit the speed at which pupils can return. Some of the services that children and parents are used to – such as school meals and breakfast clubs – may not be available immediately in every school. Schools may not be able to teach every subject, if teaching time is limited.

We are awaiting further advice from the Department for Education and schools will need time to plan. They will work as quickly as they can to make the necessary arrangements. I know that schools will communicate those arrangements to parents as quickly as they can. To support your child’s school at this time, please try not to make contact about re-opening arrangements unless your enquiry is an urgent one. Schools will continue to welcome critical workers and vulnerable pupils in line with national guidance but capacity will be limited especially with more people returning to work. They will also continue to provide support for home learning until guidance for doing so changes.

Please be assured that, further to the announcement, both your child’s school, Academy Trust’s and the Local Authority, will communicate with you as quickly as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Jonathan Lewis

Service Director – Education Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council