25th May 2020
Dear parents and carers,
I hope that you are keeping well and safe in these difficult times. I am writing to update you on the school’s position in relation to re-opening. As you will be aware, the government have set out an ambition that schools should plan to re-open from 1st June, starting with some groups in Primary and some face to face contact with Year 10. This is a matter for individual schools to decide after having undertaken a full risk assessment to plan for all the necessary arrangements in order to minimise risks to students and staff.
Cheshire West and Chester Local Authority have been consulting with schools and other partners about the best and safest way to re-open schools, at the earliest possible date. As a result of these discussions the Local Authority is advising schools not to widen their re-opening until, at the earliest, the 8th June. That date will be subject to any further developments in national advice and guidance and the ability of schools to provide a safe environment for children, staff and visitors. We will, however, continue to follow national guidance in offering places to children of key workers and vulnerable children, throughout half term and into June, starting on Tuesday 26th May.
The circumstances for re-opening more widely will vary from school to school. At Blacon High School we are reviewing the possibility of offering face to face contact with Year 10 students by the 22nd June and are working with other Headteachers across Cheshire to develop a common approach. We are checking the availability of our staff, the challenges around the school building (that may make social distancing more difficult to achieve when following the national advice and guidance), and any other factors that will affect our ability to offer a safe environment. We are undertaking rigorous risk assessments and our Governors, along with the Local Authority, will support our school with the decisions we make.
Whilst initial plans are for Year 10, in line with the national guidance, we haven’t forgotten all of our students in other year groups and will continue to make contact with students and families throughout the summer term. Whilst there are no plans for other year groups to return until September at this stage, we are exploring ways of supplementing the online learning available for all students. As always, it is the students at the heart of what we do and the safety of everyone is the key priority, along with supporting the mental health and well-being of staff, students and families.
Further information will be available on the plan, risk assessment and required routines, after half term when we have received the latest guidance both locally and nationally.
We thank all the families in receipt of free meals for their patience and understanding because the system has struggled to meet demand. Aldi vouchers to cover the 6 weeks up to half term, were issued last Friday and we are pleased to support families with this along with the food available at the Community Hub in Blacon.
We will keep you informed about any decision on re-opening. Thank you for all your messages of support, they are appreciated. Please continue to look after each other. Sending you my warmest wishes.