Letter to parents from NWAT
On Friday March 20th, all schools in the United Kingdom closed to the vast majority of pupils for an indefinite period of time. All examinations were subsequently cancelled and parents were asked to educate their children at home. It is the first time in our history that such a measure has taken place during peacetime, and necessitated a fundamental change in how each of our schools operate.
From almost a standing start, our schools and teachers created online learning experiences for all children during the lockdown period. I have been incredibly impressed with how all teachers have adapted what they know, to create virtual learning experiences that are second to none. Where ICT access has been difficult, all families have been offered printed resources. In addition to this, as a Trust, we have also invested to acquire over 200 devices for those families that need them most.
Each week we monitor the engagement rates with online learning and we are very proud of how all schools, children and parents have supported each other. I hope one of the positives from this period will be the continued use of online platforms as part of our children’s lives. Looking at how well all our schools have worked, in partnership with you, it is clear that home education has been a success; but now it is time to start our return to school.
As school leaders, all our Headteachers do an incredible job for their school communities. Their leadership is what inspires the teachers, who, in turn, inspire your children. Without their expertise and management your schools would not be the places your children love.
As a Trust, we found out which year groups were to return to school from June 1st at exactly the same time as you did as parents. From that point we have worked together to ensure this can take place as safely as possible, following the guidance issued.
Last week, those of you who have children eligible to return on June 1st were issued a summary of the changes made to ensure that, when they do return, you can be confident your child will be safe and cared for in school. We can never guarantee that anyone on school premises will not catch an airborne virus, or that they will be exactly two metres apart at all times. However, we can guarantee that all schools have followed all guidance issued by the Department for Education to the best of their ability.
Your school also asked whether you plan to send your child to school, on June 1st and, understandably, there have been a number of parents uncertain about this. We hope, now you have had chance to review the changes your school has made, you will have increased confidence in how they will operate for the remainder of this school year. I know all staff will work tirelessly on behalf of every child, and we will make sure the remainder of term provides as many opportunities to make them smile as it did before we partially closed.
If the Government decide to alter the date for reopening, we will revise our date accordingly and review our procedures should there be a need to do so.
On behalf of all our staff across the Trust, thank you for entrusting your child’s education to us. Let’s hope the ‘new normal’ is similar to the ‘old normal’ in regards to schools, with the added advantages of what we have learned along the way.
CEO North West Academies Trust