SAT/SAST Statement on Schools Reopening

SAST/SAT Update on schools reopening 21 May 2020

Since the government announced plans to welcome back selected year groups of students into schools from the 1st June, at the earliest, we have been working closely with headteachers and staff to look at how we can adapt school life to ensure it is as safe as possible. All our schools have continued to be open and available for the children of key workers and vulnerable children as defined by the DFE. A final decision on any national re-opening is conditional on the confirmation of the 5 key tests set by Government scheduled for 28 May.

The plans for reopening for certain groups applies to:

  • nurseries and other early year providers, including childminders, to begin welcoming back all children
  • primary schools to welcome back children in nursery (where they have them), reception, year 1 and year 6
  • secondary schools, sixth form, and further education colleges to begin some face to face support with year 10 and 12 pupils, although we do not expect these pupils to return on a full-time basis at this stage
  • all schools and childcare providers to continue to offer places to the priority groups – vulnerable children and children of critical workers – they have been supporting since the end of March
  • alternative provision to welcome back children in reception, year 1 and year 6 and begin some face to face support with year 10 and 11 pupils (as they have no year 12)
  • The latest scientific advice to government is that:
  • there is high scientific confidence that children of all ages have less severe symptoms than adults if they contract coronavirus and there is moderately high scientific confidence that younger children are less likely to become unwell if infected with coronavirus
  • limiting the numbers of children going back to school and college initially then gradually increasing numbers, guided by scientific advice, reduces risk of increasing the rate of transmission
  • schools and other settings can make changes to how they are organised and put measures in place to reduce risks

In the SW including Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire infection rates are low and cases have been low. Dorset Council supports schools in their plans for any return.

The planning and preparation follows national guidance. We are also working collaboratively with teaching unions and staff to support them and their safety. All our settings have completed risk assessments.

The return to school will look different with a range of arrangements. Not all schools or settings will be able to offer full time provision to the identified year groups given the guidance they have to follow around pupil numbers, safe working and also staff availability. There may be a phased approach to limit numbers on site at any one time, and we may need to stagger the school day to safeguard parents as well as students. Common features are smaller class sizes of no more than 15, limiting the amount of contact between different groups of children, increased cleaning and encouraging good hand and respiratory hygiene. The re-introduction of pupils will be staggered to allow schools to prepare so schools will not necessarily be open for all year groups from 1 June but as soon as practicable.

Each school will come up with a plan that best suits their locality. Flexibility will be key, and we appreciate the support of everyone involved when facing these challenges. The detailed arrangements for each school will be communicated by the Headteacher.

We would like to reassure everyone that as we move forward, our top priority is the welfare of our students and staff, and we will do everything we can to provide the safest school environments possible.

SM Hillier



Additional Information for Trustees and LGBs

Some other summary points

  • In all of our schools the headteachers and senior staff have worked collaboratively to plan and prepare for any return
  • All of the schools are completing Risk Assessments based on national guidance
  • All of our school will be closed over May half term – all checked with the parents of key workers prior to this decision
  • We will continue to provide FSM vouchers over half-term
  • The wider council messaging to parents is emphasising that the decisions around the nature and timing for children’s return to school will be the decision of local schools and trusts; the first date children could return is the 1st June but that is not a date when all will return in one go and that this will vary by setting.
  • There remain national on-going concerns from national Professional Associations and Unions – HTs and all of us are working locally with unions and all our staff to help with the concerns and anxieties. We have very positive and constructive local arrangements.
  • HR Guidance has been shared. We will continue to seek to be supportive and understanding with individual staff circumstances.


We Miss Our Children!

Covid 19 School Closures

All our schools are closed. We are providing a skeleton childcare provision in most schools but only for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children. This is a last resort option for parents who have no alternative. The Government message about staying at home is clear. The best place for children is at home so travel and contact is minimised. We thank all those staff in our schools for all they are doing both in schools and to help provide some continued learning. We appreciate the support from parents during this most challenging of times.

Coronavirus – Advice for Schools

The government is closely monitoring the spread of the Coronavirus and is taking action at home and abroad. 
The overall risk of Coronavirus to the UK remains moderate.  The Department of Education (DfE) is currently advising parents/guardians that they should not be unduly worried and there is no reason why your child(ren) should not continue to attend school as normal.
A helpline has been set up to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687


Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)

However we understand that parents/guardians may be concerned where children, students or staff have returned after the half term break and recognise there is a possibility that some may have travelled to higher risk areas during this period. Those that have, we expect to be following the latest advice from the NHS /DfE found in the links below.
As a trust we will be continuing to monitor developments both here in the UK and Abroad, act on advice given by the DfE regarding precautions in educational settings and will deliver updates when necessary. Until this point please use the link below to understand what precautions you and your child(ren) can take to prevent the spread of viruses.

Building Our Vocabulary

Thank you to all who attended our Meet the Teacher and INSPIRE 2020 evening! The hall was packed!

Here is a link to the presentation (just in case you missed it!)