18 June 2020
Dear Parents / Carers,
I am writing to you today in order to give you a further update regarding our plans between now and the end of this school year. As previously, we want to give everybody as much notice as possible regarding the plans we have in place. Also as before, we have carefully considered our next steps following meetings with other Dacorum Heads, the school governors and consultation with the staff.
As you already know, by next week we will have reopened to children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 in addition to the key worker children that we have had in school throughout this time. Sadly, as we have already let you know, it is simply impossible for us to open to any other year groups with the current government guidance of only having 15 children in a pod.
We have therefore made the difficult decision for the school year to end for the year groups who are in school (N, R, 1 and 6) on Friday 10 July. This will allow us to invite the children from the other year groups (Years 2, 3, 4 and 5) into school in a controlled way during the week beginning 13 July.
Each year group will be allocated a day and the children will come in to meet their new teacher for a short period in groups of 15. We would hope that we can hold these meetings outside but the children will have the opportunity to walk through their new classrooms. We are hoping that the weather will allow us to have the whole year group in over lunch for a socially distanced picnic. We will send out further details as soon as we have them in place.
We also want the children to have the opportunity to say goodbye to their current teacher and you will have received another letter from Mrs Spooner regarding Zoom meetings that we are also organising.
The children in Nursery, Reception and Year 1 will have the opportunity to meet their new teacher during their final week in school (WB: 6 July). Those children who have not returned to school will also be invited to come in at some point during that week to meet their new teachers.
When the children come into school for their transition session, they will also be given their school report for this year. These have been written based on the children’s work and attendance up to the point the school closed on 20th March.
As you will know, we have been allowing for parents to change their minds and send their children back to school later than their year group’s original start date. In order for us to ensure there is provision in place, the final date for parents to inform us they wish for their children (in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 or Year 6) to return to school will be 24 June to start the week beginning 29 June. We will be offering places on a first come first served basis so may need to close admissions earlier than this date if the pods fill up.
We appreciate that some children or members of their family are currently shielding and if rules have not changed, will therefore be unable to come into school. We will organise for their reports to be collected from school or delivered home and we intend to make videos of the new classrooms to go on the school website before school returns in September. We feel this may help the transition for all children. We will also make sure they know who their new teacher and teaching assistant are before we close in July.
We will be continuing to provide provision for children of key workers, regardless of their year groups, until Friday 17 July. We should however state that we are currently almost at capacity for the number of children we can take in to these pods so we cannot guarantee anyone a place who does not already have one.
Along with the governors, we have made the decision to close the school site over the summer period. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause but we feel it is essential that staff have the time and space to ensure we are prepared for a reopening in September. We do not yet know how this will look but we do know that we will have to make significant changes to our curriculum so that it meets the needs of our children once they return back to school after this long period of absence and uncertainty.
We are very aware that the decisions we have made are not ideal for all parents but we are trying our absolute upmost to do the very best for our children while ensuring that the whole school community remains safe.
I would like to end by saying another enormous thank you to all of you and all of the staff at Galley Hill. This has been an incredibly difficult experience for everyone but the on-going support of parents and staff has been incredible and I continue to be extremely proud to lead such an amazing community.
Take care and stay safe,