Head Teacher Update - 11th May 2020
Good morning all,
Following on from Boris Johnson’s announcement last night, I felt it only right and proper for me to make contact and hopefully offer one or two nuggets of reassurance amidst the ‘land of confusion’ we find ourselves in.
Firstly, at the time of writing this, I have received no further guidance or clarification from either the Government or West Sussex – I have heard the same messages and News broadcasts as you. However, I have been assured that more will start coming out from nationwide decision makers in the days and weeks which follow. This will, in turn, then provide substance and information on which we will form further plans to be shared with you.
I humbly thank those who have already been in communication with me to pass on thoughts and words of encouragement. Leading a school is never an easy task under normal circumstances, with daily challenges and countless judgements to make, however this has been magnified to a level which is usually reserved for Marvel films! If anyone has the number to the Paw Patrol or PJ Masks then I would be eternally grateful if you would share it with me: ‘No job’s too big. No pup’s too small.’
I know many of you have questions around what last night’s message will mean for you and a return to school for your child. Understandably, much is too early for me to comment on or shed further light on, but there are a few elements which I can ease concerns over.
Q: What happens if I don’t feel comfortable sending my child back to school when their year group ‘re-opens’?
This is an understandable concern and one which I know many parents have. As always, we will work alongside families to help support them in decision making. Every family circumstance is different and you know your child/ren best. For us, the most important element of school remains the same as it always has been: To help our young people be happy and successful, enabling them to live their lives to the fullest and achieve all they are capable of. This is only possible when they, and you, feel safe and comfortable so the emphasis will be on striving to achieve this. Regardless of how we are told to record absences, fining parents who make a perfectly understandable decision to keep their child at home until they feel the time is right to send them in to school will not be on our agenda. Communication will be key, something which I hope we have proved ourselves to be true advocates of over these past weeks and months. Keep talking to us, sharing your views and thoughts, and we will do the same.
Q: What shape will ‘home learning’ take for those who are not back into school?
Firstly, it is important that learning is continued to be supported at home, by school. Do not worry, we will not suddenly abandon that avenue of support and will continue to facilitate your role in helping your child with their learning. There may be some adjustments which we need to make, but I am confident that we can maintain structure and routines for our pupils and families – something which is imperative for both children and adults alike. We are fortunate to have Seesaw as a means by which we can deliver activities and learning and will continue to use this to its fullest potential.
Q: I have a child/ren in other Haywards Heath schools. Will Northlands Wood Primary Academy be making similar decisions to that of our other local schools?
Essentially, yes. We are anticipating receiving information from West Sussex which will direct our journey of travel in a similar vein to that of all other West Sussex schools. I have been speaking to other local Head Teachers on a weekly basis and we have already scheduled in a virtual discussion for later on in the week. This will hopefully be in line when we know a little more and so we will be able to have some meaningful discussions around how things might shape up and what ‘school’ might look like.
Additionally, senior leaders across Sussex Learning Trust will continue to strategise and draw on each other’s experience and wisdom as we aim to implement the best plans possible.
Some of the slightly harder questions for me to unpick at the moment include: ‘What does a ‘phased’ return mean?’ and ‘What happens if I have children in other year groups to those who return first?’. These are understandably key, but at the moment it would be wrong of me to surmise or speculate until I have more information.
I hope this helps as you continue to gather your thoughts. I am aware, just as is the case in my house, that your child may be asking you questions about school and when they might return. Please reassure them that we are doing our best to find out as much information as we can for them and that we want to help get them back as soon as it is safe to do so.
I will be speaking further in my daily vlog later today. This can be viewed on our You Tube channel so make sure you are subscribed.
Kindest regards at this time.