Update: 22nd May 2020

Trustees considered schools’ mitigation plans on 21.5.20 and confirmed their approval to move to the next stage of the timeline: to continue to share plans with staff and to now share plans with Parents of nominated year groups, Governors, and students in years 10 and 12, and ask for comments.

Before making their final decision to confirm the extended opening of schools Trustees will consider:

  • The Government’s 5 tests
  • Local rates of infection
  • The Government’s track and trace policy, and
  • DfE guidance for EYFS, and years 10/12.

Trustees also agreed to support LA advice on start dates: no sooner than the 8th of June in Cheshire West and the 15th June in Cheshire East. Trustees will meet again on Friday 29th May to review all the available information, including the content of the Prime Minister’s statement, expected on the 28th May.

Dear Parents, Governors, Colleagues and Students

I write to supplement Headteachers’ letters and clarify our collective response to the Prime Minister’s proposal for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to return to school from 1st June, and for Years 10 and 12 to have ‘some face to face time’ in the summer term.

It is important to note that the Government have announced that their plans will only be confirmed if their five measures have been met, and have delayed a final decision until 28th May when they will review the data relating to the criteria below.

The Government’s five tests:

  1. Making sure the NHS can cope
  2. A ‘sustained and consistent’ fall in the daily death rate
  3. Rate of infection decreasing to ‘manageable levels’
  4. Ensuring supply of tests and PPE can meet future demand
  5. Being confident any adjustments would not risk a second peak that would overwhelm the NHS

This is a complex matter, driven by the competing priorities of health, education and the economy.  We have spent a week trying to make sense of often contradictory DfE guidance and scientific advice and have considered our response in light of Local Authority and Professional Association positions.

Our overarching concern remains the safety and welfare of our students and staff.  In common with the Local Authority recommendations we are working towards a phased response.  The following timeline has been agreed with our Trustees and Headteachers:

  • A Trust risk assessment and school-specific implementation plans have been completed (19th May 2020)
  • Heads are currently informing staff of the plans and asking for comments
  • Implementation plans and staff comments will be considered by the Board of Trustees on 21st
  • If approved our Heads will present plans to Governors and Parents over the following week and ask for comments.
  • The Prime Minister will confirm the Government’s position on Thursday 28th
  • Trustees will meet to confirm their decision on Friday 29th May; if we have agreement to progress.
  • Headteachers will inform parents which children, in which order, will return to school on a phased basis,
  • This is likely to be from 8th June in Cheshire West and from 15th June in Cheshire East (pending further guidance relating to years 10 and 12)

Parents and staff will be aware that the only point of agreement among all parties is that strict social distancing is impossible in schools.  Our plans are therefore designed to reduce the risk of infection but cannot remove it. In such circumstances parents and colleagues will make their own judgement about the acceptance of risk.

Schools’ plans have been influenced by building and staffing constraints and schools will have different schedules.  We intend to review our school-based provision after two weeks of operation; the decision will then be made to sustain or increase the provision.  At the moment it seems likely that there will be no change to our home-schooling provision for other year groups until September.

This crisis has brought disruption, anxiety and hardship.  There are no easy solutions that satisfy the economic, educational and health challenges we face.  Nevertheless, we will progress with a measured response that extends our current provision and moves us nearer to the normality we all crave.

May I take this opportunity to thank our Headteachers who continue to be the focal point for our communities and thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely
P W Rubery
Chief Executive Officer