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26/06/2020

Letter from Mr Mirams - 26th June 2020

Dear Parents

It has been lovely and heart-warming to see more of you and to speak to a number of you on the phone over the last week.  I am writing to update you all on the rapidly changing situation in regard to school and the suggested progress towards more normal school life in September.  I am pleased that we have been able to reduce some of your anxieties that many of you have had in regard to school in the future.  None of us can be certain of the next couple of months but rest assured we are working to ensure that we can return to some kind of normality in September.  Once again I hope to answer many of your questions in this letter to you all and hopefully give you a clear idea of our direction of travel towards next year.

You will all be aware of the changes that the Government have made from 4th July but the schools have been advised that Primary schools should continue to operate in groups of no more than 15 and Secondary can only have a limited percentage of Year 10 and 12 pupils in at any one time.  There appears to be a misunderstanding that schools are opening more fully and this is simply not the case.  In fact we have now managed to ensure that all parents who have requested a place have now been offered or accommodated in various capacities and we now find ourselves at full POD capacity on almost every day.  As I stated before, the POD arrangement of 15 requires significant staffing and we are now at a point where it is unlikely that we can grow any more.

I would like to extend my thanks to the support that many of you have given both the staff and myself on a daily basis, as well as acknowledging the huge contribution that staff have made over the last few weeks.  It has been a complete team effort from parents and staff alike.  The next steps will be the most demanding in more ways than one and it is our intention to ensure that we are fully open from the start of the next academic year with as much normality as possible for all.  We are awaiting Government guidance on this next steps in the coming weeks.

I truly believe that by providing clarity from this point on will support all of you with planning for the next academic year.  As always I will be as honest as possible and outline the expectations going forward.

TERM DATES:

In light of the current situation and the need to prepare fully for the intention of a relatively normal start in September we will be amending Term dates at the start of the academic year.  Our last day in school this term will be Friday 17th July and we will be rearranging the start of the next academic year to ensure that all new Year R and Year 7 pupils are beginning to be transitioned early into our school.  The following dates will begin our restart programme to ensure that we hit the ground running. Please also note the early starts for Year 6 and Year 11.

  • Wednesday, 26th August 2020 – All staff in school
  • Thursday, 27th August 2020 and Friday, 28th August 2020 – Year R (mornings only) and Year 6 (All Day) to restart school at Primary.  Year 7 and Year 11 to restart school at Secondary.
  • Tuesday, 1st September 2020 – All other pupils return to school

This is obviously subject to circumstances and based on the Government timetable but we are all aware that things could change at any time.  Once we have further Government guidance then we will let you know.

TRANSITION:

We are already having discussions with parents over some possible transition arrangements for our new pupils in Year R and Year 7.  We have been contacting you all about the situation with your child and we will be in touch over the next week with some opportunities for some pupils coming in before the end of this term to familiarise themselves with the school environment.  Hopefully, you will be supportive of our early start in August to support with this transition process at the start of the new academic year.  We will be in touch with next steps over the next week.

At Primary we are also preparing to organise staffing for each class and we will be letting you know prior to the end of term.

SUMMER BREAK:

At the end of this term (Friday, 17th July) we will be closing the school to all provision until the next academic year in August so that we can implement any Government action and ensure a deep clean of the whole site.  We will place work opportunities on line if you wish to use them but staff will not be available to support other than through our normal email arrangements.  On Friday, 17th July the current online email addresses will be removed so that we can resume a normal service during the new academic year.

CURRENT ARRANGEMENTS:

All the current email addresses and the school POD arrangements will remain until Friday, 17th July.  These PODS have already been increased again from Monday, 29th June with the addition of a Year 5 POD and an increase in the Secondary PODS to accommodate requests over the last two weeks.  In all honesty it is unlikely that any further growth will be possible after this date and I would like to thank the large number of staff who have been prepared to facilitate the arrangements from the start of Lockdown.  We are already having Year 10 and 12 pupils taking part in Tutorials with staff on the school site and we will be in touch with arrangements for tutorials for pupils via the internet over the next week in Year 10 and 12.

PRIMARY EXTENDED DAY:

As long as Government Guidelines allow mixing of pupils then we will be restarting our Extended Day arrangements from Tuesday, 1st September 2020.  Both Breakfast Club and Extended Day options will be available.  The costs of these will be as follows:

 

  • Breakfast Club - £2.50 per session
  • Extended Day - £4.00 per session
  • Extended Day Clubs - £4.50 per session
  • External Provider Clubs – Variable

We will be in touch with arrangements and how to book your places over the next two weeks in preparation for the new term.  Please remember that new Year R parents have the same right to places and it will be on a first come, first served basis with limited number of places.  All Primary parents, current and new will receive the booking information at the same time via email before the end of term.

PARENTPAY ONLINE PAYMENT SYSTEM:

As a school we will be continuing to move towards a cashless system particularly in light of the Covid 19 situation.  Therefore all parents should aim to sign up to the cashless system on ParentPay where you can allocate funds for cashless lunches, pay for trips, pay for resources and also pay and book extended day sessions. We will be limiting cash from the new academic year.  New parents will be contacted with details in the next couple of weeks of how to activate a ParentPay account.  If current parents have not yet created a ParentPay account please request your activation information via the following email address:   admin@st-georgescofe-thanet.kent.sch.uk stating your child’s name.

UNIFORM:

All parents have been sent details of the arrangements with the school shop in regards to uniform and I would like to reiterate that we will be expecting full uniform from the start in the next academic year as usual and all pupils who have been coming in since lockdown have followed this.  The information can be found on the following link from our website:   /3509/key-information-for-new-parents

EXAMINATION RESULTS DAYS:

Given recent changes it is likely that we will be allowing pupils to collect results in August, however we need to clarify arrangements for this and will again be in touch in the next couple of weeks to clarify dates, times and organisation.  This will include Sixth Form Registration arrangements as well.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

It appears that society is very quickly moving towards a return to some kind of normality.  There will be varying views in regard to this and all I can do is outline our next steps from this point.  I cannot promise any amazing solutions to all the problems or issues, I cannot suddenly create a return to pre Covid days and I will not be able to ensure that all are happy with the changes.  What I can say is that we are getting ready for a restart, an opportunity to resume where we left off, the chance to make the most of the children`s new found lockdown resilience and the reality that soon the school will have some sort of normality.  We await the next Government guidance but rest assured we are now driving towards the start of a new chapter that we will make as safe as we can and ensure that all members of our school community are looked after as best we can.

None of this has been easy on any of us, we have all in some way been changed and together we will ensure that the children will gain from the experience in a positive way.  Our school will continue to work at bridging the void between lockdown and the new academic year in the next few weeks.  We all feel privileged to have your support and as always we will continue to care deeply about all in our community as we transition.  I hope that I have now provided some direction as we move into July.  But I believe that we are at a unique milestone whereby there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if some of us are crawling there.

God Bless All of You.

Mr Mirams