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The Reopening of Schools

20 May 2020

Dear Parents and Carers of pupils at our CMAT Secondary Schools

The Reopening of Schools

I hope that you and your families are well. As you will be aware, the Government has announced plans to reopen Primary schools for pupils in Early Years, Year 1 and Year 6 from Monday 1 June. In addition, they have outlined plans for Secondary school pupils in Years 10 and 12 to have some form of face-to-face contact with their teachers before the end of term. It is the stated intention of the Government (at the time of writing) that all Primary school pupils will return to school before the end of term in July.

You will find information relating particularly to English Martyrs here, including any specific practical instructions about their return. In addition to that, I wanted to let you know that we have developed a detailed Risk Assessment and set of protocols for our schools to use. These documents have been driven by guidance issued from the Department for Education, Public Health England and the scientific evidence used by both organisations. We have developed the documents in partnership with the Headteachers of our 21 schools across Leicester and Leicestershire, and we are confident that our processes will meet the Government’s expectations around safety in our schools; I want to state categorically that the safety of our young people and our staff is always the highest priority we have, and this is important to emphasise now more than ever. Whilst, mercifully, this horrible virus has directly touched the lives of only a small proportion of people within our city, our county and our country, the anxieties and all of the associated pressures have touched each and every one of us in different ways. Starting to welcome our young people back into the (relative) normality of school life will, please God, represent key steps in reducing the anxieties in many of their young lives.

As you know, our schools have remained open for the children of key workers and certain other groups of young people during the lockdown, in accordance with Government requirements. Over the first two weeks of next half term (Monday 1 – Friday 12 June), our secondary schools will plan for and begin the slow, steady reopening for pupils in Years 10 and 12. It is important to state that this will not be “business as usual”, but an opportunity for some face-to-face support for pupils in these year groups ahead of their examination years beginning at the end of August. Remote, home-study learning by a variety of methods will remain the main means of educational provision for our secondary aged pupils.

I would like to take this opportunity both to pay tribute to the staff across our Trust schools for the way in which they have adapted to these challenging circumstances in providing educational resources, learning opportunities and support for our young people, and to the nearly 2,000 of you who responded to the online questionnaire about home learning; this helped to shape our work considerably.

I appreciate that we are entering a period of rapid change and complexity. I assure you that staff across the Trust central team and within all of our schools will be working with vigilance and dedication to provide the very best we can for our young people, and to ensure that all safety measures outlined by the Government are adhered to. Should you have any questions that are specific to your child please, as ever, contact your school.

God bless

Neil Lockyer Chief Executive Officer, St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Multi-Academy Trust

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