By Rebecca De Winter, Trainee Solicitor at SEN Legal
The Government have previously announced that there will be a phased re-opening of schools from the 1st June 2020 and that Primary schools can welcome additional pupils if the government protective measures can be put in place.
As parents, we are all concerned about what school will actually look like for our children. We have provided below a brief summary of what the government suggest schools should be doing and how schooling will be made safer.
The Government have suggested that for most settings only limited year groups will be attending school full time. These are children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6. Young Adults in years 10 and 12 will be returning provided only a quarter of students are on site at one time. Those attending Special Schools, Special Post-16 Institutions and Hospital Schools, will not be returned based on year group but by prioritising pupils who are undergoing key transitions and where there will be an impact on life chances and development.
What Schools and other settings should be doing:
Carrying out a risk assessment before opening to more children and young people. Please note that parents and/or Young person should be involved in the risk assessment;
Making sure that children and young people do not attend if they or a member of their household have symptoms of coronavirus;
Arrange class sizes of 15 pupils or less;
One teacher should be allocated to a group but if there are any teacher shortages then support staff may be used to lead groups, under the direction of a teacher; and;
Reducing mixing between groups through timetable changes, such as staggered break times or by introducing staggered drop-off and collection times.
Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time.
Families should notify their nursery/school/college as normal if their child is unable to attend, if due to COVID-19 concerns these should be raised to the educational setting and then parents and nurserys/schools/colleges can address the barriers together.
Children classed as clinically extremely vulnerable due to pre-existing medical conditions are not expected to attend school.
Children who live with someone who is clinically vulnerable, including those who are pregnant, can attend their education or childcare setting; and
Children in a household with someone who is extremely clinically vulnerable, only attend an education or childcare setting if stringent social distancing can be adhered to.
Teaching and Support for Pupils:
Schools should use their “best endeavours” to support pupils attending school as well as those remaining at home. This includes:
considering their pupils’ mental health and wellbeing and identify any pupil who may need additional support so they are ready to learn;
assessing where pupils are in their learning, and agree what adjustments may be needed to the school curriculum over the coming weeks;
identify and plan how best to support the education of high needs groups, including disadvantaged, SEND and vulnerable pupils; and
support pupils in year 6, who will need both their primary and secondary schools to work together to support their upcoming transition to year 7.
The schools are under a duty to take these measures and provide this support if they are re-opened. If you are concerned that your school is not complying with these measures or you are worried about your child’s return to school please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we can help