Barlow CE Primary School
Park Road
01757 618319
Dear Parents & Carers

Thank you for your quick response to our Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 parent snapshot survey. The information that you provided has played a pivotal role to help us understand the wider thoughts and feelings within our community.

After considering parental feedback, and the current information available regarding the safety of our children and staff, we have decided that we will not open our schools on June 1st.  This does not mean that we do not intend to open each school before the end of July; instead we will wait for a few more weeks to observe the evidence of a declining mortality rate and R-rate, alongside evidence that staff and children can be kept safe at school. At the moment, we feel that we cannot guarantee safety and therefore it is sensible to remain closed.

We appreciate that other schools in the local area may respond differently to the government guidelines, and they are just guidelines. It is up to each school to assess the risks associated with opening and make a decision using the evidence available. Every school is unique in its circumstance and therefore their responses may vary.

We all want to return to school; we miss the children and we are all craving the routine of a school day. However, after carefully digesting the government guidelines, our days are looking far from normal.  We appreciate that the guidelines are encouraging younger children back to school first, but our approach to early years and Year 1 teaching is through investigative teaching and free-flow play. To put children at desks not only contradicts our ethos, but we also believe that it will be upsetting for our children to endure. We cannot, in good faith, ask them to do this.

We are hopeful that this measured approach will evidence to us that we are safe to re-open all of our schools before the summer holiday, and we shall write to you in mid-June to update you with further information. We anticipate that the guidelines will have changed again, or the predicted declining mortality rate and R-rate will evidence to us that our younger children can return to a setting that is familiar and nurturing to them. We will then be in a position to share risk assessments with parents regarding the daily routines, lunchtimes, toileting, handwashing, breaktimes, parents collections, drop offs, pick times and staff rotas.

When we are in a position to re-open all three schools to resume teaching, we will start by inviting our Year 6 children to return first. This will allow us to prepare them for their transition to high school and will also give us time to ensure that they receive a proper goodbye. We aim for this to be Monday 22nd June, and we will contact Year 6 families to confirm this by Wednesday 17th June. Following this, we will consult with parents again and communicate our plans for other cohorts to be given the opportunity to return. The position for pupils to return remains voluntary and your choice will be respected.

For now, and until we communicate otherwise, we will continue as normal. Seesaw and Tapestry learning will continue to be set, teachers will engage with families using the site and via phone, emotional and mental health support will continue to be offered by Mrs Thornton, Ms Hargreaves and Mrs Edenbrow using Skype, and key worker children are welcome to continue coming to our childcare provision at Chapel Haddlesey school.

As more workplaces open, we do appreciate that there may be more key worker parents who need childcare cover. Please email your base school or ring Chapel Haddlesey school if you would like to book your child in. We are also able to offer free childcare to pupils who are vulnerable. The criteria for vulnerable is a sliding scale; if you feel that your family may fall into this criteria, please ring Chapel Haddlesey school and speak to us and we will offer support with discretion.

Yours sincerely,

Suzanne MacDonald                                           Jenny Brown                                               Chris Taperell
Executive Headteacher                                      Co-Chair of Governors                              Co-Chair of Governors