Message from Mr. Cunliffe Chair of Governors.
You are probably aware that the government have dropped their plans for all primary school pupils in England to spend at least a month in class before the start of the summer holidays.
The initial phase of the government’s controversial reopening plans got off to a patchy start with many primary schools remaining closed to further pupils. For those that opened, attendance was as low as 40% in some, rising to 70% elsewhere.
In some regions, as few as one in four state primary schools were reported to be open to more pupils on Monday than before, and just one in 10 in some local authorities.
Most schools including Lowton West have remained open during the crisis for children of key workers and vulnerable pupils, but from Monday primary schools across England were asked by the government to open more widely and admit pupils in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6, despite opposition from teaching unions and some scientific advisers.
Since this announcement there has been very little guidance and advice and it has been left to individual schools to make their own decisions based on a risk assessment being carried out.
Some councils across England have refused to implement the governments suggestions as they think it is too soon.
Wigan LA have recently sent out a letter to all Headteachers and chairs of governors which concludes as follows:
Quote, “In coming to this conclusion on wider reopening, I’ve set out below the reasons for why I consider that sufficient progress has been made against all five government tests to advise cautious wider reopening but only at the pace individual schools and childcare settings feel confident to manage safely”.
To help schools, Wigan have issued a generic risk assessment which has proved a useful starting point. Mrs. Westhead has finalised all the risk assessments for Lowton West and these will be published on the school website.
You will also be aware that Lowton West will not be opening wider to pupils in Reception, Year 1 or Year 6. The school will however continue to focus on increasing the provision for the key worker pupils and vulnerable pupils and it will gradually increase pupil numbers over the next few weeks.
As I have indicated to you before, school is going to be very different. For example, the only way that we can adhere to the best possible safety measures is to alter classrooms so that desks are far away from each other as possible .There will be staggered start and finish times, separate play and lunch times, etc.
So that is the school’s position at the moment. As you know things can suddenly change!
I appreciate that all of this is very strange and possibly at times confusing for you. Mrs. Westhead, the staff and governors feel the same, but can I reassure you that Mrs. Westhead and her staff are working extremely hard to provide as safe an environment as possible. Rest assured that when your child does come back Mrs. Westhead and her staff will make it as stress free and enjoyable as possible.
As always, I thank you for your continued support of our Headteacher and staff in these unprecedented times.
I wish you all the very best.
Chair of Governors.