What South Tyneside schools have said in response to Boris Johnson’s plans for phased reopening
Schools across the borough have reacted to the news that children could start returning to classrooms from next month.
In his statement from Downing Street on Sunday, May 19, the Prime Minister announced plans for a phased reopening of schools which could start to take place from June 1.
Mr Johnson said that this was the earliest possible date to consider the reopening of schools, beginning with pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.
He said it was hoped that children due to take exams next year would have some time with their teachers before the summer holidays.
Some schools in South Tyneside have issued statements in response to the plans, with many reassuring parents that they will be kept updated of any further changes.
Here’s what they have said so far:
Hadrian Primary School, South Shields
In a post on the school’s Facebook page, headteacher Mr Brown said: “I am sure you have seen tonight’s statement from the government, regarding the planned steps to return reception, Y1 and Y6 pupils to school starting in June. Like you, this is the first we as a school have heard this and also like you, we have no further detail or information. We hope to learn more from the government over the coming days and weeks and will update you as soon as we know more, so we can tell you what this will mean for our school.
“In the meantime, school will remain open only for vulnerable children and those of key workers until the end of May.”
Dunn Street Primary, Jarrow
In a letter to parents and carers, Mrs Burden said: “I appreciate after last nights announcement from the Prime Minister you will have many questions about the children’s return to school.
“Can I assure you we will be working harder than ever, taking and following advice and guidance from the government and local authority to ensure the return of all children to school as soon as is safely possible.
“We will keep you updated regularly with all the information we are given and inform you at the earliest opportunity of any changes. In the short-term though nothing has changed and we thank you for your continued support and understanding in these unprecedented times.
“I hope we are able to share with you some clarity and guidance in the following days and weeks.”
Fellgate Primary School, Jarrow
Mrs Tones commented in a Facebook post: “I am sure that like me you will have watched the Prime Minister’s broadcast last night. I am also sure that you, like myself have many concerns and questions about school reopening. We are waiting to receive more information from the government about what this means for our school.
“In the short-term, nothing has changed but I will provide further information in the coming days and weeks once I am able to do so. Let me continue to reassure you, that school will only reopen when it is safe to do so and with the correct safety measures in place.”
Hedworthfield Primary School, Jarrow
In a post on social media the school said: “Please note we have no further information than the information given to everyone in the Government announcements.
“We presume guidance will be issued in the next few days and we will update you as soon as we know more.”
Keelman’s Way, Hebburn
A spokesperson said: “There is to be no change at present.
“You will have seen that the Government have made an announcement about a possible return to school for some primary school pupils.
“Nothing has changed for our school as yet. No mention was made over special schools. We will provide further information in the coming days and weeks as we find out what any government guidance means for us. The safety of your child will always be at its heart.”
St Oswald’s R C Primary School, Hebburn
Headteacher Helen Smith announced that a risk assessment has already been put in place for pupil’s return to school and also addressed questions regarding school uniform.
She said: “My main aim is to ensure the children can return to school when safe to do so and that they are as safe as possible within the current climate regarding Covid 19. Equally, I have considered all of the staff are also safeguarded.
“This risk assessment will evolve over time and once further guidance is released by the government this will be amended accordingly.
“With regards to uniform, I would ask that all children wear a school jumper but in the interim period between now and September I am more than happy to be flexible about the rest of the uniform requirements such as school shoes etc.
“With regards to childcare arrangements the criteria will remain as it is with only key worker and vulnerable children accepted into the provision at this point. If you have previously not accessed the provision we are assuming that your child has the capacity to be cared for safely at home in line with government guidance. This will be reviewed once we know more.”
Valley View Primary School, Jarrow
In a Facebook post the school said: “Please note we have no further information than the information given to everyone in the Goverment announcements.
We presume guidance will be issued in the next few days and we will update you as soon as we know more.”
West Boldon Primary School, West Boldon
In a letter to parents and carers, headteacher Mrs Garr wrote: “At the moment there is no change to the guidance for us in school. We will continue to provide care for those with parents whose work is critical to the Covid-19 and only those children who cannot be safely cared for at home. The message is still that it is safer to stay at home.“We have not yet received any information to help with a phased reopening of some year groups but we expect to hear from the DFE with clarification at some point today. We need to fully understand how this may be achieved with social distancing measures in place that will keep out families, children and staff safe
“We will continue to keep you informed and keep in contact.”
Harton Academy, South Shields
The school has not updated parents since the announcement last night but on Thursday, May 7, executive head teacher, Sir Ken Gibson said in a Facebook post: “We have been trying to anticipate aspects of this announcement and have been risk assessing the return of students on a likely phased basis. I have a meeting with senior staff to discuss this further on Tuesday of next week. We have been looking at our 98 classrooms and the dining hall, and calculating how many students we can safely sit either 1m apart or 2m apart. Clearly, we will need to consult further with staff, parents, unions and Governors before any plans are finalised.”