In March when the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak was increasing, we made clear no parent would be penalised or sanctioned for their child’s not attending school.
Now the circumstances have changed and it is vital for all children to return to school to minimise as far as possible the longer-term impact of the pandemic on children’s education, well-being and wider development.
Missing out on more time in the classroom risks pupils falling further behind. Those with higher overall absence tend to achieve less well in both primary and secondary school.
The Government has now made school attendance mandatory again from the beginning of the autumn term. This means from that point, the usual rules on school attendance will apply, including:
We now know much more about coronavirus (COVID-19) and so in future there will be far fewer children and young people advised to shield whenever community transmission rates are high. Therefore, the majority of pupils will be able to return to school. You should note however that:
Where a pupil is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical and/or public health advice, we will offer access to remote education through our website and workbooks. Schools will monitor engagement with this activity.
Where children are not able to attend school as parents are following clinical and/or public health advice, absence will not be penalised.
All other pupils must attend school. We will always be understanding of the potential concerns of pupils, parents and households who may be reluctant or anxious about returning. We will put the right support in place to address this. This may include pupils who have themselves been shielding previously but have been advised that this is no longer necessary, those living in households where someone is clinically vulnerable, or those concerned about the comparatively increased risk from coronavirus (COVID-19), including those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds or who have certain conditions such as obesity and diabetes.
If parents of pupils with significant risk factors are concerned, please come and discuss your concerns with us and we will do everything we can to provide reassurance of the measures we are putting in place to reduce the risk in school. Compulsory school age children must be in school unless a statutory reason applies (for example, the pupil has been granted a leave of absence, is unable to attend because of sickness, is absent for a necessary religious observance etc).
From the week beginning 23rd March 2020, our school has provided bespoke on-line learning for all year groups (F1-Y6) via the school website as well as platforms such as PurpleMash, Timestables Rockstars and IXL. At it's peak, engagement with at least one of our online provision areas was approximately 81%. Teachers provided weekly Spelling, Writing, Reading and Maths provision. This was supported by 'Afternoon Curriculum Projects' covering the remainder of the curriculum. Online engagement was monitored by SMT and pupils who showed low levels of engagement were contacted by their class teachers. Pupils who were unable to access online provision at any point during the school closure were provided with high quality text books to support their home learning. During the Summer term, teachers contacted pupils through weekly phone calls to support learning. Pupils were able to contact their classmates and teachers through blogs on PurpleMash. All learning, where possible, continued to reflect the content that children would have studied in school.
Our SENCo remained in contact with pupils identified with special educational needs to support where needed. Guidance and support from the Behaviour Support Team, Autism Team, Behaviour Emotional Mental health service and other provides has been disseminated via our website and twitter, or through our SENCo.
Our ADSL and DSLs have coordinated our safeguarding measures. From the week beginning 23rd March, identified pupils were contacted weekly by a member of staff and any actions taken accordingly. Pupils who we have struggled to make contact with have received home visits by our attendance officer or a DSL. Our Admin staff have coordinated free school meal vouchers to ensure we continue to support our community in every way we can.
During the partial reopening, Westglade was open to pupils in Year 1, 6 and Reception. We continued to provide places for pupils whose parents meet the key worker criteria. All staff were working in school in either a teaching, admin, leadership/DSL or designated first aid capacity. Full time staff were in school for 3 days and part time staff for 2. Those days when staff were not in school, they were working from home. When at home, staff were preparing learning for their bubbles, setting remote learning for pupils not in school, completing safeguarding measures, preparing summer 'keep up' provision and prepping for next year.