This page is now out of date but has been retained for information.
The government has announced that, subject to various tests being met, children may be able to return to school after half-term. As far as Woodside is concerned there are some problems with a presumption that the youngest and oldest children would return first. Nursery, reception and year 1 children are not able to socially distance themselves and often need adult physical support, tend to have accidents, runny noses etc and are generally the most infectious children we have if there is any illness in the school. Currently we are faced with a deadly disease. The UK currently has the second highest death rate in the world, we count one of our members of staff among the 33000 plus who have died. Children do catch the disease and, as one of our own children who was hospitalized has shown, it can also be dangerous for them. When we supported the Influenza Vaccinations in the autumn term, we were told that this was important because children were major carriers of the disease to old people for whom it could be deadly. Exactly the same applies to COVID-19.
Older children should be better able to social distance and manager themselves. We would also hope that they could come in and out of school on their own, cutting down the general congestion of people which, for the past 8 weeks we have all been told to avoid. There are some issues however with year 6. In their final year we work academically towards the SATS which should have happened this week. The required curriculum is taught by Easter after which there is revision for the tests themselves. After the tests we motivate children with some more active challenges including our residential week at PGL, sports, concerts and our celebration evening. Unfortunately, with the regulations about events still in force, even if schools are open, these may not be able to take place. An important part of this term is the transition to secondary school but we are entirely in the hands of those schools as to what these arrangements will be and children will go to the schools directly from home. Usually at this time we would turn our academic focus to year 5 who how have a year before their SATs and have already missed several weeks of school. Before the crisis we were aware our current year 5 would need particular support to perform at the level expected.
No final decision has been made but, depending on the progress in eliminating infection our preference would to start with Y5, having 9 classes each of 9 children taught by the Y6, Y5 and Y4 staff. We would then try to include other classes, hopefully with the whole school back for at least part of each week by the end of the term. We will confirm which children will be invited and set out how this will work before half term.
We fully understand the views of a majority of parents who would rather their children still stayed at home, if fact staff share your reservations. For this reason and because there are some children who will be unable to come in, we will running our home learning system in parallel for the rest of term, although we may not be able to offer such intensive support.