Trust Statement re. Coronavirus and Schools

Dear Parents and Carers 

I wish to thank you again for being patient and mindful of the current situation. This really has allowed our schools across the Trust time to plan for the return of our learners in line with the current Government parameters. 

As more children return to their educational settings, I thank you for being aware that each individual school has its own local context which must be taken into consideration when completing risk assessments and planning. Due to factors such as the size of the classrooms and indeed how many children we can get in each classroom at 2metre distancing, each school is taking a bespoke approach to their plans. I wish to highlight that this is not a situation where a ‘one size fits all’ method is appropriate. 

There are several restrictions across the Trust regarding available staffing due to Covid-19 and other personal circumstances. As such, this has a direct effect on when each school can expand its provision. Furthermore, classes are now either in thirds or quarters, each needing a dedicated member of staff. This has had a massive implication on the number of staff available, as I’m sure you can appreciate, as one class now requires 3 to 4 individual teachers. I thank you for being conscious of these pressures being experienced across the Wessex Learning Trust schools. 

The Trust have received some heartening messages from parents thanking us for what we are doing, and these are widely appreciated as we collate feedback across our educational settings. We of course recognise that there is a great deal of anxiety regarding the current pandemic, which can occasionally manifest itself in unpleasant interactions with school staff. I thank you for understanding the immense pressures placed on our staff at present, and for diminishing these types of communication. I wish to assure you that feedback is welcomed and taken on board, and that the Trust are working hard to ensure that our learners are supported, and no one disadvantaged. 

To update you further, Year 8 students will have some face to face contact within their current ‘home’ school to bring closure to the end of their schooling in that setting. From 29 June 2020, Kings staff will be setting online work for GCSE and BTEC classes. Students will have contact from their new tutors to enhance their transition process. Students will be given an email address and a log on to Kings Virtual Learning Platform to access the work which is set. Information will also be available on the Kings Website to further support this process. 

Current Year 4 students moving into Year 5 will have a similar transition experience. The middle schools, in conjunction with the first schools will be setting a ‘Wow Project’ which students will take to their new middle school in September. Their new tutors will also contact them to support with the transition process. 

Other transition years, such as those at Brent Knoll, have also made their own arrangements which are fully supported by the Trust. 

Transition for Year 11 into the Sixth Form at Kings took place on Friday 19 June 2020. 111 students participated in the first ever ‘virtual induction’ which equipped students with key information and opportunities to question and source information. Information in relation to the Year 11 transition remains available on the Kings website. 

First schools will be contacting pupils in preschools and new pupils with regards to transition into reception presently. 

On Friday evening the Government announced a desire to have all children back in school for September 2020. The Teaching profession are receiving these messages at the same time as you are as parents and carers. I thank you for being patient in allowing us time to process the information being released, enabling us to understand what it means in terms of social distancing, arrangements and provision in our schools. 

Mental Health First Aiders have been made available to all schools across the Trust. These individuals are supporting staff and learners with their return and anxieties experienced due to lock down. 

We fully understand that this has been a difficult time for all, and everyone is keen for children to be back in school and learning. We are trying to do this safely within the current parameters and safety measures that we must be mindful of. 

Thank you for your continued cooperation and understanding. 

Yours sincerely, 

Gavin Ball

Chief Executive