16 July 2020
Dear parents and carers
The vast majority of Birmingham schools have been open to some pupils throughout the coronavirus outbreak and almost all have welcomed back significant numbers of additional pupils since the beginning of June. Last month the government set out its plan that all children and young people, in all year groups, will return to school full time from the beginning of the autumn term. We support this plan and are keen that all Birmingham children return to school. Many pupils will not have attended school full time for several months and we know that some families may have concerns about their child returning to school. As we approach the end of the summer term, we are writing to reassure you about the safety measures that schools will be putting in place so that you can be confident when your child goes back to school in September. The safety and wellbeing of pupils and staff is the highest priority for all Birmingham schools as well as the council. Every school will be undertaking comprehensive health and safety risk assessments as part of their planning for all pupils to return and will make sure that everyone is safe at school. To manage the risks that remain from coronavirus, you will find that things will be a bit different when your children return to school in September. Your child’s school will be in touch with you to set out the changes that it is making and we would encourage you to carefully read any communication you receive about new arrangements and contact them if you have any questions. When they return in September some children will be asked stay within specified separate groups (or bubbles) and others will be asked to maintain distance between individuals. The government’s guidance recognises that younger children may not be able to maintain social distancing so it is likely that for younger children the emphasis will be on separating groups, and for older children, it will be on distancing. Your school will set out how this will work. Your child’s school may also introduce new processes for drop off and collection. If they do this, it will be to help keep groups apart as they arrive and leave school and will not reduce the amount of time that is spent teaching. New hygiene arrangements 2 will be introduced and schools will ensure that all children wash their hands immediately when they arrive and frequently during the school day. Families can support this by: • ensuring that anyone who has coronavirus symptoms, or has someone in their household who does, does not attend school. This means if your child, or someone in your household, has symptoms you should not send them to school • engaging with the NHS Test and Trace process so that cases can be identified and action taken. This means if your child develops symptoms, you should arrange for them to get a test and you should inform your school of the results of that test We are hugely grateful for the commitment and dedication school staff have shown over the last few months and we know that they are really looking forward to welcoming back all children in September. Schools have worked really hard to put new arrangements in place so children can return safely and we would ask you to support them by observing any new measures that schools introduce. Regular attendance at school is vital for not only children’s education but also their wellbeing and wider development. We know that children have missed being with their friends and teachers and will be looking forward to returning to school in September. We hope you have a restful summer break.