LETTER FROM THE ASPIRE TRUST – 14/05/2020
Dear Parents, Guardians, Carers,
I write as Chair of the Aspire Community Trust and on behalf of our family of schools
Bassett Green Primary, Bevois Town Primary, Cantell School, Highfield Church of
England Primary, Mansbridge Primary, Maytree Infants and Nursery, Mount Pleasant
Junior, Swaythling Primary and Vermont School.
Firstly, we hope you are all well and staying safe in what continues to be challenging
and unprecedented times. Whilst our school buildings, across the Trust, continue to
be closed to the majority of students, our communities remain very much open
‘remotely’ and we would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued
support with your child’s home learning.
Every Headteacher in our Trust, together with their staff teams want nothing more than
to go back to normality; to welcome your children at the gate every morning, to teach
and care for them face to face, to hear and see their happy and smiley faces in and
around our schools. Our priority, however, continues to be the safety of our community
– staff, students and parents/carers/guardians; with decisions being made being based
on a triangulation of public health, data and science.
On Sunday 10th of May, The Prime Minster announced that Pupils in Year R, Year 1
and Year 6 would go back to school on the 1st of June. He went on to say “our ambition
is that secondary students facing exams next year, will get at least some time with
their teachers before the summer holiday”
On Monday 11th of May, the Department for Education confirmed what the PM said
regarding Primary aged pupils but also stated that Secondary schools should prepare
Year 10 and 12 for “some face to face contact” with their teachers.
So in summary, the Government have stated they would want Years R, 1, 6, 10 and
12 to return from June the 1st with the latter year groups receiving some “face to face
contact”. In Special schools, there is no focus on a particular year group.
For the last two weeks, our schools have been carrying out risk assessments and
making plans for a phased opening at some stage in the Summer Term.
We have reviewed these plans against those proposed by the DFE guidance and note
some inconsistency with guidance issued by the Government for other workplaces –
notably no requirement to social distance in Primary and no requirement for PPE.
Insert text here…
We have thought carefully about and discussed with colleagues the academic, social
and well-being costs of not being in school against their safety, the safety of staff and
your safety as parents, guardians and carers.
We have considered the level of debate between the Government and the Education
Sector and unfortunately our voice – our questions, queries and concerns to support a
safe and effective phased transition have not been heard, let alone acted upon.
The Government state they “have medical and scientific advice saying that it is the
right time to start bringing schools back in a phased manner”. Schools, however, have
not been provided with this information and we are reliant on public briefings which
continue to confirm that the evidence is not entirely clear yet on how children transmit
Having discussed this as a collective group of Headteachers, we are of the opinion
that the information we have received to date does not point to a safe phased wider
reopening of our schools from June the 1st. We hope to receive more information from
the Government that will provide us all with a greater level of confidence and in the
meantime will continue to work on our robust plans to receive your children back as
soon and as safely as possible.
Each individual Headteacher will write with more details of the contents of this letter
and to share initial plans on how each school will operate a phased return.
Please can I take this opportunity to thank our staff teams across the Trust, those who
are in school and those who are creating home learning for their dedication and
stoicism over the last few weeks.
Please can I also take this opportunity to thank you for your patience and your support.
We are in this together more than ever before.
Stay safe and well.
Chair – Aspire Community Trust
Headteacher – Cantell School
A MESSAGE FROM THE LEADERSHIP TEAM – 11/05/2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
I’m sure many of you will have watched the Prime Minister’s address to the nation yesterday evening.
You will have heard the Prime Minister indicating that the government believes it may be in a position to implement a phased re-opening of schools from 1st June starting with pupils in reception, year one and year six. This is part of the government’s conditional plan which it says will remain under regular review.
At present, we are providing essential childcare for key worker families and those children who are more vulnerable. We are also providing home learning and weekly phone calls for all children to support families during lockdown. We have been pleased to hear that this has been working well too!
This has been a very challenging time for us all and we are all keen to get more pupils back into school – not one of us wants to see classrooms empty for a day longer than they need to be. However, the crucial thing for us all to bear in mind is that it’ll happen when it is safe to do so. Our care as well as education of your children remains our highest concern.
Our first priority must continue to be the safety of everyone in the school community and any plan to increase the number of pupils in schools has to be practicable and manageable.
We need clear guidance to plan how it is possible to socially distance pupils in schools and keep our children, teachers and families safe. We also need to know how we might start to phase groups of children returning and what this looks like. Please be reassured that there is no way that we will reopen until we are prepared as we can be, taking in account the safety measures that are important.
Therefore, we await further guidance from the government as to how this can be achieved successfully at Highfield but would remind you that, at present, nothing has changed.
As always, we will keep you informed. But for now, please try not to worry. Our plan for now, is to continue providing activities for learning at home, keep in contact with you and continue to support each other in these very difficult and uncertain times. As soon as we have our own ‘roadmap’ we will share this with you and be here for you all as we navigate the journey ahead.
With kind regards
The Leadership Team
Unfortunately the school has closed temporarily as part of the Government directive. For home learning advice and guidance please look at the tabs – Parents then Useful Links. There will be suggestions and ideas for home learning placed there. There may also be information shared on the BLOGS – so please check these out too (including the Leadership one).
Please feel free to contact one of our specially created gmail accounts where a member of the team can respond directly to your needs. We are also phoning our parents to check in and support them too as we know these are challenging times.
Here are a couple of recent letters that you need to look at in relation to home learning and the current challenges:
Welcome to our school! We hope you enjoy reading our blogs on our new website and getting a sense of the special place that this is! We are a school that invests in memorable learning.
We want learning to be exciting , for teaching to be effective and for relationships to be strong based on mutual respect.
The following links will be really useful for you as you and your child as they rise to the learning challenges ahead:
The Bucket and Spade List Year R to 6 (if you have any additional ideas for games let me know)
A brief summary of how children learn. This is a short summary of learning theory and it will assist you in understanding the learning process.
The attachment above uses the phrase ‘drip,drip of learning ‘ and below are the areas of focus we have at Highfield
Please look at the calendar of events on this website and on the Updates. Home contact and learning is also supported through our Highfield ‘OurSchoolsApp’. Talk Time Learning (TTL) suggestions can be found in the information section.