Thank you for your support, understanding and patience over the past three months. I am grateful to you all for everything you have done to assist your child’s learning, your child’s school and the local authority at this difficult time.
This letter will provide you with further information in respect of the recommencement of school-based learning for all pupils and emergency childcare provision for eligible children available in Bridgend for the rest of the summer term (until Friday 24 July).
Check in, Catch up and Prepare
As a result of the Minister for Education’s recent announcement in respect of the reopening of schools, the local authority is keen to work with schools and parents/carers to ensure all pupils benefit from an opportunity to check in with their schools, catch up with their peers and teachers, and prepare for the next school year.
From Monday 29 June, Bridgend schools will start to accept their own pupils to attend identified sessions at their own school.
However, not all learners will return at once and, when they do return, the school day might start and end at different times for different learners. This may include different arrangements for siblings of different ages, attending the same school.
Welsh Government ministers have stated that the total number of pupils in any school at any one time will not exceed one third of the total number of pupils who would normally attend that school. To accommodate this requirement, during the period Monday 29 June to Friday 24 July, your child will only be invited into their school on two occasions (unless they are eligible for emergency childcare at their individual school’s childcare hub).
It is important to note that, during this period, parents and carers are free to decide whether to send their children to school. Should parents/carers decide not to send their children to school during this summer term, they will not be penalised. If you choose not to send your children to school, they will continue to receive the same home-to-school support they have received so far.
When your child returns to school, there will be a focus upon pupil wellbeing and on an enjoyment of outdoor learning, where and when this is practical, in their particular learning environment.
In secondary schools, there may be a greater focus, in some year groups, on supporting pupils’ learning, in anticipation of the academic demands of the forthcoming school year.
To assist individual schools with their own planning arrangements, it would be hugely beneficial for them to know whether parents and carers are anticipating sending their children into school when invited to do so.
I know that school teachers, school leaders and school support staff would be delighted to see their pupils on both occasions.
To establish the likely ‘take-up’ of offered provision at your school, your school would like you to complete the following survey by Wednesday 17 June at 13:30: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=Ug4_TzS3ZEGUCRtgHRR5k5M3UuT5QPtDqH7M8FK_HLVURFlQV1FLTkdJUlRaQUlLVjNWSElSS000UC4u
Once again, I am keen to do everything possible to reassure you of the local authority’s efforts in supporting the emotional and physical wellbeing of learners. The local authority is working closely with schools and its partners to ensure that guidance and support is in place to assist your child’s return to school.
Emergency childcare support for key workers and vulnerable learners who have been accessing the hub throughout weeks 1 to 13 of lockdown only
YBC’s childcare hub provision will operate as normal alongside the school-based provision. However access will be limited to those pupils who have accessed the childcare hub in weeks 1 to 13 of lockdown and for children of keyworkers on a case-by-case basis. To-date, the childcare hub provision has been for vulnerable learners and has operated from 09:30 to 11:30 daily; should key worker provision be required then bespoke packages of support will be considered on an individual basis.
In order to apply for these emergency childcare places, parents/carers will need to discuss during home-school communication.
As individual schools will also be accommodating other children on site (on a rota basis as advised by your child’s own school), places will be limited and will be capped to comply with social distancing requirements.
Parents/carers are advised that, currently, the local authority is not in a position to confirm whether emergency childcare provision will be available during the school summer holiday period (ie between Monday 27 July and Tuesday 1 September).
Further information in respect of emergency childcare provision during the school summer holiday period will be provided shortly.
In conclusion, I would like to thank you all, once again, for your continuing support at a very difficult time.
Lindsay Iorwerth Harvey (Mr)
Corporate Director – Education and Family Support
Bridgend County Borough Council