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I have read many articles and views on school reopenings, the when, the how, the who. We are all in unprecedented times and are all finding our way, I don’t think any of us know the correct answers or routes, and we may never know. But like with most things I think we should be honest, provide as much information as possible to people and crucially, be practical about what is possible. As a classroom teacher it is the practical on the ground steps that matter most but i fear will get least attention.
When the Government do provide further guidance on school reopenings later this week, clarity is needed. The Government have rightly asked heads for their views on the how and whom for schools reopening (not so much the when) but ultimately this is a Government decision, and after heads have been heard it is them who should decide. This is a national decision and should be made by national Government.
There also many other issues that need to be addressed, with clear information and instruction, not just vague get outs in the form of guidance. The NEU have their 5 years and the Government need to address many questions before we can safely open schools.
– Which year groups will be in?
– How many hours will pupils be in?
– Is the expectation of a full curriculum or more like child care?
-For students not in, are teachers still expected to provide remote learning materials?
– What maximum class size can there be?
– What exactly are the social distancing expectations?
– Who or How will equipment be provided if this can’t be shared?
– What expectations will there be of parents picking up pupils to distance?
– If students can’t share equipment then PE equipment and Pc’s become a no go so class room space is diminished further.-
-At what level does staffing become too low to keep the school open?
– What happens if parents decide to keep their kids at home through health fears? Will central Government fine them?
Then there are a couple of crucial questions for the future:
– Are current year 5, 10 and 12 pupils expected to take their respective exams for next year having missed a big chunk of the course now?
– What will be expected of school budgets for next year?
I am not saying any of these things are easy to answer and it will be an evolving process but it’s clarity and information that is needed, not more jargon and sound bites.