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Easing Lockdown in Schools

Since the prime minister’s announcement that, subject to key safety criteria being
met, he would like to see schools begin to open for wider groups of children from
1 June, schools across the country have been examining the challenges those
intentions present.

At the same time, as more people return to work, the numbers of children of workers
critical to the response to the Covid-19 pandemic are increasing the numbers of
children attending our schools. These pupils, together with vulnerable children,
continue to put pressure on available school capacity. They remain the priority group.
We have consistently said we would look at opening our schools to include the year
groups suggested only when we are satisfied that risks have been minimised to an
acceptable level. The health and safety of staff and pupils continues to be our
overriding principle.

Part of our preparatory work, therefore, means our schools are currently carrying out
risk assessments that will dictate next steps. By their very nature, these risk
assessments are thorough and any vulnerable areas they are highlighting need to be
very carefully considered. It may be possible to completely mitigate some risks and to
lessen the risk in others. All our 24 schools are different. They have different
numbers of pupils, ranging from under 50 to over 700; some are rural and others are
in urban areas. All share the same desire to widen the opening of our schools, but
only when the trust can be satisfied that any remaining risk can be safely managed.
We do not wish to prejudge any of the ongoing risk assessments but I wanted to
convey both the complexity and enormity of the tasks currently being carried out – as,
indeed, they are at all schools. As and when we are able to widen our opening,
because of larger numbers of priority children, please bear in mind this will only mean
a gradual reintroduction and not, initially, all year groups specified at the same time.

Your school will be in touch with details of their plan, and associated guidance, in due
course.

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