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Planning for plans that will probably change and adjust

18th May 2020

We are all acutely aware at AST that our schools, staff, governors and, particularly, headteachers are in the midst of detailed planning for the reopening of schools to larger numbers of children. Sometimes it appears to be forgotten that schools have remained open to the vulnerable and key workers' children throughout this period, including during the school holidays, with headteachers on site and staff running classes. Last week alone saw guidance documents from government into double figures, coming out from Monday to Friday, and in some cases contradicting each other, but always updating, rephrasing and reviewing. This reflects the national situation of uncertainty and review.

In order to assist this process as far as we can, headteachers, business managers and AST central team have been working in 4 main areas:

  • Practical school reopening plan
  • Risk assessment updates on re-opening
  • Health & Safety updates on re-opening
  • Review of HR advice and guidance

Following our headteachers' meeting last week, AST have sought to support schools in this challenging task through providing H&S and risk assessment templates in addition to detailed HR advice. We all agree that safety comes first for our schools, children and staff, and we will ensure that this is prioritised as we follow the government’s guidance to reopen with stringent containment measures in place.

I am particularly thankful for all the endeavours of headteachers leading their organisations at this time. We will support you fully during this period, as ever, and try to distil the core principles of government advice around reopening. We are sure that our Chairs and Clerks briefing this evening will provide further opportunity to keep our local governing bodies in the loop on all matters reopening and their responsibilities at this time.

Constructing plans within a fluid environment that many accept will change and evolve is challenging. It is at these times when we can all support one another that the true value of a Trust which is better together is apparent.

As part of these plans to prepare, we have taken the decision to disband our collaborative provision at Stoughton on Friday 22nd May. While Shalford and Stoughton will continue to combine for the 4 days of half term, all schools will be returning to their own sites for key worker and vulnerable children provision, and to begin making ready their schools for the planned reopening. Thank you, Stoughton, and all the staff who served here during this time.

If we can assist in any way, please do get in touch. A team approach is best maintained while we strive to provide the best for our children.

Jack Mayhew, Executive Headteacher  Athena Schools Trust

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