I hope you are all keeping well and safe during these strange times. I write to you to communicate how Greswold is continuing to support our families and how this may change in the future. Please take time to read the relevant sections of this letter.
For every child and family
We have continued to provide home learning for every child at Greswold throughout these unprecedented times. Children in N-Y1 have also received regular updates through Tapestry. We have considered parental feedback and made relevant changes to our offer as time has gone by. We don’t underestimate the pressures on parents to manage home learning and I applaud every one of you for persevering when times have been challenging. We will continue to provide home learning for the remainder of the summer term.
Our website provides links to many supportive documents and signposts families to additional external support. Staff have diligently responded to all enquiries and questions that have been submitted by parents to the school office email account firstname.lastname@example.org
For families eligible to receive free school meals
One of our, and your, biggest frustrations has been the reliability and speed of issuing of vouchers for those families eligible for free school meals which is managed by a national external provider called Edenred. We thank parents for working with us in their times of need and for updating us on when they have finally received vouchers. Currently, we are processing free school meal voucher orders for more than 65 Greswold children. If you think you may also be eligible, please visit https://www.solihull.gov.uk/fsm
For families of key workers or children who are considered vulnerable
Since March, when the country went into lockdown we have continued to offer and provide care and education for the children of key workers and those who are considered vulnerable. We have opened our doors to these children every weekday including usual school holidays except for four bank holidays. Currently, we are providing this education for over 50 Greswold pupils. However, we are receiving more requests for places from parents who are considered key workers and now wish to return to work. So far, we have managed to accommodate every request but this is becoming increasingly difficult due to a restriction on the number of children we can accommodate safely in each bubble and the availability of staff, especially at lunchtimes. If we find that numbers become unmanageable, we will implement a priority list. Please only request care as a key worker if it is for you to be able to return to work, not so that a non-essential worker can return to work.
Moving forwards, we will require at least 14 days notice of your requests via the office email account email@example.com so that we can safely accommodate these rising numbers.
For families who have needed additional support in relation to mental health
Since April 2020, relevant staff members have been calling every week those families who may need a bit of extra support. Some weeks, this has totalled conversations with over 60 children and their parents. Parents who have requested a call home to provide some additional support for their child’s motivation or anxiety have received one within a few days. We have also uploaded a variety of resources to our website https://www.greswold.solihull.sch.uk/social-emotional-and-mental-health-resources and signposted parents to external support agencies. We can also provide details of how to access educational psychology support if needed.
For children in N, R, Y6 and Y1
As per government guidance, we have been able to invite pupils in Nursery, Reception, Year 1, Year 6 and those who take their main 15 hours of childcare in Greswold Greyhounds back to school. Our offer for N, R and Y6 is for two days per week from Monday 8th June and it has been wonderful to see more children at school. We look forward to welcoming back pupils in Y1 for two days per week from Monday 15th June. In total, we will be welcoming back an additional 135 pupils who will be allocated a safe ‘bubble’ with consistent staff. We believe that the safest way to manage the return of additional pupils is to ensure that each bubble is protected as much as possible, keeping numbers of children in each bubble low due to the restrictions on space and keeping staff consistent within each bubble.
I have been asked two key questions by parents of children in N, R, Y6 and Y1 which are:
In answer to question 1, we asking parents of children in N, R, Y1 and Y6 to complete a new short form if you would like your child to return to school w/c 29th June for the final 3 weeks of term. https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=_8XsNkcZBUCdDFgUlropG11bVZzMtYZIk_2CPBKJJCdUOEtTREo1TEUxODE2TTFYS1lTT05YNlFFTi4u Please note that there is no guarantee that we will be able to accommodate every child in N, R, Y1 and Y6. Forms must be completed by Monday 15th June. You do not need to complete the form if your child already attends or has been allocated to a bubble or if you do not wish your child to start back before the end of term. If you do not respond to this new form we will assume your child will not be returning before September and be unable to allocate them a place.
In answer to question 2, there are no plans for Greswold to increase its care for Nursery children to more than 2 days per week before the summer holidays. It is highly unlikely that we will increase the number of days we offer to Reception due to staff capacity and availability. We may be able to offer additional days to Y1 and, more importantly, Y6 before the end of the summer term but it depends on how many parents would like their children to return who are not already in school, hence question 1. We will be in further contact if we feel we may be able to increase the number of days in Y6 or Y1.
For children in Y2, Y3, Y4 and Y5
Unfortunately, we will not be able to safely invite pupils in Y2-Y5 back to school for consistent on-site education before September. However, we are looking for ways to invite groups of our not-forgotten Y2-Y5 pupils back for a short outdoor session with their current teacher and possibly a short outdoor session with their new teacher before the end of term, most likely w/c 6th July. These group sessions can most safely be conducted outside so may be weather dependent but could also provide an opportunity to collect any belongings left in school. Please bear with us while we plan for these events and we will endeavour to give you as much notice as possible.
For children who use Greswold Greyhounds childcare
Greswold Greyhounds remains closed for before and after school care and wraparound. At the moment, there are no plans to open this provision during the remainder of the summer term. In regards to a summer holiday club, a decision has not been made yet and there is certainly a lack of guidance at national or regional level to support schools at the moment. I have escalated my frustrations on this matter to Solihull Council who will hopefully escalate it further. Our governing body is well placed to make decisions once further announcements are made or guidance is published.
I fully appreciate that some parents may be disappointed that school cannot offer more education during these difficult times. Our three principles for decision making, previously shared with you, still apply:
Finally, I genuinely thank every parent for working with us and communicating with us to ensure that we can provide safe education and care, at home or at school, for our children.
Most of all, please stay safe.