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Education letter to parents

classroom

17 June 2020

classroomToday (Wednesday, June 17) a letter has been sent to parents from the Cabinet Member for Education. Here is the letter:

Dear parent/carer

Thank you for your support, understanding and patience over the past three months. I'm grateful to you all for everything you have done to assist your child's learning, your child's school and the council at this difficult time.

This letter provides you with further information in respect of the emergency childcare and special emergency childcare provision for eligible children available in Powys and the recommencement of school-based learning for all pupils for the rest of the summer term (until Friday, July 24).

Key points

  • At 6pm on Wednesday, June 24 emergency childcare and special emergency childcare hubs in Powys will close
  • From Thursday, June 25 to Friday, July 24, emergency childcare will be provided at your child's own school. This will only be available between 8:30am to 4:30pm
  • From Monday, June 29 schools, special schools and PRU will start to accept their own pupils to attend identified sessions at their own school
  • The total number of pupils in school at any one time will not exceed one third of the total number of the school's building capacity
  • Places will be limited to key workers who have already registered with the emergency childcare and special emergency childcare hubs over the past 12 weeks as well as school and early years staff taking priority
  • The council is aware that there is huge demand at present from key workers who had not previously registered their children with the emergency childcare hubs. We are exploring potential options to meet this demand for mainstream schools. We will publicise information on any alternative childcare arrangements as soon as we are able to
  • Normal school transport (with possible exception of taxis) will resume on Monday, June 29 with transport providers following Welsh Government social distancing guidance

Emergency childcare support for key workers only

In light of recent ministerial announcements, there will be significant changes to our emergency childcare provision which we need to implement as a matter of some urgency.

At 6pm on Wednesday, June 24 emergency childcare hubs in Powys will close.

From Thursday, June 25 (until Friday, 24 July), emergency childcare will be provided at your child's own school.

It is important to note that from Thursday, June 25 emergency childcare will only be available between 8.30am and 4.30pm.

In order to apply for these emergency childcare places for key workers, parents/carers will now need to make a weekly application using the council's online system which can be found at www.powys.gov.uk/emergencyhubs. Please note that special schools and PRU have already made contact with parents regarding placements and will continue to communicate with parents directly.

The deadline for applications for mainstream schools will be 9am every Thursday for childcare for the following week - this will be for primary-aged pupils. Parents of secondary schools, special schools and PRU pupils need to contact their school directly to discuss.

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 to key workers who have already registered with the emergency childcare hubs over the past 12 weeks taking priority.

We are aware that there is huge demand at present from key workers who had not previously registered their children with the emergency childcare hubs. We are exploring potential options to meet this demand. We will publicise information on any alternative childcare arrangements as soon as we are able to.

Parents/carers are advised that, currently, the council is not in a position to confirm whether emergency childcare provision will be available during the school summer holiday period (between Monday, July 27 and Tuesday, September 1).

Further information in respect of emergency childcare provision during the school summer holiday period will be provided shortly.

Check in, Catch up and Prepare

As a result of the Minister for Education's recent announcement in respect of the re-opening of schools, the council 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, June 29, Powys 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 the school's building capacity.

To accommodate this requirement, during the period Monday, June 29 to Friday, July 24, your child will hopefully  be invited into their school for three visits (unless they are eligible for emergency childcare at their individual school's childcare hub) but this will vary from school to school. Parents of pupils in specialist centres, special schools and PRU will need to speak to their own schools to discuss their child's particular needs and number of visits.

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.

Secondary schools will also be focusing on the well-being and checking in with every pupil. They may also focus on supporting the 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. Thank you to those who have filled in the questionnaire to assist with this process.

I know that school teachers, school leaders and school support staff would be delighted to see their pupils on these occasions.

Once again, I am keen to do everything possible to reassure you of the council's efforts in supporting the emotional and physical wellbeing of learners. The council 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.

In conclusion, I would like to thank you all, once again, for your continuing support at a very difficult time.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Phyl Davies, Cabinet Portfolio for Education and Property

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