Kernow Learning Schools made their first step towards wider opening today, 1st June. In parallel with many other Cornish schools, the trust’s schools re-opened school sites that had been closed for the last eight weeks, whilst the emergency childcare provision for key worker children and vulnerable children of all of the Kernow Learning schools had been delivered from six key central sites. There are 17 schools in Kernow Learning, spanning from Leedstown in the West to Upton Cross in the East and all of them were reopened on 1st June.
Throughout lock down staff have been working to support our pupils and their families. Our schools have coped well and at the forefront of our minds has been everyone’s safety – from children and their families to staff and their families.
The government’s proposal of school expansion to complete year groups, during the week of 1st June, was an aspiration set out by the Prime Minister, but the guidance made clear that individual schools should work towards this expansion in a cautious and careful way. Very few schools in Cornwall have been able to offer places to complete year groups from 1st June, indeed the majority are retraining staff in the expected new approaches of putting children into protective ‘bubbles’.
It was not until Thursday 28th May that schools knew for sure that they were being asked to open their doors to more children. This announcement to the public at one of the daily briefings was also how schools heard the news.
At Kernow Learning the trustees met on 29th May to review plans for reopening of their schools. Due to the recent rapid increase in the number of parents employed as key workers, as in particular, supermarkets, delivery and care companies recruited, school leaders were concerned about making enough provision for these children before allocating additional spaces for other year groups. Schools were waiting for the revision of the Key Worker list, which did not happen until 1st June to find out the impact that this might have on pupil numbers. Requests for providing Key worker children’s places had tripled for when the schools reopened on 1st June and there was also increased need for places for vulnerable children.
Schools are awaiting information about the new Test, Track and Isolate Strategy which will be coordinated by Cornwall Council and has been promised to underpin the wider opening of schools.
Kernow Learning Trustees chose to expand the provision for key workers and vulnerable children over the next two weeks in line with Government priorities and will look at further expansion for more age groups from 15th June when leaders hope to be in an even stronger position to reassure the community and their staff of everyone’s safety.
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