A message from the council's Deputy Leader, and Chairman of the Children, Education and Safeguarding Committee, Councillor David Longstaff:
Back to school
All our schools have shown tremendous dedication and commitment during the COVID-19 pandemic, and as we reach the end of the summer term I would like to thank them for their hard work.
Initially they remained open where possible to provide places to the children of keyworkers and vulnerable children, as well as offering a range of virtual lessons for most of their pupils. Last month saw schools open more widely to some year groups following a great deal of careful planning and work to ensure that both children and staff were able to return as safely as possible.
Children and young people who have returned over the last few weeks have found the experience to be extremely rewarding and I hope it has helped instil a much-needed sense of ‘normality’.
The government has now directed schools to open fully in September. Our priority is to support schools in enabling all children and young people to return to school. This is vital, not only for their continued education, but also for their well-being. Again, schools are working hard to make this happen, whilst continuing to ensure that Barnet’s learning spaces are safe for all to be in.
Every school is assessing the potential risks of returning all children to the classroom and how they can reduce the overall risks for pupils and for staff. Schools will be striving to offer as much as possible. However, we still need to remember that every school is different and that plans will vary from school to school, taking into consideration things like the layout of the buildings, age groups of children and staff capacity.
Schools will continue to consult with parents and carers on arrangements and will keep them informed of how they will start returning their children back full-time into the classroom in September.
Although schools will be open for all children and young people, some may still not be able to offer the large amount of extended services they usually provide. This is because headteachers and governors need to be certain that their particular learning environment is safe, including for extended hours.
The council has developed a range of resources to support parents and children to return to school, which we have made available online.